1963-09-03 - Escape From Coney Island I
Summary: Thanks to Logan's deal with a demon, the X-Men are able to teleport to Jean Grey's location and mount a rescue. It is… complicated.
Related: Escape From Coney Island II
Theme Song: None
crystal rogue luke logan piotr vorpal jean kitty laura 

Rogue has reconnected.


Rogue has partially disconnected.


It's been weeks since the X-Men visited the facility in Louisiana; weeks since they started scouring files for information to understand what's been going on. And it had taken a good long while to get a break. While many had read and thought about the events around the experiments, finding true intel has proven difficult. And then more people went missing. The X-Men's very own Akihiro and Jean Grey were swallowed whole —disappearing without a trace into some deep dark hole.

Earlier this week the situation became more unsettling when psychological programming embedded in Kitty's mind became activated. Fortunately, the professor removed that, but oddly Kitty disappeared roughly 24 hours later, also without a trace.

It seemed intel and information were at a frustrating low for our heroes.

Until today.

Earlier today at Harry's Hideaway, Illyana, Logan, and (reluctantly) Piotr enlisted the help of Chthon the demon in exchange for a favour to be named at a later date. The demon revealed its location to the sorceress, and unveiled Jean's exact spot to her. While Logan and Illyana were excited to go, Piotr operated as the voice of reason — they needed help.

Illyana and Piotr had gathered whoever they could find at the mansion, and several others listed in Kitty's rolodex. The group converged at Harry's Hideaway, readying themselves for action.


Normally, Harry's Hideaway is one of the few places outside the Institute that Piotr feels comfortable being himself. But now? Now, he's worried this might just be the last time he's welcome within its walls.

Clad in the black and red uniform that marks him as an X-Man, the still flesh and blood Piotr Rasputin has claimed a quiet corner while the rest of the team gathers, his arms folded tensely across his chest. His face and arms are still peppered with healing cuts and bruises from the trip out the window he'd taken just the other day, and he is… quiet.

Probably because noone has heard from Kitty since yesterday. His jaw set, Piotr studies the floor between his boots and struggles to focus.


Logan is much more basic than a costume. He's got boots, jeans, a black wife-beater, a cigar and a bad fucking attitude. Logan would already be there if it hadn't been for Piotr's stubborn insistence on back-up. He'd already informed the big Russian that he'd take any additional damage Jean and Aki took out on the big man's hide for the delay.

He pushes off from the corner booth where he'd been stewing, "'bout damn time," he mutters, "Where's yer sister? Time to get this show on the road. You get anybody or was it interruptin' recess?"


Crystal has a personal connection when it comes to missing people. The X-Men promised to help her find her sister - she can do no less for them and for the students at the school. When the others arrived, she was quick to change into her yellow and black suit to join the search party.


Keith doesn't have a team uniform, proper. The reasonf or it is that he is not part of the team, even though he has somewhat failed to leave the Mansion after his recent recovery. He'll leave soon enough, but he can't just walk away when Kitty and other people he knows are missing.

That's just not cool, right?

He does, however, have a uniform of sorts when he comes in to the designated meeting place. The Cheshire cat is wearing something that works for combat without being bright and loud like some of the people he has seen because… well. He *is* bright and loud. There's enough of that to go around.

"Well, looks like the merry gang is all assembled," he says as he comes in, motorcycle helmet under his right arm. He gives Piotr a grin and then a nod to everybody else.


Personal ties might bring the resident counterculture expert along simply because Piotr asks. Loyalty impugned by the disappearance of Jean Grey make an entirely different matter, and the redhead slinging a coat over her shoulder holds an entirely different air about her than usual. The mask Scarlett wears for the occasion may be hard to reconcile with the cheerful pacifist content to obstruct enemies and foil plots. The thoughtful, intense bearing might only be familiar to Crystal out of the assembled group, and she moves between the blonde Inhuman and Logan with ease.

"Because scouring my syllabus for the economic impact of independence eclipses coming out for a dance with you?" she murmurs to Logan. The edge of her tone is slightly crisper, almost British. "We're bringing them home."


Luke Cage received the call with brief skepticism. Of the X-Men, he only knows Kitty Pryde — and the girl seemed pretty damn capable in their two encounters. That said, he said he'd help her find her friends. Never mind the guy who's paying him to help. So he rolls into Westchester on a somewhat worse-for-wear Harley KR, parks it at the bar, and strolls in — however warily. He does not, as noted, know these people.

The first person he spies as he walks in is Piotr. The man's as tall as he is — though possibly not so broad. Luke regards the man critically for a moment, nods once, then slowly turns his head to take in the rest of the assembled.


With a burst of energy, Illyana raises her hands, and focuses on the world at large. Each of her friends can feel themselves be transported, quite dizzily, in what could be described as one of the most disorienting ways possible, to a very different space — Jean's exact location, as per Chthon's agreement with Logan.

The room in which the X-Men (and friends) find themselves is one of utter dismay. The sound of an alarm, almost like that of a fire truck whirring, echoes through the space. The lights flash red, and near-blackness in what would've been described as a painfully white hospital room. An observation area, with now-shattered glass, is intended to be separated from the observed on the other side.

Smoke wafts and billows around the room. Burn marks line the observation area, charred black, and flecking from the ash that lines the metal bunker. A single spot demonstrates melting metal ? an extreme exposure to heat.

Jean Grey rests along a bed in the centre of the observation area, but where someone might expect her to be strapped to the bed, she is not. Instead, the straps have been mangled like some giant ripped them apart with all of its strength.

