10580/X-MEN: Capital Critters

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X-MEN: Capital Critters
Date of Scene: 27 March 2022
Location: SR-77 Blackbird
Synopsis: The X-Men investigate a bunch of missing mutants in a Washington DC suburb. What they find may lead to more questions than answers!
Cast of Characters: Rogue, Monet St. Croix, Tabitha Smith, Jean Grey, Scott Summers, Remy LeBeau, James Proudstar

Rogue has posed:
Professor Xavier had sent for an X-Men team to meet up in the Blackbird, to receive their mission briefing enroute to Washington DC.

Once in the air, the Professor's visage appears on the Jet's screens. "X-Men. I'm very glad that all of you could make this short notice operation. It seems that we have a rather unsettling instance of mutant disappaearance that we need all of you to look in to. I've gone ahead and sent the direct location coordinates to the Blackbird's computer systems, but you'll need to set down a little away from the central location... Because its in the middle of a rather well-to-do suburban neighborhood. In total, we know of twenty mutants who live in this quiet housing area, but in the past three nights, three of them have gone missing. We want to get to the bottom of this before it becomes any larger of an issue..." The Professor takes a moment before continuing.

"We do not want to make a ruckuss in this area. So lets do everything in our power... to contain our powers. This is an investigation. Should things get ... unsavory, violent even, I trust in our team leaders to respond accordingly to... do everything we can to keep the peace. Report back to me, should our efforts here result in anything that may lead to the whereabouts of these three missing mutants. I have their profiles uploaded in to the computer too. They all lived within a four block radius of one another,m with the other seventeen being spread out around the neighborhood as well, all marked upon your maps. There's a central woodland park to this suburb, and if it comes to it, we may need to scour through it as well."

"Good luck." The Professor then adds to the crew aboard the blackbird.
The landing sites noted on the team maps include the park Xavier mentioned, the exterior perimeter of the neighborhood, and the backyard of a large community center that could work for cover too!

Monet St. Croix has posed:
Monet St. Croix would fold her hands together over thoughtfully, "It will be simplest when we arrive to scan the minds of those passing. They should be normal and thus will not notice our intrusion. If they are stronger willed or have some way of sensing or blocking it, then there is a high probability that they are involved in the affair and thus are useful for followup." M is just giving her opinion on hte matter.

She is stylish, as always, if not as much striking as she nromally could be. Wearing somewhat more demur and casual clothes. Sigh, the sacrifices she made for the greater good. She is however concerned, even if her face doesn't directly show it.

Tabitha Smith has posed:
"Sooo, like lets look at those missing folks? Still think if we need to be all peaceful and semi stealthy we could have made this a road trip. Van's rock!" Tabby states and looks over a screen to see if there's anything in common besides being a mutant.

The blonde rocking some more casual clothes instead of an X-suit in the form of yellow corduroy jeans, black leather bolero bomber jacket with BOOM and an Explosion stitched on the back and sneakers in red to match the cropped tank top with MITSUIBISHI printed on the front. Spiky black leather belt and a matching choker along with some red cateye glasses with yellow lenses finish her outfit and only a light amount of makeup dusting her eyes and a shade of lipstick that's actually red.

Making sure her hair at least behaves in it's ponytail binding scrunchy, Tabby shrugs. "If we know what might be appealing to the captors we could probably bait them into a snatch and grab. Follow them to base. Then kickdown the doors and bust folks out!"

Jean Grey has posed:
Given the supposedly undercover nature of the assignment, Jean comes in normal street clothes, somewhat upscale given her knowledge of these DC suburbs... not that it matters much when she can transform her outfits like an anime character!

She is seated up front in the Blackbird, although not in the pilot's position, perhaps leaving that for Scott or another expert. Instead, her focus is on the various informational screens laid out there, which display the more detailed data from Xavier's briefing. "Definitely an area where we need to be cautious about the kind of splash we make. We can fly in under stealth, but there's always a chance of civillians actually stumbling on the plane physically, so perhaps the park or neighborhood limits are better?" She looks over to Scott for his input.

"Community center just seems like we're inviting some kind of 80s movie sideplot shenanigans where kids discover the jet and take it for a joy ride, or something."

Scott Summers has posed:
Unsurprisingly, Scott Summers has positioned himself in one of the two pilot seats at the front of the X-Men's own personal supersonic jet. A little bit of a control freak perhaps? Absolutely. But he is also one of the better pilots on the team as well. Not that there should be a great deal of concern over reaching their destination, not unless things are much worse than even Professor Xavier is aware of.

So as the team's founder and visionary gives an overview of the issues facing them, Scott remains silent and focused behind the controls, eyes flickering between the instruments in front of him and the view offered up through the window up ahead. Despite that, no doubt he is absorbing every last word, at least until Charles offers his best wishes and the monitor goes dark.

"But the Blackbird is considerably quicker," he comments quietly to Tabitha's suggestion. It is also decidedly roomier. Though there's no pulling over for a snack, so there is that drawback. "A telepathic scan is a good start, but there are ways to thwart that. We'll want an onsight inspection of the property, see if any traces have been left behind," he comments quietly. He doesn't have to give instructions, there's no doubt that James is best suited for that with his heightened senses.

He does glance towards Jean and nods his agreement at her suggestion though, leaning over and tapping at one of the monitors between them, bringing up a map of the area. "Agreed. It will be a bit of a hike but we can all use the exercise. There's a housing development that's been in limbo the last six months. It's open field and no one has been onsite in almost that long," he says, motioning to an open field north of the neighborhood in question.

Like the others, Scott has grudgingly forsaken his uniform on this mission, jeans and a jacket good enough for him this time out. Though there is almost certainly a spare visor tucked away in one of his pockets.

Remy LeBeau has posed:
It's a pretty rare occation that Remy gets to pull out the business casual Super Hero attire. With his brown jacket on over the teal-pink-black situation he's got going on for this hop, skip, and a jump to DC. He'll fit right in with the 25-45 demographic of Bethesda, Maryland.

