15530/Shi'ar: Sic Itur Ad Astra II - the Flight of the SR-X

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Shi'ar: Sic Itur Ad Astra II - the Flight of the SR-X
Date of Scene: 12 August 2023
Location: SR-X Blackbird
Synopsis: The X-Men take the SR-X on its first hyperspace trip under its own power, traveling to a space station on the edge of the Empire to investigate Deathbird's mutant ally. They don't find much about him, but after a dizzying trip through a few alien strip clubs, they do get some information on another rumor they've heard before: of a misplaced human space pirate operating in Shi'ar space.
Cast of Characters: Jean Grey, Emma Frost, Rogue, Tabitha Smith, Franklin Richards, Logan Howlett
Tinyplot: Pax Imperium: the Shi'ar

Jean Grey has posed:
Against Rogue's protests, it's time to go to space!

The trip is not a vacation, of course. As the new caretakers of one (1) heiress to the throne of the Shi'ar Empire, the X-Men have been put in a position of actually caring about happenings beyond Earth. Threats to Earth, threats to their own family, these things lurk in the void. But it isn't always space coming to ruin things for Earth. This time...

...it's one of their own, causing trouble 'out there.'

Or so, at least, they've been told. It was Emma that brought them that tidbit, shared by Oracle - the Shi'ar one, not the Bat-Family one - at the summit. A mutant working for Deathtbird. Possibly one they've seen before.

But the information she's been able (or willing) to share beyond that has been limited. The treaty is far from one of close trust and integration, from either side, and the Shi'ar play close to the vest. Still, the X-men have a personal motivation, and the advantage of minimal official status. Perhaps just telling them was enough to make them curious.

Or more, in Jean's case. Possibly because the last Shi'ar-aligned mutant who showed up here burned down her family home and 'killed' her.

Unfortunately, they don't have a lot more to go on. Here, their new guest has proved useful. Xandra, although a child in parts, has had her very telepathically-capable mind filled with fairly vast stores of information, to ready her for rule. And this includes a vast knowledge of many systems in, and outside the Empire.

"We've uploaded the coordinates she gave us," Jean is saying, speaking from one of the piloting chairs to Rogue at the other. With her Carol-knowledge, her being drafted isn't just to mess with her, she really is the best lady for the job. "Evidently, the drive will home onto the nearest hyperspace beacon, once we're beyond the safe orbital distance. This will be a shake-down for the Shi'ar drive, as well. If everything works right, we'll have a lot of freedom for touring around out there."

Emma Frost has posed:
Emma Frost would nod, "Yes, but let's hope that it doesn't take long. I would hate to have to spend weeks in here while we go halfway across the galaxy. It's rather uncomfortable if we're going to have to be here for too long. It's not exactly setup for long distance travel." She may have a sort of point. But it's also not designed to go halfway across the galaxy either. Probably just a few dozen light years. Maybe.

Emma would muse over. "And let us make sure that we have some backup pilots who also understand how the navigation system works. Just to have something on standby." She goes to look over at Rogue and gives a low nod. Emma herself is strapped in and goes to cross her arms. "And let's try and avoid whatever that thing is with the giant face on the outside of the solar system that you ran into the last time you were out and about. We're not heading in that direction, are we?"

Rogue has posed:
Rogue, dressed in her tight fitting black spacesuit, sits behind the primary pilot controls. With her dark hair tied up in a bun on the back of her head, and her white bangs braided in to two tight strings that frame her face, she is listening to some music piped through the speakers around her... her hands controlling the SR-X Blackbird up in to space, and beyond. Her green eyes glance over to Jean when the redhead offers some explanation, and with a light nod she looks back to the computer systems in front of her.

She flips a switch causing a holographic display to light up the control board, showcasing the pre-planned route that they're embarking on.

It lights up Rogue's face as she stares upon it, the computer feeding her pilot controls information based upon it.

"Should be a blast." She quietly says, before going back to humming along to her selection of 'space music'.

(Current song: https://youtu.be/jMPkCCxkEVI )

Once they're out of Earth's low-orbit, the SR-X spacecraft is given a burst of extra thrust, causing it to really rapidly advance away from their homeworld.

Tabitha Smith has posed:
Being space, and that cold airless void. Tabby maybe kinda raided the stash of Shi'ar spacesuit tech for this jaunt. Somehow she managed to find one in shades of yellow and pink. Mostly yellow with the pink mostly highlighting a the sides and her gloves and boots.

Which just leaves her with her red tinted Ray Bans on her nose as her option for accessorizing wile her hair is pulled into a kind of loose makeshift bun. No way her mane is fitting in a helmet when it's left free range.

Sure she could have stayed home for the whole protect and entertain the princess but Space is just way too awesome.

There's a grin as Emma expression a desire to avoid Ego the busted up planet. "We'll moon him if we see him. Planets should have moons. The biggest problem with spaceflight is if we all have to pee at the same time. I doubt they have space truck stops everywhere." she jokes and straps herself in.

Calling shotgun never works when Jean and Rogue are driving.

"So like anyone got Carl Sagan's Pale Blue Dot speech in their heads. But being quoted by Hank? Just me? Weird." especially since she remembers the thing.

Franklin Richards has posed:
Franklin steps onto the plane, his face adorned with a friendly smile as he exchanges knowing glances with his fellow passengers. Recognizing them all, he directs a reassuring comment towards Miss Frost, his voice laced with confidence, "You needn't worry, Miss Frost. There's nowhere in space I can't find a way back to Earth." Despite the lack of a conventional spacesuit, he's clad in his Fantastic Four attire, complete with a mask that can generate oxygen when necessary. He remains tight-lipped for the most part, save for an arched eyebrow in response to Rogue's new outfit. With a nod, he makes his way to his seat, deliberately staying out of the others' path. His intention is to let their space voyage unfold without any unnecessary interference. The prospect of their cosmic journey intrigues him, and he's determined not to mar their experience.

