14908/Brood of the Savage Land: The God Machines, Finale

From Heroes Assemble MUSH
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Brood of the Savage Land: The God Machines, Finale
Date of Scene: 19 May 2023
Location: Southern Mountain Range
Synopsis: The group travels to find the final Celestial computer... but they don't find the Engineer. Instead, they find the Savage Land sun cult, who speak of their god imprisoning the Deviant as a 'demon.' Also, one of the priests thinks Lorna is their high priestess. She tries to trick them by playing along, but gets in trouble when the genuine article arrives. They do bear a certain resemblance. What does it mean? Who knows. But at least they finally got Doug to the damn computer. POWER ON!
Cast of Characters: Jean Grey, Monet St. Croix, Rahne Sinclair, Rogue, Iara Dos Santos, Douglas Ramsey, Lorna Dane

Jean Grey has posed:
Last time:

After braving the jungle to follow Queen Leanne's directions to an ancient ruin of her 'ancestors,' the group soon met a strange humanoid with powerful technology, who helped them fight off the Brood and then led them into his underground laboratory. His motives grew suspect, however, as he sought to place several of the heroes into bio-pods for unknown experiments with little explanation of his methods or purpose. When they resisted, he became violent, and a fight ensued. Drained by Rogue, shot in the eye by Black Widow, and with one of his arms in Iara's mouth, he triggered a 'deconamination' procedure and fled, while the group did likewise, leaving his fate unknown.

After returning to basecamp - and leaving Black Widow's Brood infection under the care of an unusual new 'friend' - Jean helped Rogue recover and make sense of the information that had flooded into her mind:

The mysterious figure was a member of 'Homo Descendus,' a product of ancient alien meddling with evolution on Earth, long before the rise of the Atlanteans and others. It seemed that his people dwelled in the Savage Land thereafter, continuing the work of their progenitors and maintaining the systems that have troubled the heroes so. Unfortunately, rather than being concerned with the Brood, they consider their appearance an interesting object of experiment, a sort of genetic crucible for the denizens of the Savage Land. So much for being helpful. Still, his mind also contained another piece of useful information: the location of a central node for the Celestial control system, maintained by one of his people called 'the Engineer.'


Their destination is a place in the mountains far beyond even Sauron's now-extinct lair. Given the difficulty of prior journeys, they've been given an armed air escort as far as they can safely go, before the threat of some of those mega-predator Brood previously encountered becomes too great. The last leg is a journey through a difficult mountain pass. More than once, one of the transformed Quetzalcoatlus has swept overhead, although for now, they've kept their profiles below notice.

Monet St. Croix has posed:
Going along through the mountains with the others is the ever-annoyed Ms. Saint Croix. She's limiting the use of her powers, even as she's changed her costume to smoething more appropriate for the weather. AN unstable molecule red jumpsuit wtih several yellow straps along it, and a yellow belt with an 'X' symbol over it. It's unzipped fairly far. But now that she's had some experience in the weather, it's not nearly as bad as it was for her earlier.

Rahne Sinclair has posed:
Rahne Sinclair has managed to catch up after having helped guard base camp, however it seems like she is needed so she has come off the side lines to help. She is in her large hybrid form wit her ears slowly moving and flicking at sounds, her nose tingles as new scents and smells filter in it. She is always amazed just how limiting her human form is at times. Still her human form can go into malls without raising eyebrows. She follows calmly sometimes moving along on her longer arm like a beast as she keeps her senses open and tries to keep her team mates warned of anything that smells 'funny.'

Rogue has posed:
Rogue was doing as Rogue did.

She keeps mostly on outer perimeter patrol to make sure to be there to alert anyone who might need a heads up about approaching dangers. Dressed in her jungle attire bodysuit with the bare arms, black and dark green bodysuit, steel toed boots and a black headban tied around her head to hold her hair back, the Belle had already told everyone what she had gotten from the Degenerate's head (Deviant, Rogue, Deviant)

She swoops past the others, flying fast toward the front of the hike group, her right knee bent with her left leg extended out behind her.

"Lets not get separated this time. That SHIELD hottie got pretty beat up when she went out on her own." Rogue says of the lovely Miss Romanoff, who did get pretty darn beatup in the last run.

Iara Dos Santos has posed:
     "I went through a blender even without splitting up!" a now very heavily bandaged Iara comments back up at Rogue. Looking like some kind of mummy shark, the field medics were able to stitch her up and apply super-science healing patches to her to help her get back into fighting shape, not to mention a few proprietary stims and a very special needle from Dr. Lykos to keep her Brood infection in check.

     The medic cleared her for more field work, which is either a testament to her shark physiology's hardiness, how many of those wounds were cosmetic, or the abilities of SHIELD personnel to heal their agents in the field. Probably the latter. The only downside is that whatever stims they have her on has made her even more upbeat and talkative than usual.

     "Seriously though." she says as she walks alongside Rahne, the two were-animal mutants with great noses sniffing around for any hostile presence as they walk, "Just how many secret facilities are out here? Like, we got dinosaurs, aliens, mad scientists, if this place wasn't so dangerous it'd be paradise!" She then blinks, and then looks at the others, saying "Hey, anyone got a grenade? 'cause like, if Karl's sedating brood thingy fails, I wanna go out like Jaws 1. Worst case, sure, but at least gimme some dignity." She then laughs at her own morbid joke, a little too loudly.

Douglas Ramsey has posed:
Someone else got brought along - someone who's now wearing a breezy 'Springfield Isotopes' tank top, khakis and SPF 40 sunblock. If you guessed Cypher, you guessed right. Doug's been surprisingly game otherwise. He saw some pterodactyls earlier and geeked out about it quietly, as if he'd never seen dinosaurs before, sheesh.

He laces his fingers together and says, "Things are going great. I'm in the Savage land, and there's *no sign* of velociraptors."

He listens to the animal calls, his head cocked to the side, and then says "There's a couple of Allosaurs, but they're a mile off. We're good."