Because that's literally the only suburb of DC that's 'quiet', 'quaint' and not 'ghetto'.

Sitting in one of the Blackbirds seats, Remy halves a deck of cards and twists them around his fingers to get them limbered up. Red/Black eyes flick over to Tabby suggesting they take off in a van. "Dats a long drive..." Remy points at the back of Scott's head after mirroring the General's observation.

From his knowledge of DC, they could show up wearing giant octopus on their heads and nobody would pay the first defining atom of attention to them. Besides, he just looks homeless, and the Nations Capitol is home to a robust population of homeless.

James Proudstar has posed:
James Proudstar sighs, and shakes his head, he is attired, in the usual dark denim and tee shirt. Hair pulled back in a pony tail. "I can keep an eye on the skies. Don't want to scare the locals unless we have to." He raises an eyebrow at the need for exercise.

Rogue has posed:
After the Blackbird sets down north of the neighborhood, the group disembarks from the Jet and their X-Devices all link with the SR-77s computer mission interface. This gives everyone a map of the area with information on the 3 kidnappings, along with the home locations of the other 17 mutants in this area. The good news is the three kidnappers all live directly south of this point in a four block radius of one another. The first of the three being a house on the corner up ahead, owned by the Muldova family. Their 16 year old son was last seen leaving baseball practice on his bike, and never made it home. The baseball diamond being on the block between the Muldova house, and the next missing persons case a little further south.

The suburb is quite nice, a ice cream truck can be heard down the street, a dog is running by off his leash holding a newspaper in his mouth, and there are a number of yard sprinklers going with the sun having nearly completely set by now.

Monet St. Croix has posed:
Monet St. Croix would make a look of passive distaste, "Suburbia. A wretched hive." OF yuppies. OR whatever the word that M would use to describe them. Which probably isn't 'yuppies' but is close enough in meaning. This entire area has her look passively disgusted. Pretentious. An ice cream truck. So many sprinklers wasting water on identical lawns which might as well be astroturf. Houses that look identical in arrangement under the minutiate of the small dictatorships of Homeowner's Associations.

M keeps her look of neutrality veering on to irritation that seems to be her default-bordering-on 'if you keep your face that way it's going to be stuck' levels.

"They'll have likely already done a limited casing of the area. I take it we have the reports of the local authorities that did whtever limited to non-existant followup?" Because mutant children naturally ranked so high.

Tabitha Smith has posed:
Tabby did begrudgingly leave the van behind. The blackbird bight have carcgo space but a 1992 Mitsubishi Delica modified for off roading and camping wouldn't really fit and it would weigh things down even further.

Tabby had been seen with a measuring tape shortly after she bought and had the auto shop kids make sure the van was road worthy. Pragmatism beat the blonde in this matter.

Eyeballing a backpack tucked under her seat she grins. "Well snacks I always have. And I'm sure you folks could behave on a road trip so I don't "Turn this thin around and go home!" cause honestly if you play up in my baby and don't mellow out I'd probably just be all Mad Max behind the wheel. I should get more sim time for the Blackbird." she adds and sounds way more scary than she probably should.

Off the plain Tabby, who looks like probably the exact sort of teenage rebellion most parents would neglect and let get in trouble pops some earbuds in and pairs up the blueooth to her phone so she can at least look like she's absent mindedly bouncing about in dancing like pacing, lots of twirls and skips. She even hopscotches on one driveway when she sees the chalkwork. "So if we recuit Pedro. He's got my vote!" she says softly over communication lines.

James Proudstar has posed:
James Proudstar takes a deep breath, closing his eyes letting all the sounds and scents suburbia wash over him. "Charles needs to the start including more sense friendly material. In this neighborhood? So close to DC? Fred dropped this on his desk, if their not contributors." Jim references the ers FBI liason. Jim takes tothe skies staying just above tree height.

Jean Grey has posed:
"Of course, once we're in the area, a telepathic scan will be the first step," Jean agrees, on the discussion of such investigations, although her tone treats it almost as an afterthought. Because for her... it is, pretty much. In fact, most people make the same mistake: scanning isn't really a mode, isn't a button she turns on. If anything, it's NOT reading everyone's minds that is the hard part! But it's easier to communicate things the other way, even if it's somewhat backward. "But Scott's right, it's nothing to rely on. If Charles has us looking into this in person, it's because any initial attempt with Cerebro to discover things telepathically has already failed. That could still be a range issue," she allows, "its enhancement isn't flawless... but anyone targetting Mutants has to realize it's part of our bag of tricks."


Once they've enjoyed their quick flight (it's only five hours by car!), Jean makes her trip down the ramp, waiting to make sure everyone is disembarked and the Blackbird security set before they proceed on toward their mission. "Luckily it's not too far. Fact that they're all in one area is probably meaningful, although it's hard to say precisely why. Could be someone in the neighborhood, or connected to it, who'd have good info on the targets... but it could also just be a geographical convenience, a small 'target area.'"

She makes a little show of stretching, now that they're out, and then starts along toward their nearest kidnapping site. "I'm not picking up anything unusual, just yet... but come on. We can ask around, check the house first, and then the baseball field. Maybe we can find some physical evidence."

Scott Summers has posed:
There is plenty of space to set down the Blackbird, the stealth mode dampening down the engines enough to at least leave anyone nearby confused about the source of the sound instead of clearly recognizing the sound of jet engines. The ramp does down giving access to everyone to head out and spread out and Scott finally unfastens the seat restraints, giving the instruments one last go over before standing.

Safety first. He knows his priorities.

"Spread out some. Small groups I'd say, tops. If we roll in like a convention that would probably grab someone's attention," Scott instructs quietly. "Keep in contact. It might not be practical to keep line of sight so make sure you report your progress regularly," he adds. He's confident enough that Jean and Monet can handle that part of the job. X-Devices are good. Telepaths are a little bit better when it comes to coordinating a team.

