1964-08-18 - The Belly and the Beast
Summary: The X-men journey underground to finally bring Logan home. But is he in any condition to return to the fold?
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
xavier jean-grey rogue logan 

Artie Maddicks was a sweet boy and took some time to recover from his abuse at the hands of the man known as Masque. Jean and Rogue had brought him to the mansion and let him get comfortable, although contacting his strange mind would always be odd.

Eventually, however, it was time. With much of the rest of the team engaged elsewhere after Lorna's rescue, a small force is formed to go into the sewers and tunnels below and bring back Logan.

The pink-skinned boy leads them to a massive door down a tunnel off of one of the major subway lines, leading them along lichen-smeared stairways, deeper and deeper into the murk. WHen it opens, it reveals a set of stone-lined stairs leading down, the steps stained with blood and a sort of yellow ichor.

Small team? A small force?

Charles managed to pluck two of the heaviest hitters who try their best to stay out of conflict for this rite. But the fact that it was Logan, why in the world would they ever try to avoid rescuing him? There was a lot of contention, but they were there. Jean was ready and raring to go. There wasn't a catseye mask upon her face, no. Her hair was down and hung upon her shoulders as the fitted black, X uniform hugged her skin nicely. Her fingers tugged into gloves as she puts on her game face.

No smiles here.

This was serious business.

Charles is normally not one to go into the field. Really, he leaves that to Scott or Jean, and doesn't get out himself.

With the subject being Logan, this isn't one of those times. So he's there, clad in his yellow and blue jumpsuit as he looks over towards Jean, his own expression quite serious. "Ready?" Well, he knows she is, but he also knows that she expects him to ask.

A small force of world-destroying telepathic powers needs Scarlett around for what now?

Fashionable sophistication.

Overuse of eloquence.

Befriending trilobytes.

Making the other subterranean mutants feel bad.

One of these may constitute the proper answer. Either way, the redheaded bohemienne provides the absent smile for a moment. The prospect of violence doesn't make her delight openly; some portions of the embedded psyches in her mind do adore the notion. But her reflective expression follows a certain train of thought that left New York half an hour ago. "It's at moments like this, I recall the particular value of carte blanche. That means, Jean, take the necessary liberties for our success. This is about his survival."

She may come to regret those terms, and likely not. The throat to toe coverage of her supple uniform isn't to give men nosebleeds so much as practical protection. "Awaken whatever you need from me. Otherwise, let's go."

The passage leads downwards to tunnels that conventional wisdom says don't exist. THe remnants of cities past, laybrinthine and half-broken, unfinished and decrepit. Subways existed before this one, aqueducts and tunnels of other kinds. Those perhaps seem the most disturbing, hewn it seems straight from the earth itself, the markings along the walls from no tools known to humankind.

The bodies are the disturbing part, though.

They are diverse. THe most common Jean has seen before - yellow skinned and pop-eyed, the Subterraneans have been brutalized in a variety of ways but many, many of them seem to have been slashed to ribbons, their bodies ripped apart as if by some living buzzsaw, some berzerker force of pure murder unleashed in their midst.

Here and there are mutants as well. Most of them disfigured in one way or another. One seems to be covered in thick, green fur, resembling the Grinch from the tale of Dr. Seuss, except for the rows of razor sharp teeth in his mouth. Another has hands for feet and feet for hands, an odd combination that looks less weird compared to the tail ending with a hand that juts out of his rear. Not that it matters, as he has a makeshift Subterranean spear jabbed through his throat.

This trail of gore and bloodshed leads ever downwards. Jean and CHarles can sense a dim collection of consciousness up ahead, but the walls here seem strangely warded, the enchantments of sorcerors long-dead lingering here to hide once-eldritch schemes now turned to dust.

"Yeah.." Is all she could say to Brother Charles, her lips pursed just a touch as they begin to make their way through the mess.. the carnage. One had to steel herself for this, IE.. cutting off the emotional parts within her brain that would make her cry or sob with sorrow at the sight of this, or to wretch completely and fall apart, unable to deal. Yes. It wasn't a healthy way to deal with things, but..

