|EVENT: Return to the Ukraine|
|What: The X-Men liberate a Ukrainian mutant concentration camp and find some horrific things there. ((Warning: This scene has elements that some may be disturbed by.))|
Ternopil, Ukraine - Some time ago
The geriatric wooden door is kicked in with a force it's never felt with a big black boot behind it. The small villa swarms with men in matching drab grey coats.
"We know she's here," is the only thing muttered in the native Ukrainian language.
In the attic there are the sounds of tussle as a man and a woman are kneeling on the floor with their hands raised on either side of shotgun barrels.
There is a scream and in a few moments later the house is quiet and the young woman with fine, light brown hair is taken from her parents.
She awakens on the dusty, splintered floor of a train car; at least she assumes it is a train car due to the noise.
The ride is not far, though she is not sure for how long she has been out. The train comes to a stop in an empty field. Her and her 'sisters', as the guardsmen call them, are forced to march for miles in the snow.
She's awoken in the middle of the night by a prison guard who has been sent to question her. The creaking of the steel door is all that can be heard throughout the quiet prison. The moonlight is enough for her to see her breath and the young man who enters.
He's barely older than she is by the look of it.
"You will talk and things will be easier on you."
But as his eyes meet hers she knows his heart isn't in the words.
This morning, Scott Summers received some distressing news via his satellite connections. In recent weeks they'd already liberated one prisoner from the Ukraine, but evidence had suggested more of a problem. Indeed, the evidence today showed that the problem was not a small problem at all, but one all over the country. What had been small military prisons throughout the nation, and had appeared to be working on their own at the direction of regional supervisors, was shown now to be a much more coordinated endeavor. And now, as they have been found out, the Ukrainians have moved towards their final solution.
Mutants by the trainfull are headed to a camp located in the countryside. The camp is very simple. Houses for gassing. Graves for burying.
The Blackbird soars through the air. The X-men didn't waste any time. Scott said they'd be airborne, in 30 minutes, they were airborne in 27. The ship has been flying for hours, but is now making its final descent on the camp. From the cockpit, the heroes can see a grip of buildings and railcars.
The Blackbird lands, and the X-men file out. Within seconds, Cyclops is barking orders. In front of them, a garrison of the Ukrainian army and payload upon payload of mutant prisoners.
Charles Xavier had given Scott his full support upon hearing the news. While he himself has not joined the X-Men on the journey -- he would only be in the way -- he is keeping an eye on the proceedings remotely, via Cerebro, offering the young men and women under his charge whatever information he can to be of some use from afar.
Jean Grey is here, as the newly dubbed Phoenix. Some might think it's too soon for her to be on an X-Mission since her rebirth, but no one could deny she'd be valuable in this instance. She's wearing her new green and gold costume as she weaves an illusion that the X-Men are merely part of the terrain, waiting for further orders, her eyes gone a ghostly white with the use of her powers.
There simply aren't words to express the horror at the vision as they come in for that landing, so Kurt does the next best thing.. and finds some comfort in a softly whispered Lord's Prayer; not hard to figure out what it is as he does cross himself after, a whispered 'amen'. The expression, if anything, gives him that renewed sense of purpose; as if he'd lost it somewhere?
Immediately upon hitting the ground, Nightcrawler is on the move, teleporting here and there, finding his way in trees, scouting the area. Soft *bamfs* announce his progress, but always, he remains in the shadows, looking at the formations until he's gained enough to be able to return and give a good, comprehensive, on-the-ground report.
Kitty took the flight with a bit more poise than her previous two missions allowed her. It was a pretty long journey across the world, so she brought along the ipod and her nintoaster, rigged a portable television in the back of the jet, and played Rygar the whole damn flight.
Rocking out to Pearl Jam. "DONT CALL ME DAUGHTER!" Belted, at the top of her lungs.
"NOT FIT TOO BE!"
When the blackbird makes it's landing, she slides off the jet with her gloved hands rubbing together and a pair of pink ear muffs down over her communicator. The thich wool lined X-men jacket zipped up to her neck and a turtleneck pulled up further beneath it.