He might be a little bit spoiled. Sue him

Waiting for some of the others to begin disembarking, Scott lingers at the bottom of the loading ramp, gaze sweeping over the park in lingering detail, waiting until he is as sure as possible that no eyes are turned this way before slipping away, beginning to stroll across the field, hands jammed into pockets as he nears the neighborhood.

Remy LeBeau has posed:
Remy strolls casually down the ramp into the neighborhood with his hands shoved way down deep in the pockets of his jacket. It only takes one look around to tell him a lot about this part of the city, even if he'd never been here before. "Whoever took these kids lives near here. Dis part of town?" He sucks his teeth and nods to Scott, heading off in the direction of one of the 4 houses from which a teenager was boosted.

"I don't say that out of hand either. Homeless population is probably... thirty? Forty percent Mutant? They could have taken them and nobody even bat an eyelash..." He pads up the sidewalk with a casual glance back over his shoulder.

"Dis is targetted. Cased these families.. Probably has ties to someone. Wouldn't be surprised if there a poly-club out of one of dese houses."

Rogue has posed:
Those diligent enough to look at the other two missing Mutants would see the first to be a 29 year old woman named Cedar Cadence. A very low level weather manipulator, somewhat like Storm, but not even 10% of the strength. She fancies herself a 'Cloud Dancer' and liked to visit the main park in the neighborhood where she would be seen meditating, and making cloud shapes in the sky. This is also where she was last seen, and her cell phone was found with her stuff on a blanket upon the grassy lawn. her last text message was 'Home in twenty. Making a Peace Dove in the sky to inspire love amongst the people."

The second of the last two, is a 21 year old man named Mike Woods. He was a self taught car mechanic who could 'speak to machines' in a way that would let them tell him what was wrong with them. It is a very useful mutation, for a car mechanic anyway. He was last seen working on a car in his driveway when his little roller cart he used to get underneath vehicles was found out in the street, no sign of Mike anywhere to be seen.

They seem to be completely random disappearances, and none of the three people knew each other, according to witnesses and family members anyway.

There is the sound of a baseball game in progress and the lights on the field where the young Pedro disappeared from can be seen up ahead.

His family are home in their one story house too, but would it be wise to approach them and speak to them without any sweet police badges? Up to the X-Men!

Monet St. Croix has posed:
Monet St. Croix would glance at Jean over and then gesture, moving to look at the others, "Do you feel that we'll do better going in more covertly or.." She would move to hold up a business card in her hand; something rather generic. A light flicker of her mind would give off a telepathic illusion over of it as that of a Federal Bureau of Investigations agent. This glanced over to Scott for his take on things. But simple enough for them to do.

But if the family felt abandoned over by the authorities, then they might not be willing to talk. Meanwhile, M busies herself after she makes her initial proposal to try and from a distance scan thoughts at the baseball stadium. Her telepathy isn't particularly potent nor is she necessarily well trained, but she's also merely trying to glean surface thoughts from a distance. Only that which hopefully is on hte initial minds of any presence. Looking for anything that stands out. Wariness, disorientation, irritability. Paranoia.

Tabitha Smith has posed:
"Remy's right on that. God knows how many times I had to run and hide when I couldn't bomb my way out of crap when I was on my own. Way too easy to end up disappeared, sold for all kinds of stuff. Madripoori flesh trafficking. Mutant Growth Hormone labs. All kinds of fight club gladiatorial stuff. Pick a vice. Us hobo types probably got used for it. Getting beat and... stuff and left in a  dumpsterwas like hitting a jackpot." Tabby points out.

While the others be all responsible investigators. Tabby having had some experience as a put upon teen in her youth. Starts exploring for out of the way places that folks might wander towards when they want to avoid trappings of DC sububria. The benefits of keeping multiple lines of communications opeb as she shimmy and dances around like she's ignoring other folks but totally isn't.

"Anyone catch the score at the game yet" she asks with a chuckle while all that turning and pirouetting lets her get as much a three hundred and sixty degree look about the places while she bounces about through near a small playground near the ball game's field.

Jean Grey has posed:
<"I'll keep tabs on everyone."> Jean confirms, as a quick telepathic echo of Scott's request. <"And provide an open link in case anyone needs to report."> It's pretty much SOP on these outings!

"I think I can try speaking to Pedro's family directly, if they're available," she then answers Monet. And perhaps, in doing so, clarifies which task of the many they can spread out to do she might prefer. "Since they considered sending him to Xavier's." And she doesn't have to lie or anything about representing the school. "So maybe they'll be willing to talk to me. But otherwise, well, we're not police. So we can't just barge around anywhere we want. We have to be mindful of that. Read the situation, and try not to do anything that will alarm the locals. It won't help to have the cops called on us."

In this moment, she looks over at Remy in particular... for some reason. But it's not that she's worried, in fact, rather the opposite: "And if we do have to snoop around where we're not wanted, well, let's just make sure we do it discretely, hmm?"

Thus, while the various groups spread out to do... well, whatever they prefer, Jean will make her appearance at the Muldova household, knocking at the front door and everything, and introducing herself as precisely who she is: the friendly Headmistress of Xaviers School for the Gifted, showing some concern for a once would-be student.

Scott Summers has posed:
"It does seem likely that it was targetted," Scott agrees quietly over their communication lines. It is a reasonable assumption. Three mutants disappear in short order, without a trace? It's hard to imagine it doesn't tie back to that, especially when there are much easier targets of opportunity out there. "Just don't lock your mind into any theories. We're looking for evidence to lead us to where we might find them. It's too easy to start looking for facts that fit our theory," he adds quietly.

Yes, Scott always comes with a good lecture prepared, or learning opportunity that he can offer up to the 'class'.

He does not linger in the park, instead walking swiftly across that field, getting out to the sidewalk and neighborhood proper about as quickly as possible without drawing any undo attention to himself. Then it is a matter of strolling towards the nearest of the abduction sites. He doesn't boast any enhanced senses and he certainly isn't trained in this sort of thing. But he is reasonably observant and pretty experienced for his age.

Some eyes are better than nothing afterall.

