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Mutants & Masterminds: The Magisterium - [1-Interlude] Reunion

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Lamia blinked, her brow knitting in confusion. "I was....unaware of that. Those around referred to 'Deha' when complaining about their working conditions or orders they had been given regarding me. I had thought that the name of their leader." She shrugged, not particularly concerned about the mix-up.

"You are correct on us being a yet untempered army, but then we've known each other less than a week and were still able to rescue my daughter from a trap and pull apart the team sent to recapture her. For 'untrained' and 'not exactly stable', that is a telling feat. After time to train and temper our warriors? Do you think that the Department of Extra-Human Affairs will be able to stand against us? Or to protect those that side with the humans against their own kin?" It was not a threat, just a blunt statement of the situation. "We will not hold you - or your family - hostage for the use of your gifts. That is why we are here, talking, instead of you dead or in a place of walls and locks."

"As for talking to our leader...I do not know if or when that would be allowed. You are a 'leech', a child that can copy the gifts of others, I am told. Our leader is powerful. Allowing you around them would be a risk, a show of faith from us, when we have had none yet from you." She motioned to him and the boy that was bandaged but still unconscious not far from him. "We have not scanned you for tracking chips yet, so if you have been implanted with them then the Depar- the DEHA, that is long very long to say - they will be able to track you and recapture you. You must choose: to take a chance on your freedom and your family's freedom now, with us, or to allow yourself to be kenneled again by the humans, leaving your family to whatever fate your chosen masters decide on - and most likely a life only as long as yours. That you will be sent against us as our power and numbers grows is likely, so I do not suspect a long lifespan for any of you, in that case."

Again, her tone was neutral, neither aggressive nor particularly empathetic. She was laying out the choices for him, with her own assessments added, and waiting for his response. Behind her, Ty-ty watched nervously, but her eyes had gone wide when he'd explained about his family and she looked worried - compassionate and concerned next to Lamia's more clinical dissection of the situation.

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Jeremy nodded, and listed to her explanation of issues she was feeling. He had the feeling Mary was an outright mysophobic in her fear of germs and dirt. He concealed his anger yet again, for this was an insidious other example of cruelty, intellectually castrating a young girl's worldview and learning in this manner.

In the meantime, he applied pressure to the wound, and delivered the healing cocktail, but he supposed he could offer a lesson. "For the record, bacteria is pretty much omnipresent, there's always going to be a massive amount of both good and bad. That's why you have an immune system, which should take care of any infection risks usually."

OOC
Mysophobia - Pathological fear of dirt and germs.

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During the moments while Travis, Jeremy, and Mary were interjecting into the conversation with Fahrenheit and/or beginning their own, separate conversations, Randall took the opportunity to reassure himself that Foresight and Kything were still to hand and not on the verge of a panic attack. Having reassured himself that they were still there at least (whether they were on the verge of a panic attack or not was a different matter), he signaled Jack, Tyrone, or whoever was looking to let them know that perhaps work should be begun on de-chipping the two frightened young women.

This took no more than a brief moment and, that done, he returned his attention to Fahrenheit. For now he would ignore her more... odd behavior and focus simply on her words and apparent motivations. Randall knew all too well how many reasons there were for why any mutant might have become unbalanced during their time in the 'care' of the DEHA.

"I do not know any Horus or Ra", he told her, "but I'll assume that you intended to compliment me and will thank you for it. However, I don't think the word 'war' means what you think it does, Sekhmet. Humans are not at war with us." Randall shook his massive head as he said this last bit, and swiped one of his big hands sharply, as though to wipe the very idea off of an imaginary table.

"They oppress us", he continued, "they enslave us, fear us and seek to control us, but they are not at war with us. Mutants are too few, too disorganized, and too lacking in any common purpose - let alone an actual system of popular government or even commonly held political views - for the humans to have anything to declare war on, sister."

The giant mutant gestured again, this time at those gathered around them, and said, "Look around you, Sekhmet. We are not an army, and this is not a war. We are political dissidents who recognize those in power as corrupt and abusive towards our brethren, who demand that they change, and who recognize that the violence we have been enacting upon them is not only justified but necessary in order to gain those rights which we know to be inalienably ours. Those being chiefly the rights to live and to be free. If we cannot even achieve that much then, far from waging wars - on the humans or anyone else - all of our efforts will rate as little more than a failed uprising."

Tengri's voice held a trace of sadness as he concluded, "Seek your vendetta alone, if that is your wish, sister, but you will only hurt both of our causes, while aiding the humans'."

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Once he’d emerged from the portal, Gold had found a nice bank of snow to flop down on and remained there while everyone else argued or postured. He wasn’t interested in either.

His muscles still ached from the electro-grenade. His prison uniform, tattered before, was in ruins now, and blackened to boot. New clothes were in the offing. Mary might be able to help with that.

When Matt acknowledged him he gave a simple nod, just to let the man know he was listening.

He watched Fahrenheit argue and threaten. For once his head did not show him images of her death. Might well have been that he couldn’t hurt her when she was made of fire. Difficult to punch that.

The big guy, though, weird as he looked, offered so many bits and pieces and things to break and snap that watching him was like looking through a kaleidoscope. His back-brain – or whatever it was that processed the futures – bled into his normal vision with enthusiasm.

Gold yawned and lay back in the snow, enjoying the cold. He did shiver, and hoped they would go home soon, but he liked the change in temperature. His hair spread around him, detailing the flawless white with serpentine veins of shimmering gold.

“I hate to contradict,” he called out after the birdman’s speech to Fahrenheit, “but as far as I’m concerned she’s welcome, vendetta or no. I don’t know who you are, or who you think you are, but don’t ever speak for me. I don’t give a shit what they’re doing to my brethren. I don’t have ‘brethren’. I’m not a political dissident, and I’ve got no agenda.” He laid his head down again. “So. Don’t speak for me. In fact, don’t speak for anyone around here. How’s that old saying go? When you assume, you make an ass of ‘u’ and ‘me’?”