Angry, apparently, gets shit done.

Her fingers lift as they walk to press against her temple, much like Charles, her eye squinting as she shuffles and shifts through the part of the psyche that Jean has personal access too.. stopping to look at Rogue with a little bit of thought.

"I like this Sif. You should use her." Versatile. Why not?

"Find the woman, she doesn't look like them so much.. but she is one of them. We find her, we can probably find Logan. And the Trilobyte.." Selfish!

Charles is reminded of Korea. Too much so. But for right now he's not the Professor, or even Charles.

He's the Good Shepherd, and there's a wayward member of the flock that needs to come home, no matter what the cost. He stays impassive as he nods, "Sif sounds like an appropriate choice for here." His eyes narrow as he doesn't range too far ahead with his telepathy… rather he keeps it close, in case of a sudden ambush or surprise.

Cities exist in layers, forgotten secrets buried in rubble. Knowing this and witnessing it firsthand, however, are two separate issues. Scarlett absorbs everything visually that she can while walking down those meandering trails. A good thing she never experienced claustrophobia or these confines, weighing down in tons of stone and centuries of memory, might become rather uncomfortable. Gloves creak as she flexes her hands, an unconscious reaction to bodies strewn about with the glee of a preschooler given confetti.

Plucking up a discarded spear, preferably not attached to entrails, is an unhappy necessity for checking the physical integrity of walls or floors. A prod here, a poke there, certainly help. The mad dreams hidden in her skull sing and dance merrily, sharp to the touch. Even with the fiery touch of Jean grey, nothing quells their murmurations as one comes to the fore.

"She is a force of nature, to be sure." The slant of her gaze follows Charles. The spear might not be much, but in the hands of a war goddess…. well.

What they eventually find doesn't seem possible. A massive, domed arena, perhaps once intended to house sporting events or theatrical performances. INstead, it sank, impossibly sank, buried within the bowels of the city. The Morlocks had taken it for their own, made a makeshift village, tried to create their own little society, their own little culture.

Now, it is burning.

The battle rages on as the X-men find themselves on a balcony above, looking down from about twenty feet. The little tents and huts the Morlocks have made have been junked and wrecked, some aflame. Mutants and Subterraneans wage war, with powers and weapons alike, some locked limb to limb, others attacking from a distance. One mutant with an enlarged dome seems to be wielding a smaller one like a rifle, the child belching fire in the most literal sense and sending a pack of yellow-skinned Subs screaming to escape.

The hooded figure seen in Artie's worst nightmares - Masque - seems to be backed against a wall. A massive worm of some sort, large as a killer whale, oozes towards him, a mouth open at the front and lined with teeth. An adept mind might recognize a ringworm, the kind normally found in a dog's belly, only this one gargantuan and obscene, its skin almost glowing as it tries to consume the would-be leader of this unit.

|ROLL| Rogue +rolls 1d100 for: 90

Charles blinks at the carnage, recognizing who they're looking to get as they're about to be eaten by a giant ringworm. He glances around, seeming to take in the scene at the speed of thought with his telepathy, and then he takes the hatred, the maliciousness he detects in the midst of war, and does something that he wishes he had done a decade ago, as he takes that anger, channeling it through his powers into something else, a voice of possible reason as he shouts, his voice amplified by his telepathy as the word echoes down through all present…


New York's burning… The lyrics to a song not yet written. Scarlett almost shudders with the thrill of memory arising from the darkness of her thoughts, her shoulders rolled beneath her leather jacket. Her stride alters substantially, gait softer and broader, cagey against the risk of incoming projectiles or worse. All the potential physically imbued in her blends to the suppressed or absent knowledge, and it shows after a few moments assessing the battlefield for substantial and lesser risks.

Ringworm, bad. Masque, bad. Ideally she might prefer to avoid children with flaming heads. She falls in nearer to Charles, shadowing his presence in case anyone opts to hurl a bullet or a blast his way. With the reaction times dancing on high and intuition on overdrive, it never hurts. Right then as she freezes alongside that overwhelming command. Well, look, she's poised impressively.

