3859/X-MEN: The Halloween Noise

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X-MEN: The Halloween Noise
Date of Scene: 19 October 2020
Location: Pennsylvania Woodlands
Synopsis: The X-Men do battle with the forest, and some of its mythical (maybe not so mythical?) creatures that roam it! They also deal with a really crappy anti-mutant step mom and a dad who was maybe a bit oblivious.
Cast of Characters: Rogue, Kitty Pryde, Remy LeBeau, Jean Grey, Henry McCoy, Noriko Ashida, Ororo Munroe

Rogue has posed:
It was a dark and stormy night...

Halloween was just around the corner...

Our heroes were settling in for the evening, when their benevolent host, Professor Charles Xavier, sent out a message that he needed an X-Men team to form up in the Blackbird to set out on an emergency mission to a wooded area in Pennsylvania!

When the team boarded the jet, they were able to settle in before the briefing came across the jet's internal comms.

Charles' voice filled the air. "I'm glad that you've all gathered for this. I believe we have a number of young children who've gotten themselves in to a bad situation. Several of them appear to be mutants as well. They were all inside of a van with the parents of two of the children, the van broke down and the parents claim that something from inside the woods took the children. I can vaguely find their locations via Cerebero, but I need you, my X-Men, to locate them and get them back safely to their parents, and stop whatever danger seems to be tracking them for ... whatever nefarious purposes."

The flight continues to the designated location, the Van is parked on a lonesome road, surrounded by trees... Its headlights are on and the parents are standing outside of the driver's side, clutching flashlights and shouting in to the darkness, shouting names! Likely of the children!

Kitty Pryde has posed:
Kitty Pryde and Lockheed exit the plane once it is down. The woods are cool, and she's wearing her uniform which is fortunately good against cooler weather. In truth it's probably better than summer when the unstable molecules hold in the sweat!

She begins heading over towards the van and the two parents. "Hello, we came to help," she offers to them as she approaches. "We were led here by someone who said the children were taken by something or someone?" she asks, looking from the woman to the man and back.

Kitty gives them a reassuring look. "Can you tell us about what happened? In as much detail as you remember? How many kids are there? How did it go down? What did you see exactly, and what can you tell us about who did it?" she asks them.

Remy LeBeau has posed:
Remy is here as he moves with the others; his hand is resting on his deck of cards. Dealing up a mean game of solitaire on the ride, the cards are placed in a pocket as they arrive. He stands moving for the plane exit leaping off with a twirl in the air."Let's get dis show on the road, no?"

His hand is reaching forward to rub at his five more like 9 o'clock shadow on his chin, as he moves forward with the others."Kitty, you take point; you're smarter than Remy."

Jean Grey has posed:
Jean had been enjoying a very cozy autumn night, curled up on the sofa with some warm cider in defiance of the storm, and reading a good book. A perfectly charming, seasonally appropriate evening in the equally scenic, nostalgic setting of the majestic school building, amidst the wind-tossed and yet no less brilliant colors of fall on the Hudson.

So of course, something has to go wrong!

Jean's hardly angry, though, hardly bothered. Children in trouble, mutants or not, it tugs at the heart strings, and no sooner than she's heard, the book is forgotten, the warm, cozy comfort cast aside, and all she wants to do is help them. The answer Xavier gets is equally definitive: "We'll find them, Charles."

Some minutes later, she is aboard the Blackbird, fuzzy sweater exchanged for her bodysuit, although she also brings a long jacket to wear over it. A few more, and they're on the ground. Immediately, instinctively, she reaches out for their minds, for all the minds, if we're being honest, that may wander on that dark night. No one deserves to be out and alone in it.

Kitty immediately covers the important questions, and she stands just behind her smiling. With few more details worth gathering, she just offers support: "I know it must be terribly frightening, but we'll do everything we can."

Henry McCoy has posed:
The Beast was on edge tonight. Too many things happen on Halloween - and with this alert, children in trouble? He's quiet the whole way over, different from his normal talkative self. It's not self-reflection either - those who know him can read the aggravation in his body language.

Once the Blackbird sets down, he's one of the first off the plane. He crouches low, not approaching the adults at the moment. He's scenting the air and the area, trying to see what he can determine by his keen senses.

Noriko Ashida has posed:
Noriko's usual uniform is sleeveless, but she opted to attach the zippered sleeves this time.  She trails along behind her elders so she can have a wider view of the area on approach, scanning.  Then she walks a little bit away from the group without a word and closes her eyes, remaining completely still as she tries to slooowly increase her electricity absorption.  She's trying to see if she can feel the presence or direction of anything like a Nintendo Switch, anything.  "Do any of them have anything with batteries or anything in them," she briefly interrupts herself.

Rogue has posed:
It's a tall man with graying hair, dressed nicely, and a shorter woman with dark brown hair, dressed also nicely. They look like your classic archetypal parents. They both shine their flashlights over toward the arriving X-Men. "Where did you come fro---" the woman starts to say but the man breaks her off.