Rahne Sinclair has posed:
Rahna pauses at Iara when she mentions going out like jaws. "I would hate to see something happen to you my friend." She looks up the trail and her eyes focus up it like a predators would before starting to move along with her loping stride. "Beside, we have faced worse. So let not talk about going out just yet." When it comes to having to climb sure can use those claws to great effect and her superior strength getting her over obstacles that obscure the trail in great leaps and bounds. Looking sort of like those werewolves that you see in the gothic movies as they travel along in pursuit of prey. She loos up at Douglas. "I'd be more worried about T-Rex. We encountered one that had a broof infection. Made a wonderful mess out of me when everyone exploded it all over me.

Lorna Dane has posed:
    Pale. Paler. Paler-than-usual.

    The Queen of Genosha looks much more pale than she normally does, odd given that she's supposed to be ruling a county in the southern tropical zone which gets hotter summers than the northern tropics.

    Lorna wears something she thought Indy might have liked, a brown fedora with a darker brown piece of fabric around the cap at the brim and a rich brown leather jacket that has seen better days over an either dirty or tan button up shirt. A pair of beaten slacks and a leather satchel over her shoulder and the green haired queen steps out into the sun already drenched in sweat.

    "Jesus F-in Christ it's hot as balls out here." She moans to the empty air before watching Rogue fly by and quickly using a metal harness hidden in her clothes to lift herself off the ground and catch up to the southern belle and the team. "What're we doing out here exactly?" Asks the monarch who is woefully unprepared.

Jean Grey has posed:
Doug isn't wrong about the typical inhabitants. There may be some typical dinos down in the valleys below, but up here, they're pretty safe from most of the typical predators. Of course, the NORMAL dinosaurs are the least of anyone's worries these days. The Brood-infected versions, on the other hand...

They travel a while longer in relative safety, tracing the path up a ridge, their destination supposedly on the far side. Hiking upward, their view beyond it is obstructed - although above, the Monet, Lorna and Rogue might have a better angle, as something rises from behind the ridge.

While they've seen them before, some at range today, and one up close on a prior mission, they're still... just terrifying, really. Quetzalcoatlus was (is?) the largest animal to have ever flown on Earth, boasting the rough dimensions of a giraffe, except with 30+ foot wingspan and a large head and oversized beak large enough to scoop up a full-grown human. Then add the signs of Brood transformation: enlarged serrated teeth inside the beak, a pair of spike-tipped tails whipping behind it.

Breaking over a nearby ridge, its form soon quickly fills the space above them. Several times, they've flown over without notice. But it's closer here. It's huge head swings, it gives some strange, echoing cry, and swoops down toward the hiking group. It's bearing down with terrible ferocity, that huge beak wide...

... and then, as it swoops down in attack, there's a sudden, blinding flash of light. Not from the dino-brood. Dino-brood with a breath weapon would be a step too OP! But no, somewhere off to the side, although the source is quickly lost in the glare.

Rogue has posed:
Rogue sweeps ahead to the front of the group, though she does come down to stand on a large rock with her left foot up higher in a 'Captain Morgan' pose, her left hand resting atop that thigh. She looks back to watch Lorna coming up closer, just grinning at the 'Spoiled Royal' out here roughing it. Her eyes dart over to Iara then though, and she keeps her grin aimed at the other X-Men bruiser on this expedition.

"Ya know, it's a shame Ororo ain't here. Bout time she makes a tornado to wash over our enemies... an' maybe we could throw you inta it, and get ourselves a right'n proper Sharknado. Who has time for Jaws when we can have a legit Sharknado?" She teases, to keep the mood light and breezy.

Of course that changes when one of those huge flying monsters comes down closer, which draws Rogue up in to the air to get above her teammates. If it's going to attack them, she'll be there to be the first it attacks, hopefully!

Monet St. Croix has posed:
It takes M a moment to look into the glare, squint her eyes to block out the worst of it, and then to focus her thoughts along. She goes to narrow down the field - the blast of light drove away the dinosaur, but that's not necessarily what they're worried on! She goes to float up a bit over in the air to get a better vantage point, and goes to move up higher.

<<I'm picking up a group calling on their sun god to drive away the beast. I cannot make out if the method was technological in nature or other>> or if it was just a dino-brood or one of those other things they've run into since theygot here. The very ugly ones. She's moving around so that there's space between her and ROgue, and that if they get attacked she can move fast to draw fire away.

Rahne Sinclair has posed:
Well this is the first time Rahne has seen that thing, her ears flatten and her hackles rise as a low growl escape from her when the large flying brood dinosaur rounds on them. She assumes that it might actually have a breath weapon so Rahna instincts begin to move on her own. She begins to race along using both her arms and leg to propel her along until she can duck into a small alcove just in time for the flash. There is a slight bit of a dazzle as spots flash across her eyes and she begins to blink as the eyes tear up from having protected herself from the glare. Taking a moment to get herself to get the spot out of her eye by blinking and closing her eyes tightly she comes out of the hiding spot and then pick up a bowling ball sized rock and then taking a shot put style pose as she lobs the rock towards the creatures head like a olypmic athlete.

Iara Dos Santos has posed:
     "I know Rahne, but like, I've seen enough zombie movies to know that I am NOT gonna be the one who gets bit and endangers everyone else by hiding it, if I turn, last thing I want is a brood-y me chompin' on my friends..." the Shark-Girl says a little too cheerfully, with a sing-song tone of voice... before she shrieks at the dino-brood, clutching to Rahne for a moment before releasing her and then charging past that thing just as Rahne takes off herself, shouting "COME ON, FILHO DA PUTA! YOU CAN'T INFECT ME TWICE!"

     Seeing Rogue fly up first she figures that's the perfect feint to distract the brood-dino as she heads for a tree, and with surprising speed for a mummy, she digs her claws into it, climbs it, and tries to leap onto its back, kicking off the tree with all her might towards it!

Lorna Dane has posed:
    Lorna begins to land with the hiking group before the sudden behemoth appears in the sky and suddenly, there's an almost eldritch type of fear washing over Lorna. Something primal, something reptilian in her brain as fight or flight both get overridden as she is told only to survive and she freezes.

    "G-guys?" She whispers, fear holding her tongue as she tries to reach out into the ferro-magnetic spectrum to sense this creature in some way that she'd be familiar with but she experiences more of that fatigue and asks "What's wrong with m-" Blinded and silenced by the light from the side, the sick queen feels her stomach turn inside out from the shock. So she faces away from the light and beast and hopefully the team can't hear her involuntary complaints.

