ArchivedLogs:Outgunned, Outmanned

From X-Men: rEvolution
Outgunned, Outmanned
Dramatis Personae

Ash, B, Dusk, Flicker, Hive, Ion, Jax, Joshua, Matt, Mirror, Rachel, Ryan, Scramble, Shane, Steve, Tian-shin

2016-03-17


"Son, just don't."

Location

<KS> Wabaunsee - Joint Regional Correctional Facility


The compound is broad, flat, and unremarkable in the midst of a broad, flat plain. The high barbed wire fence surrounding it bears signs at regular intervals: shield-shaped, blocked in red, white, and blue, reading "U.S. GOVT. PROPERTY NO TRESPASSING." There are checkpoints at the two gates, and the pairs of military police guarding them look bored and relaxed. The grounds are not extensive by U.S. military standards, but even so it's almost a kilometer of dusty tarmac from each checkpoint to the facility itself. Up close, the building's windows are barred and its main entrance is also under the not-excessively-watchful eyes of two MPs. Somewhat more vigilant, perhaps, are the security cameras that leer from every corner and every doorway.

It's the lunch hour and the almost-springtime sunlight warms the Wabaunsee facility to a slightly brighter shade of dingy concrete. an occasional wind stirs dust across the paved roads leading up and into the mostly-deserted grounds. In addition to the constant guard kept up at the checkpoints and main entrance, a pair of MPs are patrolling the grounds now with a German Shepherd.

The large truck that appears on the grounds does not, actually, drive /up/ to the gate, as it so happens. One minute there is not a truck -- the next, truck. Just /inside/ the checkpoint, casually there like it belongs.

Casual, too, the outward stretch of Hive's mind -- flickering in a lazy powerful /swipe/ at the checkpoint guards, the ones at the entryway, feeling out broad and expansive for any minds he can feel.

Jax is settled in the back of the truck, unremarkably dressed in black cargo pants and boots, dark X-jacket zipped shut, large sunglasses on his eyes. Settled -- perhaps a little strong of a word for his current state of fidget. Zipping up Shane's jacket tighter. Frowning as he checks the sharkpup over /one/ more --

"Send /you/ back home in a minute," Ryan mutters under his breath, clamping a hand down briefly on Jax's shoulder. "B, Hive, where we at?"

Shane tips his head forward, bopping his forehead lightly against his dad's chest. He reaches down for a duffel bag on the ground, opening it to unleash a small /swarm/ of metal beetles to skitter out onto the floor of the truck. Up the walls. Towards a cracked-open passenger window in the cab to start taking off. "Chill we've been here like /three/ seconds."

Still kneeling where he had for duration of the so-far uneventful trip, Steve looks like he has just stepped out of a Second World War propaganda film, big as life and twice as colorful. He is decked almost full Captain America regalia, his helmet still tucked beneath one arm and his shield braced against the floor of the truck under his right hand. He bows his head, crosses himself, and rises. Lifts his iconic shield to fit it his left gauntlet. Pale blue eyes sweep over his teammates, calm and appraising, coming to rest for a moment on Jax before he turns to watch B's bugbots deploy.

Scramble, tall and all gangling limbs, is sitting against the inner wall of the truck. She looks up, now, blinking in the changed light that filters in from the cabin. She's wearing a beaten-up black canvas jacket, black cargo pants, and black combat boots, a sturdy black backpack with a red equal-armed cross patch upon it sitting by her side. "I'll chill when we get home," she offers -- sounding, admittedly, pretty chill, though there's a jittery energy about her, almost palpabale as she unfolds herself and stretches.

"{You see this motherfucker?}" Venturing back from the cab of the truck Ion sounds positively /delighted/ about Steve's RETRO styling. He himself is in stompy boots, cargo pants, a black leather jacket, though he /swipes/ Steve's helmet to thunk it loosely onto his own head "I am /the chillest/ {Captain Fucking America}. Who going /home/ I come ready to party." He looks it, too, a manic bright gleam to his eye and a faint skitter of sparks already dancing between his fingertips.

"I'd hope," Rachel's voice is very mild, from the very back of the truck where she is perched on closed crate of first aid supplies, "that we all are."

"But not quite yet." Joshua -- maybe, no, wait, Joshua was /in/ the cab, right? Or no, Joshua is back here, legs kicked up from one crate to another, hands folded behind his head. Wearing a GoPro together with the rest of his gear.

Dusk doesn't say anything. His fingers are curled around a thermos, wings draped behind him, head tipped back against the wall. One wing kind of lazily trails against Scramble's back as she rises, though /he/ doesn't get up out of his crouch. Sips from his thermos, watches the others with an oddly sleepy expression not at all reflected in the keensharp alertness of his mind.

Ash has his eyes locked on Steve as well, a wide eyed sort of wonderment plastered across his face. He hasn't really looked away from Steve all day, ever since he first saw him in his patriotic garb. Well, he hasn't looked away for very long. Now, he glances at Ion, flashing his pearly whites at the commentary before looking back at Steve. "I gotta get me a fancy suit, hermano. That is much better than my rabbit outfit." He's dressed in dark browns, cargo pants and a thick canvas jacket, with a flak that used to be camouflage over the top. His heavy boots shift a little at the sound of the bugs, his grin remaining.

To Hive's senses, the only sapient minds outside of the truck at the moment within several kilometers are the six stationary guards and the two ambulatory ones. Of those, only the two at the checkpoint near them have noticed Sudden Truck, and are both still gawking. The shorter of the two is quicker to reach for the phone, and they both take a hasty step backward when the metallic insects pour out of the window of the mystery vehicle.

The aerial view the insectoid drones get is rather desolate: an oblong piece of the Kansas plains enclosed by high fences, the only living things larger than a rabbit being the guards and their dog. There are, however, a dozen humvees and three troop transport trucks parked in a lot near the building in the distance. There are five wireless networks in range, only one of them protected with military-grade encryption. Two are secured only with WPA, and the weakest one (wabacantunsee) is not even password protected.