When the orders come, she's off. Phasing and rushing like a big ol Jewish Freight train towards the garrison.
Not really shouting a battle cry, but looking for some junction box where she can get to work finding power switches that can limit some of the Soldier's heavier capabilities.
She's not a fighter yet, so... like... she's Otacon to y'alls Snake.
Bobby Drake used the plane-ride to catch a nap. As usual when sleeping before a mission, he ended up frosting over his seat and a little bit of anything too close. Sorry people next to him. Thankfully, the landing wakes him up and he's able to form a nice coating of ice armor before the doors even open. Even without Jean's ilusions, the Iceman likely blends in. He skates about on thin layers of ice, getting into position and waiting for the signal to move out and hit them hard.
Sam is off the jet on Scott's heels, soaring up to get a look at the situation and keep an eye on Kurt, making a low tour of the area, then he whisks back down to meet up with the others on their level. He's not able the stop and think twice about what the situation means--it's be too distracting.
Psylocke sprints out across the grounds taking the first bit of cover she can find, some crates and barrels or some such junk not far from the Blackbird. She has her katana out but her eyes are blank as she uses her telepathy to force an image of just another barrel to a pair of passing guards.
Piotr's in his usual black uniform with the X logo instead of the red, gold and blue he wears on JLA business. Not that a costume change will hide who he is but he feels the more colorful costume is more inspiring. Watching from the Blackbird's window, his eyes grow increasingly dark as they get closer. When they land, he shifts into metal and heads for the exit. If this somehow makes the news, there'll be hell to pay but frankly, he doesn't care.
She walks along the field digging, always digging. The dry earth is picked away by the shovel whose handle never seems to be long enough. It's back breaking work and its everyday. Every day.
But this day is slightly different. A guardsmen, the same guardsmen comes up and places something in her pocket slyly. And departs. Her hand cups around it. Round and moderately hard, it feels to her like a piece of fruit. A piece of fruit and a note.
She continues to work, but she can't help but keep the smile on her face. That night she eats better than she has for the year since she's been here.
"We start with the tanks," Cyclops says into his communicator. Disable the wheels in any way that you can. Then, Colossus and whoever else can do damage, bend those cannons. After that, they're going to know we're here. Once our cover is blown, we're going to have to fight them guerilla style. Avoid bunching up, that's how someone will get hit."
Charles allows his mind to reach out beyond the guards -- Jean and Elizabeth should have that angle more than covered. While the X-Men concern themselves with getting into the camp, he looks ahead, wanting to discover what awaits them inside. More guards, almost certainly... but prisoners. He's looking for prisoners.
|"I'll draw their attention to the sky, let you get closer in on the ground,"| Jean broadcasts to the team. Phoenix launches into the air, flames licking around her in the form of a giant firebird, and she hovers high above the compound like a bonfire. She swoops her arms foward and the wings of the flaming visage follow suit, sending flickers of cosmic fire down at the treads of the tanks. Jean closes her hands into fists and hauls them back hard, telekinetically snapping the tank treads right off and throwing the modular steel plates, as if they weigh nothing, to either side of the compound.
"Can I keep one? Use it as distraction." Not to mention it would be fun to drive in, and his tones convey as much! "Easy in, easy out." Even as Kurt asks, he's teleporting into one, booby-trapping it.. rigging it and making it non-functional.. and it's on to the next.. or not! "The others I can help disable. On the last, Katzchen can be my eyes."
Shadowcat blows out steam from her nostrils as she runs, using the illusion provided by the Phoenix to get in closer to the tanks than she would have likely been allowed otherwise. On her back is a laptop case.
Something she built herself after realizing how very ineffective she was at punching things in it's face.
But she's got another talent... One she uses the moment the command comes over the comms.
"Roger roger." Whispered as she goes climbs up the side of one of the tanks, hoisting herself up onto the treads with a swing across the barrel to bring her right down close to the little view port. Then phases herself down into it.
