4211/X-MEN: The Shallow Lake

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X-MEN: The Shallow Lake
Date of Scene: 23 November 2020
Location: SR-77 Blackbird
Synopsis: The X-Men travel to a lake community in Maine, where they come across a powerful Mutant who has been wronged by vicious hatred. A lake is emptied, then refilled, fish explode, the ground is torn into fissures, and Jean may have found a new Scott replacement! Who knows!
Cast of Characters: Rogue, Remy LeBeau, Bobby Drake, Jean Grey, Kurt Wagner, Julio Richter

Rogue has posed:
Charles Xavier's excused himself from his later afternoon class when something seemingly disturbed him. He descended into the lower levels of the X-Men base and entered in to the Cerebro chamber where he remained for several hours before he contacted members of the X-Men's veteran leadership core to come and issue them a status report on a developing situation in Maine.

The X-Men leaders were tasked to gather up additional help to go and seek out the situation at a small lake community in the picturesque north eastern state.


Webb Lake: Franklin County, Maine.

8:15pm on a Wednesday.

The SR-77 Blackbird arrives at the lake community, the sleek stealth jet sweeps in over the seemingly endless trees that surround the lake, with a thick layer of fog in amongst the trees giving the serene landscape an ethereal atmosphere in the early hours of the night.

The lake itself is in a rather unique and unusual state, and it's instantly obvious that the X-Men's attention was like a very warranted thing. The lake shores have recently receded and what water is left in the basin of the lake is clearly shallow, less than a foot of water left at the center of the lake's deepest regions.

Where did all the water go? Well it's 100 feet in the air above the basin... just floating there, still shimmering in the dark, like it's precisely where it's supposed to be, only it very obviously isn't!

There's an otherwise eerie calmness about the lake's ambiance, as if nothing is remotely wrong.


All the homes around the lake's high value real-estate, are devoid of visible lighting. They're all darkened, as if nobody is home within, which is highly unlikely for a place like this.

"Is sayin' 'I got a bad feelin' about this a cliche?" Rogue asks, seated behind the pilot controls of the Blackbird that she has in VTOL mode, hovering over a clearing on the edge of what used to be the lake's shore. "I'm gonna set us down here." The Belle says, starting the landing process to bring the big bird down on to the open grassy field between two large residential properties. When the jet settles, Rogue lowers the exit ramp in the aft of the passenger compartment. "This should be fun." She mutters.

Remy LeBeau has posed:
While not, specifically, veteran X-Men leadership, Gambit is still a frequent enough tag along that he's got a good seat by one of the windows. Foot up on the seat in front of him, he's in his gently armored aqua colored boots, black leggings, and pink top. And as usual, his brown coat. A pair of gloves on each hand with the index finger missing, he's shuffling a deck of cards in the way a magician might. Rolling half the deck over the third/fourth finger of his left hand, guided by the first/second with his thumb acting as an axis point.

Turning them and reversing them down the back.


With headphones in playing Pop music.

To which he's singing, albeit, quietly. Tapping the fingers of his left hand on his raised thigh.

"I'm da baaaad guy..."

Raised brow over red/black eyes peering out the window at the stillness of Lake Creepy...


He points out the window, glancing over at whomever is closest, "Dat does seem like someting frown't one dem horror movies..."

Up out of his seat, he flops his collar down and strolls casually down the exit ramp, ducking to get under the edge of the jet. Bo-staff laid across his shoulder after grabbing it near the ramp. Still shuffling cards in his left hand. "Don' worry none, mon chere.. Ol Remy on de case, ye no? I'll be right back..." Smirk and a wink for Rogue. Breaking all the horror movie rules.

Bobby Drake has posed:
"Well," Bobby says, as he surveys the lake floating above the lake bed. "You don't see that every day. I mean.." He could, feasibly, since he can control water as easily as ice, but why? Those fish must be super confused. "So.. everybody evacuate? No power in the area? Did we get more on what's actually going on here other than the obvious?" he asks as Rogue puts them down. He's in his usual X-men uniform, though it vanishes from sight, becoming only a silhouette in ice as his form shifts to that transparent form.

He steps down out of the jet, and for the moment, leaves the water alone, right where it is, until they can figure out more about what is going on.

Jean Grey has posed:
Sitting beside the pilot up front, Jean abandons whatever smalltalk she and Rogue had been engaged in as they make the final approach toward the lake. Given Charles' vague ideas about whatever trouble they might encounter, what this mutant was, she doesn't know precisely what to expect.

But decent odds she wasn't expecting to see most of the lake floating anywhere other than -inside- the lake.

"It's quite unusual," she echoes Rogue's spooky premonition, while evidently trying to retain something of a more measured demeanor herself. While the plane hovers and adjusts toward a landing point, she lifts a pair of fingers to her temple as she focuses her mental senses, reaching out into the area around them.

"The locals are alive, but in a sort of psychic stasis," she declares, glancing out the window toward one of the nearby houses. "And our friend is out in the middle there, of the emptied lake basin. But he has several layers of psychic defenses, and I can't tell a great deal else. I'll see if I can establish friendly communications." Then her eyes turn upward, as she cranes her neck slightly to see out the front of the cockpit and upward as well as she can. "We can go out there, but be prepared in case he decides to drop the lake back where it belongs - I can probably put a bubble around us, but I might appreciate some help in that department, Bobby."

Once they've fully settled, she hauls out of her seat and starts walking toward the exit ramp in the back, and from there, on toward their objective, the long coat of her dark uniform flapping lightly behind her, as does her hair.


Kurt Wagner has posed:
While Kurt has been kept busy with certain irregularities of his own that he has been looking into in his spare time, he is hardly going to refuse to look into this sort of thing. And while he might love the Mansion, it's always nice to have excuse to get away, to venture out and meet new people and see new things.