"You're with Charles Xavier." He states. "My name is Hayden Fisher. I worked with Charles briefly, years ago." The woman looks at him with confusion, then he explains. "I called him, because this seems... unlike what the police can help with, you know what I mean, Jessica."

The woman looks distraught, her light beam flashing to him, then back to the X-Men. "There's five of them, we were taking them to our cabin in the woods. Just... to give them a classic Halloween experience. Tell ghost stories by the campfire, you know, give them an experience away from the damn city."

The man interrupts her again. "Something attacked the van." He shines his light at the back wheel. It popped the tire. When we stopped and got out to see, the kids... vanished. It was like the trees just picked them up and carried them off."

Now the woman interrupts HIM! "And the sounds, the god damn noises!" She points her light out to the trees. "Listen!"

Out in the woods, to the east, there's the sound of distant talking. It sounds like voices over a loud speaker, bouncing off of the trees and weaving its sound waves through the swaying leaves. "What /is/ that? There's nothing up this far north that should be making that kind of sound, its why we bought this cabin in the first place."

The man shines his light toward Noriko. "They have their phones, or... did. But they're all shut off. Not answering our calls or texts."

Remy LeBeau has posed:
Remy chuckles slowly watching the woman, with a shake of his head."Liar to liar, you are not very good at this game, no." His voice is cold, as he pushes up, slowly staring into her eyes, as his hand is brought out a card slowly it glows."Now tell me the truth, and we will move on with our night, or don't I get fun." With that, he flicks the card towards a tree at explodes, taking it down in a burst of kinetic power of power."You pick please, no."

Kitty Pryde has posed:
The mention of Charles Xavier gets a nod from Kitty. "Yes, he's the one who sent us," she agrees with the man. She falls quiet as they tell the tale of the abduction. "Were the kids inside the van, or out, when they were taken?" she asks. "And, just gone, no crying out or anything at all. Just turned back and they were gone?" she confirms.

Kitty turns back, looking to the older members of the team. Her face is determined. She always has a soft spot for kids. Seeing them in danger angers the Jewish girl. "What do you think? Hank see if he can find any signs of them first that we can track? And if not, go and investigate the sounds?" she asks.

The young woman looks towards Beast as he's scenting the area and looking for the kind of signs that would probably escape her. "Any luck, Hank?"

Jean Grey has posed:
"Dr. Jean Grey," Jean introduces herself, in an echo of this Hayden Fisher. "Professor Xavier is a dear friend and colleague, you did well to contact him as we do have experience with... this sort of thing. We'll find them."

In a sense, Jean already -has- found them, although she doesn't immediately announce the fact to the parents, cautious of their expectations, as they might well be in serious danger. Rather, she communicates the fact to her teamates, via the very same method. <I can feel them, off in the direction of the noises. I think they're alright. There's definitely something else out there with them, more than your average stray coyote, but I can't get a good sense of what it is.>

She offers the parents another smile. "We're going to go out looking. I might suggest you drive back to town, just in case whatever it is might return and bother you, and we can meet you there. Otherwise, at least stay in your vehicle, and lock the doors."

She turns immediately to head off the road into the forest to the East, although she glances back at Kitty and then from her to Hank with her suggestion. <Lets get a little distance from the parents. Do you see anything, Hank?>

Henry McCoy has posed:
There's a nod and a grunt from Henry - clearly he's been taking lessons from Logan. There's a scowl at the exploding tree, glaring at Gambit. "That's not helping." He says, shaking his head to clear the ringing in his ears. He gets lower to the ground, nodding in a direction - likely where said voices are echoing from.

"That way." Is his response, the man starting to move in the direction - accompanied or not.

Noriko Ashida has posed:
<<I can scout,>> Noriko offers impulsively and follows up with her second thought, <<But I'd likely alert them because they'd hear me crunching leaves and twigs,>> underfoot.  This kind of 1-2 thinking aloud while she's all charged up isn't uncommon for the girl, but at least she reaches some sound conclusions.

Nori takes off at super speed with what seems like instant acceleration.  She slows down to pace with the head of the pack of the others so she can hear any communication not said over comms.

Rogue has posed:
The card trick, and the words, from the Cajun make the woman shine her light on him. "W-what? I'm concerned about these children, I'll have you know. I don't need some--" She looks him over. "Some beatnik hipster like you questioning my intent--"

The man she's with puts his hand on her shoulder. He looks to Remy. "Jess is new to the family. We've only been together for a month. My kids are struggling to connect with her." He tries to explain what Remy might've been noticing. "This trip was meant to help foster that kinship."

He looks to Kitty then. "They got out before I did, they broke the child lock on the van door a year ago. The two youngest trailed after the older thre toward the woods. We only saw glimpses of them getting taken by the trees... I've never seen anything like it."