James Proudstar has posed:
James Proudstar striking out with super sense in an aerial recon. He drops to the ground in a convenient locale close to the baseball field but away from prying eyes he tracks the route taken by Pedro seeing what the police missed.

Remy LeBeau has posed:
"I'll be so discrete, Y'ALL wont even know I did it." Remy promises Jean, taking a few hopping steps backwards with a grin, winking a red/black eye at the pair of leaders in Jean and Scott. "Of course, yes, look for evidence to tell us truth, not prove truth." He spins on his heels and heads across the street towards one of the hotdog vendors, fishing some money out of a pocket.

A big ol gangster roll.

"Hey, how much for... seven hotdogs? Make dat eight, I skipped lunch."

Unfolding bills, a few extra curled off held out as a tip, "You from around here, mon ami? I did a google search for da best mechanic in DC and a Mike Woods. He come to these tings?" Finger wiggling at the ball-field.

Rogue has posed:
Monet's surface level scans of what people are thinking about at the baseball game, mostly only comes back with thoughts of the game, dinner tonight, work tomorrow, and other mundane suburbia trains of thought. One thought that might stick out though, are coming from a little girl who isn't paying attention to the game, she's standing out away from the crowd and shining a laser light off in to the woods, and thinking about how she wants the puppies that she saw around the trees, because her mean old dad won't ever let her have a puppy.

Tabi gets a glimpse at the schore and the home team in white is up by 3 runs in the bottom of the 8th.

Jean's talk with the Muldova parents starts out good, they remember her quite readily and start to profess how they wish they'd sent young Pedro to Xaviers, because it would've helped avoid all of this... They talk about how the boy was spending time at the baseball diamond every afternoon, and playing with his friends at the park at the center of the neighborhood on the weekends. They thought he was doing well, he was loving being around grassy parks, and with summer almost here... he was excited.

Scott, and James, both get looks from some of the single moms near the baseball game, both of them getting smiles, for SOME reason.

Remy? His hotdog questions about the mechanic 'Magic Mike' gets a surprised answer from the vendor who says that he and Mike used to jog together in the mornings at the park, and that he hopes the guy turns up again because he was a whiz with his hotdog cart and truck repairs....

Monet St. Croix has posed:
Monet St. Croix would fold her hands over together then and think. <<There's a young child constantly putting her attention over at the woods, she thinks ther eare dogs there that have been around recently>> Then Monet is going to consider once more, cocking her head to the side then and sending another thought.

<<Have someone at the Mansion check dark sites. Any operations which target mutants will have done some chatter if anything is afoot in the area. Stormfront, the Reavers.. Something to have at hand for later.>> Just a followup. Presuming it hae dnot been done already. Targeted surveillance of the sites might bring up something useful if there was anything.

Tabitha Smith has posed:
Tabby hmms and and over psychic comms sends a mental nod. <<I can check it out. Best case scenario it's just actual doggos that need some love and foster homes.>> The blonde says and starts heading over to where the laser pointer aims.

There's even a wink at the kid on the way past as Tabby starts to approach the wooden area on her own. <<If anything goes wrong I'll give the signal.>> Tabby states and starts poking about bushes and around trees while still maintaining her dance.

There is a slip of a hand inside her jacket and a snack bar is pulled out. Opened and a bite taken out of it before she lets it alone in one hand. The other hand rises and a little glowy ball of plasma floats and swirls around and between fingers to add a little light when foilage blocks the setting sun out. Nothing big or explodey, just a little help seeing where she's going.

Maybe she should take those damn glasses off but at least a stray branch won't poke her eyes out.

James Proudstar has posed:
James Proudstar smiles and chats amiably with the Mom's, "Shame about Pedro." "Well liked in the neighborhood" "Any jealousy about his roses?" "Shame about all the dogs in the park." He manages to seem interested. <<Jean, any chance you can get something he wore?>>

Jean Grey has posed:
Jean is a very nice lady and talking to parents is part of her actual normal day job! So handling these two seems straightforward!

Which... isn't to say she handles it in an entirely straightforward way, as if this were a usual parent-teacher conference. Because those don't usually involve the students going missing. And threat to a mutant life always changes the ethical calculus. Thus, while they speak, she breaks the usual rules just a little, allowing herself to hear their thoughts without the usual filter, as she continues the more mundane conversation.

While she reassures them that it wasn't their fault for choosing what they thought was best for him, she DOES profess her own curiousity in this tutor they hired him. "One on one mentorship is very valuable," she allows, "It's just usually hard for most people to find that kind of help, since, well... it isn't like there's an abundance of teachers. It's one of the reason we hire a lot of our students after they graduate, because it's not like we have tons of people we can hire out of the general populace." There's a pause, just enough to let it seem like a natural flow, before she wonders, "How'd you get in touch with the tutor you used, if you don't mind me asking?"

Whether they answer or not, she listens for information in their minds as well. In cases like this, the subconscious can often being far more telling than what a person is willing to openly share.

Scott Summers has posed:
With the park serving as such a hub of activity this early in the evening, Scott finds that he has the sidewalks of the neighborhood mostly to himself, nodding in corgial fashion to those he does come across. But for the most part he does his best to just look like a local, out and about for an evening walk. Yep, just ignore the strange red sunglasses perched on the bridge of his nose despite the shadows that increasingly encroach.

While his focus might be the homes of the three individuals in question, Scott keeps an eye out for anything that doesn't quite fit. Odd features that don't seem to belong in a quiet neighborhood like this. Repair trucks or other vehicles that have no real reason to still be in the neighborhood at this hour. Anything that might stand out, that might tweak his little bump of trouble.

<< Sounds like we have a few leads at least. The neighborhood is pretty quiet so far. >> Scott offers up.

Remy LeBeau has posed:
"Magic Mike, yeah dat what dey say on the site." Remy snaps a few times and nods, "What you mean, he go somewhere?" Obivously he knows Mike is one of the kidnapped, but as he stands here paying for these hotdogs, he can maybe get a bit more information from the individuals who reside in the same neighborhood. Who knew the guy personally.