And around the room, the bodies of workers present float feet above the ground ? held by some unseen force.

The majority of those who would be considered workers are dressed in lab coats — indication of some academic rather than militaristic function.

One in particular begs with the girl on the table, reasoning for his life, "Please! We — we just want to get down — send us home — "

A single voice calls over the intercom: "CODE 18181 ENACTED! ALL HANDS ARE TO REPORT TO FACILITIES!"


Piotr does not lift his head to look at Logan. His eyes merely flick up enough to stare at the shorter man from under his heavy brow, his jaw tightening. He says nothing in response.When the Russian moves his gaze to Crystal, Keith, and Scarlett, on the other hand — then his expression thaws. Piotr even musters up a small smile for them. "Yes. We are. Spasiba," he rumbles tiredly, his accent heavy.

And then he sees Luke. He straightens slightly, his expression brightening. "Mister Cage?" Piotr finally leaves his corner and extends a hand Luke's way. "Katya told me you were helping her look into things. My name is…" He glances down at himself, considers. "…Piotr. But, Colossus, in a moment."

A very short moment. With a quick look around to count heads, Piotr nods once to his sister. As a metallic armor begins rippling over his skin, he rumbles a low, "Do it." And then she does. And there they are. God, that's disorienting. He'll need a moment.


Logan doesn't need anything. He steps towards where Jean hangs suspended, his wild hair caught a bit in her power, flattening the hair back a bit on his head. For the moment, he only has eyes for her, "Find the others. Clear out anybody gets in yer way," he says to the rest, "I got her," he says. Once upon a time, Jean Grey reached out with her mind and found a maddened beast of a man trapped in a cage, deep inside the sanitarium, the subject of experimentation and abuse.

Time for him to return the favor. "Jean. It's James. We're getting you out of here," he says, focusing to try and project his thoughts as much as he can at her.


Crystal has been teleported before, many times. Illyana's methods are…different. When they arrive at their destination, there's a moment where she sways, looking a little bit green around the gills. "That was…" Almost as unsettling as what they drop into.

She takes in the scene with a horrified expression, though she nods to Logan's orders. Jean is a very special case, after all.


The disorienting teleportation is something the Cheshire cat is familiar with, due to his own particular method of getting around. The scene of utter chaos into which they are brought, however, makes him pause for a second.

"What on earth…" he asks quietly. Logan takes charge of things, and the cat nods. He takes a good look at one of the scientists floating in midair, and in the blink of an eye he is a dead ringer for him, getup and all.

"Will do," he says in a voice that is a perfect replica of the pleading scientist… except, of course, without the horrified panic, "If anyone wants a temporary makeover, speak now or forever hold your peace. For the element of surprise." He will give anyone who desires the semblance of one of the people strewn about the room, "You just have to stick close to me," because once they were out of sight, he wouldn't be able to maintain that illusion.

He looks to the official team-members to take point, since he was just a guest star, after all.


"Just call me Luke, man," says Cage, pausing a moment as the man metals up. Bigger than him, then. Stronger? They may have to test that someday. Not today.

A glance at the short Canadian after they're teleported. Clearly Logan's in charge - but Cage really has no clue how he is. He's not going to question things under the circumstances, so he steps toward the door, ready to take point — that's what the tanks do, and Colossus has more friends to worry over than he does.


Unpleasant as the dimensional aperture may be, Scarlett is among the first to react. She murmurs her thanks to Illyana, an admonishment of "Be safe," given in affectionate, short terms. A shake of her head follows, gazing at the bodies in suspended animation.

Her plan of action proves straightforward enough. Shield Logan reclaiming the better half of Team Redhead. A softly spoken murmur answers him. "You are a superior fighter. I would do no harm. Let me take her and keep her safe until you return?"


Brahm's Lullaby plays on repeat. A select stanza of notes, over and over and over..
It was a maddening sound, coupled by a maddening scene that plays out around those who've managed to teleport into the wreck of a lab. For people hang suspended, a slight twitch and a turn could hear bones slightly crack under the pressure. There was some whimpering, some crying.. a lone man who hovers in the corner dejectedly pisses himself due to fright. Possibly, it was all the cola he had drank during the time of the experiment.

Though that had gone amiss because there was already water on the floor. They weren't exactly knee deep, but there were puddles in odd spaces along with a crack of electricity due to wet cords; sparks breaking out into a plume like flower that hangs in the air oddly, turns.. then falls to sizzle out upon the ground below.

Jean herself wasn't suspended. But she was on the bed. Sitting upright, legs folded indian style, fingers steepled together, her expression entirely blank. The straps were removed yes, but someone forgot to unplug the bags that drip-drip-drip endlessly into her veins. It might be fire.. no. It wasn't fire. Though at the time Jean sees it that way. Though is it Jean? No.. it couldn't be. For she looks up towards Logan as if his head grew three times the normal size it was, along with an owlish tilt of her head.


A shocking realization, her gaze flits towards the one labrat who speaks to her as her fingers lift, drawing the labrat closest to her so that her fingers could capture the lip of the trembling bastard with a very, very harsh pinch. "Quiet. I cannot hear." And the pinch continues.. inch by inch adding pressure that was unlike her own doing, to the point the skin tenses, bruisingly so, and blood begins to line the mouth of the babe.


Folks leaving the observation area find themselves coming up against a large steel door — heavy and menacing in its stationary nature. And outside the door, a team of at ten special ops crew await, holding large, menacing weapons — foremost of which are ridiculously strong tranquilizers, formulated to take down even the most adept healer.

