11204/Pieces of Mind: Inception

From Heroes Assemble MUSH
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Pieces of Mind: Inception
Date of Scene: 22 May 2022
Location: Student Gardens
Synopsis: Lost fragments of spirits seek answers... and those at the X-Mansion work to aid them.
Cast of Characters: Charles Xavier, James Proudstar, Emma Frost, Wade Wilson, Noriko Ashida, Tabitha Smith, Zandra Mitchell, Ruth Aldine, Jean Grey, Scott Summers

Charles Xavier has posed:
The graduation party is going strong in the back yard of Xavier's Mansion. Voices are raised in laughter and congratulations, cheers of sound by the pool....

But those are the people who are protected, from a deeper, strange problem. Charles wished to shield them, and he was able to do so for a large number of students and visitors.

Not all, though.

There was a strange, brief telepathic flux that ripples, originating on Charles. Everyone that he was connected to him in some way will sense it... which is not simply those he was directly mentally speaking to, but anyone he may have been brushing over -- which is actually a large number. Charles keeps track of lots of people, a lot of the time.

This flux feels involuntary, like a muscle spasm. Charles was holding everything together, he had established a calm connection and was keeping all of what he was doing compartmentalized, but it feels as if something was suddenly added, and the whole of it struggled under that sudden burden. Telepaths will feel a lot of 'presence', lots of awareness, leaking out of this spasm. A lot of terror, muted emotions, a group of mental voices raised in a choir of panic, as Charles shields everyone from the full brunt of it.

Charles himself moves away, to head away from the party to a more secluded area, the gardens. He's moving, but it seems a bit... just like an attempt to get away.

Once there, the fluxes continue. Strange voices getting connected, as if a large mental telephone call were suddenly all in one lane - questions of what is happening, claims of fear, confusion, requests for help and assurance. It comes through Charles as a conduit, but the origin is somewhere else.

James Proudstar has posed:
James Proudstar moves towards the Professor, taking the spot most often held by Hank pushing the chair, gently. There is a tension in his shoulders and he scans the faces of the others, friends and acquaintances alike. Again scanning faces, taking in posture, scents hidden among the flowers. James is on guard for threats, even from those closest, a level of paranoia that must warm Scott's heart.

Emma Frost has posed:
Graduations weren't the thing of the lady in white. She appreciated them. But she didn't attend them. Emma Frost had spent her time over the ceremony reading inside the Mansion. A book on her lap, a cup of wine over in a hand. Then there are those telepathic fluxes. Charles is focused over on those whom are attending the graduation. Emma Frost, inside the school, is well outside those boundaries.

So when there's a potent telepathic flux going on it snaps her to full attention as she's first putting up her mental shields, going to then try and mentally link up with any of the other telepaths present. <<Charles, Jean, I do believe that reality is taking a moment.>> And Emma is heading towards the garden on a quick jog. She's trying to hold things off from her own mind, but it's difficult and disorienting. the presence pushing at her. Like a telepath just coming into existence, shields barely formed and the world yelling around them.

Wade Wilson has posed:
    Why Deadpool is here is anyone's guess. The Merc with a Mouth shows up unannounced and uninvited to a lot of places. Charles' school isn't really any different. He's looking around in the garden,in a new suit no less. Instead of red and black, it's dusty white and black, with red eyes and a red X at his left shoulder and the belt buckle as well. But the cut and style is undoubtedly Deadpool.

    As are the numerous weapons he has on his person--because bag checks are for losers and DP is going to DP, even at a school.

    He's peering down at small clump of flowers: tulips, in this situation. "You know... if I had an organ I'd want tulips on it instead of roses, as well" he says apropo of nothing. He turns at the site of the man, the myth, and the legend himself coming into the garden.

    "Chuck! Been a while..." he notices the man's discomfort and, while he's no telepath and voices in his head are no new occurance, that something is bothering the Headmaster of Xavier's school is troubling.

Noriko Ashida has posed:
Noriko doesn't bother to stay in everyone else's velocity for most of her existence, especially when watching all of the social interactions play out like a big deduction puzzle is less boring and taxing that staying in the moment.  Does she share this world?  No.  It's always been her private playground, a part of her poker hand no one else can see, and a way to pass the time.  Plus telling people will just weird them out.  So Noriko kind of rapidly twitches in place next to Tabitha, still trying to space out the food darting into her mouth to make it as if those five bites were just one to everyone else who isn't paying attention to the rapidly disappearing food source that is her plate.

The speedster's eyes twitch from the Fleebs and that aftermath over to where she spots the Headmistress.  "You know," she says in a vacant aside to Tabby as she keeps tracking Jean, "Just hanging out with me means her parents think you're a lesbian," as if this were a perk to boost Tabby's scheme.

At the mental spasm, Noriko /sees/ the effects as the brainwaves hit the telepaths first, the micro expressions of those present who can't quite hold their reactions in.  Her eyes snap back to Jean and by instinct, she drops back down to sync up her velocity just before the mental rebound hits her.  She is no telepath, but for some reason, she was on Charles' mind, one of his kajillion brain cells thought it should keep the mischievous speedster in mind on her graduation day.  It's so faint, but Noriko knows it doesn't come from her, and that alone is enough to raise the hackles of the young woman.  Her eyes shoot toward the professor and then Scott and Jean one more time before she races to keep ahead of Charles, staying hidden for now.

Noriko's pile of food comes with her, but a burger falls apart and tumbles to the ground in her wake.  For now, she picks a bushy thing growing flowers to squat behind like Gollum, trying to keep her entire form hidden for now.

Tabitha Smith has posed:
Tabitha's plasmakinesis is just barely on the psionic radar but it is there and it is powerful on it's own. Moving subatomic particles to convert one stage of matter to another is practically baby steps to actual telekinesis and yet high end for those that can move objects.

What she wasn't expecting. To actually pick up even any telepathy on her own. It hits her like a migraine and tension headache all at the same time as she clutches her own head. "Professor, what the? What the crap was that? Are you ya know, okay, guys?" she asks with palpable worry for the man as much as anyone else that might have picked all that up like say. The actual trained telepaths.

If head cradling Tabby could pick up on it and feel it. It can't be fun for the others.

Zandra Mitchell has posed:
    Zandra had been standing next to James moments before.

    "Will they give me a high chair, too?" Zandra was wondering with a hint of wryness in her tone at James' advice, but she smiles the whole time. She wouldn't want to get some kind of infantile reputation around campus, after all - and her unexplained need for rubber sheets already puts her at risk if anyone were to find out.

    She looks a bit put off by Tabitha's advice, on the other hand. "I like sauces and creams and jelly, though. Can I at least have guacamole? If there is any, that is." She doesn't ask what carb loading is - she just wonders - and she smiles and makes the phone-calling gesture back at Tabitha. She's just turned back to James when she realizes something.

    "Oh, shoot. I don't know her phone num- nnghuh!"

