9619/Bubble Bubble Sinister and Trouble

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Bubble Bubble Sinister and Trouble
Date of Scene: 13 January 2022
Location: Abandoned Coal Town
Synopsis: The X-Men encounter something horrid deep in the Earth. Something Sinister this way comes, and Murderous Marauders try and rampage. Held off by burning Phoenix Fires.
Cast of Characters: Monet St. Croix, Jean Grey, Rogue, Madelyne Pryor

Monet St. Croix has posed:
    Charles Xavier had always had some friends in the government and law enforcement. People who went into the job with the idealism and drive to help people and keep them safe had always given at least some level of support. One of them, Fred Duncan, was a career investigator with the FBI that had often given Xavier some level of heads up on investigations, and was generally trusted.
    A coal mining town that had the economy bottom out of it when the mine had collapsed and lead to a mass exodus of the population decades ago had been over the years bought up by a series of companies with the promise of making it an economic renewal area. Other than tax breaks, these had gone nowhere. The companies that owned it long since gone bankrupt, and various other shell companies had bought things for a sleight of hand in corporate investment books.
    Little to garner notice beyond over the years several of said shell companies also buying up cutting edge equipment used for genetic analysis, sequencing, and cloning. And a number of genetic databases bought as IP's from various bankrupt companices also transferred. Seeing little more of interest to the matter than creative use of tax loopholes, the FBI had long since forgotten it existed.
    But when the local town began registering very high use of power on the local state power grid without notice, Xavier's contact had passed along word.
    Now, a short time after the Blackbird was en route with the team, heading towards a collapsed town in dead coal country, a bleak landscape of pollution and forgotten dreams buried in sickness and poverty towards a dead strip mall where all the clustering of power networks were suddenly feeding energy to. Not any real sort of immediate idea, perahps, what they were getting into. But every single mind from even the small population living in the area suddenly going flat and unresponsible to anything was a sign no doubt of trouble.

Jean Grey has posed:
Given that it is actual serious mission time, Jean is fully decked out in her official armored uniform, and seated at the front of the jet in the co-pilot position where she can let her teamate focus on the controls while she performs a mental sweep of the area, eyes briefly closed and two fingers held up to her temple.

"I'm not getting anyone. At all." There's a definite sense of ominousness to the announcement, as it instantly identifies the situation as something outside the norm. "The town's never had much in the way of a population since it first went bust, but there should still be someone. Technicians and engineers to keep whatever's drawing all that power running." And as her eyes open again, she shifts her attention from her extra sense to a more traditional one, eyes roaming over the instruments on the console in front of her. "And I'm not seeing any kind of infrastructure to warrant the power drain. There's always the possibility of someone trying to duck normal environmental regulations, run some kind of factory where no one is going to look at things... but I don't see anything that could fit the description."

And needless to say, when they finally track things to the source given to them, a strip mall is not what Jean was looking for.

Once they've arrived, she unfastens her harness and rises, moving toward the back of the plane. "Put the Blackbird on aerial standby, full stealth. No idea what we're looking at but assume potential hostiles, and I don't want to risk compromising our escape." And they can fly! So its easier for them to get back up, perhaps, than it might be for anyone to casually come along and mess with it.

And once the plan is set out, she touches a control at the back of the plane to briefly open the rear entry ramp, striding down and then casually stepping off, to float down toward the ground, her fiery mane of hair streaming in the wind behind her. En route, she focuses her mind again, just in case anything registers at the shorter range.

Rogue has posed:
Jean talks.
Rogue slowly reaches for a banana chip out of the plastic bag she has on the console beside her. She quietly places it in her mouth, and softly chews on it. Her eyes go from the controls, to the viewport, to the controls, to Jean, to the controls, to her banana chips, to the viewport.

"Got it." Rogue says with a half-full mouth. "Stealf mode engfaged." She says over banana chip.

Then she too rises up after setting the Jet in dormant mode too. She walks through the back holding her bag of chips, and reaches for her leather jacket, pulling it on as she goes, dressed in a black team uniform, the Belle has her hair tied back.

She steps out to where Jean is. "A mall. Wonder if there's any sales goin' on?" She asks dryly. She knows the place is probably in ruin and decay, with smashed windows and flooding, likely mold.

But hey. Dry humor is fun!

Monet St. Croix has posed:
As the Blackbird goes down for a landing, there's a hum as the X-Men would disembark. The ground is vibrating lightly ? ever so small. Moreso than the wind might inflict. A small, very small quake within that would normally be the type that an active drilling site might have. There definitely wasn't any sort of active drilling going on around here. At least.. On paper there wasn't. Not going back for a couple decades.
    There's a light rumble over along one of the front entrance to what in years and years past might have been a food court, now reduced to concrete, faded neon paint where a chain logo might have been put up.. A very, very small vibration going along it and the ground.
    Whatever was using that much power.. Was definitely sending it all to right around here!
    Right as Rogue makes her quip, a large flat and weather-worn plastic block that used to be some sort of giant shoe would make the long peel from a wall where it had been propped up for decades on end, slowly rolling off with ripping plastic going off to make a slow, blubbery roll down the side of the mini-mall, hitting the ground as it would flop over a few more times.

