View Full Version : TNU - Chapter Five - Welcoming Party
06-08-2012, 04:45 PM
((OOC: Continued from TNU Chapter Three (http://baku-panda.org/ux/showthread.php?3748-TNU-Chapter-Three-Up-Up-and-Away%21).))
“Alright guys,” Corsair called back to the team behind him, hands firmly on the controls of the ship. “We’re about to exit the stargate. If my reprogramming was correct, we should be a far enough distance away from Chandilar, which would give us the advantage of a quiet approach.”
Major Christopher Summers took in a deep breath as he watched the ship’s internal chronometer tick away the final seconds left in their faster-than-light state. As the clock hit zero, he sat up firmly in his chair, hands firmly clasped on the flight controls, and peered through the main display.
Waiting for them on the other side of the stargate were four Shi’ar battlecruisers and a smaller fleet of scout and fighter ships. Rather than spit them out a safe distance away from the palace, Corsair had inadvertently programmed the stargate to deposit them only mere kilometers from the palace itself.
“Heh,” he chuckled sheepishly, his limbs instinctively going into action to raise shields and begin evasive maneuvers. “Did I say quiet approach?”
As the Starjammer veered suddenly to the side and away from the closest battle cruiser, the communications channel of the vessel began to light up with a new signal. Despite Corsair’s best piloting effort, fighter drones began to form up on either side of his ship, signaling that he was officially being escorted and had nowhere else to go. As Chris looked to the computer system at his fingertips, he acknowledged that the battle cruisers all had weapons lock achieved, and that even if he could break out of the formation, they could blow them away within seconds.
Checking for Cyclops’s approval, Corsair initiated the communications channel, receiving the incoming message.
“Incoming ship, you have been identified as the Starjammer, piloted by the space pirate Corsair--”
“My reputation precedes me,” snipped the X-Men’s chauffeur.
“—and you have illegally accessed a Shi’ar stargate. Furthermore, your connection with the Terran resistance group known as the X-Men makes you a person of interest to the Empire. You are to lower your shields and follow your escort to the Shi’ar Imperial Palace, where you will dock and be boarded. Over.”
Corsair turned his pilot’s chair around and placed his hands on his knees, a gesture that indicated he was going to level with the X-Men. “Well, we’ve got their attention. If you really do intend to use bird-boy back there as a negotiating piece, then my advice would be to do what they say. Let’s dock and meet them face to face.”
Leaning back in his chair, Corsair waited patiently for a response.
06-08-2012, 04:47 PM
Cyclops braced himself for whatever adjustment in speed might accompany their leaving the stargate, his brain already beginning to formulate possible plans of arrival since Corsair assured them they’d exit faster-than-light speed at a safe enough distance from the Shi’ar homeworld to have some options. A direct approach was one option, and it would support their argument for peaceful negotiation. Cyclops didn’t want to consider a potential jailbreak just yet; not only would it be a more dangerous and difficult mission, but the consequences would be severe, not only for the X-Men, but for their planet as well.
Of course, his planning wouldn’t make one bit of difference, seeing as Corsair miscalculated when he reprogrammed the stargate, thus dropping the X-Men and their ship right into the middle of a Shi’ar Imperial fleet.
“Dad,” Cyclops said in annoyance, rising from his own chair so that he could approach the main display and look at the force that was waiting for them.
“Did I say quiet approach?” Corsair offered shamefacedly, giving his son a bit of wry smile.
Scott simply shook his head, and returned his gaze to the large number of ships visible through the display screen. Flashing on the console below him as a signal that an incoming communication channel was available. With their arrival completely announced, Cyclops didn’t see much harm in answering the phone. Giving Corsair a nod, he walked away from the pilot’s console as he listened to the welcoming message.
Ignoring his father’s continual need for quips, Cyclops crossed his arms and considered the request of the Imperium. It was simple enough – due to their misues of the stargate and their appearance in Shi’ar space, they were to power down their shields and dock at the palace, where some sort of boarding party was waiting for them. Scott didn’t quite like the idea of a Shi’ar boarding party coming onto the Starjammer; if things went sour and a fight broke out, space would be limited and the risk of puncturing the hull of the ship and exposing the entire group to the deadly effects of outer space were great.
The message ended, and silence permeated the ship. Finally, Corsair spoke up, acknowledging that there wasn’t much they could do at this point besides follow suit and dock at the palace. Cyclops couldn’t help but agree. Any rash decisions at this point would damage their ability to negotiate later, and the safety of their captured people was the primary concern. This wasn’t exactly how he’d intended for them to arrive, but Scott had to play the hand that was dealt.
“Tell them we’ll dock as requested,” Cyclops said, stepping back towards the display window. “But let them know we’re here for our prisoners, and we have one of our own.”
Returning to his seat, Cyclops stood next to the chair as Corsair relayed the message. The Shi’ar responded with silence, but their fighter drones continued to escort the Starjammer towards the Imperial Palace. Corsair’s piloting was steady and precise, and Cyclops appreciated his father’s seriousness, knowing even the slightest surprise could have fatal consequences. Turning back to the X-Men, Cyclops looked to his wife for her assistance. Without missing a beat, Jean connected all of their minds telepathically, so that Scott could give them a gameplan without alerting the Shi’ar prisoner to what they were discussing. The last thing they needed was for him to blurt out everything they’d said the second the boarding party arrived.
~We have to be careful how we play this,~ Scott began, looking around the ship to the other X-Men who had so courageously agreed to follow him on this mission. ~The Shi’ar are already out for blood because of what happened to the Professor, and we don’t want to give them an excuse to escalate things. That said, we’re not leaving here without our people. Stay firm, stay alert, but be careful.~ Cyclops’s attention turned back to Jean, as he added an addendum that he hadn’t run by her first but assumed wouldn’t be an issue. ~We’ll keep this telepathic line open in case we need it.~
Almost on cue, the ship lurched back and forth, a movement accompanied by a loud clang that told all inside that the docking procedure had finished. Corsair rose from his pilot’s seat and walked towards the ship’s rear hatch, looking back at the X-Men to determine their readiness.
Leading the way to the rear hatch, Cyclops grabbed Za’Ken by the arm on the way, hoisting him up out of the chair and pushing him forward. Scott made one last visual sweep of his team, making sure they were prepared for what was to come, before giving Corsair the nod to open the hatch and allow the Shi’ar boarding party to enter.
06-10-2012, 08:47 PM
Thanks to Corsair's piloting, the X-Men and their prisoner are near docking with the Shi'ar stargate. Rogue's body tensed in the moment while surveying the action quietly. Arms crossed, the girl who's usually a fiesty southerner remained collected than normal during the trip. Except for when talked with Za'Ken. It all comes down to the fact that she hopes she and her teammates will get to reunite with their mentor. Not to mention be able to save Havok and Syaoran too.
Glancing over at Jean, Rogue wondered if the telepath had her mind on Syaoran at some point during the travel, realizing how close they are to the docking point. Jean must be itching to see her little boy. At least that is what Rogue was thinking. Slowly, her eyes diverted over to Gambit. The Cajun resting cooly in his chair, probably fumbling with his cards. Rogue saw how Wolverine and Gambit made up for their recent transgression before the team left the mansion.
Wolvie's intentions at the mansion might have been out of care for the skunk-haired Rogue, which only the southern girl could slightly smile at. It was sweet to know her friends had her back given the drama that went down between herself and the swamp rat. Rogue had been mad at Gambit for a long time. But when the boy showed back up at the mansion, then seeing him for the first time since he myseriously left after the mission in Rockefeller that she led -and suddenly things were different. She didn't want to be mad. She just wanted answers or rather an opportunity to talk and open up with him.
Finally being able to talk in the kitchen like they did and open up about their feelings, it felt nice to just talk. Ever since, Remy's been sweet...and cute. However, Rogue knows that Gambit's got a talent for charming people. Admittingly, even Rogue knows Gambit can charm her. She wondered if Remy really loved her at all. Back the mansion when the fool just up and kissed her like he did, she felt his emotions. He has a very strong tie and love for her. She felt it. The kiss was brief, but it was hard to discenern, yet instinctively and given all the pair have been through together - she wants to belive Remy does love her with all his heart.
Why there is still some questioning about it, Rogue isn't sure. Yes, she has every right to question or even doubt Gambit's feelings because of what happened with the baby and Gambit distancing himself like he did. The kiss on the other hand...there was something else. Remy's memorie felt dark and even jumbled. Something that even he is protecting from the world around him. What that is about, Rogue did not have answer. She hopes that whatever it is, it is not hurting the man she loves deeply. It is no secret that Rogue loves Gambit with all her heart. Too bad all the answers and decisions can't be made right away when it comes to the two of them.