As Jean discusses their destination, Franklin listens with keen interest, although his expertise leans more towards utilizing spatial folding rather than conventional spacecraft. He's on board primarily as a precautionary measure, ready to assist if they encounter difficulties during their travels through perilous space. Opting to absorb the information in silence, he refrains from immediate inquiries, allowing Jean's words to seep into his understanding.

Logan Howlett has posed:
"Hang on a second," Logan says from his place seated aboard the Blackbird, already strapped in tight, "Why the hell am I here? What damn use am I gonna be on a space ship?"

The conversation between the others earns a furrowed, beetled brow from the Canadian but he says nothing further. Instead, he tugs on his restraints to make sure he's not going to go bouncing around the cabin.

"Watch out for potholes."

Jean Grey has posed:
"One of our hopes is that once we get used to using the ship for this, it'll be easier for our own teleporters." Jean has thought through all of this, and Franklin offering that option reinforces it. "Not all of them can do infinite ranges, but even then, having a known reference point for a target is much easier. Plus, there are a lot of useful reasons to have our own ride."

"And that also sounds suspiciously like you volunteering to put in some flight hours," she quickly adds, looking back over her shoulder at Emma. "And yes, I'm well aware you can just download most of the basics." How else does JEAN know this stuff? "But knowing and doing isn't quite the same. Gotta build up the muscle memory and all of that."

Once they're all in, seated, ready to go, Rogue puts the thing into drive and the Earth quickly falls away behind then. It isn't the first time the SR-X has made the trip. The first time, it got to the very boundary of the atmosphere in the middle of a hot pursuit, only to be immediately tractored in for 'arrest' by a Shi'ar cruiser. The time after that, uh, that was the thing with the 'big face' that Emma warns them about.

But it's still time for a first. Getting anywhere useful in something as big as space makes even the speed of light pretty useless. Practical travel at interstellar, even intergalactic distances (as with the Shi'ar!) requires something else. Call it warp gates, hyperspace, higher dimensional navigation, spatial folding (hi Franklin!), whatever you want. The lingo amounts to a lot of variations on the same thing.

Jean looks over at Tabitha. "And where we're going, it won't even be a dot. It'll be.. I don't know. A tiny variance in the spectographic reading of far-off light, thousands of years out of date." Earth is still large enough in their rear view to make out its marble-like swirl of blue-green and white, before she double-checks one last time, glances toward Rogue for confirmation, and then hits a button on the console.

And then it's time for the show. Light bending around them into colors they can't describe. Chaos, in a way, but not entirely. There are patterns in it, latticeworks of energy overwriting the strange shadow-shapes that twist and echo a reality both infinitely vast and intensely compressed.

Even firebird lady is impressed. "Wow." The show keeps going for a little, so she has time to look back at Logan. "You're for where we're going."

Emma Frost has posed:
Emma goes to take a moment as they go to get ready to jump.. And she goes to shift. Her body turns over, from organic to solid carbon. Hardening over to diamond for just a few moments. In case there's any sort of snap from the jaunt through reality, of one hole being punched in the universe and out the other end.. And whatever sort of disconcordance there might be.

In this form, Emma is a creature of pure stone, heart of diamond, of no passion. And yet even she can only look out the window with a sense of faint wonderment. And despite what there may or may not happen from the jaunt..

Emma Frsot turns back to normal. The risks.. Well, they are risks. But this beauty.. This beauty she needs to be able to appreciate. To watch out and look at what they're leaping through. Is this what it was like for the world when hte first men stepped on the moon? When the Fantastic Four went public? When Superman revealed himself? All those things that one can only imagine when they were there, when they saw, and what they heard.

And Emma is just a litlte girl all over again, a small sense of amazement and awe at something so beautiful. She is quiet. And a small tear is going down her face in wonder that she makes no attempt to hide, deny, or wipe away.

Rogue has posed:
Rogue is being extra chill this time, rather than last time when they went to the Ego planet. Of course, this time she's flying... so that might be part of it. Busy hands, and all.

"Punch it, Chewie." She idly says as Jean presses the hyper-velocity-jump-gate-plaid-mode-sonic-booster-button.

Rogue's eyes glance out the viewport ahead of them now, the lights of it all dancing across her form in her pilot's chair. She just stares at it with a blank expression for several moments before she downcasts her eyes to the control board where she finds the timer indicating how long their jump is.

"Do. not. like..." She quietly says to herself as she fiddles with some of the cabin's temperature controls, dialing the temperature up to 70 from a balmy 68 it had been at. Why? Nervous space energy.

If one can see Rogue's booted feet, they'll see her right foot rapidly tapping heel down against the floor of the control cabin.

Tabitha Smith has posed:
The bomb throwing bombshell grins to Logan. "Illyana would a flarking loved this! Also If we ever get like boarded again, like by someone not space cops. Metal claws or at least knuckles be better in a fight that big chonky 'splosions that could blow out the hull." yes even she knows to throttle back on her blasts.

Which sucks when many species durability leans to the point of doing collateral damage to actually hurt them.

She can at least give the ship a jump start if they run out of gas in the wild dark yonder.