"Guy like dat couldn't have anybody who didn't like him, though. All da reviews say he polite and friendly..." He chats with the vendor, casually glancing around at the people gathered near the ball field while eating one of the hotdogs.

<<"Not really seeing any connection other than they mutant.">>

Rogue has posed:
The conversation that Jean is holding with the parents yields just the average thoughts, worries, and frustrations with law enforcement that one might get from parents of a missing child. They're good people though, the father hard working, the mother a housewife in a classically styled Americana home. The mother does say that the hired teacher came recommended from a job faire that was held at the school, and that they've been nothing but happy with the teacher. She goes to get a flier from the cabinet that she brings to Jean for where the home schooler came from...

The vendor talking to Remy is just piling up hotdogs for the Cajun in a basket that he offers over to him. " "I don't know about that. We all got our enemies, right? I know Mike got in to some trouble last year because his deadbeat brother owed guys some money. I told the cops that, but they brushed me off." He shakes his hand at that. "Damn cops, what do they even know..." He says as he lathers some mustard on another dog like a damn expert.

Scott's leisurely patrol and scan ends up with a laser pointer flashing him in the eyes as the little girl near the baseball diamond has spotted him, and likely his red tinted glasses... she's firing a laser in to Scott's eyes. At least until her parent stops her, and pulls her toward them as they head for the parking lot... Beside Scott, is a street light post, with a posterboard on it, and just one simple poster with a big wide mouth on it and the letters S.M.I.L.E.

Monet gets a message back from the X-Base saying there's been nothing out of ordinary of late, though a portly fellow tried to tip over an ice cream truck yesterday in the neighborhood when they didn't give him correct change...

James? Well. James gets a sense of something on the wind. Blood.

But it's too late.

Tabitha sees it with her makeshift light. Fangs. Bit big huge fangs!

And then it lunges at her out of the trees. A giant, snarling wolf, like a DIRE wolf out of legends of long extinct animals! It tries to tackle Tabitha and rip her throat right out!

Monet St. Croix has posed:
Monet St. Croix is busy sweeping the area, having passed along what she had heard back to the others, a low shake of her head at the update to her request on information. So many small details which may or may not be useful. A few things..

Then she's quickly picking up things from Tabitha, and Monet is quickly going to send an alert to the others along the mental link.

Then she's breaking into a run. Not flying. Not flying. They're supposed to be subtle, after all. But M can sprint. And she can sprint very fast. All she has to do is float an inch or so above the ground and for anyone taking a look it's just that she's breaking into a run.

But she's heading towards the area where she's picking up the attack on Tabitha at speeds more akin to those used over on the freeway. As soon as there's enough things in the way for her to have some cover. Not flying.

At least, not until she's given permission to. But it doesn't matter.

Tabitha Smith has posed:
"Anyone ever check their browser histories? Socials, porn, gaming. All that communication. Just cause they all seem separate aside from that good ol' X-gene don't mean local mutants might not be talking in other ways." Tabby says over the comms plugged into her ears.

"Easier to lay low when you can share info!" she says while being all wilderness but that might have been a bad idea.

That blood. Tabitha's.

The giant wolf catches Tabitha way too fast. It's claws punce her and knock her on her chest before she can roll around to thow a heftief bomb that makes a gell of a racket when the creature dodges it and punces again landing on her shoulders with that way way to large fangs sinking into her neck and shoulders with a very looud shreik of pain.

Claws bunny kicking and tearing Boom-Boom up viciously while she fights and tries to save herself though with the amount of blood and flesh torn she's not having the best of time and.

Over the mental link, the pain and fear is as loud as the yelss and the bombs going off in the creatures face and if it would stop chewing on her for one second maybe she could shove something spicier than a blonde woman down it's throat.

Jean Grey has posed:
Jean, having taken the flier, is in the process of thanking the Muldovas for their help. At a point, she's learned as much as she believes she can and doesn't press them for more. After all, they have a great deal on their minds without her making it worse, and she knows it, feels their worry and anxiety. She's just starting to thank them for their time when the 'alarm' goes off, causing her to hasten the process of their goodbyes as she strides from the house.

One of the many ways a telepathic network beats out normal electronic communication (and there are many!) is that... well, it does not require any intent or action, no decision, no button to push or words to shout. The instinctive emotional responses Tabitha has to the attack, the fear and the pain, are in and of themselves a form of alarm. The link, thankfully, doesn't precisely 'rebroadcast' them in their rawest forms (Jean gets the burden of that experience) but nonetheless echoes a more sanitized version formed into a clear mental alarm, and quickly after, Jean's own response. << Tabi's in trouble. Converge on her. >>

Jean herself goes only a short ways down the Muldova driveway before launching herself into the sky, taking a more 'as the Crow flies' shortcut across whatever nearby houses and toward the wooded area where Tabitha has gone exploring. The usual psychic cloak is in full effect, blanking any sightings of a flying woman that might land on the evening news.

Scott Summers has posed:
He didn't exactly expect to suss out a whole, big conspiracy but he did hope to find something a little more immediately intriguing then a posterboard with a strange acronym and an odd graphic on it. Still, it's something he stores away, something worth looking into once they are back at the mansion. Perhaps a little research online, or asking one of the locals for more information perhaps.

Indeed, turning back towards the park that is exactly what Scott has in mind when that laser light is directed his way. Those ruby red quartz glasses are awfully good at keeping that sort of thing out while letting his own optic blasts through, still the dark haired mutant squints ever so slightly, holding a hand up to his forehead to try to shield his gaze before the girl's parents intervene.

<< On my way back to the park. I found an odd sign on one of the light stands. Maybe you could ask a little... >> he begins when Tabitha's mental cries start up. His own thoughts cutoff, not adding to the psychic noise -- at least not at first -- and he instead quickens his pace, a long-legged trot that eats up the distance.