Straight through the armor, right into the cockpit with the drivers. "Holy cow, man! These things are impressive!" She's playing jolly havoc on the electrical systems. The targetting computer is already smoking and sizzling as it says, screw this noise and quits outright. Now the drive core, "Man...
"This is sort of like a backstab! I'm totally a combat specced Rogue."
"Naw, I'm a shadowcat specced priest."
Shut up, it's funny.
"Tanks, huh?" Iceman smiles as he replies to the communicator. He ducks as one of Jean's thrown plates sails overhead. Shaking his and silently thanking everyone its still attached to his body, he lifts a hand and starts firing off beams of icy energy, plugging barrels and leaving snowy surprises for anyone that tries to load those tanks inside them.
Sam is all for getting hit, at last by most stuff. He can hit back just as hard. The tanks are coming apart at the seams already. He picks up speed and wipes two howitzers off their placement on the way past. He'll take that little boost to the batteries from the impact and turn about to head for another pair near the gates.
As the orders come through her communicator, Psylocke nods to herself, a goal makes it all so much easier. She moves quickly towards the two guards nearby. They are unaware of her presence until too late. Sheathing her katana on the run she hits them with a double punch, one for each, manifesting her psy-blades at the last moment, one for each of them. They drop like bricks, their minds jumbled.
Taking only a moment to drag them behind her old cover, she is off. Moving fast the cold bite stings her face as she sprints full speed at a trio of tanks nearby. The treads are not her focus. She leaps atop one and manifests her telekinetic katana "BRRZZZ!" The barrel doesn't stand a chance against the manifestation of raw energy. She spares a glance up to where Jean.. errr, Phoenix is tearing things apart. "My God..." She says to herself at the sheer power inherent before her.
A small group of soldiers are running out, their weapons pointed to the sky. "Don't think so." She sends a blast of Kinetic energy towards them and drops down to the ground ready to finish them off.
Colossus isn't a speedster but his strength can properl him very quickly. And he doesn't tire. Without pausing, he runs right through the fence, not caring if it's electrified or not, and makes for the nearest tank. Regardless of whether it's disabled, he grabs hold of the frame, braces himself and powerlifts it above his head. It takes a moment for him to find his balance but then one, two, three running steps and he HEAVES the tank, sending it flying toward an artillery emplacement not targeted by Sam. Do damage? Oh hell yeah. And no one better get in his way.
One year ago
Everywhere there's banging and screaming. She's been here for not quite 3 years now, but she's never heard anything like this.
They're moving people. That's been the rumor all week and that's what she's assuming. She'd heard they were going to be leaving in shifts, and when her cell door opens she knows it will be the end for her.
She walks, last in a long line of women who all look to be her age. Some of them have obvious mutant genes. Her? Not so much. Just as she is about ready to head outside onto the field and board the train, her mouth is covered and she's pulled into the darkness of the camp's catacombs.
Xavier's mind reaches out into the camp. He can see through the eyes of the X-men's enemies, and it becomes clear to him quickly that there are containers and containers of mutant prisoners. They're shackled at the hands, and robed in matching drab uniforms.
Jean's power is terrifying. Never before has she been able to move and attack with such efficiency. The tanks come off their hinges in unison.
Cyclops turns to look at Jean in awe as she rips the treads away in a fell swoop. He immediately moves to cannon's, unleashing optic blast shots to the top a handful of tanks.
The problem now is that the minds of the men begin to work in a frenzy and become harder to control. Once the first one sees Cyclops appear, then disappear, then appear, they know its their enemy. "MUTANTS!" one begins to exclaim, and then the others. They arm themselves and begin to fire wantonly.
Kitty works quickly, efficiently, and funny, bringing some humor to a terrifying situation. She waves in and out leaving destruction in her teenaged wake.
Bobby's Ice Energy is effective in plugging the barrels, but announces his presence. A few of the guards see him and begin firing their weapons.
Cannonball smashes through a set of cannon's knocking them down noisily. Those things won't ever work again, that's for sure. He sets himself and launches once again, darting for the other pair.
