1965-03-30 - Lethal Exposure
Summary: The X-Men investigate a bunker in in northern Ghana, where rogue elements have fashioned a crude facility to create mutants. They get a lot more than they bargained for.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
negasonic scott-summers rogue piotr julie jean-grey kwabena 

Beema cbenem akodee (Man March Weapon)
Chapter One: Lethal Exposure

Thanks to the coordinated efforts of Tessa Valentine, Douglas Ramsey and Kwabena Odame, the X-Men have pinpointed a location in the remote regions of Northern Ghana, where an operation is underway to create mutants from normal people. The operation has not been sanctioned by the Republic of Ghana, and preliminary intelligence has revealed that multiple countries in the region have offered military assets to strengthen the guerrilla operation. Libya, the South Sudan and Ethiopia have all sent men and material to reinforce the operation.

Shift, having discovered the testing site not far from Accra in the Afram Plains, has reported that the method is crude. It involves some kind of injection followed by lethal radiation exposure. There is suspicion that the men leading this operation (an unknown scientist and an unidentified military officer) do not have the capacity to test for inert x-genes, a theory supported by the fact that, during the test Kwabena witnessed, over forty innocent people were irradiated to produce only two mutants.

Its unclear how long this has been going on. It's estimated that Kwabena's reconnaissance happened around the first of March, but unexpected memory loss makes it impossible to tell just how long this has been taking place. There's no way to know how many mutants have been created, and how many innocent villagers were sacrificed. One thing is for certain… whatever their end goal is, these people must be stopped.

An initial recon flight by the Blackbird shows a relatively small military compound, around forty meters cubed, but there's no doubt that a much larger operation exists underground, considering Kwabena's initial recon of the test site. There are two tanks parked outside flanking the front entrance, and a guard tower on the opposing northwest corner. A small handful of guerrilla soldiers armed with machine guns are outside, and there does not appear to be a rear entrance.

Sure. Jean will go on the mission. Sure, Jean hasn't been out of the states in close to two or three months. Sure, Jean will supervise, or.. not really supervise, but it was seen as mandatory for her to go because she does not trust anyone else with the Blackbird. Not even Scott. So naturally she suited up for this, costumes of her own design, red hair in a ponytail and gloves fitted to the frame and her kaboose parked in the pilots seat. Short. Sweet. To the point.

"My plan is.." Jean says over the flight controls as they recon. "Stay back with the ship." That totally worked well for everyone else last time. "I'll provide it's cover to prevent its destruction. I love this country, but we do have kids at home."

Whence it comes to piloting things, Jean in the cockpit may be a given. The pale young woman next to her, staring over the array of equipment, learns by focused proxy. Or perhaps she exists as the other variant of a missile detection system, notably because any incoming missile may have an extremely sorry end where Scarlett is involved. Mute for the duration of the ride, she offers not a single interruption to fellow Team Redhead's focus. That, in small part, may be due to learning by proxy. A nod follows on the matter of holding back, though she flicks a look outside at the scattered, verdant landscape marked in far more vibrant colours than the temperate metropolis and the endless grey wash of the Atlantic.

Seated in the back of the plain, a large dark haired Russian man is scribbling on a notebook. Piotr Rasputin, Colossus, draws as a way of relaxing and doing it before a mission is not at all surprising. He's wearing a blue uniform with yellow trim that cuts away at the elbows. It looks like it's made of a stretchy material, and given his power set it is definitely by design.

Scott Summers isn't happy about not flying. He's in the co-pilot seat and the normally staid and solid man is obviously a bit sullen. Still he's not a child so he swallows it down eventually and focuses on the task at hand. He helps to guide a proper route, using a nearby airport's lanes as a cover, so that their reconaissance looks like just routine traffic and not loitering overhead.

"Shift should take point. He knows the lay of the land. Negasonic and I can be wings, since we have ranged offense. Colossus, you take the rear. Phoenix, keep scanning ahead. The rest of you know your business - apply your talents as you see fit," he says.

"Let's stay focused out there. Nobody gets left behind."

Dizzy has been of course, occupied throughout the trip, largely by the Blackbird itself, predictably chatty about it, and is clad in similar colors to Piotr, with the addition of a leather 3/4 length jacket that covers most of what's on a well-laden tool-belt, save perhaps a few of her longer shop-built bolas. She hrms, thinking of Scott's plan, "Guess I'll see how many of their gun emplacements I can, ah, dis-assemble, that kinda thing."

If it weren't for the fact that she speaks up immediately upon being addressed, one might easily mistake Negasonic for being unconscious. She's seated in the back of the Blackbird, strapped in as per regulation, and her face completely expressionless as her head rests against the metal interior of the plane. She doesn't participate in the idle chatter, unless specifically addressed. She doesn't peek at what Piotr's drawing. She hears everything that goes on, but she's clearly in some other mindset, some other place as they fly at high speeds toward certain danger. Just another day in the life of an X-er.

When Scott begins laying out the details of the next steps, she takes note, though her eyes don't actually open and she doesn't actively move until it's time to get up and get out of the plane. She unhooks from her harness like it's second-nature. the straps falling away from her as she stands and exits the plane in a no-nonsense fashion, falling into a flanking position as directed by earlier orders. The sun is almost completely sunken in the horizon as night presses in hard on the surrounding area, and Ellie slides her suit's black hoodie up over her head, further obscuring her from sight as the shadows begin to deepen.

Kwabena, or as some have come to call him, 'Shift', has remained quiet like many of the others. He'd already told them everything he could; his uniform is similar to that of Piotr's, but is a dark black with thin, purple lines running from shoulders to hips, forming a large X. He's got two spares stowed in a compartment, because he tends to go through them like he goes through cigarettes. He eyeballs Cyclops for a moment and nods his head, before unhooking his harness. "Me and guns, always good plan."