Hayden turns to look to Jean, he offers her his hand and a smile in the dim ambient light. "Dr. Grey." He says. "Charles has mentioned you in some of our e-mail conversations. He speaks very highly of you." Hayden glances to Jessica who looks at him with a bit of an accusatory glare, he ignores it.

With Hank and Noriko heading toward the forest, Nori runs right past Beast and he'll be the first to see it, as soon as she darts past the initial line of trees, the others just inside it start to reach down to traby to grab Noriko!

Kitty Pryde has posed:
Kitty reiterates what they said. "So you mean the trees /literally/ took them, not just... that they disappeared. Branches moving," she says, having perhaps taken it the first time for a manner of speech and not an actual detail.

Kitty glances around at the trees and reaches up to pat Lockheed where he rests on her shoulder. "Let's not start a forest fire though if it comes to fighting them," she tells the dragon softly.

She moves over to follow the rest, letting Beast lead the way as he seems to get a scent or something. "Jean any idea what their mental state is? Afraid or calm or the like?" she is asking the other woman, when suddenly the trees start moving.

"Surge, watch out," she says as she sees branches start to reach down towards the electric speedster. "The branches!"

Jean Grey has posed:
Oh jeez they respond to an emergency call and she's already causing relationship drama. That might even be a record for her! Jean gives the parents a big smile. Jessica especially. "We'll contact you as soon as we know anything more. For now, please, just look out for yourself." But that aside, it's off into the woods they go!

As they walk, and at Kitty's question, she lightly lifts and holds two fingers to her temple, focusing her thoughts. Truth is that maybe she is a little rusty on field work, with her responsibilities at the school these days, and its a lot of ground to cover. But things come into focus more clearly, and she's quick to share with her teamates. <It feels like the children are out playing. Typical hide and go seek, some of them having fun, some, probably the younger ones, frightened. It doesn't feel like they're in the sort of terror you'd expect if they were under attack, though. Nor any pain.>

Which is good news!

Trees immediately going grabby-hands is less so! Now she starts jogging after her teamates, although she lacks any of the physical enhancement to cover the ground quite so quickly.

Henry McCoy has posed:
While not running as fast as Noriko, he's making good time. His natural grace and speed are put to good use, leaping up into the trees and moving through the canopy as quickly as he could. He does keep relatively visable, knowing people are following. Good? Bad? It's hard to say - though when a tree reach out for Noriko, he grumbles. Figures.

A swing up and over some of the upper branches, and he launches himself towards the grabby trees!

Ororo Munroe has posed:
The skies above shift, and the hint of a storm is above and about. From where there should be no people, two lightning-clad eyes look down on the treetops. The damage to the Green could not be ignored, though it makes her feel ill, as Ororo Munroe responds to the darkness she's felt.

Arms wide, the outfit molds itself to the wind that holds her in the sky. She hovers, she watches. She bares a slight snarl, as this is not the place for these magics to grow. This is my forest, she thinks.

And she bends her will to parting the trees, so she can see below.

Noriko Ashida has posed:
Noriko's speed has crept up there, but she can still make out what others are saying.  Unfortunately, she has to parse Kitty's warning in retrospect.  Plus the trees have impeccable timing.  They snatch her up only once they are in her peripheral vision, but she has only a split moment (even for her at those speeds) to see them...too late.

"SHIT!" Nori yells at chipmunk speed.  Her heartbeat spikes and electricity starts to ripple all over her body as she tries just to contain it.  She can't use her powers till she has control over it, something she's learned the hard way at the expense of others.

Rogue has posed:
The father looks to Kitty and shakes his head. "I don't know how to explain it beyond that. I'm... not used to this kind of stuff. I'm a lawyer, not a ... lumberjack. I tried to go after them, but they knocked me back." He points at the mud all over the back of his docker slacks!

Jessica huffs, indignantly at Hayden.

"Be careful." Hayden warns before he starts back to working on the busted tire of the van, the spare 'donut' tire laying on the ground as he crouches down to start to deal with the lug nuts and the tire stuffs. Jessica stands beside him clutching herself and shining her light toward the woods. "These people are going to get themselves in trouble next." She grunts, annoyance on her tone.

"They're capable people, dear." Hayden replies with a sigh as he changes the tire with the donut! "We'll fix the van and get moving, like the pretty red head told us to."

Jessica kicks his mud caked butt with her heeled shoe. He yelps!

Hank, Heroic Hank...

A big tree hand reaches out to try to catch The Beast as he tries to Tarzan his way through the trees to help Noriko! Hank and Noriko are their primary targets at the moment, as they were the first to arrive within the forest's edge.

Ororo will see the forest moving toward where Hank and Nori are being converged upon, like the trees have come to life from a Tolkien novel. Ororo, with her birds-eye-view will also see lights further east in the wood, fire in fact, like a few campfires are lit. There's something moving around in the center of the campfires too, and its the source of that strange noise...