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Randall turned his attention in Gold's direction when the man called out to them. When he'd finished making his statement of contradiction (something that the he could not help but notice that the smaller mutant very obviously didn't hate doing), Tengri just stared at the man for a moment. Despite the fact that he had only just escaped captivity and the several months of torture and interrogation that came with it, Randall suddenly felt very sorry for Matt and Jack and the rest of them, if this man's attitude was any indication of what they'd been dealing with during his absence. At least the red-skinned woman had her own beliefs and was willing to fight for them, even if her attitude was less than cooperative.

Gold's affected nihilism was easily recognizable to Randall as the little boy's fatalism that it actually was, but he doubted it would do any real good to call him out on that. By contrast, the practically decadent assertion, drippingly implicit in every one of Gold's words, that the flaxen-haired mutant knew what was what, while Randall (and probably everyone else as well) knew nothing worth knowing at all, was indicative of the kind of defensive, passive-aggressive egomania that just made him angry. Randall did not need Gold - or anyone else, for that matter - to tell him that his ideals did not match reality, as he was perfectly well aware of that already. If they had been there would be no reason for him to fight. But to try and tell him that that difference between ideal and reality was a justification for doing nothing?

Pathetic.

"Who said I was speaking for you?", Randall asked Gold, his voice flat. "I was certainly speaking of you, but not for you. I don't know you, mutant, and you don't know me - speaking of assumptions - so why would you assume I was speaking for you? The only assumption I made was that you were not a thug, a bully, or a murderer - but if in fact you did just raid that prison facility back there", and Randall gestured vaguely in the direction of the now-collapsed portal they'd used to leave Umatilla, "if in fact you did just attack and kill weaker creatures who, I highly doubt, were bothering you in the slightest, for no reason at all other than - if your words are any indication - 'just because'? Well, then a thug and a bully - and possibly a murderer as well - is exactly what you are. And if that's the case then you're right: I did make a poor assumption when I incorrectly described your actions as political dissidence and wrongly ascribed any sort of justification to them, and no doubt I look foolish to you because of it."

Randall's words were challenging, but his voice was free of any kind of anger or aggression; at worst it was lecturing, but mostly it just sounded like he was attempting to explain a concept to someone whom he wasn't sure would understand that concept. He'd said his peace, however, and now he was done.

"Now", Randall concluded, "Sekhmet and I are discussing agendas; something you clearly have no interest in, so if you'll please excuse us?"

And with that, Randall returned his attention to Fahrenheit.

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"Somebody woke up on the wrong side of the nest this morning," Travis muttered with a slight grin. He liked Gold's willingness to tell it like it was, and not layer a bunch of flowery bullshit over what he was saying, but the bird was also right, and if Gold had no real agenda he was really not going to fit in long term.

"I don't know anything about politics," Travis began, "Not that I much care to either. I just want to kill the fuckers that ruined my life. After that, if there's ever an after, well ... I don't much know, because I have never been able to see the end of the tunnel, much less the light." Travis shrugged at the stark truth of it, he had been ensconced in darkness since he was six years old, and he truly had no idea what he would do once he ran out of vengeance; maybe May would know what to do.

"Thing is though, all those blips, they got our blood on their hands. We ain't murdering them, we're punishing them, we're getting justice for what was done to us. So, the way I see it, killin' some blips ain't murder, it's turnabout, an' that means it's fair play."

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Neither Gold's brief interruption nor Travis' own assessment seemed to cut through to Fahrenheit, she was still half enraptured by long past memories which had been kept surpressed for a very very long time. Just another bullet point on Dr. Silberman's list of crimes against her.

The crimson skinned mutant just glanced briefly at Gold noticing that someone was talking and it did cause some tension with Randall but he remained calm and levelheaded. A trait she lacked and honestly didn't understand - she would've leashed out given the chance especially after letting Dr. Silberman and his goonsquad escape... again.

"I was there when it started, Randall Uranhai - I fought aside your Great-Great-Grand Fathers and this war has been going on for almost as long as I can remember burning. They worshipped us and build temples and pyramids to honor us and we gave them protection in return but Ra's children became jealous. Jealous and afraid. I punished them but they kept coming back... in greater numbers.", she hated admitting defeat but in the end even her power and that of her brethren couldn't fend off the insurmountable numbers of attackers. They overwhelmed her and tried to kill her... again and again.

"I hate them.", she concluded and that gave her enough reason to retaliate with everything she had. She would fight, alone or followed by her kin - she would fight until it was all over or her mother's Legacy restored.

"They have declared war on us - they started it."

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"I know," Mary replies quietly to Jeremy. "I just never really paid attention to them before. I always thought the collar would protect me. And they kept my room very...clean. There was dust, but hardly any real dirt, and even when there was dirt I didn't really know what it was. I guess I know it won't really hurt me. It's just...so gross though. So much of it is dead things, and...and..." she drops her voice more. "...poo, kind of. And it gets everywhere, all the time. It's disgusting."

Mary shivers and looks over at Randall and Fahrenheit and the rest, arguing their cases.

"What do you think?" she asks Jeremy. "I don't know what to think. I was angry...I guess I still am...but I think I understand better now, why everyone else might be so afraid of us." She didn't mention it directly, but the giant perfect bowl she'd left in the middle of the forest around the doctor's hideout loomed over her words and left a haunted expression on her face.

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Matt was hiding a smile as he avoided getting into the discussion Randall was having. While part of him was dying to jump to his brother’s defense, Matt respected him in equal parts, and knew that Randall could care for himself. Should he need Matt’s help, it would be made apparent, and the bird-man would have it.

Of course, watching the reactions to Randall made Matt sad inside. His big friend was never short on people who were terrified of him or who treated him little better than an exhibit in a show. Mary’s grab at him hadn’t had malice, but it had been full of a fundamental lack of respect for Randall as a person—and a lack of respect for his person. People feared him or treated him more like an animal than a man; even David was never entirely comfortable around Tengri. Matt understood why but he’d never really forgiven David for sending off on the mission after the precog. Randall was picked because he was a good choice – terribly combat-capable with an iron-strong personality that wouldn’t cave under torture or terror tactics. But deep inside, Matt knew that Randall had been first on David’s list because it had taken Randall out of sight for a while. It hadn’t been intentional on David’s part—but it had been part of the reason, and Matt knew it. It was only because it hadn’t been intentional that Matt had been able to let it go.