Jean Grey has posed:
Rogue's humor never fails in making these dire circumstances a little more tolerable. Jean always smiles! From the adorable mouth-stuffing while operating a military aircraft, to the idea of going shopping in the ghostly ruins. "If we have time, maybe we can sort through some of the old stores, see if there's anything left. Can you imagine what this place was like when it was still open? When the town, the area was busy enough to warrant building a place like this? Had to be like something out of one of those old 80s movies." Her mind drifts to colorful TV imagery of bad hair and weird fashion, perms and shoulder pads, and even Rogue will see it, since by now, she's keeping up the ever-handy constant psychic contact, just in case, even though they can easily converse normally.

With no particular obvious course to follow in her initial investigation, she continues ahead, finally strolling into the center of that once oh-so important food court. Which now, oddly, is vibrating. But among her many talents, being a geologist is not one of them.

"Some kind of underground machinery, maybe?" It's pure guesswork. "Hold on. I had Kitty grab me some specs." She taps on the wrist of her costume, bringing up a little handy mini-holographic projection of whatever floor plans and schematics were available for the building. Shi'ar tech, just like the Danger Room. The birds aren't all bad. "Lets see what kind of basement access there is..."

Rogue has posed:
The boot falls to the ground...

"That's promising." Rogue says, before putting another chip in her mouth.

As Jean talks some more, she gets the imagery of the 80s dream for teens to have fun at their local mall, and it makes Marie smile around the snack she's enjoying. "About a year ago I got really inta watchin' Mall explorin' videos on Youtube. There's this Dan Bell guy who loves this stuff. I bet he's been t'this one..." Probably not, but maybe!

She looks back up toward it as she clears her palette and shakes her head side to side. "IT's almost like buyin' everythin' online is robbin' us of gettin' t'know other people around us. But... damn is it convenient."

She looks over at the map that Jean brings up, and when she speaks of the basement stuff, Rogue just flashes her a grin. "That's what He said." She replies. Maturely.

"Come on. Lets re-open this place, for a fire sale..."

Monet St. Croix has posed:
The bird-tech would quickly affirm that yes, there was a basement. A very, very big basement. A basement and sprawling complex that took up significantly more space than the mall up above. A very, very big basement with corridors and complexes and clearly was not there in the building plans. That clearly was far too big to have been ever dug out and not noticed if this level of construction was going on.

And right as Rogue goes to speak of the 'basement stuff' there's a building chime over from somewhere. A hum fills the air right over as from the ground seeming to warp up out of it like some sort of hologram would be a glowing.. Red.. Sphere. Glaring. A dot in the center flashing. Pointing at Jean and Rogue.

Speaking in a very flat, staticky monotone of no particular accent.

<<ANALYSING MUTANT SIGNATURES. WAIT FOR IDENTIFICATION>>. It going to flash towards each woman with a flash of light, like one was bouncing a laser pointer past.

Jean Grey has posed:
Making your team leader laugh while she is trying to do serious investigations is dangerous! But laugh Jean does, about 'basement access.'

Still, there's not much to do but stand around and quip as she scrolls through the schematic. The 3D projection is very boring at first, no doubt the official mall plans Kitty got off the interwebs. But when other stuff starts showing up, she blinks in surprise. "Uh... well that's definitely weird. And not supposed to be down there. Looks like..."

But she's prompty interrupted by a 'friendly' computer voice alongside... well, whatever the strange distorted sphere that grows out the floor. Obviously that kicks her out of joking mode real fast.

She tenses first, and then as the laser light blinks out to apparently scan over her, Jean instinctively goes on the defensive, energy crackling around her body, although not quite fast enough to stop it from getting a read. Still, she's hardly going to trust the situation. It could say its scanning her and then try and disintegrate her, for all she knows!

"I don't like the sound of this at all."

Rogue has posed:
Rogue finishes the last banana chip off as she too is eying Jean's fancy 3d displayer thingie. "Kitty loves maps." She quietly says while they both observe it. Her black gloved hands roll the empty bag up and she slips it in to her jacket pocket now before the voice speaks up.

When the sentry thing appears, Rogue sees it scan Jean first.

"I don't think the Stealth Mode worked." She says, of the Jet's fancy systems.

But when it scans her, Marie raises a hand up to shield her eyes. "Do you think its related to Scott?" She asks with a growingly annoyed tone of voice from being blinded like that with a red beam.