Douglas Ramsey has posed:
    "Ohhhh, that is *gnarly*." Doug says, as he watches the infected dinosaur swoop down on them. "That sure is a Sleazoid. Yup." He hits the ground and flattens out as it flies by, and then he reaches into his backpack and pulls out - a flare gun.
    He sticks his tongue out of the corner of his mouth as he loads a flare into it and watches Iara jump onto its back. Then he aims for - the feathered membranous flap of one of its wings. And there's a flash of light, which delays him from shooting. "What the-!?"

Jean Grey has posed:
Although that light dazzles some of them, it's clear in a moment - or as soon as Monet tells them - that it isn't directed AT them, but at the beast. Something or someone seems to be joining their fight.

Still, the massive flying Brood-thing isn't so easily dissuaded from its prey. With one eye closed on the offending side, it continues at full pace down toward the ground-bound heroes, that big beak opening wide, as if to just... scoop them up, like convenient snacks. Rogue interposes herself, but the sheer mass of it barreling down suggests she has little chance to stop it outright. She makes contact at its shoulder, one of its wings dips, but it keeps barreling along, carrying her forward with its momentum as it seeks those on the ground.

Rahne is pretty agile, of course, so she evades the likely snack path, and grabs a rock. Doug is next up, as he's very snack sized! But as it lowers its beak, Rahne's rock hits, and its head swings aside, while he slides beneath. Meanwhile, Shark-Girl scrambles for higher ground. It's head swings back for her, but in the light, she's hard to track.

As it passes, she leaps on, joining Rogue. It's a big-un, but there's certain rules of aerodynamics to follow, and the two passengers make it start to wobble and strain. Still, the flight has taken them out over a drop, now, so if they ride it down into a crash, it's a LOOOONG way down.

While all this is happening, the light from one side fades. In its place, they see the source: another pterosaur, albeit not so large, ridden by a man in white robes wearing a brass medallion with the image of a sun. He seems intent on chasing the beast, but as he flies over them, his attention suddenly snaps to Lorna, and he pulls back on his dino-reins, causing the critter to flap and slow.

"Eminence!" Then he blinks. "Wait, no- who are you?"

Monet St. Croix has posed:
And they all know that medallion. As Lorna goes to retch, Monet goes to watch the one up in teh air, ready to go to bolt along after them a moment later. Before she sends telepathically along to the others <<Polaris, can you do a quick.. Analysis of that to see if it matches the metals of the other we encountered?>> Lorna should be capable of sensing metals and telling how something worke dwith energy, right?

Monet is then going to take a moment to fly up as fast as she could after the flying dino! Of course, she's much slower than she normally is and she can't match the huge thing's speed, so she ends up moving to arc underneath it so she can be ready to catch Iara if needs be as a backup if Rogue needs it so she can focus on the dinosaur. Beat up Big Bird first, engage in diplomacy later.

Rogue has posed:
Rogue is slammed in to by the heavy beast. Thankfully her absorption powers don't work on animals though, and with the anger boiling inside her, she just pushes back on the heavy creature, trying to use what strength hasn't been sapped out of her by the mysterious technology in this damn jungle!

With her teeth gritted, the Belle pushes back, unaware of what is happening down below. "Why didn't we bring some steak dinners to distract these damn things with!" She calls out, knowing that Iara is close, though she's not sure HOW close.

"Look out!" Rogue calls out to the ground as the big winged beast seems to be ignoring her to try to pick up some of the team off the jungle floor itself.

"Lorna! Throw metal at it, like anything! Except my boots!" She's wearing them steel toed shoes afterall!

Iara Dos Santos has posed:
     Iara ignores the man, focusing on her task and clinging to the creature for dear life, digging in her claws, biting and trying to tear away chunks of carapace so she can get to that precious, precious spine... until she feels it start to fall under her. Releasing it, she kicks off it and reaches for... Rogue or Monet, whichever one can grab her and stop her from hitting the ground first, and failing that, hoping there's some not so prickly bushes to break her fall...

Rahne Sinclair has posed:
Rahne Sinclair is kind of glad she didn't go jumping up on that thing, some where in the back of her heard the prayer for Temperance begins to recite. She almost begins to quote it but is stopped when she noticed the dinosaur rider. She can't get over how land of the lost this place is at times. She follows the trail of the giant Aztec flying serpent and does one of those full body dog huffs. Great, there are times she wishes she could fly like the angels she so admires. She glances over at the man with the medallion and then squints to get a look at him for a moment before she turns her attention back at the feather serpent. A scan of the area reveals, something that might be useful, she walks over and picks up a tree branch about as tall as she is then she begins to quickly cut one end into a point before testing the weight. "And next event, Rahne enters the javalin contest." She sniffs and gets a feel for the wind before she takes off a a run then at the last moment hucks the javelin with all the strength her hybrid form can muster at the serpent god.

Lorna Dane has posed:
    Lorna responds verbally to Monet's mental comment, "Yeah, ich, I can look." She says turning her head to the side and spitting that awful taste out of her mouth.

     She lifts her hand and adjusts the hat on her head before feeling out with her powers to get a sense of the metal that comprises the medallion on the Dino-rider.

    Addressing him, Lorna rolls her shoulders back, still looking sickly but wearing her title like a suit she doffs as it's needed, "You had it correct the first time." She IS a queen, eminence isn't her normal title but close enough. "What took you so long to protect me and this team of dignitaries from the outside?" A wink to the rest of the group that's still near by. Rahne and Doug. Yes, she tries to use diplomacy with her lunch behind her, A javelin throwing Rahne behind her, and Doug weilding a flair gun. And yet Lorna remains strong and demanding of decorum, somehow, or she tries to.

Douglas Ramsey has posed:
    Doug holds the flare gun in his hand, as he watches the others struggle with it, and then he says, "Yikes." He looks around at at the newcomer, before he stands there holding the flare gun in both hands. He still hasn't fired it yet. "Uh. Konichiwa?" He asks, his eyebrows going up. "That's me... ambassador plenipotentiary of the Mutant Republic. Ha... yeah." He clears his throat. "So uh. Hello! And uh-" He looks around, and then he pulls an oatmeal and almond-butter bar out of his backpack. "A gift... from the Mutant Republic?"