The alarm rings true again, calling out a code into the facility, "CODE 9897. REPEAT: CODE 9897."

Just beyond the group of military troops lay two doors — one on the north and one on the south side of the building. The hallway carries on westward.

In the room, the labrat whose lips Jean pinches closed blanches at the contact, trembling beneath the machinations of Jean Grey, the girl who they never should've activated. Tears run down the labrat's eyes, dripping down his cheeks in a steady stream.


Colossus just grunts in response to Logan's orders and begins stalking his way towards the door, one hand coming up to nudge one of the floating doctors out of his path. Considering the music playing in the room, the nudge is perhaps a tough harder than strictly necessary, though it will not hurt the man. Much. "Luke. Are you bulletproof?" the Russian asks, giving his fellow tank a questioning look. "There will be no shortage of bullets flying —"

Wait. With a furrow of his brow, Colossus looks back over his shoulder towards Jean, his hand hovering just shy of the large steel door. "'Who?'" he echoes, eyes flicking to Logan. What does she mean, 'who'?


Logan presses his lips into a firm line, "Ain't her I'm afraid o' gettin' hurt at this point, darlin'. Jeannie could tear every single one o' us down to meat an' bone if she gets her mad on. I've had the split organs t'prove it," he says.

"If she kills me, I won't stay dead. I can't say the same fer any o' you. My fault she's here. My responsibility. Now GO!" he says to Crystal, before turning back to face Jean. He doesn't care about the labrat, he just cares about the redhead sitting straight up on the bed.

"Go in my head, then. See who I am. See who you are. Go on."


"I can handle some bullets," Crystal notes with a look between Luke and Piotr, out of place coming from the small woman. She suits words to action, raising a hand and crafting a shield of swirling water in front of the group. "If you can pull open the doors, I can make certain we're covered until we reach our people. As Logan says. It's time for action."


As the shield of swirling water comes into play, Keith positions himself towards the rear quietly, letting the team decide and content to observe and listen for now. Logan's comment that Jean could tear everyone to pieces at a whim causes him some discomfort. He remember the woman who could turn baking into a weapon of mass destruction but who was, otherwise, perfectly pleasant and who all but squealed at some pretty shameless matchmaking directed at Kitty and Piotr.

Interesting. Perhaps the sooner they put some distance, the better. He wasn't sure if his particular psyche could interfere with Jean in this state and cause something bad to happen, but he didn't want to chance it, either.

Without a word, he becomes invisible and makes ready to follow the group.


"Give her my love. I remember." The last phrase comes with ambiguity that might warrant a convesation later on, nothing now to be done for it. Scarlett's expression holds the mountainous weight of worry and deep, fraught compassion for the vessel holding too much rage and horror for her short years. A nod to Logan follows, and she swivels away, dragging the zipper up the high collar of her jacket.

The temptation to reach out and offer a gesture of comfort to the other redhead does not trump wisdom. "Jean…" Quiet words bestow a gentle benediction to whichever gods and cosmic forces care to listen. Then she presses her gloved hands together, lips grazing the serrated peaks of her knuckles. Complicated bindings loosened allow her bare fingers freedom if needed, and she flips her palms to look at the cradle of concealed digits. Some decision is reached. "Let's go. Crystal, call 'kaunaz' if you need emergency support." Kaunaz. The fire rune. Go figure.


"Never been shot with anything that can break my skin," says Luke with a shrug. "Doubt the thugs they've got here are bringing anything that's gonna hurt me that bad." He grins at the other man. "Let's find out." With a nod of acknowledgment to Crystal he raises one hand, bracing, and then slamming his curled fingers into the steel door. Bring it all down.


ROLL: Luke +rolls 1d100 for a result of: 97


The door is completely smashed, a ruined wreck that collapses into the hallway beyond.


Fingers pinch. Squeeze. Pinch. The sickening, quiet, hollow snap of skin separating from skin causes the labrat to become disconnected from his lips, which remain pinched in between Jean's fingers and yet far away from the mans face. Fragile. Fragility was curious. How she could just pluck one of them up and slowly tear them to pieces with just one pinch. Her hand lifts to spy the lips; which soon drop to the ground in a splat. The labrat forgotten..

"Your fault?" She finally answers Logan as an after thought. Her eyes were clearly distant, bordering on the blind look, the white encassing the green yet some color still shines through. "Oh. The Beast. The failure." One leg uncurls and hangs down from the bed as if she were to stand, that movement alone pushes another labrat against the metal of the wall, the sickening crunch of his ribs broken were almost like music to her ears. Ones that she pays attention to.

So fragile. They were like little toys made of rubber and air that one would squeeze until their head becomes bigger than the rest. And their eyes would bulge and create a comical look. "I do not need to see in your head to know that you are flawed." Another leg shifts down as her hands press against the bed, leaning forward. Her eyes glance towards Scarlett as she makes to leave.. and then the door itself shatters like nothing. Was it time to go already? Wasn't this place considered home?

Conflicting information. An irritation.


ROLL: Piotr +rolls 5d100 for a result of: 262 [81 11 65 81 24]


Smoke billows from the room, giving the heroes a visual shields they move. The wafting smell of fire-that-once-was enters each of the heroes' senses. Gunfire, in the form of various tranquilizer darts and bullets echo into the hall.

Somewhere down the hall a very pained , very loud, very feminine, yelp rings through the hallway, spilling out from some secret room West of this space.