Giving Gambit a polite nod, Rogue then felt cut off by the telepathic intrusion of Scott's voice in her head. She looked over at Jean, seeing that she was making the connection for everyone. Keeping a telepathic link amongst the team is a great idea. Rogue gives proper credit to Scott and Jean for the idea.
She watched Corsair head to the rear of the ship and then Cyclops with Za'Ken in tow. Rogue grabbed a brown jacket to throw over her pink and yellow space uniform. She secretly wished she had on her usual green and yellow attire, but unfortunately was not available in her locker when she was changing back at the mansion. Rogue walked some steps over to Gambit's direction.
"Aw'right, sugah. Wan'na accompany a lady on ovah t'this stargate?" she playfully teased the Cajun with a small smile. As far as things go, Rogue decided it was time to rebuild and mend the fences in their relationship - whatever it is...and becomes.
06-11-2012, 01:02 AM
Gambit knew what this was going to lead to. Once the space pirate said what needed to be said, the Shi'ar was going to gun them all down. Gambit just knew what was going to happen. He could feel it, that lump already swelling in his throat. But eventually, Corsair and the X-Men soon arrived and they had a bargaining tool with them to ensure their lives remained in tact. Za'Ken was probably more pissed off about being captured and taken as their prisoner than they were about losing Xavier and the other two; but that was a hard assumption. The Cajun, however, shrugged off the fear like he always does and unbuckled himself upon their safe entrance through the Shi'ar stargate. This was feeling more and more like a SyFy channel original movie.
Everything seemed prepared and ready to proceed with their original plan but there was still much preparation to be made - especially mentally. Regardless, the Cajun thief simply relaxed comfortably in his seat with his gloved hands shuffling through an entire deck of cards. Why not? Gambit was known for staying cool and calm in the face of adversity and if the Shi'ar wanted to throw down, then by God he would oblige with a smile on his face! But that would not come until later, or so he had hoped. This mutant didn't really like fighting but when the odds were against you, sometimes, there was no easy way out. He was just happy that the flight was almost over and that their assignment would soon be completed. The Shi'ar wouldn't attack, would they?
His vow of never killing another human still remained in tact. The most helpful bit of info was that Gambit would not be fighting any humans. Their alien origin made them terrestrial and not of human origin, thus his vow would still be kept. It still felt rotten, though.
Suddenly, a familiar scent invaded his nostrils. Gambit's odd, creepy red eyes glanced upward and met with Rogue's own. She was so beautiful. He couldn't help but smile at her presence. But he still worried for her safety in this mission. There was no assurance whatsoever, and the guarantees about the team coming back alive was few and far between so yeah, he was worried and a little concerned... Okay, a lot concerned! But no one would ever know it. Standing up, the Cajun adjusted the lapels of his trench coat and pocketed the cards as he tilted his head toward Rogue with an intimate and rather badly timed sensual grin; it was rather suggestive. "Don' have t' ask me twice, chere! After all, what am I if not a gentleman t' a pretty lady?"
His tone and accent just seemed to 'purr' and his native tongue was rather intoxicating to listen to. And that was the point. Gambit glanced around the ship and realized that their landing had come to an abrupt halt thanks to the orders, and ignorance, of the Shi'ar. Corsair just wanted to make sure that everyone was alright. Cyclops already went to the back and grabbed up their little bargaining tool for this adventure as his red eyes narrowed into slits. He was giving their feathery victim an unpleasant glare because of how he had spoken to Rogue earlier. Then again, Remy was no hypocrite. He had done much worse to the girl. Hell, Remy wouldn't even forgive his own self for those dark days but they are where they belong: in the past.
The Cajun slipped his clever and tricky hand around Rogue's waist and turned to smile down at her. He was a little taller than her so the height thing they were used to by now. Gambit's eyes soon met with the curious hues of their team leader, Cyclops, as the Cajun gave a nod in agreement. "Y'know, if de Shi'ar have all dis equipment, is it possible dey been aware of us ever since? I mean, it ain't like dey cavemen or anyt'ing like dat, non? Maybe dey knew all along dat we would show up an' reclaim our friends an' family. Should we be worried?" Gambit asked, his red orbs blinking in anticipation of an answer. He turned and stared down at his southern belle as his grip around her waist was more firm. Gambit just didn't want to lose his one true love.
06-14-2012, 02:38 AM
Psylocke had fallen all but silent for the duration of the flight. Her mind had become distracted back at the mansion, and she had determined to set herself into a renewed focus by the time they arrived. She ignored the conversation between Rogue and the prisoner, whose name she did not bother to try to collect. Elisabeth tuned out the words as soon as Rogue began to threaten to use her powers, mentally turning up her nose at the thought. If Betsy could not read his mind faster, then Jean surely could. And then there was the charming invitation to brews by Logan to Remy. A wonderful idea, no doubt, but she would not allow herself to think of what happened when this mission was over. She was intent to focus on this mission alone.
Corsair's voice announced that they were going to arrive, and this snapped Betsy to her full attention. A quiet approach was ideal for her, thanks to her brief stint as an assassin, and she straightened in her chair to watch as it unfolded. Yet, as they passed through the stargate, Betsy's lips pursed tightly. They were surrounded already, and in mere seconds, the communications channel began to light up. The former pilot only barely listened to the exchange between the Shi'ar, Corsair, and Cyclops; her violet eyes were darting around to the fighter drones that encompassed them. Their aggressive pattern and flying made the message quite clear - be escorted or be shot down. Betsy's eyes darted to Jean. For a ship carrying the visage of the Phoenix force, they were off to a marvelous start.
Without many (or any that involved staying alive) options, Corsair followed the provided escorts to the landing bay. Psylocke braced for the familiar lurch of touchdown before immediately unbuckling and rising to her feet. She did not move, however, as Cyclops' thoughts were sent into her mind with the help of Jean. Though Scott spoke, Betsy's eyes remained on Jean.
~We have to be careful how we play this. The Shi’ar are already out for blood because of what happened to the Professor, and we don’t want to give them an excuse to escalate things. That said, we’re not leaving here without our people. Stay firm, stay alert, but be careful.~
Perhaps we already are a reason for them to escalate things, Betsy thought loudly.
Psylocke shifted the weight of her long purple locks behind her as Cyclops moved to the back, pushing the disgruntled prisoner in front of him. Her eyes were sharp, as she took a step to follow her leader. She was very sure that the idea of peaceful negotiations was fleeting, and she was ready to jump into battle. Of course, she wore a heavy calm that made her seem too comfortable, but that was because she would be ready when it all began. The only question that was left to answer was exactly when that was going to happen. As Gambit spoke up in his Louisiana drawl, Psylocke responded in harsh contrast with her delicate British accent. "Precisely. They know exactly why we have come here, and I'm sure have been expecting us. I think we should be very worried. Most likely we are walking right into a trap."
And with that, she waited for the hatch to open.
06-18-2012, 12:35 PM
As soon as Psylocke had finished uttering the words, the docking hatch began to hiss and turn open, clouds of atmospheric gases permeating into the Starjammer’s hull. The croak of the old ship’s hatch moving to one side couldn’t have helped the X-Men’s sense of foreboding, and while Cyclops was likely aware of the fact that the Shi’ar were expecting their presence, they didn’t really have much choice in the matter. And that’s exactly what the Shi’ar were counting on. Though conflict seemed to follow the X-Men like a dog chasing a car, they weren’t by their nature a violent or warlike group. For them to show up at the doorstep of the Shi’ar was a sign of respect and good intent. If only the Shi’ar shared those same feelings at this moment.
When the bulkhead parted ways, a full greeting party waited on the other end, led by none other than Gladiator himself, the praetor of the Imperial Guard. His red cloak billowed regally behind him as the oxygen from the ship mixed with the air of the Imperial palace. The guards that accompanied Gladiator held blaster rifles in their arms, though they were not raised at their guests, but rather being cradled, prepared for use at a moment’s notice. Gladiator himself exhibited no weapons; he didn’t need to. His entire being was a weapon, and he aimed it where the Majestrix pleased.
“X-Men,” he stated calmly, his face hard as stone and just as difficult to read. Gladiator had fought against the X-Men and alongside them; he had great respect for their skill in battle, but respect did not translate to fear or apprehension. If the Empress commanded it, he would charge without hesitation into the fray to defeat his enemy, whomever it should be. As it stood, one of these X-Men had attempted to take the life of the Majestrix’s consort. That Terran had been apprehended. There was no need for additional conflict, as the matter of intergalactic justice should have been settled. The Shi’ar retrieved their prisoner, and that was that. Any additional discussion on the matter would fall on deaf ears, as far as Gladiator was concerned. Of course, given the soft spot Lilandra has shown in the past for these Terrans, perhaps that wouldn’t be the case.