Like say a floating lake! That's pretty new and exciting.

While he has spent most of the flight flicking through pages on his tablet, an intent expression on his face as he studies whatever it is he is looking into, the general shift of discussion is more then enough to pull his attention away and focus his gaze out the windows of the Blackbird and onto those glistening waters. So pretty in the moonlight. Just a few hundred feet in the wrong direction. What's the big deal, right?

A bemused sort of expression slips over the fuzzy blue elf's expression as he takes in the scene, that half smile only starting to fade when Jean starts to report on the status of those on the ground, nodding his head thoughtfully.

As the plane sets down, he unfastens the flight restraints and gets to his feet, moving to the rear of the plane as that ramp begins to descend into the cool evening air.

Julio Richter has posed:
During the flight, Julio Richter rode in the Luke Skywalker seat -- behind the pilot but on the opposite side -- and remained characteristically quiet. He notoriously hates to fly, and stayed pale and withdrawn during the cruising portion, but as they start to descend, he livens up enough to lean forward and chime in with, "Bad night for a swim, then."

Good thing he didn't bring his swimsuit, although presumably the X-men uniforms can take a dunking. God knows they have to endure just about everything else. Still, he'd at least have to strip off his paneled jacket if he didn't want to get it tangled around him while he swam.

His green boots clomp rapidly down the ramp when they disembark; as usual, he's in a rush to get to solid ground, and rushes past the others. Once there, he drops into a crouch and sets his gloved hands against the ground, feeling for the vibrations of anyone moving around them. Jean might have identified their 'target' as being in the middle of the lake bed and the townspeople as being unresponsive, but that doesn't mean there might not be animals or cthulhu cultists or street spirits or god knows what else prowling around in the dark.

He's seen some shit, OK?

"If whoever it is tries to drop a lake on us, you make me one of those floaty donut things, si?" he mutters through his accent, reaching out to bop Bobby on the leg. "Holes in the ground are a great place to hide from lots of stuff, but water, not so much."

Rogue has posed:
Rogue, after getting out of the crash webbings of the pilot's seat, moved along with Remy and of course, smirks at his words. "Ya done sealed your fate, Swampy." She chides him back, exiting the jet and putting her hands in to the pockets of her leather jacket, wearing a default X-Men uniform tonight of solid black, since both of her green & gold suits were destroyed in the past two days.

Once out of the Jet with Bobby to her right, Rogue's eyes go to the floating water high above. "God, that gives me the chills..." The Belle mutters, before her eyes look around at the darkened homes all around the lake. "Pretty place though, considerin'..."

At Jean's rundown of more information about what's going on here, Rogue looks over at her. "Why hasn't he put us in stasis then, if he's got the people in the houses on lockdown?" She asks, a random thought. "This kinda control is... pretty rare, ain't it? This is Professah-level stuff..."

As the group walks toward the lake shore, Rogue glances over at Julio and just grins at him. "Shoulda brought arm floaties for everyone." She quips back at him.


Out in the lake, as the X-Men team draws closer to the edge of where the water used to be, what they'll see IS the man in question, just out there in the very dead center of what was the largest part of Webb Lake... he's seated in a lawn chair that is only surrounded by about a foot of water. He's just sitting there, in a flannel shirt with his hands on his lap.

Jean reaches out to him, and what she gets back in return isn't a vocalized phrase, but a memory. A vision of the man inside a house, shouting at a blonde woman roughly his age. They're cursing at each other and she's storming out the front door, soon to jump in to a truck and throw rocks as she peels the tires and roars the engine to drive away.

What Julio like senses first... moments after Jean gets that vision... is the door on one of the homes opening up and five peopel coming out of the house, walking in line. Two adults and three children, walking toward a dock at the end of their property. They descend the shoreline, headed toward the man in the chair... mindlessly, under his control?

Remy LeBeau has posed:
What REMY sees, however, is a dude in a flannel shirt.

Turning to the other X-Men, thumb jerking off his staff in the fellers direction, he's got the kind of shit eating grin that only Gambit could find in a place where an entire lake is literally floating over their head.

"'E wearin' a flannel unironically in twenty twenty." Because /that/ seems out of the ordinary for him.

That and nothing else.

Red pupils roll up to the bottom of the lake above them.

Something someone should never have to see, to be fair.

"Dis is some 'ol odda spooky shit here, ye no?" Grip tightening. Seriousness... sort of returning... sort of. He waits to be told how they're going to handle this. Doesn't strike him as a throw cards at it until it stops being weird moment.

Bobby Drake has posed:
"I got the lake," Bobby says reassuringly to those suddenly wishing for arm floaties. "If it all comes down I'll take care of it." He certainly sounds confident. Of course, usually he's manipulating the water on his own, not fighting against someone trying to do the same thing so there's a slow roll of his icy shoulders as he considers the water above their heads.

It's the people walking out to the end of the dock that draws his attention. He hangs back, frowning slightly as he watches them moving along. "Okay, you guys.. maybe handle that. I'm going to keep an eye on the lake."

Jean Grey has posed:
"Well, for one, we're not average people with no mental training," Jean responds to Rogue - probably before exiting the plane! "But more, no, I don't think he's as powerful as the Professor or myself, at least not in terms of broad telepathic ability. It feels different, and a little more narrow. I think the lake might actually be about the edge of his ability's reach as well, that might be the threshold I was feeling. But more than that, the people in the houses- he's close to them. He might have established this link, this control, over time? This may well be his home town too, after all."


"Not responsive to me," she reports, as they start making the hike down into the lakebed. "At least, not verbally. Got something that looked a bit like a lover's quarrel in his memory." She sighs at that, because it's just so- "It goes to figure, huh?"