The reaching for the phone is aborted, soon enough, the guards at the checkpoint and the ones on patrol both scooped up in one seamless yoink. << Six guards out here, two on patrol by the building -- we won't be a problem, >> Hive's quietly echoing voice reports a moment later. But, softly more puzzled: << That's all. Nobody else -- out here. >>

"Thaaat's a much quicker trip than I was thinking." Now Dusk /is/ tensing, reaching for his tablet to pull it into his lap. "Nobody out here like /out/ here or nobody like -- your range should reach there fucking /easy/, right? It's not even possible there's... just..."

"What." B's voice is sharp from where one of the bugbots has lingered, scuttled up onto the dash of the truck. Many of hir other robots are winging away, over the plain out towards the distant building. Reaching out invisibly to probe gently at the networks -- a couple of them are already starting to pick carefully at the less secured ones. Scan the open one for its traffic. "We picked the /right/ Kansas, right? Dusk, I'm going to need help with this last..."

Shane looks over to Joshua at this, brows hitching up.

/This/ Joshua shrugs. "All I hear is a whole fucking lot of Hive."

From the front of the truck, a bone-dry voice that sounds uncannily /like/ the Joshua in the back: "... you /didn't/ say Oz? Well. Shit."

The wireless traffic in the area is...fairly robust, actually! The completely unprotected wabacantunsee appears to connect to someone's personal (and presumably illicit) porn server. The second most weakly secured one appears to be connected to some sort of rec room, and mostly routes gaming traffic (there's a lot of Call of Duty going on). The two WPA ones are administrative, and the most clamped down of them presumably handles operational data for the base--including all those security feeds.

Scramble rolls her shoulders hard, stretching out a fist for Ash to bump. "Your rabbit suit looks fine, hermano. If you want it colorful Tag'll hook you up." Then, frowning at Hive and B's information. "Maybe they replaced the rest of their their meat drones with Sentinels." She does not sound particularly sanguine about this prospect.

<< Don't feel /anyone/, >> Hive clarifies. << Not our labrats either. Place feels like a ghost town. >>

This gets !Joshua to sit up straighter. Thump his feet down to the floor, brows knitting together. But all he volunteers, eventually, is: "There's another Kansas in Illinois."

Jax's brows have hiked way up, though for the moment this is the only sign of alarm he gives. He crosses the truck, crouching down in front of Dusk. "I'm sure they must have cameras, right? Can you and B get anything off those? B's /drones/ have cameras if it comes to that."

The first of the bug drones are near enough to the building now to supply useful footage. The (hived) guards at the front door are stand at their posts as expected, and through the glass of the doors behind them a receptionist can be seen sitting in a poorly lit lobby. In various windows all around the facility the bots can detect movement, the largest concentration of which is on the western side of the building in a large mess hall. From this space a door now swings open to admit two soldiers carrying bags of trash to deposit in the dumpster before returning inside.

To the telepaths, two minds just abruptly /appeared/ in the vicinity of the building--calm, unalarmed, vaguely irritated with their noisome chore--and disappeared again a minute later.

Ash reaches out and fist bumps Scramble, nodding appreciatively. "Gracias. It's a bit bulky though." He is pulled away from his hero worship when the mood in the van begins to shift. He tenses up between his shoulder blades and looks out the front windshield, studying the exterior.

The theft of his helmet coaxes a small smile from Steve, and he steals it right /back/, clapping Ion on the shoulder by way of compensation (completely undeterred by the zap sure to accompany it). The preliminary reports about the situation outside cause his brows to knit -- more in /confusion/ than actual consternation, though. "Could something interfere with telepathic reception? Or /jam/ it?" he asks as he checks his gear, tugging straps tight and resettling the armor plates under various straps and belts.

"Yes," Jax replies, without looking up from Dusk's tablet. "Psionic shielding could easily. Put a whole building off the mental --" His fingers wave towards his head. "Grid."

Hive's lazy mental swiping snatches up the two guards as they appear on his radar -- though this is soon followed by a sharp and irritable hiss from the telepath. A hand lifted to rub quickly at his temple, a small discomfited grunt. "Goddamn Osborn. Fuck -- shit. Unless you blow the shit out of the plating it's going to be all on B to steer you once you're in. I can't hear for shit in there."

A handful of the tiny drones zip into the door that the trash-carrying soldiers emerge from, perching up in a corner until the guards have come back. Outside others are still circling the building, peering in through windows to get a stock of what they can see. "Definitely not a ghost town, at least. No, this is the floor plan we had. The security on this is -- tight, though. I can /be/ your eyes but it's going to take approximately forever for me to /take/ the security system from them, I don't think there's time for --" There's a distinct level of fret in B's tone. "But I'm trying."

The drones that made it into the mess hall are greeted with a crowd of soliders--a few dozen in military police duty uniforms--taking and complaining about their their lunch of mealy-looking meatloaf, pale mashed potatos, and boiled peas. Elsewhere around the building, other soliders can be seen through windows in their barracks, rec rooms, and administrative offices. All in all the drones have made around 50 guards. A few of them are in another mess hall on the opposite end of the building, armed and vigilant and watching over a handful of people in orange jumpsuits as they bustle away with food prep.

"Fantastic." This is a low mutter from Dusk, eyes narrowed on his tablet. "Well, good news is we're in the right place." << -- bad news is we're down Flicker /and/ Hive and have ten times as many people to get out as we usually do. >> The faint tightness in his jaw doesn't actually resolve into the second half of this thought, though. He hands the actual tablet to Jax, letting him track the feeds from B's drones as he splits his terminals out into a holo-interface, wings slightly quivery at his back as he assists B in chipping away at the security. "They'll map you a decent route in and through to the cells, at least. Hopefully with minimal, uh -- crowds of soldiers."

B's drones find their way down the bare, gray corridors lit with the sad, wan light of aging flourescent tubes. Near the soldiers' mess are the barracks and rec rooms, with the administrative offices and infirmary lying deeper in the building. Beyond those is a heavily guarded area with incredibly vague signage that indicates "Site Operations and Logistics." The reinforced steel doors to this area have their own guard stations, and no obvious ingress for the bug bots at this juncture. Beyond those, they find the cellblocks--long, dreary hallways lined with bars and occupied by gaunt orange-clad bodies of every shape and descript--mostly humanoid, but not all--in twos and threes. Nearby are the inmates facilities: much shabbier rec rooms, a small infirmary, and the mess hall the other bots had glimpsed from outside.