When the ladies up front behind the wheel start kicking things into hyperactive she watches things get weird outside with a grin. "WOOOOOOOOOOOO! Gone to plaid!" it's not her first space jaunt but the way Tabby's smile is beaming, it's hard to tell.

Franklin Richards has posed:
Franklin nods in Jean's direction, his tone carrying a clear intent, "My presence is meant for contingencies, not to disrupt your training efforts." He offers a reassuring smile, ensuring he understands his role. He interjects with a thoughtful comment, his smile a mixture of knowledge and humor, "Also technically, it isn't truly infinite." He raises an eyebrow, hinting at his awareness of the limitations. Franklin wishes he could journey to the center, where rumors have placed the others, yet he's yet to accomplish this feat. As the ship takes off, his grip tightens, and an underlying nervousness betrays his unfamiliarity with this mode of travel. Every creak and unfamiliar sound triggers concerns about stability. He's cautioned them about space's inherent dangers multiple times, but they're determined to proceed. His hope rests on their readiness.

While still gripping his seat, Franklin turns a friendly smile towards Logan, offering an astute observation, "Your experience shouldn't be underestimated. There are plenty of unsavory characters with multiple ships out there. Perhaps your familiarity with handling such situations could contribute to resolution." He presents the suggestion as a potential solution, even playfully mentioning the option of being launched as a 'torpedo,' evoking a grin.

Engines begin to hum, and the ship enters a critical phase, forcing Franklin into silence. The gravity of the situation sinks in as he holds on tightly, thoughts racing through his mind. The risks associated with high-speed space travel, even the smallest debris capable of rending the ship apart, all weigh heavily on his mind. Franklin maintains his grip, a quiet tally of probabilities forming in his head as he hopes for a successful outcome.

Logan Howlett has posed:
"Got it," comes the muttered reply from Logan, wrapping fingers around his restraints and leaning back into the jump seat, "Here to claw stuff. Say what you will, good to know your place in the world."

When Tabitha 'woos', the Canuck winces and recoils a little. He shakes his head with a growl and mutters: "Enough with the yellin'. Some of us hear better than others."

Jean Grey has posed:
The sequence Rogue had entered doesn't yield a one-step process. The ship barrels through strange geometries, seemingly criss-crossing its own path, occasionally passing through some honeycomb hole in the energetic substrate. There's no sense of physical acceleration, no G-forces, as with leaving Earth the old fashioned way. But there is... something, a strangeness that builds with every adjustment the ship makes.

"I don't pretend to understand how this works. The Shi'ar maintain some physical gates, but apparently they're not strictly required. I think it's for navigation and efficiency. The spatial relationships aren't really one-to-one, and the energy requirements aren't linear, going up the more sub-'jumps' you have to make." Jean leaves a weighty pause there. "More is harder on the engines, but also on the people inside them... biologically, if they get past certain thresholds. Anyway, we should be coming up on it now-"

The black void snaps back in around them, an unfamiliar starfield. There's a huge green gas giant below them, like a baby-vomit colored Jupiter. The rear-view monitors show a ring-like structure in space. A Shi'ar gate.

"That wasn't so bad, was it?" she asks Rogue, looking over.

"Ok, hold on, transmitting the-" She taps something on the console. "Xandra gave some codes for the gate usage. Should save us any inspections."

The ship continues until a space station starts coming into view on the other side. A central pylon with spoke-and-wheel rings of various sizes up and down it. Soon, they're cruising in on an approach. "Claws are a last resort. Supposedly, this isn't quite full 'wretched hive of scum and villainy' territory, as its nominally Shi'ar controlled, but still. I've never seen you look lost or out of place, figure it'll still be true out here."

They arrive shortly later, navigating the docking process and settling on a small landing pad sticking out into a larger interior bay. It's pressurized with a magnetic shield on the space-side, but the interior is still large enough to see many ships navigating around between their berthings, or little drones moving cargo. Not far down the ramps, they'll note a passing trio of gray, reptile-skinned aliens, chattering away in their own language and paying the group no mind at all.

"So... where next, guys?" Yep. This is where Jean's expertise on the subject ends!

Emma Frost has posed:
Emma Frost would glance over at the others, and she would shrug, "Well.. I'll defer to the expertise of a man out of time and place that can somehow find his way to everything there is through stubborness and grit." She would gesture over at Logan. "I'll trust his instincts here over all of our own." She would glance at Franklin. "No offense intended." She would speak to the man that probably had more interstellar experience than most Green Lanterns did.

"Besides, nominally controlled can mean a great many things. It could mean merely that the place isn't important enough for a formal presence and so long as the bribes go through the system properly and the planet doesn't spontaneously explode, no one particularly cares." That's a consistency on Earth for how vassal states work after all. She sees no reason that it shouldn't work for the vast, galactic empire that is the Shi'Ar.

Now's the time at least for them to take thier step out to the next stage.. <<And let us hope that Xandra's codes don't put off any flags within the system. Easy enough for if Deathbird has sympathizers for them to get trickled back through the registry.>> That's waht she would do if she knew, after all.

Rogue has posed:
When they pop back out of the travel gateway, Rogue settles a little on her chair, her back straight (no crash webbing worn by her), and she glances over at Jean. "It makes me feel insignificant." She quietly tells her, as her eyes drop back down to the sensors, then up to the distant green world, and its orbiting station. "All of this makes me feel insignificant..." She further elaborates as she sets a recommended course.

"If they contact us in a strange language and ask for a passcode to land, I'm just gonna tell them the code is Hoochie Mamma, and gun it for the nearest landing berth. Hope for the best."

Thankfully, nobody asks for a landing code, and instead the X-Bird is piloted in to a smooth landing with little to no affair what so ever.