He knows the tactics of his fellow X-Men well enough, knows what they are capable so he doesn't even wait to verify with Jean. << Stay as discrete as possible, but don't hesitate to use your powers as needed. We'll have some cover >> he notes over that link, scanning the woods through those thickening shadows as he looks for the site of the attack.

Remy LeBeau has posed:
"Da best place to buy Donuts." Remy says unto Vinnie Vendurmen when he asks what cops know. A grin on his stubbled face, backet in his grubby hands, and he slaps the guys arm in an familiar, friendly way. "Oh.. What his brothers name?" Just a conversational sitch over here, guys. Leaning against the hotdog cart eating one another one after adding a few condiments.

"Is it da kind of guy you have to know a guy to know da guy? Cus I known a lot of dem guys, ses pa?" He sucks his teeth and shakes his head.

Then there's sudden pain over the mental link. Remy's eyes go wide and he takes off running. One of the team is hurt, be damned if he's going to get there very subtle.

Even if that means going straight through the ball game!

"'Scuse me, pardon me, ya should choke up a little on da bat." He pantomimes holding the bat as he hops behind the Umpire, who is shouting for him to get off the field. "I'm going! Just really have to get over dere.."

Over another fence ahead of a bunch of boos and jeers for having interrupted the game.

<<"Discretion truly is my middle name.">>

James Proudstar has posed:
James Proudstar slips away from the women easily, and he moves more quickly than humanly possible, but wholly mammalian, like an animal crossing ground, through brush. He moves with out thought guided by the scent of one he once held dear. But he doesn't close on the wolf the others will do that. He moves instead after the pack finding the wolf the others don't even see. "Clever girl."

Rogue has posed:
Tabitha is not in a great place by any means. The giant, unnaturally so, wolf is really throwing her around. It's almost like it's playing with her in a way though, a very vicious way as it tears in to her flesh and tosses her around on the grass before pouncing her again and repeating the process! It's far enough away from the Baseball lights that its hard for anyone from the stands to see, if they even heard the noises, though depending on how loud Tabi might cry out, they certainly could.

At least until a certain guy in a leather trench coat hops a fence and runs out across the field, causing everyone in the stands to get up on their feet and start shouting. One of the players even throws their mit at Remy as he passes them by.

The X-Men are closing in, however, and as they do... three more wolves walk right out of the tree line, staring at their pack leader as he throws Tabitha around...

It's these three that James steps out close to now, and all three of them snarl and lunge at him at the same time!

Tabitha Smith has posed:
Scratches and nibbles don't really do much justice to the amount of pain and injury the wolf creature is causing while Tabby's voice is screamed hoarse in her agony.

Feet flail and dig at the ground as much as Tabitha tries to kick the creature off her back and sides while those fangs latch on and tear and pull on flesh and bone. Her glasses long fallen off her nose as she's thrown about taking the brief moments she's not being chewed on to check her insides haven't spilled while trying to block the next bites and clawings as the rest of the pack try and get in the way of getting the massive wolf off the girl. The sounds of bones crunching as much from bites as the occasionall impact against a tree.

More screams and yells trying to leave her while agony and terror fills her brain as surely as she was when she was gack on Genosha a couple years back.

The few momenst she tries to defends herself with powers failing while that lupine maw latches onto arms, her legs, her midsection rolling around to fling her and chase like it's a one player game of fetch.

Monet St. Croix has posed:
Monet St. Croix would go to call out a warning to the others as she broadcasts teh positioning of the wolves to the rest of the team. Not having a direct location on them, but picking them up roughly by their thoughts - the primal sense of anger and rage coming from them. Nothing that she can delve into; but enough to track them. Now at least is the time for a little more direct action.
    Along the tree line they have cover. And M isn't worrying too much. She immediately goes to lift herself off the ground, going to try and boost herself to hypersonic speeds, intent on barreling towards the alpha that has Tabitha like she was fired from a cannon. Monet is fast and strong. Not as strong as someone like Rogue or James. Not as fast as Rogue or Storm.

But she's hopefully an adequate substitute as she tries to simply smash her fist into the seeming 'alpha' of the gruop if at all possible at slightly over the speed of sound with roughly five tons of force. Enough to shatter a brick wall, cave in the engine block of a truck, or get a politician to stop dithering.

Jean Grey has posed:
When Jean arrives on the scene, it is with fairly singular intent: she can feel what Tabitha is facing, and more than anything, the priority is simply to help her, to get her out of that very apparent danger.

Jean comes in from the air, staying above the trees until she's close and then dropping down through the canopy, the snapping of a few branches making it less than stealthy, and also proof of the fact that she comes in 'hot': maybe there's no full burning aura, but there's nonetheless that occasional yellow-orange crackle as telekinetic barriers crash against (and tear through) the obstacles around her. It rips loose a few heavy branches that, instead of falling, sail alongside her in some vague orbit as she makes for the forrest floor. She lands close, between Tabitha and her furry friend and the rest of the pack, but leaves the others to deal with those three incoming in the short term, while her attention is on the sole wolf attacking her. Reaching out to grasp it with her mind, she gives it a full telekinetic shove, in basic principle simply AWAY from Tabitha.

But with Monet coming in, that becomes more than just a shove, but something of an alley-oop, not just tossing it but separating it from Tabitha and then holding it in position for Monet to strike, clear of any obstacles. Just hanging in the air, paws a-kicking...

Easy target.

As it is presumably brutalized by the super-strong woman, she steps closer to Tabitha. Close enough that the barrier can surround her. "You OK?" The question is spoken, but she's simultaneously evaluating, checking the young woman's injuries.

Remy LeBeau has posed:
Remy is running, but he's not going to get there before the trio of X-Men lay low those dire wolves who had the audacity to attack Tabitha when her back was turned. This is why you never trust Nature. It's always out to get you.

He's huffing and puffing, having ran a pretty good clip just to be late to the party and ends up leaning over to catch his breath near a tree just to one side of the clearing where all this combat stuff is going on. Then, something catch his eye.

Red-Black turn to it and a frown curls the corners of his stubbled mouth.. Kneeling down to sift through the brush until-...