Voices coming from it, like a loud speaker in the dimly lit campsites.

Kitty Pryde has posed:
Kitty watches as the trees start to make a move after Beast as well. "Oh this didn't go well for Saruman as I remember," she says. "I'll go help them if they need it," she says, and motions for Lockheed to take off. He does, flapping his wings and climbing into the sky, but staying away from the forest that is moving for the time being.

Kitty runs forward, heading towards Noriko. "I'm coming Surge, just hang on," she says. With how fast Noriko moves, it's going to take Kitty a bit to get to her, even sprinting. When she does though she'll be offering a hand out so she can phase Noriko out of the grabby branches of the trees that have hold of her.

Jean Grey has posed:
<'Roro, I have a sense of the children's positions, can you feel it? Maybe you can get to them more directly and make sure they're OK.>

But, continuing to focus on the children, something else occurs to Jean. There's something peculiar about all of this, that they're safe and (relatively) playful even as the woods seem so violently inclined. At first, she might have thought the parents had imagined things, but the reaction to Hank and Noriko makes their story seem much more literally plausible. Which leaves her with another thought. "I wonder..."

She focuses, and reaches out, touching one of the more frightened of the children directly. <Hello? Can you hear me?> There's a lot of warmth to that psychic 'voice,' not just an emulation of a warm tone in its mental equivalent, but calming emotional resonance to go with it, friendliness, comfort. <I'm a friend of your parents, they called us because they're worried about you. Are you alright?> And then, after a pause... <What happened, why did you come out here? Are you running away? Did one of the other children make you?>

She may only be a mother in the multiversal, other timelines and dimensions sense, but she... has an instinct about this.

Noriko Ashida has posed:
"GET BACK!" Nori shouts at Hank and anyone else.  "I CAN'T-"  But that's it.  That's all Surge gets out before she has to let go.  There's an exertion to holding it all in when she's battling a physiological response.  There's a burst of blue light as dense bolts explode out of her body in all directions, one replacing the other as another creating a fast strobe effect for anyone with the vision to detect the gaps.

At least she managed to make the bolts dense.  It reduces the range but at a danger to herself in this situation.

Ororo Munroe has posed:
The little dragon is welcomed to the skies. She shifts the winds to help it gain altitude, though it is the least of her worries just now. Ororo trusts those below to be able to help themselves, and cascades toward the focal point. She has to know, what is going on here?

Without the threat of trees breaking her vision or path, she is easily able to traverse distance. There are benefits to these things, and though she knows that there are people in trouble below, she is also getting that feeling from up ahead.

So she approaches the fires, to know what is needed. And perhaps to stall it til her teammates can arrive.

Henry McCoy has posed:
Trees?! No Beast is going to be foiled by flora! The agile man dives between the branches, smashing through the others that intercede - his strength being amped up in his current state. Splinters, sap, leaves and pine needles begin to rain down as his path takes him closeer to Noriko. Momentum being what it is, he has no option to divert as he hurtles in her direction. She won't be bowled over - his landing was to the left of her.

But it does not allow him the opportunity to avoid the blue bolts flashing out of Surge's frame.

The Beast is hurtled back, crashing into a non-animated tree with a crack and a thump.

Rogue has posed:
The trees /see/ Kitty and start to /reach/ for her too. But they can't compete with that kind of power, that phasing kind. Kitty's able to slip right through the 'hands' of the tree limbs that seem befuddled by not being able to grab the young woman. Some of them even slam their 'fists' down on to the forest floor with thundering thuds of irritation!

Lockheed takes to the skies and flies up near to where Storm is, the adorable Pokemon-esque Dragon is now able to see the same things that Storm had, a forest that's come to life and a few campfires in the distance.

Just before Noriko can be grabbed by Kitty, however, the electricity bursts out from Surge... which has the effect of create a number of fires within the dense 'living' forest that is trying to impeded the X-Men from progressing to help the children.

Just as Storm arrives at the campsites, no less, she'll see the camps more clearly ahead of her, and hear the electricity from Surge behind her, as well as the forest-fire breaking out back around Noriko and Kitty now...

Jean, reaches out to one of the children. It takes a second for them to respond. <"Who the hell is this? What are you doing in my head?"> It's a boy, sounds/feels to be 12 or so. <"We're not going back! Jessica is a witch and she's gonna cook us in a stew at her creepy ass cabin!">

Storm will see the children, between the 3 campfires... 3 of the children are riding on a thing... with sirens on top of its tree-like head. 30 foot tall, stomping around in a circle, like its happily letting the children ride on top of it.

The sirens on its head are emitting voices, jumbled and random, like chanting and cheering mixed together! But the kids riding on its shoulders seem to be having fun?