When Jean starts to crackle though, Rogue shoots up in to the air and flies toward the thing, apparently angling to smash it before it can do anything to either of them!

Monet St. Croix has posed:
The machine would rapidly scan over Jean, and then speak over in a brighter, chipper voice <<SCAN COMPLETED. WELCOME: SUBJECT: JEAN GREY. ACCESS GRANTED TO SUBJECT: JEAN GREY.>> That.. Might be creepier over than if it had tried to disintegrate her. Rogue crunching it just as it would finish it's elaboration.
     The floor would open up, panels sliding back and retracting and pulling away to make a set of.. Stairs going into the ground twisting about in a circle. Down at least four or five stories, light flickering on underneath each step to give what would ordinarily be a sterile spiral staircase a hint of theatrics, only small amounts of light penetrating from above down into the shadows, casting up dim shades to make one's way down by. The lights on the stairs flaring brighter presuming the two would start down them. Down at the bottom what was clearly an open ende dhallway progressing forwards.

Jean Grey has posed:
That this glowing red scanning eye might resemble a certain hard-assed detention enthusiast friend of theirs IS, on its face, another obvious winner on Rogue's parade of comedy hits. It's relevant, referrential humor!

But Jean isn't laughing this time.

"Subject. And it has me on file. There's not a whole lot of people that applies to." And her brow furrows. "If one-eye WAS here, I'm pretty sure he'd get a friendly welcome, too."

In the psychic link, it's easy enough to feel how suddenly, drastically uncomfortable this makes her feel. A reminder of past violation, met with touch of rising anger, albeit for now held to the back of her mind. Instead, Jean focuses on the situation. "At least it seems like I bought us an easy way down. Let's take advantage of the hospitality." If she's afraid for a trap, that doesn't come through. In fact, much the opposite. Some part of her HOPES it is one.

The slight halo of energy is maintained, now, as Jean descends into the darkness, accepting the path laid out for her. "This is /definitely/ hostile territory," she informs Rogue, just so there's no chance of her friend mistaking an invitation for imminent violence.

Rogue has posed:
Rogue lands after smashing the thing. She stares down at it to make sure it was in robot Hell...

"That's what ya get. Nobody likes those super market things shinin' them in the eyes!" She says down at its metal body in ruin.

The sound of the stairs lowering has her spinning around on her heels, her fists up! But she falters as she realizes its a weird entry to that creepy basement that Kitty sent them a scheme of.

"Uh..." Rogue utters while walking toward it. She looks up to Jean who is just all confidently going to go down in to it. Which causes Rogue to raise a hand up to slow her down. "Woah, shouldn't we .. like... I dunno... roll a trash can down there first, or somethin'? So they'll blast it thinkin' its us inside it, stormin' their base?"

But Jean is going down anyway. Rogue huffs out a sigh and follows after her.

"At least let me go first. I'm sturdier than you are." She now protests in a loud whispery voice once the two women start to descend sub-terrainian style.

Monet St. Croix has posed:
The two compliantly go down the staircase. Through them to the bottom, where they would be in a venue that was like an assembly line. Dozens and dozens of large glass tubes each as tall as a human was, thick and made of some sort of thick material. Large, bulky looking electronics, vats of inert biomass and goo.. And various cranes and lifters that would be without any dust upon them. Indication of recent use or how thoroughly sterile the faculty had been. The duo would walk on down and be face to face with the..
    Manufactory. Yes.. Manufactory might almost be the best way to describe it. Things laid out efficiently, tubes and electronics in various states of readiness, conveyor belt and storage berths designed for things in the process of construction and assembly..
    Of humanoid creatures, that is, by the various restraint tables scattered about looking freshly sterile and scrubbed down.
    Despite Rogue's flattening of it, another of the small drones popping up and out. <<WELCOME: SUBJECT: JEAN GREY. QUERY: IS INDIVIDUAL ACCOMPANYING SUBJECT: JEAN GREY DESIGNATED FOR PROCESSING?>>

Jean Grey has posed:
Jean's heedless journey down the stairs doesn't slow for Rogue's caution, not even for her to take point with that hard head of hers. In fact, despite a flash of gratitude that passes between their minds, she verbally answers in a somber tone with something that is clearly not a brag: "Rogue... I've flown into a star. I've risen from the dead. Do you /really/ think that's true, on the grand scale?"

Wreathed in her crackling aura, something that seems to have a mind of its own, in how it flickers and moves, like an actual fire... save without fuel, 'burning' by disassembling particles as they reach her. Maybe she's not being THAT incautious. And still, nothing has attacked them yet, and so she continues as if it were all a happy stroll.

Well, maybe not happy.

