|Echos Through Time 2|
|What: Another batch of heroes get yanked into a possible future...|
what can be said about Nevada in any time, in any reality?
Well, there's always a simple fact. That being that Nevada is largely desert and semiarid. But with that said...
With that said, it is almost as if in this time, and in this reality the desert is warmer and dryer than usual. Not that could be considered too unusual.
Instead what could be considered even /more/ unusual is the fact that there's a fortress in the middle of the desert. A fortress that appears to be protected by some sort of forcefield. But if that wasn't strange enough, there appears to be almost an entire army ringing this fortress, with who knows how many soldiers, as well as tanks and other armored vehicles. Only all these soldiers and vehicles stand ready, facing the fortress, as if just waiting for the order before launching an all out assault.
It is almost as if it doesn't matter where people were...
Or what they were doing...
It doesn't matter if you were home asleep in bed, walking in the park, going up an elevator, or in school.
Instead, no matter what people were doing, it's as if they were once somewhere else, and then they're here. In some cases they may even have ended up in their 'costumes' with no warning, making it so that there isn't just an apparent change of location, but also of clothing as well.
But where is here?
Well, it's a cave. One big enough that a dozen people can stand around it comfortably. But it's not a deep cave, or an unusual one, or even a dark one. Light easily streaks in via the opening that is the entrance. All though standing at the opening are two people. One is a man. A man with large, almost bug like eyes, wearing purple coveralls. The other is a woman, whose age is hard to pinpoint, she could be in her 30's or 40's, and yet something about her, and the way she stands gives her an air that she may be even older than that. Said woman has black hair pulled back in a pony tail, and is wearing black jeans and a black t-shirt.
Both the man and the woman are starring at each other, and neither look pleased.
Channel had a training session in the Danger Room at the time. Thus, Channel is in her full X-Suit costume, something she rarely goes out in. She's got the navy blue mask which stretches all over her head, covering her hair and face. The suit itself is a tough, thick-looking black suit that looks to be thick enough around the torso to function as body armor, while the outfit is a little thinner but far more flexible along the legs and arms. The boots are likewise thick and made for heavy use. The belt has a yellow 'X' emblazoned upon the buckle, and contains several hard pouches which contain various tools.
Channel is in the middle of a flip, dodging some sort of laser beam attack in the Danger Room, when she finds herself landing in a very different place. Looking around, Channel doesn't recognize this place, but she recognized that feeling. "Aww hell. My training session getting interupted again? Getting so that a lady can't get a good workout in these days," the redhead comments as she looks around for any familiar figures. She'd been in a session with Nate, which wasn't exactly her usual training room partner, but the schedules matched up, or something of that nature. She looks around to see if he'd made it here, too. She stretches and tries to determine where they are, though she's pretty sure the more important question is when they are.
Looking over at the figures, Channel takes them in. The guy, she doesn't recognize, but the woman? She is recognizable to Channel, since that's her roommate. "Laura?" Channel asks, raising her masked eyebrow with a bit of surprise. "What's going on?"
Axiom looks a little surprised to suddenly be inside a cave. One moment he's running rooftops after stopping a mugging and the next he's stopping himself before he can hit a cave wall. The masked teen looks around a few times and sighs a little when he sees Channel and the other two. "Doesn't this count as a workout, Channel?" he asks, stepping up beside her. "Hey, Space Phantom," he greets. "Umm, thanks for helping out last n-night or whenever that was," he offers. Yes, he's trying to be nice even to the alternate timeline 'kidnapper'. He blinks when Channel mentions the woman's name. "You know her?"
Lor-Zod had ventured out of the Hall of Justice to explore for the first time, and interact with people, a venture proving rather interesting as he has no civilian identity. His Kryptonian clothes, looking so much like a superhero costume (except for the lack of boots), and making no secret to hide his powers, he'd been getting a lot more attention than he was expecting, or wanting. So, the look on his face is almost one of relief when he suddenly finds himself transported again. "Hi," he says, waving to those he met the day before. To the Space Phantom, he asks, "Are we in the future again?"
Nate was enjoying a good workout at the Danger Room. Nowhere near the killer simulation Cyclops got him as first introduction (some parent!) and he was almost having fun. Getting kidnapped, of course, is not amusing, so as soon as he appears he calls on his telekinetic power and turns to smash the face of the kidnapper. But he recognizes Laura almost instantly, "you?! Laura? What is going on?"
A groan can be heard coming from a small niche in the cave, the apparent resting place of a man in a leather jacket and jeans. "Damnit... what the hell?" He says and rises to his feet, on hand rubbing a sore spot where a hard and knobby rock had taken the spot of his nice soft pillow. Brushing the dust from his jacket, and from the thick chain wrapped around his torso from his left shoulder to his right waist, he looks around. "Who are you people?
That man and woman just stare at each other for a few more moments, even as people arrive. That is before that bug eyed man turns and nods at the arrivals. he even nods once at Axiom and Lor-Zod.
"Greetings. And... Yes. Yes you are in the future again. Or a future." is said by the Space Phantom, even as the woman just continues to shoot him a 'look that could kill'. "To those of you who know me, I am The Space Phantom. I am a servant of The Master of Time. And if you want to save mutants from going extinct, you will help this woman..." Whom he up and nods at. All though he also nearly jumps out of his skin as that Red Dragon crashes into the cave.
The woman though finally speaks up, her gaze drifting from Nate to Channel before she sniffs the air.