There is plenty of space to set the Blackbird down, considering the foliage was cleared around the compound to help in its construction. There is a grade to the land, suggesting that something very large was covered up beneath the earth here.

"Diz," Shift says, and claps her on the shoulder. "With me. Rip apart dere guns and I'll handah de soldiers."

He pulls the mask up to cover the upper half of his face, then grabs hold of a handrail while waiting at the door.

There was a squint of an eye as she sidelooks in Cyclop's direction; her body leaning as she soon turns the blackbird in a rotating position, the quiet engines not booming threatening along the landscape, and that was mostly due to Hank's fine tooled work. But she remains quiet; if there was a visible shift in personality switch one would see it here. Though it wasn't a personality switch per-se, more like the mind working, scanning the lay of the land, marking the souls within the landscape and blotting out their suns with the notion of sleep.

If.. that were even to work.

Either way, the blackbird sets upon the dusky ground with a light bump, her hands white knuckling the grip of the wheel, soon.. forcing herself to release with a slow unravel of fingers which has her hands curling into fists and out. "We -should- have a bit of cover. If not, let me know." Hell, she'd hear it! "Option is there for telepathic link, but know that if I do that I probably can't do much else depending on how far everyone goes." She stands then, waiting for everyone to exit. There was a nice cabinent in the back that she'd like to get to.

"Good luck and god speed, yeah?"

An exquisite nation robbed of its resources, a people downtrodden by a few of their own seeking profit and advantage: the tale of the former Gold Coast represents Africa's in a microcosm. The moment the bird touches down on the red soil, Scarlett adjusts not at all from her levitating lotus position adjacent Jean. No straps to undo given she never wore any in the first place, although one remains in arm's reach in the event of an accident excitement. Her fingertips curl around her knees, conforming to the smooth bend, palms down. The satisfactory calm following Jean's successful landing leads her to breathe out; inhaling, she nods to the redhead to convey encouragement and approval in her subdued fashion.

The others disembark first before she even breaks her position of watching out the cockpit windows, the needle-thin nose of the stealth craft as good as anything to divide the encampment. Three or four minutes slip away in observation of the darkened landscape. She stretches out her legs and makes the barest hint of walking, though her feet stay at least an inch above the level floor. That cabinet holds wonders or possibly something the adults can share, innocuously labeled as 'Buckley's Cough Syrup.'

Piotr looks up towards Cyclops' seat with a tilted head as the field leader goes over the roles. There's a momentarily flash of confusion on his face over the direction. At the back? The protest is gone as soon as he thinks it over, though. His own opinion on the matter is not really what's best for the team. By the time the plane lands, he's moved on entirely and sets his notebook down. On his feet he heads down the ramp quietly and is thankful for the warm air on his skin as he exits.

Scott Summers adjusts the buckles on his gear. Dark blue, trimmed in gold, with the dull flash of crimson at his eyes. He notes Piotr's bristling for a moment, "Easy, my large Russian friend. If someone comes at our back, I want someone who can take the punishment. Once we engage, I'm sure you'll have plenty of chances to shine," he says.

He nods to Jean on the way out, "Honestly, I'd rather have you watching for enemies than linking us up. That's what the training is for, after all," he says. "Shift, guns are all well and good, but I'd rather not have a bloodbath. Use your best judgment," he says, in a tone that says he's going to be watching.

"X-men…move out."

Julie nods to Kwabena, hopping out of the seat even as it settles in, putting on her yellow eyeshields. That uncanny balance of hers, and all. Handy, those, when you can power a cutoff wheel in situations like this. "I'll probably start with the big ones, hopefully before all hell breaks loose, that oughtta confuse more of em while I work on whatever's." She smiles to Colossus. "And maybe hiding behind you's my plan B." Winks. She adds to Kwabena, "Hey, how do you say 'rescue' in the local lingo?" She catches up to sort of flank Kwabena, with a salute to Scott. Before they take two many steps, she reaches out a hand toward a mounted light machine gun with a fellow leaning on it, near the door, and feels around. Smirks, and with a characteristic VRRR sound… Flips her hand to loosen the gimbal, the thing flopping down and then suddenly whirling back up and around to knock the fellow down, then whirl to a stop on momentum. Its twin, she turns the other way, screwing the lock down *hard* to prevent it being aimed. Now, well, there's just however many other weapons to account for out there.

Negasonic doesn't fuss with her gearall of which is black of varying materials to provide an interesting look with subtle yellow accents here and there, enough to mark her as an X-Man, but not enough to be an eyesore to her aestheticbecause it's pretty no-nonsense as suits go. The stretchy, lightweight cowl she had added is probably her favorite part, which she can wear or sweep back as she prefers. Therefore, she isn't distracted as social politics go on around her, but they don't really interest her, so she averts her dark, glittering eyes along the immediate surroundings.

Though she's not particularly temperature sensitive, the shift in climates is palpably real and can take some getting used to. As she does this, she takes note of just how pale her skin is in the growing darkness, and stretches her cowl up higher from the back of her suit…and drags it over her face, connecting to the neck of the front of her suit. How she can see through that…isn't clear, but she doesn't seem to be hampered, at all. Of course, this does serve to further hide her facial features, so Julie can't enjoy the look of appreciation she gives when the gearhead disables the mounted machine gun. She hadn't noticed it there, so focused on being where she's supposed to be and taking everything in with efficiency.

"C'bntu, closest I can figure,"Shift tells Diz, adding, "Follow my lead," before moving out. He makes a beeline for the compound given the eastern approach Jean provided, before skirting the building and heading for that first mounted machine gun. Once the weapon has become wildly disassembled by Julie, his arms transform into clouds of thick black smoke. He rushes the soldier, forcing the cloud into the soldier's mouth and nose until consciousness is choked right out of him.