Watching the newcomers bicker and trumpet their own views was bleakly amusing. The new mutants couldn’t know that Randall, David, Jack and Matt had spent hours talking about these exact things. The words that Randall spoke had come directly from those talks, when David’s vision of freeing mutants from their chains had become something more. It had become a movement, and it had taken root on those mutants’ hearts like an oak growing. May and Tyrone were for the cause, but May was more concerned about her love stories—first getting that Travis guy and then moving on with David and then back to Travis—and Tyrone’s first loyalty was to his family. It was the four of them, more than any others, who lived, breathed and bleed the cause, and it was those four that Matt believed were the only ones who’d hold to it over anything else. He hoped to find others in the new mutants who felt the same, but it had been two days. That wasn’t enough time to pick out who was true to their beliefs and who had other motives. Not that there was wrong with having other motives; Matt just preferred to know exactly where he stood with others.

Speaking of the new people—Matt turned to the two young women who had come with Tengri. He’d know that Foresight was inhuman, so it wasn’t hard to guess which one she was. He gave them a charming smile as he studied the two of them for a moment. They were excessively nervous and looked ready to bolt at any moment. “I’m Matt,” he said in a soothing voice. “You both have microchips in you that need to come out.” He held out the scanner and explained, “I’m going to use this to find them and then we’ll get them out. Okay?”

“Okay.” Foresight had answered; those silver eyes watched him with a keen intelligence as he began to work. The other girl was standing further back, watching him as if he had a serpent in his hands. When it beeped over the base of her back, Matt nodded.

“I think that’s right on your spine. That’s a typical place to put them,” he said, as if it were no big deal. It shouldn’t be but this was surgery, even minor surgery.

“I would like to have it out.” For all that she appeared scared, there was only a hint of it in her voice.

Matt nodded. “We’ll take care of that in a moment. I’m going to scan you, too, Martha.” When he said her name, the dark-skinned girl flinched. Quietly, he started the scan; her body was shaking as he waved the scanner over her. When the device was over her right hip, it beeped. Matt frowned; that was an odd spot. He tightened the scan and moved more slowly, determining that it was near the pelvic bone. He smiled at her apologetically and said, “It’ll be awkward, but we’ll get it out for you.”

The girl collapsed, her breathing ragged. Matt reacted by catching her; it was only when he had a grip on her that he could hear her softly whispering “no” over and over. “Jack!” he called, ready to get his medical opinion.

“Please let go! You’re going to make it worse!” Foresight’s skin didn’t feel like plastic as she gathered Martha in her arms and pushed Matt away. “She gets these attacks. Do you have any Kytone? The doctors sedate her with Kytone when she has them.”

“Seizure?” Matt asked, as Tyrone moved Jack over in his chair.

“Panic attacks. Please, get the men away from her. It’ll make it worse.” Foresight started to whisper to Martha, her voice soothing and gentle. “It’s all right. I’m not going to let them hurt you.”

As Matt began to understand, he wished, for probably the first time, that Rebekka was here.

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Ulysses looked at Lamia levelly. "Don't call me a leech. It's insulting and inaccurate. Yes, I replicate the powers of others but I don't interfere with my target's use of their own powers."

He paused a moment as if to collect hiis thoughts. "You know, only three things won you that fight; suprise, luck and a lack of condern for collateral damage. You may have the element of suprise for a while, but eventually the DEHA will figure out you aren't just a random pack of feral mutantsmaking raids. When that happens, their focus and tactics will shift and they will go on the offensive."

"The collateral damage issue will get someone on your team killed; it's just a matter of time.you've got 1 guy with no self control who does't even care if he take out his own teammates and a girl who should be nowhere near a battlefield. It is only luck that prevented someone from your side from getting killed. In the end you were really lucky and caught us unprepaired, but you can always count on that so I wouldn't go trumpeting you team's skills too loudly."

Ulysseslooked down at Strike, realizing he didn't even know the kid's real name. "Look you kidnapped us. We didn't come to you. I don't know how he feels but I don't owe you anything. If you want my cooperation of for me to uses my senses for yourside rather than for theirs then the price is the rescue of my family. You can't assure me that will happen, but your leader or leaders can. Once I have that assurance, I'll gladly let you pull thar damn chip out of me but if I don't get that, then I will go back. All that matters to me is the safety of me family."

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"I use the words I know and you still have yet to give me anything else to call you," she reproved him. "I also haven't actually asked you to use your gifts for us, I have merely offered you freedom. In fact, I said quite the opposite - that what you did with your freedom was your choice. Listen to what I actually say instead of what you expect to hear, if you would. It saves time and pointless recriminations."

She didn't address his other points, as she agreed and there was nothing to be gained from discussing it further. Instead, she slipped the phone out from her pocket and dialed Tyrone. "The older one is awake. His family is being held hostage by the DEHA for his good behavior; he will leave them if we rescue his family." She spoke without preamble, primarily because she wasn't sure when the younger one would wake up and it was easier to deal with them one at a time.

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Oh no, I have been called a thug and a bully and a murderer, whatever will I do? Not care would be the starting point. It was all true, for one, and he didn’t hide from the truth. He would protest bully. Bullies tended to enjoy what they did and he took no or very little pleasure from what he did. As he understood it, though, a thug was hired muscle. He fitted that definition quite comfortably. David had a need for thugs and murderers though. Otherwise Gold would not be here.

“Yep,” he said softly, without inflection or emotion, “I’m a murderer.”

He dismissed the birdman. He looked scary, would be good when the blood started flying no doubt. Beyond that he seemed like any other pompous windbag. Which admittedly he wouldn’t have expected to look at him.

Ain’t life just full of surprises?

Gold sat up. He still felt a bit out of it, but not enough to bother the healer. A good roasting might help sharpen him up for next time. Those armored soldiers were a damn menace.