The first five fellows operates in quick succession, firing at will rather than taking aim at any of the heroes holding out the front line.


When Luke drops the door from its hinges, Colossus lunges around Crystal's shield and grabs onto the door before it can hit the ground. His eyes are fixed on the large group of soldiers that await just beyond, and his expression - for those that know him - is a very uncharacteristic one.


With a roar, Colossus strides forward and pivots on one heel to put himself into a spin, looking for all the world like some kind of superhuman discus thrower. Because that's what he is. The door is LAUNCHED into the waiting soldiers, and just like that, three fifths of their number are… no longer a concern.

Colossus looks ready to march on the remaining ones when he hears the yelp. A familiar yelp. He whips his head around to try and figure out where it's coming from, ignoring the bullets bouncing off of his skin as he paces further from the room Jean is in. "Katya. Keith," he says sharply. "FIND HER."


ROLL: Rogue +rolls 1d2 for a result of: 1


Flawed. The other one talked like that, the girl that came after him, the night Jean was taken. She smelled like the tank, the one that had burned metal to his bones and torn him from one life to another. Had it done the same for Jean?

Not if he could help it.

"Yer damn right I'm flawed," he says, moving forward to get as close to Jean as he can, to stand face to face with her if he can manage it, if she doesn't fling him across. He hears the breaking bones, the cracking of the men, and he knows that Jean will regret that, that there will be tears down the line and sleepless nights and the reminder that it's not her fault.

For now, though, Logan has to focus her on him and, as if to do so, he tries to slap her across the face, "JEAN! ENOUGH OF THIS! WAKE UP! REMEMBER!" he cries. None of them have the talent to reach her. He can save her body, but her soul? On that count, Jean's going to have to save herself.


Crystal pushes the wall of water in front of the group of heroes, pressing toward the guards to absorb their fire and threaten them with something a little less breathable than good, healthy air. "Colossus," she calls ahead of herself. "Be careful. We're going to need someone to take us to our friends." Turning her attention to the guards, she summons a ball of fire to her other hand, eyes glowing with the power. "Who volunteers?"


"As if you even have to ask," comes Keith's disembodied voice next to Piotr's ear.

"On my way. Try not to hurt yourself too much."

And then, the invisible cat is off, moving as fast as he can while maintaining a low center of gravity and as close to the ground as possible, in the direction of the yelp. He's got the better ears to hear her with, after all, my dear. He will do his best to avoid guards, though he will liberally rake his claws across the faces and eyes of any of them who get too close. They are a nuisance, Kitty is the objective.


Drifting through the smoke, Scarlett is doubtless the least frightening figure ever to present herself to the unyielding phalanx of cold, black muzzles. Bohemian flower child walking with empty palms and a downcast look constitutes threat level minus seventeen compared to invisible cheshire man, metal-covered Russian, badass warrior, and inhuman caster. To say nothing of the original Weapon-X and his girl friend back there.

The Norns have a slant sense of humour.

She moves with quiet assurance, bounding in to seize the nearest gun barrel in both hands without a care for any bullet squeezed off in the meantime. They might not even be reacting yet to the door taking out their three compatriots. Her palms push away the metal barrel like tissue paper towards the ceiling and she delivers a pair of hard, precise kicks: one to the crotch up, and a stamp down onto the soldier's thigh bone just above the knee. His femur doesn't shatter; it snaps in two, edges projected in two directions between the skin. Then she swivels, guiding the gun as an axis, and hurls the soldier into the only one remaining.

It would be enough if they both fell together and she walked away. Gun in one hand on the ground, she uses that as her fulcrum to swivel, delivering a spinning kick that brings the full force of her ungodly stolen strength down upon the uninjured soldier's spine and ribs with disturbing accuracy. Three sharp punches follow, precisely aimed to send the fellow catapulting into unconsciousness or death.

The impassive look on her face assesses the damage, and she tosses the second gun behind her for someone else to take. "Clear."


Luke glances toward Crystal once more, then moves in alongside her. "You saw what I did to the damn door," he grunts, low and menacing, the grin on his face suggesting a complete lack of concern for the well-being of those before him. "And I can take bullets just as good as the metal man. So, first person to volunteer to lead the way DON'T get flattened."


ROLL: Logan +rolls 1d100 for a result of: 6


ROLL: Jean +rolls 1d100 for a result of: 8


There was no force that kept the others away from her person; Jean's eyes were upon their back, almost watching them like a child waiting to see if Prince Charming was going to kiss the girl. Her bloodied hands soon lift, pressed together in anticipation. The way these fragile things worked was met with fascination, and a need to watch and to not do harm. Therefore, Logan was largely ignored.

They scurried like ants.
Their minds were racing.
One man wishes he could go home.
Another said a silent prayer in his mind for his wife and children; oblivious of his current position. He will do better. He will quit. He will repair televisions for a living since the industry is hot. Maybe even sell vacuums to the neighbors.
And another suffered indigestion; the man was packed full of gas and was silently regretting that burger that was practically smothered in cheese.

And one by one, those lights were snuffed out by the slap that was delivered to her face. Her head snaps to, one hand lifts to rub against her reddened cheek. It did not snap her out from the drug filled firebird haze she was in. It only pissed her off.

And that was bad.

The drugs were nothing but LSD and things to bring her inhibitions down. And topped with a cosmic bird who only surfaced as a means to join, to learn, to protect.. this one became a danger to their very being.