Jean Grey has posed:
Despite whatever confusion over her identity, Lorna's sudden condition seems to greatly concern their strange benefactor. Abandoning the battle with the beast, the priest lands his pteradon mount not far from her, dismounts, and starts forward. "You seem ill!" He's a sharp one!

Meanwhile, Rahne's javelin is thrown as it soars past, hitting its wing, punching through the rather thin membrane that holds it aloft.

The Shark-Girl savages its back as best she can through the extra Brood plating, while Rogue pummels and thrashes more traditionally.Collectively, this means it's taken quite a bit of damage, as it flies out past the pass and over the open cliffside. With those injuries and the extra weight of two on its back, it soon has trouble keeping up, and slips into a downward spiral, with Rogue and Iara along for the ride. Quickly, this is turning into a one-way trip.

Its Iara who first decides its better to get off the ride, and leaps free, into Monet's waiting arms. Rogue can fly, so all she really has to do is let go. Easy peasy.

It falls for a WHILE, but eventually there's a satisfying sound of rustling leaves and cracking wood as it smashes through the canopy far below.

Meanwhile, the priest seems confused by the situation with Lorna, but her regal tone triggers some well-trained submissive quality in him, and he quickly falls to his knees. "Forgiveness! I could only see the beast from afar. You-" He frowns, reconsiders. "We've been told to drive them from the vicinity, and protect the Maker's Cave, holy in the eyes of Garokk."

After the initial groveling, he raises his gaze curiously, and then rises and turns toward Doug. None of this seems to be expected. "Dignitaries? Ambassador?" He reaches for the oatmeal bar curiously, and then turns to Lorna again. "If they are your guests, I am happy to escort you. It seems your friends have slain the beast. The way should be easy now."


Presumably, no one fights with the idea of a guide (and some fast travel), and soon they're on their way to the 'Maker's Cave' under Sun-Priest guidance. He is enjoying the oat bar, chewing inbetween conversation. "An Engineer? I do not know such a thing. Once, it is said, a powerful demon dwelled here, but Garokk defeated him, and cast him beneath, to be sealed forever in the stone."

It's not long before they're at the cave.

Iara Dos Santos has posed:
     Iara tries to walk up towards the front of the pack, seeming a bit more like her usual self as time passes, furrowing her brow and asking "Alright, mano, what's this Garokk guy look like? Or the demon, or the maker fella... Just start describin' people and we'll tell you when to stop if one of them sounds familiar." She wipes the blood off her mouth and looks at the brood blood now covering her bandages, before she bares her teeth at Rahne, asking "Did I get it all?" as she shows off her now uneven smile, various teeth in various stages of growing in and falling out.

Rahne Sinclair has posed:
Rahna watches her javelin hit home and then does one of those wolf huff and then starts to walk in the direction of the guide and Lorna and just settles in for a trek. As she walk with the guide she decides to ask, "What is the Maker's Cave? What is in it and what can we expect there?"

Monet St. Croix has posed:
The group arraying over at the 'Maker's Cave' has Monet working at being polite. "Do you mind elaborating further on this?" S he would glance over at Lorna, with a 'feel better' that is totally not 'suck it up'.

<<Ah.. Lorna, can you potentially tell.>> Of course if ther'es an ancient monster sealed away by a hero however long ago that's mentioned by the priest it's practically guaranteed now that it's long since woken from it's slumber, escaped, etc. Also, just to be safe she goes for a quick scan of him.. Then she frowns.

<<You seem familiar to them, Lorna. But somethign doesn't match up. You match someone that he holds in great esteem.. But you're not quite as he expected.>>

Rogue has posed:
Rogue rides the giant flying creature right down to the end. She doesn't abandon him until he reaches the canopy of trees. It's then that she pulls back and sweeps her body up to avoid slamming in to the branches. Those damn trees are usually full of all kinds of creatures, let alone strange plantlife as she's come to learn in the recent weeks of being deep in the jungles of this place.

She hovers there above the canopy after the creature disappeared down in to the foliage below... waiting to see if it would come back up.

It did not.

Straightening her body out, Rogue shot like an arrow back up to the mountain pathway, arriving in time to hear some of the conversation with the strange mountain hermit priest.

The southern belle just hovers there right off the ground, her hands initially balled up in fists, but she ended up loosening up a bit as they started onward again after the conversing was had.

When they end up at the cave, Rogue finally touches down on her boots once more. "So this is the place with the.... master switch, or whatever. Good. Finally. Christ."

She gives a look at the others, before she just puts her hands down at her sides and starts to strut walk on inside. "Lets see if we can't make this place more friendly to our kind, shall we?"

Lorna Dane has posed:
    Lorna is playing along with the almost priest like figure, doing her best to not ask obvious questions of the man. In order to not give herself away too early and because her friends are all doing a good job of asking everything she wants to know. But she adds into the play, "I didn't inform them of much of the island's nature and what we do here because I wanted them to learn about the place as they explored it. And because you do teach with such a passion and heart that I couldn't bare to deprive you of such an honor." Lorna says, but leaning closer to the priest to whisper, "I have been feeling dreadful lately, I believe I got something when I went to retrieve this delegation detail." She days with a regretful but accepting shrug.

Douglas Ramsey has posed:
    Doug clears his throat. "Well..." He says to the others, "Let's just..." He rubs his chin, "Have a looksee. This PROBABLY isn't magic. I'm getting a whole extraterrestrial vibe off of this place. By the way, did you know there actually WERE dinosaurs in Antarctica-" he looks at the others and then says "...It was covered in forests." Then he just sighs, and holds his hands out. "Let's just... keep on going. My name's Cypher. I'm an... ancient... god... interface... expert." Even he knows that sounds lame. "Also, how's your English so good?"

Jean Grey has posed:
"The mountains are lord Garokk's bones, the holy sun his eyes!" is the first answer Iara gets, perhaps a little less of a helpful police sketch-artist sort of description. "He appears to us as he wishes, throughout the land, though it is said he will soon walk with us again. I have never seen the demon. Garokk slew him long ago. But it is said, that he wore the shape of man, and wielded the powers of the Makers." It's obvious that the man is speaking more in terms of myth and legend, although their 'god' may seem a little more contemporary.