Rogue puts the ship in to standby, before she raises up, and gathers a small black leather jacket off of the back of her chair. "I don't think we need space helmets out there." She tells everyone, as she pulls the jacket on over her ebony flightsuit, tugging on the lapels to even it out over her body.

Once off the ship, Rogue is just standing there, watching the aliens as they stroll by, a even-lipped frown gracing her visage before she sweeps one of the white braids of hair back behind an ear.

"Lovely. I wonder what else we're about to run inta." The Belle mutters, trying hard to stay positive, but it's very hard for her! She's a child of Earth!

Tabitha Smith has posed:
"I'd guess like gate to gate, be like line of sight straightest path. No accidentally bouncing to into a supernova or flying through a star. Crop dusting stuff." Tabby shrugs her shoulders while she watches Rogue bring them in for an eventual landing.

"Sagan was a real balla. He'd a frakking loved this!" There's always some lag between changing speeds and the inertial dampeners kicking in. "Like you don't get a kick out of going really, really fast. We have bikes." she teases back at Logan. As for planning there's a hmm. "So like Terrans not getting out that far right? If one was here it'd be memorable right? So we find a bar or something. Space Booze, then listen about. Keep our brains open for 'Oh god more of them.' type stuff." she suggests. Putting all that telepathy to worth as much as Logan's sniffer.

At least now she can undo that bun and shake her hair loose. "Bet it's not all that different that what we see on earth. Just even more colors. But Street is Street anywhere."

Franklin Richards has posed:
Smiling, Franklin acknowledges Emma's subtle communication and then turns his gaze back to Logan, attempting to fathom the depth of experiences the rugged individual must have encountered. While the prospect of space is novel, it doesn't overshadow the weight of Logan's past endeavors. Gazing out of a side window, Franklin's expression remains cheerful as he takes in the array of technical equipment adorning the exterior of the ship. Content to leave these matters to the experts, he avoids unnecessary conversations with them.

From his pocket, he retrieves a universal translator and proceeds to pass it forward to Jean, his intention clear as he speaks, "This will come in handy when telepathy isn't an option. Just return it when you're finished." Assuming its user-friendliness, he refrains from detailing its usage. Uncertain whether Jean's intentions involve the station or deeper space, Franklin believes the translator will prove beneficial in either scenario. With a sigh, his attention turns to Rogue, and a playful note enters his voice as he addresses her, "And Rogue, just imagine the they are like Logan in the humor department, especially with the Shi'ar." He can't help but crack a grin, his suggestion carrying a lighthearted undertone.

As the ship transitions to standby mode, Franklin perceives their impending departure rather than further travel. Rising from his seat, he joins the group, directing a final comment towards Rogue, his voice brimming with enthusiasm, "Yeah, isn't this just amazing?" though he grins at Tabitha, as the things he could show her out her. Earth was just a small step in what was out there, but it was one of those things one must learn on their own.

Logan Howlett has posed:
"Never look lost or out of place, no, but usually I'm on the same planet and tryin' to blend in amongst reg'lar people. Don't think anyone's gonna mistake me for a bird man."

Logan considers what he's said for a second before he adjusts himself a little. Probably best not to talk about 'bird people' like that. He shrugs and tries to lean forward a little to see out through the front of the vessel.

"Maybe we'll see a moon man."

Jean Grey has posed:
Although Rogue seems uniquely impacted by the journey, Jean doesn't let her suffer alone. "Hey, they keep coming to visit our planet, right? At the very least, we're the sexy, attractive foreign destination. Like space France or something. Anyway, until I see an alien weirder looking than Glob Herman, I think we still win."

"The Shi'ar make some kind of inner, outer system distinction," she goes on to explain, as they get into the politics of the place. "Everywhere their gates reach is 'Imperial space,' but the parts outside the core can be a bit more independent, so long as the local governments toe the line, pay their taxes." Jean tilts her head to observe the 'gritty space aesthetic' interior in all its lack of grandeur. No fancy chrome. Far more Wars than Trek. "This is definitely 'outer.'"

<<That's a good point on Deathbird's people,>> she echoes mentally. <<We have to assume there's always a risk in dealing with Imperial forces.

"I'd have to asasume we stand out a bit," she agrees with Tabitha, as they now start to walk, down the platform and toward the exit from the landing bay. "Though we do look closer to Shi'ar than that last trio. Still, I'd put money on space racism being enough of a thing that a weird alien always stands out."

Taking Franklin's device, she is playing with the controls as they step out into the area beyond, which turns out to be some kind of long promenade running the diameter of the ring-wheel. Just as they do, the device starts blaring, as it translates a dozen signs, alien barkers, and blaring advertisements at once:







However, it does identify some more usual signs, like an information desk and directions to various station management offices. Also, at least a half-dozen of just the nearest signs are very clearly bars, even without using the translator. "If we want to try one of those? Just ask if they've seen any other aliens like us and go from there?"

Without any better idea on the table, Jean seems to go with Tabitha's. THE HORROR!

Emma Frost has posed:
Emma Frost takes a moment to glance over at the gun department, and goes to squint very, very tightly over at it as she notes.. 'A Company that Makes Everything Guns and Ammo'. This has to be where Cable shops from. And a smaller, smaller notice says 'Weapons provided by The Rob'. Ah, yes, definitely the sort of place that Cable would pick up weapons from. Emma Frsot moves to take a few steps away, glancing about just in case there are men/aliens about with vastly oversized shoulder pads, pouches, and badly proportioned anatomy. And for some reason having images in her mind of Tabitha looking ever, ever so hideous over in some sort of bright neon yellow thing.