"How dare you." She says quietly, her hand slowly reaching out towards Logan's face. One would think that she would stroke his cheek in thanks, but no. It was a quick seize and capture, a grip of the ear, a terrible look with teeth beared and..


She snatches his face clean off.

With a boost up off of the bed, she holds on to the layer of skin that was peeled from the face of Logan, the IV needles blown from her veins. This place was terrible. This place was dangerous. This place needed to be DESTROYED.

(Phoenix Face: We will not be saying 'I am life and fire incarnate. Or whatever hubaloo that was trademarked tyvm! — ^(O.O)~)


The team at the front easily takes down the first five gun-wielding folks, leaving a team of five just behind them. Just behind the five guarding the hallway lay two doors — one going North and one going South.

One of the fellows in military garb at the back barks into his radio, "SOMEONE, for god's sake track down Stryker for further orders — what the hell is going down the hallway?!" The echo of activity down the hall sounds almost like a beast scratching at a cage begging to get out.

The voice on the radio of Kenneth, the intern, comes loud and clear, "Stryker called Order 517. The sub has already left! Oh my oh my oh my! He's not gonna like this…"

"GET XIV-2 and XIV-3 HERE NOW!" he barks back.

"Uh… I'm sorry Mister Tracy, sir, but I think the girls are malfunctioning… they just got out… with the concussion blast fellow…"


"Keith will find her," Colossus tells Crystal, his voice tight. "He will make sure she is safe. I trust him… and she is not the only one we must find."

Quickly, he surveys the room, narrowing his eyes. Ah. That one is still moving. With a silent snarl, Colossus marches towards the man whose radio is going off, oblivious to the horrors happening in the room he's left behind. "YOU!" he barks, bringing one massive hand up to point at the man. "You enjoy breathing, yes? Where. Are. The. Cells?"


Logan howls, a scream that echoes through the space, the unimaginable pain of having every inch of skin and flesh from his face just torn free of his body, leaving behind exposed meat and muscle, the jelly of his eyes spilling down over sinew, the mouth thrown open in that wracked, ecstatic wretch of agony.

He stumbles to his knees in front of the Phoenix, his back bowed by the pain which he has endured.


It wasn't enough. His love for her wasn't enough to wake her. The lives of her friends and allies weren't enough to break their hold. She'd ripped him without a blink of hesitation and now he had to stop her, so that she could stop herself. He only has one other weapon yet and he's going to use it.


He lunges, attempting to drive his claws into her thighs where he kneels, driving forward hard enough that, if successful, he'll pin her to the wall like a butterfly with his adamantium blades.


The sounds from behind her are…not good. The temptation for Crystal to turn back, to see if there's anything she can do to help her friends back in that room, is strong. But right now, there is a mission. One to save more people than just the two in that room. And if she's entirely honest with herself, there's not much she can do about whatever is going on back there.

Letting the fire fade from her hand, she instead starts to draw the air from the lungs of any guards still standing as a demonstration to the one Colossus has chosen to speak. No need for him to know they're just taking an oxygen-deprived nap.


Executing a perfunctory turn, Scarlett hastens down the hallway opposite of Colossus, headed southwards. She stops short and flattens against the wall, giving a visual survey that stitches a rapid series of looks from top to bottom. Everything in her bearing is terribly professional and efficient, betraying not an iota of emotion. Then she pauses and looks at the wall, tracing with a series of light taps of her finger until she finds what she wants.

A sudden, sharp punch decimates the plaster and whatever else used in the facility to make the walls so nice and sterile. The interior guts spill out and she tears out a metal wire, neatly walking it across the hallway to the opposite wall where the loose end gets tied off to a supporting pillar or load-bearing strut. One tripwire down, and ready to go, in the space of a few moments.

"No sound on the other side." She creeps back, dropped down into a lower defensive position, and then glances to the north door. If they're going to keep talking, she might as well just put out a second tripwire, this time at calf-height, midway down the hall.


With Piotr commissioning his own volunteer and Crystal taking down the rest of the guards, Luke shrugs his massive shoulders and heads off toward the southern door, following after Scarlett. "Gotta find this David North guy," he says. "Y'all need me, just give a yell. I'll come running." He does not like the sounds coming from behind — but he's going to assume that they are coming from friendlies. Frankly, the floaty doctors and technicians didn't seem to be any kind of threat.


Skin was held on by tough material. Tough material that was snatched off by a brief and calculated force of telekinesis that Jean herself would never use. Ever. Well, that Jean. That sane Jean that leaked beneath the surface, floating on the cloud of happiness and sunshine, while the other side of her holds onto the face by the ear. A hand lifts upright to show it towards the light, the red surfacing through pink skin, the eye holes creating two uneven beacons of light upon the wall and oh look..

Logan was in desperate need of a shave.

"We fixed that. Didn't we Jean?"

This was said amongst his cries. It was like a melody along the racket within the halls. Within the song that plays throughout the room as the power itself begins to dim..
..to dim..
..to dim..

Her time spent with self reflection causes her to miss the blow to her legs, the adamantium claws going through and through to the point she was smacked against the wall. Introspection. Inspection, her legs felt a little bit wet and ..

That was it. A banshee cry to end all cries. That hurt, so much so that the cry alone gave the doctors and labworkers the release they needed to fall fo the floor and scamper upon stiff, tired, and sleepy limbs. They were movin' on fright while Jean herself was moving on pure shock. Yeowch!