Catching himself in a thought that could be interpreted as being negative towards his better, Gladiator forced himself back into the situation. “You’re visit has not been cleared with our council, but we can surmise your motives. I suspect you desire an audience with the Majestrix. She’d like one with you as well. If you’ll follow me…”
The dozen guards, split six on each side of the passageway, turned sharply and stood at attention as Gladiator himself turned and led the group down the hallway. As the X-Men walked, the soldiers flanked them on both sides, their weapons still not raised but held as if doing so wouldn’t be much of an effort if they needed them. While the guards’ faces were difficult to read, a person skilled in observation would be able to pick up some distrust and anger masked around them. Perhaps that was to be expected given the situation, with the life of the consort in jeopardy at the hands of the one of the X-Men, but it would be hard for any of the mutants to shake the subconscious feelings that they were being viewed as prisoners as well rather than guests.
As they entered into the throne room, Gladiator continued to walk with purpose, his steps keeping them at a brisk pace so as to not waste time. As he saw it, the shorter the X-Men’s stay on the orbital palace, the easier his job was. The Empress’s consort had been attacked by one of these mutants, and now a whole landing party’s worth of them were here in the presence of the Majestrix. Had they come to finish the job? His senses were heightened, on full alert, ready to respond at a moment’s notice despite his outwardly stoic demeanor.
The group had nearly reached the throne itself, and around the room, dozens of Shi’ar officials and councilmen watched and whispered, particularly at the woman named Jean Grey, previously a host of the Phoenix Force and, thus, a special threat to the Shi’ar, as they saw it. Gladiator himself had been tempted to ask her to stay behind, but he thought such a command was best left to the Empress. After all, if the Phoenix was going to devour their homeworld and palace, it could do it equally as well from the Starjammer as it could the throne room itself.
Stepping aside as he reached the throne, Gladiator stood at attention. “Regent of the Shi'ar Imperium, Majestrix Lilandra Neramani!”
Gladiator watched keenly as Lilandra said nothing, offered no greeting or acknowledgement of the arrival of previous allies, waiting for the X-Men to make their first move.
06-26-2012, 10:01 PM
The physical jolt of the ship landing snapped Logan from his inner workings, pushing his thoughts aside by force due to the current predicament they found themselves in. Standing up and stretching out, he replaced the cowl and waited on Cyclops to finish up his speech, only half paying attention as the metallic door worked it's gears. Air hissed out, gears cranked as anticipation built within himself, Wolverine was never much of a patient man when it came to this kind of stuff. Finally the door slammed down and the mutants marched out cautiously, Logan decided to flank and stay a little behind Betsy.
The Imperial Guard was waiting as expected, nostrils flared as he took the individuals scents in, getting a bead on everyone present just in case the situation turned ugly..it had a habit of doing that lately. Logan locked eyes with Gladiator, the Mohawk-ed Adonis didn't seem to flinch or acknowledge the Canadian in passing as he delivered a message. Senses told him that the Guards were alarmed, itchy, but knew better than to fire without permission. Fear of Gladiator over fear of the mutants. As they walked along in silence Logan's ears picked up hushed whispers, archaic speech and the feeling of fear. He couldn't understand exactly what they were saying, but Wolverine could connect the dots well enough to know it all pointed back to Jean. The Shi'ar weren't exactly welcoming of Mutants, let alone the former harbinger of the Phoenix force they so dearly fear.
Logan only hoped that Gladiator had as tight a leash on his men as he thought, or else a lot of Shi'ar blood was going to get split this day in protection. With a grunt Wolverine folded his arms across his chest as they stopped, Lilandra up on her throne silently judging them only further irked him. This was Cyclops' card to play though, Logan could only simply grimace and accept what was to come, playing muscle for the team if worst came to worst. Standing around looking pretty was all the Mutant was good for right now, and he made sure to let all present know he was just more than a little ticked off.
06-28-2012, 10:04 PM
The Starjammer lurched out of faster-than-light speed, and immediately filling up the view panel at the front of the ship was an armada of Shi’ar space vessels. As Scott and his father exchanged some terse words, Jean Grey-Summers couldn’t help but feel a dull ache in her mind, her memory flashing back to a time when the Phoenix had been on trial for her life, the Imperium fighting for the right to put her to death and the X-Men fighting for her right to live. It hadn’t been Jean herself, but rather the body and essence that the Phoenix had duplicated before safely depositing Jean into the bottom of Jamaica Bay. But Jean carried with her the memories of the Phoenix’s time, and seeing the Shi’ar battle cruisers and scout ships staring back at her on the other side of the portal gave her a cold chill.
Cyclops’s tone from the rear of the ship allowed her to focus on something besides the heavy artillery waiting for them in deep space, and she listened carefully to his words. This was a fragile situation, one that could crumble into dust at the slightest shift of the wind. The X-Men would have to be careful of how they handled things from this point forward, as the last outcome they wanted was to put their own lives and the lives of those they’ve come for in jeopardy. As Gambit and Psylocke raised concerns about their approach, Jean gazed off into the distance, as if looking at something that wasn’t entirely there. “Trap or not, we have no choice.”
They weren’t exactly comforting words, but they were the truth nonetheless.
The ground began to shake beneath them, and the belly of the Starjammer groaned an uncomfortable signal to alert its passengers that they’ve docked with the Shi’ar orbital palace. Jean stood, placing a calming palm on the interior hull of the ship, pretending for a moment that it was sentient, trying to calm its quivers from being held in a captive state that was so very much against its nature. It was a feeling Jean herself could understand. She remained in the rear of the group as the bulkhead parted, revealing the heavily armed Shi’ar boarding party on the other side, led by their largest weapon of mass destruction, Gladiator.
His words were terse but not particularly hostile. Jean listened thoughtfully as he acknowledged their motives for being here, and communicated Lilandra’s desire to speak with them. As the guards that accompanied their praetor split into an escorting formation, Jean thought she caught a glimpse of something in Gladiator’s eye, as if there was something unsaid between the two of them, something he’d decided to hold back. Surely, she could understand his hesitation for seeing her here with the X-Men, given that one of the most destructive forces of the universe took her image while devouring worlds and waging war against the universe. But she was a different person now; she’d come so far since that fateful trip about Dr. Corbeau’s shuttle. Her control over not only her own powers but also her emotions and desires were matured. Surely Gladiator, and Lilandra as well, would feel no ill will from her presence on this mission. Surely, they would recognize the important roles that Charles, Alex, and Syaoran played within her own life, and acknowledge that as the reason for her accompanying this group.
Remaining near the back of the X-Men’s formation, she kept the pace with her escorts, watching as her teammates seemed tense but focused in their mission, following Gladiator until eventually they emptied into the Shi’ar throne room. Walking the distance towards Lilandra’s seat, Jean could hear the whispers and feel the stares around her in the room as the aliens recognized her likeness. She did her best to ignore their rather rude behavior, watching Gladiator step aside and announce Lilandra once they reached the throne. The Empress said nothing, no greeting or welcome for a group of individuals who had helped her attain this throne in the first place. It was, needless to say, rather off-putting. Jean looked towards Cyclops to see if he was going to announce their intentions, but he hesitated. Perhaps the enormity of it all weighed heavily on him, perhaps he was truly shocked that Lilandra was silently demanding the X-Men make their case without so much as a wave hello. Regardless, Jean didn’t particularly enjoy standing at attention like the performers of a circus any more than she had to. Stepping forward, she took the lead.
“Empress Lilandra,” she began, her hands clasp together in front of her in a gentle manner. “We very much appreciate your willingness to see us, despite our visit having not been cleared by your council. We come before you today to request the return of three individuals who were taken without their permission from our homeworld. One is Alex Summers, brother of Cyclops. Another is a Shi’ar boy named Syaoran, who has acclimated to being part of our family after crash landing on Earth. And the third is Professor Charles Xavier, who is in critical condition and requires the care of our best scientists and doctors.”
She allowed the request to hang in the air for a moment, making sure that everyone in the throne room understood the reasons for their arrival here, before continuing. “While we will not question or condemn the reasons for their apprehension, we do believe their rightful place is with us.”
07-02-2012, 02:29 PM
Fidgeting wasn’t entirely a regal reaction; no doubt some of the onlookers in the royal throneroom were slightly off put by Empress Lilandra’s inability to remain still. But she wasn’t herself lately, and while normally she’d project the height of a collected ruler, things were different now. In her mind, she blamed her changing behavior on the critical status of her consort, Professor Charles Xavier of Earth.  Charles was in a coma as the result of an attack by one of his own pupils, a man named Alexander Summers whom the Shi’ar now held as prisoner. Summers, the X-Man known as Havok, was brother to Scott Summers, an X-Man who had helped her in the past in the fight against her brother D’Ken. He was also son to Christopher Summers, the space pirate known as Corsair. Though Corsair’s Starjammers have been on Lilandra’s side a number of times in the past, they’ve also dissented against the Imperium when the opportunity allowed it and it was most profitable to them.