Right over poor Doctor McCoy's head now, a fire is breaking out from Surge's explosion. Its coming down the tree's trunk toward him very fast too!

Kitty Pryde has posed:
Kitty cries out as she sees the blast of electricity from Surge. Sometimes she's had no issues with electricity, but then Magneto nearly killed her with it. She dives behind a tree, her hair standing on end as the current blasts past her.

"Surge, get it under control! You can do it, calm yourself and control it!" she calls out. Kitty plans to wait for the blasts to subside before peeking back out from behind the tree she dove behind. But apparently the tree didn't like the electricity either as it moves away from her, leaving her sitting there in the open!

Kitty gets back up and starts towards Noriko again. <<Storm, we may need some firefighting help over here if these flames spread,>> she says into their comms as she continues on towards the Asian girl.

Jean Grey has posed:
Jean is still the furthest back, having only the power of daily cardio to carry her, although by now she's near the trees, and a certain caution is exercised: no one likes to be tree-groped! Indeed, she raises a light TK shield even ahead of time, although she has no real idea of just how strong these animated trees are. Nor does it help that she's having a conversation at the same time. Fingers remain pressed to her temple in that classic pose, and for a moment, she even closes her eyes...

<My name's Jean,> she offers in the same calm, warm, gentle wave of thought. <Jessica... did she hurt any of you? Can you tell me what she did? I want to help you.> This prompt actually serves a dual purpose, as in this case she doesn't content herself to merely let the child answer, but probes lightly for the same thought she verbally provokes, whatever memory the child is focused on, trying to cleve through the imagined to the experienced.

... however all her mental focus may come as a price, especially that instinctive closing of her eyes, as in the dark, it's so easy to miss a gnarled root growing across her path, even -before- one factors the potential animosity of its owners.

Ororo Munroe has posed:
Ororo sighs. "I am here, Catherine," she says to those below. Then to the skies, she raises her voice. "I will need your help." She lifts her arms high, her eyes closing, and she calls the rain. A forest fire is not a joke, and she must not allow it to happen. Even though it would be the best thing to help those below.

The skies darken even further, clouds thickening. A storm is not something created out of nothing, it takes time. But she takes it, calling forth the rain, and allows nature to take its price for her asking. The waters begin to fall, only gently for now, but soon it will become a torrent. And she becomes soaked to the bone, the wind slacking.

Storm settles to the ground, too close to the campfires, as the rains start to fall. And looks up at those within. Ready to act, if Jean finds danger.

Noriko Ashida has posed:
The dense bolts draw a ton of charge to produce and Noriko doesn't have much control of the burst beyond that.  Tears roll down her cheeks as she tries to keep it in, but seeing Beast's blurry form light up through her tears only makes her sob.  "I'm sorry," she says before the dam bursts.  Then she she passes out from depletion.

Well hopefully she's just passed out, but probably only those with medical knowledge could probably deduce what depletion would likely do to her if it was taken too far.  She lies limp in the trees at their mercy like a piece of waiting kindling.

Henry McCoy has posed:
It certainly has done a number on his fur. Poofier than ever, Hank rolls off to the side just before the fire consumes the tree he'd been blasted into. It takes a moment after that for him to shake it off, and his healing to kick in. It's no where near as fast as the Howlett family, but it is certainly helpful! He slowly gets to his feet, moving over in a zig-zagging pattern towards Noriko where she slumped over. His eyes dart to and fro, trying to see if any of those nasty trees are still coming for them.

He smells the rain a second before it starts - ozone still clinging to him from the electrical blast. "What is going on?" He growls, wondering if anyone has more details than he's been able to suss out.

Rogue has posed:
Ororo is somewhat in luck with her weather-witching-ways. As to the northwest there were thunderclouds that were on their way here in a few hours anyway, so the 'charge' of spreading that stormfront down further to the southeast, where they are, is somewhat aided by the autumnal weather patterns already natural to this region of the country!

The rain starts to fall, the claps of thunder start to cover the forest area where Kitty, Norko and Hank are dealing with the very 'handsy' trees...

<"Jessica is a straight up bitch, and we're not going to her dank witch cabin!"> The boy shoots back to Jean through the mink-link. <"She hates mutants, she locks us in the back room when her kids come over for dinner, and doesn't let us eat until after they leave! She says we'll embarrass her! Dad doesn't care, he just watches the news until he snores himself in to a drool coma!">

The three kids riding on the siren-headed construct are forced to hang on to it and seemingly guide it toward the trees to get out of the way of the rain that is falling now. They start to descend the 'monster' until they get down on to ground and rush toward the one fire still lit to try to stay warm!

Siren Head... stares at Ororo, and starts to walk toward her... ominously playing those strange noises as it does so. Thirty some foot tall, the tree-like monster raises a hand up now like its about to strike at Ororo!