"It'd be great if we had Hank along," she finally notes as they're able to reach the factory floor, the 'assembly line' of whatever biological products. "Although I'm pretty sure I can make a guess without him." She's seen it before. They all have, really. Places like this are more common than they should be, places where people tinker and meddle with the powerful evolutionary forces that made them, unsatisfied with nature's pace.

Or nature's design.

"What? No. She's here as... my assistant." And then, after a brief pause, something seems to dawn on her, and she speaks back in almost the same kind of tempo as the computer itself: "Querry: describe this facility, its function and resources." If it's listening to her... why not ask?

Rogue has posed:
On the way down the stairs, Rogue hears Jean's rebuttal, which has her sighing heavily. "I guess..." She says with disappointment rife within her tone. "But still..." She adds as her fingers start poking at Jean from behind. "You're so... squishy!"

Poke poke poke! She's being silly. Even wile going down in to this creepy base.

The further they get down though, she stops with the antics and when everything comes in to view, Rogue lets her green eyes roam over it all. "Holy hell..." She quietly says. "I don't think this is an Amazon warehouse..." She whispers.

When Jean talks to the Sentry thing, the Belle just snickers at the attempt to 'hack' it for info. "If that works, I'm seriously disappointed in this place's security systems."

With that said, Rogue steps toward some of the bio mass, then spins around. "Wait, what did it just ask about me?"

Monet St. Croix has posed:
The hovering drone would stay in midair as if not moving. Staying in exact place as if just something mounted as part of the background. <<THIS FACILITY IS DESIGNED FOR THE PREPARATION OF SECONDARY EXPENDABLE ASSETS THAT ARE CONSIDERED DISPOSABLE FOR THE GREATER BENEFITS OF THE EXPERIMENT.>> That tone would be even in the exact same pitch and intonation be almost creeier than those comments that had come before it.
    The stairs that the duo had come down would start to retract, falling back into one another as the door they had come down would slam shut. Heavy, reinforced metal beams would start to pop into place and line the entire facility floor. Bars going into place as the lights would suddenly flash on. A bright, invasive, blinding red.
    A dozen or so of those glass tubes popping open, humanoid figures appearing beneath them as they would retract. Figures that the X-Men may or may not recognize..
    A woman made of sparkling, seizure inducing mists. A huge, freakish looking man that had half an arm taken off and rpelaced with a harpoon. A stretchy sort of humanoid seemingly made out of black and purple rubber. A freak looking glass like being made of a disconcordant array of mirrors. Among others.
    A man seemingly leading the pack of freaks that had come out fresh of the tube would grin, "Aww.. But we want to play with our food."

Jean Grey has posed:
Oh no, how shocking, its a trap!

Jean seems neither surprised, nor intimidated. She seems angry, disgusted, and a part of her, that voice rooting for this since the beginning? Eager. "Thank you for your honesty," she tells the computer system. "But that's not going to be happening this time, not again."

The flicker of the aura around her grows in brightness and intensity, not just a little flicker (one which, unlike real fire, was smart enough to accomodate friendly poking from her friend!), but a true halo of that strange fire. It grows not only in size and intensity, as Jean rises from the ground, but begins to take shape, forming an outline of broad wings, and the vague intimation of grasping talons. And almost as if to rub in that earlier rebuttal about her 'squishiness,' Jean's armor itself burns away as if totally irrelevant, the molecules that previously composed it reforming themselves into a tight green bodysuit with golden accessories, like the bird-like eblem on her chest.

"Rogue. Feel free to break as much of this as you like. We're tearing this place down. And them with it."

If it sounds like she barely gives the Marauders much credit in the whole thing, well... too bad for them. But a harpoon arm? It seems childish, ridiculous in a way. And it's with such disdain that she streaks toward the mass of them, those talons of cosmic fire reaching out into their midsts, one for the rubbery man and the other for the would-be whaler, because he's just that ridiculous.

Rogue has posed:
Rogue is glaring at the Sentry bot thing. She marches toward it. "What did you just say about me? you should go see your brotha upstairs..." The Belle threatens the bot before she looks over to see the stairs gone, and steal beams slamming in to place.

"We shoulda did the trash can thing..." She quietly whispers before the enemies start to make their presences known.

Rogue now turns to look at them, one hand on her hip, as she takes in the sight of them all, her straight face turning in to a smirk as she hears Jean taking her fancy green and gold suited form. "As if anya'a you walkin' turdbags are frightenin' t'us. Me'n her? We're like Forrest an Carrots. We always go t'gether."

What does that even mean?

AT the all clear to Rogue Smash, the Belle floats up in to the air and just starts doing that, tossing metal stuff to one side, and everything else to another. She starts flying fast, like a literal Belle-shaped wrecking ball!