Steve drifts over to watch the drone feeds over Jax's shoulder, frowning more deeply now. "Looks like the inmates will be getting their lunch soon," he comments, his tone serious. "They'll have to assign a large number of soldiers to secure the prison mess when that happens." He glances aside, tugs off his right gauntlet to run a firm hand down over Dusk's wings when they shake. "It's a mixed blessing, but might be our best time to get inside."

On his crate, !Joshua's brows just lift. His head thunks back against the wall. "Soldiers aren't done their lunch yet. /That/ seems like a straight blessing to me."

"So. Maybe we trap them in there? Keep them away from what we want to do?" Ash is creeping over Dusk's shoulder. "I can maybe do that? Gotta go outside and see what kind of rock we're dealing with."

Jax brings the tablet over to Ryan, fingers tapping against the side of his leg as he studies the footage. "I need a clear view of that first cellblock hall." He blows this window up larger after this, teeth sinking down against his lip as he passes the tablet over to !Joshua. "Alright. That's our first drop spot, then. Me, Dusk, Shane, Scramble, can you drop us in one? Get Ryan and Steve and Ion on the next jump then go back and help Ash. If you all can /keep/ the soldiers in their half the building that'll be /twice/ the blessing." The small quirk of his mouth is just a rapid twitch at Steve. "We don't have to go the long way. I think now's as good a time as we got. B, if you /can/ get into that network, let me know. Mirror?"

!Joshua stands up, rolls his shoulders. "I could get you /all/ in one. But I'd regret the hell out of it." His arms stretch out, hand upturned towards the others and eyes dropped down to the tablet. "Buckle up."

Scramble is /grinning/ now. "We'll teach you to stop thinking like a flatscan, Cap. See ya inside." She stretching out a hand to grip Mirror's forearm and spreads her feet for a more stable stance. "Let's /do/ this."

Shane doesn't grin. He just takes a step forward -- reaching for Jax's hand, first, webbed fingers curling tight before his other hand grips Mirror's arm. One quick silent nod.

Dusk's wing presses up into Steve's touch, its tremble subsiding as he rises. His wings flex, curl tight around the entirety of the group. "Guess it's that time." His smile to Steve and Ryan and Ion is quick and fangy-sharp. "{You all best hurry or we'll be done and back out without you.}"

"Ah, right -- teleportation. /Much/ better than clawing our way in on guts and bluster." Steve gives a quick, sharp nod, donning his helmet and pulling his gauntlet back on. Then steps aside, closer to Ryan and Ion. "Godspeed."

Mirror just stays looking at the tablet -- until, abruptly, the tablet isn't there anymore. The truck, their friends, the world all vanishes in a brief and briefly nauseating whirl of cold and dark until it coalesces back into the hallway from the drones' feed.

They've barely touched down, though, when Mirror is jerking away from the others, shoulders curling inward and head shaking rapidly as ze leans back against the wall. "No stop that --" Hir clothes are growing abruptly baggier on hir, skin darker, frame taller but leaner as it warps from Joshua's broadly muscled one to Mirror's own body.

The hallway is chilly and gray, dimly lit with flickering flourescent light and so long it's almost surreal. At its far end part of a guard station is visible, but the soldiers behind the glass give no indication they have noticed the intruders just yet. The occupants to the cells on their side of them have, however, but they stay quiet for the most part. A teenaged boy looked briefly like he might cry out, but his bunkmate seizes him by the shoulder and shushes him. Even so, a quiet murmur is rising around them as more inmates notice and start gazing upon them with fervant hope.

The intruders themselves, however, might be too distracted to pay much mind to either the inmates or the guards. Even before Mirror shifts, each of them can sense that something is very /wrong/ in here. Jax's vision has gone flat, robbed of colors beyond ROYGBV, his innate grasp on light vanished. Shane's body is racked with agony, his breathing shallow quite audibly distressed. Even Dusk can sense some unnamed shifting within in, though its effects on him are much less dramatic.

Shane's black eyes widen huge, his gills fluttering wildly along the side of his neck. He staggers back, fetching up against the nearest of the cells with one arm curling around himself, the other hand clamping tight against his mouth to stop the cry that /wants/ to emerge. When his hand drops again his mouth only moves to form silent words: '... oh fuck.'

Behind his enormous sunglasses, Jax's expression is harder to read. His posture has tensed abruptly, though, his hand dropping reflexively to the oddly modified pistol at his hip. It leaves this when he looks to Shane, breath briefly catching. He hastens to the teenager's side, curling his arm around Shane's shoulders and looking into the cell. "-- we're here to help," he murmurs to the occupants, heavy drawl low and a little rough, "but I need to know. Do you have any idea who is turnin' everyone's powers off?"

Ash shuffles a little further away from those teleporting, frowning as he tries to cram into a corner of the van to be out of the way. When the first group teleports away, he pulls himself out and finds a place to sit, closing his eyes and concentrating. "Ahh. It's no good. I'm too far away. Is there any way to get a little closer? I can run - if we can figure out when the camera blindspots are."

Scramble hisses, shaking her head rapidly as if to clear it. Then looks up, her eyes go very, very wide when as she watches Mirror change. "Fuck," slips from her, soft but terrified, before she even turns to look at Shane. But she regains her wits quickly, and goes Mirror. "Hey. Hey, you still with us?" Whether or not the question is answered, she taps her comm to activates it and whispers, harsh but steady, "They got something in here turns our powers off."

B's voice is smaller, sharper, higher, when it sounds through their comms next. "My brother's in there." And again, edged. Bordering on panicky. "My /brother's/ in there." Panic or no panic, she is still busily working at the encrypted network. The drones, at least, look impassive.

The cell beside Jax and Shane has two occupants: the Latino teenager who almost gave them away the moment they arrived and his indeterminately aged and distinctly scarlet roommate.

"They give us drugs," the boy mutters, staring at Shane in terror. "But you just /got/ here! Why is that happening to him it didn't do that to /us/."