<<What a lovely space we've come into. Very classy. It's like Madripoor but on the Mall of America>>

Rogue has posed:
While they walk, Rogue is zipping up her leather biker jacket over her form-fit spacesuit. She shoves her hands in to the pockets on the sides, and just gives the air of a casual visitor as she strolls along with her team. She does show a smirk over at Franklin. "You Richards' are way to chipper an' positive." She chides him, having met him and his sister before too.

Her eyes go forward then, as they step out in to the main thoroughfare of this section of the space station. It instantly makes her eyes widen. "God. Kitty. This is like heaven to you. Why aren't you here.." She says quietly, her green eyes just taking it all in.

It takes a moment, but she does eventually lean over toward Jean to bump shoulders with her and interrupt her as she plays with that nerdy tech thing. "Lets go find out what a Flork is?" She suggests with a playful grin.

A glance is sent over her shoulder, as she looks back to Logan. "Logan. Don't go too far. I need ya t'watch my back, make sure I don't get space trafficked by weirdos..." She comments, her stare going hard toward a three headed lizard man walking by with some strange blue and pink skinned females on his arms... four arms, of course.

"I'm gonna have nightmares now." The Belle softly murmurs.

Franklin Richards has posed:
Franklin's smile brightens as he reaches into his pocket, withdrawing a small pouch containing sleek, silvery objects. He approaches Logan with a conspiratorial tone, his words hushed for privacy, "These are units. Keep an eye on them. Maybe share with the others-I figure it is the safest in your hands. Think of it as currency." Casting a discreet glance at the rest of the group, he shifts his gaze around, amiably waving at any curious alien who happens to meet his eye before they retreat, possibly thinking him eccentric.

Next, Franklin strolls up to Rogue, a quizzical expression dancing across his features as he remarks, "I wonder if they're indicating these are for the boys." He shakes his head, bemused by the thought. This kind of situation reinforces his preference for focusing on his tasks in space. With his interaction complete, Franklin takes a step back from the group, seeking out a more shaded area with subdued lighting. An unfamiliar energy tugs at his senses, not a mental pull but a resonance of energy. He feels compelled to investigate, his curiosity piqued. As he departs, he leaves the group engrossed in their discussion, his distraction and intrigue leading him toward the source of this enigmatic wavelength.

Tabitha Smith has posed:
"Well we probably also pass for pink Kree. Maybe not that pink." Tabby hmms and grins when one two female presenting people hang of the arm of a repltiloid. "Though we do still stand out even on Earth. Girl Posse, dragging one of their dads and brothers along to carry all the shopping." she points out.

"So uhh, do we like have money? For like buying food and stuff. I mean sure I'm gonna go walk into what I think may be a strip club. Or it could be a bordello. Working stiffs gotta unwind somehow. So we might not have to buy drinks but waitresses love tips anywhere. Overworked and underpaid is universal." she's already psyching herself up to get groped and harassed. A lot of things are universal.

"Maybe try the arms dealers after. Uprisings without guns kinda don't get past the leaflets and posters stage. Coup Coup de tat."

Jean Grey has posed:
"Oh, of _course_ you wanna see the florks." Jean's reaction comes with a certain sense of mixed amusement and exasperation. "Complain all the way here, but all it takes is some alien Chippendales and you're ready to-"

She does a bit of a take at the multi-headed, multi-armed, possibly multi they don't want to know'd creature goes by. She tries not look impressed (by him or the pink-n-blues). "Spiral's got him beat. Then again, just think what he can do with all of those at once..."

The question of money is definitely a basic one. Basic enough that it had to be part of the mission profile. "Our Princess gave me something that should work to access, I guess it's a slush fund for their intelligence people." She looks around in the vicinity of that 'EXCHANGE' sign, and not surprisingly, there do look to be terminals nearby that might work for withdrawing money. They have fliers posted near them advertising yet more services. Loans. Bail bonds. All kinds of things you might associate with cash. And of course:


In any event, Jean is in the proces sof making a withdrawl as Franklin once again seems ahead of the game on this. "What are-? Well, we can try these too. Never know what different kinds of currency they prefer around here."

As far the plans go? She /looks/ at Tabitha for a while, as if searching for a reason that she shouldn't approve such a visit as a necessary part of the mission... before relenting. "No, you're absolutely right. But take Emma with you? I don't want any of us too split up around here. Let's keep it brief if we can, too, and meet back out here."

Of course, the 'don't go it alone' command doesn't apply to Logan, who's already found his way to one of the bars. Or, apparently, to Franklin, who isn't technically on the team and is doing his own space-boy adventures!

Emma Frost has posed:
Emma Frost would go to glance over at the bail bondsman for a moment. "What off Earth.." She goes to let out a sigh and rolls her eyes, gonig to simply move to take an infodump in the local culture and some of the languages over from the natives. And expressing a look of distaste over at what she was getting at. While passing along..
    "Don't try and hire the local defense attorney. He seems like the type that Mister Da Costa would have in his employ were he to get into things off planet." Emma deadpans over like that comment makes any sense in or out of context. But oh yes, she has a sense of things.
    She goes to walk towards Jean and Tabitha. "So, now that we're here are we supposed to spread ou tand search in teams or draw attention to ourselves? Or do we have any plans beyond wandering about obliviously and seeing if some of the locals try to eat us?"
    Over in the background is someone that appears almost vaguely human, wearing a large overcoat, top hat.. And far, far too many scarfs. More colorful scarfs than should be able to exist upon one body. A result of a crazed knitter being left in a clothing store overnight.