He rose and approached Matt, observing the other new faces without comment. “Hey, Matt. Is this Tibet?” Gold received a nod as an answer. “Huh. What’s the plan here? Are we just going to hop around the world hitting prisons?”

“Thought you didn’t have an agenda, Gold?” Matt didn’t smile, but there was a playful sort of look in his eye, and maybe a little resentment.

Murderers get no damn respect these days. “What’s yours is mine. Can’t blame me for wanting to know, right?”

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Chaos spared a look for Gold. "Did you enjoy your joyride in the tank?"

She couldn't imagine it was the first time he'd been in one, and was willing to bet time in control that he'd probably gotten inside in a very similar manner. It wasn't how she wanted to use it, but she couldn't argue with the effectiveness.

She made her way over to Noctis. "Is there anything you can do to help her? I know you were able to help me out after my somewhat-onesided battle with Fenris."

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Ulysses reddened in embaressment as she spoke to whoever was on the other end of the phone. He could already hear his mother chastise him for his rudeness. When she got off the phone he spoke. "I am sorry for my rudeness. The DEHA gave me the moniker Seeker. That will do for now."

&e looked back at the 12 year old layed out on the beach. "What now? I really think he needs some serious medical attention."

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Randall listened to Fahrenheit's account with diligent attention. Honestly, he didn't know what to make of her, or her words. She obviously believed what she was saying, certainly she didn't lack for conviction. But she also sounded completely crazy. Utterly so. Of course, the irony was that Fahrenheit was telling the truth - at least insofar as her admittedly damaged mind remembered it - but then Randall had no way of knowing that.

When the fiery woman had finished by declaring her hatred for humanity, and repeating her claim that they had in fact declared war on mutant-kind, Randall let out a single sigh. It was increasingly obvious that the woman was in her own world and wasn't really hearing him. But that was okay. Randall had no way of know what she'd been through or what sorts of terrible trauma were behind all of the rage and pain he was hearing in her voice, and perhaps her words would not sound so unjustifiably extreme to him if he were to find out. All that mattered for now was that she was free and that she could now choose her own course. Preferably, her chosen course would be to ally herself with their cause, but Randall reminded himself that the important thing was that it would be her choice.

"I'm sorry for your pain, Sekhmet", he said when she had finished. "While I don't pretend to understand, or to agree with everything you say, I want you to know that wherever your war takes you, you will always have a place with us, should you desire to claim it."

As for Gold's response to his rebuff; Randall did not hear it, quiet as it was, but even if he had he would not have responded. Even if he had heard the thoughts in Gold's head, he still would not have said anything. It had been immediately apparent to Tengri that Gold was not in a place that he could reach, and perhaps never would be, and that continuing to confront the man would only exacerbate things unnecessarily.

Besides, as much as Tengri might've wished it weren't so, the fact was that the man's thinking was correct: they would need 'thugs and murderers', and that was almost certainly why Gold was here with them now. It was ugly, but it was the truth.

An uglier truth was that Randall was hardly any better than Gold, himself. In fact, the reason that Gold had so easily made him angry where Fahrenheit's aggressive hostility had not, was that Randall could see in the golden-haired mutant a reflection of himself as he'd once been, many years ago. And that was not something that Randall liked to be reminded of.

Certainly, the Randall of right now had his beliefs and his ideals, and in that sense he was better off than Gold, who apparently had nothing at all to believe in, but he knew he wasn't really any better than the man. He, too, was a murderer - or at least a killer - many times over and probably many more times to come. Just like Gold. In fact, his most recent victim was probably still bleeding out on the floor of the prison they'd only just left behind. Furthermore, while Randall had certainly killed his share of humans, a significant portion of his own victims had been other mutants.

During his decade-long 'tenure' with the MDC, it had been discovered that the big mutant they'd codenamed 'Tengri' possessed a rare talent for bringing down feral and non-compliant mutants, and his handlers had been only too pleased to capitalize on that talent. Of course, it was his interactions with all of those non-compliant mutants - as short and violent as most of them had been - that had, collectively, formed the catalyst that changed him into a different kind of mutant. One who was willing to fight and to die for his beliefs, rather than one who was willing to kill simply because of a lack of them.

Having made his offer to Fahrenheit, Randall turned his attention to Travis to acknowledge the man's contribution to the discussion. Randall arched a feathered eyebrow upon hearing the psychokinetic's opinion that killing any human was 'fair play', but all he said was, "There are many reasons why I can't agree with that particular statement, but I completely agree that humanity's leaders are overdue for a reckoning at our hands. I just think that going around 'killin' some blips', as you put it, at random whenever they make themselves available to us would be a poor sort of reckoning at best."

Randall looked like he might've had more to say, actually, but the worried tone of Matt's voice as he called for Jack caught the big mutant's attention and seeing Kything collapsed and shaking on the ground held it fast.

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Jeremy nodded, though caught between wanting to simply come over and sedate her - and the fact that he shouldn't even though it was well-meaning act. Her personal space should be respected, he just needed to think it through for a moment.

"Mary, can you make me a cup?" The younger mutant did so, and Jeremy took the plastic cup and began mentally focusing on chemically preparing a sedative. It was an intuitive rather than scientific process, and in moments a small amount of liquid, nearly clear as water but slightly milky rested in the cup.

"Foresight," Jeremy called over, and holding out the cup, "can you give her this to drink? Better than Kytone I think." Honestly, he was very reluctant to ever make it, as a symbol of capture rather than aid.

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Randall listened to Fahrenheit's account with diligent attention. Honestly, he didn't know what to make of her, or her words. She obviously believed what she was saying, certainly she didn't lack for conviction. But she also sounded completely crazy. Utterly so. Of course, the irony was that Fahrenheit was telling the truth - at least insofar as her admittedly damaged mind remembered it - but then Randall had no way of knowing that.

When the fiery woman had finished by declaring her hatred for humanity, and repeating her claim that they had in fact declared war on mutant-kind, Randall let out a single sigh. It was increasingly obvious that the woman was in her own world and wasn't really hearing him. But that was okay. Randall had no way of know what she'd been through or what sorts of terrible trauma were behind all of the rage and pain he was hearing in her voice, and perhaps her words would not sound so unjustifiably extreme to him if he were to find out. All that mattered for now was that she was free and that she could now choose her own course. Preferably, her chosen course would be to ally herself with their cause, but Randall reminded himself that the important thing was that it would be her choice.