Without mental contact for diplomacy, she nonetheless seems intent on trying to end this in a friendly way, which leaves the old fashion option. "Hello?"

The warning about the people coming down to join them has her glancing that way. "If one of you can keep them out, that would be good. The less people we have to worry about keeping safe if the lake comes down, the better. Just try and be gentle about it."

Kurt Wagner has posed:
It certainly is not the sort of thing that you see every day, that much is for certain.

Then again, they see lots of unusual stuff. All the time. They live in a mansion where telekinetics are floating around stuff almost constantly. Admittedly, it's not an entire lake's worth of water of course, but the principle is the same. What exactly qualifies as truly weird given what they see and do every single day?

A guy in flannel in the middle of a lake bed with water floating high overhead might make a pretty good answer, all things considered.

Still, Kurt does not appear to be particularly daunted, that deep indigo fur all but vanishing into the darkness around him, falling in beside the others as they approach the edge of that lake bed. Yellow eyes glint in the moonlight, piercing the gloom with ease and he seems completely unbothered by all that floating liquid overhead. It probably helps that should it start to fall he will be long gone. Hooray for teleportation.

As the people begin to approach the dock the fuzzy blue elf flicks his gaze between the figure out in the middle of the open expanse and those nearing the lakeshore. "I can take them home," he assures the others with an easy smile.

Julio Richter has posed:
"Hey, compañeros!" Julio says, snapping his fingers for attention and then pointing at the house the file of people are exiting. "Over there -- more people heading out. Should I stop them?" He can shift the ground to halt their progress in any number of ways, even from a distance. He just doesn't want to jump in (and potentially start a fight) without asking what the others think.

He shifts upright again, and gives Remy a glance. "I have some flannels," he says, sounding perplexed. "They're cheap and warm." Not exactly a fashion plate, our dirt wizard. He was, to be fair, a literal hobo less than a year ago.

After just a moment, Jean answers his earlier question, and with a quick nod, he draws up a supply of seismic power, which pools around him in a green aura that casts eerie light through the group, and then jabs at the ground three times, starting vibrational cascades that rip through the terrain beneath them, causing a distinct rumbling tremor, and then sweep to surround the marching people and culminate in jutting rock walls that rise to about seven feet in height, penning them in where they are.

"People: stopped," he announces. "I will feel bad if they were just a family going for a walk or something, though." Cocking his head at Kurt, he suggests, "You can still take them home if you want, but now you won't have to rush."

Rogue has posed:
As the group gets ever closer to the lake, something splashes in the water beside Remy, just ahead of him and just before he looked up. As he looks up, he'll see something else too. Something is falling toward him.

It's a fish.

They're falling out of the lake water, not at great quantity, just here and there. Most of them are small, making little splashes close by and further off in the distance, sending odd echoing noises all around the grimly serene setting.

When Bobby speaks up about the lake, Rogue stops and stares at the people walking out toward the man on his chair. "I think I better stay with the Jet. We don't want him sending anyone up inside of it while we're all out there..." The Belle says, hanging back for now. "I'm on Comms." She says, hands in her pockets as she turns and walks back up the lawn that the Blackbird is resting on, her eyes looking around the darkened forest surrounding their stealthy ride.

A fish also falls near Bobby and splashes him, kerplunk!

With the subject of stopping the walking family coming, and Julio's powers being put to use to do just that, the man in in the chair suddenly opens his eyes and raises his hands up to the metal arms of his lawn chair. He grips the arms tightly and starts to flex his muscles as tension rolls through his body, anger flaring inside of him.

<"NO!"> He shouts in the minds of everyone in the lake community, the X-Men included! <"Do not stop them! They have to answer for what they did!"> His deep voice booms in the minds of everyone around.

All the X-Men in the lake now see small lights appearing in the 1-foot-deep waters around them as the fish that are still in the lake begin to illuminate, growing brighter and brighter, until they all start to EXPLODE!

He's filling them with energy and detonating them like grenades!

The glowing fishy grenades are swimming rapidly toward the X-Men, the water explosions getting closer and closer as they burst!

Remy LeBeau has posed:
Raining fish.

"It's rainin' fishies..."

Pointing up at the one falling towards him with a finger extending off his staff. It would be comical if it were, ya know, funny. This is starting to stink and not just because of the fish smell all around them as the tiny osteichthyes grow more and more abundent.

Where it really gets out of hand is when Mr. Flannel man stands up and starts super charging his living timebombs. Remy was just about to say something to Julio, in regards to flannels no doubt, when he spies a glowing guppy going supernova.

Diving away from it at the very last second into an over shoulder slide through muddy ankle deep puddle water. "Dis gone get real mess less someone stop dem, ye no?" A card is already rolled up from the deck hidden in his sleeves, gripped between his index knuckle and thumb glowing a beautiful, vibrant magenta!

To his credit he's not thrown it at the man yet.


Team player.

It isn't until the fish start swimming at them that he lets one loose, throwing it towards the bottom of the floating lake to intercept some of the aquatic glowing bombs before they can rain down upon the other X-Men. "Can we solve his marital problems wit a bit more alacrity? Ya know how dey say dere a bunch of fish in da see... Des ones like a bad tinder date.

Volitile. Stinkin... and jus'a lil deadly."

Bobby Drake has posed:
Bobby doesn't seem to be too concerned about the fish. At least they're falling from water into water. That is, until they start to glow and explode, and are suddenly coming right for them. That's when he reaches down with one hand and touches the surface of the water which instantly freezes, trapping all the little fishy bombs to explode wherever they are. "Cut that shit out, man. The fish didn't do anything to you. Why don't we talk about what they did, huh?"

Okay, so maybe he's not the best or most gentle negotiator but exploding the fishies is just cruel.