Rogue has posed:
"I'm tryin' t'be positive here, Sugah..." Rogue says to Jean as the redhead starts to withdraw money from that weird terminal. She started saying it on Jean's left side, but swept herself around behind her and finished saying it in her right ear. She leans back against some of the advertisements then, her eyes on the walking bodies of oddities, her hands still in the pockets of her jacke, with one booted foot up behind her, thrusting her knee out in front of her.

She watched Logan venture in to the bar, and could see through it a few ladies all walking along ontop of said bar within said bar. Each one of them has red hair, and long, long legs. It all adds up now, and it all makes Rogue smirk.

She glances over at Jean. "I'm gonna go find out what a Flork is. Stop judgin' me." She states, hip bumping Jean before heading off. "I'm on comms,, incase your brain stuff is blurred in here." What with all the damn living beings milling about.

Rogue navigates her way through them, her shoulders being used as 'get out of my way' bumpers with the various creatures, aliens, and whatevers, that are blocking her from the Flork establishment.

When she arrives at its doors, she smiles at the bouncer outside it, not having any idea how to communicate with them, Rogue just smiles.. and then darts through the doorway, unsure of whether he'll try and stop her or not!

Tabitha Smith has posed:
There's a grin at Emma and then to Jean for making the suggestion of buddy rules. They might be splitting the party but when more than half the squad are psionics is it really a split.

"I bet the stripper poles are weird like crazy straws. Probably gonna feel like old times for ya Emma." she teases back to the other blonde.

The worry about eating people gets a chuckle. "Given value of eating." she giggles. Hopefully it's the fun kind but alas she'd have to turn it down. Questioning the girls they find working. Some of which are actually just wait staff, there's more than a few eyes, hands, and tendrils aimed at the two. Thankfully Tabby seems to be reigning in her temper.

Between Franklin and Jean's contributions to possible funds. Boom-Boom can at least attempt to order drinks for herself and the White Queen. Whether Emma drinks is a different matter.

The attempts at chatting up locals gets a few differing responses. One female calling their phenotype gross. Not enough limbs, or eyes. Others a mix of responses. But one a orange-ish gelatinous blob seems to be very friendly. Enough that they actually drag Tabby into it's mass. As it begins to talk about friendly humanoids they've met. One with a Mephistoid often on his arm. The mental image of a human space pirate type and a way too sexy white furred cat girl that's actually a skunk but does anyone care?

Of course while Tabby floats in the  living gooshe tries to process but may be distracted. <<They're getting like... everywhere in this suit. And it feels like a grandma hug! The good kind of grandma that spoils you.>> not that she has experience with that but she knows the differences.

Franklin Richards has posed:
As Franklin strolls away, he rounds a corner, perhaps failing to be as vigilant as he should have been. His typical mode of popping in and out doesn't lend itself well to exploration or tourism. Due to this lapse in attention, he doesn't notice a guard swiftly throw a sack over him, quickly closing it shut while announcing, "We've got another one." Inside the sack, Franklin's muffled voice questions the situation, though the lack of a translator - having given it to Jean - leaves both him and the captors in the dark. Despite his confusion, Franklin resists by kicking and squirming, his determination to break free evident.

However, his efforts only earn him a stern shake from the guard, who shouts something at him. Strangely, the sack remains intact, and the guard refrains from using physical force. Instead, the guard holds the sack out almost reluctantly, displaying a sense of weariness as if dealing with such matters is an unpleasant chore. Knowing the potential consequences of utilizing his powers, Franklin reluctantly refrains from employing them, choosing to remain seated calmly within the sack as he contemplates his next move.

The guard remarks on the appearance of yet another "riff raff" who has managed to sneak on board, expressing frustration at the growing number of intruders as he turns off the trap shutting down the thing Franklin was detecting. His intention is to escort Franklin to a holding area where other children have been left or sneaked on. Franklin's youthful visage seems to contribute to the assumption that he's one of the strays, attempting to scavenge for sustenance among the crowd of unfamiliar faces.

Inside the sack, Franklin ponders his options, acutely aware of his limited abilities in this situation. He's unable to use his powers or call for help without embarassing himself fully. Thus, he remains seated within the confines of the sack, quietly deliberating as he hears the guard's footsteps moving again though of course he can not see where.

Jean Grey has posed:
Jean is left standing there as people abandon her to scramble in every which direction! So much for careful plans. And nevermind where her glorious team seems to put it's priorities. There is a much worn-upon sigh, before she sets stoically after Rogue. It'd look pretty bad if she let Rogue get sex trafficked by aliens on their very first trip!

So, a few seconds later, she hurries past the same bouncer.

Inside, she discovers Rogue face to face with the glory of the Flork. Which, in polite and scientific terms, is apparently a member of a species with trinary reproduction. In his case, maybe it's not a coincidence it rhymes with fork? In any event, this will be a pivotal moment in Rogue's relationship with the larger universe. Can she grapple with what she has seen?!

Jean focused on fetching her from the somewhat acrobatic show, while not but a couple doors over, Tabitha is likewise well-engrossed in her information gathering.

Literally so, in fact.

Which leaves Franklin out on the promenade to notice what's happening. Or... not, maybe, as he ends up suddenly kidnapped by what might be totally unrelated thuggery.

What he might have noticed, otherwise, is the patrol of Shi'ar troopers that make their way down the street (quite separate of whatevere thugs grabbed him!). Although their appearance here is not in and of itself unusual, the way some of the locals react, slipping away inside nearby shops, shuffling away, or simply looking in other directions, suggests something beyond the usual.