"The cave is full of wonders left by the Makers," he continues, answering Rahne. "Even to Garokk, they are holy and powerful. And so it has been a place of ritual. Soon, when the Godbirth is performed, it shall be done here, and he shall be truly with us."

Maybe this is a little ominous. But maybe not!

As Rogue approaches the cave, stands square before it and strides boldy to the entrance, she can't quite escape the impression that the mountain face looks something like... well, a person-face. With the cave as the mouth, a small vertical protrustion for a nose, and two ridges that suggest closed eyes. But what are the odds of getting eaten by a living mountain twice in a hero's career?

Inside, not far beyond the entrance, she'll soon spot what it is they've likely come to find. After a short passage, the cave extends into a round chamber. All around the walls here is more of the same silver-chrome displays they've seen before, and another cylindrical core at their center. A little less congruous is the large stone altar set up in front of that. Likely a later addition.

The sun priest waits near Lorna as the others explore, answering Douglass before they go inside. "It is believed the Maker's tools allow us all to communicate." He waits until Doug and the rest have gone ahead, have left him with Lorna, and then leans in close as she whispers to him. "Ah, yes of course." And then even closer, to murmur something, for her ears alone.

Monet St. Croix has posed:
Well, what she's picking up from their enthusiastically helpful Sun Priest is just rather poen ended. Giant face carved onto mountain. Which means that she's seeing the visualization of a zealot - which makes sense given her's a priest. But very little specific over to it. At least it doesn't look like some sort of giant monster - it's not a dinosaur and it seems to be mostly human. As much as she can tell from the image that the man adheres to so cleanly.

Rahne Sinclair has posed:
Rahne Sinclair kind of begin to focus on the journey, her eyes going into full predator mode as she walks with the group. Her ears twitch and swivel and her head turns in the direction of noises that catch her attention. She let her sense do the major of the work during this travel, not wanting to truly drop her guard just yet. never know when something might ambush them or attack them. She doesn't have anymore question and let her companions do all the cerebral work.

Rogue has posed:
Rogue's heavy boots impact on the rocky floor as they progress in to the cave. It only takes her a few moments to see the face in the rockface above her, and as she strides inside she just mutters something mostly to herself. "At least it's the mouth hole this time..."

Whatever that means.

Once in the corridor, Rogue raises her left hand up to keep it close to the stone wall, not touching it save for soft ghostly brushes of her gloved fingertips across the contoured rock surface. She uses it to just guide herself through until the larger chamber is reached... Then and there, Rogue's hand drops to her side and she walks casually slow in to the room. "This feels eeriely similar to other places." She states, her gloved hands going up to rub idly at the back of her bare arms, rubbing over the goosebumps formed across her skin from the high altitude air rushing through the cavern's open entrance.

Rogue ends up at that cylinder, silvery and fancy looking. "Cypher." She calls out. "I think this is where I could use your guidance." She adds to him.

Iara Dos Santos has posed:
     Iara squints up at the face in the mountain, peering at it with her hands on her hips for a solid thirty seconds before announcing, to nobody in particular, "I have no idea who this is." She then reaches up and rubs the top of her head, appearing to have a headache, saying "I'm starting to wish Jean was here, or one of the other mind-readers. It'd make these riddles a lot easier to deal with..." She takes another look at the face, and then frowns, shaking her head as she doesn't know what to make of all this.

     She walks inside with the others, eventually coming across one of the silvery screens and trying to push whatver buttons she can on it in some effort to get answers as fast as possible, hoping for some sort of menu in english (or portugese) and maybe an info screen, some kind of date saying when it was created, even a virtual assistant like Alexa or even Clippy.

Douglas Ramsey has posed:
"Hmmmmmm." Doug says. "Well, it's obviously a piece of tech- let's see here." He circles it, rubbing his chin. He studies the altar, and then after a moment's thought he reaches into his backpack and sets an 8-ounce Red Bull on the altar because hey, you never know.

He circles it again, and then murmurs "It's in good shape, but it obviously hasn't been used in a very long time... some of the components of it might be a little *stuck*!" And then he bangs his fist into the side of a plane of smooth metal. WHANG! "I think there's an interface near here, if I can get it open! Let's find out!"

Lorna Dane has posed:
    A final whisper to the priest and Lorna takes a deep breath before she coughs again and turns to spit once more, "And a basin to wash my face and mouth with, I can't get this taste out of my mouth."

     As she walks away she tries to mentally contact Monet, but isn't sure if the rocks are preventing her message going through.

    <<Keep... on..... Rogue.>>

Jean Grey has posed:
After so much effort, they've finally found the place they needed to be, and even more importantly, they've brought Doug. Rogue says this is his moment, and...

...she's not wrong!

The very second he touches the computer, even to give it that rather, uh, rough and tumble whack, it springs to life, the otherwise featureless chrome-silver surface springing to life with patterns of blue light, something like patterns of circuitry. Visually, anyway. In fact, it is a very complicated touch interface. At the same time, there's a blast of sound, a sort of hyper-dense layered tone. To most it is just noise.

Rogue has some familiarity with both things, from these prior outings, but Doug... well, the voice is clear to him, and it won't be moments before he's browsing through menus and subroutines like a pro.

Outside, the priest answers Lorna. "Yes... I will bring you something, and see to it." He steps from her, and briefly holds his medallion up, so that it reflects a bit of sunlight, off into the distance. A signal? Then he moves off, to some smaller cave nearby. Maybe it's where he was based, for his air patrols.

By now, the surface of the cylinder is just SCROLLING data, as Doug 'talks' to it. More weird tones.

Outside, Lorna will spot a number of small shadows off on the horizon, which start to grow into meaningful shapes as they draw closer. More riders.

Rahne Sinclair has posed:
Rahne Sinclair just kind of watches, it is always fascinating looking at all this god like technology. She also knows better than to touch anything while Doug is working, the last thing she needs to do is touch some button or lean on something that triggers some errant protocol or defense mechanism. She allows herself to shift into that larger dire wolf form and then lays down and watches them from a rather 'comfortable' wolf form. She kind of looks like your dog when the owner is not paying attention to it and focused on a video game, ipad, or television. Sort of resting dog face.