Jean... meanwhile... whether TK shield up... has a big tree hand very slowly trying to sneak up behind her, like its about to grab her, and if she's not alert, it just might get a chance to do just that! It's trying very hard to be super slow and creepy quiet about it too!

The rain from the manifested thunderstorm above, is doing the trick to help subdue the blazes set by Noriko's burst. They're not completely out yet, but they're at least not spreading like they were moments ago!

Kitty Pryde has posed:
Kitty signals back to Beast, <<The trees seem alive. The kids are ok, but Storm's trying to get to them,>> she says, not knowing yet the details that Jean has managed to suss out from them. <<But Noriko just went off in a burst when they grabbed her. She's hanging there limp. I'm heading for her now, will take her back to where the van is.>>

True to her word, Kitty starts forward, phased to avoid any trees that try to get in her way. She passes through a blackberry bush - drat, why does it have to be in the middle of a mission one finds delicious blackberries!? - and then through a couple of trees whose trunks are close together, eventually reaching Surger.

<<Looks like she's out cold," Kitty says. She lets her hand phase back to reality so she can check her pulse, and then phases Noriko as she lifts her over her shoulder in a fireman's carry, and begins taking her back out of the forest.

Ororo Munroe has posed:
Ororo, watching the Siren walk toward her, comments in her voice of fire. "I wouldn't. I hit back," she offers, giving fair warning, as the skies above ripple with lightning. She lets the waters fall, allowing the thing to come toward her, and she feels outward for her connection to the Green.

And to her family. << Friends, I hope you are well. I may need assistance shortly. >> She sends that to Jean, knowing it will get where it needs to be, then watches the large hand descend toward her.

"We come to help the children," she says, as calmly as if she weren't in peril. But she believes in paying an equal price in all things. It must be allowed to strike first. And she did warn it.

Jean Grey has posed:
Jean may well surprise both the SNEAKY SNEAKY tree hand and herself when her foot hits that gnarled root and suddenly she pitches forward. Giving a yelp as she hits her own toe (no TK shields for that!), she stumbles a few steps before catching herself - physically or mentally, or maybe a little of both - just as the hand closes in on her. She's distracted, thinking in too many directions at once, including the small but overly annoying pain in her foot: and the tree hand shatters her albeit very casual defense, snagging her from behind.

Her communication with the kid drops abruptly as she gives a bit of a scream- more of surprise than true horror, but its a good movie damsel moment anyway, as she writhes and twists in its grasp.

For a moment, anyway.

Then, throwing a hand behind her, she unleashes a bit more potent of a telekinetic wave. She's restrained enough not to destroy the tree it's attached to, but the branch nearly disintegrates, shattering into ten thousand little splinters. She doesn't even fall, the same forces lowering her back to the forest floor.

"The children are the ones using the trees to keep us away Hank," she calls after him, momentarily flustered but quickly regaining her composure. "Well, the adults." Then she increases the width of the message: <Its them causing the trees. The mother, they're afraid of her. She may be abusing them for their powers. I don't know if its true, false memory syndrome is certainly possible, but that's what they believe. I think the only danger to -them- is that they probably have little control of their powers. I'm catching up.>

Noriko Ashida has posed:
Given how Noriko is able to accelerate from 0 to roughly 760 miles per hour, she can generate a lot of force, even if she's nowhere as durable enough to punch something while at speed.  So the angry Tolkien trees have to wrap thicker branches at multiple points of her body to contain her, adding more until the struggle stopped.

When the flames sprouted up, the branches burn away just enough to create an effectively loosened grip, leaving behind scorched and melted uniform that has joined with flesh.

Henry McCoy has posed:
OK. Right. Trees. The claws come out, and the Beast goes to work. He rips and shreds at the limbs trying to restrain him - Kitty and Nori being phased are not a concern. <<Get her to safety... help Jean.>> How? He's not sure. Convince the father, perhaps? It doesn't register to Hank - his animal instincts all but overwhelming the man. Ororo can likely sense it - with her ties to the Green.
Barelling through the kindling he's created, he starts in towards Sirenhead. <<Go up, Storm.>> His thoughs clearly letting everyone know he's going for the gangly giant's legs.

Rogue has posed:
Of course with the fires going out in the trees, this means that the trees are once more focused on grabby the intruders that are trying to get to the children... which means Kitty-- with Noriko --is their prime target. But once more the lumbering logs of animated lumber are struggling to garner grips on the phasing mutant's form! And once more some of them are getting angry and jamming their wooded fists in to the ground in protest of this infuriating injustice to their tree-desires!

Hank's able to cut his way clear of the trees and end sup on the eastern side of the wooded area. He's able to see Ororo on the other side of a grassy clearing with SIREN HEAD bearing down on her, about to punch her.

Jean's TK abilities do make a lot of splinters, but her stumbling has put her a little closer to the forest's edge now and more branches are seemingly aware of the telepathic-telekinetic and they're bearing down on her more openly, trying to swat at her like a bug on a table!.