Psyclocke's one step ahead of the game and moving onto the soldiers. She, and the other X-men get messages in their coms to start attacking the soldiers. Their cover is blown, but they have the upper hand.
Colossus's tank soars through the air, and as it does so, three soldiers fall out the top. No matter. It smashes headlong into an artillery gun, causing a small explosion and looking totally awesome.
Nightcrawler's booby traps go without a hitch as he incapacitates the vehicles quickly. He hops from one to the next, nothing but a plume of blue smoke and the sound of a *bamf* in his wake.
Charles Xavier is not sure what he was expecting. The reality of the situation -- containers and containers full of people, people taken simply for being mutants -- makes his heart sink. But there's only one thing that matters right now: they're alive.
The touch of Charles' mind upon his X-Men is, as ever, gentle and unobtrusive. |"Be mindful of the containers inside -- they've shackled their prisoners within them."| Hopefully, they would be able to get that many people to safety. The numbers were greater than he had anticipated.
Phoenix maintains the telepathic link from teammate to teammate without even showing an ounce of strain. Before, in a place this big, with the group spread out so far, it would have been all she could do to keep it up. Now it's barely a blip in her thought process. She senses the prisoners and their chains. There is a burst of flame from the firebird as she reaches out tendrils of cosmic power inside the containers to make the bonds crumble from the wrists and ankles of the beleaguered mutants in the camp. |"Do not be afraid. We have come to free you. Fight your captors. Fight back,"| she urges them.
Kurt gets to one tank that he's decided he's going to keep for the time being. Granted, he prepares the booby-trapping, but now? It rumbles to life, and as he finds the gears, he offers over com, "The one that is moving is me." And it rumbles forward, it's turret turning dangerously around to the spots where it looks as if some of the soldiers are taking cover for cover fire. A large *boom* sounds, and a defended spot is no longer.. with a rather large remarkable throw of dirt into the air. "When I get close, I'm going to get to the containers. Are there any wounded within, Professor? Jean?"
Kitty phases out the back of a tank, leaving the men inside unable to crack the port electronically. There's oxygen, they'll be alright, but it'll get hot and that means they're so going to be uncomfortable.
That's what you get for being a badguy. Sweaty underwear riding up in your butt. Rethink your evil ways.
Bullets. They pass right through her, but she still ducks and swings her arms when they hit the metalic tank she's standing infront of, "WHOA!"
"COME ON... who shoots a handgun at a tank?! That's..." She's running... carrying herself at a speed she'd be unable to reach if she were material. Literally running across a different molecular plain towards a group of guards rushing out with ther weapons aimmed at the flashy, pony tail bobbing, teenaged mutant.
That the bullets just pass right through her is a little disconcerting.. a little uncomfortable... and the fact that they keep trying regardless, is a little sad.
Using the built up momentum, she phases in at the last moment and throws her arms out to either side, clothes lining two guards straight off their feet with a gurgling 'ARF' sound...
Then she drops an elbow on one. Because who has two thumbs and has always wanted to do the People's Elbow in a role playing scene?
Since cover seems to be blown, Iceman gets moving. Ducking behind cover, he frowns an gets an idea. "These guys can understand English, right? Cause its no fun if they don't understand my jokes," he asks his communicator as he works quickly on something.
Of course, when those soldiers round the corner they'll find about eight Icemen standing in various poses...most casual and comical. None of them are real of course, revealed to be simple statues of ice if attacked. The real Bobby? He comes up behind the soldiers after having slid around the building and unleashes a wave of snow and ice to bury them in place.
A number of soldiers have piled into jeeps to whip across the camp to their assigned positions. They're going at enough of a pace that when he drops a shield down too close for them to stop, the result is something akin to a tidy line of dinky cars attacked by a toddler. It's quick and efficient. From his vantage point, Sam can see a dozen men attempting to get around behind the others and dives after them like a meteor.