The warring factions cease in response to Charles' command. Most of them aren't precisely strong-willed to begin with, enslaved as they are to one faction or another. THey're timid and frightened, fighting more out of sheer mutual terror of one another than any real hatred.

"INTRUDERS!" shouts Masque, pointing a finger at the X-men with a hideous screech. The worm, however, doesn't seem to be particularly affected by Xavier's power, continuing its slavering approach to the erstwhile leader of the Morlocks.

As for the rest, they just turn and stare, blinking at Xavier, confused. Even the ones currentlyh on fire, the cacophany of battle descending into a silence broken only by Masque squealing and the drooling undulation of the Worm.


Everyone was already in the throes of doing what they needed to do to end the minor battle. Jean places her hands upon the railing, using the little bit of telekinesis to jump-start her foray to the ground. A bend back and a hop, a kip up, a twist of her body as she slides and floats to the ground, feet occasionally touching the rocky outcrop, her concentration true as her fingers drag along with a slight lean. Once she hits the ground she tumbles into a roll, her hands immediately striking out to draw a gust of her TK towards the ones that were on fire.

That gust? It'll seek to wrap around them in their still state and force them into the ground. And into a roll, because that's what we learned when we were kids!

Charles looks down at Masque, "We would not be here if YOU had not attacked our people!" He frowns, "Why are you even fighting down here? Surely there is enough resources for both of you?" He's not exactly speaking to Masque with that, but rather the foot soldiers. Using his telepathy to point out the subtle things. That they really are not all that different after all.

It's easy to hate the unknown after all. But hating someone you know? That's a lot more difficult…

Scarlett stays out of the way insofar as the dangers go, guarding the two psychics whilst the other threats possibly turn their way. She considers the worm thoughtfully, weighing up its advance upon the disfigured icon of Artie's fever dreams.

She does not succumb to any battle-fever, her head tipped slightly. The corner of her mouth rises slightly, anticipating something.

A girl emerges from the Subterraneans, a slender female. Jean will recognize her from their earlier meeting as she pushes her way up to her feet. This is Voon, sacrifice, handmaiden, a leader in her own way. Servant of the Elder.

"Our Master claims all below the surface for his own. The Unbelievers are to be driven out," she says in her soft, almost tender voice. The Subterraneans look to her with a weird mingling of loathing and devotion, just as Jean and Charles can feel the terrible mingling of pride and terror that seeps through the brainwashed creature.

The Worm seems somehow disturbed, rolling and writhing a bit, shaking its head as if something were bothering it. Masque takes the opportunity to break free, leaping over and grasping a young mutant by the hair. Her body seems to be covered with snakes, writhing all over her under her command, "ENOUGH CHATTER. DESTROY THEM ALLLLLLL," he snarls, his power sinking into the girl he touches and forcing her spine to arch, agony driving her to her feet and Charles can feel a surge of fear among the Morlocks as they try to resist both his and Jean's control.

Luckily, the burning people were successfully doused. They stay down. Cause burns.

This is how it was going to be, wordless.. Jean watches Voon and yet there was nothing behind her eyes that resemble sadness. Let the right one in and begin to beg and plead? No. It has been -far- too long. Far too long.

It almost seems as if a transition was taking place, the way Jean's shoulders hunker down as her teeth bare to those below, standing upon even footing of Masque, Voon, and the others (yes, the Worm), as fingers.. ghostly fingers of embers grasp her shoulders to hang along for the ride.

'My turn?'


Her arms hang loosely by her side as her fingers curl, the clawed grip soon reaching towards the ceiling as the ground beneath them begins to shake. It was clear that it was a strain, for the fire begins to ignite and roll off her very forearms as pillars of rock jut and dash from the ground dangerously. It wasn't to maim or kill (yet), but it was designed to kick people off of their feet, throw off their balance and hopefully lose their concentration..

Charles looks at Masque, eyes narrowing sharply as he sees Nasque torture the mutant girl, "YOU WILL SURRENDER!" And then, he leaps into mental conflict with Masque, looking to incapacitate them as Charles places a hand to his temple, focusing more on stopping the leader. Trusting in Jean to keep the battle from restarting with her own abilities, he concentrates on Masque, both to stop the villain and reverse whatever damage was done to the girl.