    She flinches as the mental spasm passes through her - followed by an unfamiliar sensation of foreign emotions rising up in her mind. One of her hands presses against the side of her head as her left eye shuts for a moment in a grimace. She opens it back again to see that Professor Xavier is moving away, along with James. She's not sure, still, what's going on - and she's not sure she's allowed to follow - but her sense of curiousity is one of the few things that can override her sense of propriety. Especially after that feeling.

    Thus, she half-creeps her way along after James and the Professor, her hands leaving faint wet prints on the foliage as she goes.

Ruth Aldine has posed:
Ruth smiles a little sorrowfully at Jean's extremely slight teacherly dudgeon. She then takes a couple of bites out of the corn as she speaks further.

"Yes. Yes. I mean, yes," Ruth answers Jean, "not, yes, no; yes. I understand. I just never even *thought* - not one little moment - about, pardon me, about, yes, I think you understand. Thank you. Sorry, thank you." With this she steps aside - having fewer tasks than Jean Grey, she stands off in the general direction of the dessert table and eats corn.

She speaks to Zandra while she's eating. With her mind. <<Yes. Yes, you probably should'a. That's why businessmen wear dark clothes. Sauce.>>

Then it happens. A spasm that comes on fast enough that for a moment Ruth feels a weird sense of relief: 'oh, okay, THIS is why I can't see the future now! I'm gonna have a heart attack!' But she is denied the millenial dream. Ruth puts her plate down on the edge of the dessert table and starts to walk with purpose and focus, moving at a lateral path that seems like she's about to walk into the gardens directly until she turns left and marches over to crouch down on Noriko's right, just slightly too close for comfort. Ruth takes the moment to eat her corn cob, which is still in her hand. Well, she doesn't literally eat it, she bites up corn and chews on it. The visible parts of her face seem determined and focused.

"Congratulations," she tells Noriko (after swallowing her food). "Sorry. I don't know. Thank you."

Jean Grey has posed:
In the backround, Jean has devoted some portion of her attention to Charles since that first sense of mental tension... but admittedly, a pretty small one, the mental equivalent of keeping tabs on a friend at a gathering while going around and socializing. There is a lot of ambient mental energy as well, the exuberence of the graduating students, the pride of their parents, the small patches of teen drama as so and so is going away to college now but promises such and such they'll make it work long distance (hah). So there is a lot to sort through, her own thoughts pulled many different directions.

So through all of this her reaction to what is happening with Charles isn't quite instantaneous, as it might be in less chaotic circumstances. She feels things in layers, and the first might be taken as simple stress; she knows very well how much of himself he puts into the school, into every young mutant who ends up in this place he built. And so stress itself is not bright red flag.

But that sense of something more accute is, that mental spasm. And besides Xavier himself, she is as well-trained as anyone to sense it. That it is quickly followed by him reaching out directly, and by the sight, up on the sage, of him looking to James for support and moving away-

Jean's mental response first reflects the initial contact, back to Charles and Scott, although slightly different to each, even if they can both hear all of it, like overlapping echoes.

To Scott: << Something's wrong here. I'm not- the students, everything on the ground, I'm leaving that to you. I'm going to help the Professor. >> Saying that she relies on him to lead is unecessary, but it's more than that, a warning that she may end up joining whatever danger Xavier is facing. That she may need him in that simple flesh-realm they all inhabit.

And to Xavier: << Charles, what's happening? >> More than that, though, her mind reaches more aggressively for his, or perhaps more obliquely, toward the tummult -beyond- his thoughts. She may have been content to leave him to his own devices before, but now? Indeed, her response also echoes his guilt. << I'm with you. Tell me what's happening. >>

The most outward visible sign of her concern in all of this, beyond the fact that she has taken up to walking after the direction where the Professor fled is the single hand brought up to the side of her head, the pair of fingers to her temple, that classic gesture, the little mudra of psychic focus. Somewhere, Emma's mind has lept into the fray too, and the familiar presence is met with a sense of mental cammaraderie. << There's definitely something happening. You're with me, we have to help Charles shore up his defenses, hold out- whatever this is. >>

Scott Summers has posed:
It had been Scott's intention to make his way back to the Mansion and change out of academic robes that he wore for the graduation celebration as part of the faculty. Maybe then head back out to the pool area and the celebration at least long enough to grab something to eat. It is unlikely that he would have lingered over long. The students are entitled to their celebration afterall, and he certainly wouldn't want to inhibit that. He might not be quite as stern as he sometimes comes off, but he is certainly one of the more exacting members of the faculty at the Institute.

And he really wouldn't have it any other way.

But that all changes when that psychic disturbance ripples out from the Professor, that flux substatial enough to register on him. He stops in his tracks, quite literally, glancing towards his teacher and mentor, a brief look of concern filtering over Scott's expression, brow furrowed as he recognizes the worry there. Not everyone would, but then not everyone at the school has been there, training under Charles for more than a decade.

It is enough to get him to put aside the idea of changing. For now. And in short order he trails after him towards the waiting gardens. It doesn't take long to notice that he is hardly the only one who has been drawn this way. But with Jean's psychic message Scott gives the slightest of nods in her direction, hanging back a little, holding to the fringes of the garden to keep an eye on things, on all of those who seem to have been drawn this way -whether knowingly or not.

Charles Xavier has posed:
Everywhere in the garden, shimmers of odd shapes fade into view. Tufts of white or pink or purple, shades of human forms. They vary in size: some are childlike, others are adults. They are not ghostly, these seem more like something else: souls perhaps. Or more accurately, something astral.

Are they real? Are they part of the intense feedback and weight of the Professor's connection, that is allowing everyone to see them, to sense them here? These questions may be hard to analyze while the emotions pour out of these shapes.

There are perhaps ten at first, then it begins to become more crowded. Twenty, now thirty... they are lost, disoriented, and trying to make sense of this garden, their own perceptions of what the world is around them. Charles is concentrating hard, and James is able to take him wherever he needs to.

<< No, they are not enemies. The connection must be maintained,>> Charles answers Jean quickly, anticipating her immediate jump to that this is an attack. This message is meant for her, but it is ragged, and others may overhear some of it. -- It is not unusual for Charles to protect those who ARE attacking, if he feels they deserve help. Charles, and his collections of those he feels like he can save...

And in this case, Charles is mentally connected to all of these shades. Strongly, in fact: there are some big, strong tethers here, between the professor and these psychic impressions.

Emma Frost has posed:
Is this the life? Is this just fantasy? How much of this is imagined and how much of this is reality? Emma Frost is trying to sweep along with her mind, even as she's getting the link from Jean and the instructions. <<All right, I'll do what I can>> She's then going to try and slowly work at establishing a mental link with the rest of the group. It's difficult with all of the feedback. And Emma has only so much focus to spare at the moment.