"I am Weapon X-23." is said as she tilts her head at Jamie for a moment, before she blinks at Johnny. "I am one of the last mutants. The rest are in a citidel not too far away. It is under attack. If the military succeeds, they will all be killed for being 'unnatural beings' in the eyes of the law. I..."
"They need your help."
Channel glances at Nate. "Calm down. They pulled us forward in time, but they're good guys. Happened to some of us yesterday, at least our time's yesterday. The others here are all going to be good guys. I've met most of them". Pause. "Use Channel here," she adds to the man quietly. To Axiom, Channel nods and speaks up again. "Yeah. Friend of mine, at least in our time". She smirks. "Well, yes, it'll be a workout I'm sure. But I'm suspecting this isn't exactly what I had in mind," she tells the boy. A nod is given to Lor-Zod and the dragon. Jamie gets a nod as well, having seen him in action back in the Artic. Of course, Jamie may not recognize her in her suit, though he may recognize her voice at least. It was kind of nice to know everyone here. Well, almost everyone here. Johnny Blaze gets a look from Channel as she tries to figure out who he is. Nope, never seen that man before in her life.
"As you say, Weapon X-23," Channel responds, knowing that the future version may go by that name instead. "Well, preventing mutants from going extinct is sort of something I've got a vested interest in. What can you tell us about what we'll face there?" the woman asks. "Types of weapons and those sorts of things".
Axiom winces when the dragon crashes, shaking his head. "Are you alright?" he asks. The others get a look, Axiom offering a wave to Lor-Zod. The only people he doesn't recognize are Johnny and Jamie. As Space Phantom and Weapon X-23 speak, Axiom nods. "Let me handle trying t-to calm the others down?" he whispers to Channel, hoping she'll get more useful information out of the ones they're hear to help.
Turning to the others, Axiom offers a smile. "Umm...hi. I'm Axiom. And Space Phantom brought us here to save the world. And d-don't worry, guys. We'll go back as soon as we're done," he offers to Nate, Jamie, and Johnny.
Lor-Zod looks around, blinking at the dragon's arrival but hearing the voice he waves. Then his attention is brought back to the 'briefing'. But, he looks confused, looking to Weapon X-23, and he asks, "What are 'mutants'? I mean, I know from yesterday they are people with powers, but how are they different from everybody else with powers? Why are they 'unnatural'?"
Nate gives Jocelyn a weird look. Why? Getting kidnapped to fight wars in the future is normal? Still, this is Laura here, or looks like Laura. He reaches to the woman's mind, to make sure and see what has happened. Meanwhile, "okay, so you need us for something? Why us? And how did you bring us here?" He also studies the Space Phantom warily, because he looks kinda shiftly.
The dragon tilts its head first to one side then to another. Realizing the size of the cave won't be enough to fit him all the way in he decides to stay where he is, with just his head and neck inside.
"Yeah, I'm fine. It was more of a startle than anything else." is his answer to Axiom followed by answering Lor-Zod, "Mutants are us, and we're not unnatural, just genetic variations of Homo Sapiens." Finally he turns to the Phantom, "And, on top of all the good questions Channel asked, are we looking at superpowered big bads too? Or just regular military?"
So okay he gets taken away, and now has to help save the mutant race, "You know it's a bad day when you're hoping to get another case of astral projecting cheating husband." Seriously how the heck does the little PI keep getting himself dragged into these messes? He looks at the others and just shrugs, "So Channel huh? Which one, I hope it's at least Comedy Central, we can all use a few laughs." See he had to make the joke, wouldn't be Jamie without making some kind of joke, "So why do we get killed off? Let me guess, one of us goes crazy and tries to blow up the world?"
Johnny Blaze looks around, the pain in his head subsiding slowly. "Ok.. lemme get this straight.. You want... Me.. to help everyone prevent the extinction of a species? Look man.. I'm all for fighting the good fight, and helping the little guy." He says pausing to look at Laura. "Or girl.. but I think you've got the wrong guy. For one.. It's daylight out.." He says, jerking a thumb at the entrance to the cave, and the light trickling in. "No dark, no Rider. And I'm not much in a fight." He explains, scratching at the mop of black hair on his head.
There is a smile at Channel and Nate from X-23, an honest to goodness smile, before she says, "And I'd like to still consider you friends. It is good to see you again. Especially after what happened to the rest of the X-Men the last time I saw them."
Then she becomes serious.
"Various types of energy and plasma rifle's. Tanks and other armored vehicles armed the same way. Rocket and missile launchers are there as well, but are rarely used. Guns with bullets aren't down there. Fortunately the telekinetic force way deflects things like that too easily."
Then she glances at Nate and says, "Because you all represent the best chance we have to rescue the last two hundred mutants in existence before they're killed.
All though when Nate reaches into Lauras mind, he'll get a handful of odd images. Such as The X-Men fighting a darker skinned woman with some sort of 'yellow lantern' ring, a speedster, and a guy who causes explosions in Times Square. That fight being caught and broadcast on television. That is before there's some sort of /MASSIVE/ explosion that wipes out most of New York City. Then the image switches to mutants being rounded up. People being killed. And worse. Until there's only a handful of mutants left.