Wash, rinse, repeat. It's a strategy that works impossibly well for five of the six guards, giving the other X-Men ample time to get into their positions. However, the last guard raises the alarm and cries out something in his native tongue. His gun centers on Shift, while the tanks begin rotating around to scope out targets. The large guns eventually center upon Colossus because, well… he's the largest, most visible target.

Once the others were off the ship, there was a slow exhale of air that she was holding. She paces down the isles within the plane, stopping at the notebook that was put down to reach for it, and look upon it's surface. Her brows raise as she turns back towards Scarlett, showing her the picture. "You would think that heading into danger allows us to push the beauty out of our minds. But not for Collosus." She smiles at that, then puts the notebook back down, then heads towards the cabinet to draw out.. well.. it certainly wasn't her grandpa's rootbeer! One was tossed into Scarlett's direction, the other was kept on hand as she moves towards the doorway, settling down upon the ground with a twist of the cap and a flick outside. With Julie already in play, Jean nods and scoots over for the other redhead to join her.

"It's starting."

Bottle set in between her thighs, two fingers press against her temple as she keeps a working scan of the area. Which ultiimately, doesn't help when the alarm is rang and her head shakes almost immediately.

"Goddamn it, Rogue. Get on guard! We may need to leave the blackbird behind to help."

Hesitation to look upon the contents of Piotr's notebook, the contents possibly private though likely the sketched arcs do not display anything questionable. The corner of Scarlett's mouth lifts higher by slight degrees, a measure scarce readable visually, and she dips her head in a nod. She collects any stray pencils or charcoal left behind in Colossus' departure, resting them on his seat for easy recovery. Thus by the time Jean pillages the cabinet for libations, she has to dash forward a few steps to catch up and snatch the offering out of the air, nimble as any black mamba striking a choice morsel of prey. She twirls the bottle around, thumb over the cap the whole time, descending the steps slowly. Midway she halts, staring out into the growing darkness.

Nightfall met with a flat, unyielding regard stripped of any particular emotion. Sunshine in eclipse, the curse brings that leveled look back upon Jean. She raises her eyebrows in a silent inquiry. So much for a nice drink. Slowly the tips of her glove are peeled back, revealing a web of bandages, a glimpse of bare skin. No mistaking that.

A wry grin forms on Colossus' face as Scott totally busts him on his dissent. "I didn't say anything," his low, gravelly voice lets out and his pale blue eyes turn to face the field leader. "It is an excellent plan." As he walks along, his body begins to transform and enlarge, from skin to a brilliant and shiny metal that almost appears like chrome. Even in the moonlight, it glistens. Lucky for him, the shirt holds. He grins at Julie, "I am good for that." But as Julie hauls off and attacks the machine gunner, Colossus shrugs his shoulders, "Perhaps you will not need so much of my help afterall."

Shells fire from the tanks and knock Piotr back a few steps. The Russian, even larger after his transformation, uses his hands to block the explosions, but his osmium is more than enough to keep him safe. The look on his face implies his irritation and the brick begins to run straight at the closest tank!

Colossus' takes another shot to the chest, but by this point, nothing is going to stop him. He twists the gun on the tank in a large circle. With a grit filled face he grabs the gun and begins to swing the tank like it is some sort of hammer throw at Soviet Olympic practice.

With Piotr taking one tank, Scott focuses on another. He unleashes crimson energy in a sweeping swathe, blasting the top off the thing and almost shearing the cannon in half. Whatever artillery that thing has inside it, it doesn't match up to the visored mutant's firepower.

"Keep advancing, keep them on their heels," he says, trying to keep moving forward and gaining ground, adding a few quick bursts of energy to knock back more of the soldiers, watching the team work together and, as always, measuring, judging and strategizing.

Dizzy spends the time of Kwabena's guard-thinning …working on disassembling rifles ahead of him, or otherwise rendering them beyond immediate function with random unscrewings, or sometimes just a wrench at the whole thing. Pauses a moment when there seem to be …too many, and with an "Alleyoop!" just tosses them in a high arc toward the knot of baddies, adding speed to whirl as it stretches out to perhaps a twelve foot radius of VRRRing ….what is that descending toward the soldiers, before she ducks behind an obstruction. "Hold that thought, boys."

There isn't much warning, this time. Sometimes, she knows when it's coming—like someone with Tourette's can feel a tic coming, or someone prone to fainting can sense it before they do, with enough time to prepare for it… This time, all Ellie manages to get out is a husky barked alert to Cyclops, who has witnessed her precog attacks before. "Cyclops, I'm down," is all she can call out in a loud, but hushed voice… And, then, she's limp, falling sideways into the thick foliage. There is no consciousness there, in her body, for her to reach out a staying hand to break her fall. She just goes down like someone sniped her from the encroaching darkness.

Then, she's in the thick of it, seeing all of the horrible things, all the terrible possibilities. People, in the hundreds at least, dying. A nuclear event that devastates the land and all that inhabit it, creating lasting wounds on the environment. Terrorism on a global scale, perpetrated by brainwashed mutants that were never meant to be. A teammate…with a dark future—death or, at the very least, terrible danger imminent. And, worse.

To everyone else, Negasonic is pretty much dead to the world. Jean can sense her consciousness, and see what she's seeing, of course.. But, the sullen mutant is in the full grip of her premonitions. If her cowl is removed, to reveal her face, she looks as though she's in some sort of trance—mostly unconscious, totally limp, but this is interrupted by occasional twitching and her eyelids fluttering as she mumbles to herself, unintelligible. There is really nothing to do for her, except to let the premonition finish.

Colossus makes short work of the first tank, His actions burning out the mechanics. Black smoke begins to pour out of every opening, and moments later, two men manning the inside crawl out of the top hatch, caked in grease and coughing violently. Cyclops makes quick work of the other, the men inside thrown against the armored interior and knocked silly. These guerrilla soldiers are no match for the X-Men, with Diz and Shift finishing off a quick, non-lethal cleanup of the foot soldiers.