"I'm sorry for your pain, Sekhmet", he said when she had finished. "While I don't pretend to understand, or to agree with everything you say, I want you to know that wherever your war takes you, you will always have a place with us, should you desire to claim it."

The red skinned Mutant looked at Randall with the same indifference as before. If she hated him there was no way to tell the difference. But she didn’t hate him, she was only angry, furious and arguing was not her forté. She usually let her mother do the talking while she waited to be unleashed whenever she needed to... or felt it was right. So she simply dismissed him with an arrogant seeming gesture by simply raising her chin at him and then looking to the side.

At least he did acknowledge her words and while she wasn’t sure if had made any difference to him she at least felt some kind of kindred spirit with the huge bird-like Mutant. It certainly helped a lot that he reminded her of Horus, a sight she was used to and felt comfortable around.

As more and more Mutants joined their little gathering she tried to remain as calm as she possibly could. The air around her was heated and condensed in small plumes of vapor a few inches above and around her which only added to the image of the hot-headed fury.

This in-activity was something that nagged on her. She started walking in small paths – to and fro like a caged animal waiting impatiently for her mother to return – Her mother would settle any dispute, she was better with words and carried herself with the certainty of someone who has witnessed all ages of mankind.

Sekhmet was born when civilisation was still young and her purpose had always been very straightforward and simple. Diplomacy wasn’t one of her strengths unless it included the immediate threat to burn everything down if someone didn’t ‘agree’.

The more time passed the warmer the immediate temperature around her got and the dance of gleaming veins underneath her skin got more and more irratic, almost as if she was on the verge to explode.

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For those with Tyrone
Tyrone made a choking noise and then said, "Has he said where they are?"


"No. Do you think he knows? It would seem a foolish piece of information to give him." Lamia listened to the voice on the other end of the call.

For those with Tyrone
"Right. Okay. David would get his family out even if he wouldn't work with us, if we knew where they were."


She glanced over to her captives. "Tyrone says that we would try to free them, whether you help us afterwards or not, if you know where they are. We cannot rescue them if we don't know from where."

Ulysses reddened in embaressment as she spoke to whoever was on the other end of the phone. He could already hear his mother chastise him for his rudeness. When she got off the phone he spoke. "I am sorry for my rudeness. The DEHA gave me the moniker Seeker. That will do for now."

&e looked back at the 12 year old layed out on the beach. "What now? I really think he needs some serious medical attention."


She put the phone back to her ear, "He is called Seeker. Do you know if we have information on him?"

For those with Tyrone
"We should, but we don't have that here. Look, if he'll work with us, we'll do everything we can to get his family out. That's all I can promise him right now. That's all David could tell him, too. Without knowing where his family is, I don't know that we can guarantee their safety.""


After a moment she sighed and turned back to him, shrugging. "They say the same thing I have: that we will do our best to free your family, but that unless we have enough information to go on, we may not be able to. Even then, we can't guarantee their safety, we can only do our best to get to them before they are killed. We will not lie to you or trick you about this. Freedom is dangerous, for everyone. You must make that choice."

Her eyes flickered over to the boy and she spoke into the phone again. "The boy is still unconcious. There are not the plants I need here to wake him up. How long
can we wait?"

For those with Tyrone
"Not much longer. We need to get Seeker dechipped, and I have a third possible defector. I'm going to open a warp, and we're sending the Chemlab over for the boy. You up for talking to two more people, including the boy?"


She nodded to the phone, but asked, "Chemlab?"

For those with Tyrone
"Eh scrawy guy, smells like soap. Sorry, I don't know everyone's names yet."


"Ah. Okay. I am ready," her brow was still furrowed in confusion, but she figured she'd either recognize the people coming through the warp, or she wouldn't.

For those with Tyrone
"I'm gonna hang up and you'll see the portal soon."


"Alright." She shut the phone gingerly, obviously unused to the technology, and turned back to Seeker. "We have two more coming to the island, one like you, taken in battle, and another that is an ally. If you are truly interested in being free and freeing your family, then please remain calm. We do not have much more time until the decision must be made."

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Chaos nodded to him after he prepared an elixir to help her, and she smiled. "Thanks. Sorry you got injured out there today. That was abit heavier response than was anticipated I believe."

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"All I know is that they are in a little walled village in the mountains of West Virginia somewhere," He said slowly. Could it really be that easy he thought to himself? As a little boy, travelling withthe circus sideshow, his parents had always warned him about the dangers of outsiders or strangers; even other mutants. It was a lesson he carried with him for 8 years while at the mery of the DEHA ansx its value was proved time and again. Never trust strangers. If was taking everything Ulysses had to override that feeling now and he hoped he wasn't going to regret the decision.

He thought about his parents. The stoic and stern looks that would cross his Pappa's bluish-green face when he misbehaved, his Mamma's warm and generaous smile and the way her long red tresses of hair shifted and dancedof their own accord. He thought about the last time he had seen them. One hour after 8 yearsn as if that doctor hadthought that was suffient time after all those years! Wait, the Doctor!

"But I know of someone who will know more!" He added quickly. "There was a doctor who came to visit me and ask me a bunch of questions about what I thought about my treatment. She arrainged for me to see my parents briefly. She will know more about where they are."

Ulysses paused and tried to remember. "What was her name? La- Lacroix? Yes,that is it! Dr. LaCroix. We find her and we should know exactly where in West Virginia my parents are."

The young man was excited now. "Oh, I am so ready for this," He was talking faster nownow and there was a fire in his eyes. "The decision is made. Get this chip out of me and I am ready to go."

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"Dr. LaCroix was a spy for David, a mutant that scouted out the DEHA's strongholds to choose which ones to attack first. If she knows where your parents are, then we will ask her and move quickly, as her identity has been compromised." Lamia nodded, satisfied that this was coming together, but still wary. "To remove the chip, you will need to go back through the warp that will appear. Matt will remove it. Travis will be there, the one that was so careless with his powers and who hates you for your gifts. Be careful of him."