Psylocke moves quickly towards the four guards she just blasted, only one is still moving, the rest knocked senseless by the assault. She takes care of him as she moves past him, "CRRRACK!" Blood spurts from the man's mouth as steel toes connect with his jaw. She gives him no more thought, sprinting for a stone tower where she can see men lining rifle sights up at her. She reaches out her conciousness, sending an image of her darting out the other direction from their position. She spares a glance up as she hears the gunfire, they are shooting in another direction, seems they bought her illusion for now.
As she nears the tower, she leaps, HIGH. Two kinetic blades appear from her hands and she plunges them into the stone and mortar. As quickly as possible she begins climbing the wall of the tower. She reaches the top, brings her knees to her chest, her feet planted under her on the wall, and comes into the open air tower. The guards there are caught unaware by the appearance of the woman they were just shooting at.. The realize quickly she isn't there for tea even though she does hit them with a, "Ello, boys" on entry.
They turn weapons already firing. The bullets find their mark but she doesn't go down until their weapons all begin clicking. There fear or maybe excitement left them unaware of the red purple shield in front of her flickering with every impact from their bullets. When all their ammo is spent, she smiles and drops the shield, "Let's dance, boys!" She is going to hurt them. Bad.
Colossus doesn't wait to see what happens with the tank he threw. He's already looking for his next target. A nearby jeep doesn't even take bracing himself for. It goes flying at anything that so much as looks like it's a weapon. He's about to throw a second when soldiers start appearing. Ripping off a wheel, he throws it at the group of soldiers and then the rest of the vehicle at what he assumes is their barracks.
Name changed. New identity given. Her name was Katyana. Her name is now Ursula. She took the place of someone else. Someone else took her place. She doesn't care. She's still alive. The work is hard, but the work is good. She is still alive.
Cyclops begins to fire his optic blasts at assorted soldiers. Set to stun, the beams knock them off their feet, but by the time their allies fire, Scott's already moved out of the way in a forward summer sault. He hops up, knocking one in the face with an uppercut, the sick thud of broken bone as his socket gives way. The next is given a crushing elbow to the throat.
Xavier begins coaxing the captured Mutants out and away from the trouble. They begin walking, not exactly mind controlled, but 'encouraged.' Their guardsmen are all moving in the opposite direction towards the fight.
But all of the sudden, the bonds break from the prisoner's hands at Jean's work. They look at each other, completely confused. Some break for their freedom and head along the tracks. Others break back, looking to throw down against the men who would have sent them to their death.
Nightcrawler makes like Chewbacca on Endor and totally commandeers a tank. BOOM! Not only does the dirt get thrown up into the air, it lands like heavy hail, getting in the soldiers eyes and adding to the confusion. If Jean and the Professor look for the wounded, they'll find no wounded.
But then there is something that perhaps wasn't seen before. Jean will notice from her vantage point, not injured, but dead mutants. While thousands of them are still alive, hundreds of them have already been gassed and lie in open graves.
Finally. Katherine Pride. Has Come Back. To the Ukraine. Unfortunately no one is there to truly appreciate this badassery. Good thing Jean or the Professor can replay it in their minds later. Somehow, everyone thinks Scott won't be pleased. Everyone else will be!
The spooked soldiers try to attack the Fake Bobby's with little effect (obviously). This does not stop the furor with which they attack however. They're easily dispatched as Bobby does his bidding, most likely laughing the entire way.
Cannonball reaches the men in question without any problem. The men from the other Jeeps groan as they try and get out.
Colossus' chucks the wheel at the barracks, ripping a hole through the roof and tearing through the far wall. Days later, when the United Nations visits the site, they'll be forced to admit that the soldier's stories might not be completely fabricated.
Phoenix soars over the camp, swooping down on groups of soldiers and emitting psychokinetic bursts, detonations of telekinesis emitting from herself like force grenades, slamming into the men and throwing them for several yards like scattered toys swatted by an angry child. The eerie part of it is that there is no rage or anger in her expression or the touch of her mind. She clears a path for the freed prisoners. |"There is a mass grave,"| she reports.
The turret rounds again, Kurt is in search of another area where soldiers can be dug in. The moment the top of the tank ceases its movement, there is another *BOOM!* which is followed by another massive spray of dirt in front of another defended area. It causes the several men to break cover, covering their faces and running blindly out, screaming.