Rogue has posed:
Rogue is right there beside the cylinder computer terminal when Doug whaps it. She was about to say something when he did that, and it caused her to just stop short and watch. "Uh, right." She states, noting the Red Bull he sat down like a true computer geek should. She's new at this stuff. Her arms cross over her stomach as the computer comes online then, with that strange pattern of symbols lighting up.

This is when she uncrosses her arms and starts to explain some of what she knows. "I've had access issues. This amulet..." She reaches up to the amulet worn around her neck. "Allows me to get like... a Guest pass to the terminals. Like low end Kids Netflix permissions. I haven't been able t'get any deeper than that." She tells him before motioning to the symbols.

"It's all touched based. Some'a these symbols are kinda .. dope too. Like, they'd make good tatoos." She can't get tatoos though, for obvious reasons.

"Anyway. If you can make hide nor haire of it..." She trails off then, glancing back over her shoulder like some strange sense of danger hits her, causing her to just look back toward the others.

Iara Dos Santos has posed:
     Iara reaches down to scratch behind Rahne's ear as she sits down next to her, watching the entrance. The big, still-powered muscle types standing, or sitting guard while the brainy types mess with the computers and talk to the latest weirdo spouting riddles.

     Iara starts taking bets in her brain, where only Monet can hear and Iara thinks she can't, the shark-girl deciding that this must be the work of aliens but debating the age of the aliens and how long it's been. Presence of dinosaurs, possible origin of the savage land, could mean dozens if not hundreds of millions of years, but revived dinosaurs and magic means anything is possible... So the shark-girl sighs, and decides to simply listen as she keeps watch with Rahne.

Douglas Ramsey has posed:
"I see." Doug says. He continues reading. "It is alien technology, some race called the - well, the best translation into english is the Celestials. This whole area is an experiment in creating and maintaining a biome for genetics experiments, and it's still running in the absence of its minders. The whole volcano chain is a giant geothermal power plant for this installation." He skims data. "This computer can give vitals on every living thing in the Savage Land - and it's a treasure trove of planetary information. Like this."

He brings up a map of the Earth - though way different. "This is a satellite map of *pre* Atlantean Cataclysm Earth. And it's not even the only one in here."

He continues to read. "There's information in here about the Celestials, some sort of military force called the Eternals, a failed genetic experiment called the Deviants-"
    He shakes his head. "This is years worth of data that needs to be examined by a team of Archaeologists. And geneticists." Then he pushes that aside and brings up another holographic console, the lights flashing on it reflected in his eyes. "You know what's funny, is that this console's reacting as if I'm a 'Deviant'. I wonder what that means. But it didn't reckon with *me*, specifically. I've killed the emergency signal it was trying to broadcast to the Eternals and I'm accessing the security systems... now."

"You know, I bet I can pinpoint every single Sleazoid-infected lifeform in the Savage Land. Let me try that." His fingers go to work.

Jean Grey has posed:
Doug is in the system. He's learning a lot! Probably much of it sounds like gibberish to those listening, and maybe, lacking context, it sort of is. Some of it echoes the more mind-shattering info dumps Rogue has gotten second hand from Jean. Doug's way is definitely easier.

And he's not wrong about the breadth of what the system knows, or what it can do. Viewing all the Brood is definitely possible, although probably a bit depressing: it shows just how far they've spread, with the original hive at the Aerie Shalan growing like a tumor in every direction. There's almost nowhere in the Savage Land it doesn't at least lightly touch now, right up to the defense lines the Amazons and SHIELD have been holding.

While this is happening, Rahne and Iara are probably, and understandably, a bit bored. Alien gods, evolutionary meddling, vast supercomputers? Yeah, it's a bit abstract. So they have a bit of spare attention to keep watch. And this is useful.

Inside the cave, even up to the mouth, they might lack a good angle to see them early, but they see when the riders land outside. Many of the priests and priestesses with those sun medallions. And one at their lead, not in white but red, with a feather cloak and a massive headress suggestive of golden flame.

The priest who came with them is just returning to Lorna, carrying a brass basin, when they arrive. He looks between the woman in red and Lorna and back. They... could very much be twins, or at least siblings. "Who is this imposter?!" roars red, before raising her hand.

There's a blast of light, and in her credit, Lorna summons her own electromagnetic control to shield against it. But she's weaker here under that dampening effect (hurry up, Doug!), while this other woman seems unhindered.

That, and while they're energy dueling, the priest who was going to help her... catches on to the trickery, and up and whacks her in the back of the head with the basin. Lorna goes down. "Lady Zaladane! Forgive me!" cries the priest.

Iara Dos Santos has posed:
     Iara blinks, saying "Atlantis catawhatnow?" before she blinks again, and then slaps the ground as she turns to look at Doug, saying "Wait, is THAT why Atlantis is under the ocean?"

     There's an awkward pause.

     "No I mean-! I know the MYTH of Atlantis, I didn't know that was LITERAL Atlantis from the myths that ACTUALLY SANK that they won't let me near!" She sighs, saying "They always wave a spear at me and talk about how upworlders aren't welcome, how they can fuckin' tell I don't know, probably the clothes..."

     That's when the new folks show up, and Polaris is conked on the back of the head with a basin.

     "HEY!" Iara shouts, but quickly tries to get her hands on that priest, to put him in a big, shark-muscled headlock and hold him as a hostage if she needs to, hands outstretched as she dives for him... and if successful, tries to drag him between the two groups in the middle!

Monet St. Croix has posed:
Well, this is just lovely. Monet goes to call out a warning to the others along the mental line, but is too late! She goes to launch herself in the air over towards Lady Zaladane! She can only push herself to a limited speed with however here is limiting all of thier powers! But while Zaladane is focused over on her duel with Lorna- M is too late ot interrupt..

M at least can pickup enough energy and momentum to slam into her! the hit isn't particularly clean or full force, and Zaladane's able to brace herself and partially duck from it.

But a wild M is able to at least get a partial tackle in before spinning off her to do a landing on the ground hard, using her flight to arrest her backwards momentum to try and be in a position to lure any other attackers twoards her to try and make sure DOug wasn't interrupted!