Soon, all that's left is that guard tower on the northwest corner. The two men inside level their machine guns on any interloper they can find, and open fire. The fools have chosen Colossus, of course. Big, shiny, and impervious to their bullets.

As for Shift, he's already ahead of everyone else, and has dashed inside the bunker. Looks like he's taking this 'point' job to heart.

Jean's eyes were already closed. Granted, Scott said that it wasn't needed, but when does Jean listen? Hardly ever! For she was looking behind the eyes of those, tracking their movements. Their range was far enough, so she couldn't directly shield them from any on-coming fire. She could only watch; the Earth's on Uatu, but only small-scale. "One down." Jean calls to Scarlett, catching the glimpses from Ellie which makes her recoil in horror, both hands now covering her face as she rocks from side to side, using the momentum and telekinetics to bounce herself to her feet to pace down to touch dirt with her own two boots.

-Everyone- was in play. Colossus was moving, Scott blasting, Ellie projecting and Julie disassembling.

Kwabena was on the move which had Jean taking a few paces forward to keep up, only for both hands to fall down and to turn towards Scarlett. Granted.. she was a good friend, but she knows in current conditions to not baby or mother her friend..

"Shift's gone down. Guards ahead of him. I sensed a mutant, and it sensed you. I'm sorry Scarlett. It's time for you to work."

Poor spilled alcohol. Someone's going to pay for this.

How can Scarlett not appreciate a certain efficiency in the violence in the field? Her place remains squarely by the psychic pilot's side, whether marching through scrub or crossing Arctic tundra or twirling through society balls. Few of the latter happen at this time of year, but that scarcely matters. With Jean goes the future of their mission and, in some respects, the world. A brief dip of her chin measures the one fallen member of their team, and still the redhead does not go dashing off blindly into the darkness of a foreign land, hellbent for leather to deliver a certain doom. Not when the others have that well in hand, checking the assaults by gunfire on metal skin or bursts of energy marking the end of resistance.

The Blackbird is precious. Jean is priceless. Someone has to intercept the deliveries by rocket launchers aiming at critical components. So if a mutant senses her — she shrugs her right shoulder and tips her head, that slow, faint trace of a smirk sketched on her lips. Pulling back her dark flaming hair, she sets the bottle down and walks out into the field. Just another nice, easy target.

Colossus lets go of the tank, now empty of opposing soldiers. The mechanical leviathan goes flying and lands on a supply truck which promptly explodes. By then, Colossus is stalking towards the men bothering to shoot at him. When he reaches them he simply grabs their guns, yanks them from their hands, and breaks them in half.

Scott Summers moves over to crouch over Negasonic, giving cover to her as his student tumbles into her visions. He's seen her like this before, yes, and it usually means she's seeing things she'd rather not see. He keeps any potential threats at bay, sending one soldier flipping end over end with a measured blast of force. And belting another one in the mouth with a right cross when he comes in from the side.

-Jean, we could use an extraction here- he thinks as hard as he can. He wants to follow Shift in, but he needs to make sure Negasonic is secured first. He said nobody left behind and he meant it. "Dizzy, stick with Shift, nobody go off alone!" he calls.

Dizzy dammits, a moment, as some of the people pointing in her direction get shots off before taken down by Ellie or Kwabena, she reflexively-occupied by messing up the bullets' rotation and aim, before peeking up, and saying, "Well, OK, that kinda worked," and shakes off nerves as she starts to catch up with Kwabena, looking around. "Ok, so what's next?" she says, then… ohs, as the guard tower opens up. She latches onto one of the guns with a similar treatment as before… Don't you hate it when your machine gun spins around and clobbers you with the barrel? This guy's got that issue at the moment. But then she spots Kwabena heading in, and mumbles, "I guess next we run into a big hole in the ground," and calls out more loudly, in reply to Scott"

Shedashes to the edge of the doorway to peek first, bumping her knee on a cricket bat left leaning there. "What the heck is this thing?" She hefts it, though, and heads in, doubtless ready to fling the thing or clobber someone with it.

When she comes out of her precog-trancethough it seems like it took ages for her, it was probably no longer than five minutes real-timeEllie looks grim. She's calm in her body languageit's clearly something that she's used to experiencingeven with the sounds of combat and gunfire still filling the air around her. She spushes her way to her feet, waving off any offer of help. She's very quiet while she gathers her thoughts, trying to determine how best to express what she saw—all while still fighting, which is more comfortable for her than the talking stuff. "This mission is fucked, sir," she says to Scott, her tone deadly serious.

After sending a large blast in the direction of some gunfire nearby, she inhales deeply and struggles for the words to try to explain. "I don't mean it's not going to be successful. Can't say, either way. But, whatever happens…isn't going to be neat, or easy. Someone on our side might die, or be taken hostage—/something/ bad is gonna happen to someone. These people," she waves at the enemy encampment for clarification, "…They're twisted, and driven. They have bad plans they want to use these innocent people to enact on the world, and I'm talking /lots/ of death." She exhales, giving a little shrug of her shoulders. "Fucked." Regardless of the information she's delivered, she looks prepared to follow orders and do what needs to be done.

"Jean…" Kwabena is perched inside the elevator car. The doors are barely cracked, his face pressed against them to spy on what's happening beyond. "Jean, if you're listening," he whispers, an urgency in his heart, "get dem down here. Get 'em down here now."

Above, there's a silence that falls, peppered only by the slow burning of fires and the quiet groans of soldiers who haven't simply been knocked out for good. The two men who'd been firing upon Colossus lift their hands in surrender… the one on the left has liquid running down the leg of his pants. Down below, well… that's something else.

On the other side of the elevator is a large control room. There are large pipes and electrical conduits that run along the walls and ceiling, all of them running toward either a large control panel covered in dials, levels, dimly lit buttons or gauges, or running into a large room behind a reinforced glass wall with a latticework of lead woven into the glass.