She motioned for Ty-ty to keep an eye on him, while she settled in next to the still unconscious boy and waited for their new arrivals.

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Foresight took the drugs from Noctis, and without a hint of worry about what he was giving her sister, she fed it to Martha. Matt frowned with worry at the sight; he’d known that DEHA taught them to be gullible and apparently it had worked. It was just one more thing Matt was putting on the list of “Shit that Needs To Be Done”. Later. All of it was later, and he tried not to feel overwhelmed.

Martha drank and lapsed into unconsciousness quickly. Thankful that Noctis had gotten it right, he turned to Foresight and murmured, “I need to get the microchip out—can you help me?” Together, they bent over the girl and got to work.

Meanwhile, Tyrone answered the phone and had a brief conversation with Lamia. When that was done, he bellowed, “Yo, Chemlab.”

“Excuse me?” Noctis asked after figuring out what Tyrone meant.

“I didn’t nuthin by it, I don’t know your name and I ain’t callin’ you by your slave name.” Tyrone waved for him to get his ass in gear. “Lamia needs you to heal up that kid, and you need to move that dude we just decollared over, too. She needs to find out if he’ll flip too.” Behind him, the air rippled and became a now-familiar black hole. “Let’s move before DEHA starts looking for chips.”

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Jeremy nodded understandingly, once Tyrone explained things. "Ok." He didn't know the circumstances of these new introductions to the party, but he trusted the group. With a sympathetic look Jeremy gave to the prostrate form of the Latino weather-controller, he did his best, with a little help from Tyrone, to bring his limp form over, and then Jeremy stumbled through the portal with Tempest in tow. They landed on the sand, and Jeremy rose, brushing off his clothing.

He observed Lamia and Ty-Ty were there, and two young men, one up, one on the ground and unmoving. "Hi, I'm Jeremy." A comment said for Seeker's benefit. "Brought a potential friend..." "And the kid on the ground is the one I should take care of, right?"

With a nod from Lamia, Jeremy went over, and laid a hand on Strike's forehead, and chemicals permeated into the youth's bloodstream, rectifying the harm done to him previously.

OOC
If a Healing roll is needed (DC 10):

Jeremy *rolls* 1d20: 5+11: 16

[Jordan] 3:30 pm: I wonder if i can run around in a loincloth and survive?

[Forge] 3:30 pm: that's why the sidekicking is so nice

2 Degrees of Success, though Jer can keep going until Strike is all healed.

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"I'm not too worried now," Seeker said. "I know how his powers work and what he's ca0able of. I'm prepared."

When the portal manifested, like a dark blot of ink in the air, a few inches off the gbround he smiled. "A spatial manipulator? I take it there are more than just five of you I faced in Germany. This could be fun," Seeker wasn't smiling but their was a twinkle in his eye not unlike a kid at christmas. He'd watched impassively as Jeremy materialized through the warp with an unconcious man in his arms. He took note of them with his mutsnt sense while nodding at Jeremy's greeting.

"Call me Seeker," he said simply before stepping through the hole in the sky himself. It was a strange sensation, something he'd never experienced before. He felt his guts tgwist for the briefest of moments before steepping out into the chilling cold of the Tibetan mountainside. Before he'd even fully emerged from tghe porgal Seeker had activated his mutant sense again, sensing over a dozen mutants. "So which one of you is Matt?" He said, realizing one of the mutants he was sensing was familiar to him.

"Tengri?" He said when he spotted the avian mutant with his eyes. "What are you doing here?"

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Matt worked quickly to get the chip out of Martha, not sure how long a normal sedative would hold her down. He had to slide her pants down a little to get at her chip, and while Foresight tensed, she didn’t interfere. Thankfully, the drugs worked long enough, and Matt was able to finish before she woke up.

God, he hated this. Matt shouldn’t have to dig microchips out of young women just so they could walk free. Wishing Jeremy were still here, he quickly stitched up her hip, long used to this procedure now. “Your turn,” he told Foresight, turning to her. The strange-looking mutant nodded and rose, standing with her arms out. Matt sighed and started to scan her.

Realizing Gold was hovering, it occurred to Matt that he’d ignored the other man’s question earlier. “I don’t know about prisons. But I know that we’re not going to be hitting them forever. But we needed some people to help, and we were all really motivated to pull people out.”

“But you don’t have any specifics?” Gold pressed.

“I don’t have a timeline, no. I know that there is more than hitting prisons in your future.” A beep on the machine drew his attention, but he still added, “Tengri’s right. We want fighters in our war, not people who find us a convenient reason for killing and fighting others. If you want to fight with us, then you’re fighting with us. Otherwise, you’re welcome to make your own way in the world. We’ll help you get set up and everything.”


Slowly, Henry returned to consciousness. He remembered the fight; remembered the woman of fire and the man striking him. Another man, clearly a mutant, was touching his forehead. Henry knocked the hand away instinctively, mostly because he wasn’t in a facility, he was on a beach. Something was weird.

Then he saw that woman again, the one who had been fighting. With a gasp, he started to bound to his feet—only to learn that his feet weren’t responding. Nothing below his waist was replying to his commands. Scared, the boy used his arms to push himself backwards; the betrayal of his body made his panic rise. He was aware of the other girl, a black one about his age, but he was far more afraid of the fact that he couldn’t stand up.

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Lamia frowned at the boy's odd scooting away from Jeremy; she approached slowly, squatting down a little ways away from him. She motioned for Ty-ty to watch over the other unconscious man that had been brought through the portal while she dealt with their second conscious prisoner.

"Are you alright?" She asked him in that universal mothering tone.

She glanced at Jeremy, not accusing but merely asking, "You healed him, yes? Did you do anything else to him?"

Mechanics
Trying to put Henry at ease and figure out what's wrong: I'm not exactly sure what to put up here, so I put the three rolls that seemed to make sense.