Monet St. Croix has posed:
There was a green woman, wearing a suit of swirling spirals who would go to grin sadistically. "Come on girl parts, DANCE. And SPIN FOR ME!" VERTIGO going to take in a deep breath and then spit out sensations of nausea! Disorientation, blindless. Seizures. The body spasming over as the center of gravity would be if one lost all sense of awareness. Not knowing if they were up, down, with no sense of the vagarieties of direction. Where normally one might collapse on their knees.. With no real idea which direction the floor was in. Or where their knees were in relation to their body.
    Gorgeous George, made of black and tar-like putty, would be flung over into Scalphunter. George covering all over Scalphunter, body morphing over in the malleable marauder as the two would spasm, almost welded together with force!
    As Rogue would go up and into the air, starting to smash everything, the drone would intone <<THIS FACILITY IS SECONDARY IN NATURE. IT'S LOSS IS ACCEPTABLE AGAINST THE CAPTURE OF THE PRIORITY SUBJECT>> Who was it talking to?
    Picked up by another one of the Marauders would be a strange individual. Wearing green, with spiked hair.. A being made of a seeming whirlwind of spikes would just grin, ?Ready.. Ready.. CATCH!? And RIPTIDE would launch SCRAMBLER up and over into the air at Rogue! Rogue no doubt completely immune to the chaotic windstorm inflicting even more damage.. But all SCRAMBLER had to do was get near enough to her for his innate ability to temporarily PARALYSE the capabilities of other humans to kick in and perhaps slow her down!
    And towards Jean Grey, ever so casually sauntering through would launch up into the air the man made of mirrors. ?How do you like looking AT yourself?? PRISM would flash, each part of his body, a warped reflective facing like a carnival mirror, showing a different twisted perspective upon her!

Jean Grey has posed:
As the two crash together, one of those fiery talons takes over the job of two, pinning them both to the metal floor, pushing, crushing them downward as though it were a real limb, rather than a jumped-up telekinetic project. And yet, under the Phoenix's influence, Jean's powers are certainly a little 'extra,' and contact with that flaming talon DOES burn, does leave searing marks in the shape it is has taken, branding their flesh. And Jean -is- holding back, not out of mercy but out of necessity, or that burning would rip right through them.

Against such terrible an onslaught, it is not unusual that a more tangential approach might serve better, where meeting force against force is futile. And Vertigo's strange attack achives that: if they have profiles on some of these people, for the large part they're unknown, and she doesn't quite recognize the attack until it hits her. In that instant, she lashes out with the now 'free' talon (not that the limb is actually a substantive thing she only has two of...), yet the slash of the burning construct goes wide as Jean's mind reels under the attack. The miss slashes through machinery, turning the midsection of a metallic support into slag where it contacts. It raises a question: is an uncontrolled, disorineted Phoenix actually BETTER for the enemies, or worse?

But in a short moment, it doesn't matter. Because contact with the power provides Jean with recognition of what it is, the mental component of those confusing waves. This provokes a rebuttal in psychic kind: suddenly, Veritgo is alone in her own mind, standing in darkness, with not Jean, but a vision of the firebird itself screaming down toward her, its wings and claws reaching to envelope her even as the cosmos seems to extend out into infinity around her.

This leaves Prism. On instinct, Jean again lashes out as he approaches, again with one of those burning claws. In truth? She has no idea what his body will do, isn't in the state of mind to ponder his reflective surface. Everything is rage and fire, and her greatest concern is with holding back herself.

Rogue has posed:
"Oh sure!" Rogue says as she smashes another piece of machinery, knocking it over in to the wall. "Tell us this facility isn't important, cause you got another. What a classic attempt t'get someone t'stop wreckin' your stuff!"

She flies right up to a big thing and just puts her hands on it, and grunts as she shoves it over, likely displacing two or three tons worth of metal and glass, and rubber(?)

That's when she turns around to see someone coming at her. Which makes her wipe her hands together. "Oh, you wanna dance, with me?" She asks, placing a hand on her chest and fluttering her eyelashes at them.

"Your funeral, pal." She states as she reaches over to grab a big metal arm, and hoist it up in the air like a bat.

Only she can't lift it. She tries. Tries again. Grunts and then uses two hands!

"This is embarrassing. Give me a moment, would ya?" Rogue asks the Creeper coming at her.

Apparently depowered?