Things are destabilized. Disharmonic. Disrupted. So Emma has to work at building them up. Mentally, not throwing up a shield upwards, forcing herself at the bottom of it to brace and lift up.. Emma works at building it from the bottom up. From the shaky foundation of things to build a support. She lends her power and goes to try and brace as best she can.

In the way one might a bridge, first she starts with the struts and the supports. Trying to establish the framework for a shield for the others to brace upon. One thing at a time. Stabilize things first..

Even with her face going white and having to force herself to breathe, Emma goes to finish her glass of wine in one large gulp to relax herself, throwing the glass away after pricking her finger. Just enough pain to keep her constant in reality and prevent her mind from being fully untethered and dissassociative.

Then time to scry and try to scry what are these collallescing points of pain.

Noriko Ashida has posed:
"Ruth!" Noriko hisses softly back at the girl.  "Get down!"  There's not really enough room for them both and currently Ruth just looks like she's congratulating a bush to those who don't know any better.  Nori doesn't even try to parse what the girl might be talking about.  Doesn't know her?  Maybe she means her inner 'her' or something.  The thoughts and considerations are quickly discarded.  If Ruth doesn't get down, Noriko's cold gauntlet will help her with an efficient tug.

"Ruth...what are those..." she whispers as she starts to see the odd shapes come into view.  "You see them right?  Are they astral things or just illusions or," the words spit out softly at rapid speed, but the pitch remains unaltered.

Tabitha Smith has posed:
"Gah it's so damn loud I can't hear me!" Tabby actually yells. "Like I'm at a damn metal concert!" she can't quite shut off the noise as she picks up all the ambient thoughts around the school. The entities poking the Professor and the other telepaths probably throwing some echoes around too but when you have no idea what is happening to your brain let alone that of Professor Xavier it does become a big distressing game of psychic worry ping pong. Even seeing the swirly trippy colors arounbd the garden that probably aren't there not helping her mood. The bloodshot eyes, the welling of tears and thank goodness Tabby buys the expensive waterproof makeup.

This is not her jam at all but as Emma works a mind link there's only a slight improvement in her fear filled mood.

James Proudstar has posed:
James Proudstar steps between Charles and Wade, taking in the white and blue costume with the Xs and the weapons. Folding his arms across his chest easily. "This must be the Apocalypse... you even brought a change of clothes? They're called the hamburger assortment." James nods at the red, white and yellow tulips Wade was admiring. He nods, "It's a different vibe than roses. Mystique send you or was it the other one?" James tone is brusque but not unfriendly.

Wade Wilson has posed:
    Wade looks up at the hulking form of Warpath and gives the man a nod. "The other one?" he with an arched brow, the mask even conveys that much. "Look, I'm here for my own business, Warpath. We can sit here and you can try to be the intimidating guarddog and I can brush it off like I always do, but" he turns to regard the visual impressions. "It looks like we've got more to focus on than whose dick is bigger right now." He regards the man over his shoulder. "Rain check. But mine's bigger."

    His hand goes to his hip, one of the massively oversized pistols sitting there in its holster (he's not overcompensating, he just likes big guns, okay.) Still, he doesn't draw, he's on his best behavior which means that his particular brand of entertainment will have to come in the form of sloppy seconds. If they come at all.

    "Hmm... okay then... let's science this shit" he says softly, approaching the ghostly phantom crowd. As with most things, Wade is more open to taking the brunt of damage--even mental, rather than force someone less inclined to regenerating in seconds. There are maybe three people on the list who could stand in for him, and from the looks of it, none of them are here.

Zandra Mitchell has posed:
    The message arrived in Zandra's brain to reinforce the message that she should have worn something different was practically forgotten when the barrage hit moments after, but the subconscious reminder to dress with sauce in mind will likely remain indelible.

    The aqua-tinged teen's skin glistens a little as faint moisture stains mark her dress where the fabric touches her skin, as though she'd been out in the sun for a longer time than she has on a day hotter than this one.

    The sight of the shapes shimmering into view causes her to go visibly paler, her face blanching. The vision is far outside the scope of Zandra's personal experience, and she holds onto a hedge for stability. One can only wonder how much worse the reaction would be were it not for the support being provided from the greater telepaths.

Ruth Aldine has posed:
The shadowy forms in the garden do not perturb Ruth, directly. She eats some of her corn. Her mind shifts a little, then: because her astral perceptions, only para-visual, are clearer.

A jumbling crowd. Like the train station, Ruth thinks tangentially, remembering the last time she was in anything like a crowd, rather than the gather-gaggles that Xavier students - even if they are prickly, or 'new but not new-new,' or deeply long for only isolation - give off.

Ruth doesn't actually get down until Noriko finishes but then she actually does. She does crouch in a fairly well poised way; knees up, head down, that's the way when ish goes down. "I just already told you--" Ruth says. pause, munch. "No, I broke order. Sorry. I'm under a lot of stress. I'm looking but, sorry, I can't say for sure. The Professor says they're not enemies. I think he's, holding them."

"Gosh," Ruth continues. "They're... hurting, just, a ton. Why...?"

Jean Grey has posed:
<< Alright. >> Jean's very first reaction to Charles is acceptance, without reservation, of the base premise he sets forward. There is, frankly, no one in the world she trusts more, and so if he says they're not enemies? It's something she takes at face value. And from that premise, next steps. Unfortunately, she has less in the way of certainty there. << Do you know these- are they people...? >> And after a moment given to ponder the strange things she's seeing, she wagers, << Or... maybe astral beings? Something from somewhere else? Just tell us what we need to do to help. What's this connection, can we help you hold it? This is what you trained me for, what we've trained everyone for. >>

As the appeal echoes, she cannot help but marvel at what she is seeing, while stretching her mind further. Psychic phenomena are strange, as a rule, and the astral plane stranger still. It's generally a place one goes (at least in a sense, without going much of anywhere at all), and not one that comes to visit! << What do you make of this? >> she wonders at Emma, more in reflex than anything else, as her only direct peer in this collective of minds. << Forced contact? It's strange, but- >> Here she looks around, both physically in the real world, and mentally in survey of the people around them << -I think everyone is seeing them. Maybe it's just through Charles but, that's a lot of energy, to bleed through like that, strong presences, and... >> More looking. << A whole LOT of them, too. >>

Xavier's pronouncement has given her own response boundaries. They're not enemies, so she doesn't treat them as such. Nor try to push them back, exactly. Rather, she pushes herself deeper, letting go of more of the physical world to meet them, maybe greet them (or at least properly see them) on their own level. << Hello? Are you alright? >> She knows they aren't, somehow. << Do you need our help? >>

James Proudstar has posed:
James Proudstar raises an eyebrow, "You think that's me being intimidating?" James smirks, "Not what she said." He shakes his head as Wade goes for the gun, "Don't bother, there's no physical aspect to them. Charles is letting us perceive what he perceives.... that isn't science. Do your clothes regenerate to? You must buy in bulk."