The taller, redder man is shaking his head, though. "There've been people who've managed to skip their doses. No dice. Something else keeps them down even when the drugs should have worn off."

"Guys," Jax's voice is low but -- steady, even if his arm around Shane is distinctly /not/. "You're -- going to have to take the long way in after all. Ash, Ryan, Ion, don't come in. You might have to /smash/ an entrance. Steve, Rachel, we're. Going to need some backup." He's pulling in a slow breath, unstrapping the websling cuffs from Shane's wrist to strap them on himself.

Steve turns to Rachel, lifts his head slightly -- it's not a questioning gesture. "We're coming. Someone get us closer." His eyes flick to Ion, then to Joshua, uncertain. "Right up to the door." His jaw sets tight, determined. "We'll do the rest."

Joshua is already rolling down out of the cab. Kind of grim-faced, kind of silent. Nabbing the rest of the team without much preamble -- the world disappears /again/, though for them when they are set down it is only the outside world. Just outside the walls of the facility, right outside the prisoners' mess hall. "A little closer," he tells Ash.

"It's," Shane's voice is rough, kind of thick, "fine. I'm. Fine." He sinks down slowly to sit, leaning against the cell door, gills still fluttering rapidly. His clear inner eyelids slide shut, hands lifting to turn up and out and facilitate easier stripping of the wristcuffs. "Might want to let. Everyone know. We're -- here."

"Mmmm. Closer." Ash looks a tiny bit green when he appears next to the building. He reaches a hand out to rest against the wall, considering, eyes closing. He kneels down and digs his fingers into the ground. The earth rumbles gently around them. Cracks begin to appear in the wall, running up from the base to the window sills before they dart out around the frames. He pulls his hands loose and grabs one of the bars on the nearest window. The wall comes away in his hands as if it were made of foam. He looks over his shoulder before throwing it out of the way.

Behind the wall that Ash destroys is one of the inmate rec rooms, currently vacant, its folding tables and chairs stacked against one back wall. There are two doors leading out to a long corridor.

Steve claps Ash on the shoulder as soon as he's disposed of the hunk of wall. "Good man." And with that he's leaping into the breach, shield braced in front of him against. He crosses the room in three huge strides and takes down one of the doors with a single, swift kick. "Guide us, B."

A tiny black beetle zooms down from just above the newly broken wall, flitting into the rec room to whisk its way in front of Steve. It flashes a pale blue light, once, twice, three times, then takes off, humming in front of the others to lead the way down the hall towards the cell block where Jax's team waits.

Rachel is quick to follow, her large wings folded in against her back and a baton drawn in one hand.

Dusk is trying very hard not to look at where Shane is crumpling against the floor. /Very/ hard. Muscles tense, jaw set, he just moves down to the far end of the hall -- away from the guard station. "Hi," he begins introducing himself, low and quiet to the inmates at this end. "My name's Dusk. I'm here with a team, we've come to get you all out. It's /probably/ going to get pretty chaotic in here. We're going to do our best to get everyone out safe, okay, just stick with me." With this, he grips the bars, muscles straining as he simply -- /rips/ them straight out of the concrete.

Perhaps alerted by the sudden rending of a nearby wall, two guards have rushed out of the prisoner's mess and into the hallway almost as one with Steve.

"Down on the ground, now, now, now!" one of them is shouting, the quiver in his voice quite plain as he levels his M4 at the intruders.

"What the /fuck/, is that /Captain America/?!" the other one says, incredulous, though he doesn't lower his carbine.

The military grade encryption on the operations network does not yield easily, though B has yet to set off any red flags with the base's sysadmin, at least.

In cellblock A, there is a sudden uproar among the inmates when they see Dusk tear out the bars. The first to be liberated are a young woman with burn scars on her face, half-hidden by long black hair, and a middle-aged woman a row of sharp spines growing along her bald head like a mohawk. Others are now shouting and begging to be let out...and the guards at their station down the hall are in a state of high alarm, though neither seems unwilling to come out of their shelter. One of them is yelling into an actual wired handset that he's pulled from an antique phone cradle mounted to the wall, the other is fidgeting nervously with his M4.

Steve breaks into a sprint, briefly outstripping the beetle he's meant to be following and closing the distance to the two soldiers with alarming speed, hunkered down behind his shield. He bodily slams into one of them and shield-bashes the other one into the wall.

Ash doesn't stick around very long. He feels his way along the wall, distracted as he heads toward the guards' mess hall. He is fairly light on his toes as he skirts around the exterior. Once he is close enough, he crouches low again, jamming his hands into the ground, up to his forearms. Earth and rock mix and harden, jutting up from the ground, dividing the mess hall from the rest of the facility. After that, he begins work on the emergency exits and windows.

The two soldiers facing down Steve and Rachel were /not/ adequately prepared for even slightly superhuman speed. One of them manages to get a three-shot burst off, the bullets skipping harmlessly off of Steve's shield shortly before the shooter is bowled over the breath knocked from his lungs. His partner goes down with a strangled yelp as his head is slammed back against the wall.

There are shouts of anger and confusion from inside the mess as the earth intrudes upon the soldier's lunch. Alerted too late, they are now trying smash down the barriers with chairs even while Ash seals them in more securely.

"Rachel." Jax stands, hefting Shane rather easily in his arms as the others arrive. "Take him. Get him back out." He does not add: /Quickly/, but the urgency in his tone probably does.

Rachel doesn't, at least, need the urging. She scoops the sharkpup into her arms, turning right back around the way she came. She pauses only to stretch out a huge wing in passing, thwapping at one of the guns from the recently fallen soldiers to knock it back in Jax's direction before heading back towards the rec room and its recently created exit.

The moment Rachel enters the rec room with the gaping hole in its outer wall, Shane's breathing eases very noticebly. The pain that racks his body does not vanish, but it fades to the ache of an injury already inflicted, not one still ongoing.