Of course as Madrox asks, the cloned mutant woman says, "The X-Men fought Fatality, Speed Demon, and Nitro at Times Square. It was caught on live television. Things went bad and the entire city was destroyed. People blamed mutants for all the deaths. We were killed. Anyone with any form of mutant in their family tree was either killed or steralized. The last two hundred, most under twenty years old banded together in the Utopia Fortress to protect themselves before they could be killed. It is protected by a telekinetic wall. But it is breached regularly. With the number of troops outside of it now, if it is breached again, the mutants at the citidel will all die."
Since The Dragon answers Lors question, The Space Phantom just smiles at him. All though at Johnnys statement, there is a nod. "As I said, my Master is The Lord of Time. When we attack, it will be night out. He has foreseen that they will not breach the barrier before the sun rises again. So do not worry."
Channel smirks over at Jamie. "Hey, had to actually come up with something since the last time we worked the same scene, and it fits the bill," the teen says. She then glances to Lor-Zod. Channel then nods to Axiom at his suggestion. Axiom was better at that sort of thing than she was. "So then. Twenty questions time, the short version. You brought some of us to one future to save it, then you bring us to this one. Why? Every future can't be that bad, and we're not exactly a crack team of time travellers," the woman points out. "Reinforcing the shield can't be the only goal here," Channel says. Though that would help. "We need to do something about stopping the humans from attacking the mutants further. Just taking out this army isn't going to be enough, is it?" The humans could just make more weapons and send more soldiers. "Short term, yes, but long term, it won't be enough. What else needs to be done?"
Nodding as Gabriel explains mutants for Lor-Zod, Axiom looks to the older people that came with them. "He's got some time travely teleportation powers," Axiom speaks to Nate first, gesturing at the Space Phantom. He then turns his attention to Johnny. "Don't sorry, sir. I c-can make sure you don't get hurt," he offers. Yes, the short teenager in white and blue is going to protect him from the heavily armed army.
The power booster glances Channel's way. "I think I know," he says after his friend speaks. "But does it m-matter? People here need our help and we should help them. It's what heroes do," he says. Of course her other questions get a nod. He was thinking along the same lines.
Lor-Zod frowns, still looking confused. "They hate other humans for a genetic variation, but they're happy to have non-humans like Kal-El and Martian Manhunter around? Humans make no sense." He looks up to Channel at her question and back to Weapon X-23, "What do we do?" As confused as he is by the human race, he doesn't seem to lack any intention to help.
Nate looks vaguely sick for a few seconds. "A genetic war? Again? And what about all the other superhumans? They allowed it to happen?" The Phantom said they had until sunset, so he guesses some questions are alright, he needs to know how to prevent this future. "Wait, is this the future Rachel came from?" Lor-Zor questions make him smirk a bit, "hey kid, if it made sense it wouldn't be so bad. Rest assured, I am sure plenty humans and mutants hate aliens for absolutely no good reason."
The dragon seems to be satisfied with the questions being asked and simply follows the conversation with little moves of his head.
"Seriously? Im one of the best hopes to rescue the last two hundred mutants? I'm just a private eye, with the power to make exact copies of myself. So one ordinary man can become many ordinary men." Yup Jamie does have the self doubt thing down pat it seems. He sighs though, can't let the nice other mutants die, "What is the game plan?" He then looks at Channel, "Could be worse, you could be calling yourself HBO."
Johnny Blaze listens to the breifing and smiles at the closing, when the phantom thing addresses his concern. "Oh well.. that changes everything. Just uh... point me in the direction of a tank." He says and leans back against the wall. His head turns toward Axiom, and gives the kid a smile. "Oh it's ok.. if it'll be dark out.. you may just want to stay well behind me." He says easily.
If they have all but exterminated human mutants down to the last 200 or so.. the evil in their souls should be tangible from here. That much evil concentrated into one place, the Rider is going to have a freakin field day. "Ok.. so.. We need a deterent. Send a message loud enough so everyone gets it.. and they back down. That's what the US did to Japan back in WW2.. and noone has tried us since. Not really.. Something.. loud.. impressive as hell.. Force'em to back down. Or at least make them seriously think twice about trying again."
There's yet another pause as The Space Phantom hears Channels question. That is before he glances away.
"I can not say, besides the fact that it is my masters will. /But/ given my experience with time... I would guess a turning point may be coming. A time where multiple futures could happen based on what happens in a small window. And who is involved could very well be all the difference."
Then there's a pause.
"And saving them /for now/ is enough. For this /is/ a turning point. If the mutants in Utopia die, that is it. But if they survive, then things will change in the days to come. That is all I can say. But things will get better for them... /SOON/. If they survive."
There's then a shake of his head at Nate before the Phantom says, "No. This is not. This is more like some Age of X rather than the days your... 'Sister' comes from. Or the time your 'niece' comes from for that matter."
Yes, he knows about them. but he doesn't say anything else regarding them.
X-23 takes a deep breath as her gaze drifts from Channel, to Axiom, then to Lor-Zod.
"For now, we fight. We attack. Then fall back. If the army thinks the Mutants have escaped Utopia, they will try to track them down rather than launch another all out attack." Then Jamie gets a grin. "And if they were to see a large number of mutants retreating, then they'd be more likely to believe that they escaped."
There's a quick glance at Lor then. "They 'put up' with people like them because they serve the military. Those that do not are killed, just like mutants." There's even a brief glance at The Dragon as that's said for some reason. All though as Johnny adds his bit, she just flat out grins.