History be damned, Lilandra thought as she shifted again in her seat, the monitors to either side of her, manned by some of her closest military advisors, indicating that the X-Men had arrived and were in the process of docking with the orbital palace. What happened to Charles was not an act of mercy, and thus, no act of mercy will be granted in return, regardless of the circumstances.
This was a serious crime, and if she did not treat it seriously, then the quiet opposition she faced within her own empire would grow into more vocal voices, spouting off about how she couldn’t effectively protect the Empire as she couldn’t even protect her own mate. Lilandra would have no such thing; the authority of the Shi’ar Imperium was her full responsibility, and it would not be diminished by a small band of rogues who wanted time off for previous good behavior.
It would only be moments now, she thought to herself, straightening in her seat, a prison in and of itself but one she readily accepted. So far, the X-Men had behaved rationally. Although they must have reprogrammed a stargate in order to arrive here as quickly as they did, no doubt the work of Corsair and yet another offense to be added to his own individual record, they did not engage in the overwhelming force of the Shi’ar fleet, nor did they – at least as far as she knew to this point – try to circumvent an audience with the Majestrix by attempting to covertly rescue Charles and Alex.
The X-Men were putting their cards on the table, or so the Terran expression went, allowing Lilandra to sit back and watch as they laid out their demands – and let’s face it, they were a stubborn enough race that they would not view this as a true negotiation, but rather would have the gull to demand of the Shi’ar what they wanted. That was fine with Lilandra; they could bloviate as much as they’d like about what they want or what is fair, but ultimately, it was her choice, and their cunning tongues or manipulative mind powers would not change her mind.
As Gladiator led the group into the throne room, Lilandra’s eyes affixed firmly to the mutant Charles referred to as Jean Grey. Lilandra had met Grey before, though at the time, she’d come to understand that it wasn’t exactly Jean but instead a visage created by the Phoenix Force in her liking. The Empress’s skin prickled at the sight of the woman nonetheless; through her inability to control the cosmic worldeater that she’d come in contact with, she represented so much destruction in the universe.
Judging by the whispers and glares the woman was receiving from the rest of the throne room’s inhabitants, Lilandra wasn’t alone in her apprehension about Jean’s presence, let alone the audacity the X-Men demonstrated by even bringing her here in the first place.
Of course it was Phoenix who had to be the one to speak, attempting to soothe them with her poisonous words.
“Empress Lilandra, we very much appreciate your willingness to see us, despite our visit having not been cleared by your council. We come before you today to request the return of three individuals who were taken without their permission from our homeworld. One is Alex Summers, brother of Cyclops. Another is a Shi’ar boy named Syaoran, who has acclimated to being part of our family after crash landing on Earth. And the third is Professor Charles Xavier, who is in critical condition and requires the care of our best scientists and doctors.”
Request. So it was as she foresaw. The X-Men were not interested in what was best for Charles or the laws of the Shi’ar Empire. They were not interested in seeing the man responsible for nearly killing their mentor brought to justice. They were not interested in coming to an agreement that would satisfy interstellar law. They were here to request what they wanted. A time ago, another version of Lilandra may have been willing to listen to their request, to even entertain the idea that perhaps the X-Men were the holders of truth and everything was not quite how it seemed. But that was a different time; the Lilandra that sat in front of them today, stone faced and unremorseful, would have nothing of such thoughts. 
The Phoenix was not done devouring etiquette just as she did worlds, as she continued, “While we will not question or condemn the reasons for their apprehension, we do believe their rightful place is with us.”
“What you believe is inconsequential,” Lilandra snapped immediately, rising from her throne as a display of power, authority. This woman spoke of a Shi’ar boy that had been taken from them as well, and while Lilandra knew nothing about the arrival of such a child, she did not let the momentary confusion faze her. She was being challenged, and it was not acceptable. “A crime was committed, and justice needs to be done.”
It appeared as though the cosmic visage wished to interject, but Lilandra waved a hand to signal that their time to speak had come and gone. “Alexander Summers is charged with the attempted assassination of a Shi’ar consort, and he will be tried according to Shi’ar law. As his next of kin, you will be permitted to observe the proceedings.” She allowed the corner of her mouth to turn up into a smirk, relishing the next idea. “In fact, you may present your defense of him at that time if you wish, though I cannot imagine what kind of defense there is for such a brazen act. Until then, you will stay here on the palace as my… guests.”
Lilandra neglected to mention that the guest suites she would offer them would be of high security and would require Imperial approval before they would be allowed passage through the rest of the palace. It was more than a fair offer, and seeing as the X-Men had little choice in the matter, she returned to her throne, and nodded for Gladiator to escort them to their suites. Her mind ached,  an effect she blamed on the Phoenix trying to infiltrate her capacities and coerce her into adopting their line of thinking. She would not be persuaded; justice must be served.
: If you read TNU Chapter Four, then you know full well what the cause of Lilandra’s strange behavior is!
07-12-2012, 04:01 PM
Cyclops slammed his fist into the ornamental vase that rested on the center of a dining table in his guest quarters, clearly frustrated at the direction of the conversation with Lilandra. While he had to remind himself that these were only preliminary introductions about their positions, there was little reason to believe that the empress was willing to back down from her view of Alex as a war criminal who deserved the full extent of Shi’ar law.
Stating that the X-Men could serve as Alex’s defense team was more of a challenge than a reasonable attempt to appease them, considering Lilandra followed up the statement by suggesting any defense for his actions were unimaginable. To Scott, that seemed to simply defy logic. In an empire made up of beings with enormous varieties of super powers, in a universe in which cosmic entities were limitless in what they could achieve, was it so unreasonable to think that the actions of one of Professor Xavier’s students may have not been his own, or that there was some sort of justifiable reason to them?
Of course, Scott knew the truth behind his brother’s actions; Alex was desperate to rid himself of the Stryfe persona that had been implanted into his mind when he was made a Horseman of Apocalypse, turned to Mr. Sinister for assistance, and found himself a pawn in Sinister’s plan. Surely a reasonable person like Lilandra, who had done her best to champion morality in the past when dealing with the X-Men, even when handcuffed by the extreme wing of her empire, could understand that situation.
Then again, Lilandra’s tone and general demeanor was different from the fair ruler that Cyclops had grown to know through their limited experiences together. Perhaps the weight of the throne had changed her; perhaps she was facing enormous pressure to uphold the authority of her empire in interstellar matters. But the Majestrix that the X-Men stood before on this day did not resemble the gentle and benevolent head of state that Cyclops believed the X-Men helped put into power so many years ago. If anything, she more closely resembled the brother that they’d ousted from power. Scott shook his head, a physical sign of his refusing to believe that Lilandra had fallen that far from the woman she once was.
As he continued to dwell on the brief discussion between Jean and Lilandra, it occurred to Scott that the empress made no mention of Professor Xavier or Syaoran, neither confirming nor denying their status among the Shi’ar. What was the professor’s condition? Where was Syaoran being kept? This was information the X-Men had a right to know, regardless of the circumstances that Alex now found himself in. While the Shi’ar may view Scott’s brother as a criminal, certainly they didn’t view the rest of the X-Men in the same manner… did they? What reason could they have for withholding this kind of information from them?
Simply put, none of this was sitting right with Cyclops.
The guest suites that Lilandra had assigned to the X-Men were quite nice, almost as if she was trying to convince them to stay in their rooms and not disturb anything. The main quarters acted as the hub and central living room, with individual rooms branching off like spokes on a wheel. Cyclops waited for his team to examine their new environment and return to the central living room before beginning to unload his thoughts.
“That could have gone better, but it could have gone much worse as well,” he began, lowering the skullcap of his uniform, freeing the locks of brown hair. “They’re intent on holding Alex accountable for what happened to Professor Xavier, and it’ll be up to us to defend him. Corsair has the most knowledge of Shi’ar law of all of us here, so I’ll work with him to come up with a thorough defense.
“Wolverine, Psylocke,” Cyclops turned his attention to two of his teammates, dishing out objectives without much discussion. His tactical mind was working overtime, and he’d developed a plan for each of them. If the Shi’ar weren’t going to give them the information they deserved, then they’d find it for themselves. “Lilandra didn’t say one word about Professor Xavier. I want the two of you to find him and update the rest of our group as to his whereabouts and his status.”