Shane's eyes fly open, his claws -- which have been clenching into Rachel's arm in a rather painful hard grip -- tightening for a moment, then easing. "Stop," he rasps, pressing closer to her with a sudden shaking convulsion. "Stop. Stop, it's -- this room. Different." He wriggles in her arms -- though kind of weak, kind of ineffectual. "/Ion/. Ryan. The." His eyes close again. "It's broken here."

Steve doesn't slow down. He sprints past Jax and Shane, trusting them to Rachel. He passes Dusk and his redecorating also, heading for the guard station, whose access door he slams into shield first.

Scramble follows in Dusk's wake, ushering out those he's liberated. "Name's Scramble, c'mon, follow me." She stretches out a hand to help the two women over the rubble, glancing up as Steve runs past them, headed for the guard station. "You show 'em, white boy!"

Outside the walls, Ion jut kind of /ambles/ up to the hole. Poking his head in the broken wall uncertainly. "Littleshark, you come out here huh? {Breathe. Live.} Who broken?"

Ryan actually steps /into/ the rec room. Out of it again. Back into it.

Ion, meanwhile, is looking curiously /at/ the broken wall, now. Running a hand over the edge of the hole as he looks into it. "Wall pretty broken..."

Ryan is nodding. "{Gonna be more broken in a second.}" There's a deep reverberating thrum starting up in the room, pushed out a moment later as a reverberating wave that shudders through the wall out into the hall, leaving a large segment of it shattered and crumbling in.

The encrypted network finally gives way under B's relentless attack, yielding control of the base's operations to her. Considering how low tech most of the building seems to be, it's perhaps surprising just how much operational data she finds there...including controls for a system so classified even the sysadmin only see its power consumption report.

Back in cellblock A, the burned young woman climbs from the wreckage of her cell, leaning heavily on both Scramble and her bunkmate--she can't seem to see very well.

The metal door of the guard station does not fly off its hinges when Steve slams into it, but it bows in far enough that its latch can no longer reach, and swings open with a horrific crash agains the steel filing cabinet behind it.

The soldiers inside leap back, trying to find cover in the close confines of the office. One of them is still clutching his phone. The other has raised his weapon at Steve, but very /poorly/, its barrel shaking violently and kind of drooping, as if he lacks the strength to hold it up properly.

"You--you're not authorized to be here!" says the latter, near to panicking.

"Pa, I'm in the security system," B's voice comes through their comms. "You're going to have a lot of guards incoming soon -- they're sending everyone left they have your way." Not long after she says this, her voice, light and less panicky than before, is -- kind of cheerfully! -- piped through the PA system in Cellblock A. "Hi, everyone. We're here to get you out. Just follow the friendly -- uh, freaks, and they'll -- you know. Help." The doors to all the remaining cells in the block are unlocking, sliding open now.

The ruined guard station is small enough that Steve simply /yanks/ the carbine out of the soldier's shaking hands. "Son," he says flatly, pale blue eyes cold and unamused. "just don't."

There's another hum from just outside the hall. Another rattle, shudder, shake, a wall of the hallway to the cell block cracking and crumbling in as well. Ryan steps through the gap where the wall /was/, -- though there's a perfectly serviceable door /just/ a few feet beside him. More than a little dusty, brushing one single fleck of fallen concrete off his shoulder and ignoring the veritable coat of grey that remains.

The soldier who had been talking on the phone in the guard station drops it and makes a beeline for the other door, leading to the as yet unbreached cellblock B. His recently disarmed companion follows swiftly on his heels.

"Well. That's definitely more convenient. Everybody, this way, alright?" One of Dusk's huge wings beckons as the cell doors open; he jogs up the long hall towards -- the crumbling-in wall where Ryan is emerging. "If you head this way we'll get you somewhere safe. Ion, can you get everyone to the truck?"

Outside, Ash has closed off the soldiers' mess hall and is moving on to secure the barracks. These, however, are more extensive and have more doors, making it more difficult to trap the soldiers who have been roused from their sleep to high alert. "There's at least a couple squads, headed toward the cellblocks right now," he calls over his comm.

"Joshua, bring the truck in close. Jump them home and come back as soon as it's loaded, alright? We're going to need -- a /couple/ runs." Jax's brows hike up when Ryan appears, head tilting towards the broken-in wall. "How did you -- nevermind. Good." There's a hint of bemusement in Jax's tone, hand scrubbing against his cheek as he picks up the carbine Rachel had hit towards him, holding the gun at his side as he hurries down the hall towards cellblock B. "B, you got eyes on us? Open up the next cellblock once we're in there."

The inmates of cellblock A pour out in a surprisingly orderly stream as the doors slide open, and, after a moment of surging confusion, follow in Dusk's wake. It's a young man with immense compound eyes and a thin film of iridescent hair over his entire body who first calls out, "Hey--that's Ryan Black!"

Mirror is mostly staying quiet in the middle of all this chaos. Watching the others. Watching the inmates emerging from their cells. A small smile flicks across hir face at this, though, head turnin to watch the face of the mutant who recognizes Ryan first -- turning to watch Ryan, as well.

Ryan's smile is a crooked brief thing, hand scuffing through dust-sprinkled hair. "Today I'm just one of you. One of you who's really keen on not getting anyone shot before I get you all home so uh --"

Outside the broken walls, the rumble of the their truck is drawing closer. Ryan gestures towards the sound, stepping through the rubble as he leads the inmates out.

Down at the other end of the cellblock B hallway where yet another guard station separates it from cellblock C, soldiers are amassing. This is visible, at the moment, only to B (via security feed) and to Steve. The two soldiers who had just fled from Steve join their fellows there and vanish into the press of uniforms.

"We're going to have to fight for cellblock B," Steve reports grimly. "I count at least twelve guards at the next station, but they can't come out all at once. These checkpoints are designed to be bottlenecks. I can probable take them a couple at a time if I get close enough." But he isn't doing that just yet, and looks back at Jax instead as the team leader approaches.

Once Ryan has breached the wall into cellblock A, members of the team who were inside can feel their powers returning--not all at once, but in flickering starts as if some machinery is winding down and finally giving up.