"I think I can confuse them. I've broken into a few communication channels before," Channel responds, only realizing the irony of her statement once she makes it. "Okay. So, game plan is to cause a lot of chaos, see us escaping, and get them to commit their forces to a fruitless hunt," the woman says. "Avoid killing if we can avoid it though. We don't need to give them bulletin board material for why they hate mutants. Property damage should be enough," Channel suggests. She didn't want this to become a bloodbath, that much was clear to her.
"Ready when everyone else is".
Axiom just gives Johnny a curious look when he says to stay behind him. "Umm...alright," he says with a shrug. Jamie catches his attention and Axiom grins. "Actually, sir. I may be able to help you out," he says. "I can m-make people stronger," he adds, getting an idea. The power booster then nods in agreement to Jocelyn. "Sounds g-g-good to me. We go in, kick some butt, wreck some stuff, and then run for it. Let's do it!"
Lor-Zod nods a little to Nate, and says, "I don't want to be hated, I just... want to understand." He looks back to X-23 at her explanation and says, "Oh, that does make more sense. It's still bad, but makes sense." Then he nods, "I'm ready."
Nate peers at Lor-Zod, "yeah, we don't want to be hated either, but it not something that... well, not everything in humankind is nice and rational. Mutants are not better, really, just more powerful." He turns to Laura and sighs, "of course I will help you, you know you can count with me. At least you should know by now, hmm?"
The dragon looks from Channel to Johnny and back a couple of times then mutters, "The Rider... Shit." before focusing on Channel, "Ummm... Channel, we can try to minimize the bloodshed but... Ummm... Well, The Ghost Rider isn't exactly subtle when dealing with evil..." He turns to Johnny and adds, "Am I wrong about that?"
Regardless of Johnny's answer the dragon takes a big breath and lets out a sigh large enough to ruffle everyone's hair in the cave, "But I'm in."
Madrox just sighs, "Yeah I'm in, of course." And hey, having him dupe it up and do his best to run away and fool people, well that's a good thing there as well. "Once we get out there, give me some room, please. I'll need it to help us make a small army of our own. Anyone have some type of weapon I can borrow?" Hey anything he's carrying dupes with him, might as well have himself armed.
Johnny Blaze shrugs, almost sheepishly. "He uh.. The Rider does what it has to. It's not a person, doesn't feel pain, or mercy, or compassion. I can TRY to instill that .. force some measure of humanity into it's mind. But it's an entity all on it's own. I'm just along for the ride more often then not. Usually.. I don't WANT it to come out. But this is a worthy endeavor. But if I know the Rider.. he's going to walk into the lions den so to speak, and rip the lions heart out. Whatever commander the troops are following... And when the Rider finds him.. well.. it's not pretty." He says and shrugs a little once more.
And as people more or less keep saying they're all in... X-23 nods, before reaching over for a bag, which she up and tosses at Jamie. Inside said bag is a couple of guns, including an energy rifle, and even a few grenades.
The Space Phantom on the other hand just nods, and...
Suddenly the whole group is elsewhere. There's no noise. No flash of light. No transition. They're just in one spot one moment, and in another the next.
In fact, now they're out in the open. And it's night out. And the full moon is high in the sky. And roughly one hundred yards away at most...?
Yeah. There's the army. And they apparently haven't noticed the 'heroes' just yet. But odds are they will, and /SOON/. Especially if people attack them first.
There's a frown, but Channel says nothing. It was what it was, and there wasn't a lot of choice in the matter. She just gives Johnny a nod, and waits for the inevitable teleport into the lion's den, so to speak.
She isn't disappointed, as she spots all sorts of lovely, lovely transmissions with her energy sight. She fiddles with the communications equipment on her x-suit to pick up some of those frequencies, just so she can listen in on what is going on. She makes sure she's plenty away from Jamie and charges herself up to 'fully charged' in the process. Focusing on those energy weapons, the woman reaches out with her energy absorption and attempts to start draining them so their weapons just don't work anymore. Hey, the less armed the army is, the better, in her opinion. Plus it was relatively subtle, all things considered.
She'd save the initial wave of booms for some of the others here. She was going to play this a little more subtle today. "Showtime, everyone," the woman says as she takes off into the air. Hitting a flying, moving target would be all sorts of fun for the army.
Also there is a pretty steady, almost non-stop barrage towards the barrier from the soldiers and tanks closest to it.
Axiom frowns deeply at that information. He hoped it wouldn't be so bad. As they disappear and reappear, he stumbles slightly but stays on his feet. Moving aside to give Jamie room, Axiom glances at the others and then focuses on Lor-Zod. Since Jamie seemed to have things covered, Axiom was going with another plan. "Umm, hey. Is it alright if I use my p-p-powers on you? I make other people stronger and it shocks some people," he asks the young alien.
Lor-Zod looks up to Axiom and nods quickly, "Alright! Thanks!" He's sounding even more comfortable with English than the day before, even though it's only been a day. He gives a moment for Axiom to do whatever he's going to do, then he zips towards one of the tanks attacking the barrier, jumping on top and trying to rip the cannon from the machine, as much a test of his strength as an attempt to stop the machine from attacking.