Cyclops continued to look around the circle of teammates, allowing Rogue and Gambit to come into focus. The two of them had plenty of issues they’d need to talk about, if they haven’t already, so it was a bit of a risk isolating them and sending them into the field by themselves. But despite Wolverine’s outburst in the mansion’s sub-basement at the sight of Gambit, Scott had faith that he could count on the two of them to stay committed to the mission and accomplish whatever he set them out to do.
“Gambit, Rogue,” he continued. “Syaoran wasn’t brought up by Lilandra either, and I want to know why. Is he being held on this station, or somewhere else? Get some intel and let us know. I’ll leave it up to the two of you to figure out where that intel is going to come from.”
Extending a gloved hand into the air to gesture at no one in particular, Cyclops added an important closing statement. “Remember, we don’t want to escalate the tension between the Shi’ar and us. Doing so would risk everyone’s lives. That said, we can’t simply sit here in the dark, and judging from the escort we’ve had since our arrival, the same escort that’s monitoring our door in the hallway right now, that’s exactly what they want us to do.
“Psylocke will use her teleportation powers to get you all out of the area and away from these watchful eyes so you’ll be better able to move about the palace. While you’re in the field, Jean will maintain telepathic connections with everyone to ensure communication. When you’ve completed your objective, let us know and we’ll have Psylocke extract back to here as she’s available.”
Without asking for questions, Scott allowed for a moment of silence for his field team to share any of their thoughts about their objectives. Otherwise, he nodded his head authoritatively, a silent signal wishing his teammates good luck.
07-17-2012, 08:05 PM
(Guess I will post up again then...)
Hunched over and alone, Logan studied the architecture of the Shi'ar with bored eyes, the beauty and practicality of it was interesting. But for his purposes it was to study a way out, something that the designer didn't have in mind unfortunately. It was like a luxurious prison world and a symbolic message about the race: Beauty on the outside, control from the inside. Scott seemed to fidget before finally standing, it seemed he brought his soapbox along with him after all. With a grizzled grimace Logan turned and listened to the instructions, his hearing more than capable of picking up Slim's hushed tone from this distance.
Cyclops addressed Logan and Psylocke first, a surprise to the Canadian as Scott's visor bore into him, cocking an eyebrow in curiosity beneath the mask.
“Lilandra didn’t say one word about Professor Xavier. I want the two of you to find him and update the rest of our group as to his whereabouts and his status.”
Sounded simple enough, though Wolverine was surprised that Cyclops handed such a crucial objective off to the wildcards of the bunch. He grunted and nodded, sending a look Betsy's way for confirmation. There wasn't anyone Logan wouldn't rather have at his back in this group. Psylocke was three things he enjoyed: Strong, committed, and quiet. Cyclops continued on about not drawing any more attention to themselves, a clever way of saying "Do not start unneeded brawls". Logan snorted and shook his head, two world class Assassins? They won't see us coming, much less find the bodies, Wolverine kept the comment tucked away in his own mind though.
"Sounds easy enough Slim, Xavier's scent is a strong one, Bets and I will make tracks."
Wolverine joined up with Psylocke and waited impatiently for the Mutant to pull her magic.
07-17-2012, 10:42 PM
Growing up in British high-society had accustomed Elisabeth to dealing with certain levels of pompousness, but the way Lilandra spoke was above and beyond it all. Of course, the woman was an actual royal and leader of a race, and that did grant her the right to do and speak however she pleased. But still, it left a bitter taste in Betsy's mouth. Regardless of history or circumstance, there was no reason for her tone or the way she brushed off Jean's words so carelessly. Propriety demanded for more of a conversation than she allowed for, especially when lives hung in the balance.
But there would be no conversation, and Betsy held her tongue until their escort was beyond the door of their rooms. Her violet eyes grazed around the provided lodging with an unimpressed sneer. They were nice, but the attitude in which they were given made Betsy unappreciative. Besides, she could feel the mind of their escort and guard outside, which immediately turned their quarters into a confinement cell. The British ninja had never liked such things, and the mere suggestion of it made her want to escape just to prove she could not be held. Her private room was as luxurious as the rest, but she was not seeking out the amenities. Betsy found several shadows that would suffice with ease, and this put a coy grin on her thin lips before a shattering sound drew her attention back into the common area.
"Was that the dinner bell?" Psylocke quipped as she sauntered in on her long, booted legs. "Though perhaps feeding us would be too hard to imagine as well." Her words were dry, and more of an insult than jest, as they fell into the heavy aggravation in the room. It was easy to see that everyone else wasn't pleased with how the consult was with the Empress as Scott was, and all for them waited eagerly to see what their leader had in store.
“Lilandra didn’t say one word about Professor Xavier. I want the two of you to find him and update the rest of our group as to his whereabouts and his status.”
Psylocke met Wolverine's gaze with a cock of her head and an alluring smile. Wolverine and her worked well together, as both valued the same traits in battle: swiftness, stealth, and a healthy bit of fun while doing their dirty work. Her violet eyes met his dark ones with satisfaction at Cyclops' orders, and she was glad to hear that Logan was looking forward to it as much as she was. "Wonderful. I do fancy a good game of hide and seek."
Wolverine approached as Betsy took a step forward to stand beside a large round table in the center of the common area. She dipped her toe into the darkness of the shadow underneath. It wasn't a very strong shadow, since the room was well-lit, but it would do, as it would be large enough to transport all of them through. She pointed her toe, as if dipping it into a pool, and let her shadow form overtake her. As the darkness crawled onto her form, her power strengthened the darkness of the shadow as it opened the portal to wherever she wished. Once completely engulfed, with only her red Crimson Dawn tattoo glowing brightly, Psylocke looked menacing and demonic in the well lit area. She held out a hand to the others; from Cyclops' instructions, she was the link in and out of this room for all of them.
"Well, there are plenty of shadows around this place," she said, feeling out her options from her portal. "I suppose Charles is somewhere in the medical bay in his condition, or at least has paid a visit to the area. Even if he was moved, I'm sure his scent will be easy to pick up, so shall we head there first, Logan? And, do you two have any preference on where you want to start searching for our lost little Shi'ar? Perhaps the nursery?" Her black eyes turned to Rogue and Gambit, and awaited their answer. Once they decided, Psylocke would waste no time in getting out of this containment cell.
07-27-2012, 11:20 PM
"Mah, mah. Ain't this place mighty fine. Better than tha ole' motel six from back home," Rogue commented upon her and the X-Men entering their accomodation suites.
The southern gal walked around in curiosity at some of the beautiful and bizarre art pieces that decorated the walls and corners of the suites. She noticed the separate rooms, where at first Rogue entered for a little down time. Inside, she found her room to be just as beautiful as the living quaters with the more intriguing art pieces. Letting out a sigh, Rogue sat on her bed, pondering about the interaction she and her team just had with Empress Lilandra. The once welcoming Princess (now Empress) seemed distant and uninterested with what the X-Men had to say. It wasn't usual of Lilandra to be cold and blantly stand off-ish. However, given all that Lilandra's responsibilities entails, Rogue can only assume today must not be one of her good days.
Still, the x-woman's thoughts trailed off to Professor Xavier. If only Lilandra provided some kind of word about Professor Xavier's condition. Rogue still felt concern for her fallen mentor and with no updates, it doesn't put any of her worries about him at ease. At least back home, Beast and Dr. MacTaggert constantly watched him and willing to update everyone about the Professor's progress - or any at all.
Spotting what looked like a closet, Rogue got curious, getting off her bed, heading for the door of the closet. Opening it up, the closet revealed Shi'ar clothing from everyday garments to nightly garments. The fabric was soft as well as neatly made. It was obvious from looking and touching the garments that these clothes were sewn carefully, not to mention expensively. One could say Lilandra spares no expense to dressing her guests.
Not particularly fond of her pink and yellow attire she found in her locker back home at the mansion, Rogue decided to change into something different. Why not give the Shi'ar style a chance? Rogue unzipped her suit, then fitting into a beautifully crafted red silk-like wrap around blouse. The sleeves were long, flowy, and at the ends were hanging low - almost like that of a kimonos sleeves. Sporting a black-like sash for a belt, then fitting on comfortable black silk-like trousers, Rogue then found herself ready to meet her friends. Topping her outfit with long black gloves, she exited her room to see her fellow X-Men.
Glancing around, Rogue's eyes fell on Gambit, whom she knew the thief would probably make some kind of joke out of Rogue's experiment to dress in something different. With one finger standing from her hand raised at her former lover, Rogue smirked - "Not one word, jumbalaya."
Cyclops then spoke up in his commanding voice. It appears that all the questions Rogue and the X-Men have about Professor Xavier and Sya are not going to go unanswered, regardless of the lavish setting Lilandra has placed them. Rogue very much likes Cyclops' attitude in that if Lilandra is not going to tell them anything, then the X-Men will find the answers on their own. Addressing that he and Corsair will work on Havok's court hearing, Cyclops directed Psylocke and Wolverine to find Xavier and report his progress. Finally turning to Rogue and Gambit, Rogue's brow lifted, intently hearing as to what their fearless leader may present her and the swamp rat to do.