Getting barked at by a very metallic, very brooding Russian-accented mass is enough to drive Tracy, the man with the radio to tremble beneath the pointing. "Uh — " he starts only to look for a semblance of backup from others present. Finding none, he shivers again, " — across the facility — " he answers earnestly. "Depends on the danger assessment following this space… ones that Control feels they have a handle on go to the cells. Ones like — " his eyes tick towards the room that houses Jean Grey, "Are left in the other rooms. On beds. Unconscious. So this doesn't happen — " pause. " — you all need to get out… if Control ordered evac, then… the order has been enacted to sink this place." And the people in it.

The guards left standing drop — all four collapse as Crystal withdraws their oxygen. The effect is one that leaves them unconscious but alive, and perhaps by design, safe from the work of her comrades.

A troop of soldiers comes marching down the hall in an ominous echo that resounds. It's fortunate Rogue set tripwires.


"Sink?" Colossus echoes, his brow creasing in surprise. Illyana had not been told where they were going, just given the ability to transport them there. He gives Crystal a worried look. "If there are still prisoners here… we cannot abandon them here."

He, at least, is bulletproof — the sound of approaching reinforcements doesn't bother him. Colossus advances on Tracy, reaching for his shoulder. Not to strike it, but to grasp it.

"Show us where the prisoners are being held," Colossus says levelly, staring down at the man. "Help us evacuate them safely from this place. All of them. And you and your men will live."


Logan capitalizes on the shock, even as his own still keeps him barely capable of moving. The lunge, the stabbing, that was adrenaline and, yeah, his body was stitchin' itself together, but so much at once was a blast even to his system. He blows bubbles of blood from his mouth and nose as he forces himself to stand, straightening his knees until he's looking his torn visage right into her face.

"Enough!" he shouts, "Jean Grey, I know you're in there. I don't even know if this is part o' you or somethin' they been tryin' to hide. I dunno if this is what you hide in your little shack deep inside, but I know this. You're good. You're the best damn person I ever knew. You saved me when i weren't nothin' but an animal ready to chew off my own legs. And if you gotta kill me, well, then, sister, you better do it, cause I ain't never gonna stop tryin' to save you unless you do."


The man Colossus points to keeps his hands high. "There are rooms full! You have no idea where you are at all, do you?!" his jaw tightens. "Not all of them are people like you either." The pointed look he gives the metal mass is more telling than the words. "Rabble rousers are a dime a dozen — "


Luke Cage's voice echoes down the hallway, "Think I found 'em!"


Crystal nods once to Colossus, heading toward the sound of Luke's voice. "How many can your sister get out of here?" she asks, hurrying down the hallway. "I don't know how many we're talking about or how far we'll need to get them."


Tripwires are set and the redhead snaps her gaze back towards the room of one Jean Elaine Grey, the shout of a man reverberating close enough to mark her attention. Stamping boots in formation give Scarlett grounds to concentrate a few moments, tipping her head and backing up towards Colossus and Crystal. "Ten inbound," she states flatly. Her tone is crisp, clear, and devoid of concern. "We are blocking their route out." A jerk of her chin briefly indicates the northern doors.

"Time to engage them or retreat to get the other captives." Their diminished numbers do not make necessarily for excellent odds, even with one infuriated Soviet and Crystal providing elemental backup. She lowers the gun taken from the first soldier and releases the safety, making any modifications and adjustments with a disturbing ease of skill for a Columbia student, and Barnard graduate at that, known to wince at punching a practice dummy. Maybe she's been hitting live dummies instead where no one knows. Nonetheless, nothing like a hailstorm of fire to soften up the front lines before the second converge on the tripwires.


Nothing was ever enough!
Jean Grey was a failure.
Jean Grey will never be happy.
Jean Grey will never assimilate herself into society.

Even the bloodied face of the man yelled at her, and her hands draw up to defend against him. A series of wet smacks covered with blood there, even as she hangs onto his ear that was shorn off and admittedly.. beats Logan with his own face. The shock of the pain drew her out, but it was like a waking nightmare, the endless screams and wails, the shock, the pain, the LSD high..

Nevermind that. We will sleep. Right Jean? Sleeping is great. Sleeping is fun. Sleeping is the bees knees.

And maybe its because she's been up ever since she was extracted from the shared cells and pumped with so much, so much drugs that the body finally decided to give out, give up, and shut right the hell down. She was out.


Colossus gives Tracy a very disappointed look, and the Russian sighs. "Suit yourself."

The punch he delivers to the man is… hard. Harder than strictly necessary. Colossus does not check on him, instead nodding crisply towards Scarlett. "Retreat and get the other captives," he says firmly. "Any that my sister cannot teleport out, Keith can. There is no reason to leave any innocents -" He deliberately does not look at any of the unconscious soldiers. "- to drown."


Logan feels Jean slump against him and sighs with relief, although it sounds almost like vomiting, blood sputtering from his mouth and spattering down onto the floor beneath him. He draws his claws from her and quickly moves to bind them, tearing off his shirt and making tourniquets to try and bind Jean's wounds. He aimed to miss her femoral artery and the bone, doing more flesh wound damage than anything else.

She won't feel good but she won't die. He only hopes that the Professor can help undo the damage to her mind. He hefts her up onto his shoulder and starts to head to catch up with the others. He has only a quarter of a face, his eyebrows and the skin around his eyes restored as the rest of him is still binding up.


Crystal moves down the hallway, checking for prisoners. Checking for her friends. For people who need to be pulled from this nightmare before it all goes down into wherever they are. As she moves down the hall, though, she pauses by one door in particular, setting a hand to it with a frown. "I think there's something in here," she calls back to the others, sinking her mind into the metal of the cell to push the door open.