Jean doesn't have eyes on the street, so she only has her telepathy to make sense of things. <<That... actually sounds nice Tabitha, but do you think you've got everything useful? Franklin, where did you->>

Emma Frost has posed:
There's a hum of conversation over back and forth from Emma and Tabitha as they talk with some of the girls. "Well, I have the personal transmitter of Eccentrica Gallumbits. She's not present here. She's apparently so large she has her own planet. And they have to use orbits to chart her." Emma's going to casually list over these sorts of things which she's become innured to.
    "We did manage to pick up a few things.." She goes to share images over of a familiar'ish looking white furred alien, and a grizzled man with an overly sized mustache and a body armor that was known for being a deep space pillager and pirate. "The Starjammers have been here rather frequently and busienss has picke dup quite a bit from the locals.." She's not aware of anything going on outside.
    "And no, Tabitha, I don't think we can finance a trip to send you to Eroticon Six either. Even calling it for research p urposes."

Rogue has posed:
When Jean finds Rogue, the Belle is just standing there, staring... her expression one of utter disbelief. Soon, Jean is pulling on her arm, the material of her black leather jacket making that squeaky leathery noise as the redhead tries to pull the nearly immovable object that is Rogue. Finally, though, her green eyes do meet Jean's own. "Space is a god damn trip..." Rogue says before covering her mouth with her gloved right hand and letting Jean lead her out of the joint.

She does spare one glance back over her shoulder before she just starts laughing through her gloved hand over her lips.

By the time they're back out on the clogged street outside, Rogue doesn't know Franklin was taken, or that there were any troublesome situations unfolding.

Why would someone randomly kidnap Franklin? He's just a cute lil bunny boy, as far as Rogue views him at least...

Tabitha Smith has posed:
It's when Tabby's spacesuit starts dissolving that maybe she has to try and swim out before the gelatinous being releases her with an apology. She might have gotten a bit peckish. Luckily it seems it feeds of the material of the suit more than human. Which once on her own feet, it'll only be normal walking Tabitha does and not space walking.

It it leaves her with a few holes, some of which reveals cleavage. But otherwise looking like she'd been slimed. At smelling like breakfast marmalade.

<<So like we totes got human sightings. I think, but not like we can just wait around here for them to show and say <<Hi, know anything about mutants in space?'.>> she laments. Even staying here is probably not on the tables for a working vacay. <<Weeee could maybe put word out we're interested in hiring. Maybe speed things up, get them come to Earth. Unless they like managed to get beef with like whoever actually runs space security stuff back home.>>

Franklin Richards has posed:
The individual clutching the sack halts abruptly, concealed from the passing guards. With such a delay, they wait, holding their position as Jean establishes contact with Franklin. He lets out a resigned sigh, mentally responding to Jean's query, <I'm reluctant to admit it...> After a momentary pause, he conveys his predicament in a voice tinged with embarrassment, <I believe I've been apprehended. I'm currently inside a sack.> Despite the mental connection, the bystanders and the person holding the sack remain oblivious to his communication, safeguarding against unnecessary attention. Franklin hesitates before adding, <I can escape, but it'll likely be noisy.> He's wary of inciting an intergalactic incident and thus wishes to exercise caution.

While confined within the sack, Franklin's amusement emerges audibly through laughter, finding a degree of entertainment in his unexpected plight. His laughter is cut short by an elbow nudge from the person holding the sack, a silent reprimand for maintaining silence. This individual remains discreet, avoiding the gaze of the passing guards, their purpose clear ? to discreetly reunite Franklin with the others considered as "riff-raff."

In a more lighthearted tone, Franklin mentally relays another message to Jean, with the assurance that Emma will pick it up too due to her unique abilities, <Appreciate the invite. I must admit, this has turned out to be quite the captivating adventure.> His words carry a sincere note, devoid of any sarcasm. No-one on earth would kidnap him anymore, and the absence of his father's lectures and Ben's vigilant watch has granted him a taste of unburdened exploration and excitement. Franklin did wonder how the others were doing, but figured a place like this must be awesome as all the old worries of earth were far far away now. Even this wasn't because he was a mutant, or so Franklin thought at least.

Jean Grey has posed:
"It's not polite to laugh!" Jean scolds Rogue on the way out, although she's so caught up in the moment that the giggles prove infectious. There's a lot of elbow-nudging, 'no you stop laughing,' and what not. Needless to say, they're both very caught up in the rather absurd moment!

Which leads them to sort of stumble out into the patrol of troopers standing there.


Given that they're standing at the entrance of some kind of stripclub, she goes for the obvious 'stealth' move and turns around to kiss Rogue! Nothing to see here, just some horny makeouts in front of the one stop hot Flork shop!

And then there's Emma and Tabitha, who come out looking like, well, Emma and Tabitha. Except with a half-disolved spacesuit. <<Tabitha! Hide! They might be looking->>

The fact that Franklin is somehow simultaneously in different (???) trouble is almost a mental overload. <<If you can get yourself free without seriously blowing anything up, it might be a good idea. We ran into some station security back on the pomenade, trying our best not to get made.>>

The troopers are definitely doing a search, now. They have 3-head, and demand to examine his pink-skinned lady.