The mention of a mass grave, however, brings the tank to a halt as Kurt takes the news. They're saving mutants, but.. now? To hear? "Was?" The line of mutants that are freed brings a smile to his face, but to hear of the graves; too late.. brings a hurridly brushed tear away.. and the turret spins again to finish its work. When he's done, and there's silence, he'll *bamf* from the turret, and make sure it's destroyed..
Shadowcat whips her laptop off her back and moves purposefully towards a security checkpoint where there systems, hopefully, or just a telephone line, are located. "I knew a guy who..." Phasing through the wall, using her hardened laptop case like a melee weapon, smacking a pistol up and stabbing the flat edge into a guards abdomen to bend him over and smash it up into his nose. Clatter, drop, heap.
"Goes to shows..."
A line is run down into the terminal and then into the side of her laptop, cutting through their security systems like tissue paper. "When he's at home and... he blows his nose." Inside the main base, the secure doors all start locking off, preventing the immediate refurbishment of depeleted forces as their own building acts against them. "He don't use tissue.. or his sleeve... He don't use napkins.." Pressing enter, she baths them all in blackness as she cuts the power to the lights inside. "Or any of these... He uses..."
"Put that in your pipe and smoke it..." She says the last part into the mic on her laptop, boradcasting it into the building in a perky, perfect, Russian accented, Ukranian.
Iceman does indeed laugh as he brings the chill. "You guys really needed to cool off, huh? Things getting too hot to handle?" yes, he's making jokes to men that can't hear let alone understand him. Don't worry, he leaves the communicator on so his teammates can hear it too. He heads up into the air on one of his slides and almost immediately wishes he didn't. That new vantage point lets him see just what Jean informs them all via telepathy. For a moment he just stands there on the slide with a horrified expression. When bullets start chipping at his slide and one wings him in the shoulder, he turns back to the fight. Jean and anyone else up high will see it and the telepaths will feel it but that area of the camp that Bobby's fighting? Well, no more jokes come from it. Not Bobby's laughter or enthusiasm. Just cold and ice. Soldiers and buildings alike end up encased in ice, alive but not going anywhere unless someone chisels them out. By the time Bobby's done, it looks like winter decided to take the camp for itself.
Just goes to show that Jean isn't the only scary powerful mutant there today.
Cannonball hasn't thought much about the fact that he's hurting people for real, live and in person. He'll think about it when they're done here. He'll get angry about things then, too. Work now, worry later. Right now, he's completely calm.
Bullets rattle off the second skin of his power as he goes after soldiers on the outskirts of the camp. It's like a video game come to life. He knows he's safe from the ammunition--no true backwoods kid would have a power like his without getting their friends to shoot at them with guns of increasing size.
Someone on the other side of the camp has kept it together enough to get a shoulder-fired missile off but he's moving too fast to find out if it hurts when he gets hit. He takes aim at a group of soldiers coming back into the camp, probably from patrol. Hitting them is a lot like going full-speed through a locust storm in his truck. They're not interfering after that. He loops around to go after the guy with the shoulder launcher so he can call it a day.
She doesn't waste time with pleasantries. The soldiers, eyes wide, stare at her in disbelief.. How could she have taken all those bullets and still be standing there? No time to think about it as she begins to move. Her first target, the closest one to her receives a bone shattering front push kick to the chest. At the same time she brings her arms up in front of her, the butt of a rifle coming in at her face is deflected out wide with a quick redirecting flick of her arm and some hips. The momentum of the failed attack brings him past her a bit, with a quick shove she sends him out the open air window looking down on the grounds.. "AAHHHH!" The two remaining fan out in an attempt to surround her, she receives Jean's message of a mass grave, and the ringing of metal fills their ears as her katana comes free from her back.
She lets them surround her, she moves into the middle of the room slowly. There is moment of apprehension, their fear fills her nostrils. She reaches into their minds, they aren't sure they are going to make it out of this.. They are correct.