Nate has been scanning the Phantom's mind, so the shift doesn't surprise him much. That must be his mysterious Master in action. Now it looks like eight people, one of which is a kid, are going to do what two hundred mutants can't do by themselves. And without killing any soldier. "This is going to be so fun," he deadpans. Then his left eye glows bright as the sun, and the closest dozen tanks are turned upside down, like giant tortoises pushed by invisible hands. That... probably won't hurt the crews much, right?
he dragon takes to the wing both to give Maddrox some space as requested and clearly looking for something as he flies around in a little circle, head swinging back and forth on its serpentine neck. And almost immediately he finds what he's looking for, diving down he swoops back up with a boulder in its front paws, big enough to weight about three hundered pounds then starts flying towards the army and climbing until he's about a 200 feet up. Once he's found a good line of two or three tanks he dives, picking up speed and then lets go of the boulder, aimed at the first tank in the row, and peels off.
Johnny Blaze is on his knees moments after the transition, doubled over as if in pain, hugging himself so tighly it looks like he's trying to keep his insides from bursting. "I'd suggest running.." He says, spittple flying from his lips, literal flames in his eyes. The stench of evil around him is intense, the Rider is almost literally clawing at his insides, trying to rip a hole in him to get out and get at these men.
Hardened soldiers all, most are veterans, all have committed war crimes and atrocities of some kind. Rape, murder, and torture are all in the mix.
But with his compatriots already moving, already attacking, he simply lets go, let's the Rider loose into the world. His face and head are incinerated as the flames within come roaring out, his shoulder rivets turn to spikes, and the chain wrapped around him glows a dull cherry red. For those around him, the heat he radiates is uncomfortable at best. Paying no heed to those around him, he starts walking forward, parting the line of men with searing flames from his leather gauntleted hands.
As the teleport ends, X-23 slinks forward, and appears almost to vanish into the shadows of the army.
The Space Phantom meanwhile is nowhere to be found after the teleport.
Among the communications Channel may pick up, there's a signal indicating that there's a general on site. And that within the next few minutes /EVERYONE/ and every Tank and vehicle is suppose to be firing on the telekinetic force field.
But in addition to that, some of the weapons are drained. It's not a fast drain. In fact it's almost as if they're somehow resisting being drained.
All though as Axiom boosts Lor-Zod, and then Lor attacks, that plan goes out the window! Heck, as a dozen or so tanks go skyward, there's all sorts of panicked screams in the camp. All though a few people realize that there's people nearby, thus a shout rings out, "The mutants are outside the city! Kill them all!"
All though while Jamie gets the room to need to do what he's doing, the dragon drops those boulders on other vehicles, somehow causing them to explode.
And then there's Johnny. As he lets The Rider do what he does, the soldiers not in vehicles start to fire at him, as well as anyone and everyone in sight. But many, a swathe pretty much directly in the path of The Spirit of Vengeance, are dealt with via fire and brimstone.
"Keep attacking!" can be heard from somewhere in the military camp.
Just tossing an idle 'comment' into the communications, Channel says "They've turned our attack against us! They're outside!" Because a random person on communications saying that isn't too out of place, and she'd like to start the soldiers moving in the right direction, thinking they'd been duped.
Then the woman takes aim with her hands and starts letting off some kinetic energy blasts at the tanks and soldiers. Strong enough to knock people over, but it isn't likely to make anything explode. Part of that is her limitation while flying, but if she can draw away some of the fire, that would be good too. Yep, it was a classic aerial diversionary tactic meant to cause chaos amongst the troops.
When he gets his answer, Axiom smiles. "Brace yourself," he cautions before hia eyes light up and he applies his abilities to Lor-Zod. The young kryptonian will find himself a lot stronger, his energies recharged, and healing faster than normal. A moment later, Axiom mimicks Lor-Zod's powers and his costume shifts into a fusion of his own and the alien's suit. He pauses at the unusual feeling of familiarity but shakes it off when he gets shot at. The Rider gets a wary look before Axiom takes to the air and flies after Lor-Zod to join him in tank wrecking, trying to rip the hatch off the first tank so he can yank people out of it.
Lor-Zod looks up to Axiom as he throws the ripped-off cannon at another tank. "You already know how to fly? How do you do it? I keep trying and all I do is jump around." As if to demonstrate, he jumps over to another tank, this time lifting the side to flip it over on its back, copying Nate's attacks.
When the bullets start flying, Nate raises a telekinetic barrier to protect himself and those others close to him. He keeps hitting the tanks and other armoured vehicles within eyesight, flipping them over and rendering them useless without much destruction, and ignores the foot soldiers unless they come too close. |"Watch out for aircraft"| he projects into the minds of the others. |"An army force of this size may have air support nearby"|
"Shit! Exploding boulders? What kind of future are we in?" OK, the idea was to minimize army casualties and exploding tanks does /not/ do that. So the dragon switches tactics. Finding the closest sapling with a decent, wide, leafy top he rips it out of the ground then takes to the wing again. This time he flies to the side of the army, climbing as he goes then dives to pick up speed, dragging the top of the sapling close to the ground, aiming to knock as many enemy soldiers off their feet as possible. Once he's lost too much momentum he just drops the sapling on the soldiers and looks for more height again to get out of firing range.
Jamie is given the room that he requested when everyone has taken off and starts to do their own thing. Once he has that he starts to snap his fingers and proceeds to make dupes. Every dupe that he makes starts to do the same action as well so well the dupes, they just keep on coming. Soon, Jamie has made a small army of regular dupes. Hey they aren't special, but they damn sure have a ton of them. And the dupes, well they just start charging at the nearest regular army guys, they're not stupid enough to fight tanks. But well maybe a group of people running at you is enough to distract people.