Rogue has posed:
"SHIELD has had some small archaeology teams out explorin' some of the ruins, but we haven't had any real meaty places to send them until now, it seems." Rogue responds to Doug. "If there's been an alarm goin off this whole time for these 'Eternals' to come check on their computer system, and they haven't shown up yet? I'm guessin' that means they're all dead..." She's about to say something else when she hears talking outside which draws her attention in that direction.

She'd crossed her arms again while watching Doug do what Dougs do, then turned to start to walk toward the exit of the cavern once more. "See if you can find a way to track the infected, or hell... shut them all down... round them all up, anything to make stopping the spread easier for the rest of us." She says on her way back down the passage.

She's soon to see something going on outside, and the newly arrived speaking to the others. She doesn't have a good feeling about this either!

Rahne Sinclair has posed:
The wolf look up at Iara for a moment then gives kind of a nod of its great head before about to relax when her nose flares and she catches a unfamiliar scent. Her form shifts into the hybrid form and then begins to round on the priests. She must of been at least to relaxed with the reaction of her friends. She focuses in on the person who cold clocked Polaris and then growls and leaps into the fray. She jumps up and attempts to land on the attacker and knock them down and wrap her jaws around the throat in the way a wolf would, a threat and warning not to move or something VERY regretible might happen.

Douglas Ramsey has posed:
"Hey HEY!" Doug says, "Do you want this infestation solved or not!" Doug keeps frantically working while all hell breaks loose around him.

"Listen, you don't know how much information this system HAS! It could take me DAYS to go through it all but I bet there's a way to use this computer to come up with something that can kill all the Brood at once! Some sort of... celestial dewormer!"

He keeps working. "The Sleazoid infestation's reached critical mass. You are NOT gonna root it out the old-fashioned way. There are two outcomes here- either a solution's in this database or the Savage Land will have to be *glassed*. Do you want that!? No! SO STOP FIGHTING AND LET ME WORK, FOR GOD'S SAKE!"

Jean Grey has posed:
The individual Sun priests are, as seen with the priestess they met fighting Phangor... essentially little more than human, counting whatever technology, magic or mutation allows those blasts of 'holy' sunlight. The one that traveled with them, tackled by Iara, fares little better!

Zaladane herself?

Monet blitzes out of the cave, and the distraction of the ongoing duel provides for enough of a distraction to take the woman on unaware. She's hit, and hard, barely raising a hand to conjure some kind of shield - enough that Monet doesn't simply flatten her. But she goes flying, skidding back to the edge of the cliff and then drawing herself up. "Take them! she cries. And then, something like a prayer: "Lord of Stone and Fire, aid us, your faithful servants!"

The priests charge. It would seem the zealotry of her followers precludes much care for Iara holding a hostage (poor guy!), though she can physically interpose herself to good effect, beefy shark lady that she is. Stll, both she, Rahne and Monet are immediately set upon with blasts of that familiar blinding light, conjured by the advancing cult, before they close to melee.

rEven still, they bear normal weapons, and no apparent super strength. They'll be a roadblock at best, to the likes of those three - or worse, once Rogue joins in.

But a roadblock serves. Once she rises, Zaladane doesn't quickly re-engage, but rather, stoops beside Lorna. "Look at you..." she coos, admiring a face not unlike her own, reaching to touch her cheek. "Let me see."

Inside, Doug keeps pattering away. There ARE failsafes, destructive ones. But their effect would not be unlike what he's trying to stop - 'glassing' the whole place. There are heuristics for the security measures, allowing tighter or looser control on the population.

As Rogue emerges from the cave, the two 'eyes' above her open, burning red with volcanic fire.

Iara Dos Santos has posed:
     Iara doesn't need eyes to see.

     Funny sense that Sharks developed over the millenia is the ability to sense electricity, to the point that within a few feet, they can detect the natural electrical field that living animals emit... and bite accordingly.

     Blinded by the light, Iara throws down her hostage and charges anyway, punching and kicking anyone who gets too close to her in blind, accurate enough fighting, her eyes shut tight as they recover, her fists that can turn cinderblocks to dust flailing in big, open swings to catch any near-human priestly person she can find with them and her nose combined with her electrical sensory organ in her head...

Monet St. Croix has posed:
And there goes M once more to charge in at Zaladane, her intent trying to get Lorna out of the way of her! Monet goes to think with her fists - she doesn't have enough telepathy to do anything offensive, and now isn't the time to try and be doing anything more complicated.
    Plust, fists are funner!
    But, Zaladane is ready for her on this pass, even as M goes charging in right as several large pieces of rock are flung into her, slamming her off mark and pummeling her hard over into the nearest wall iwth a satisfying *CRUNCH* (satisfying if you're one of those M snipes at often, or if you're Zaladane)!

Douglas Ramsey has posed:
Doug lets out an exhalation. "You come across a treasure-trove of secrets from pre-pre history and you can't so much as download an authentic map of the Thurian continent for your D&D game-" He grumbles, as he pushes aside all that tempting, tempting data and abandons the computer - but not without creating a little backdoor in its programming he can potentially access later, if he can establish a link to it. A little quirk in the computer code only someone with linguistic abilities on par with his own could see.

Then he joins the others, and splits. "I know the solution was there. Mirror-Universe Polaris just screwed over the Savage Land and everyone in it!"

Rahne Sinclair has posed:
Rahne Sinclair growls angrily as she is hit with various 'holy bolts' the burning and searing starting to healing as her regeneration starts to kick in and she then leaps into the fray, she maintain enough sense not to be over come by blood lust and simply settles for maiming or incapacitating folks so they can at least go home and return to whatever family they have in this land. Rahna begins to issuing in a growling voice a battle hymn. "Onward Christian soldiers marching onto war. o/~" Something to keep her focused, as blood flows she want to give into that raw animalistic instinct to kill maim, the little hymn keeping her mind human, reminding her that killing is a unforgivable sin. Even if the Crusadfers would disagree.

Rogue has posed:
Normally Rogue would step out of the cavern, see her companions being attacked like this, and rush to support them. That was even her intention when she saw what was happening upon arriving outside. But what caught her attention changed her mind entirely on that initial reaction...