Monet St. Croix has posed:
Jean is in a frenzy, holding herself back enough to control the slaughter. These beings are.. If one were to probe their minds, there would be backgrounds. Histories. Sensations. Awareness. Existence filled in. Specifics left vague and disoriented. Ends of the consciuosness smoothed over and made malleable. Not out of conditioning or manipulations, but almost at a genetic level. They had been made for apurpose.
    That purpose inflicting mayhem and murder. Consciousness of killing, of slaughter, of something sinister. Prism would be hit over by the waves, and body cracked asunder, bits of glass being rended up into a vortex of firey metal as the glass of him would heat, reflective surfaces cracking over from heat and pressure, shattering and then being fused together once more by friction, hitting the ground over and turning to dust.
    In it all, the drone hovering untouched, the unsettling red diamond-like pattern that was the optic observing as the Phoenix made fire out of the place.
    A whirlwind of glass and blades falling flat as the charnel house would seem to slow down.
    Scrambler would bounce away from Rogue, going to let out a series of yelps even as he would try to rapidly redirect himself as Riptide would look from Rogue to Jean and back again. Then going to pick up Scrambler, hurl him through the air up and over at Jean Grey while going to advance on Rogue. Waste not, want not. Making up a whirlwind and picking up various bits of discarded electronics broken by Rogue, set aflame by Jean Grey and smiling, going to gesture with his hand above his head, "Heeerreee's JOHNNY!" Going to flank up against Rogue from behind coming the huge man-not-mountain of BLOCKBUSTER.
    Blockbuster going to pick up a huge piece of equipment.. Nearly as big as the one that Rogue had just smashed.. I've always wanted to do this." Lifting it up above his head. "HULK SMASH!" But with Scrambler out of the way Rogue would be at full power by now no doubt..

Jean Grey has posed:
Jean herself is of two minds, both figuratively and literally, a woman fighting against her own emotions and instincts, id vs ego... and the presence of the Phoenix itself, vast, unknowable, and yet primally destructive, and perhaps to some degree offended by what is, in essence, a mechanistic attempt to usurp its own domain, to shape life, rather than to let it run wild, live, die, and live again, shaped only by that constant cycle of experience. In each, there is an impetus to simply destroy it all, to snuff out everything around her, to burn it down...

... a vicious cycle with but one destructive endpoint.

Amidst internal struggle, Jean spots Rogue doing as she was directed, hauling down massive pieces of machinery. Yet she also sees her falter briefly, and in that moment, human recognition, concern for her friend grounds her in the moment:

<< Are you alright? >> Speech seems crude, in the moment, and the mental voice echoes with multiple tones, the familiar voice of a friend, and the terrifying one that Rogue heard months before, as she faced the Firebird in its own domain, its cosmic egg, the M'Kraan crystal.

Without even waiting for an answer, one of the flaming wings is brought down into a space between Rogue and Riptide, causing the debris that strikes it to disintegrate into nothingness. Which... leaves a more humanoid projectile, in the form of Scrambler. In truth, he could meet precisely the same fate, be disintegrated as easily as a piece of flying metal or plastic, rather than be let touch the woman that hangs at the center of the burning psychic maelstrom. But instead, as his flesh begins to burn at the outer edges, a talon surges forward to catch him, and thrust him back across the room, and toward his maelstrom-inducing compatriot.

<< I do not know if these... poor things can be saved. >> Now her voice is a lamentation.

Rogue has posed:
When Rogue gets her strength back, it comes suddenly, and she falls backward with the big metal arm she was trying to lift up! It makes her YELP in surprise as she lands on her butt! She rolls over on to her side to look at Jean in full fire bird state. "Holy shit."

A look is given over her shoulder as she's blocked by that fiery wing from another attacker, and then Rogue just pushes off the ground and shoots up in to the air!

<"One'a these guys is a Nullifier!"> Rogue 'thinks' back to Jean. <"He shut me down. That one, I think!"> Rogue is pointing toward the one who'd been chasing her. <"I think we gotta get outta here..."> She adds while hovering up there and staying back, because well... the Phoenix kind of out-weighs her in knock-out potential...

Monet St. Croix has posed:
How would one consider saving something that they saw being readied off an assembly line? If it had been created purely for this purpose and destroyed, would simply another be readied in the same fashion? How many others of them were there? How many were just sitting in depots like these, waiting to become conscious? Aware they were madet his way? So insane as to not care? So insane as to have found power from this? Whatever was the core identity of the Marauders, whatever could be said of the individuals that they were facing.. However many itinerations it was from whatever had made them..
    How did one recover a copy of osmething that had been Xeroxed so many times to have faded almost beyond recognition? There is less the morass of a melee and more the slaughter house of psionics, cosmic beings, clones.. And whatever it is that the laboratory complex is made up of. Or was made up of.
    There are not so much individuals here now as there are consciousnesses. Split up at the mental and physical level. In rage? Fear? Hate?
    It's all very academic now as Jean and the Bird are sorting through things. For now all that seemingly matters is that she is Right and she in turn shall decide who will be Left.

    There is still the silent figure of the floating drone. The red glowing emblem upon it's dome watching and seemingly unphased by all of the chaos and psionic calamity inflicting on the area.
    Scrambler would e thrown over to Riptide, the two going to collapse through the air and tumble atop one another in a wreck as Riptide's powers wer shut down. Around them the psionic malestrom would continue.