"Charles, is that a worm in fact? And not something made into it? Can you aid it?" Scarlett's question rises with a decidedly Nordic accent to underscore the soft volume. Certain things may require clarification; that point sticks with her.

Voon's appearance warrants very little response. Jean takes care of that. She simply twirls around her spear, point pressed downward. A servant of the Elder; one with choice and no choices at all. Clearly she's considering her options, ugly as those may be. Surrender may not lie among them, and unlike Jean, there's nothing halting her.

For now, no hurling of weapons.

Voon has spread Jean's legend, of the Fire-Haired Angel, descended from on high, of her power and her promise. There is a gasp among the yellow-skinned creatures and some fall back to their knees, basking in the glow of Jean's might, while Voon rushes forward, her arms outstretched, "Save ussssssssss!" she cries.

Masque's mind is a chaotic place, formidable of will and ferocity, but not particularly sophisticated. He is driven by petty jealousies and lust for power, hating and fearing everything that is not himself. Charles can see the horrors inflicted on Logan and the Morlocks in the villain's mind, even as Masque strains forward, rushing to try to lay hands on Charles and subject him to his awful power before he succumbs to the mental assault.

Rogue approaches the Worm and it turns towards her, rearing up…until suddenly the front of it bursts open like an overripe grape, splitting down the center and releasing an explosion of gore and pus, a ragged, inhuman howl echoing through the whole chamber as the great creature is torn asunder

And emerging from the depths, spattered in gut, entrails wrapped around his torso, is the glistening, clawed form of Logan, his eyes maddened, his lips curled from his teeth in a bestial snarl as he cuts his way out of the gut of the worm.

There was a hand that was stretched out to Voon as soon as she begins to dash, a wall immediately built up between the two as the ground, the entire area itself ceases it's shaking. She says nothing, but her mind and intent tell it all. Stay back, stay away, this is for your own good.

Her gloved hand points towards a spot upon the earthen wall, her fingers pointing in that direction as it begins to rumble and tremble again. Dust flies, as the TK begins to bang and pound, infused for just those few moments the elements within that dirt part and begin to fall away to create a way of escape. Jean, she effectively became the bully of the earth as she wills those subterranian beauties to escape. They wanted a savior? Then flee as she says!

As of now, so power hungry, Logan became an afterthought. But at least she was focused on saving the lives of the others.

Professor X frowns, "You are a small minded monster, Masque. You had the power to change your world… and instead you simply wished to rule it. Pathetic." Now that Jean is getting the situation with the fighting Morlocks and Subterraneans under control, his attention is focused solely on Masque, his mind echoing around Masque's thoughts as he keeps it simple, locking down Masque's ability to interfere as Charles doesn't wish to risk distractions, "You will disclose Logan's location to me." There's no 'or else' involved. Not in a situation where his students, his friends, are concerned.

The redheaded bohemienne plies the surface of an Asgardian ocean. Tactical advantages and mastery of martial techniques lasting centuries — millennia — buoy her actions, a current directing her with hardwon skill. Like how to avoid the innards of a giant being gutted or worse. She snarls in Aesir, "«Odin's beard!»" Disgust wars with the temperate recognition of being in her element. She flings her arm up and turns her head away to defend against the absolutely horrendous spewing ichor and ooze, goo from the primal depths of Nidhoggr's gut.

To be sure, it's an experience. Albeit bad to worse really depends on the condition of the thing's dinner. A slurry of semi-translucent fluids run off her uniform, pooling to the shaking ground, tracking where she goes as she darts at fleet-footed speed. When she might slip or fall, her flight kicks up a notch, giving her grounding.

"Don't engage!" she warns them, the spear she's holding not at all comparable to what Logan — any form of him — possesses. Perhaps he won't register her as a threat, but that is a chance she is not willing to take, though she places herself on a course where getting to Jean or Charles means going through her. Hence go the gloves, their quick release snaps well-suited. Who the hell brings skin to an adamantium fight? The war avatar for the chldren of the atom.