SIREN HEAD stops winding its arm up, it just 'stares' down at Ororo. Through the speakers barb-wired to its 'head' there's a crackle of white noise before a voice comes up, its Disney's Goofy's voice. "Hyuck, Help the kids?! how YOU gonna do that?!" There's another flash of white noise before the voice changes now, to that of President Reagan's voice. "Why, I think you're the one who needs help, Miss."

It slams its fist down in to the ground and lowers down toward Ororo, like it's -staring her down-.

The kids, at the fire now, are cheering for Siren Head, their faithful guardian!

Kitty Pryde has posed:
Kitty is listening in on the comms as she carries Noriko. Angering trees as they try again and again to grab the two women, only to fail. "You're totally going to be making me tea for the next week for this," Kitty huffs as she lugs the unconscious teen back towards where the broken down van is at.

<<Ok, so maybe the kids are being kids or maybe they actually are being treated poorly. We should probably try to figure this out and keep the fighting limited. So are the kids empowering the trees? Or something else?>> Kitty asks, still not having seen the siren-head for herself yet.

She makes it out of the forest with Noriko, leaving a lot of unhappy trees in their wake, and moves her over nearer to the van where she sets Noriko down and then gives her a more thorough check out. "She's got some burns. Breathing. Should be ok," she says, "But will need some treatment back home."

Kitty looks to Jessica and Hayden. "Have the kids ever shown any kind of powers or abilities in the past?" she asks. She's watching both of their reactions rather closely now.

Jean Grey has posed:
Jean didn't have much idea about siren head, as all her information so far is second hand, gleaned through the children. But once Ororo is there, she gets a bit more of an idea..

"I'm fine Hank," she reassures him, despite his insistence that she needs the rescue... or the fact that the entire forest seems mad at her now. "Focus on getting to the kids. I am not certain about this situation, but we need to make sure they're not injured in any fighting."

She is now hovering lightly off the ground, and as multiple tree hands reach her, they find stronger shields raised, followed, with a glance here or a gesture there, by an explosion of wood. She can hold them off, but it does make it awful slow going, especially as she holds back from anything truly spectacular in light of the children.

<I believe it is one of their powers animating things, but I- the large tree, I'm not sure. It doesn't feel wholly sentient. I don't know if it's separate of them, or-> She shakes her head, blows up another branch, and then continues: <I'm going to pacify the children. Grab them, any of you, if you can, get them clear. If the big one keeps fighting, you can engage it, but try and be less-lethal if you can, just in case... I don't know.> She can imagine some horrible thing, some child losing their mind, their identity, to their powers.

As for pacifying the children, that one isn't too hard. Their minds are young and simple. <Its time to sleep.> And it is.

Ororo Munroe has posed:
Ororo stares at the Siren-headed creature, her fear shifting inside of her. She is not a perfect being, no matter what the tribes of Africa say. But she hides it well, shifting her stance as the being before her slams upon the earth. Then, as Hank leaps toward her opponent, she blows it a kiss, backed by the North Wind's touch.

<<I am never lethal without cause,>> she thinks into the group. The tiniest bit of indignation is conveyed along with it, as if she'd ever chosen to harm another without reason. Even if it seems a monster. Some of her best friends, as they say.

"I am not alone," she says, as the wind buffets it from above, as Hank comes below. "I am but the first. And I am not the weakling you seem to expect me to be."

Which is when the lightning starts to strike the clearing. Her eyes narrow, and she directs one at Siren Head's feet. Then, in the silence after a lighting strike, she says, "Run."

Henry McCoy has posed:
Five hundred pounds of mass, bounds into the legs of the hopefully unbalanced Sirenhead. The giant is certainly flailing once the Beast rams into his knees. Scampering up the wooden monstrosity, using claws three inches in length, he roars. The sound from the siren is all but deafening to the man - but he begins striking at the back of the creature with his claws, intent on saving his friends.

Rogue has posed:
Jessica has gotten in to the car, the driver's seat, to get out of the rain. She's got the windows rolled up and the radio on. Hayden is standing beside the car when Kitty returns, since it's raining he's having a bit of harder time hearing her but he nods his head to the question. "Little older boy. Billy. He can... talk to machines, he changes the radio station from the back seat. It drives Jess there crazy. The other one, my daughter, Sarah, she sits out in the garden and makes the flowers grow tall as she is. Seems to be able to speak..." He trails off and looks to the treeline.

Like he just realized whats going on. "Son of a bi---"

Jean's mental manipulation prowess pays off, as it often does, and the three children near the fire suddenly topple down on to their sides and pass out. The two smaller ones who are huddled together under the base of the tree also pass out, their heads clunking together.

SIREN HEAD responds to this by turning around for a moment to see the children 'deactivated' and as it looks back to see Hank rushing it, it roars... or well, it plays the sound of the Jurassic Park Tyrannosaurus Rex roaring!