Charles Xavier has posed:
A lot happens all at once, suddenly. Overhead, Monet glides into the area, perhaps a question on her lips -- but as she does, she passes foricbly through about five of the spiritual shades. As she does, they connect, latch on somehow, spin around her in a spiral of spiritual energy -- and with a weird sound, Monet falls out of the sky, directly towards the ground, with a hard landing!

The professor startles, and a loud command rolls through everyone in the telepathic link:

<< WAIT >>

The command is not for the students or faculty - it is for the rest of the psychic impressions that Charles is holding.

But his command, while it works for some, was too slow for others, and the astral shadows suddenly move, towards the 'real' people that are present, seeming to soak into and disappear, leaving flashes of presence as they seem to leap onto, or into, those standing close to them!

<< They have lost their bodies, to some calamity... There were only a handful... but now...>> But now there are more, and his ability is strained. Charles has to stop explaining to instead mentally reach out, to calm the spirits, with Emma's boosting help bringing a lot of assistance in particular. Charles is holding what feels like lifelines to these spirits, and is trying to usher them to return to somewhere in the astral.

Emma Frost has posed:
It takes Emma Frost several moments to process what is going on. Jean beats her to it. Emma Frost can only take those moments as realization comes in along the mental link as to what is going on to bask in almost awe. The sheer amount of psychic power that it would take to dissassociate so many -spectrums along the astral plane and force them into the corporeal world is staggering. It takes her moments over in the physical world to actually comprehend what is going on as well. For once Emma's suppoesdly vaunted abilities to dual task in both having lag.

All right, first thing. Mitigation. <<I don't quite think they're in a position to want to discuss things>> Some flippancy put in forcibly to her mental voice. To make herself relax some. More and more of them coming in. <<Jean, I'll anchor Charles as best I can. You try and calm them.>> Jean is far better trained than she is as a telepath. Charles is far more powerful. So Emma works along the network already established.

To Charles, she works at reinforcing the tethers and stabilizing them. Adding to the mental framework holding them in place. Adding strength. To the bridge, telepathic braces go up. Girders swaying over in the chaotic winds of the astral plane pulled to the physical. Emma reinforces them one by one. Quick elements of energy. Acting less as an anchor and more as a reinforcer of what is already there. And Emma's quickly coming to a rather, rather bad conclusion.

Not based upon power or any sense of it.. But just due to the sheer numbers.

<<They're being dispatched here>>

Wade Wilson has posed:
    Wade stops and turns to eye James. He shuffles through his mind who he could be tunnel buddies with James and comes up blank. "You're going to have to tell me who we're tunnel buddies with when this is over. I've been meaning to talk to you anyway... but... astral stroke psychic stroke ghost figures first, penis partners later."

    Still, he drops his hand from the gun, the man is right. Bullets wouldn't really have any effect. "I like to put Eric's budget to the test when I can and the blue lady didn't say no so..." He jerks and stops in place as two of the shades simply phase into him.

    He stumbles a bit and and goes limp.

    He straights and seems to be looking somewhere in the middle distance. "My name is Deadpool" he says to absolutely no one--which isn't new. "Yeah, I know it's a strange name. Look, if you want, call me Wade. Who are you?" A pause. "Frannie and Dom... wait, I know a Dom already. A few actually... so you'll be Nic." Another pause. "Yeah, I know, I'm a youngin' compared to you two and yeah, I know it's probably weird of you to be in this sort of shared space. But... we're going to see if we can help you all, alright."

    He turns and focuses on Jean. "So... I've got a couple of stragglers. They're disoriented and afraid and confused after spending God knows how long in a limbo hell. How you want to play this?" he says. He adds. "Look I'm about as fond of you poking around in here" he points to his head, "as you are. But they're scared and old people are sort of a soft spot for me. Or well... a hard spot, in the case of Ms. Arthur, but that's neither here nor there." He nods and his attention shifts. "I know, Nic, she was incredible and if you look over -there- I guarantee you won't regret it. Fran, you probably shouldn't... unless, well. I don't judge."

Tabitha Smith has posed:
"Sooo much noise. Can't think!" Tabby's voice is totally like she's wearing headphones and not remembering. The pain is clearly intenses and it's probably thanks to the others in the mind link they're blocking out the overflow coming from Boom-Boom's direction.

Out of all the noise and entities, Tabby picks up one and starts talking as best she can in her mind whether it can be overhead of not. <<Hi Honey! I'm sorry I'm being scary and loud. I'm scared too. I'm not used to this and i don't want to hurt anyone!>> she tries to reassure while she half knees as if staring at a very small child. For those that can see the small child liken entity moving towards and into her. <<Your name is Lil? I'm Tabby!>> she offers while mentally talking to herself, straining to try and focus her overloaded mind on at least the entrity that seems even more terrified. <<Is there, can I help make the scary stuff go away?>> Tabby's own memories of abuse pinging about against the telepathic noise. How much is hers and how much is the giirl's and how much is it everyone elses?

Noriko Ashida has posed:
"Maybe something is trying to take them or get them," whatever the Professor is holding back from happening, Noriko completes with a thought.  "Maybe he is helping them stay there."  <<Sheltering?>> she doesn't mean to add to the mix, but she's more connected than she realizes at this point and doesn't realize everyone could hear her careless interruption which gives away her presence to the telepaths whether people were paying attention to her or not.  Unaware, she continues listening to Ruth while she keeps an eye on the forms, and nodding as she receives the more rich information she missed on the great brain wavelength.

Matching her thought velocity with others is not something Noriko has any feel for while her mind races over possibilities without much control.  The sudden disorientation of differently paced thoughts entering her racing mind spins her into a state of confusion.  She just stares forward blankly during Monet's whole ordeal.  Normally, the speedster would be right there, trying to do something about such a calamity, but curiously she remains frozen like someone losing time or having a low grade seizure.  This strange, new episode leaves Noriko completely vulnerable to what happens next, if she ever even had a chance to avoid getting caught up in a game of tag with lost souls in the first place.

YOU'RE IT NORI! fate seems to sing-song as it hop skips and designates her and other vessels for its will.  Before Noriko can snap-to and spirit her and Ruth away from the spirits, one of them rushes into her, seeping into her eyes.  The dark, vacant gaze suddenly crackles to life with a spark and she seems to snap out of it.  With a blink, the electricity splintering in her eyes is snuffed out, her consciousness syncing to her Hitchhiker's stream of consciousness.

Noriko's Hitchhiker was caught up in a swirl of racing thoughts, like hopping on a running rollercoaster.  The ride is not pleasant for her either, only adding to her terror like the fact that she feels seized by it as much as her host.  It leaves her quiet, rumbles of words tumbling in Noriko's mind, words not her own.

Suddenly, Noriko is hearing voices.  She looks around for the source, she looks for some telepath she doesn't know yet or hasn't seen.  Then she looks to Ruth.  "Did you say something?  Wait, where did they go?"