She knows when they are coming because she is in their minds. She drops down into a crouch her katana swiping hard against the a kneecap. The man will walk on crutches, if he lives. She rolls forward. The second guard follows. She comes to her feet and turns a quick 180, extending her blade. "SHRKK" The man impales himself. If not for her diverting the blade a bit he may of been killed. He may still die, it won't be quick though.
She regards the room as she leaps from the window back down to the grounds to rejoin her comrades.
Hearing Jean's report of a mass grave, Colossus is no longer satisfied with throwing things at soldiers. Wading into a group of them, he starts grabbing them and throwing then at other soldiers. A couple go through walls. The soldiers brave enough to hold their position and try to shoot him just get ignored as the bullets richochet off his armored skin. Ignored, that is, until a soldier heads their way like a bowling bowl knocking pins over. It's when no one near him is still standing, shooting or doing anything other than groaning, bleeding or lying there unconscious or perhaps even dead that he stops and looks around for more. Logan would be proud of him.
Dmitri Tomaschuk has been a lot of things. Guard. Interrogator. Traitor. Savior. Today he throws the bodies into the mass ditches for those who his nation has decided to put to waste. Mutants themselves used to do the digging, but the officials knew that if they'd have mutants bury their own, there'd be trouble. Instead, people like Dmitri Tomaschuk do the body tossing.
After an hour of this terrible work, Tomaschuk realizes that if they have to bury everyone his government plans on killing, they're going to be doing this for weeks. He grabs an arm and a leg of the next person on the dumptruck and his heart goes to panic. "No. . ." he says faintly as tears well up in his eyes. But this body, the one with the fair brown hair does not get thrown into the mass grave.
The soldier's get the call to surrender, raising their white flags, dropping their guns and putting their hands in the air. Hundreds of soldiers beaten by 9 mutants. No wonder they're afraid.
As Cyclops finally reaches and looks over the large trench, he sees it for himself. A mass grave of hundreds of mutants. But at a second glance he sees something he was not prepared for. Among the bodies is a man in the Ukranian uniform with a bullet wound under the chin and an exit wound above the head. In one of his arms is a young mutant woman dressed in the drab grey fatigues of the mutants; a woman with fine, light brown hair.
The news of a mass grave, most unfortunately, does not surprise Charles Xavier. That does not make the sight of it any easier to bear, however remote. He understands the more violent reactions some of his X-Men are having... and although he does not necessarily condone them, it would be a matter for another time. Not now.
|"They've surrendered,"| Xavier's voice notes gently. |"It should be safe to stand down and focus on more... pressing matters."|
Phoenix lands beside Cyclops and she looks down at the bodies in the mass grave with an expression that finally regains some humanity. Sorrow, grief. Her eyes stop glowing white and become green once more as she presses a hand over her heart. "Today I think I understand some of Magneto's rage. Some," she says quietly to Scott. |"Professor, what do you want us to do with the living mutants, and the soldiers. I can bury the dead properly."| Her eyes whiten again and she rises, reaching into the minds of the living mutants and guards to match the faces of the dead to the names they have for them. As she does so she begins telekinetically digging a single grave for each corpse, hauling stones to use as markers, carving names into them with cosmic flame.
The tank is destroyed from within, and Kurt is immediately graveside in a literal heartbeat, appearing out of the ether with a soft *bamf*. Immediately, he is down at the bottom of the mass grave, reaching for those killed to bring them up; tears welling again in those yellow eyes. One by one, beginning with the woman with the fine, light brown hair, he begins to teleport them up, to gently lay them aside, saying a prayer for each as he does so in a hoarse, cracking whisper, even as Jean begins the task of their graves.
Somehow, Kitty was far to caught up in what she was doing for the thought broadcast to actually sink in... but when it finally does, it certainly knocks the wind right out of her sails. She blinks... Blinks and shakes her head.
Tries to reason why that's not possible. Why people would never do that. How could they? Why would they?
In the little security shack, Kitty slides down the wall and pulls her laptop down off the counter into her crossed legs. She's not crying, but she's trying not to. Trying so hard not to. It's hard.