Emma Frost has posed:
And -ugh-. This is all so beneath her. But Emma does go to focus for a moment as she moves to switch over to diamond form. She looks completely different that way, doesn't need to breathe. . And is far more expensive than the riff-raff about after all. And she's perfect, crystalized..
    THen going up and over towards her is some sort of giant.. Cricket? Or cockroach. It eyes her up and down. "Aren't yoou a chip off the old rock? I'd love to try and get to stone you.." Either the translator was fritzing or apparently bad pickup lines were universal among cultures as Emma's face has a look of raw pain on it.
    "Fine, Ms. Smith." Emma goes to pick up Tabitha if she can, and then goes to drop the girl in the gooey spacesuit over on the head of the large alien bug that's propositioning her. At the very least, no one is going to be looking /up/ that high, hopefully.

Rogue has posed:
"I thought it was gonna be like space kittens, a total subverted expectations kinda thing!" Rogue is saying as she's still laughing. "I didn't think it'd be--" And kiss. At first her eyes go wide, but then she's just lost in it.

Needless to say it draws a lot of attention around them, gross Humans or not, aliens like a show like anyone else. There's even a bit of grumbly cheering as long as it lasts, and a few seconds afterward too.

When all is said and done, Rogue's gloved hands are on Jean's shoulders, and she gives them a affectionate squeeze. "You Hellcat." Rogue says in a teasing sort of quiet tone.

She draws her right hand back to fan at herself then, brushing wind across her xposed neck. "What are we doin' here again?" She asks, anyone within ear-shot.

"I suddenly can't remember... why we even came out here..."

Tabitha Smith has posed:
The effects of the goo all over her, and maybe what the helll supercharged alien booze she chugged might have started kicking in while Emma stays painfully sober dealing with her partner. Or being in mind shot of Jean and Rogue trying to look inconspicuous while also being Jean and Rogue being hot.

FGrom her new perch, not that Tabby weighs that much that Emma should struggle to lift or the alien to hold her up.

Tabby just does something fun and uses that telepathy to nudge an argument the telepaths can sense outside to just maybe start throwing whatever passes for hands at each other and start a brawl that should totally require security to intervene and break up to the lamentation of any onlookers and anyone about to make a bet.

<<Soo, like you two gonna be doing that all the way home? Logan, Frankie, think we're straight good to like bail for now. We'll try and grab Flork Porn for our ladies on the way back to the ship, meet ya's there!>> Even drunk and possibly high she kinda knows when to extricate herself.

Franklin Richards has posed:
Franklin lets out a resigned sigh, directing his gaze towards the sack holding him. "I realize you can't comprehend me, but I'm genuinely sorry," he murmurs, his words lost on the person handling the sack. In a swift motion, Franklin snaps his fingers, prompting the individual to halt and sniff the air suspiciously. A sense of alarm overtakes them, and they hurriedly open the bag, frantically searching for the source of the supposed smoke. However, when the bag is finally opened, it reveals nothing but Franklin himself. He advises simply, <You might want to shield your eyes.> As the bag opens wider, a brilliant blue light spills forth.

Ordinarily, an expansive outdoor setting might have absorbed the impact of such a flash, but within the confines of the station, the intense blue radiance proves overwhelming. The individual clutching the sack cries out, dropping it in surprise, and stumbling over their own feet as they scramble to distance themselves from the blinding light. Now standing above this person, Franklin narrows his eyes and raises his snapping fingers in an indignant stance. "Your actions are going to get me into trouble," he chides with a mix of frustration and annoyance, although he pauses briefly, his attention diverted.

Unfortunetly the warning was not to everyone, as a few alien looking individuals were flashed as only the ones with second eye covers, wether natrual or man made, were safe. Franklin sighs, "Oh man... I knew I put too much into that." he just looks around looking for the others, and seeing the security as well. "Oh well that isn't good is it."

Jean Grey has posed:
Cheers from onlookers, while affirming, may not have been what Jean was going for in terms of 'stealth.' However, combined with a little telepathic nude from Tabitha, the situation out front gets increasingly raucous. There is a lot happening at once. The three-headed fellow isn't keen on his lady being harassed (nor mistaken for whatever gross alien a 'human' is!), and it seems he not quite as eager to scurry away as some of the other onlookers. No, he is a very important weird alien, and he will lodge a complaint with the station chief!

Three-headed, four-armed, totally pimping alien Karen wants to speak to the manager!

"It was a distraction!" Jean is meanwhile telling Rogue, who seems takes the whole thing as a very exciting space date. "We were- nevermind. This way!" Along with Tabitha, she's definitely decided the best thing they can do in this situation is just to leave. The other team got some info from the non-Flork area, that's good enough!

Hand-in-hand, Jean leads Rogue on a weaving path through the crowds, using her own subtle telepathy to keep anyone from hitting them, the crowd as a cloak. The Shi'ar aren't dumb about telepathy, but it's a subtle application.

Less subtle is a trooper who steps out into their direct path, only to collapse with a CLUNK as Logan steps out behind him, holding a nearly-empty and apparently very sturdy alien booze mug. "Time to go?"

"Time to go," echoes Jean.

Through whatever shenanigans, they can maneuver their way back to the nearby hangar access. Emma is pretty indistinguishable from some kind of rock alien, after all, which is decidedly not what they're looking for, and the rest of the chaos serves Tabitha as well as it did Jean. And Franklin? Well, he just gave a bunch of poor aliens their own Space Lawyer dramatic origin story.

By the time they make it onto the SR-X, they may have concerns about station security stopping the ship, but nothing does. It may leave certain political questions and uncertainties. Just how far up the disloyalty and factionalism goes at this, or any other station. Maybe it was just those troopers. Who's to say.

"I'm glad you got something out of all that mess," Jean is telling Tabitha, as she settles down to the controls. "I have no idea about contacting these people. But the only other humans anyone seems to know out in this part of the local group... maybe they know something."