[Malachite] 6:47 pm: Lamia Persuasion Roll:

Malachite *rolls* 1d20: 14+8: 22

[Malachite] 6:44 pm: Lamia Insight Roll:

Malachite *rolls* 1d20: 11+8: 19

[Malachite] 6:46 pm: Lamia BCE Medicine Roll:

Malachite *rolls* 1d20: 16+15: 31

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Randall turned his attention away from the operations Matt was performing on Foresight and Kything at the sound of his codename and found himself looking at a familiar face. Though one that was noticeably older than he remembered it. It was obvious that the man who'd just stepped through Tyrone's portal recognized him - and also, refreshingly, that he did not feel any real fear, anger, or hatred towards Tengri either.

"I recently completed my second escape from DEHA custody, and this was the extraction point", Randall said, answering Ulysses' question simply, directly, and matter-of-factly. Randall cocked his birdlike head to one side as he regarded the smaller mutant. "You are one of their sniffers", he said just as matter-of-factly as his last statement, "and you were much younger the last time we met. Your codename was... Seeker, correct?"

The last time Randall had seen him, Ulysses had been a surly mutant youth still in his early teens, and one who was very obviously not fully compliant to the MDC and who had been dealing with a lot of anger because of it. What he remembered of the boy was that he'd been unfriendly, uncommunicative, and uncaring towards everything around him. The boy was obviously gone now, though, replaced by a grown man; leaving Randall to wonder how much else about Seeker had changed.

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On seeing Seeker, Mary's eyes widened, and her cheeks reddened with remembered shame at what she'd inadvertantly done to him. She hurried over, eyes humbly downcast.

"Hi," she said, still unable to meet Seeker's eyes. "I just want you to know I'm REALLY sorry I blew up your collar. I didn't know they DID that, or I would have been a LOT more careful. Anyway, I'm glad you're okay. I'm Mary."

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"He's a traitor and a leech," Travis pronounced like a judge delivering a verdict; guilty on all counts. The snow around Travis rose into the air, melting in the heat shed by Sekhmet's flames. White knuckled hands clenched at his sides, as he restrained himself from acting on his initial impulse to attack the other mutant on sight. Travis' eyes narrowed as though trying to bore into the man, "I don't know how you got Lamia to trust you enough to let you back here, but I'm watching you."

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Chaos at back, listening, watching matt work, and once he finished the surgeries, she reached out to pat his shoulder. "Thank you for helping them, for helping all of us Matt. I realized I probably never told you that directly."

She smiled. "Freedom is a wonderful thing. It will be even better when I finally sell the others on it."

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“My legs. They won’t move.” Henry’s voice broke as tears started to rise. What was he going to do if he couldn’t walk? If he couldn’t fight, what would DEHA do to him? To his parents? The thought that he’d been captured made the young man realize that his parents might already be dead. “Take me home!” he demanded. “I want to go home!”


Matt smiled at Grav. “No problem. Really. I love doing this, saving other mutants and setting them free.” He paused, considering for a moment before adding, “If you need some help with convincing them, let me know. Maybe I can talk to one of them. I’m not saying I’m silver-tongued or anything. But I’m honest and sincere about my beliefs. Maybe it could help. I’d be willing to try.”

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Grav’s address took him by surprise. He turned his glimmering eyes her way, unsmiling. Then he looked skyward, as if seeking answers up there. “You know, I’m not sure. If you asked me in the heat of the moment, hell yes. I was blabbering away to myself like some fool. But now we’re after the fact…” he made a circular gesture with one hand. “I can’t remember enjoying it. I usually don’t after killing. Not sure if it’s because I’m wired wrong upstairs or if I’m wired right. I figure a man ought to feel something after he’s taken a life. I don’t, though.” He frowned momentarily, then gave her a nod. “Thanks for asking, though. You’re a bit of an ass-kicker. Glad I’m on your side in this… uh…” he glanced back at the birdman, “political disagreement we’ve got going on with the entirety of the human race.”

Matt addressed him, then, a little late but that didn’t bother him much. He was still wondering about Grav’s question. Looking back on the memories of the fight, he could remember enjoying it… but the remembrance stirred nothing in his heart. Whatever emotion he felt at the time had gone, leaving emptiness in its wake, without even the faintest impression of an emotional footprint.

And then Matt went and asked him a question, too, another question he could not easily answer. That surprised him a little. Matt seemed busy. He expected an answer and to be blown off.

Gold blinked a few times. He sighed, and ran a hand through his hair. His face showed no expression as he watched Matt working on the girls. “I’ll assume you were being sarcastic. Because there’s many things I could use to describe your set up… but convenient is not one of them.”

Matt glanced back at him. He didn’t offer an answer. This was one of those ‘gauge the man’ moments. People did that to him sometimes. Not many liked what they found. He did say, “So why are you still here?”

Gold’s blank expression did not shift. All the signs of his emotional state lay in the sigh he’d made, the hand that played with a long glimmering gold strand of hair. “You’re asking me difficult questions with difficult answers.” He opened his mouth to speak, closed it, opened his mouth and closed it again. Then he shook his head. “I don’t got them. Just bear one thing in mind, no matter how little you think of me: I don’t like killing. It’s what I do. Like... instinct.”

He walked away to let Matt work. It didn’t sound like they would kick him out, as such. But if it came down to an ultimatum that involved buying into their bullshit, he’d leave. They could ask a lot of him. His skills, his powers, his blood, even his life… but they couldn’t ask him to buy into their politics.

It bothered him, in truth. Their little brotherhood-y rants possessed a certain appeal. Hadn’t he wanted comfort, someone to call a friend or a lover? He had. Gold remembered wanting those things. Comrades, at least, were a step in the right direction.

But there was something in him, a barricade in front of his emotions, that resisted interrogation or examination, which kept him aloof and immune to the press of reason. He could not hate the men who imprisoned him. He knew he could not because he wanted to hate them, but years of effort could not spark that fire. The closest he’d ever come to hatred was for the specific men who put him in DEHA hands. But even that – and his desire for one on one battle with them – was not motivated by hate.

Matt probably did not know how hard a question he had posed. None of them did, though he figured that would be a prominent part of his DEHA file. Their shapeshifter maybe knew.