Moments before, Shift had asked Dizzy to trust him, before grabbing her and jumping into the elevator shaft. No sense waiting for the slow moving car to climb back up. The equivalent of twelve floors underground, he'd used his super-hardened form to slow their descent by clinging to the guide cable, making a soft landing on the roof before prying open the maintenance hatch. Now, the mutant native to this land is peering through the cracked door as a crowd of innocent people, taken from villages far and wide across the continent of Africa, are ushered into the room by men with guns. This time, there is no injection; a device pops with a quiet explosion inside the chamber, releasing a dark red gas into the air that the people have no choice but to inhale.

"Oh no," Kwabena says to Julie. "It's happening again! We can't-"

Suddenly, the elevator doors blow open. On the other side are two of the transformed mutants; one a hulking male responsible for ripping open the elevator doors, the other a bald woman with eyes of pure black. With a roar, she jumps into the elevator, grasps hold of Shift, and the two go tumbling out onto the rocky ground, before the woman quite literally disappears into the earth, taking Shift with her. There is no sign of them; it's almost as if the ground swallowed them whole.

The hulking man (Macho) squares off with Julie, smirking and pounding a fist into his other hand. Behind him, other mutated prisoners have lined up to protect the scientists - two of them - who are working st the control panel. Three women, one with electrical currents arcing off her limbs and through her eyes (Zap), the other with her eyes glazed over by a mirror-like shell (Mirror) and another who just… stands there (Drain). Two men, one with hair that sticks up in the air (Turbine), the other whose limbs are literally on fire (Flame).

No… it wasn't going to be easy.

Chaos. It was all around them; Jean was the only one left by the blackbird after Rogue stalks off to handle her business. There was a look back towards the ship, and then towards the compound with a worrying glance. One was down; then not. Shift was calling for reinforcements. It was time to move.

*~Everyone. Get to the bottom of the base. Things are going… ~*

She was already jogging lightly as she spoke, stopping in her tracks, her brows furrowing as a vacant look takes over. Then again..

*~Mission score Lethal level ten! Put everyone down but do not kill. This is still a rescue mission, I repeat, it is still a rescue mission!~*

Footsteps pick up as she quite possibly passes Scarlett, on the way towards Negasonic and Scott, her fingers snapping and pointing right towards the entrance where Kwabena and Julie had went. Once inside, Jean spies the elevator, her stride filled with speed and purpose as her hands lift, curl into a fist, and spread themselves apart to rip the elevator doors open. She'll be the rotten egg of this crew, last one down.

"Make a change in your lives," Colossus says to them just as he gets the message from Jean. He covers the ground quickly and leaps down into the shaft to get where he needs to be. He rolls onto the ground and tries to get his bearings, first noticing the red haze from the smoke. Luckily for him his osmium is sealed. The giant doesn't need to breathe, even. But it could very much harm the others. Jean? There's some sort of toxin. Then, seeing Dizzy face off against the hulking man and recognizing Julie's earlier comment about protection, the large Russian charges towards the hulking man, hoping to get there before Julie gets squashed.

With Negasonic recovered and reporting her harsh truths, Cyclops can only nod. "Maybe so. But our teammates are going in. And that means so are we," he says. He helps the hooded girl to her feet and moves quickly inside, following the trail easily enough until they can catch up with the others.

Seeing the array of enemies lining up, Scott doesn't think long or hard about it, unleashing a rapid blast at the woman sparking with electricity, "Can your TK contain that gas?' he calls out to Jean, tilting his head to take another shot, this time at the flaming foe.

Julie whoas as Kwabena settles them down, not before she'd left the open doors of the entrance above propped that with her cricket bat, …really, 'maybe we'd better wait for the others' falls quiet as she slips out a wrench and angle-headed flashlight from her toolbelt, and eyes the elevator mechanisms, catching part of the horrid show, looking in shock a bit as the screaming lady bursts in and out with Kwabena, then looks to the hulking Macho. "Ah, …*Kabuntu?*" Another glance to the control panels, and she…waves an almost-inaudibly-Vvvvvrrrring handin the direction of any row or cluster of knobs, turning a whole bunch of them all the way to the left, then, reaching up for the elevator motor as team-mates start pouring in. The wrench, she flings toward the blank-faced Drain, thinking perhaps he's up to something telepathic, and ducks back a moment as others pass, fumbling at pouches on her belt.

Scott doesn't have to tell Negasonic twice. In fact, she is pleased to be going down below, where her teammates are. She is never one to shy away from danger, especially considering the fact that she's faced with horrible visions that she's generally no control over… This is something she can affect. This is somewhere she can make a difference. So, as Cyclops turns and heads for the underground bunker, she is hot on his heels, her booted feet pummeling the ground with her determination directing her body to quickly reach her destination.

Once she gets downstairs, her body doing a sliding drift style stop in the doorway as she gets her bearings. tTaking in the sight of all of the opposing team, she narrows her eyes, though it's practically impossible to see with her cowl pulled back down over her entire face, again. She isn't sure where Shift is, but she can see Colossus is helping Julie with her 'roided-out attacker, even though Julie israther sweetlytrying to peace-talk her way out of it. Her eyes drift over Cyclops, Jean… As she scans, her energy halo flares into lifeblack, and white, and gold, and red, all electrically sparking and arcing around her body, she builds up her charge. She looks for an opening of a grouping of the enemies with none of the X-ers in range….and, once she spies her opportunity, she shoots out a wide beam, probably the circumference of a huge tree, at the closely grouped rude dudes. The blast, once it hits, is even largerstill contained to the area they occupy—like a cue ball being sent hurling into a closely-grouped collection of balls.

One downside to being so large; Macho is slow. Colossus overtakes him, but with Macho's heightened endurance and strength, he catches Colossus and the two go tumbling out of the way.