    Step One: The X-Men go to investigate an abandoned laboratory.
    Step Two: Have said laboratory be an experiment ground by the one that had done -things- upon Jean.
    Step 3: Send in the Clones.
    Step Four: TO Be Determined.

Jean Grey has posed:
<"Get out? No. None of them are any threat.">

Jean's thoughts definitely operate differently like this. The sense of her as the cautious, thinking team-leader is far-gone. Perhaps there is enough of her to hold things back from being an outright slaughter, but there is likewise an imperiousness to her manner, a sense of unvarnished superiority to the... lesser beings scattered around her.

<"We're going to destroy all of this. However, these creatures... I am not sure if they are truly alive, or not. If there is anything to save. I am going to put them to sleep. Perhaps Charles will know.">

And with that, from the previous raging storm, things end in a much less visibly dramatic way, and yet one that is all the same representative of the terrible power at the woman's command: simultaneously, she touches all of their minds, whether they are already defeated or simply licking their wounds and preparing for another round. One and all, she reaches out, and then pushes down their conscious thoughts, thrusts each into the depths of their own consciousnesses, into a deep and total kind of slumber.

Maybe all that burning and thrashing wasn't even necessary! But... it did sort of look as though she was enjoying it.

Lacking apparent threat, the conflagration of the Phoenix's extended wings now diminishes, the whole vague birdlike outline of psychic fire drawing back into itself, back upon the woman at the center of it, until the outline is barely larger than she is. Like that, she hovers up toward the drone, and addresses it, in a tone and syntax that seems to mirror (and perhaps mock) its own: "Statement. The facility is lost and your creations belong to us. And when I find your creator, all the 'experimental data' in the world will not protect him from what I have done here."

And then, no doubt assuming all this information is being sent off elsewhere, she promptly explodes one drone.

Rogue has posed:
And Rogue is here too.

She watches all of this unfold from a very high vantage point in the facility underground. She stays back far, watching and letting her eyes flick around, as a hand comes up to shield her vision from some of the brightness. Could she slam up in to the ceiling and make a Bug Bunny-escqpe from this place if needs be? Probably... But, Jean.

<"Jean. I know I ate all the banana chips. But, I dunno if this warrants this level'a reaction outta ya..."> She says through their connected minds, if they're still connected.

<"Whatever 'this' is, I think its busch league. We should just... scram and cave the place in!"> She tries to reason with the fiery one.

Madelyne Pryor has posed:
Madelyne Pryor was literally grabbed and brought along, and has been helping with wreckage control, which is something a junior X-Man would do. But the firebird corona and psionic shouting is pretty hard to miss. She gently places the tons of wreckage she was moving onto the ground, and the telekinetically rockets into the air. She's been mastering her new powers with frightening speed.

She rockets towards the location where Jean and Rogue are. The lab wreckage is all very familiar looking. And Jean floating in the air in a glorious corona is unmistakeable. "Well. I won't argue that this Sinister character needs to get his due, but you need to tamp it down, girlfriend. That power you're spewing... it's tastes like fire and honey. You need to calm down." Madelyne herself floats across from Jean. "And anything in a tube *is* a person. I was in those tubes, not long ago. We check to see if anything down there is sapient, and rescue them."

Monet St. Croix has posed:
The drone would flash and flicker into nonexistance as the laboratory complex would be mostly leveled. Around where the abandoned strip mall had been now another hole that had been plugged up as it was cleansed. The ground partially collapsed and caved, a small whisp of light going up to the surface, the others probably having run in by now.

    But well.. W ell.. Beyond things was the semblance of musing.
    From whaever nook or crook that the freakish mutant who had made these monsters was in, or a facet of him.. "Fascinating. Well beyond the expected deviation. I'll have to update my results." Mind skimming to how to adjust the experiment, create new protocols, assess new information, adjust from plan to plan..
    As fingers spun a pencil and worked on a sudoku puzzle. What was eternity if one didn't find hobbies to distract oneself with?
    Another day, another drone now watching the interaction between counterpart and.. Counterpart.

Jean Grey has posed:
As Madelyne arrives, the still-flaming Jean turns toward her, and there is a lingering moment there, a beat of tension. In the view of the creature that was ready to disassemble all of these things to atomic particles, is one more clone any different than the rest? The wings flare briefly outward...

But then flicker and dissapate again. And instead, there is a brief psychic pulse of familiarity, and welcome, although whether this is Jean alone, or the Phoenix too, is hard to discern. <"I have already-">

And then Jean catches herself doing the now purely unecessary, talking-in-two-voices mental speech again, and shakes her head, pushing off that lingering influence.