When she looked back over her shoulders, then up, and up... to those eyes starting to glow on the side of the mountain.

"Aw, come on!" The Belle shouts. "We walked inside the butthole of your ice brother, and now in to the mouth hole of your fiery self! What kinda absolutely screwed up odds are these that I end up findin' these guys, over and over!"

She might be ranting instead of helping.

Finally, she decides to help.

Rogue picks up a big rock off the ground, and just hurls it at one of the Sun Priest enemies. "Everyone get goin' back the way we came. We're leavin' this place. Doug is on it, I think... an' we gotta get before things get worse than this."

But they only just arrived!

Yeah, but there's a giant volcano God waking up... or something! Look, just read the X-Men reports about the last Ski Trip!

Douglas Ramsey has posed:
"The most I could do was turn down the dampeners." Doug says, as he looks back over his shoulder as the mountain wakes up. "How could things get worse than an awakening volcano god!? Unless the Eternals got that alarm call before I killed it. Whatever they are."

"I imagine that would be much, much worse."

Jean Grey has posed:
Rahne and Iara mow through the cultists... pretty fast! While they fight with zeal, and perhaps with strength and skill that suggests a harsh life of survival in the Savage Land... they are but normal men and women, in the end. Claw swipes and brick-like punches take them, one by one.

And neither feral mutant submits to outright bloodlust or eats anyone, throughout. That's considered a win!

Monet, on the other hand, again goes for the brass ring, yet here discovers just what might have happened between the two... sisters? Clones? Mirror universe copies? Is this DoppleLorna from a completely different plot?! Regardless, Zaladane, whether by her own merit or by theft, now seems to command a force not unlike Lorna's, pulling ore-heavy rocks from the mountainside and throwing them through the air, while simultaneously ripping free a chunk of the cliff to float on, rising away from the melee.

Doug manages to do what he can, and despite the temptation of this trove of ancient knowledge, with just a final tap to do what they came to do, he moves to rejoin the others. Who, by now (another cultist falls to a flying rock!) are winning their fight, save for the woman on the floating platform of stone. As she rises, she gestures, and a second chunk breaks away, this one with Lorna's body atop it.

"With this power I will destroy-"

Speaking of powers, the others can start to feel it - at least those who've been held back the most, for all these weeks. Doug DEFINITELY did something in there.

Monet St. Croix has posed:
And then as Zaladane is distracted, and there's no opportunity to fight her all they can do really is run! Zaladane goes to through up blockages in front of M! Rocks, debris, metal - whatever things there are in the confines of the mountain base! Monet goes to slam her way on through them, getting bruised and battered as she does so! But she's unbroken for the moment as she goes to dive down, grab Lorna and takes her in a fireman's carry while going to establish a mindlink with the rest of the team!

<<I have recovered Polaris. Is there anywhere we can relocate to that it's safe?>>

Douglas Ramsey has posed:
Doug's response is to hold up his phone, showing an image he grabbed of the current stage of the Brood infestation in the Savage Land.

"The North Pole. Maybe."

He continues running, and then he eyeballs one of those dinosaurs - and grabs the reins. He whistles, and gives it a command in the language of the... Savage Landers, which causes the beast to begin to lift off. "Get on!" He shouts, to the non-fliers.

Rogue has posed:
Rogue closes her eyes for a brief second as she feels her full strength sweep back in to her body. It feels nice, like a drug... but a drug that doesn't have bad side effects, that she knwos of. Her eyes snap back open as she sees Lorna on that far away platform of rock, but Monet swooping in to get her.

"Grab the flyin' mounts. Take them to get down the mountain faster!" Rogue commands, whether anyone listens to her or not.

"Otherwise, jump on my back." She states as she starts to march toward the edge of the mountains pathway.

She spares a stern look toward 'Porna Dane', Lorna's threatening doppleganger, before she looks back to her teammates on this mission.

"Fall back to the Blackbird's landing site. We'll reconvene there an' figure out our next move!" Rogue says moments before her muscles tense, and she jumps off a ledge to shoot in to the sky, much faster and more agile than she's been in a long time in this infernal land.

"If these Eternals are comin', I sure would like to have some words with'em!" The Mississippi Belle's voice says over the team comm systems.

Rahne Sinclair has posed:
Rahna thankfully counts at more beast so she limbos right under those protocols. But she thankfully shows considerable restraint as she uses throws and dangerous claws to simply would and incapacitate. Still when retreat she pulls back and then starts to dash on all fours towards one of the dinosaurs, as she sprints along her form starts to shrink down to the Scottish human form seeing how bearing her hybrid form might be a little much. She gets astride one of the dinosaurs and then takes the reigns. "Just like riding a bicycle, no different. HIYA!" She cracks the reigns and the beast beats it wings and then starts to waddle forward before taking off.

Iara Dos Santos has posed:
     Iara, out of mooks to clobber, looks to Douglas as he shouts to hop on... and she does, darting over to him and mounting the dinosaur behind him, wrapping her strong arms around his waist. "Let's go!" she shouts, clinging to him with her arms and the dinosaur with her legs, a bit shark maw hanging over Douglas's shoulder.

Jean Grey has posed:
Iara and Rahne hold the line, although as Zaladane comes to grips with these new abilities, they may understand why Rogue is intent on getting them out of there. This lady isn't just a crazy evil priestess doppleganger of their friend... she's also turned into a crazy evil priestess version of MAGNETO. Though they fell the cultists, the ground under their feet soon starts to shift and shake, break apart and come back together, as chunks of harder ore are ripped out through softer stone and pulled into the air, into a growing halo of would-be ammunition.

Can they survive against such a thing? Can their mounts?

Fortunately, the woman's mastery of the powers is not yet complete. And more than that...

The mountain face, while not exploding, is clearly becoming more 'alive,' as the light in those eyes burns brighter. As its expression shifts, the whole mountain shudders, stone cracking and reforming with every motion. And at last, those motions become speech:


Clearly no one wants to see what's going to happen with all of this nonsense. But it does serve to draw Zaladane's attention. For even with her new-found power, she dares not ignore her god. "My lord, these outsiders interfered- but I pledge to you, you will have your sacrifice! You will walk again!" She turns to look after the fleeing bunch. "Perhaps one of them..."