Jean Grey has posed:
Jean is still mostly focused on the man. She has faith in the team, faith in her abilities to keep the crowds under coontrol, and the degree to which she's intimidated by raining fish is limited. What she's more concerned with is the man's mental state, as she begins to get more of a picture of it. If he's angry at the entire town, that definitely puts a greater weight of responsibility onto her and the other X-Men. She certainly wants to help this mutant, but the cost in life at stake? It just went way up.

"What did they do?" she asks the man, still approaching nearer. "I'm sure what it was, it can't warrant hurting everyone. If you'll stop all of this, we can talk about it. Maybe we can help you. We're mutants, the same as you are-"

Oh, but now there are 'Fish grenades' swimming at them. That will be an interesting one to add to the database. Promptly, she lifts a short ways into the air, over the water, while turning to look toward Bobby-

Who is on it. That makes her smile.

<"I may be able to make more direct psychic contact if I'm at very close range."> Not wanting the man to hear them talking about whatever they might have in store for him, she shifts to her own telepathy, hoping it's 'secure'. <"Or worse come to worse, we can try disabling him the old fashioned way. Kurt, can you get us in close? Or Remy, taste of his own medicine. Let's try and end this quickly before he brings out too much of the town to join us. ">

Kurt Wagner has posed:
Ugh. That's pretty nasty.

Any immediate concern that Kurt might have at removing the shambling family from the immediate vicinity is delayed first by the barrier that is errected around them. And then perhaps much more immediately the fact that the lake's fish population starts to spontaneously combust around them, sending up gooey showers of scales and bone and other fishy parts. It is pretty nasty to be certain. And definitely not what the poor little swimmers deserve.

While he is certainly willing to get his hands dirty when it is called for he really doesn't see any reason to get splattered with fish guts -- he'd be cleaning that out of his fine fur for awhile -- so he simply *bamfs*, vanishing in a cloud of rapidly dissipating inky mist, reappearing moments later, a dozen or more feet away from the edge of the lake side.

"It is not that I am unwilling to get covered in fish bits with all of you. But I think those people really need to be scarce. Before one of the falling fish bombs explodes amongst them," Kurt says solemnly.

Shee? He's not running away. He's escorting the innocent bystanders to a safe distance. Totally different, altogether.

While the initial plan might have been to simply take the little gathering back to their home, it would appear that is in range of Flannel-Man's powers. Taking them there might just result in them heading back outside and down to the lake. And then all their hard work will have been wasted.

So taking Jean's speculation into mind when he *bamfs* once more it is to appear in amongst that group, within the stony barrier put up around them. "Never fret. We shall get you out of here now," he promises -- though they are likely to be rather indifferent or een actively opposed to the idea.

It might be no easy matter to get a grasp on them all, but he'll manage. This is certainly one occasion when having a tail comes in handy. <I shall be right back to close the distance as you need> he promises over that psychic link. Before any of the fish grenades can fall inside the enclosure they vanish...

...and reappear more then a mile away a long the edge of the interstate. Snapping his fingers at the family he has carted away he peers at each in turn with some concern. "Are you back with us?" he questions. It wouldn't due to leave a bunch of dazed people on their own at the edge of the highway. They don't really want one of them wandering out into traffic afterall.

Julio Richter has posed:
"Grossssss!" Julio yells, backpedaling as he's splashed with the guts of a kamikaze catfish. Too late to fully save his outfit, he condenses his remaining seismic energy into bright threads of magical force, which twist into the outline of a reptilian shape around him. As more pescatarian pyrotechnics go off nearby, their slimy remains splot against the invisible surface of these magical wards rather than his clothes or skin. Then Bobby intervenes and the fish, at least, are no longer a problem.

He raises an arm, ready to send a boulder flying at their attacker, but then thinks better of it at the last second. "Attacking is probably a bad idea. If we knock him out, the whole town goes for a swim," he points out, his tone grim. He lowers his arm and sneers. "Guess we're playing the nice guys today."

He runs forward, flanking and then surpassing Jean, his boots (and glowing magical claws) squelching in the noisome mud that was once a lake bottom. "Who has to answer for doing what?" he hollers, trying to draw the lake-levitator's attention while Jean tries... whatever she's trying.

If he gets close enough, he'll skid to a stop to face the man, but that might take him a minute. In the meantime, he'll be absorbing a new charge of power from the Earth; their seismically sedate environment makes that a slower process than usual, so in a way the extra time is a blessing.

Rogue has posed:
Remy is a world class card thrower, and his ability to whip out a little counter explosive power is almost always on-point! His card strikes true and blows up one of the incoming aquatic energy torpedoes! The shades of energy between Remy's power, and that which is effecting the fish is very similar in hue and explosive power no less!

Bobby's ice spreads out across the one-foot deep shallow water effective capturing all the fish within it, with detonations happening all around them now sending shards of ice spraying around the lake after each one blows up!

Of course, now the shallow lake around the X-Men team requires them to walk on ice, fresh and slippery like a Zamboni just rolled over it... aside from the holes where the fish have been detonating, of course!

<"One of these fucking monsters killed her!"> The man shouts back to Jean's verbalized question. <"She's /dead/ and one of them did it!"> The man shouts as he turns toward the wall that Julio erected and raises a hand up, and as he raises it the dad of the family that was brought out raises up above the wall, his chest out and his arms dangling back behind him. "You were talking to her in the store the day she died! What did you do to her?!" The man calls out to the other, using telekinetic powers to pull the man over Julio's wall toward where he stands in front of his lawn chair.

Jean's words go mostly ignored otherwise though, but they're spoken at a timely fashion, as the other homes around the lake start to fill up with occupants stepping out of the interiors, all standing like drones on the back patios and walkways of their properties, all staring out at the lake as they start to walk toward what used to be the shore lines.