Jax is frowning up at the walls. Frowning /back/ at the hole Ryan came through. Frowning down at the other end of the hallway. He pulls in a slow breath, stepping back out of the guard station between blocks A & B, looking up at the ceiling again. "-- oh. Oh. Maybe we'll be able to give 'em a fight after all." He draws in a deep breath, lifting his hands -- pushing out a brilliant flare of light that smashes in a fierce bolt through the wall just /past/ the guard station in the B block hallway. Then another, and another, driving a bigger hole into the wall. "B, make a note to figure out what on /earth/ that is I do /not/," he's jogging back in, "approve. Ion, Scramble. We need y'all in here. Gonna have a loooot of people to get to the truck in short order." Meanwhile, h a thin shimmering shield is plastering itself neatly across the exit to the guard station at the far opposite end of the hall. "B, doors."

The soldiers gathered at the station between cellblocks B and C are digging in. They've smashed the safety glass and have shooters aiming through the window. All for naught, now, as the shield keeps them bottled up. From B's vantage point in the security system, however, she can tell the officer in charge of the defense there has activated Sentinels. Eight of them go live, emerging in pairs from innocuous-looking utility closets beside the guard stations that sandwhich each cellblock. "You are in a prohibited area," they say, pleasant voices raising in unison, "by Federal law you must come with us."

"... great." That's the only mutter that comes from B. One of her bots begins rather introducing itself to the Sentinels' security. Hello friend! The cell doors open, meanwhile, though B's introduction this time: "-- hi we're here to help but, ummmmm, you might want to stay put a /minute/ till my friends say it's safe to come out there may be chaos --" is less chipper than before.

For emphasis, it's helpfully punctuated by a flash of light from the end of the hall. Bright-flash, sizzle, spark. Jax /did/ say he wanted Ion to return, right? There's a crackle of blue-white lightning, a crisp burning tinge in the air. "Shiiiiit man {/always/ with the motherfucking robots.}" One of which Ion is discharging a /whole/ lot of electricity into, just by where he's suddenly materialized outside Jax and Steve's guard station.

"I'm on my way." Scramble turns from helping the last of the rescuees up into the truck and is just jogging back toward the hole in the wall to cellblock A when she hears the Sentinels. "Oh, /fuck/ my life." She dives back through the hole Ryan had torn in the wall there and into the emptied cellblock. "Two Sentinels, outside of cellblock A. Might wanna clear them out before we bring anyone else out that way."

Steve whirls on the Sentinel, staring at it in complete noncomprehension. "What's a /medic/ robot doing --" This is cut off by Ion's dazzling entrance, and though he never completes the sentence he still shifts over to put himself between the remaining Sentinel and Jax.

The Sentinel's control program is not the brightest AI around, and it responds to B's bot with...a standard interfacing handshake. After all, friend bot is on the /secure/ network. That makes it trustworthy, right? Meanwhile, though, it's still following its program. The one that Ion had zapped simply crumbles with a strong scent of ozone and melted plastic, but its partner raises an arm and fires--a series of darts!--at Steve and Jax. The two robots outside of cellblock A step in through the door rather than the gap in the wall, tromping inexorably toward the junction to B.

Jax's teeth grit -- his face is /kind/ of paling, hand pressing up against the wall of the guard station. "Not medics." He's gritting that through clenched teeth, a faint shimmer briefly coalescing in the air in front of Steve; the darts clatter off the momentarily summoned shield, though it fades away in the next instant. "Don't know what those darts'll do to you. Probably depower /us/."

"Understood." Steve lifts the M4 that he had taken from one of the guard station's not-so-stalwart defenders and fires a three-round burst at the head of the Sentinel that had just shot at him. Then he turns and looks down the corridor of cellblock A, empty save for Scramble booking it far ahead of two more Sentinels.

Scramble skids to a stop next to Ion, panting. "Shit, that's a lot of soldiers," she's looking down through cellblock B. "I can take out at least a third of 'em if I get right up on Jax's shield there."

"Theres still those two," Steve says calmly, lifting his rifle to take aim at the Sentinels moving cellblock A toward them. "I'll take the one on the left."

"{Yo /captain/ these toasters are bulletproof.}" Farther down the hall Dusk is just shaking his head as Steve takes aim. His wings tighten against his back as he sprints down the now-empty block A hallway -- but one of them opens back up, wide, thwacking hard against one of the pair of Sentinels proceeding down the hall towards B and dragging it nearer him. His hand shoots up, yanking and twisting hard at one of its arms.

Steve's shots strike true, but succeed only in scratching the finish of its armor and causing its head to snap back with a sudden whirr of strained servos. A schnk sound from its arm suggests it is reloading and probable about to fire again. Dusk's Sentinel does not fare quite so well, swept off of its feet by the massive wing. The servos in its arms screech and then pop as the entire limb detaches at the shoulder, trailing wires and twisted metal rods. Its partner turns to Dusk, now, clearly classing him as a more immediate threat, and, raising its arm, fires its darts at him.

"{Of course they are,}" Steve says, letting the M4 fall to his side on its strap. He lunges at the nearest Sentinel as it prepares to fire again swinging his shield down from overhead and aiming its edge for its elbow joint. He follows the motion through and, spinning around, delivers a sharp kick to the robot's right knee in a bid to take its leg out from under it.

"Right up on that shield it mean right up on them bots." Ion doesn't sound /immensely/ bothered by this, nodding to the end of the hall and the pair of Sentinels that have emerged at the opposite guard station. "Don't guess you can make the tin cans crazy too, huh? -- Yo, /Sunshine/, how much longer you /got/ that thing for?" He's not waiting for an answer. Just clapping a hand onto Scramble's shoulder, leaning up against the wall. A moment later there's a jolt, painful and electrifying -- a blinding shocking moment later they're emerging at the far end of the longlong hall. Outside Jax's shield. Just a few feet away from the Sentinels. Around Ion, the air is starting to crackle and hum.

The Sentinels near the end of the cellblock B hallway had been headed toward the junction with A, but now they turn to Ion and Scramble, blank faceplates gleaming. Perhaps forewarned by the fate of their fellows, they dispense with warnings, saying not a word before raising their arms to fire--one at each.