A red optic blast catches Zap in the chest, but when she goes flying, she flings her hands and sends blue lightning directly toward Colossus. Fortunately, she hits the wall and falls asleep. Night night, Zappy.

Flame roars and dives, missing the optic blast by a hair, but he leaves a flaming arc in his wake that separates Scott from Colossus and Macho for the moment.

Meanwhile, the prisoners inside begin choking as they breathe in the red gas. There's too many to reasonably count, but their numbers round out at about eighty. Six soldiers gather around the two scientists at the control panel, guns drawn and ready to fire at anyone who comes close, but they are small potatoes compared to the mutants they have created. The scientists, wearing radiation suits, are talking with each other in a foreign language, their words rushed as they begin pushing levers and twisting knobs. Lights begin to flash, and needles on the old gauges begin to move.

Turbine, with a grin on his face, lifts his hands. Within seconds, gale force winds are directed at Cyclops. Drain received a wrench to the face from Julie, drawing blood from a broken nose. She opens her eyes and cries out, before focusing herself upon Jean while backing up behind Turbine. Jean will suddenly feel her mutant powers being depleted, as if someone were siphoning the power into nothingness. It's a slow process, but it'll slow her down.

Meanwhile, Mirror smirks widely and lifts her hands. The walls, floor and ceiling suddenly transform into mirrors, within which everyone is reflected. This, of course, will make it difficult for the X-Men to fight. Beyond that, the premonitions Negasonic had witnessed begin to appear in the many mirrored panels around the heroes; mutated Africans killing cops in England, blowing up a school in Wisconsin, triggering an El derailment in Chicago. In twenty of the jaggedly shaped panels, there are mushroom clouds, and in one panel, Kwabena can be seen entrapped by rocks in a cave deep underground, screaming.

The scientists shout at each other in anger when their dials and levers are suddenly yanked to zero.

Negasonic comes in with the game changer. Her blast is dissuaded by the wind coming from Turbine, so he remains safe. However, Drain and Mirror get the brunt of it. Both go flying and end up shattering some of the mirrors behind them; the draining power relents against Jean, and the visions Mirror had gleaned from Negasonic fade out, leaving only the reflection of the heroes in their fight against the bad guys.

Right when Jean was about to go into action, she near curls at the feeling of her powers draining. And that only seeks to make her slightly angry. The Phoenix trains often without her powers for this reason, this is her safe space. Hand to hand combat is her mantra—- until it's not. Thankfully the team pulls through, leaving her open to pass through the hallways. Nevermind the mirrors, for in the reflection of them is her burnt alive; stalking past those who were currently fighting. Someone had awakened the beast.

"I can't contain the gas." She readily admits. But if there were magic in the world (and there is), she wishes for it.

Her eyes flare with fire as she approaches the room, the TK wall immediately flaring to life to protect herself from gunfire. Her hand lifting to fling to the side as the two armed guards were separated and flung -hard- into the opposite walls, and quite possibly into the gas.


Thankfully, this method of madness was stalled, for the scientists don't drop in a heap, they slowly fall and curl up as if they were in their beds as children and their mothers tucked them in.

But there was a problem, she could feel the ebb and wane of her powers, and instead of expending her gifts more, she calls out. "Nega, Shift is trapped in the earth. Pinpoint his last location and START BLASTING!" Within reason of course!

Now to deal with the souls of the room. Everything was underground, there were no windows to funnel out the red mist. So to the pannels she goes, searching out the systems of the room and the facility as a whole, hoping to open up the ventilation system to get the gas out of the room and into the open air. With an added cough. Or three.

The Macho man and Piotr roll around a bit on the ground, but Colossus eventually gets the upper hand and smashes his foe's head into the floor. Grabbing him by the hair he leads him up to his feet almost like an all-star wrestler might, and then he picks Macho up over his head and begins to smash him over and over into the ceiling. Finally, in a final act of irritation, throws his enemy /through/ the wall.

Cyclops' power lay in his blasts, but it gave him a different way of looking at the world. He has a gift for spatial dynamics, calculating trajectories and velocities with a glance, every angle precise. He could draw perfect shapes with his eyes closed. The Warren commission could've used someone like him mapping out grassy knolls.

In this case, his skill manifests in two ways. One, by knowing Shift's approximate location based on his point of disappearance, directing Negasonic with a point of his finger, "Punch right there, forty degrees!" he calls.

And the other is in taking advantage of Mirror's remaining mirrors. His power can be reflected and so it does, the visored hero taking a sniper's aim as he creates an interlacing web of blasts, crimson energy refracting and redirected in the mirrors, creating a laybyrinth of scarlet fury that will swallow up any who cross its path, all angled just so to keep his teammates out of harm's way.

Julie meanwhile, has stepped out with one of her bolas, smaller and lighter, this time, with one of her bolas in one hand, and some sort of abbreviated drill mechanism in the other. She whips the bolas toward the nearest target, then ducks again as Scott's blasts go all over the place, knocking out bad guys. She actually saw Kwabena disappear, so, points exactly to the spot in the floor as well. "I like his idea better!" she calls to Nega.

There's a certain kind of satisfaction that Negasonic feels when she really gets to cut loose, like she just did. It's like she was forced to stay balled up tightly for an extended amount of time…and she finally, finally, got to stretch out. Now that she's unleashed, it's kind of hard to pull back, again… But, she thankfully has a new target. The ground. As Jean directs her to blast away, and Scott points her in the general directionand, better yet, Dizzy gives her the precise location…she smiles. She actually smiles. Her eyes don't look like they usually dothey glow with an unnatural white-gold light, wreathed in black limbals, and the glowing effects of her blast power aura has some sort of strange blacklight effect, which makes her skin seem to glow brighter, her teeth whiter in that wicked smile of hers.