He sighs to himself and shakes his head, slowly pulling his coat off to lay it down over something laid down in the grass. Which leaves him in just that majestic black/teal/pink number.

When he stands up, it's with something held in his right hand.

"I found dem..." He says quietly to Jean, the closet to him.

When he extends it out, he's holding a little league baseball cap covered in blood. Color has drained from his face, as has his usual cocky smirk. Seeing a dead kid will do that to anyone.

James Proudstar has posed:
James Proudstar pulls long deadly looking knives from sheaths hidden across his broad shoulders. He smiles at the wolves easily predator to predator. He frowns when they attack but moves easily. He was caught by a pack when he was younger and he survived by knowing how they move. How they attack. He shifts towards the wolf on the right the one that was holding back tocatch himof he fled. this pulls the wolf on the left, usually the preys weaker side into the one in the middle. They snap and growl at each other while James charges the least dominant bellowing out an Apache war challenge. He grabs the animal around the head and uses brute force to turn the large wolf into a cudgel with which to corrall the other two... Corral? That's when a broad ruby colored beam lances out of the darkness.

Rogue has posed:
Jean and Monet's efforts result in the large dire wolf getting smashed across the yard and sent sprawling in the grass before it tries to get up, some of its ribs crushed from the punch though. It still manages to get back on its feet and is turning to snarl at the three women now, Tabitha of course quite injured now, some of her blood dripping off of its fangs.

Warpath finds his fight tonight, his experience in fighting such creatures invaluable when you're facing off against three of them in total, but these wolves are seemingly more natural than the dire variety, and not much of a match for James in the long run, even if they do keep fighting him with a feral ferocity!

With Remy finding the bodies, the situation seems to be resolving itself... somewhat. There's still the threat of these damn hungry beasts, but the mystery of where the mutants went seems to be resolved...

And in Jean's hand (pocket?) is the flyer with 'S.M.I.L.E.' written upon it with a big happy happy set of lips.

Monet St. Croix has posed:
Monet St. Croix would go to fly along to try and flank the dire wolf. Intent on herding it if need be towards Remy to be dealt with. Her priority is ine nsuring the perimeter is maintained so that they can evacuate Tabitha. The wolf attacking isn't to her natural. So if it goes to charge at her as she tries to pincer it or if it flees would be a signal about as to how it was behaving. Fists in front of her, her building her own rage and maneuvering.

Tabitha Smith has posed:
There's pain and fear even as she's finally given a repreive from more injuries as Monet and Jean power up and put a pummellling on the massove monstress wolf. The girl's face battered and bruised like someone hit her with as much force as the wolf is being hit, blue eyes covered in red adn blood vesselvs in her eyes have burst, bones bent, bitten and broken and that's above the neck.

Below us an even bigger mess as clothes are shredded deep, deep bites and slashes from claws all over her limbs and torso. The bites at her neck and shoulders combined with impacts leaving her crumpled and little more than a ragdoll.

Trying to meet Jean's gaze the young woman tries to answer but bearelyu gets a squeak, thinking pretty difficult under so much agony, but somehow she's not quite passed out. Too afraid to close her groggy eyes since even blinking puts pressure on what may or may not be a broken nose and orbital bone either side.

She didn't look this bad running away from home. <<Blame... Owners, not... doggo!>> she barely gets a thought out. What ever happened to put the wolves in this position, clearly they had no say in the matter in whichh they were abused.

Jean Grey has posed:
Whether they've unraveled the mystery or not, Jean, again, has other worries on her mind.

With the wolves seemingly mostly dealt with (the one still growling might get a chunk of tree hurled at it, but Jean is mostly leaving clean-up to the others), Tabitha's condition is nonetheless clearly VERY NOT GOOD. And healing is one of the admittedly rare areas where her powers are not very useful... at least, not without going full-on RESURRECTION BIRD, and we'd hopefully like to avoid that step being necessary. What she can do is feel Tabitha's pain, feel just how serious things are. "We gotta get her to the blackbird, ASAP. We've at least got basic medical equipment aboard." And also a rapid ticket back to a place where there are people with advanced medical degrees and mutant healing powers. Plus it's probably faster going several states in the Blackbird than it is trying to deal with Beltway traffic...

Not waiting to get any help carrying, she grips the young woman in the same way she did her attacker, lifting her with her mind. "When you have them subdued, grab the animals as well, we can't leave them laying out here and the park, and it seems like they might warrant some analysis as well."

Remy LeBeau has posed:
"No, sometimes wolves are just jerks." Remy counters Tabitha's attempt to forgive the animals and blame whoever made them this way, "And I'm not getting bit playing nice wit a wolf." Which Jean has well in hand, so Remy will help deal with the wolves.

He sighs at the baseball hat and pulls a deck of cards from his belt, holding them long ways between his thumb and fingers. A little pressure bends them and has them fluttering out in a shotgun blast of kinetically charged 52 card pickup, right in a snarling wolves face.

"Next time we get attacked by aggressive labradoodles, I promise to pull punches."

James Proudstar has posed:
James Proudstar doesn't say anything he moves. Pulling the knives, he hears the pleas but the are not doggos, they are what they are and found what they were. They cannot remain here. Then one closest is dispatched with a quick thrust. no pain, it just goes out like a light. The next is hamstringed, it whinpers in fear and begs for the release as the third finally show the fear. It recogjizes when death has come calling. Jim is speakkng in slow rhythmic Apache. <<My heart has joined the thousand. For my friend stopped running today. They were what they were meant to be and belonged to a witld that wasn't this one, may my ancestors forgive my actions even as they guide my hand to protect this family. May the spirits of these beasts find happiness in the next world in the primodial forests no man may see, may they hunt and play and live as they were meant to.>> He takes the life of the last wolf. He uses the knife to take samples as Beast taught him but he picks up the animals, ready to carry all four back to the Blackbird, "We have to call this in, so these families get closure abd they're going to need enough evidence for a story? How you want to play it?

