1964-01-16 - Astral Projections
Summary: Jean, Strange, and Lady Phoenix meet for the first time in the Astral Plane.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
strange jean 

A morning in the Sanctum begins with the usual practice of a brisk shower followed by a hot cup of tea. The blend, specific in this instant, aids the drinker in shedding the cares and weights of the true Realm around him and entering a deep state of meditation. Not a drugging tisane, merely one to calm a mind always a-whirl with impossibilities and calculations on a cosmic chessboard.

Hovering a good three feet from the ground, clad in a white t-shirt and sweatpants, Strange appears more like he intends to go for a morning jog than ascertain the general state of his protected Earth. However, his physical state, with shower-ruffled hair and informal wear, does not reflect his projected self within the Astral Plane.

With the fluidity of the Plane home to spirits and spirit-walkers alike, he wears his full regalia — battle-leathers in varying shades of storm-blue, crimson Cloak at his shoulders, Eye at his neck — and he hovers rather than walks on what surface would form beneath his feet at a thought. The mantle of Sorcerer Supreme aids in making him nothing less than a beacon, giving his skin and eyes a glow never seen in the Earthly planes and causing the edges of his form to dissipate like mist in an attempt to contain the power unchained but for his own leash on it.

So far, at least within his immediate sensing, the state of Earth is unsettled but no more so than usual. Strange lets out a slow sigh of relief.


The night ran long for one Jean Grey; pouring over the latest books that she's managed to gleam from the Black Widow, not knowing what most of the things meant which means that she spent most of her time from that point on in the library, eating random foods, reading random books, cross-referencing this and that to no avail. The trauma of what she experienced through the Weapon X program had a shocking effect; bringing it back to the present and in dire need of revenge put her tired mind in a state to slip her and her companion sideways into..

..where ever this place was that she landed.

Granted, that slipping of the mind and the absence of that in that shocking moment causes the manse to shake with a terrible threat, the books rattling and falling from it's shelf. Plates that she brought in with her thrown aside as well as forks, an empty glass, papers that seemingly swept up within the air in a half-hearted float to the ground. Her face was buried in a binder. One would assume that she was asleep. But she was simply -not- there.

It was a shocking state to be in, so much so that her entrance allowed the effigy of the Phoenix to hang within the astral air, the symbol of chaos drawing much heat, the startling cry of the bird shrieking across the air as fiery wings unfurl to reveal it's might. Jean herself stretches almost the same, her arms outstretched, her back arched, that motion alone brings her into the air for a brief moment, then down to her feet as she whips around to look towards the bird.. as the bird whips around to look behind itself.

"Stop that." She quietly scolds, her fingers snapping quickly towards the companion. "What did you do this time? Where did you bring us?"

'No where.'


It wouldn't matter if the young woman and her cosmic companion had slipped into the Astral Plane five meters from him or five-thousand miles away: they are as bright as he is, if not more so! Whipping around in place, the swirl of the Cloak about his form fluid like water and the mudras at his hands ones of quick defense, Strange eyes the distant incandescence with wary curiosity. The gentlest sussurus of a connection reaching out towards them, the psychic greeting as cool and soft as a spring's breeze, and then —

Blink and the plane folds upon himself at his will…

The Sorcerer Supreme hangs in the air a dozen feet from both human and being alike. The slow nod is respectful and cautious, frost-bright eyes never dropping their watch; while the conduit to this firey bird-like entity may look young, the entity itself rings in a far-reaching chime to his own soul-font. Creation, flaring life, contained like a volcanic explosion in a crucible of form. It's easily on par with the Vishanti and thus his greeting is professional rather than lackadaisical or challenging.

"I don't believe we've met. Dr. Stephen Strange, Sorcerer Supreme of Earth." His keen gaze shifts to the young woman, the vessel, so much like himself in times of need by the Vishanti three. "May I ask your name? Or rather, what are you called?"