The Sentinel which had shot and Steve and in turn gotten shot /by/ Steve (neither to very great effect) does manage to fire its dartgun again...at the floor, as its arm is knocked downward by its target's swift attack. Steve's shield does not severs its arm altogether, but it does bite into the vulnerable space between armor plates in its elbow, rendering that arm useless. The kick does not cause nearly so much damage, but it slides the robot's foot back far enough to play havoc with its equilibrium, and it totters as if intoxicated but does not go down.

Elsewhere in the facility, Ash's efforts are beginning to show gaps--one person, even with the very soil at his command, can only do so much to contain troops who are, in the end, far more familiar with the layout of the facility. Eight soldiers have found their way out through the garages, not all of them in full combat gear, a couple only carrying their sidearms, but they are working their way around toward the earthbender all the same.

Dusk just hisses, teeth baring as the darts sink into his chest. His hand snaps up, jerking the darts back out to let them clatter to the floor. He lifts one booted foot, stomping it down hard onto the center of the Sentinel he's just downed -- he's lashing out, reflexive and kind of angry, with its torn-off arm, thwacked towards the dart-shooting arm of the one that just fired at him.

"Not -- much longer," Jax admits, paling. "I can't --" His fingers press harder against the wall; he pulls in a slow breath, arm a little shaky where it is bracing him. "Y'all should start getting people out this way. That wall will come down real soon."

The soldiers that /do/ find their way outside -- also find their way back in range of Hive's network; the telepath may have vanished along with the truck, but his presence still lingers in the periphery guards. It's a seamless psionic net that falls, tightens, closes neatly around the troops to loop them in. Stop them in place.

The crackle of energy around Ion shudders -- disperses in a sudden chaotic skitter, bright arcs shuddering out from the electrokinetic with the abrupt jerk of his body a split second after the report of the bullet. The electricity he had been collecting discharges wildly, unfocused and dilute. Towards the Sentinel, towards Scramble, towards Jax's shield and the guards beyond it, ripping through the forcefield like mist.

"Making /robots/ crazy is /your/ job," is about all Scramble manages before Ion zaps them down the hall. Though neither surprised nor dismayed by this development, she still comes out of it just dazed enough that she isn't diving out of the path of the bullets /nearly/ as quickly as she might. But, dive she does -- sidelong, not graceful but who's keeping score? She lands in a diagonal roll and comes up onto one knee, out of the path of bullets but not of the electricity arcing out from Ion when /he/ gets shot. Her cry of -- dismay? pain? -- is cut short and she collapses, twitching and curling into a fetal ball.

Steve only spares a single glance back at Dusk as he's turning, his shield slicing back up through the air at his crippled Sentinel's /neck/ this time. This maneuver he completes just about in time with the gunshot and the uncontrolled electrical discharge that follow. "Oh no," he breathes, his eyes flicking from Ion to Scramble to the failing forcefield that separates them and the prisoners of the entire cellblock from the soldiers gathered beyond.

The three soldiers nearest to Jax's shield (one of them had been daring another to touch it just before Ion and Scramble appeared) get caught in the electrokinetic's arcs and drop much like Scramble had. Their fellows jump back and four of them start firing over the fallen soldiers at the shield while their commanding officer frantically yells--it's unclear whether he would prefer /more/ shooting or less out of them.

The Sentinel in front of Steve just crumbles, its head still /attached/ but bobbing somewhat spastically, useless. The one in front Ion is still functional, if somewhat twitchy, a few of its systems rebooting automatically. Under Dusk's boot, the Sentinel's armor caves in with a anticlimactic warble, while the other one is spun almost completely around by the blow from its comrade's severed arm. As it begins to turn back toward Dusk, however, it lifts its other arm--a panel folds aside on it with a very solid ca-chunk to reveal the barrel of a gun. The gloves are off.

...and so is the security on the Sentinels' controlling AI. It does not automatically escalate any privileges, but does grant B access to its command channel.

Hanging back, out of the way of all this /gunfire/ and chaos, Mirror is -- still filming. Quietly. Brows slightly lifted at the shooting, the cries, the blaze of electricity.

Hir lips purse. Dark eyes scanning the rest of the team. The quiet noise that hums in hir throat might be dismay. Or just thoughtfulness.

At the end of the hall, the shield collapses. Jax's shoulders crumple inward, briefly, hand lifting to rub a trickle of blood away from his nose. He stumbles out of the guard station, another shield shimmering unsteadily to rise in its place -- only after the first volley of bullets have flown. "Everyone! If y'all could come out the cells an' follow this way we're going to get you out of here." His voice is a little unsteady, at first, with this --

Though it doesn't much matter, a moment later, B piping the instruction through the PA system.

"Just follow this helpful little bug, it'll show you to the truck that'll take you home --" Jax is indicating one of the tiny beetles, glowing green where it hovers in the air. With the shield back up at the end of the hall he's none too speedy as he jogs down towards its end.

An end where, now, Ion is slumping back against the doorway of the guard station. Around him there's a dim crackling of energy -- and kind of a /lot/ of blood streaked on the wall behind him, starting to collect on the floor where he's fallen.

The Sentinels, at least, are falling dormant. Which would be cause for some celebration, perhaps, though B's voice doesn't sound entirely celebratory with the quiet announcement in their ears: "There's another squad and a half of soldiers waiting for you /behind/ the ones in this station. They're barricading the next cellblock right now."

Steve steadies Jax on the way out of the guard station. Once the other man seems to have regained his footing, he runs on ahead, twice as fast as any human sprinter could manage. He looks perfectly ready to attack the two remaining Sentinels there, but when they do not react to him, he drops to one knee beside Ion instead, checking for breathing and a pulse (though he's keeping one eye on Jax's shield and the soldiers on the other side).

Scramble emits a soft, steady stream of profanity as she struggles to roll herself over. Once she succeeds and sees the pool of blood, the "Fuck" comes out much louder. "Ion!" She reaches for him -- for Steve, for anyone, really -- but her muscles aren't really obeying her just yet. Her powers, however, are perfectly in tact, and she stretches them out, questing for the minds of the nearby soldiers, twisting and pulling at any she can touch.