Zandra Mitchell has posed:
    One of the astral shades turns toward Zandra, causing the teen - already visibly shaken - to start to backpedal away as if it were a monster in one of those horror movies that she was never allowed to watch growing up. As it leaps into her, the girl suddenly appears to melt - turning into a fountain of water that the shadow pounces on and disappears into. The girl's soaked clothes clatter and splatter onto the path as the watery presence starts to hiss and roil in a vaguely feminine shape.

    <<OH MY GOODNESS!>> Zandra thinks to herself - and is surprised to hear a response.

    <<Where am I? Who are you? What happened?!>> a foreign voice in the aqueous entity's mind replies.

    <<I-I don't know! Help! Somebody!>>

    Zandra isn't a potent enough telepath to project her thoughts outside of her own semi-corporeal form, though it may be that one of the more experienced mind-readers might be able to 'hear' what's going on, if they didn't have enough to deal with already.

    <<Are we drowning?!>>


Ruth Aldine has posed:

One of the shadows leaps towards the bushes and seems to flicker and overlap Ruth - if it was a movie you might think it was either a perfectly captured fortuitous scrap of cloud or else some very clever, subtle CGI, but it is in fact something different.

"nnghhhuuuuu," Ruth groans, the corn cob falling out of her hand as she exhales and then sucks in a deep, freakishly deep breath.

"Baby-- sweetie, baby, sweetie doll, come on, sweetie doll, breathe, alright, breathe." Ruth hyperventilates briefly then, about four times, before coughing for a moment and going from her tense and tactically sound crouch to just sitting on her butt on the grass. "Sweetie - sweetie doll - come on - come, come now, just - just - for god's sake just take a breath and take it one by one."

"Sorry," Ruth addresses Nori. "Gotta talk here."

"No, that's my friend from school. I guess I graduated today. Hush, hush, sweetie, just - just hush. My name's Ruth but you can call me Blindfold. Hush. Hush now. No, that's not real dark - sweetie please - what's your name? Please, honey, no - I don't have none, that's not YOU, just - come on - come... on... shh... hush little baby, don't say a word; mama's gonna buy - heh - heh heh - yeah, I know, yeah, right? Yeah, I know! See I'm older but I get it. Okay, sweetie -- alright, Claire, I'm sorry, you're just freaking and it was getting to me so I gotta, I gotta calm you down and your body isn't here so I can't -- yes, that's right, I hope that's okay -- no, I'm real glad to hear that, you can just wait on that for now -"

"I'm talking aloud, aren't I," Ruth asks Noriko.

"No, I was just checking. No, swee-- I'm sorry, CLAIRE, no, just simmer down, alright? Here. Can you feel my hand?" Ruth holds her hand up and out. "Just imagine it, alright? I'm just gonna take your hand. Yes, you do, some how some way. Something's just up, that's all. Here, I'll prove it to you." Ruth's left hand sags. Ruth swings her arm around and rubs the back of her hand over the bush. ... Kind of over-aggressively.

"I think we should go tell the Professor and Ms. Grey about this," Ruth tells Noriko. "Claire's still here. - Stop that. Just count ten cause - Oh good lord."

James Proudstar has posed:
Not all of Jim's attention is on Wade as he notes Monet's arrival, he nods to the merc, "See, there are things we can agree on.". and then the strange interaction, he doesn't even have time to frown as he launches himself into the air to snatch the girl. Protecting those below her as much as the woman herself. Jim lands near where he started holding M's unconscious form gingerly he places her on the ground, not taking any sort of pleasure at how upset Monet would be at this predicament. But he sets about checking her vitals, making sure she isn't in danger. He catches a word and looks from Wade to Jean to Charles, "Limbo? Big l or little? Lil? This seem like a lifeboat situation?"

Jean Grey has posed:
<< Then we have to help them, >> Jean declares, still engaged in whatever her own bold strategy while Emma takes up a stalwart defense.

One of the shadows moves toward her, although in a way, this is somewhat unlike in other cases, as she is also moving toward it, in whatever sense any of those words means much at all. In the real world, she is standing in place, hand still at her temple. It might even be a little comical.

Elsewhere, she is striding to meet the shadow half way. In the Astral, one is more self-image than flesh, however. Jean is herself, though somewhat ethereal, costumed in the distinctive Phoenix bodysuit with her hair trailing off into flame. It's green first, and then as the two meet, her extending a hand, turns to white. A benevolent self-image... perhaps a little too generously so! << We'll help you, >> she tells the figure. << But you musn't hurt these people. I won't allow that either. >> A flicker of red, in the costume, though it shifts back quickly. << Allow us to help guide you. Those few of us who can reach to you directly. I promise we will do what we can, but it may take some time, and if you all try and enter at once, that will cause us harm as well. >>

<< Vince, is it? >> Maybe some part of her finds that a rather... mundane name for an astral traveler, but Charles didn't really specify their origin. << Come. >> And here, she does what her training allows, creating a portion in her mind, a place, walled off for the rest, for this shade to reside. << You can wait here, while we sort this out, but you must cooperate. >>

With an understanding of what is happening, her attention is turned back toward the real, although by virtue of her effort, it may seem a little hazy in the moment. Wade stands out by virtue of his... Wade-ness. "Yes, a great many are coming through. If you think you can handle them without the mental strain being too much... I think it won't be immediately harmful. To you anyway." Who knows what Wade's head will do to them! She looks around as several of the students, current or former as it may be, likewise start expressing some strange behavior. "It looks like good handful have come through, although hopefully we've kept them from possessing the entire graduation crowd." She takes a breath.

<< Everyone, if you're feeling an unfamiliar presence... try to relax, don't panic, don't fight, but focus on your own self, center. >> /Every/ Xaviers student, telepath or not, attends classes on psychic defenses, so these terms or concepts aren't wholly foreign.

Charles Xavier has posed:
Charles makes a decision. And accross the mental network flows a daydream - a memory. A memory of these souls, confused, in the astral plane. Lost, disconnected from their bodies somehow, starting to fade -- to die, without ability to return to their bodies. Charles found them, searched, collecting them. Being lost? This is a real threat, to a person that travels the astral: it may be impossible to return to the body, if too much time is spent away.

Charles now, in the memory, comforts the panic in the souls. Bringing them to a mental 'house' built in the astral, to try to help tether them, to keep them safe from wandering too far..... yet he had to keep a leash on them, his own direct touch, to stop them from fading away...

The memory ends, for now, as attention must be paid to trying to draw these spirits back into that astral place of safety. It's crowded there, though: everyone here is someone that, leashed to the professor, came forward, in a last-ditch effort to save them, when Charles' astral house came into too much stress.

<< I cannot continue to keep them safe. I am ... adjusting to allow more in, but... as their numbers grow, this cannot be maintained. I hoped to heal them, to discover what happened, but we may not have that time. >>

Some of the spirits that are visible, that obeyed the 'wait', start to migrate back into the astral. But the sweat is real, and Charles is starting to crumple. But they can create a bridge back, Charles is starting to form it, though whether all the spirits go back, or if some stay...