Rogue has posed:
Up at the baseball game, there comes the telltale 'crack' of a hard hit. A small white dot shows the baseball flying up in the air, going far, as the crowd is reacting to it. There are shouts and a group of base runners all making the rounds as the coach is waving them in one by one. The out fielder chases after the ball and tries to jump, and catch it at the fence, but its gooooone. Four runs make it in with a nice home run and the away audience is cheering from their stands as the team is celebrating.

It would seem that the ball game is going on, while the fight with the wolves, and the discovery of the bodies, isn't yet public knowledge!

Tabitha Smith has posed:
Tabitha is she was coherent would probably be really glad she didn't drive. Those grievous wonds really would ruin the upholstery. And she is totally not cleaning the interior of the blackbrid when she gets better. Bloodied clothes hanging of her her in rags. A little puddle where Jean's telekinesiis holds her while also keeping what blood hasn't fertilised the wooded area the X-Men fight those creatures in, inside Tabitha where hopefully shock is about as far as she gets.

Half the fight she puts up now just to stay any semblance of awake though it's clear no amount of coffee and high energy snack bars will help there. And her awesome bomber jacket is just ruined. That fleece lining soaked through while Tabby is clearly no longer bikini body ready.

At this stage staying concious let alone alive is mostly all she can do and it's a struggle while she looks like a half eaten bunny with blonde hair and not so yellow cords.

Boom-Boom is a bit more stubborn though.

Monet St. Croix has posed:
Monet St. Croix would nod, "Tabitha needs emergency medical evacuation. The families and the authorities need closure." They also needed a bit more of a cover story than 'randomly walking around in the woods and found bodies' on that end. They probably can't just call in and leave an anonymous tip. NOt with a few dead wolf bodies and several smashed trees and then fresh blood from Tabitha.

Jean Grey has posed:
<<Scott, I'm taking her back. You stay and deal with the authorities.>>

That's as much command micromanaging as Jean spends time on. She even skips talking, because doing everything in brain-land is faster, happening in parallel to other actions. Plus, she trusts Scott to handle any of the mundane details. He's good at that stuff. No one else gets specific orders. They have training, and Scott to oversee things. And time is of the essence.

On the way back, she brings Tabitha into the air with her. Again, there's psychic nonsense deployed to ward off notice, because she's not interested in taking the long or stealthy route back!

Once aboard the Blackbird, Jean moves to a console at one wall, tapping buttons in a well-rehearsed sequence. There's a little hiss, a lock releases, and a section of the cabin structure swings out and downward to provide a long, flat, table surface - a simplified version of the high-tech biobeds that they use in the X-base medical facilities. The float-y form of Tabitha is set upon the surface...

And then she's strapped down! This may seem a little bondage-y, but it is for her safety in flight.

After she's secured, Jean moves forward to the cockpit. Fortunately, its controls are on the simpler side, and she is trained and qualified to fly it, despite not being one of their several professional grade pilots. Indeed, between its VTOL capability (which removes the hardest thing about flying most planes, the take off and landing) and its autopilot, she doesn't need to do a whole lot. She checks back once to see that everyone who is boarding is aboard, then gets it airborne, punches in the sequence for a return to the base... and then gets up to head back and work on Tabitha.

Thats why they call it an autopilot!

Remy LeBeau has posed:
Scott's going to do all the heavy lifting of talking to the cops?

Remy doesn't seem the slightest bit upset by that. He has sort of a love hate relationship with the police. They hate him and he loves doing things that make them hate him. Suffice to say that DC Metro police have exactly zero chill. So it's to cooler minds that such a hefty task should, and does, fall.

For his part, however, Remy settles down beside the body of that teenager.

One might reason that it's because he left his jacket there covering the kids mutilated body. They wouldn't be wrong, he did leave his coat, but that's not his only motivation. A cigarette finds its way between his lips, but it remains unlit... because the light is in his coat and he's not going to touch that.

Not right now.

"Sorry dis happen to you." He says quietly to the kid, shaking his head. Bring on the cops. So many questions to answer.

James Proudstar has posed:
James Proudstar leaves a wolf for the authorities, one animal is more than enough explanation. He takes the three others and places them in the same spot Tabitha had measured out for her van. Then he makes his way forward and waits till Jean moves back to the medical ward before slipping into the pilot's chair and turning off the autopilot. He brings up the momentum bafflers and punches the acceleration. It isn't his first time with a wounded teammate. He punches the comm, "Base this is Blackbird, scramble a team. Tabitha's been hurt." Charles picks up, "James? What happened?" James gives the professor the situation, finshing, "There were wolves, Tab took the brunt of it. Jean is working on her. We're 10 minutes out... it's bad, Sir." "Understood, Son. We'll be waiting."

Tabitha Smith has posed:
Poor Tabitha, not in a good condition to enjoy being strapped down to the plane's biobed. More than a couple of her nastier wounds dig against by the strapping aggainst raw and torn flesh.

There's another almost scream but her voice is pretty much still yelled out so all that's heard as the Blackbird is set for lift off is some very agonised queaks and whimpers while Tabby's body flinches against the restraints keeping her from bouncing in a loop of pain and trying to avoid it.

At least she's making noise considering how much of a beating her head has taken in addition to everything. The concussion just one more thing on the pile of stuff that Jean is stuck dealing with.

Gonna be a looooong flight!

Rogue has posed:
James Proudstar leaves a wolf for the authorities, one animal is more than enough explanation. He takes the three others and places them in the same spot Tabitha had measured out for her van. Then he makes his way forward and waits till Jean moves back to the medical ward before slipping into the pilot's chair and turning off the autopilot. He brings up the momentum bafflers and punches the acceleration. It isn't his first time with a wounded teammate. He punches the comm, "Base this is Blackbird, scramble a team. Tabitha's been hurt." Charles picks up, "James? What happened?" James gives the professor the situation, finshing, "There were wolves, Tab took the brunt of it. Jean is working on her. We're 10 minutes out... it's bad, Sir." "Understood, Son. We'll be waiting."