She gathers her powers, again, coiling them tightly inside her…and, though it's unnecessary, it just /feels good/ to do a double palm-thrust in the direction of her blast target-the ground where Kwabena was swallowed up. She hits it with a massive explosion of her energies, and the earth is scorched, blow out as though a mine exploded-a really big mine. A gigantic one. Until they tell her to stop or she catches sight of Shift, she's gonna keep blasting at the ground in that general area, going deeper in previously hit sections, if need be. Scorched, hot dirt rubble is flying /everywhere/ around that area, and the fireworks around Negasonic's form are pretty to watch.

At Jean's approach, the soldiers do in fact open fire, all of them upon her. The bullets are torn apart at the molecular level, ending up as little more than gas when they reach the other side of her telekinetic shield. The scientist slump, and the soldiers that weren't flung into the wall lower their weapons, eyes wide with terror.

Macho ends up in a storage room next door. Were it not for the raging battle taking place, his snores would be a point of humor, but the good news is, Mister Roidrage is down for the count. Years from now, Ted Turner will make millions orchestrating practically the same duel between Hollywood Hulk Hogan and Diamond Dallas Page.

Mirror could not have anticipated the secret weapon that is Scott Summers. Flame may have escaped Cyclops first blast, but he won't escape this one; even as he prepares to launch fireballs at both Julie and Negasonic, he ends up battered between two refracted beams. Others punch into the remaining soldiers, knocking them off their feet and throwing them out of their protective stance around the two scientists.

Turbine's power does take some time to ramp up, and until now, Scott was able to stand against the targeted wind, but not for long. The air spins and coils, forming a virtual tornado aimed at Scott's chest. It's bound to knock him on his ass, but Turbine won't be able to keep up the assault. Why? Because Julie just flung a spinning bola into the back of his head.

The battle dies down almost as quickly as it flared up, but this rescue operation isn't over. One of those optic blasts punctured something under the control panel, and a quiet hiss of hydraulic steam is being shot out from a conduit. The gauges on the control panel begin to slowly turn, their needles itching from left to right, while a low rumble forms in the walls.

There is a single, heavy vault door separating the heroes from the radiation chamber. That's twenty inches of solid lead. Jean manages to find a control to vent the gas from the room, but that won't be enough to save the prisoners inside.

One of the scientists comes to. His eyes are blurry, but he's an educated man and knows some English. He pries himself up and looks at the controls, before his eyes go wide. "Control module, fried. Only… a matter of time." He turns to look at Jean, his eyes filled with tears. "Must… get the people out. Please, find my wife and children. They… they took them."

As for Shift… keep digging, Negasonic Teenage Warhead, you're almost there.

It takes a moment, but finally the controls, lack of fuction that they are in, vents the room with a loud hiss until her attention was directed towards the wall, and then to the scientist. "Your wife and children?" She asks with a gasp. "Who made you do this?" Her hand grips his shoulder as she pulls him up, but there were no time for answers. Only action.

With as much strength as she could muster, without even a hand gesture of control, she blows the doors open wide, enough for a group file to get through. And still, with the contact from the scientist, she calls out to the masses, "Kila mtu, kikimbia! Pata usalama! Uhuru unasubiri!"

She lets go over the scientist, making her way to the door, ushering and attempting to shove them out the door with the quickness. "Colossus! Diz! Get them up to the surface and out of here!" Once up top, she'll alert the local government, but it looks like they may or may not be leaving Africa any time soon. "Go, go go!" She ushers them on, intent on not leaving anyone behind.

This joint was about to blow.

"Da, Phoenix. Right after I…" Piotr looks to the large lead doors that separate people from the potential explosion. He exhales and exclaims, "Get them out of there. I'll close the doors!" He waits a moment for people to begin moving the people out as he leans against the lead door and begins to push with all of his might.

Scott Summers helps to facilitate the escape, urging people to flee with swift motions of his hand. He isn't about to leave any of the team behind, though. Captains go down with their ships, after all.

"The minute we get the prisoners out of here, get clear! Do what you have to do, but the longer we stay, the more we risk getting blown to kingdom come!" he shouts.

Julie is looking on with concern as Nega digs her way to Kwabena, and the facility begins shaking, eyeing the equipment, "The one that did that's still out there somewhere, she could be like Kitty!" she announces, then nods, and starts just shoving people into the elevator, or hefting them, "Ground floor, street level, fresh air, freedom, ah, Cabuntus and giraffes or something, going up!" She yells, "I'll see how fast I can make this move! Back in a jiff!" One reason she scoped out the mechanisms ahead of time, of course. There's… Some jostling and a big VRRR and a clank as she spins the cable winches, building speed.

This place is gonna blow. That is certain. The ground is shaking. It doesn't help that Negasonic is blowing up large portions of it trying to get to Kwabena, who was apparently dragged deep. But, as the latest spray of burnt earth clears, she catches sight of the man himself, lying at the bottom of the crater she's crafted with her search efforts. "Cyclops, I got him!" she calls out over her shoulder, her gaze whipping back to him as she leaps down into the crater to lay hands on him.

"Shift, get up! I know you've been suckin' dirt, but this place is gonna pop," she says gruffly, fisting her gloved hands in his black suit with its purple accents. "C'mon, man, I don't lift enough for this," she chuffs, attempting to position him into a fireman's carry. Kwabena's not much more than 180 pounds, but that much deadweight on Ellie's shoulders is a lot. "You need to go on a cleanse," she grouses as she begins trying to muscle him out of the pit she created. "A LIL HELP HERE," she bellows to anyone who can hear, who hasn't fled upstairs like roaches fleeing from lights. Hopefully, someone can help her get out of there and upstairs before the thing goes. Though, with all the hissing pipes and whatnot…it's not looking good, in general.

One thing is for certain. Nobody is going to need to convince those people to get out of that radiation chamber. If anything, Scott, Jean and Colossus are forced to make it orderly, so that it doesn't become a stampede.