It's long spindly right arm pulls up and bats at Hank once, twice, then a third time as it connects and sends the blue furred Beast spiraling away like a furry football back toward the trees!

The trees... have gone motionless... Three 'hand shaped' branches having frozen in place above Jean's head, wooden 'fingers' reaching down for her, as if they'd gone back to their natural state, in a very unnatural position...

The lightning bolt from Storm slams in to Siren Head, it knocks him down to his knees and sets his limbs on fire. He stands up and starts to sway side to side, the sound of Kevin McAllister Home Alone screaming from after-shave burning plays through its speakers as it rushes towards the woods to the north, running away from Ororo and her mighty powers!

Inside of the Van, Jessica turns the keys to turn the vehicle on, she grabs the wheel and slams on the gas! The tires squeak on the wet pavement, Hayden jumps out of the way and calls out her name as she starts to drive the vehicle away!

Kitty Pryde has posed:
Kitty Pryde looks up from the conversation with Hayden as she hears the car start up. "Ah, I don't think-" Kitty starts to call out loudly to Jessica, when the woman hits the gas!

Kitty jumps and grabs hold of the bumper, falling to the ground and being dragged behind the van. Thankfully she phased all but her hand and so she's just being pulled along rather than bouncing off the ground.

It doesn't take her long to pull herself forward into the van. Once she's safely inside it she phases back and moves up to the front seat. She plops down in it and crosses her arms as she looks at Jessica. Kitty channels the stern expression that Ororo used on her when Kitty was 14 and covered Kurt's toilet seat with saran wrap, and flashes the look at Jessica.

"This van is stopping in the next ten seconds. The only question is whether I throw you out of it before or after it has stopped moving," Kitty tells her in an angry tone.

Jean Grey has posed:
At least the forest has stopped going Evil Dead on Jean. She settles to the forest floor, surveys the damage, and gingerly steps around one now inanimate branch-hand reaching out in a particularly dramatic pose. "Let's gather everyone." Which means both the sleeping children and Noriko, although with Beast's strength it shouldn't be too much trouble.

When Jean makes it back out of the forest, carrying at least one of the children herself, she finds Hayden. At least on her part, the fact that the van is gone is no huge surprise, but she doesn't seem motivated to launch into pursuit, although it's obvious Kitty has. A little less idealistically, she wonders what odds there are that the woman could even be charged with anything. Instead, she turns her gaze to the ground, toward the escaping woman's presumed soon-to-be ex-husband.

"They ran away from her," she offers, even though he's clearly pieced it together. "And probably had every reason to. You're facing a difficult situation now, and not just the likely divorce and any custody procedings. They'll need counseling, and they'll need... help, with their abilities." Her voice is different now, than when she first arrived, less 'Xavier's charming young protege' and more Headmistress, more /mutant/ speaking about the reality of what he's facing.

"You know Charles has a school, I assume? I think you might want to bring them by to look around. We can help them."

Ororo Munroe has posed:
While Ororo may come across firm and unfair, she finds that the reputation has its benefits. At times, this being one of them. She watches the creature flee, having not truly intended it harm, and sends out a tendril of warm air toward Hank and the children. She parts the rains, allowing them to slow. She makes the area about her the warmest, best place to be in the entire area. Not all weather is harsh.

"So," she says, worried for her friend but knowing that she needs to alleviate the threat to them all. "What's all this about an unhappy evening. There is hot chocolate waiting." Oh Henry, please be alright.

The show must go on.

Rogue has posed:
Kitty's 'Indiana Jonesing' of the van that Jessica is trying to peel out and away in is met with a look over at the mutant in the passenger's seat beside her. The indignant woman just sighs, annoyance thick on her face. She reaches forward and shuts the car off, guiding it over to the curb to let it splash to a halt in the puddles forming there on the shoulder of the road.

"I hate mutants." Jessica mutters, wow, rude.

Jean's arrival with one of the children has Hayden reaching to take the kid from her. "Thank you." He says. "These are my sister's kids, the two little ones. The other is one of their school friends." He grimaces, still wet from the rain. He nods his head to what Jean says, and looks after the van to see it pulled over now.

"You all are... pretty amazing. I think I see what Charles has been talking about all this time." He looks back to Jean. "I'll ... talk to him. I told him I could handle this myself, that I didn't need help. I guess maybe I do. Jessica is, rough around the edges, she doesn't know to deal with mutants. I guess I don't either."

Storm and Beast help with the children and emerge back near the road as well, the kids are able to wake up now and get a grasp of what all has gone on here. They start to apologize for their part in it all, but ultimately start to really lay out the reasons why they dislike their step-mother, some of it might even be legally bad too!

Off in in the woods to the north, however, a distant sound can be heard amongst the trees. The sound of laughter.