"I'm alright. Even if you did hog the chips." Now, there is a little flash of a smile for Rogue, before she looks back to Madelyne. "I was saying... the clones here, I've put them into a mental stasis, so that we can transport them. Their minds seem... very fractured, very damaged. I'm not sure what can be done." And there is a certain sadness in her voice, one that now belongs only to the woman of flesh, and not her cosmic joyriding partner.

Her feet touch down, and for a moment, she walks among the rubble of what remains of the place. "But we'll do what we can to help them. Ask Charles... or, actually, maybe Moira can house them. She has facilities, secure ones even, for more dangerous cases. The school isn't really built for it."

Rogue has posed:
With Maddie arriving, Rogue looks between the two... the whole Maddie thing was weird enough, but is she able to do this fire stuff too? That would really help things out. A concerned look on Rogue's face expresses some of this kind of internal concern within the X-Men's tanky girl.

Her eyes go back to Jean though, when her friend reassures her. Which gets a light couple nods, and a quick smile from her.

Rogue flies down to the ground of the ruined place, and just looks over it all before she speaks up. "Good ol' Moira. Always where we throw the trash we pick up along the way on these mad journeys..." She quietly quips.

Madelyne Pryor has posed:
Madelyne Pryor gets a kind of saucy look on her lips. "Jeanie, I see you and your new beau are kinda tight. Well, that bird touched me too. That bird wants to *feel*, Jeanie, but I bet you haven't faced the self-recrimination, doubt and questioning I have. If the bird becomes too much, I'll take it from you and give it a place to perch. It seems like it's too big for one woman. It might help if we think about giving that sweet bird room to feel and enjoy and move, without hurting anyone. It's pretty obvious that whoever made me, wanted to control you and the bird. We have to protect the bird from Sinister.

Madelyne drops down to the ground. "Also, babe, you made the right decision. Remember - you are not that bird. I bet it's really easy to get swept away in all that passion. You made a good decision, because even if we can't do anything for them, these creations here are my brothers and sisters - we're *real*. And you acknowledged that. Maybe that's the lesson we have to teach the bird."

Madelyne shakes her hair loose. "Anyone, we'll get Sinister, and balance the books, right?"

Jean Grey has posed:
"I appreciate that, Madelyne. Although, it's... not really up to me."

Now, in the aftermath of everything, of the high of all that power, coming back down to the real world is something of a journey itself. Jean's voice is a little muted, tired. And as she looks back at the strange mirror that is Madelyne, her own expression remains hazy and uncertain. "I haven't had to go through what you have, in a place like this, you're right. Although..." And now, she hesistates, as if not certain she should share the fact that follows. "When we were in the crystal, I saw parts of you, and me, Rachel... others too. Faces I didn't recognize. Some that I did." Jean shakes her head. "It's... hard to explain. I think everyone is there together, in that place. No matter when and where we lived. Maybe it's true for other people too, for everyone... but the hosts, they feel more solid, more real, there. Everyone else is just sort of a ghost." There's still a distance to her voice, something familiar enough to Rogue, who's dealt with Jean's emerging difficulties on a couple occasions, now.

"Anyway. I think I'll be alright, now. This time around, my control has been better." Control might not be the word that anyone who watched what just happened would pick! But then again, the sun is still up there, shining warm and bright. Baby steps.

It's the last sentiment that earns the firmest of response, the vagueness fading. "We definitely need to put a stop to him, put an end to... places like this. Maybe these people," and she gestures at the sleeping Marauders, even as she more gently begins to lift several of them into the air for transport (no burning now, just pure TK!), "can help us somehow. I don't know."

Rogue has posed:
Rogue looks between the two of them, just... staying the hell out of it. She walks around the sleeping enemies that tried to ambush them down here, and just shakes her head. A sigh follows her as she ends up not far from Jean, she listens... she watches... and then starts to fly up toward where the slumbering bodies are going.

"I'll get the zip ties..." She says with a exhale.

"We still gotta go see if there are any Sales goin' on though. Can't leave until that's done, Jubilee wouldn't let me live it down..."

She does know the Mall up there is really really closed, right?


Madelyne Pryor has posed:
Madelyne Pryor says, "These people here may not be trustworthy. They may have been programmed by Sinister for all we know and absolutely untrustworthy. But they're people, not lab material. I just want them to get the sane chance and choice I got, is all." She assists Jean and Rogue with the Marauders."

Monet St. Croix has posed:
The Marauders are.. Quite simply bound and taken, all of them unconscious. Whatever they are, whatever has been done to them.. Are they monsters? Most certainly. Were they always that way? Does anyone know? Was the person who made them into this? Undeservedly so.
    Whatever fate befits the murderous Marauders.. The one whom made them in the first place is by far the true monster of the eve.