Kurt's heroic return from the shore does manage to rescue the rest of the family that was inside of Julio's erected lake mini-fortress. When the Bamfer Bamfs the family out to the highway, they arrive... out of range of the man's mental powers, suddenly starting to move, and entirely starting to freak out. The mother, and her children all shouting at the same time, and all reacting to Kurt like they don't even know who, or what, he is!

At least they're safe though...

Julio's distraction run is effective, in a sense. He gets the Lawn Chair Man's attention, while the father of that Bamf'd family continues to hover in air, grunting out a response. "I asked her if she liked the flowers she bought... at my store!" He grunts back in response to the irate mutant controlling him!

Said man, the one causing all of this, glares at Julio now, and fills Julio's minds with memories. A flash of finding a woman on the edge of a road, outside of her crashed car, with two bullet wounds in her chest, bloodied and entirely deceased. Julio feels the rage, the sorrow, and the madness swelling up inside the man's soul, as if it was happening to him, rather than the mind controlling mutant.

Remy LeBeau has posed:
Bobby has the fish sitch handled, in moments. Leaving Remy to flick catfish off his coat with a frown.

"Listen..." Pointing a finger the Flannel Man. "I don't know wha' got you so upset, but I know what ya doin' aint gonna solve a ting..." The staff lays across his shoulders, at least temporarily, red eyes shifting side to side expecting more explosive surprises that have, up to that moment, not appeared.

"What I do know is there a solution to all dis.. Someting simple dont involve blowin' up the people here helpin. We-" Motioning around himself in a wide arcing circle to include all the visible X-Men, gingerly picking his way closer to the wall above which Flannel is floating, "-get it... We get how cruel dey can be. But you better den dis.. You /can/ be better den dis..."

Stepping cautiously over a frozen puddle in the mans direction. Hands up, Staff tossed off to the side, defensively trying to calm him down with soothing words of wisdom. "We can go grab a beer, talk it out.. People, dey be assholes, but ya aint got to stoop to dem level. We here to help, mon amie... Let us help."

Bobby Drake has posed:
Bobby leaves the talking to the others. Right now, he's more focused on dealing with the environmental issues while the others work on getting the family to safety and talking down the grieving man in the lawn chair. While the guy is distracted, Bobby starts siphoning the lake out of the sky and back down into the lake bed. It's not fast by any stretch, but that water is going to gradually rise to about knee height. There's still a LOT of water up there in the sky, but he gradually begins to move it bit by bit. Some falls as a strange sudden rainstorm over one end of the neighborhood. Some becomes an ice wall over by the edge of the shore that will melt back into the lake when it thaws. He just continues a slow steady displacement of water while he keeps his eyes on the others, trying to lessen the sheer volume hanging over everyone's heads.

Kurt Wagner has posed:
No good deed goes unpunished, right?

Kurt is not exactly surprised at the people's reaction. In fairness if he suddenly escaped mental control and found himself in the mdidle of nowhere with a perfect stranger he would probably be upset too. He can certainly understand where the anger and fear is coming from and he doesn't return it. He doesn't even get exasperated. Instead he just quietly interjects as soon as he gets the chance. "I am afraid that I must leave you here. My friends require my assistance. Flag down help. Get them to take you somewhere warm. But not back home. It is dangerous there right now," he urges quietly. "I would take you but I do not think you would enjoy teleporting again so soon," he admits.

Resolute more then anything else, Kurt turns away from anything else that they might have to say to him, starting to take a step forward...

...and vanishing between one step and the next, reappearing back at the lakeside. A quick glance around shows him just what he has missed. Mainly it has shown him that there are a heck of a lot more people outside now. And unless he wants to spend the rest of the evening gathering up groups of mind-controlled bystanders perhaps it is time to look for another solution.

<I am back. I will bring you all in around him so that he cannot strike at all of us at once,> Kurt offers up through that psychic link. Again those quiet little *bamfs* begin to sound as the fuzzy blue elf begins to rapidly teleport about the lakeside, bringing in the rest of the team that needs an assist and positioning them around Flannel-Man.

"Please be reasonable my friend. This is all unnecessary..." Kurt says as he reappears behind the threat.

Julio Richter has posed:
Julio staggers back, his senses shorted out and his mind flooding with experiences that aren't his. He was expecting to rush in and use his armor to tank some damage, but the magical traces accomplish little against the psychic attack.

Though Maine isn't a great reservoir of seismic tensions for the Latino mutant to draw on, he was already charging up. Flooding his mind with rage and madness at such a moment, especially while making him unaware of his surroundings, is very, VERY dangerous, for everyone present. Hissing out a flood of Spanish profanity, Julio hunkers down, his eyes blazing with green light and his shifting, shaking aura brightening and expanding.

The Earth is shaking, now -- and not with the tame, controlled tremors that erected his makeshift bunker moments ago. This is a sickening, continual lurch, waves rolling through the ground, making steady footing impossible within a half-mile radius.

Bobby's ice cover cracks and separates along jagged faults, revealing dark, deadly crevasses gaping hungrily all around them. Whatever liquid water Bobby manages to bring down from the sky creates cascades that threaten to pull anything near the edges of the crevasses down into the crushing depths. Some sections of the lakebed, shaking furiously, begin to descend into the darkness entirely, crumbling and collapsing underfoot as they subduct into the roiling earth.

Even the cabins around the lake's perimeter start to shift and crack, the tremors breaking windows and throwing objects from shelves almost as soon as they start. It's only going to get more dangerous as the earthquake ramps up in power, too: the families out on their patios are in serious danger as the pilings start to tilt and fail beneath them, and any overhangs start to collapse.