Ghost Rider has no such concerns for casualties, has no mercy for those who are attacking him. Dozens, hundreds.. thousands of rounds are pumped into him from the soliders who must be growing increasingly terrified of the fiery abomination that is ignoring their best efforts to bring him down. But then they turn a tank on him, the barrel spinning to engage him. But without missing a beat, he jumps up atop the tread, then up next to the hatch. He needs not open it, spiked gauntlets lay hands on the hardened steel of the vehicle and he laughs, an eerie sound to those he has allied with, terrifying to those opposing him, his jaw works, but there is no flesh to generate a laugh, yet he's doing it.
His hands erupt in flame, which curls down along the hull of the tank, blackening the armor where it goes, creating rents in the hull that look like molten steel, able to see the inner workings, and the crew inside. Screams of pain and terror can be heard from within the thing, the soldiers throwing the hatch open and fighting each other to get out, small fires igniting on their gear, their faces red and raw from the heat.
The Rider twists and drops down into the cockpit, flames erupting from the barrel of the cannon, chains slithering over the treads to reinforce them, demonic skulls and runes etching themselves in the armor. His ride ready, the Rider turns the barrel, and spits a fireball as big as a tractor trailor across the field, detonating several lines of tanks making thier way in to engage. Fight Fire.. with Fire.
That comment that Channel manages to make on the armies radios has an effect. Possibly even the desired effect, as anyone and everyone in the army who wasn't fighting turns and starts to attack. Heck, even units on the far side of the citidel start to turn and try to move so they can join the attack.
Of course physically Jocelyn does knock some soldiers down. And those that do try to get back up. but they don't do that quickly. It's almost as if their very armor is slowing them down and making that feat so much harder.
Of course the tanks may as well be made of paper. At least when compared to the strength of a /pair/ of kryptonians (one real, and one mimic). Thus the armored units are destroyed rather easily. And yet, as they are destroyed, a small handful of soldiers, armed with even odder looking guns come out. Said guns appear almost to do nothing. That is /unless/ you're kryptonian. Because then well... It's kind of like being hit with a concentrated blast of red sunlight if you're hit! So be careful!
Of course as Nate telepathically says what he says, a noise can be heard. it's not jets, or fighters. Instead it sounds almost like helicopters which are headed this way! Thus while he rips into tanks, he may very well find other things happening if he waits too long.
The dragon meanwhile knocks over soldiers left and right with his tree trick. Unfortunately though, as they fall, some of them still somehow manage to open fire with energy weapons in his direction.
On the other hand, as one army guy notices the army of Dupes, he all but screams something into his radio, "The citidel must be empty! There's gotta be a couple of hundred people right here alone!"
Yeah, it's probably a good thing that in this light that the army guys can't see that the dupes all have the same face.
In addition to the screams of terror and agony from inside that tank Ghost Rider is 'dealing with', music can be heard. Music that the occupants may have been listening to.
o/~ Rider... Jump! o/~
o/~ Rider... Kick! o/~
o/~ Kamen Rider... Kamen Rider... Rider... Rider... o/~
As that tank starts to fire... Well, fire at soldiers and tanks, something odd happens. The forcefield to the citidel in the background starts to flicker, and even waver.
Well, that was something anyway. Of course, now there were helicopters coming this way, and that was something Channel could do something about. She aims some electrical energy at the incoming helicopters in an attempt to fry their electronics, which should force them to land or have a lot harder time manuevering in a manner that is remotely effective. She can see that something is happening to the forcefield, but it's not from outside, so there wasn't much Jocelyn could do about it. She doesn't know about those guns and what they do to Kryptonians either, so she continues on her path of breaking things, though a glance is given to the dupe wall. "Get moving!" she calls towards them, hoping they take the hint and bolt. The idea was to be a lure and get the army away from the citadel, not keep them focused here.
"I've copied powers like yours b-before," Axiom explains quickly. "My powers sort of just...make the information pop into my head. I'm n-not entirely sure how I do it," he admits. Reaching down into the tank, Axiom grabs one soldier and tosses him into some of the other soldiers. Army Bowling! Of course the sight of odd looking guns makes him pause. Borrowed invulnerability or not, he's not as tough as the original so he doesn't want to chance getting shot with any super science lasers. Especially not after being shot the previous night. That hurt. So he blurs into borrowed super speed, trying to grab and smash as many of the guns as possible. Channel's call gets a nod. "Time's up!" he adds to the mutant's call.
Lor-Zod smashes another couple tanks as he says, "Oh, I guess I'll..." He's speeding towards the next target when he gets hit with one of those beams, and he ends up toppling into the next tank, and looks more bruised than the tank instead of the other way around.
Helicopters? Now, that is going to be a problem. At least to bring them down without killing anyone. Nate stops wrecking armoured vehicles, most of those within his sight are already useless anyway, and instead reaches with his telepathy to try to find all the aircraft. |"We can't outrun them if we are going to keep with the plan of making them believe the mutants are fleeing"| he notes. Not that the Ghost Rider seems to be interested in any plan. |"We are going to have to shot them down"|
Ghost Rider revs his engines, the barrel of his tank spitting fireballs out across the opposing army. Even as he drives into the mayhem, machinegun fire and even a few energy weapons smack into his ride, mostly pinging off the hardened armor, or scorching the armor a bit more. Hard to hurt the Riders chosen ride with fire. He's running people over, blowing holes in thier offensive line, a terrifying sight to behold. Even the tracks he leaves behind him are quietly burning. Hi runs over the broken shell of one of the tanks he blew up, his line of destruction making a beeline for a central point, where the defenses are the thickest. Something there that catches his eyeholes
The dragon roll out of the way of the shots being aimed his way, still climbing. However, dragons make big targets. Up until now he's talked like a normal human being but as energy beams and bullets his him he lets out a very draconic roar of pain.