The metal crunches and dents as Crystal effects it, prying it open like someone might pry a car door with a crowbar.

The room that Crystal finds herself in is a familiar scene for those who were part of the Louisiana rescue. It's telling in a way that some of those with abilities and powers are not controllable. Yet Control seems desperate to find a way.

Bodies lay upon hospital beds, hooked onto machines of various sorts. IVs press into their arms like lifelines to some kind of desperate bit for life.

The sea of faces seems almost endless; innocent people staring up at the ceiling into the nothing beyond. Staring, but not seeing. Breathing, but not exactly alive.

Not that this particular form of life cannot be restored.

The array of people live in stasis — apart from the living and not wholly conscious of the circumstances in which they find themselves. Yet, based on what was seen of Jean Grey, perhaps each had gone through their own qualifying test to earn them a spot on a bed instead of in a cell.

As Crystal looks amongst the bodies, she catches a vastly familiar shock of red hair along the back.

And just as the room gives a sense of stillness and quiet, water begins to seep through cracks in the metallic walls.


Have a bad day, soldiers. Bracing the gun to her shoulder, Scarlett takes sight down the stock of the barrel and breathes at regular, even intervals. Nothing penetrates the shield around her mind, the singular focus and wintry purpose before her. She withdraws step by step to allow for coverage from others, expressionless avenging angel come to deliver wrath for those so deserving of death.

Mercy has no place, and the rest of the legions of Heaven are outside causing mayhem. "Evacuate them or awaken them to evacuate themselves. Possible?" Nothing else lies there, even as she waits.


When water begins seeping through the walls, Colossus swears. "No time to let them evacuate themselves," he says quickly. He takes two large steps away from the group and in the direction Luke and Vorpal left in, cupping his hands around his mouth as he bellows: "TAKING ON WATER! RABBIT HOLES!"

Colossus blinks in shock when he sees the state Logan is in as he joins them, but, well… he is up, he is moving, and he has Jean. Good enough. "More prisoners," he explains quickly, moving to try blocking off the reinforcements' path with his own bulk. "We need Illyana and Keith to get them all out. And us."


Logan nods to Colossus, too weary and in too much pain to hold onto his anger from earlier, "What about my son? Where's Akihiro?" he asks, Jean slung up over his shoulder. He just had to believe the boy could take more, that he was made of the same stuff as his father. He was the only one he'd been sure Jean wouldn't - or couldn't - kill, in her compromised state.

"We need to have the Professor waiting to handle Jean, she's gonna need him to help undo…whatever it is they've done to her," he says, not mentioning that she was having problems even before.

"Take her," he says to the big man, "I'll help clean up the rest."


"I have no idea how long it will take whatever they're keeping them sedated with to wear off," Crystal shakes her head, starting to move through the beds until she catches sight of that shock of red hair. Her heart jumps into her throat and she breaks into a run toward the bed. "Medusa!" If Jean were conscious, she could feel it. The sudden swell of hope, and joy, and love. Even in the middle of this hell, there's a place for light.

Crystal takes her sister's hand, drawing a deep breath. "I'll hold off the water," she says, voice starting to grow distant. There are few times in her life that Crystal has tested the limits of her powers. She helped to move the city of Attilan when she was younger. Now, though? To save her friends? To save her sister. "I'll hold it back." Mustering her senses, she presses out with her mind, pushing back the water around the facility.


ROLL: Crystal +rolls 3d100 for a result of: 112 [55 37 20]


The transfer of Jean to Russian behemoth changes Scarlett's plans. The gun is lowered from its position and she heads over to Colossus, holding out her arms. "I can bear her. You are needed up there." Her glance at the wreckage of Logan's face, still forming again, does not produce so much as a tangible shudder. It receives clinical evaluation and dismissal, just as all the rest has been. Somewhere she is emotionally shut down, devoid, the light in her self severed and banished. Just the sort of person to give Phoenixface to, right?


A little bit was there. That hope. She could feel it, tickling at the edges of her conscious. Though while Jean was still unconscious, it reached her.


The metal buckles as Crystal works to keep the water at bay, creaking with pressure from the world outside. It won't last long, but it'll buy them extra time as they get people out of the facility.


"We will not leave without him," Colossus promises Logan as he accepts Jean from him, his brow knit in concern when he sees the state she's in. What on Earth had happened in there?

When Scarlett comes and makes the offer, he hesitates — briefly. Then, Colossus carefully passes Jean to her. "Get my sister," he says quickly. "Tell her we need to get the prisoners out. Now."


Logan inhales deeply, trying to find Aki's scent as he turns to plunge wherever it leads him, popping his claws anew with their trademark sound as he trusts Scarlett to get Jean to safety. He'd have nightmares about what he'd had to do, but as long as she was going back home to the Professor, so long as she would be saved from this, then he'd deal with what he'd done. And if she hated him for it, at least she'd be alive enough to do it.

In the meantime, he needed to find his boy and get the hell out of this place.


"Colossus," Crystal calls back to the big Russian, her hand white-knuckled around Medusa's as she tries to concentrate on keeping the water from engulfing the facility. "My sister. This is my sister. I need you to make sure she gets out of here and back to the Institute. While I hold this back."