Emma Frost has posed:
One thing at a time. More and more of them seem to be arriving. The student body is admirably stepping up to the task of helping to try and relax the disembodied sparks. Emma is going to focus, evaluating as she's trying to hold up the supports.

<<Charles, breathe. We can only slow this>> Emma's well aware of the limitations they're operating under and that there are more of them coming. And any attempt they might make to find out -what- is causing this is well beyond their capacity at the moment.

Emma starts getting desperate. Even as more and more of the tethers are being added, and control is strained at seemingly more and more coming..

Wait, slow this.

Emma goes to start attempting something else. The astral realm is about willpower, about focus..

Emma starts creating bubbles. Spherical ones, floating up in the air. Seemingly flickering along the astral zone. Lit with small jolts of energy. Slowness. Slowness. One can only think and act so fast. So to each of those bubbles she's making Emma's attempting the tricky thing of slowing down time and perception. Hopefully enough if they could siphon some of the spirits into them.. The energy required to maintain them in place would significantly lesser. but it's more of a desperation ploy as Emma focuses upon the sensation of an hourglass. Sand flowing through the neck of the bottle. Bit by bit.

Grains falling. Slower. Slower. Bubbles appearing around. Hourglass tilted to the side as much as Emma can manage with it to slow those grains of time and sensation giong on. Time is but a perception and definition of things passing. Time slows down based upon experience and location.

So Emma goes to try and slow it in experience by sheer force of will.

Tabitha Smith has posed:
<<Jean. I am not panicking because of one mind who is as scared as me. I can hear all the damn noise and it's like someone hooked the Pee Aye syem into my skull then  haveeveryone a mic and had they yell all at once!>> Boom-Boom mentally yells.

The presence in the blonde with the telepath switch in the newly discovered on position tries to console and reassue the small child riding along. <<Lil sweetie. You can't stay here. I'm not safe for you to be around and I think you've been hurt enough you shouldn't have to share my hurt. But the professor wants to help and if I can I will. But you probably should go back and do yourt best to hunker down and bee safe till we can be that help honey!>> Migrainey and pained from the shear amount of psychic energy pumping through her brain. She still can't stand too see others abused. <<Professor? Jean, Emma? Do we send them back or let the ones we have stay? I can't just throw bombs at this and I dunno what the hell is happening in my head!>> she practically pleads over the mind link and she won't send the child like spirit away only to be preyed upon if that's the danger.

Wade Wilson has posed:
    Deadpool nods. "Look, I can carry as many as needed. I hear the voices of millions often enough... so if you want to House that Jack built me... go right ahead. If you can do that." The strain is significant to him, but when you're carrying an audience of millions, what's two more in the mix. Again his attention diverts inward. "Not you guys, I'm offering to be a Hilton for others... it'll be okay. Not like I haven't got plenty of entertainment options in there, right Nic!"

    He looks around and then his red gaze falls on Charles. "It's the others that I'm worried about. I admit that mentally I'm a mess, but I'm a mess that's self contained. These others... these kids... don't need to strain of this trauma of reliving deaths or pain or fear. I'm always a step in the other world anyway and what with Thanos' curse not like I'm a newcomer to Limbo--capital L--anyway." He pauses and shakes his head, "Or wait, nope that's another world entirely. Anyway..." he gestures, "what I'm saying is that if you need to let Chuck have a moment to do whatever he needs to do to fix this and can shunt the excess to another's mind. Make it my own, even if it kills me, it won't stick so... no skin off my back and you guys can do what you guys do best. Help people."

    It's not a bad plan, especially coming from Deadpool of all people. It might even be a workable one, if the telepaths are willing to engage in it.

James Proudstar has posed:
James Proudstar confirms that Monet is sleeping or some psychic equivalent of unconscious and unharmed. He looks up spotting one of the presences as James rolls away from Monet and stands. Side stepping a few shades as they make their way home. "Calm, easy. This way." It's a sort of dance..

Zandra Mitchell has posed:
    The advice from Jean reaches Zandra's mind - she's no less psychically present in the flowing and cascading torrent of water than she had been in her more normal human body. She tries to relax her mind - but it's difficult, like the mental equivalent of being latched onto by someone who can't swim. She's also only been at the school briefly, and hasn't had a chance to attend one of those classes yet.

    She improvises.

    <<Dear Lord, please help this scared ghost ->>

    <<Ghost?! Am I dead??>>

    <<No, I didn't mean that! You're okay!>>

    The professor's memory washes through. Zandra struggles to understand - but does her best.

    <<It's okay. The Professor made a ghost house for y'all, remember?>>

    <<You said that I wasn't dead!>>

    <<Well you're in my head now! I don't know if you're a ghost or not, I just don't know what to call you!>>


    <<Debbie? Is that your name? Like the brownies?>>

    <<Is this the afterlife?>>

    <<No! I ain't dead!>>

    <<But your body ->>

    <<No, here, I'll show you -->>

    The swimsuit that Zandra had been wearing under the beach dress is caught up in the constant flow of water until it's suspended amidst the spray, which starts to rapidly coalesce toward human shape before shifting from liquid to flesh, the form of the teen now filling the swimwear - though now entirely drenched.

    "See, we ain't dead, I just wet myself - I mean, went all watery, 'cause you scare't me. We ain't dead, we're just scare't."

Jean Grey has posed:
<<Please don't throw any bombs at anything, no,>> Jean echoes back at Tabitha. <<The spirits aren't hostile, so most of the strain is coming from your own instinctual reaction, like the physical immune system resisting a foreign object. It's a primal defense, and it has some value, but we want to be more mindful than that. Go through the calming exercises we've done in class. Take a breath. Find your anchor, your reference of inner-self. Imagine it, realize it. Slow breaths. No bombs.>>

The calming mantra aside, Jean is not wholly convinced every one of the students CAN maintain this, long-term. They all take psychic defense classes, but that doesn't mean they all get As! And so she is certainly up to some alternate solutions. One of which, apparently, may be Deadpool. "If you think you can house more, a transfer should be possible. But I don't want to push it further than we need. There's worse things than death, in the province of the mind- let's not press unecessarily."

With the idea proposed, what comes next is implementing it. <<Charles is busy with astral construction, and Emma is keeping things from getting out of hand- so I'll facilitate the movement.>> And, with a quick snap of a thought, she picks out one other. <<Ruth, up for some of that adulting? Some extra bandwidth would be very helpful. Just stay with me, with my thoughts.>>

The process plays out over many levels. Or doesn't play out, as in the real world, all of this will still be not a great deal more than a lot of brainy people standing around. At the level of simple echo-chamber telepathic thought, those with voices in their heads will hear her own. <<We have someone willing to give you a... semi permanent home, if you're not at ease where you are.>> That querry is more than words, in fact, but an interrogation of mental state, giving host and rider a chance to dialogue on the subject... although Jean may 'weigh in' on the host side if the visitors prove unreasonable!