The elevator will fit fifteen at most. It wasn't designed for getting so many people out in a hurry, because frankly, the bastards responsible for this never expected the people they brought in to come out. At least not all of them. Julie is able to evacuate one load of people by the time the others are all removed from the chamber, and Colossus is hefting the door back into place.

The elevator clunks back to the lower level, ready to take on another load. The scientist who woke up is shaking his head while studying the controls, trying to do anything he can to stop the meters from rising any further, while tears stream down his face. "This is all my fault," he wails. "I'm so sorry!"

The meters suddenly peg, and the lights flicker. "EVERYONE CLOSE EYES!" the scientist shouts, and squeezes his shut tightly.

A blinding light flashes in the radiation chamber, and a buzzing sound fills the ears. It envelopes everything and vibrates everyone to the core, muting all other sounds. Anyone who didn't close their eyes at the scientist's demand will probably end up closing them on instinct. The event lingers for two long seconds that likely feel much longer, but when the light fades, so does the sound. The heavy lead door remains intact, with Colossus holding it shut.

The scientist opens his eyes, staring at the chamber for a long moment. Then, with shaky fingers, he reaches for a device pinned to his radiation suit and, after reading the display, breathes a sigh of relief. "It's alright, we're fine. Minimal exposure, well within safety limits."

Down below, Kwabena coughs and stirs, but he's delirious from oxygen depletion. "No, I do not want milk," he murmurs. He does, however, transform into a cloud of black smoke. Negasonic is left holding his X-Men uniform, to which the tendrils of smoke cling to like a blanket.

The scientist had a partner. That partner… is gone. It would seem that, when the chamber beyond was being irradiated, his partner was stolen away into the very ground by the black-eyed woman who first took Shift. Gone… without a trace.

"Colossus, don't linger!" And yes, everyone had to move through in an orderly fashion. It wasn't nice, but the thought was put into women, children, and barely abled first, then the most healthier helping those out. The thought it seemed, worked. People were filing out as fast as they could without hurting each other in the blow back.

The scientists scream had her immediately shutting her eyes, a few in the crowd duck and shield their heads, she herself smacks her hands against her face for complete and total darkness. There was worry about Colossus, but she knew the metal man would make it, still. Have to worry just for the sake of it.

The happy sighs were abound by the crowd, but this picked up their pace even faster. The other scientist was gone, but there was no point in worrying about that now, as she steps up to the panels to look at the readings she gives a pat to his shoulder. "Go. Go with your family.." If they were in here. "..help get the rest of them to safety. We got this."

She doesn't have to tell Piotr twice. He digs his foot into the ground and bolts for the exit nearly leaping out of the hole himself as he gets the hell out of there. "Did we lose anyone?" he asks as he gets to safety.

Scott Summers shakes his head, "We're all clear, although Shift seems to have smoked himself out," he says. He doesn't begrudge the man his escape. He keeps an eye on the scientist, "We're going to have some questions. And we're going to want some answers," he says. Either they can ask him nicely or he can ask Jean to sneak the knowledge out of his brain. Either way, he wasn't particular about the ethics involved. Not when this sort of fuckery is afoot.

He pats Negasonic on the shoulder as she's left holding Shift's uniform, "Good job under fire," he says, glancing over at the others, "That goes for everyone. A bit messy, but messy and successful is better than a neat failure." he says.

Julie is glancing up after arriving with slightly-smoky elevator cables and a bit of a hasty thud, just about in time to start taking on more passengers, glancing over at the uniform and smoke, seeming quite relieved at Kwabena's reappearance. She gives Colossus an OK wave, brushing some of the dirt from Negasonic's excavations off her jacket. "So, this is Africa, is it?" Diz does her best to shuffle people into the elevator car, waving to Negasonic to come on, too in the first bunch, "Crazy," she murmurs, looking a little warily at where the surviving mirrors were as the elevator makes its trips up to the surface.

It's kinda funny how Ellie goes from being hunched over and trying to carry Shift out of the pit…to almost leaping up in the air as his smoke-out overcorrects the weight distribution. She does have a grip on his suit, which is somehow containing his smoke-form, so she repositions it more comfortably as she moves on out of the pit. It's about that time that she hears the scientist yell for everyone to close their eyes and, not even stopping to question it, Negasonic closes her eyes really tight. Kwabena, who is snoozing and refusing milk, is unconscious and in no danger of opening his eyes at this inopportune moment, right? Right.

Ellie unclasps her hoodie and slips it off of her face and head, letting it fall back behind her, so she can breathe good ol' sort of irradiated air. She looks up at Scott as he claps her on the shoulder, and gives him a sort of half-smile. Kinda. "Thanks, boss," she says, shifting Shift's suit on her shoulders and tipping her chin upwards at Dizzy's waving. "When can we get the hell out of this place?" she asks, sounding kind of tired, for once. Surely, there's still cleanup and aftercare that needs to take place, but a time estimate would be nice.

"It's alright," the scientist promises Jean. "There's only enough uranium for one exposure." At least the facility has no risk of going off again, or worse, going into nuclear meltdown. "Thank you," he tells her, before turning to the others. "All of you." He doesn't speak of his family. They aren't here, and odds are, they'll be dead by morning. He turns to Scott and nods his head. "Anything, I'll tell you everything. I…" He stops then, and turns to look around. "Where is Doctor Uso?"


Piedras Negras, Mexico.

Four miles from the American border and Texas.

The ground shifts, and produces two bodies. One, a bald woman with pupil-less, black eyes. The other, an African scientist wearing a radiation suit. Doctor Uso gasps and rips he helmet from his head, eyes clinched shut at the sudden change from 'dimly lit control room' to the bright Mexico sunlight. «… where are»

«Silence,» the woman growls in a foreign tongue. «Get up. Walk. This isn't over.»

To be continued…

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