"What?" Jean looks around, her hair moves as if it were in water, enchanted and near sparkle. Her manner of dress is something normal, a nice little sundress yet barefoot as she was, her own arms a slight glow as she looks down at her own hands, and then up towards the bird that burns bright. "Come down." Her hand reaches out.. the trail of fire lingering from the tips of her own finger to the claw of the bird, that metaphorical rope joining the two, allowing that fire to take the same shape as She, which moves as She, reacts as She..

And yet, the appearance of the man would have caused alarm if Jean didn't think this was a dream.

'It is no dream.' The being says.
"Oh." Jean replies.

And yet, as she watches Dr. Strange, it was with the utmost curiosity, the tilted head, her eyes growing possibly one size too large to emphasize the green within, and back to a hint of normalcy which makes her grimace.

"Uh. Nice to meet you!" She perks up, the perk in which she nearly floats from the ground and then down, lingering upon the tips of her toes for a stalled moment until the flat of her feet touches the ethereal plane.

"I am called.."
'I am called..'
"Jean. Jean Grey."
'Jean. Jean Grey.'

Jean points to herself, the fiery being points to herself, and they both seemingly smile at the Sorcerer Supreme. "She.."
"Is called the Phoenix."
'Is called the Phoenix.'

Jean interrupts. "We're called the Phoenix. Moreso me called the Phoenix. But I wonder if that even matters here?"
'It does not.'
"Oh. Well call me Jean."
The fiery woman says nothing.


Similar to a game of ping-pong, his attention shifts between red-headed young woman and firey facsimile of said female as they echo one another. It would be amusing if it wasn't a hair on the side of unnerving; that latter expression is kept from show by the rise of eyebrows and a thin smile instead. Strange has this faint memory attached to both beings, as if someone has referenced them in passing in some manner. Maybe it was Illyana? Or Scarlett?

"Miss Jean it is then — and Lady Phoenix," the man adds, including the powers-that-be. "Nice to meet you as well. What brings you to the Astral Realm? I don't generally get the opportunity to speak with another human being that shares the ability to walk in this demesne. An uncommon ability, to put it loosely." He folds away his scarred hands in a nonchalant crossing of arms. At his neck, the diadem twinkles faintly, like sunlight refracting through a dewdrop.


The settling of the naming of the two She's elicits a response of a double ended bow, their heads tilted in the exact same direction as Jean looks at the being, and the being looks off to the other direction. This causes her to shake her head, slightly annoyed by the actions of her, but she largely ignores it for now.

"Is that what this place is?" Jean asks, the being slowly nodding as well as Jean, but there was an absence of realization that it happened as she does it. "I didn't know that I could do it. There was once upon a time when I visited Limbo. Though who's to say how many times I've actually been there that I could remember." She admits honestly. "I think it's like some sort of Hell. Though, that being the place that it is, I think it's like one of the many Hells that are out there." If she were to walk and talk, she would be doing it, but instead.. the women lifts from the ground, floating, Jean's arms, and Her arms, stretch out as if the world and the wind steadies herself.


"It goes by other names as well — the Astral Dimension, Astral Realm…Spirit World," and the Sorcerer shrugs even as he looks around him. They seem to currently occupy a space unhindered by any other resident of the plane as well as other oddities such as ribbons that feed upon themselves, cratered and pocketed surfaces in colors that don't exist elsewhere, inverted holes in space that tend to force a similar inversion on those that float too nearby. It's a tricky place, this realm, if one isn't careful. For now, the general atmosphere is that of infinite space around them, the horizons spattered with faint multi-color light against a wash of soft grey-opalescence.

The mention of Limbo brings a sense of relief to his psychic impression, as if he'd solved a problem in figuring out where the familiarity was coming from within his vast memories. Illyana had mentioned the young woman's name before, of course. "Limbo, that would be Miss Illyana's kingdom. I wouldn't call it 'Hell' in front of her," Strange adds with a flash of amusement in those glowing eyes, "but I don't disagree that it's a…singular place. Very much formed in accordance to her whims."