Finally, in the near astral, Jean's flaming image moves swiftly, even as her body is motionless, sailing from person to person. At each, she reaches out, first offering a helping hand toward the after-images which overlay the possessed, before gasping -into- them to pull the possessors out for their journeys to destination Wade-brain. With everyone tuned in, much like with the shades, even the non-telepaths will enjoy glimpses of it, strange as it all is.

Noriko Ashida has posed:
The familiar thoughts of Jean and Charles, their 'voices' come through just in time for Noriko to shrug at them and Ruth simultaneously.  "Yeah.  You're chatting to the air, or the bush if you like," she says with a little smirk.  With everyone else's friends being so chatty, Noriko isn't exactly sure if this feeling of paranoia and terror around possibly having someone in her mind is really just her or actually an astral hitchhiker like the others so very clearly have.  So, she defaults to following the advice, if only so she can maybe regain some of her devil-may-care cool.

Noriko's forehead scrunches as she closes her eyes, almost wincing at a dull ache in her head like two gears grinding at different revolutions per nanosecond.  Her gauntlets clench, and she opens her eyes with a sigh, lips pursed.

"Yeah.  You should tell them.  Let me guess.  Her name is Claire?  How old is she?"

Ruth Aldine has posed:
Ruth dithers for a moment as other people speak up. Jean transmits -speaks to them - "Oh good, she knows," Ruth says.

Then she folds her arms. "Claire you better cut that out because you might as well be trying to grab my **** because I got as many ****s as I do eyes. Chill your tits, woman," Ruth addresses nobody-in-particular, even if it's pretty clear what's going on. (Astral sight or other close perceptions can see a sort of secondary Ruth, who is firmly holding onto the princess-zone upper arm of a thrashing, panicking figure - a girl a little younger than her - not much.)

"Jesus," Ruth mutters to herself. "That's what you get hung up on. Not the mutant - ow!" (Inwardly, Ruth thinks: It would be real bad if she'd gotten Mr. Summers, huh.)

(Then: Did I just come over here to catch this girl so she wouldn't get Mr. Summers and kill about everybody?)

Ruth frowns.

(Why does that feel bad?)

"Bout sixteen," Ruth answers Nori. "I ain't - sorry I'm getting all country but I think if I let GO she's gonna - and she thinks she's -" Ruth's head lifts up for a moment.

<<Yes ma'am.>> Ruth's astral form - which conveys a drawn-out, oddly if temporarily elongated shade with her - moves swiftly to Jean Grey's side. This blindfolded apparition looks a lot less... dingey than Ruth herself does, but it telepathically echoes what Ruth says aloud, for the sake of focus.

"Folks, it's your girl Ruth and I want to tell you that I'm as bad off as y'all in just a different way, and the Professor gave me a house so nice I was able to graduate high school. It's scary, but we all, you all, can trust him. He isn't going to let you down. ALRIGHT??"

Ruth kind of rolls on her side and curls up to hug her legs. She is already sweating entirely through her nice dress. This is harder than it looks, apparently. The shade that is Claire is scooped up into a princess cary and handed over to Jean, and the astral projection continues to float there, smiling with pride and encouragement!

The actual physical Ruth tells Nori, "Sorry if I throw up."

Charles Xavier has posed:
Charles notices Emma's efforts, and shifts his focus. That means... a lot of the leashes are pulled again, spirits pulled back down the bridge, but now Charles is redoubling his effort, to bring Emma's bubbles in, in a more direct way. His mental hands lift up under her own, to draw the bubbles that have appeared into one, and to spread them, expand them, to grow large enough to contain....

And to push everything, with the spirits, back where it belongs, as Jean draws them forth out of others. Wade's sacrifice is not ideal - it is best to not tangle a lot together inside one person. Still, desperate times. Charles puts his own full power into drawing any free spirit towards Emma's bubble, and back into the astral, appearing to go into a trance, or meditation. He would never ask students to hold these spirits -- but he also does not force them to let them go. Heroic intent comes in all forms, all shapes, and he does not have the energy to require the students to stop being lifeboats for the spirits if their will is strong to aid these disembodied people.

Spirits collected towards the astral, psychic time-altered bubbles disappear into them, flooding out and towards the structure the telepaths are working to create... even if it's just another temporary measure, it can give some more time.

Emma Frost has posed:
It's a bridge. Built up. The spirits are if needed put into the small time bubbles to let existence slow down and the group to focus. Then to take them along and press them in the direction they need to be. Whether it's bck wo where they came or to temporary locations.

Acting as a transfer conduity is making it easier now as more and more of the individuals are being pressed back to somewhere with some semblance of safety.

In reality, Emma is still somehow fully conscious and not even bleeding, despite the amount of power and effort required for this. Having other telepaths around that are equally skilled and powerful helps greatly.

Emma transfers them. From mind to bubble. From astral to reality. Once things are slowed, it's much easier for her to act to guide them along where it's safest to keep them.

And of course in reality as this goes on and she speaks her first vocalized words in several minutes. "I need a bloody drink."

Tabitha Smith has posed:
The other telepaths get a sense of Tabby trying her best to focus and you have a scared girl with ADHD and now dealing with the possibility she might actually be telepathic itself.

<<It's outside. The school I still hear them and not just the party. Oh god is that Mr Fleeb? Mrs Fleeb! Wow! Ugh!>> she won't elaborate on that but hey. Some of that training is being recalled.

Jean said to focus and find her inner self and Tabby does her best. There's at least two and one of them is the awful street girl thief and brat her poor self esteem sees. teal top, red cutoffs, terrible hair.

The other is a lot older. Mid twentie, calm X-Suit in black and yellow with maybe some teal around the outside of the yellow. There's bombs thrown at younng Tabby despiote Jean's insistance but only to try and keep trhge bad iinfluences out.

Adult image Tabby is then draped over the entity and Tabby does her best to have Lil as sghe's called, short for Delilah costumed up as Super-Hero boomboom, with bombs of her own to journet on forth to staf safe. <<Still noisy here but you be safe and throw bombs I can't throw at anything that scares you!>> she encourages the spirit.

<<I feel sketchy doing this. She's just a kid but she can't stay in my head. I wanna bomb something in someone else's head and kick their astral!>> she still psychically yells is telepathic headphone voice as she guids the child spirit to her destination hopefully prepared for the unknown.

Wade Wilson has posed:
    Deadpool smriks under his mask and looks to Warpath. "You know, your original idea might've been right. When I start having good ideas that the X-Men listen to, it might just be the apocalypse." He nods to Jean. "Just send them in. I'll be at the door to meet and greet."

    He feels more of the spirits enter his mind for temporaray housing. One after another after another. "Hi. Wade, nice to meet you. Hi there, I'm Wade I'll be your host tonight until Chuck gets things in order. Hi there, Wade Wilson, friendly neighborhood psychic housing specialist."