ROLL: Crystal +rolls 3d100 for a result of: 189 [99 26 64]


ROLL: Jessica +rolls 3d100 for a result of: 119 [26 56 37]


"All of them require evacuation," states Scarlett in that quiet, precise tone too far into logic to wholly be familiar. She bears up Jean's unconscious weight effortlessly and stops, puzzling over the other half of Team Redhead. Tinctures of memory and emotion push against the debris of her eclipsed personality, and she brushes back a thin tendril with a leather-clad fingertip from the other student's brow. An entirely mechanical gesture, but one laden with certain care. "The captives will not die here. Nor your sister."

The task probably is triply as hard, and they may all be demon-fodder for the denizens of Limbo. Illyana and Keith simply have their work cut out for them. She doesn't wait about; finding Illy is going to take little time at all as she goes airborne, and whisks down the hall in search of their retreat.


The force of the pressure aches against Crystal's senses, but her strength remains. The boost from having found her sister, and finally located the other woman pushes her ability further than its stretched. She forces the water out, pressing the room into its standard shape. It complains against the pressure, continuing to balk and ripple against the force.


As soon as Scarlett is on her way, Colossus turns and rushes without hesitation to Crystal's side. Even though what Scarlett said is true — they are all going to get out — he has a sister. Crystal needs this to focus. "I have her," he promises, moving to hover protectively over Medusa's bedside. "Focus. I have her."

The wonder twins, encased in a skin of diamonds lead the way down the hallway. "We can hear peoples thoughts this way," they state in complete unison. "It's louder when our sisters are with us. You shouldn't have taken our sisters fro — "

Kitty lifts a hand from her spot on Laura's back, "Not the time!" A group of four young women emerges down the hallway. The first two, shielded by diamonds across their bodies lead the way for the girl with the claws carrying a very disheveled Kitty Pryde on her back. Barefoot and clad in the dress she'd borrowed from Jean (except now with wrinkles and several tears), Kitty looks worse for wear.

The twins point to the room where unconscious bodies lay in wait. "That's where the ones we like to check on are," one states.

"They have the best dreams. Sometimes I want to live in their dreams," the other replies.

"Where are there more?" Kitty asks.

"Those are the two areas with people being held. The drug room and this one," they reply together. "X-23 you should take us into this one so we can wake everyone up." Because apparently they can.


Thousands - millions - of gallons of water. Pressing in on the facility, seeking to fill the gaps as it always does. Crystal can feel it all, feel the weight of it pressing in on them. Yet with sheer determination and will, she pushes it back, stretching her command of the elements to keep it from drowning them all. On her knees by Medusa's bed, she's breathing hard, straining with the effort.


Jean secure in her arms, weighing little more than a kitten to the floating bohemian, Scarlett has one hell of a gun and a vendetta against walls to cope with. The balance of Jean's frame is held securely enough within the sweep of her arm. "Crystal is holding back the flooding. We must evacuate now, with the inbound," she states in no uncertain terms to Illyana, leaving the straggly blonde magician to secure those who need deportation back into reality.


Laura is indeed carrying Kitty Pryde piggyback as she jogs down the hall behind the Twins. The claws come into evidence when she hauls awkwardly back and kicks the door open, like a velociraptor that's given up on being clever and decided to apply some brute force to the problem.

It is… comforting to be in a position to simply execute on what the Twins and Kitty tell her to do. Familiar ground.


For a man in a sinking prison, Colossus seems awfully calm. He stays at Crystal and Medusa's side, his eyes focused on the ceiling.

The portion of this mission where he is useful is over. Now it is down to Crystal, Illyana, and Keith. Colossus, at least, seems completely at peace with this.

They will all be fine.


ROLL: Crystal +rolls 2d100 for a result of: 60 [6 54]


Illyana responds quickly to Scarlett's words, opening a portal for those left, and drawing them to the door without abandon. Reality warps and shifts for those present, and the world spins on its axis at the bodies are given time to fall into the other world around. Dizzying as it may be, and while not all are prepared, the world ceases and unleashes.

Only to exist again back from whence they came. At Harry's.

Like a balloon, just before Crystal is moved, the whole ship POPS, causing moisture to form along some bodies as they make purchase with the solid Westchester ground.


Laura …ALMOST negotiates the transit correctly. She doesn't quite stick the landing, teetering on the edge of balance for… just long enough to register, really, before pitching forward onto her face and going down in a tangle of limbs as he brings Kitty down atop her. Graceful. Welcome to Westchester, Laura.


As they all emerge back in Westchester, Crystal falls to the ground just short of a faint. Holding back the ocean is no small task, even for someone with her power. She isn't out yet, though. With the last of her energy, she moves back to her sister's side, taking her hand. "We did it," she says with a weary smile. "Finally."


The dizzying unexpected transition from one space to another has Kitty once more tossing her cookies to the ground below as she ends up in a tangled web of limbs with Laura. Except her vomit doesn't find space on the ground. Lucky Laura. She mutters an expletive in Yiddish followed by a very apologetic, "SORRY!" as she frantically uses the skirt of Jean's dress to soap up bile she's just evacuated onto Laura. She really is going to have to buy Jean a new one.


"Of course," Colossus rumbles tiredly, casting a proud look across the way towards his sister. "We gave our word."

As he rises to his feet, he metal melts away from his form, leaving a flesh and blood Piotr to crane his neck and survey the resulting mess of people. At Harry's. He's never going to be able to come back here, is he?

Abruptly, Piotr whirls around. Yiddish. He heard Yiddish. He practically sags in relief as he hurries towards the tangle of limbs it came from, completely unbothered by the fact that Kitty is not alone. Or pukey. He'll care later, maybe. Hugs first.


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