Outside the soldier's are surrendering. Inside the shake, Shadowcat is wondering how the hell she went from being a teenager to someone who's got to deal with mutants being put into mass graves... Is this really what the world's like?
It clicks something in her brain.. forcing her to do something she shouldn't have to do for another four or five years..
Kitty Pryde stands up and phases through the wall with a grim line on her face.
Kitty's got to grow up. Breathing steadily, steam rising from either nostril, Shadowcat walks over towards Cyclops and Jean with a distant sort of expression and her hands buried down in the pockets of her jacket. "Tell me what to do, please? I... I don't know what to do..."
A tear, just one, rolls down her cheek as her jaw works steadily back and forth.
Iceman just scowls at the surrendering soldiers. He walks past them, pushing past any in his way roughly. He's not badly hurt, just going to have a bruise on his shoulder under that cracked armor. Weapons that are set down get frozen solid in Bobby's wake as he joins the others at that mass grave. He doesn't want any of those soldiers thinking they can shoot while they have their backs turned. He closes his eyes when Kurt starts to port the bodies, murmuring a soft prayer of his own. Kitty's arrival gets hs attention and when Bobby notices the tear, he reaches over to try to place what he hopes is a comforting hand on the younger mutant's shoulder.
Sam lands next to the others, his glow going out as he lets go of his power. He's never seen anything like this outside of pictures, never expected to. He's not sure if he's more angry at it or afraid for what it means for the future.
"Is this what it's all comin' to?" He's not asking anyone in particular. He doesn't expect any answers. When he sees Kitty's face, he puts an arm around her shoulders to comfort her. That's about what he's good for when it's time to stop hitting things.
Landing lightly on the ground, Psylocke gets the order to stand down. There crouched on the snow covered ground, her heart pounding in her ears, she takes a deep steadying breath.
Upon rejoining the team she is filled with sadness at the sight of all the bodies. Her heart again races in her chest, her breathing begins to match pounding in her chest. Seeing Kitty, Bobby, and Sam standing there she moves close and attempts to pull them into an embrace, patting the young girls hair to comfort her, "There is nothing we can do. We can pray for them." Her sympathetic words are lost as her eyes too begin to water. She looks Bobby in the eye and wishes her emotions could be that cold right now. She really hated them, emotions that is.
They're surrending. Colossus briefly - very briefly - considers ignoring it but he's not that far gone. Turning away, he walks away from the camp, reaching into his costume to take out a strip of black cloth with eyeholes and tying it around his head. At the same time, he shifts back to flesh. With eyewitnesses, he can't risk stories getting back to America of a large metal mutant. << Professor. Jean. >> he thinks. << I will be in the Blackbird if you need me. I cannot be seen if it can be helped. >> Besides, the dangerous part is over and he has no need to see the dead. Russians know all about mass graves.
For a moment, there is quiet. The Professor is thinking, a pensive frown pulling at his lips as he sits within Cerebro. He entertains all manner of ideas for what to do, most of which are immediately dismissed.
|"As tempting a thought as I know revenge is right now... we must focus our attention on the survivors,"| Charles decides, and there is just the faintest whisper of regret in his voice. |"Destroy their tools of genocide but leave them to fend for themselves. The mutants, we must help to reach safety."|
Silently, Charles weighs further options... the cost of asking Piotr to reveal this incident to Superman, versus the risk of having the X-Men and institute exposed. It brings him no comfort.
When the dead are buried, Jean Grey lifts into the sky once more with the Phoenix encapsulating her. She is the last to get back on the Blackbird because she has one last task before she boards. The UN will come, of course, and she has a message to leave them. Every bit of the compound's military structure - buildings, vehicles, weapons, is undone at a molecular level and rebuilt as a prison around the soldiers. In the top of the new, single building which has air vents but no doors or real windows, is scorched, "THIS CANNOT CONTINUE. WE WILL NOT GO QUIETLY INTO THAT GOOD NIGHT." Then she rejoins her family of choice, rather than of blood, to go home.