    The greetings go on and on in a torrent as more are guided in. What happens around him is a blur to his mind as he is focused on helping those find some peace until they can be relocated to the astral or to Charles' big house o' spirits. Really, they're one in the same, right? He's hoping most find some level of peace in the tumult in him, and after a while it turns into an episode of Full House, Family Matters, Friends, All in the Family, and the Cosby Show (minus the roofies). Along with it's own theme song playing over it all:

'It takes a lot to make a stew
A pinch of salt and laughter too
A scoop of kids to add the spice
A dash of love to make it nice
And you've got...
Too many cooks!'

Noriko Ashida has posed:
Maribel, Noriko's hitchhiker, has been frozen into subconscious rumblings, thawing back to Noriko's consciousness as she syncs back to the present velocity of her surroundings.  Where is she?  What was that?  Did she just wake up?  For a brief moment before Noriko snapped out of her earlier catatonic eyestorm, Maribel was awake!  She felt the ground, the air, she felt something she's never felt before.  An electricity coursing through her that made her feel /alive/.  It's gone now, but she can feel the tickles of it here, wherever here is, and when the voices address her, she makes a conscious decision.  Surely this house can't be better than a chance at whatever just happened again...

So Maribel remains quiet, and follows the ebbs and flows of the exercises that form an ever-swift-ening current in Noriko's mind as she relaxes.  She will be a stowaway, but she's going to have to learn how to ride the lightning.

None the wiser, Noriko just continues her exercises she learned and stuck to religiously.  The girl has always had a seemingly out of the ordinary fear and distrust of telepaths, at least compared to everyone else, but then, she's also always been slow to trust, so it probably isn't surprising to anyone bothering to pay attention.  The problem with Noriko is though, focusing on herself means being invaded by lurking thoughts and infinite spirals down memory lane, so she isn't really all that effective.  She's always had that thorn in her side and that was one subject she did not get a good grade in.

"What?"  Noriko lifts an eyebrow and looks sidelong to Ruth.  "She thinks she's a what?"  But the speedster doesn't press when Ruth's attentions shift.  Noriko's used to the sudden changes in direction even when Ruth isn't carrying around extra baggage.

"I can dodge it," Noriko clips back to Ruth with a shrug.  "I'll get a bucket."  After a split second, Noriko appears with a big bucket usually used to fill drinks in as if Ruth were some kind of giant.  It's still sweating with the condensation of its last job.  She's grinning helpfully.

Zandra Mitchell has posed:
    As the spirit imposed on Zandra lingers, the teen stoops down to pick up her dress, wringing out the moisture by twisting either end of the garment, shivering all the while.

    "Alright, Miss Debbie. I think the teacher - she's got a place for you to go."

    <<Go? Will I disappear?>>

    "I don't think so. I ain't an expert, but I reckon Missus Grey ain't gonna send you anywhere bad."

    Zandra stares up at Jean's unmoving physical form as her astral passenger - a woman that seems quite a bit older than the teen - seems to loosen its grip.

    "Alright - see, they're all goin', and they're okay. Okay?"


    The fearful astral wail of the shadow known as 'Debbie' causes Zandra to grimace.


    She asks herself a question, quietly, afraid of the answer.

    "No, I can't do it," she says, before letting the presence pass on to come with Jean as their turn comes for the offered assistance. Once it does, though, Zandra falls down to sit on the grass, placing her head in her hands and staring ahead.

Ruth Aldine has posed:
Ruth reaches out to take the bucket. She puts her face into it, and throws up.

She's able to answer Noriko telepathically *and horrifyingly* while this is happening: <<Thought she was buried alive or something. I got through to her for a moment but I think it was, sorry, it was one of those things where, pardon, where you had the crowd, and the person, and the crowd was bigger than the person. Wow.>>

After that she seems relieved. She pushes herself upright, wiping off her forehead with a sweat-soaked sleeve. "I think - it's okay - are you, sorry, okay? Are they okay?"

Emma Frost makes a statement. Ruth responds with a pretty wide-spread telepathic comment: <<mood>>

Ruth pushes herself upwards heavily, and then tugs down on her blouse to get it to settle back where it was. "I'm gonna check on the Professor and the others," she tells Nori. "I think, no, I think Tabitha's strugglin' tho. She might need a bucket too."

Ruth walks in the completely wrong direction for about eight paces before stopping for a moment, reassessing her life decisions, and THEN tacking towards the Professor. It really must have been a lot.

Jean Grey has posed:
The soul-shepherding Jean Grey goes to work... and in this case, not in the more terrifying sense of those words!

Some of the astral shades prove easy to guide, and these do not in fact go to Wade, but across Xavier's bridge, as this is the most ideal solution where it is at all practical. Others, when there seems no more room at the inn or their transfer otherwise proves difficult? Indeed, they are guided to that somewhat strange and fractured mind, although Jean is cautious not to overcrowd the mercenary, however much he boasts of his ability to endure it.

<<That looks good on you,>> she compliments the older Tabitha on one such astral fly-by, before extending a hand out to the younger girl. <<Hey there Delilah.>> Cue music! <<I'm Jean. Ready to take a little trip? It's not going to be far, and some of your friends will be there. And then we're going to figure this all out.>>

The next is directed toward Tabitha. <<Don't worry, Charles will take good care of her.>> She's not getting dumped in Wade!

There are many other such journeys to be made, although in the astral, time is a different sort of beast. Whole dialogues, debates, arguments, stories of many kinds can play out in the negotiations and confrontations among these spirits, and span but a few instants of thought in the 'real' world. Zandra's companion, reassured much like Tabitha's. Ruth's own cargo is relieved, delivered, with an equal lack of shit-taking from her second steward. Physically, she glances at the younger woman helping her, curled up, but doesn't rush to help. In fact... she backs up and sits against the edge of a convenient garden feature. Because this isn't easy stuff, even for her. Noriko's on it. Good.

And so it goes, until all the necessary transfers have been made. Many go across the bridge. Others go to Wade. A few linger. Vince, it should be noted, is among these, left to the little mentally-compartmented home Jean has built for him. It's managable, for her, and perhaps there is some use in having one of their number on-hand to learn from.

At long last, she takes a breath, coinciding with the astral echo settling over the same physical space and then melting away. "I think that's more or less all of them, or as many as we're getting." As her senses collapse down to one basic reality, she closes her eyes and takes a deep breath.

Charles Xavier has posed:
<<It was not my wish... to involve many of you, who were unready for this....>> Charles broadcasts to the group, his inner voice heavy, tired, but maintaining strength - at least for their benefit. <<But you have made me so proud, today, in your heroic answer to this challenge. Thank you all. Please take a deserved rest; I believe we can handle it from here.>>

And rest, indeed, will be needed ... and a nod towards Jean with a snippet that suggests he intends to continue to work... for a time, at least, before he's willing to safely disengage and rest himself.