As he flies back towards the Maddrox army and Nate he trails little lines of ichor for several holes in his wings and some missing scales on his front paw. Clearly his scales are not entirely bullet proof, even thought they probably provide more protection than the soldiers where hoping for. As he nears Nate he skims the ground and starts to change. For a moment a dragons sized amoeba is just falling throught he air then Gabriel is tucking and rolling as he lands.
Ass****s! That hurts. And here I was trying to keep them alive. Time for a change of tactics. Dude, I know I don't know you, but can I copy you real quick?" Without waiting he puts a hand on Nate shoulder and about three seconds later Nate has a twin standing right next to him, trailing blood from some superficial injuries along his back and a groove in his forearm.
Woot Jamie's plan is working, see an army of dupes is totally distracting the normal army guys. Hopefully the army of dupes will just make sure they feel that all the mutants have gotten desperate. Plus Jamie is just really using his army to try and get towards the way the norms came in. See plan works, just making them feel he's running away.
In fact, as people like Jocelyn and Axiom call out for the 'mutants' to retreat, a voice... The voice of The Space Phantom booms, and can be heard echoing through the area, "Mutants! Retreat! We've got to reach the island!"
Of course those incoming helicopters have a lot to worry about. Because as Jocelyn fires off some electricity at them, they are fried. And some even start to crash. But the rest are easily found by Nate. In fact there's only maybe a half dozen of them left already. But as he scans, he may detect something higher above. Much higher. A stealth bomber. And if he focused on the pilots he may even pick up the fact that this bomber has nukes onboard.
And as Lor falls (for the moment), /most/ of those guns are grabbed and smashed. And yet even as he does that, "The readings were right! We have more Kryptonians here! Catch them for Weapons Plus!" is shouted by one soldier. But just a moment or two after he says that, he crumples over, dead. If one were to look close right as he falls, they might see that older X-23 for a moment again, before she fades back into the shadows.
Meanwhile, as The Kamen... Errr... Ghost Rider continues to flaunt his tank, the section of the army that is the thickest is the oncoming reinforcements who were around other parts of the citidel. Worse, they appear to be focusing on him as well as at least a half dozen tanks and who knows how many soldiers open fore on him. Heck, some of them are even armed with portable missile launchers.
As the dragon vanishes, some of the soldiers down below are bewildered. They pause, and then well... They try to find another target to fire on. But in the moment or two they search, they're wide open to be 'dealt with'. Or at least that's until they start to see Jamies dupes running, which catches the attention of those soldiers as well as others, who try to give chase and fire on them!
When he sees Loz-Zod crash into a tank, Axiom lets out a surprised little noise. Kicking the soldier who's gun he just stole, he rushes over to the alien he's mimicking. "Lor, are you alright?" he asks, offering a hand to help him up. "C'mon, we n-n-need to get out of here," he adds. If Lor accepts his hand, Axiom will pick him right up to carry him during their retreat.
"The what?" Nate didn't expect the dragon to be able to do /that/. Of course he actually had no idea the dragon (well, flying, talking lizard guy) was not a real dragon. "Careful with the telepathy, not the easier power to master quickly," he mentions. It is even worse with Nate's powers, which are jacked up to the eleventh through genetic engineering. Pretty overwhelming. He can't help Gabriel though, he just 'saw' the bomber. |"Half a dozen choppers heading your way from the east, Channel. And... shit, a bomber..."| He cuts the telepathics, jumping up and becoming supersonic barely a hundred yards over the battlefield. A very visible golden comet rising ten miles in ten seconds, and the last thing the stealth bomber's crew will see before dying as the airplane explodes.
Lor-Zod blinks a few times, and says in Kryptonian, "<What was that?>" He looks up to Axiom though and nods quickly, taking the offered hand and the help up. "I'm fine, I think." When they end up flying he relaxes and focuses on trying to figure out how he's doing it.
Channel doesn't really like bombers very much. No, no she doesnt. Channel looks up at the bomber that is going to explode. She lets off another set of electrical blasts and then draws in some kinetic energy to try and blast the blades off the choppers and force them to make emergency landings. She didn't want those birds in the air. Then Channel is flying upwards quickly, attempting to see if she can spot her fellow mutant, her energy absorption shields up in case anything makes it's way down towards them.
Ga'ate wastes precious seconds just staring at Nate before saying, "Wow dude...". Hiw tone of voice carries a mix of awe and sadness to it. But after those few seconds of surprise he turns to face the army that's started chacing them and, eye aglow, he creates a wide telekinetic barrier to cover the Army of Madrox's retreat, forming it right behind Axiom and Lor-Zed as soon as they clear the enemy army.
The Dupe Army is running away, and yes they are fired on, and some of the poor dupes, well they are taken down thanks to firing. Hey it makes it look even better, some of the poor muties are dead, even better right? Of course a few of the dupes decide to have some fun with the army guys, and yes they moon them. Hey it worked in that Braveheart movie!