Masque's mind is quickly breaking under Charles' assault, the wretched bastard howling his own rage. He grasps at his scarred face, the one flesh he cannot change, crumbling to his knees, "When that slut Callisto disappeared, they were all minnnnnnnnnnne," he groans. Then came the Subterraneans, pushing for territory and they'd needed a weapon, any weapon. Little ARtie, however, knew the perfect one, although it took a little persuasion to make him tell where to find him.

The Subs start to flee at Jean's demand, the pressure of her mind and her poewr flowing over them, the glare of her flames shining in their overlarge eyes. Only Voon steps forward, moving towards Jean, arms outstretched, her undersized mouth breaking into a smile.

Logan spits a mouthful of fluid and stares at Rogue, shaking some of the gore from his face as blinks at her. He seems groggy and a bit confused, as almost anyone would be after a half-hour of being digested. He steps towards her and lashes out, a backhanded swipe of his claw, lacking the full ferocity of the man unleashed.

Jean and Charles can both feel Logan's mind now, a raging fire of pure hate and rage, whatever humanity he had subsumed by the beast inside him. The only thing sparing Rogue is his confusion and whatever tiny spark of Logan that remains within the monster.

The last vestiges of the little squid people were scrambling into the hole to escape. Except for Voon. What in the hell was she doing? But so much output of power has Jean near crumbling, her hands sinking into her hair as she wills her own state of self into the foreground. Now she can see, and feel. Feel that Logan was a wild thing and not who he was.. slightly. That Rogue, her cries of keeping back, were meant with the fierceness of protection. Jean immediately steps back, intending to keep away from the duo and Voon.. Voon?

"What are you doing?! Run Voon!"

It does register with Charles, that Logan has surfaced, as even that red-hot spark of rage and anger is hard to miss. He then gives Masque an almost dismissive psi-bolt, intent on knocking him completely unconscous. Then he looks over towards Logan, "Logan…" He speaks verbally, as well as in Logan's mind… or tries to, anyway, but breaking through that rage isn't going to be easy.

Logan sadly lacks some of nature's handsome additions to demonstrate aggression. No frills shaking in a wide ruff or a rattling tail alerts anyone to danger. He lacks coral banding or bright cyan skin. Then again, thirty-inch claws sheathed in metal do the trick. And Scarlett in any sense knows she plays with a live atom bomb of a man, devoured by a giant worm. After the torture Artie displayed, she's prepared for a far from friendly reception.

Nothing quite matches those deadly claws swung at her, though. Twinned imperatives overriding her usual non-aggressive tendencies play out simultaneously, as she twists out of the way ahead of the claws, rotating to bring the borrowed spear shaft up in diversion. Logan obviously will make short work of it, but the block has a limited advantage to open up space. Anything else serving for a weapon will do rather than sheer pugilism, and she tracks rapidly to the periphery of the man's vision.

Nothing like fire and brimstone to raise a screen, blurring her silhouette slightly. Springing between the wreckage of homes and lives, she takes whatever presents itself as a viable weapon. Sword, grenade, bo; buying time.

Rogue, it seems, is not Logan's intended target.

While Masque lays crumbled beneath Charles' onslaught (no pun intended), while Rogue scrambles for a makeshift weapon and Jean cries out to the little subterranean to flee, Logan does what he's been tortured to do.

Masque conditioned him well, directing that hate, aiming it one direction, towards his enemies, towards those little onion-skinned devils that plagued him so.

Voon never stands a chance.

Logan leaps past Rogue and onto the girl's back, his claws driving through her torso and out through her chest as a cascade of blood, Logan snarling like a beast as he berzerkers on her. The rest of her tribe does, indeed, flee now, in horror of the thing they have come to know as the God of Cutting.

Logan is blinded, not even seeing Voon now, just slashing and slashing at her carcass, oblivious to his friends and allies watching him, oblivious even to the concept of who he is. Just a knife. Just a sword. Just a weapon.

Just as Jean reaches out towards Voon, Logan reaches her! It was too quick, too fast. She didn't see anything like this coming. But the way that Logan took Voon down had Jean stalling, not stalling because she wanted Voon to die, but stalling because she was in immediate fright and flight mode. Fright, where her knees almost buckled and flight.. where her mind immediately went into a place of.. well, shock!