Jean Grey has posed:
"If you cease this, we can help you find the person responsible," Jean offers, and not idly; they may not be the police, but she is no more tolerant of someone in the town killing someone than this man threatening to kill them all in retribution. "But we're not going to let you bring them down here and drown them all, not allow you to murder a town to avenge a single life. You have to see that it's wrong, and that we're not going to stand by and let it happen. Let us help you."

While at the edge of the ice, she makes a bit of a show of force of her own, not to assault him directly, but to demonstrate that she can interfere with what he's trying to do the same way that Julio has: a hand is outstretched toward the opposite shoreline of where the earthworks were constructed, and she creates a telekinetic barrier in front of a portion of the crowd. This isn't precisely a small lake, though, so she'll never stop everyone that way. But anything she can do, to keep any of them out of the way-

<"Kurt, he's bringing them ALL out you're not going to be able to get them fast e-"> Oh. And then mid-thought, her blue friend has appeared beside her, offering a quick trip toward the center of the lake.


As she clears the sulphur, Jean hovers slightly to avoid the ice, only in time to see it crack open far more spectacularly, and disasterously. At first she doesn't quite grasp what's happening, whether it's Bobby doing this, or their foe, but then she gets a wave of the angry thoughts from Julio. Much loser to both him and the man causing all of this than before, she reaches out a lot less subtly now, her thoughts coming at full strength, projecting peace and calm, almost overwhelmingly so, dizzying, unrelenting waves:

<"Enough of this! Her loss is a tragedy, but you will not feed it with more of the same! Your anger will accomplish nothing. Let it go.">

Get it, cuz of all the ice?

Rogue has posed:
The man's mental focus was on Julio, but it soon snaps over to Remy when he chimes up to try and convince the man with empathetic words. "You don't know what it's like!" He shouts. "You don't know what they did!"

Remy's mind is flooded with bits of the argument between the man and the blonde woman. It isn't his wife, it's his sister and this is picked up by the deep emotions sent in to the Cajun. Visions of them arguing about moving away from here, that their mutations had exposed them and that the town didn't want them here any more. They're arguing about moving to New York, where they can find help for their shared mutation. But the 'Flannel Man' denies his sister, declaring it his money that bought them this house to hide in, and this is where they'd stay. Guilt, sorrow, anger, overwhelms Remy now, because the man's stubborn unwillingness to listen to his sister, has seemingly lead to her demise at an anti-mutant's hand.

Remy is forced down to his knees on the ice, the emotions are overwhelming, likely even amplified and made worse by the sheer rage and untamed power that this mental mutant possesses.

Bobby is ever the capable of environmental manipulator, rivaled only at Xavier's by that of Ororo. His manipulation of the water is working, but the threat is starting to shift now as the fish in the shallow lake were grasped in ice now, the ones from above are starting to fall... charged.

Like reverse flak bombs being fired up at WWII Bombers, the falling fish are charging up and exploding in the air between the shallow lake, and the water high above. It's entirely random, but it's also rapidly getting closer and more dangerous by the second!

Kurt's efforts of surrounding the Mental Manipulator are having a very clear effect. His focus on Julio had ended, and moved to Remy, but with Kurt lining up 'enemies' around him his powers leave Remy to deal with the amplified emotional state that he'd been in over all that's gone on here in his life.

This has a reverberating effect on his control... in that the lake water up above, high above the shallows, is starting to rain down faster than Bobby was even bringing it down. Like funnels of falling rain storms, the lake starts to pour down from above in watery columns as the powerful mutant begins to lose control of his own playground here.

Julio's effect on the terrain will leave a permanent change to this place, no doubt, creating literal sink holes in the lake bed, even causing the man's LAWN CHAIR to fall down into the depths of one of the chasms created by the earth-controlling X-Men member.

The man in question, the one causing all of this, turns to look at the red haired Jean, glaring at her over one of the chasms that Julio had created. "They did this, not me! We just wanted to live peacefully here, but they can't stop! They always have to keep /prying/ keep /pushing!/ They're the reason this world is like this! Not ME! Not Ellie--" He cuts himself off, just saying her name makes him weaken, and Jean's mental strength is winning over his own, as she's ultimately far stronger than his powers are, even at close range.

He drops down on to his knees on the ice, as the lake continues to pour down around them all, more columns of water starting to fall 'loose' and 'free' as the lake is desperately trying to return to where it belongs from above.

Julio Richter has posed:
Caught unawares by the psychic attack, the shift in Julio's surroundings, situation, and even identity stripped away the rudimentary telepathic guards all X-men have been trained to put up. Being in that state is the only thing that made it possible to push Julio into causing a full-on earthquake to begin with. With those defenses already down, though, a telepath of Jean Grey's caliber has no difficulty whatsoever flipping the script, yanking Julio out of the maddening fugue and depositing his consciousness right back where it belongs. He drops to his hands and knees, horrified at what he has done, soothing the Earth back to its usual calm. The ground beneath the lake town stills, the few remaining vibrations playing out gently and then subsiding.

Bobby Drake has posed:
"Guys can you get.. everyone OUT of the lake bed? Please?" Bobby implores as everything shakes around them and he's having trouble controlling the speed of the water. He only has control over the water, though, and ice. Unlike Ororo, he can't control all of the weather. He does manage to get control of the lake, holding it at bay for a bit longer.

With a tremendous effort and force of will, however he freezes the entire bottom layer of the lake into a three foot thick basin to absorb some of the fishy explosions. Cracks form in it as the fish continue to charge and explode, creating fissures that water begins to run free through. Bobby tries to seal them as fast as they form but it is taking every ounce of his focus and concentration to keep that lake in place.