They now float on level planes of gaze, all three beings, and he continues after a polite pause to allow both to settle in their relative places mid-air. "You can access this dimension at any time should you have the Mystical or psionic means. I utilize the former." Clearly, remains unspoken. "Though you, Lady Phoenix. This realm must be nothing new to you, with the power you possess." The tone of respect is unchanged when addressing Her. The flaming persona remains a point of concern to him simply for the fact that this is fettered cosmic might. He couldn't be completely comfortable around the Phoenix even if he tried; try holding a hand against a hot stovetop. Impossible unless one is out of their fool mind.


"They all sound so very strange to me.." Jean comments, those way her arms move were akin to flapping, slowly stopping within the air as she steadies herself enough to take a proper sit, while remaining eye height towards Strange. It was almost as she was mimicking his actions in the real world, and yet her eyes remain open to take in the surroundings as he names it. "Yes. You know Illyana! I haven't seen her since she teleported to Rio for Christmas. I was glad that she was there. She reminded me of home that I thought that I'd never really want to go back to." She lowers within the astral air, drawing up again, as if her entire selves were breathing with the slow rise and fall, floating upon the river and yet remaining in the same spot still.

"Formed by her will. Does she wish it to look so? Is it because of her personality?" Her hand waves faintly.
'It could be.' She speaks.
"Or maybe it was meant to be."

"I use psionics, I suppose. Or.. she uses the former. Though I suppose I could say that it was me and not She."
'It was.'
"In any case, I don't see myself visiting this place often. I don't know how to willingly do this. And I'm unsure of the.."

Though addressing the Lady Phoenix was something that was rare. Often times people spoke and she chimed in. Other times Charles muddled through Jean's brain to often speak with the one but that was as close as she had gotten to actual interaction. This pleases the being, the smile reflected in the raise of fiery cheeks, Jean's own smile mirroring that of the woman now as the control seemingly shifts.

'Of course not.' The woman speaks. 'I am the end and the beginning. I could say that I've seen this realm destroyed and rebuilt again upon spirits of the dead and damned. That what breeds deep inside this Earth, and many like it, fuels the necessities of this ancient space. And to walk upon her is but a gift and also a curse, for how the body can stay behind, and the mind flit to wander. Finding their desires, their hopes, their dreams in such a place..'

There was a sudden look of alarm that crosses both of their faces, though it appears that Jean had took ahold once more. "Why can't I hear her?"


The Sorcerer tucks his chin as he listens to the Phoenix directly address him, all the while with a heedless Jean Grey beside Her. Yes, indeed, his suspicions are confirmed and Miss Jean becomes not only a conduit, but immediately someone to keep a very close Eye on.

"It must be eternally fascinating, to have to borrow such a frail thing as a human body. You must be constantly weighing the chances of…burning her out," he finishes sotto-voce as he sees the return of control handed back over to the young woman. It would be remiss to not answer Jean, even if he really shouldn't offer up the truth. "That would be a question for Lady Phoenix, Miss Jean. I don't speak in her place."

"You asked about Limbo and Illyana's shaping of it. Yet another question for her, though I might add that it gives one a great insight to her mind. I'll leave it at that." A small smirk, not unkind, just very much knowing.

On a fancy of the moment, Strange assumes an exacting mirror of the meditative Lotus position he holds above the central point of the dais within the Loft. Rolling his broad shoulders allows a total settling into place and he sighs before speaking again. "A critical point you may consider is utilizing the Astral Plane for communication when otherwise impossible. Say I were incapacitated. Nothing stops me from entering this Realm to cross time and space to communicate with another. In the same way a wall does not keep a ghost from entering a home without wards, nothing here stops one's spirit, or Astral Form, from reaching other points of reality within Earth proper. I could speak to another practitioner in England right now, if I so chose, by simply willing myself into his Sanctum and appearing before him. Now, if the man had spells preventing me, I might not be able to enter, but then I could attempt a communication via thought, a projection from the mind rather than mouth."