And the sky above the battlefield becomes as bright as day for a moment or two as that bomber is destroyed, and its payload explodes without being released. But, if Nate hadn't acted, who knows what people would be facing down below...
Not to much farther below, the remaining chopper are 'disabled' thanks to Jocelyn, who doesn't have much to worry about in regards to debris of fall out from that bomber. In fact, it's as if the very aircraft up above was vaporized by what happened.
On the ground though, the shield to the citidel finally falters and falls. As it does, it reveals a rather large, and technologically advanced looking building. One that looks like it had a lot of use though, and may have been put together out of scrap. One that appears to be utterly, and completely /empty/. Which is a fact that is noticed by the soldiers as more and more try to go after the retreating Madrox dupes, only to be stopped by Gabriels telekinetic forcefield. In fact, it's almost as if the sight of the empty citidel and retreating army of dupes is enough to draw their attention away from both Lor and Axiom for the moment, which may very well end up being a big mistake.
With the aircraft disabled and the soldiers chasing the dupes, Channel decides that it's time for her to start moving, and she starts flying off in the same direction as the dupes, dropping kinetic bursts down at the enemy soldiers in an attempt to slow them down. She didn't know how Jamie felt when one of his dupes died, but she couldn't imagine it was a good feeling, so dropping some cover fire made sense to the woman.
Axiom just gives Lor a slightly lost look as he speaks in Kryptonian. "Are you sure?" he asks, worried about the sudden tumble. Of course when he sees those soldiers stopped by Gabe-Nate's barrier, Axiom gets an idea. "Hold on tight and get ready," he warns Lor, putting one hand out as he makes a sweeping dive at the soldiers in hopes of bowling through as many of them as possible before getting back to the retreat. The sudden explosion in the sky almost has him crash though. "What the...what was that?!"
Lor-Zod nods and smiles, "Yeah, I feel better now. Whatever it was hurt, but I'm ok." And as they dive into their attack run, he stretches out, his weight lifting as he finally figures out at least the basics of how to fly. He keeps a grip on Axiom's hand so their arms can clothesline the soldiers. He, too, looks up at the explosion, eyes wide. "Don't know."
Ten miles up Nate lets himself fall among the debris of the stealth bomber. Still protected by his telekinesis, although now not so intensely as to glow brightly. From here he can feel the battlefield much better. Not much to see in the darkness, besides some fire, but all the minds down there are like candles of multi-colored light to his telepathy. Easy to see all the soldiers, and his allies fleeing. But where are the 200 mutant survivors?
Ga'ate focuses on keeping as big a barrier as possible going to keep any of more of the Dupe Army from getting shot. As the army's move he slowly backsteps, sweat popping up first on his forehead then just starting to drip and mix with the blood from his injuries. And the glow from his eye becomes more intense and starts to spread to encompass his whole body as more and more pressure is put on his barrier even though he's trying to move it along so not too many enemies pack up against it.
Channel Changer Lady was right, yeah it doesn't feel good when the dupes were killed. But with this many dupes, all focused on trying to be a distraction, they were able to focus past the pain of that one. But hey he did his job, made the stupid people think that he was the crowd of mutants! But of course he was a crowd of a mutants so that helps.
Soldiers are sent flying this way and that due to the combined actions of Channel, Axiom, and Lor-Zod, while Gabriel keeps a barrier up between the Madrox Dupes and the human army. It's hard to keep track of who falls, when, and where. Not to mention which person actually bowls them over.
And yet, as the heroes retreat, the citidel, Utopia, starts to explode.
It isn't one big explosion. It's more like a series of small ones. But they came fast and hard. And it's almost as if in a matter of moments the whole place is imploding due to the explosions too.
That is before the whole group up and is moved again. They reappear standing on what looks like a barren polar watseland, but for some reason there's something akin to a crystal city there. On top of that, the Space Phantom is with the group, and no one should be feeling cold.
"Behold Haven. The last, best hope for mutants. A city away from the prying eyes of Humanity. A humanity that without mutants, quickly turns on itself in a war that destroys it, allowing the mutants of this hidden city to eventually come out and take their place as the true inheritors of The Earth."
And with that said, things change again. And everyone finds themselves back, exactly where they were, doing what they were, when they were grabbed this time."
Jamie finds himself back at the steakout that he was on. What the heck, and all his dupes are now gone as well, this is just strange. "Maybe the detective dupe that commited suicide was right. I just just get a nice boring job, like a SHIELD agent or something..."
Reappearing on a rooftop and no longer boosting or mimicking Lor-Zod, Axiom sighs. Looking around, he runs a hand through his hair. "Right...g-g-got to get back home," he murmurs. Time to write this all down for the others!
Lor-Zod blinks as he suddenly finds himself back at the centre of attention of a bunch of people on the street, mouth half-open mid-question he was going to ask Space Phantom. Looking around at all the people, he has an escape this time. Lifting into the air, he makes his way back quickly, though perhaps still a little wobbly in the air, towards the Hall of Justice.
Ga'ate smiles as he takes in the crystaline city. He's about to say something when suddenly he's back where he came from. He hovers in the air for a moment looking down at the lake he'd been overflying as a dragon when he was pulled into the future. He has just enough to to let out an "Oh. Crap!" before he starts falling, trying deperately to figure out how to use TK to fly. And he finds out just in time to keep himself from getting killed when he hits the surface of the lake. After a moment he comes out, sputtering water. "Figures..."