Kurt Wagner has posed:
This situation feels like it is increasing danger of spiraling out of control very fast. Between Flannel Man's almost uncontrolled outbursts to Julio losing enough of his own control to reshape the neighborhood. Just a little. As the ground shakes beneath his feet, the fuzzy blue elf widens his stance, shifting his balance to keep his footing but does shoot the other man a brief, concerned look until the tremors seem to fade away.

It is tempting to lash out, isn't it? Just like he's doing. Lash out, smack him in the head, knock him out. Problem solved. At least the immediate problem perhaps. But clearly he is someone who is frightened, someone who is hurting. It is a story that they have seen a great many times before. Far too often truth be told. Most of them have lived it. On more then one occassion. It isn't hard to find a degreee of sympathy for the man and his tale. It's not hard to walk a mile in his shoes. They've already been there, done that.

Of course, the exploding fish take away a lot of that good will.

Between the ground shaking below and the sky dropping explosive fish guts on them it is getting a little hard to stand in the eye of this particular storm. And with Remy seemingly out of commission for the moment Kurt scampers closer to the Flannel Man. "And this is what you think she would have wanted? Frightening them, lashing out at them will not change how you feel. You will just confirm all the things that they believe about us are true. Stop this, and let us help you," the fuzzy blue elf says quietly, gently.

But he does duck down pretty low as that rain of exploding fish and water that is trying to escape Bobby's manipulation creeps ever closer.

Jean Grey has posed:
While Jean is getting through, things feel like they're getting much worse around her. The even-descending layer of exploding fish, for instance, which is a strange thing to ever find oneself worrying about, yet is threatening all the same. And as those explosions get closer, she finds her own attention further strained, in just the same way the man's is: she's putting all her mental effort into him now, but that means that she has little to spare for throwing up telekinetic defenses.

She doesn't have room to even -think- about what's happening with the lake on top of them. That's all faith in Bobby, because if it comes down on her while she's trying to reach him-

<"Do you know why your sister wanted to go to New York?"> It isn't like Jean isn't listening in to all of it, and while those thoughts overwhelmed Remy, she keeps her control. <"To find people just like us. We have a school, we help mutants there. We can help you, but you have to end this. Hurting these people won't bring her back. But if you stop now, before you've become a murderer as well, then there's hope. We can track the person down. The one who's -actually- guilty.">

She pushes as far as she can, as long as she can, hearing the concern in Bobby's voice, feeling the strain he's under, knowing that their time is running out. <"Please, just rest. We'll help you. We'll find a way to get her justice.">

She takes it as far as she can...

...and then she makes the decision for her team. <"We're clearing out. Kurt, Remy goes first, then any civillians who've strayed onto the lakebed.">

Unspoken is she and Bobby are last, as she stands there with both hands on her forehead, focusing intently, trying to achieve something in those last moments as everything seems to come down around them, holding as long as she can before she has to give up and shield herself against the avalanche of ice and exploding fish. Herself and -perhaps- a passenger-slash-prisoner, if she can manage.

Julio Richter has posed:
Julio tilts back up into a crouching position, wincing in misery. All of those months without having to worry that he would lose control and hurt somebody, wiped out by a psychic assault from an untrained mutant. Layered in with the guilt, he's absolutely furious at this guy for making him do something so destructive, betraying all the progress he's made. Mutant solidarity or not, he'd wring his damn neck if the others weren't watching.

And in that pit of fury and despair, he thinks he might have connected with their fish bomber. "Jean," he says, his voice a hollow croak. "You can figure out who did it. Who killed his sister. Who turned this guy into such a--"

He bites back his real opinion, gnashing his teeth, and finishes, "who caused all this. So they can be punished." It probably doesn't need to be said that he has his own ideas about what ought to be done with the murdering bigot once they've been identified in a psychic scan. Still, he'll defer to leadership on that one, just as he does now, lurching back to his feet and starting to trudge back toward the jet.

Rogue has posed:
Bobby is taking on the brunt of the control of the lake water above, which is buying the X-Men team more time to work with, and slowing the rupturing control that the Mind Manipulator had over it all.

His powers, in fact, are fading all together, and the people on the shorelines are starting to wake up, starting to move freely and starting to take in all that is happening on what was normally their peaceful community here in Franklin County. They're not exactly thrilled with it either as some are already running back to their homes, as the lights flicker back on inside.

Kurt's glared at by the man that caused this event, he just angry stares at the blue fuzzy one, before his eyes shift over toward Jean whose also trying to talk him out of this. He then just snaps, calmly so, and spreads his hands out to either sides. "She brought you here in the end then. To save these people, I guess. From me." He waves his hand, freeing the Father of the family that Kurt Bamf'd out to the highway.

Remy sweeps up and jumps over the chasm in the ice to grab the father, and slings an arm over his shoulder to carry the dad in a fast run across the ice to get to the shore where the dock is.

The Mind Manipulator? He releases all his control on this area, all of it falling down, except for a bubble of mind shielding on himself. He numbs himself to the whole world, blanking his own consciousness out, seconds after he just leans forward and aims to fall in to the crevice that his lawn chair and vanished down inside of, one of Julio's fissures in the earth.

Of course, this means Bobby is now entirely in control of the Lake up above, all the water of it resting on his ability to control it, which may or may not mean the X-Men are under quite a bit of pressure to get out of the basin fast!

Bobby Drake has posed:
Bobby will be just fine even if the lake falls on him. It won't feel great, but in the end, he'll be no worse for wear. He's far more concerned about the squishier people who will be flattened by a giant lake crashing in on them, or drowning them, or both. So he's perfectly fine with going last. He'll have to, since he'll have to drop the lake at that point, and he's trying to make sure he's got it as secured as he can if and when their guy lets go.