'And are you a swath of energy that we can feed on, Sorcerer Supreme? We know who They are. And what they could possibly bestow. We also know that they are unkind and unforvi—..'
"Unforgiving, she is. I usually try not to question her because she's very, very childish." Though, those words were said with a bit of affection as she looks towards She, and She looks the other way. "There are times though when there are spaces, sometimes I can't hear. Sometimes I can't feel, speak or see. But I -know-. Not -knowing- in the sense that I could hear, feel, or see. Just.. know that She." Their shoulders shrug in tandem, though as he continues on with his lessons of Astral walking.

The fact that she seemingly looks comfortable in this space is suspect, for the crossed legged was met with elbows planted upon her thighs, her fingers curled into fists, used as pedestals for her chin. It was unblinking as he speaks, the world around her breathing as she idly nods if a glance was given her way, save to show that she was indeed listening and not just spacing away.

In the astral realm, spacing away, one could tell by the images she produces.

"So does that mean, I can use this pl.." A sudden realization hits, her head tilted slightly. "I can do that! I met someone a very .. well not a very long time ago. He was a kind man who didn't speak. Though I don't know if this was in the Astral world or inside his own mind." She has to stand as she explains it now, creating the same paces that she takes when she teaches something new to Gabriel. Like how people hunt or the biology of worms.

"I just know that his mind was strong. Somehow, when I went to sleep, I followed it to Tibet. It's a very beautiful place. But you, Sorcerer Supreme, Protector of Earth, that means that I can use this place to find you in the real world, correct?" She asks, finishing off her previous thought. "But I think.. maybe.. if I am correct.. I could only do that if you were open to it? And that you have been here before. Or a person has been here." She was clearly trying to figure this out. "And how. How can I just willingly come here instead of accidentally?"


The closing off of Strange's expression is his wordless response to Lady Phoenix's inquiry. She's welcome to try — as if he could do much to stop her — but the fact remains that acting as conduit for three gods via his mantle would make the result a cataclysmic clash of wills and might and could accidentally rewrite reality as it is, so…he very quietly hopes the cosmic being never attempts to follow through in its alien curiosity and shares his short lesson instead of a defensive retort.

He doesn't know of this powerful mind and the fact that it's located in a place very near and dear to his heart ranks it high on his list to follow up. Interesting…perhaps Wanda would know of this person. After all, the Witch has a tendency to take long jaunts away through the Astral Plane to access other regions of the world.

He nods, a contented smile on his face. She's quick on the draw. "You could reach me via this Realm, yes, and I would not have to be within it. You know me now, have seen my face, heard my voice. Think on me, will yourself to reach me, whether in this Astral Form or with a projected mental communication, and you would reach me, one way or another. I am in much closer contact with this Realm regularly as Sorcerer Supreme. While others may have to force their way in, I can access it with a thought. The veil is thin for me." His gaze narrows on Lady Phoenix momentarily before shifting back. "The Lady Phoenix would enable you to access this Realm with the same amount of ease, possibly even more. Lucid dreaming can sometimes help one break through the veil as well, though it oftentimes results in confused communication; after all, the mind is half-asleep in that state." He seems distracted suddenly, as if running a mental calculation, and then those eyes glitter again. "If you were to return to your body, Miss Jean, I could show you what an Astral Form looks like within the confines of Earth's Realm. Here, we are part of the internal fabric of the Astral weaving. When I am within reality, it is a different effect entirely. You would see how it would seem to appear before me were I not within the Astral Plane and you utilized your Spirit to visit me."