“Gambit, Rogue,” he continued. “Syaoran wasn’t brought up by Lilandra either, and I want to know why. Is he being held on this station, or somewhere else? Get some intel and let us know. I’ll leave it up to the two of you to figure out where that intel is going to come from.”
Turning to Gambit, "Don't think this means a chance fer hanky-panky," she winked at the man. Watching the British telepath engulf in blackness, then with only a glowing red tattoo over one eye, Rogue couldn't help but feel slight unease. The woman's appearance is little demonic, but Rogue has come to know Betsy very well over the years. She might be lethal, but Betsy is also loyal. Given the task at hand to find Sya, Rogue began thinking of where she and Gambit can possibly begin to find that information. Probably the best place to look would be the Shi'ar hangar base where ships check in and check out. "Ah think Ah know where we can go. Bets darlin', take us t'tha transport hangar. Maybe we can find ships logs an' inventory there," Rogue said as she then gripped Gambit's arm to pull with her over to Psylocke and Wolverine for teleportation.
08-20-2012, 12:15 AM
Mulling over what the violet haired beauty had said, Logan stood at her side stoically as she mused into the abyss, before the power overtook her. It was always an uneasy sensation for the Mutant, his heightened senses were overloaded by new sights and sounds as the darkness spread over her body. Forcibly Logan kept his expression even, the same, he wasn't one to draw unnecessary attention over such a small annoyance.
"Well, there are plenty of shadows around this place," she said, feeling out her options from her portal. "I suppose Charles is somewhere in the medical bay in his condition, or at least has paid a visit to the area. Even if he was moved, I'm sure his scent will be easy to pick up, so shall we head there first, Logan?"
Stroking his chin stubble Wolverine cocked a smirk. Betsy was always one of the more assertive members of the team, never shying away from sharing her ideas and thoughts. It gave the Canadian a break, someone else stepping up for a change was a small blessing.
"It's reasonable, same conclusion I came to. Once we step out I reckon his scent will permeate the area. If not, we're lookin' in the wrong area."
Giving her a nod in agreement Logan turned to listen to Rogue, giving the woman a respectful grunt at her plan of action. He was weary of those two being so close in such a brief amount of time, but knew the Southern Belle could handle herself well enough. Woman had a good head on her shoulders. If push came to shove, the Cajun would give his life for the little lady. Not that Wolverine expected it to come to that, but preparing for the worst was just something in his routine lately.
With a crack of the neck, Logan was eager to leave this room. Sooner he was separated from the love birds the better.
08-29-2012, 01:36 AM
To say that the introductory meeting with Lilandra did not go well was… an understatement. If there was any uncertainty about it, Cyclops’ fist slamming into the decorative vase in their guest suite left little to the imagination regarding how he felt about the meeting. Jean crossed the room and separated herself from her husband, allowing him a moment to vent while she contemplated exactly what had happened.
They’d made their opening case in a respectful manner, but the response they’d received had been anything but. Lilandra, who despite Jean’s previous memories of the woman’s distrust of the Phoenix Force had always seemed like a kind and benevolent ruler, was now unwilling to find compromise and, some would say, bloodthirsty.
Unless Professor Xavier had been hiding their communications, Jean wasn’t aware of any contact the Shi’ar empress had had with her supposed consort, so for her to display such ferocity and anger, with no care about what Xavier’s condition meant for the X-Men, his actual family, simply seemed out of character. Perhaps the throne had changed her over the years. Jean wasn’t entirely sure, but she knew this negotiation would be much harder than they first anticipated.
As Scott seamlessly stepped into the leadership role he was born to fill, Jean maintained her distance from the team. Through their psychic rapport, she could tell that she would not be traveling into the field with the other X-Men, and that was a wise decision. Her presence had already unnerved some of the Shi’ar onlookers; she could tell from the glances and whispers that had overcome the crowd upon her appearance. The X-Men would gain no favors by having the former avatar of universal power engaging in less than ethical subterfuge while trying to maintain a pleasant and respectful outer tone.
Standing at the edge of the room, Jean peered out into the blackness of space, the glimmering distant stars looking back at her silently. She allowed one hand to graze the opposite elbow, a nervous habit that she occasionally found herself falling back into. If she could, she’d end this entire situation now. She’d make Lilandra see reason, make her understand that Xavier’s wellbeing was just as important to the X-Men as it was to the empress. On Earth, they were so powerful, capable of doing such fantastic and amazing things. Why couldn’t things be as simple here, when they really needed a miracle? Why couldn’t she just snap her fingers and—
~You’ve come back,~ came a voice in the depths of her mind that she hadn’t allowed in, a voice that seemed distant and unfamiliar, yet one that in her heart of hearts, she recognized immediately.
“You,” she whispered, her hand tightening around her arm, squeezing herself back into reality. “I’m not afraid of you anymore.”
~Everyone is afraid of me,~ the voice crackled in her mind like the flicking flame of candlelight. ~My fire burns through lies, remember?~
Jean shook her head, trying desperately to clear her thoughts. When she opened her eyes, the voice was gone, its warmth having been replaced by the cold stare of space on the other side of the viewport. She turned, noticing that Scott had just finished giving his instructions and the rest of the group was about to depart. She glanced across the room, surveying the group with somber eyes.
She wasn’t afraid, she continued to tell herself. She couldn’t afford to be.
09-15-2012, 03:09 AM
Cyclops took a step back, watching as his hand-picked team of X-Men began working out the specifics of their own missions with the professionalism of a veteran unit. That was, of course, part of the reason why he brought these specific people together for this harrowing journey. The people in front of him had seen it all; nothing was going to surprise them, and above all else, they knew how to get results. Deep in the recesses of space, that kind of grit and determination couldn’t be more valuable.
Folding his arms over his chest, Scott surveyed the room and raised an eyebrow at the absence of his wife. He turned, finding her at the room’s edge, deep in thought. This had to be a tough journey for Jean, not only because of the danger that the Shi’ar posed to Alex and Syaoran, not just because of the condition of her comatose mentor, but also because of the looks she’d received the second she fell into the collective vision of the Shi’ar.
To this alien empire, Jean Grey-Summers was nothing more than the husk of the Phoenix Force, a symbol of galactic reckoning and destruction. Allowing her within their palace, begrudgingly accepting the fact that she walked their halls, couldn’t have been easy for these people, nor was it easy for Jean, whose mind remained peppered with the memories of the devastation the Phoenix brought about in her image.
Of course, it wasn’t Jean who perpetrated those events, but then again, would the Shi’ar care?
After all, Lilandra appeared to have little sympathy for the circumstances surrounding Alex Summers’s actions towards Professor Xavier, as they were more than happy to apprehend him and begin the trial proceedings despite his own claims of not being in control of his actions. Despite their indifference to this fact, this argument still seemed to be the soundest way to continue in Alex’s defense.
Perhaps even bringing up the Phoenix’s actions – its use of Jean as a host while Jean remained disconnected from its actions – could be brought up, though immediately after considering the approach, Scott shelved the idea for fear of the repercussions it might have on Jean herself. If both sides were already on edge due to their uncomfortable proximity, drawing attention to the giant pink elephant in the room probably wouldn’t help matters.
Allowing Jean her moment of privacy, Scott turned his attention back to his field team. Stepping forward towards the center of the group, Cyclops nodded his head in approval of their plans. “We don’t know how long it’ll be until the Shi’ar call on us again. Be careful, but be quick. Get what information you can, then report back.”
With a slow gaze around the room, Cyclops punctuated his addendum with another brief nod of his head towards each of them. “Good luck.”
10-08-2012, 05:53 PM
Outwardly, the feral mutant was fine as he exited the dark portal into an unfamiliar hallway. Inwardly, though, he was shivering as his senses raged out of control. Other dimensions, web-ways, and him never got along for the most part. Taking a moment to compose himself Logan hunched down, running his gloved fingers along the reflective surface of the marble, or what passed for a similar substance. Taking a moment he sniffed at the surroundings, picking up a variable list of odors, each granting him a small piece of information to be categorized. The Professor's scent was here alright, but Logan had no way of telling if he was still here or only a temporary hold.
Another problem lied in the lighting, the area was well lit and provided few shadows to sulk in between. The spacious hallways neither provided ample cover or a means to dart from one side to another. With a grunt Wolverine stood up, turning to Psylocke with a grimace. She wasn't going to like the next few moments.
"This ain't gonna work with the both of us Bets. To much room for error, I reckon with both of us snooping about we're bound to get caught."