And when it happens. When the guy begins to slump forward into the chasm, he grits his teeth and focuses every ounce of will on bringing that water down nice and slow. He's letting it ease toward the lake bed, letting it get closer, letting the ice turn back into water so that when it hits it both a) won't be from so high up, and b) won't be a solid mass. But it /is/ coming down, and they're going to have to get out of its way or he'll be fishing them out, too.

Kurt Wagner has posed:
Fortunately the onlookers seem to be taking care of themselves. They might not have a whole lot of use for mutants and while that is certainly a shame, it does mean that they are clearing out all on their own. No need to worry about them then.

<On it,> comes Kurt's reply to the psychic instructions. Even when the now exhausted man pitches forward into that cavernous crack in the earth he leaves the matter to Jean and instead *bamfs* after Remy just as he deals with the beligerent father. "He's clear and I do not think he appreciates our help," he says quietly to the Cajun, laying a hand on his shoulder before they vanish, leaving only that cloud of inky-black mist and the rapidly vanishing smell of sulfur in their wake.

Then Kurt is back in that lake bed, appearing at Julio's side. "You are next," he says with a brief smile, well aware of the anger there. It would be hard not to be, but meeting it with gentle calm. No lectures, just a quick egress.

Jean comes next, presumably after she has dealt with the source of all of this trouble, depositing her back close to the Blackbird as well. Only then does he return for Bobby. "It's safe to let go. Let's be away for here..." he says.


Jean Grey has posed:
"I'll find whoever did it, but it's been a little difficult with all of -this- going on," Jean supplies to Julio, presumably the reason she hadn't simply delivered Mr. Flanel his offender as the very first order of business. "His influence over the town was muddling things."

But that seems to be over now, doesn't it?

With the apparent mental grip loosened, but the remaining risk of an entire lake's worth of water and ice dangling over them like the sword of Damocles, Jean holds her hand out to the man: "Come with me. You'll be safe until we-"

He has other ideas, but Jean doesn't care.

With her telepathic struggle ended, Jean's thoughts quickly shift toward a different purpose, and the man's falling body stops midair, before floating to her feet. In the meantime, an invisible bubble springs into existence around her, the man, and any of her teamates that haven't already cleared themselves out. Invisible, that is, until it immediately starts getting pelted by a variety of falling ice, explosive fish, and the resulting guts. Each impact helps delineate the telekinetic barrier, causing a little flare where the material hits and does not simply bounce off, but rather is dissolved down to molecular bits.

Did anyone really think the Phoenix was going to let her lose to some glorified icicles?

She remains beneath this dome while Kurt does his work (it is of course no barrier to the strange dimensions he treads), only letting it disolve in the final moments, insisting their unconscious former 'foe' go first, and then finally her.

Julio Richter has posed:
So much for Julio's moody trudging, not to mention his promised icy life preserver. As the lake looms closer and closer above, the lagging Latino realizes he's on a tighter schedule than he initially thought, and calls up another aura to power a slow, rippling wave of stone. He jogs forward a few steps, then hops forward and perches on its crest, balancing carefully so that he can surf the earthwave as it starts to rapidly accelerate. Bobby's got his ice slide; his boyfriend has a landslide.

Oh, water in the sky, what is love?

He's looking around to see if anyone is left needing a lift when his extended hand is met by Kurt's. His eyes widen in surprise and he says, "Oh, that w--" BAMF!

BAMF! "--orks tooOOOH," he finishes in the shadow of the Blackbird, voice rising as he totters and nearly falls, struggling to adjust to standing on ground that isn't moving. Just a little bit of the old pinwheel-arms and he's steady again.

Rogue has posed:
On the bright side, the fish are no longer being charged by the man's powers of manipulating the world around him. They're still exploding when they hit the ice, of course, but still!

As the others begin to flee from the falling lake, and its icy development, Rogue runs over to meet Remy when Kurt delivers him and that Father back to dry land. She sees the others coming too and moves toward Jean, and the guy who apparently caused all of this.

"What a ... disaster." Rogue gasps, not having the full story yet though. She stares out at the lake. "Bobby's still out there?" She asks, seeing him off in the distance before looking over to Julio and Kurt.

When Jean arrived though, Gambit made his way over toward her. He looks out over at the lake himself before he reaches a gloved hand up and motions to give something to Jean. "I dunno bout you, Red." The Cajun says. "But I t'ink you start askin' questions over dere." He'll deposit an item in to Jean's hand, wrapped up in a black cloth, then motions to the Father that he brought back to shore.

Bobby Drake has posed:
Once everyone has cleared the lake and the civilians are out of the way, Bobby lets the water gently rush back in as best he can. It's like a giant invisible bowl just pouring itself into the lakebed which has some new fissures and crevasses to fill up, making it perhaps just slightly lower than it was before the entire ordeal began. The giant ice wall along the shore is gradually melted and allowed to run back into the lake. Finally, when all of the water has been replaced, Bobby makes a slow walk back to the jet and climbs in. His ice form melts away back into his normal one as he falls into a seat and promptly passes out. Someone will surely drag him off the plane when they get back. Maybe. Hopefully.

Jean Grey has posed:
Jean doesn't know a lot of about guns - it's obvious that's what Remy has handed her, once she takes a moment to carefully unfold the cloth - but it's a pretty telling clue. And once it's no longer necessary to scan entire community, a process that is a lot of work even for a powerful telepath like Jean, it doesn't take her long to find out what she wants to know.

That said, while she promised the man in the lake justice, she did not promise a summary execution.

"Hopefully this should suffice as evidence for the authorities," she remarks, spending a moment more with the gun before cautiously re-wrapping it. She knows telepathic evidence doesn't exactly fly in court, but presumably ballistics are a different matter. "We ought to give them a call regardless, there's going to be a lot of cleanup necessary, and some of these people may need counseling."

And once they've turned things over to the proper folks, it's back onto the Blackbird, and onward toward home.