"I know you. Yes. But I do not know your signature. Though I suppose that's something that's not needed in the case of this." Both of their arms fan out to demonstrate, and even as Jean paces, the being trails behind, but something was different. Her gaze remains upon Strange while she walks behind Jean, complete and unwavering in her stead.

"If you can access it with a thought, is it just a need to want to come here, then? You close your eyes and say, I would like to visit the Astral Plane and then you are here?" She stops, then looks back towards the Lady Phoenix, who in turn looks back as well, and while Jean herself turns again, the Phoenix's gaze remains upon Strange, and a slow smile creeps upon her lips.

"I suppose. I usually avoid tapping into her powers, even though she gives me a boost to my own." His quietness allows her to turn and face him, watching as a thought begins to form, her own eyes widening to double proportions and drawing lower once again.

"Uh.." She glances towards the Phoenix, who looks the other way, then back to Strange yet again, her bottom lip bitten in thought.

"I don't know how to.."
'..wake up!'


Jean draws in a shrill breath as she sits back within the chair, her eyes littering among the library which was a mess due to her departure. She grimaces completely, immediately standing from her chair, her body doubling over to catch the table to stop herself from falling due to the quick rise and the dizziness that follows. "Crap.. crap.. crap.." She hisses at herself, her body straightening once more as she draws her hands into the air, her fingers playing upon the wind as the books that were thrown from their shelves pick themselves up from the floor, aligning themselves upon the bookshelves.. papers.. pens.. plates.. cups.. all dancing as if she were conducting an orchestra that played the song of cleaning before company arrives.


Incandescent flaming gaze aside, Strange realizes that he's the sole interest point of Lady Phoenix and gains another half-inch in seated height as he returns that seemingly-predatory attention with unflinching amaranthine-hued squint. Consider it carefully, the Sorcerer seems to warn without a single slip of spoken or projected word. In a suspicion, he battens down the hatches of his mind, throwing up wards that would warn him of any attempt at intrusion as well as spark violently in a backlashing at said attempt.

All the while, he does listen to Jean's musings and answers her without ever backing down from the silent weight of Lady Phoenix's look. One must not retreat before cosmic entities in order to keep from giving the impression of prey. He is not prey; at least, not the kind about to roll over and go belly-up under scrutiny.

"You'll know my signature once I am before you in the Earth reality. The essence of my powers and self will be broadcasted clearly enough for you to recognize or attempt to locate in the future. Mind you, Miss Jean, if I don't want to be found…I won't be found." At least, not by normal humanly-Mystical means. Gods are a whole other cup of tea. "I enter this Realm by meditating and simply willing myself into it. A release of the tethers on my Astral Form, something I've practiced for many years."

Miss Jean's uncertainty seems to be countered by Lady Phoenix's will and with a rippling like an interrupted television signal, both are gone from the Astral Plane.

Uncurling from the serene Lotus posing, Strange hovers there and chews at the inside of his cheek, eyes averted off to one side. While a small part of him wishes he'd never promised to show before Miss Jean now, a goodly portion of him centered in stalwart pride urges him on. One hand outstretches and with a somnolent expression of intent, brows knitted, he sketches a sigil on an invisible surface before him. Around the Sorcerer, the Astral Plane warps, shifts and goes blurred as the runic symbol flashes cosmic-fire-red and…then it melts, taking away the veil between the Plane and Earth before him.

Willing himself through the breach, it brings him to hover on the other side of the library table from her. Here, on the Earthly Plane, he is translucent, but only barely, and scintillates with color and starlight, all of the hues upon his body jewel-toned.


"Voila, Miss Jean. This is how you might appear to me were you to utilize the Astral Plane and your Astral Form to come before me were your physical form unavailable in that moment."


Lady Phoenix heard the message loud and clear. There was a challenge afoot. One that will remain in the back of her own mind, yet locked away from Jean Grey entirely.