She went to protest but Logan cut her off before the words could spill forth, shaking his cowl from side to side.
"Hold the portal open. I can smell, hear, and sense out Shi'ar quicker than you and if I do get caught, it's somethin' expected from me. Only one has to go down and I can take what they dish out. Fair is fair Bets, I got dibs first. When I get back, I want this open so Chuck and I can get out quick, alright?"
It wasn't a pleasant situation but it was understood on both sides as he swiftly took off, using his training to keep deftly quiet while on the move. Wolverine kept low and against the wall, moving side to side and keeping himself alert. He was lucky to find few guards were patrolling this particular area keeping him in a positive position to track Xavier's whereabouts. His scent had grown confusing, traces of it scattered about in pockets. Logan grunted at the mental hurdles his mind was going through trying to uncover the end point. A sudden thump in his ear alerted the Canadian to movement up ahead, with a twist his body pulled into the shadowed, unoccupied room to his right, keeping the door cracked he watched their posture carefully.
So much easier it would be to just take them down permanently, and stash their bodies in the room he was currently lingering within. Wolverine kept reminding him this was a peace mission, a rescue mission, and that the X-Men reputation could ill afford another blow at the moment. Wrestling his inner deamons Logan instead focused on figuring out what they were feeling. Heart rate was normal, nothing to indicate they were on an important assignment or detailed about the new arrivals. Their walk was steady and relaxed, instead of the strict and Military brisk he was used to seeing in such situations. This only further served to warn him that Xavier could have been moved, grinding his teeth the Mutant hoped he was wrong for a change.
Snaking back into the hall The trail was getting warmer, the loose ends were converging into the same spot. Determined footsteps placed him just outside of the door. Toying with the handle Logan opened it enough to sidestep inside, shutting the door without a sound. A quick scan showed no noticeable security devices, though Wolverine wasn't all that familiar with Shi'ar technology to determine what was and wasn't. Relying on his faith that their technology was more or less physically similar he crept forward, tensing up as his hand reached out to pull aside the private screen, a shadowed veil keeping him from seeing what he was already being told. Raking it aside Logan's earlier thoughts were confirmed as his eyes stared down at an empty bed. Removing a glove he touched it and studied the area. All signs pointed to him being moved before their arrival here, more likely in response. Wolverine his his communicator and sent a message back to Psylocke.
"Bets the Professor ain't here, trail is cold, they moved 'em before we got here. I can't get a lock on where he is, gettin' some interference. Makin' my way back shortly."
In a few short moments Wolverine was back and together they exited the portal. Cyclops and Jean were amidst conversation as they approached, he could see the concern from a lack of another physical presence. Shaking his head Logan told them what happened, and of how he was stumped about the trail. It felt as if it was a lure, something to draw him in, but no reaction came from it other than a small delay and separation.
"Lilandra probably had him moved closer to her when she found out a team had been sent. Good move on her part, added security of the Imperial Guard an' a more watchful eye. Infiltrating that area, wherever it is, could be more tricky. If negotiations fall through Cyke we may need to use blunt force. They got us outgunned though on that front."
Logan took a seat and waited, trying to obtain an inner calm before the storm came calling.
10-28-2012, 02:03 PM
It was known as Blue Heaven.
A free trade outpost in neutral space, near the borders of Shi’ar, Zy’nx, and Kymellian claimed territory. It was a port of call, home away from home for merchants, entrepreneurs, husslers, gamblers, and smugglers. A self-enclosed city built into an asteroid, all alone in the night.
Fifteen hours ago, Shi’ar patrol vessels had detected a distress signal originating from Blue Heaven. As the insect-like warship Centurion hovered mere miles from the once thriving community. No light escaped the crypt-like structures, as cold and bare as space itself. A host of small ships and freighters drifted, lifeless, in listless orbit of the spaceport. It was a graveyard of ships.
Yet, there were no signs of a battle. No scorched metal from laser fire, no shattered hulls from explosive decompression. It was as though all of the people had simple vanished, leaving the husks behind.
“This place is a tomb.”
Arius, genestock of Kilaer and X’ene, of the fifth nest of Aerie, was a warrior, a soldier of the Shi’ar Imperium, a follower of Sharra and Ky’thri as all those of the True Shi’ar were raised to be. He did not suffer fools, gave no quarter to his opponents, and expected none in return. He sought conquest for conquest’s sake, but even the most stalwart of Chandilar’s children felt their pinfeathers bristle at the sight before them. There should have been a quarter million aliens carrying out their worthless lives in this shadowy cavern. Instead, it was as though the talons of the gods was snatched the people away.
To witness such a darkness was to come face to face with the believe in devils. Demons most foul, like a dark phoenix... Perhaps she had come upon this place.
Turning his head, Arius gazed over to the citizen-soldier enthroned at the center of the command deck’s raised dais. The symbol of the Majestrix’s authority. Her servent, this ship’s captain, their leader. “Only the foolish disturb the dead, commander,” Arius warned in a low rumble.
Brooding from atop his golden throne, Commander K’Lyrn silently mulled the scene before them. Whatever his thoughts, he kept them to himself. Little about the man’s expression or demeanor betrayed him. “A fool is one that fails to investigate a threat so close to home space, lieutenant,” the captain offered sagely, at last speaking. Swiveling slightly to the left, the man looked down at a pair of scientists working on the lower tier of the command deck. “Life readings?”
Without acknowledgment, Commander K’Lyrn merely swiveled back to face Lieutenant Arius. Whether the answer he had expected, or merely the one he had received to the question, the man showed no emotion as to what had been said. Or what would have to come next. “Prepare your boarding team, lieutenant.”
The warrior looked for a moment as though he might challenge the order, bristling with anxiety... and then anger at his own embarrassment. But Arius was a soldier. Saluting the commander, the man strode off to make the necessary preparations and execute his duties.
First impressions were important to more than just human culture. The first thing one noticed when stepping through the airlock into Blue Heaven was that the station’s artificial gravity was no longer functional. Among other things, blood pooled in mid-air. Drifting, shifting, morphing. Arius, veteran of Calynos IV, had fought in Skrull and Kree Wars, had seen death countless times. He had been its vehicle, it’s dark deliverer, across dozens of worlds. Death was forever a soldier’s companion, as hated as it was familiar.
He doubled over as the sight overwhelmed him, until he became sick in his own helmet.
“Report, lieutenant,” the commander’s voice called, through the communications link.
Hurriedly, the lieutenant checked the datalink on his wrist, confirming that the atmosphere in the station was safe to breathe. Flipping open the transparent mask, the man spat the remaining bile from out of his mouth even as he dumped the contents of his helmet out on to the floor. “Animals...” the soldier breathed, still doubled over as he worked to catch his own breath. “It is as though animals tore through this place.”
As the sound, Arius was once again on his feet. Duty, his deeply rooted code of honor, compelling him to move. Gravity boots hindered his otherwise powerful, quick stride, as the soldier cut a path through the floating pools of blood, trash, and... other bits. In the stark illumination of tactical flashlights, a small figure was silhouetted against the darkness. Eyes shut, the blood-splattered child hovered as though lifeless, though a cursory inspection betrayed the fact that he was still breathing. “Commander, we have found a hatching,” Arius snapped back over the link, a thickly gloved hand lifting the boy’s head up so that he could inspect the markings on the youth’s face.
Markings which revealed that he was not a child who should have been in a place such as this. “Commander... he is of the third nest.”
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
...the room was spinning...
...he’d been spinning around too much, or maybe he’d eaten too much candy. He didn’t remember doing either, but the way that his stomach felt as though it was twisting and turning itself inside out made him think that he must have been doing something...
...everything was a dizzying swirl of light and color. Indistinct, like a photograph that was just out of focus. Or a Claude Monet painting viewed through a fishbowl...
...no, this was familiar. He was inside his parent’s spaceship, strapped down in his seat in the back of the ship. Listening to the death throes coming from the cockpit, engulfed in flames, as the fire and darkness crept toward him...
...from out of the corner of his eye, Syaoran could see the shadow of a man, which said only, I have such... wonderful things... to show you.
...silence there, and nothing more...
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
In a brilliant flash of light, the warship Centurion appeared from out of the star gate, drifting into an orbit around the Shi’ar Throneworld.
“Inform her Imperial Majestrix that we have found the genestock of Vividali and Amara,” Commander K’Lyrn barked from the center of the bridge.
“And tell her that he has news of the attack on her Consort.”
11-04-2012, 04:11 AM
"Stay close to meh, chere. Never know when we might run in some trouble," the crafty cajun said to his "former" lover standing behind him. Betsy just teleported Rogue and Gambit to the hangar as decided in their quaters.