So why are you still here…

Gold’s eyes narrowed as he concentrated, seeking inside himself an emotion, an answer, something which pointed in some direction that would let him provide what they wanted to know.

But nothing came. Nothing ever did. There was just the emotional void within him that swallowed everything cast into it, and offered nothing but numbness and silence.

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If Seeker heard the volatile telekinetic, and it's hard to believe he didn't hear his condemning judgement, he didn't respond. There was no acknowledgement that the scrawny man had spoken at all. He looked at Mary and shrugged. "They shouldn't have put you in that situation in the first place," He said simply. There was no real malice in his voice, just a simple opinion.

His attention shifted back to the giant avian mutant. "Yes, they call me Seeker. I was only 12 the last time you saw me." From his behavior it didn't look like his attitude had changed much in the intervening years. "How did they catch you again and why didn't they terminate you?"

As he spoke he listened to the conversations around him. He sussed out that Matt was the one with the bloody scalpel. He caught Gold's words and Grav's as well but chose to say nothing. He didn't know any of these people and frankly didn't care about their problems or issues. He didn't really care what Tengri had to say either, but it passed the time until Matt acknowledge him so he could get this chip out of his body and get down to the business of rescuing his parents.

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"They didn't put me here," Mary assured Seeker. "I asked to come. I didn't know there'd be a big fight, but I knew it might happen. I'll never learn anything if I just stay inside all the time though. If I never left, they might as well have just left me where I was."

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“I allowed them to catch me”, Tengri said, answering Seeker’s question directly but without really giving away any details of the incident, “so that I would be in place when the time came to extract the two young women who are currently being de-chipped.” The big mutant indicated Foresight and Kything with one of his talons in case it wasn’t already obvious who he was speaking of.

In truth, Randall had been ‘captured’ as part of a complicated operation that he and his fellow ‘feral mutant’ companions had carried out several months previously. They’d raided an MDC facility in a way that had been designed to make it appear that they’d tried and failed to gain access to secure information held at the site of their attack. The real purpose of the raid however had been to allow for Randall’s ‘capture’ in preparation for the eventual extraction of Foresight, while simultaneously allowing May to take the place of Dr. Raven LaCroix, the unfortunate, pre-selected, but ultimately necessary casualty of the group’s plan to insert ‘Slipface’ into the DEHA itself as their very own double-agent. It had been easy to remove the poor woman’s body from the site via one of Tyrone’s warps during all of the confusion, leaving May to seamlessly take her place with no one the wiser.

Obviously, to look around at all of the new faces gathered on top of this mountain, their plan had born quite a lot of fruit – something that Randall took no small amount of comfort in, given the months of ‘interrogation’ he’d endured during its execution.

But as proud as Randall was of what they’d accomplished, he wasn’t about to go blabbing about it in front of this group of relative strangers. Given how many mutants had been extracted since his own capture, it was highly likely that May’s cover had already been thoroughly blown. That was just an assumption on Randall’s part however and until he knew for certain where things stood – and who, amongst all these new faces, he could trust – he wasn’t about to say anything that could get May in trouble (or killed).

“They didn’t terminate me”, he concluded, “because the DEHA believed they could extract information from me concerning the operations of my fellow escaped mutants.” Randall did not expect that to be a mistake the DEHA would make twice.

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"He's a traitor and a leech," Travis pronounced like a judge delivering a verdict; guilty on all counts. The snow around Travis rose into the air, melting in the heat shed by Sekhmet's flames. White knuckled hands clenched at his sides, as he restrained himself from acting on his initial impulse to attack the other mutant on sight. Travis' eyes narrowed as though trying to bore into the man, "I don't know how you got Lamia to trust you enough to let you back here, but I'm watching you."

In her current state Fahrenheit easily picked on any kind of tension and hostility. Everyone was a potential enemy with the exception of Horus and of course her Mother. Especially the absence of Lamia, after having been reunited so short ago, made her extremely edgy and... aggressive.

“My mother knows whom to trust...”, she said but it was spoken with contempt and hostility. This ‘Seeker’ wasn’t welcomed to her but the young man seemed to be acquainted to Horus.

“And Horus trusts him, too. I have no reason to consider him hostile then.”, Fahrenheit concluded. Yet she seemed to be angry about it, or was it disappointment? Her unforgiving eyes stared at the other mutants while she waited for her mother to return...

And she hated waiting.

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"Who's Horus?" Mary wanted to know, a trifle timidly as Fahrenheit was still putting out a tangible aura of menace, at least to her perhaps oversensitive sensibilities. She grasped that Lamia was the fire-woman's mother, but hadn't noticed her reaction to Tengri.

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"Hush," she said, not unkindly but with the firmness of a mother many times over. She stepped around him and swiftly pulled up his shirt, feeling gently along his spine for any obvious breaks or tender points. Jeremy could see her sad frowned as her fingers traced lightly over swollen flesh. "Your back is injured, most likely from Travis' attack, or from the fall into Mary's pit. We cannot properly treat you here."

Her eyes flicked up to Jeremy and then over to Ty-ty, who looked horrified, but shook her head at Lamia's unspoken question. She braced the boy's back against her arms. "Jeremy is going to help you lie back down. If you move around more, you could injure yourself further. I am called Lamia, child. What are you called?"

Mechanics
Medicine Roll:

Malachite *rolls* 1d20: 14+15: 29

Persuasion roll to get him to lay down and tell her his name:

Malachite *rolls* 1d20: 18+8: 26

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Chaos looked to Matt and smiled. "I'll plant that seed Matt, and with luck, it will take root, and they will seek you out. I'd like that, truly."

When Gold spoke to the two of them she nodded, frowning slightly as he went silent, and she moved to him to let Matt return to his work. "Sometimes, it's best for a soldier to not think about what they do, simply to do it."

She offered him a smile. "There's a part of me, that is like that. No emotion, only the mission matters, only Germany's wishes. It's what they made me." there was alot more to it than that, how that was really her, it was the result of decades of narcotherapy, rigorous brutal training, and the cause of her fractured psyche...

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