But before her departure she had received the message loud and clear. Sheer force of thought and pure will. It was something that could be managed due time. Though as she continually assembles the books, makes everything neater before the visitor arrives, the brilliant flash of light and the form of Strange appears mid-work which causes the plate that hovers above the table to crash with a loud clang and a twirl in a circle until she reaches out with a hand to place into the middle of it to stop it.

"Well hello!" She chirps out, any and all visions of the Phoenix were long gone, now it was just the two of them. One Jean, and one Strange.

"So I would appear to you all glittery and gold?" She asks, a half hint of amusement upon her features, pulling the chair closer to her with a grasp of her hand to settle into her seat. "Do you mind a conversation of morality and ethics, Dr. Strange?" She asks, gesturing towards the files upon the table. "I would like to use your help.. or at least learn a bit more from you than I could here."


Indeed, all he can See, with the Sight imbued, is Miss Jean and the natural ebb and flow of her aura around her. The Lady Phoenix hides well; no huge surprise to him considering its state as a cosmic entity, but still…a bit frustrating, somehow a tease against his abilities. Hmph.

Still, Strange picks up on her subtle teasing and smirks. "Your Astral Form's intensity is directly connected to your confidence in its projection. I would not glitter but for the mantle. The ones who bestowed it have a certain appreciation for starlight." Truth. "I am clearer than most because I am." Her question brings him to fold his arms once more and consider her with a slight tilt to his head. "I am currently on a schedule today, but…I have time for a short conversation, I suppose. What are we considering the ethics and morality of, precisely?"


"So there's a chance that I might appear to you as like a ghost. Or a ball of fire threatening to burn your house down. Three Little Pigs, yes?" She was in good spirits at least. There was a little bit of a smile as it fades, her gaze fallen to the paperwork as she draws her hands across the table itself. "Revenge." She states clearly.

To hasten the conversation itself, she quickens her pace in conversation. "A woman came to me last night to speak about Mutants being hunted, and captured. Not to mention, those researchers are currently focusing on a way to bring those mutations to light in those otherwise unaffected." Her gaze flits to the ceiling. "The Weapon X program. We.." She gestures at herself, meaning her whole selves, "..have issues with this, yes. But it more personal than it is to save those innocent people. The woman.. she said that they needed to burn to the ground. To cinder. And I am inclined to do just that. Moreso her."


His tart reply to the allusion of the fairytale is kept behind lips as she succinctly describes precisely why she requires his input.

The Sorcerer hums out a deep sigh and looks somewhere off beyond Jean's shoulder as he calculates precisely how to reply to this scenario. He's been put on the spot, but with good intentions and wants to be crystal-clear in his stance on the matter.

"Revenge is something that I used to entertain on a regular basis, before I assumed the mantle. I'm not proud of it. Petty slights turned into outright attacks. It never solved anything, I realized once I began my training." He shrugs, a subdued note to his serene expression. "My mentor counseled me on patience and the realization that revenge may feel good in the moment, but ultimately begets more suffering; the wounds you perceive to have received don't heal and you become the darker of the two it takes to dance in such a dance. I've watched a good number of foes waltz to their own dooms while I waited most patiently, Miss Jean, and whether or not Karma had a hand in it…I'm not certain. However, since this is an active situation in which lives are at stake…"

A hand emerges to fiddle not with the visible Eye of Agamotto, but with a hidden charm beneath his shirt; he thumbs its outline before speaking again. "Your revenge would be most aptly dealt by saving those you can and leaving this Weapon X program in the broad light of day, where the public and government alike can see it. Politicians may lie, but garner enough attention and it cannot be ignored even with clever journalism. I suspect that human sympathies can be gathered, especially if suffering is exposed along with the injustice." His gaze is heavy resting on her where she sits across the table. "You may choose what you will, however. I can only council. It is not my duty to direct the changes in Earth's humanity and Fate. Only to guard them from outside influence." Looking at you, Lady Phoenix, oh cosmic entity. "If you choose to kill…remember to dig two graves."


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