Yes, Jean didn't get it. She didn't get it! Brain does not compute!

Yes, Logan definitely looks to be deep in a frenzy, attacking Voon and savaging her corpse… or so it would appear to him…

But while Charles wasn't able to stop the first strike, he was able to craft a mental illusion, letting Logan continuing to maul 'Voon' while he psychically encourages the wounded girl towards Jean and away from Logan. His mind echoes towards Jean and Rogue, » I can't maintain the illusion for long… we're going to need to reach him. Be ready. «

Horror shimmers across the wavelength of distance. He's not following. Recalibrating her direction brings Scarlett around on her toes, the fallen rifle she's carrying trained on the shadowy, squat form of a nightmare wheeling on Voon. Too late. Every strand of intuition screams all is wrong. And Jean, the most volatile of them all, is far too close to Voon for comfort.

To hell with the gun. To hell with damn near everything.

She pivots midair and uses the assist from Charles, whether conscious or not of its deceit, to react. Angling up, she intends to strike from above and behind where Logan may be the least likely to spot or guard against her. All it takes is a touch, or a skid across the amphitheatre floor at alarming speed, propelled by horror and momentum. With gloves off, anyways, she's going for a knockout by ensnaring him in the curse of her mutation.

Sif wouldn't apologize. Scarlett, in the fractured crystal palace of her mind, most certainly thinks it. But it doesn't stop her.

Lost in the moment of frenzy, blinded by the torturous hatred burned in his mind by a madman, Logan drives his claws into the ground again and again, unaware that he isn't tearing through the flesh of the innocent girl. Rogue's touch takes him totally off-guard, giving her glimpses of that all-consuming rage herself from the contact, perhaps even infecting her as he convulses. Enduring as he is, he rises up, arching, almost seeming as if he'll resist for a moment, whipping his head towards her with a slavering maw before finally succumbing, her power combined with the exhaustion of hours of battle driving him unconscious.

Voon lies bleeding, flesh pierced through from back to front, her organs only barely missed as she bleeds and whimpers in pain.

What.. what just happened?! It was an illusion! Blasted Charles, but she was also thankful, for the wounded Voon was wrapped within her arms almost immediately, drawn away from the pounce and frenzy fight of Rogue and Logan. She didn't even want to look, no. But she was clear that she was going to get Voon to safety with the rest of her people! Uh.. maybe Jean's people too? They praised her, right? This is weird.

"Go, get him out of here! I'll take care of her and make sure that the rest of them are safe!" And she intends to do just that, drawing Voon's arm around her neck, she keeps the Elder woman close as she heads her way towards the tunnels…

Charles looks at Rogue, "Scarlett…" He focuses his attention on her, hoping that she incapacitated him. But he felt that rage, and he looks more than a little concerned that it might infect her as well as he also thinks about what to do with Masque.

War avatar. Peacenik. Student. They all melt away under the incandescent touch of the Soul-Thief. Loosed of its bonds, her malleable DNA shifts and shifts again, splintering to absorb this new gift earned through the gory hold on shoulder and back. Transmission of the stream of overwhelming rage and confusion crashes headlong into the churning seas already occupied by conflicting intentions, and for such a long, frozen time, she is still.

Maybe those years practicing meditation help. They should, immensely. Her glittering green eyes turn into an unholy bonfire, unnaturally shaded, her breathing dropping into cyclical formations: in. Hold. Out. Inhale. Hold. Exhale.

Sanity frayed by that wrathful assault endures, even as she holds the heavy, dense body of Logan in her arms. She bends forward slightly, murmuring softly a benediction of no real purpose. Charles is likely to hear it: "You're safe. You're here. We'll take you home."

Logan is little more than deadweight, his mind shut down as much as his body, letting Rogue handle him as she likes. No one is left to try to stop them, the rest of them having fled, morlock and subterranean alike. This may well be the end of their war - but perhaps not.

There is, after all, still the Elder to deal with. And who knows what else might lurk deep in the depths of the realm below New York.

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