Feeling Gambit's arm stretched out to keep her behind him and secretive from the working Shi'ar in the hangar, Rogue simply smirked at the man, slightly removing his arm out of her way. "Sugah, you ought'ta stay close t'me," the southern belle then walked ahead of Gambit, leading the way behind some large crates, stacked one side of the hangar bay.
Watching Rogue walk along, his eyes darted to her hips, viewing her swinging hips. Needless to say, the New Orleans born mutant shrugged and then smiled - "Who am I t'argue?"
Nearing the front row of crates, Rogue paused behind a large stack. She surveyed the area, with at least a dozen Shi'ar men cleaning, guiding a ship or two into the hangar, unloading and loading ships, and so on. Further across the bay, stood rows of computer-esque machines. A station that allowed the hangar crew to check in ships and log them in their data matrix.
"Bingo! That's where tha action is," spotting the stations. Slight turning her head to whisper at Gambit, "We gotta get to those computer stations.
"It'll be a hitch. Only thing is, how we gonna read the computer in Shi'ar?" There is a moment of silence as Rogue looked down at the ground, lost in thought. For once, the cute swamp rat has a point. Viewing the action of Shi'ar going back and forth, an idea popped in her head. It appears she has no choice. Just then, a Shi'ar man walks in front of the duo for which Rogue quickly snaps the man away behind the crates with herself and Gambit! Gambit is stunned at first, but Rogue held the man down, overpowering the frightened alien.
Using her mouth to pull off her glove, Rogue gently touched the man on the side of his face. Immediately, Rogue felt her mutant abilities go to work, like a suction. The man's memories and his knowledge sank in her mind. Her eyes closed momentarily, Rogue saw many faces - his family, all the good and bad times. The man's emotions ran through her, a fusion of sorts. The Shi'ar man passed out and Rogue releases her touch.
A sigh of relief, "Are you alright, Rogue? placing a hand of comfort on her shoulder. Rogue looked back at her former fiance', nodding she is, though secretly she hated infringing on the Shi'ar man's mind like that. Everytime she used her powers reminded her of the time she sucked the life out of her first boyfriend, Cody. Ever since, the traumatic time always lingered in Rogue's mind. Slipping back on the glove, "Ah'll be fine. Ah have his skills...amazing how intelligent he is. Now Ah can read Shi'ar and enjoy Shi'ar literature."
"Sounds good, but now what's next?" Rogue raises back on her feet, tightening the glove.
"You mah dear are goin' t'take his place. Ah'll fly over head t'the stations an' check tha data,"
Pulling out his deck of cards, Rogue watched in confusion as to why he would bring out his cards. Sifting through his deck, he found the ace card, pulling it out specifically, "You're goin' t'need the cameras distracted. Meanwhile and quickly, Gambit slipped into the knocked out Shi'ar man's clothes. At least to partially disguise himself. It was a enough for Gambit to slip into the crowd of workers, to which Gambit used his ace card to charge up. He tossed the card with ease, hitting his target - another bunch of crates! A thunderous explosion blasted in the hangar, calling for the attention of all the Shi'ar there!
Rogue quickly flew in the air, passing overhead to the other side of the hangar! She landed lightly, starting pressing a bunch of keys. Though human with mutant genes, Rogue found herself astonished at her fast rate of reading Shi'ar on the lit computer screens, typing away at the keys as if she has been able to read Shi'ar all her life. Looking up any recent data about the ships who have been logged in, Rogue came across the information about Havok - reading prisoner from Earth. However, there is no record of Syoran's name!
"This can't be right. What about tha kid?" whispering to herself, while also looking over her shoulder for any Shi'ar. Thankfully, Gambit is keeping them busy. He winked at Rogue, letting her know all is fine and to keep finding any and all information.
Digging further, Rogue found the latest ship login. Something about finding a solve survivor - a Hatchling! "Syoran?" she pondered. Not much time, Rogue ended her investigation. Flying back in the air, the cameras focused on the mess made by Gambit, the southern strong beauty rushed towards her teammate. Ducking into the pile of crates with him, "Ah think Sy might be here, she told Gambit. Pulling out her "X" communicator, "Psylocke, get yer ninja butt back here and get us back t'Cyclops! And Hurry!" voiced Rogue in her best commander-like voice. Cyke would be proud.
11-12-2012, 02:56 PM
Cyclops’ gloved fingers rapped the surface of the intricate dining table in the main living area of the suites the X-Men had been given by the Shi’ar. He and his father had, for the better part of an hour, been discussing galactic law and the methods they’d use to try and argue not only in favor of the innocence of Alex Summers but the return of both Professor Xavier and Syaoran.
Their discussions seemed to always circle back to one problematic hurdle – authority and jurisdiction. Did the Shi’ar have the authority to forcibly remove three inhabitants of Earth? Did their dominion over the heavens reach far enough to Earth, so that crimes committed on the planet against other inhabitants of the planet could be tried as crimes against the Imperium?
If it did, then Scott couldn’t help but wonder where the Shi’ar help had been in all of those instances when the X-Men could have used their assistance keeping dangerous criminals and villains from wreaking havoc across the globe. Where was the Shi’ar when groups like the Friends of Humanity committed hate crimes against innocent mutant children? Where were the Shi’ar when the government itself unleashed robots to hunt and apprehend homo superior simply because of the differences in their gene pool?
For the Empire to claim authority in this instance while turning a blind eye to the other more heinous crimes of the species stunk of pure hypocrisy to the Summers son, but like it or not, it seemed to be the reality of the situation. Approaching Lilandra and the High Council with this kind of argumentative and accusatory tone would not achieve the goal Scott hoped, so he had no choice but to pocket his resentment and ill feelings towards the Shi’ar, while focusing on something that actually may be successful.
As it related to the three individuals in question, the decided upon path of defense would be rather straightforward. When he committed his act of violence, Alex Summers was the victim of mind control. Jean would be able to testify to that fact, as she and Emma were the ones who cooperated to free Alex of those mental chains, though the thought of Jean and Emma cooperating to accomplish anything was a bit tough for even Scott to believe.
In regards to the Professor, any argument in favor of treating him with Shi’ar medical technology was null and void, since the Shi’ar had shared their technological advances with Xavier previously, and they were incorporated into the construction and upkeep of the X-Men’s sub-basement headquarters. Furthermore, no doctor in the universe would be more qualified to oversee Xavier’s health than one who shared his physiology, which helped advocate for his return to Earth.
The tough case would be Syaoran, and acknowledging such caused a swelling of pain to emerge in Cyclops’ gut. Syaoran didn’t choose to come to Earth as an adult; he lost his family when their vessel crash-landed on the planet, though he effectively gained a new family upon joining the ranks of the Massachusetts Academy. Despite the emotional bonds and attachments that had been created from Syaoran’s time on Earth, Scott simply did not have a strong counter-argument to the point his father kept referring back to – the Shi’ar Imperium would not tolerate the child of a former First Minister growing up outside their influence, and given Syaoran’s age, he would have no choice in the matter.
With this weighing heavily on his mind, Scott sighed and rose from the table, exchanging a glance with his wife, who was also in the room, monitoring the progress of the two field teams Scott had dispatched into the station. Walking to the suite’s space window to look out at the stars, Scott couldn’t help but wonder what part of his training as an X-Man was supposed to prepare him for this.
His attention turned back to his wife as she signaled the return of the two teams, and within seconds, Psylocke had transported the group back to the suit. Rushing to their side, Cyclops immediately asked for a status report, anxious to hear about what they found.
Wolverine was first to speak, recalling his failure to find Professor Xavier himself and his conclusion that the Empress likely had Xavier moved to a more secure location once she was alerted to the X-Men’s presence. Logan’s tactical observations – the consideration of blunt force as a last resort due to the overwhelming odds against them – was an appreciated note for Cyclops to keep in the back of his mind. The last thing he wanted to do was get involved in interstellar conflict, but Scott would not budge when it came to getting their people back. Rogue’s report was slightly more positive, as a recent ship’s log indicated the discovery and return of a hatchling. Surely that suggested Syaoran had made it back to the Imperial Palace, though his more specific whereabouts remained a bit of a mystery. Still, it wasn’t all bad news, which was something to go on.
Their meeting was interrupted suddenly by a call on the closed circuit communications system installed in the main suite living quarters. Cyclops walked over to the monitor and accepted the call, prompting the large display screen to flash with information. He scanned the memo carefully as a voice over the system alerted the X-Men that the trial of Alex Summers would begin on the following day, and their presence would be required at the hearing to provide their planned defense.
Turning back to the group at the conclusion of the message, Cyclops took in a long breath before instructing the X-Men to get a good night’s sleep. If they had any chance of saving their friends, they’d need to be at their best.
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