Steve's touch is met with a solid zap. A pulse there, yes, though rapid and thready and not easy at first to find, breathing shallow.

When the Sentinels go quiet Dusk leaves the one in front of him. Tosses its torn off arm to the side, sets off sprinting down the hall. Through the empty guard station, past the open rows of cells.

"Joshua," Jax's voice is clipped and urgent. "Ion needs a lift out of here. Soon as you can manage it." At the end of the hall, now, he's dragging Ion out of the way of the guard station, into one of the nearby cells. The shield vanishes again a moment later.

Other than the three soldiers who had been electrocuted when Ion got hit, Scramble can only reach two others--no, four, as more of them have come forward to drag their stunned comrades out of harm's way. They have not yet completed this operation when Jax's shield drops yet again, which somewhat complicates the shooting that others behind them would probably /like/ to be doing. Their officer is /screaming/ at them to clear the line of fire and get to cover.

From a terminal in the administrative offices, B can tell someone is trying to close off her access to the operations network. They are also contacting the squad of soldiers that had stepped outside and promptly into Hive's keeping, asking whether they had neutralized the earth-moving mutant yet.

Steve rises and lets Jax take Ion. He practically ignores the soldiers, going to help Scramble up instead, unslinging the M4 and passing it off to her. The moment Jax's shield goes down, however, he is moving into the press of soldiers waiting beyond. Ignoring the fallen soldiers, he slams his shield, swift and brutal, into the nearest one standing. Then, moving right past, seizes the the rifle of the next nearest one and pulls its wielder off balance, face-first into his knee as he brings it up.

Scramble grits her teeth, squeezing her eyes shut. One by one she twists the chemical balance in the brains of the soldiers she /can/ reach, pushing them into paralyzing despair and profound catatonia. She doesn't resist Steve's assistance when it comes, accepts the rifle with a dull, grave nod of thanks, and ducks into the nearest cell, waving its inhabits out urgently. "C'mon, we're getting you out of here." Hardly has she finished saying this, the shield has dropped and the melee broken out. "Down the hall, /away/ from the violence." She points them the right way and then takes up position to provide suppressing fire over Steve's head, into the guard station.

Many of the inmates are perhaps understandably hesitant about venturing out into a hallway where a firefight had just broken out--though few of them could see very clearly what was happening by the guard station. The first few intrepid souls inspire others, however, and soon a flood of panicky escapees are surging down the hallway and toward cellblock A.

The forwardmost soldiers gone to retrieve their electrocuted fellows have fallen on where they stood, forming a veritable levee of uniforms and armor and guns and flesh. The ones Ion had stunned, on the other hand, are recovering and getting up, not overly coordinated or overly eager to engage one furious Captain America. The soldier Steve shield-bashes flies backward, slams into the wall, and drops the the floor unmoving. His second target screams and staggers back, his face a bloody mess where his nose was crushed. The officer is shouting for reinforcements and looks very much like he would prefer to flee instead.

Friendly fire? What's that? Whether or not his comrades are clear yet, /someone/ from inside the guard station fires a three-shot burst in the general direction of Dusk, and kind of incidentally, the mass of completely defenseless inmates crowding the hallway behind him.


Scramble's shots do not find any fleshy targets, whether she make any great effort to do so or not. They are, however, making a grand mess of the guard station's interior, sending bits of corkboard, paper, plastic and glass flying every which way. The moment she stops, a smallish soldier beside the officer pops up and fires on Steve--in full automatic.

In the cell where Ion has been left, Joshua appears beside the electrokinetic. There is a moment -- only a brief one -- where he is still, tensed, breath sucked in and eyes wider before he drops down beside the bleeding man. The hand he slips beneath Ion's head is oddly tender amid all the screams and gunfire. Silent as he arrived, the pair vanishes again, leaving behind only a sticky pool of blood on the cell floor.

Dusk is rocked back by the gunfire, a deep growl rumbling in his chest. One of his wings shudders, crumpling downwards, torn and broken where it has been hit. This does not stop him barrelling forward into the guard station -- perhaps just makes him a touch more /irate/ as he does so, broken wing flaring out to swipe two of the guards back against the wall (his growl deepens into a harsh pained snarl with the contact.) His good wing is scooping another of the other soldiers and their commanding office him, yanking them straight on through and out the station on other side to fling them -- away from him.

The very beginning of the hail of bullets catches Steve square in the chest before he has a chance to duck down behind his shield. He stumbles back a step, his quiet grunt completely drowned out by gunfire. It ceases in time for him to step aside and let Dusk pass -- there's no blood on him when he lowers his shield, only a black mark across one point of the white star on his uniform and another one right beside it. His face is set in a grimace of pain, but he pushes forward all the same, reaching in through the shattered window of the guard station and pulling the nearest soldier out (the one who had shot at him), slamming his helmet sharply against hers.

The guard station erupts into panic when Dusk joins them in a sweep of wings and claws. The officer starts calling for a retreat only a split second before he and his nearest subordinate get neatly flung from the station out into cellblock C. Three of the soldiers have the presence of mind to draw their pistols, but one of them is promptly slammed against the wall by Dusk's wing and another gets dragged out of the station by Steve. The third levels his gun at Dusk and fires once, point-blank, before falling back and fleeing out into the cellblock C hallway. The two soldiers Dusk had mashed up against the wall are stunned, punch, drunk, but not down. The one Steve headbutted is reeling but has kept hold of her sidearm and lifts it--sluggish, uncoordinated, but very, very determined--to clock him in the face.

B's efforts to /keep/ control of the Sentinels' security are perfunctory, to be honest -- though ze seems fairly busy on the servers anyway, occupied with downloading quite a bit of their files. Opening up the doors to the cellbock in C. "Hellohi we're here to help," her -- rather harried by now -- voice comes piped into the cells. "Please stay where you are until my friends um come to -- tell you it's safe to -- not get shot."

Jax grits his teeth when Dusk passes through the guard station into the very /occupied/ hallway between B and C. His arms are kind of shaky -- he has to move in front of the doorway to the guard station to get a clear view of the /next/ one, a shield going up in front of the manned barricade at the far end of the hall.

Dusk is knocked heavily back against the wall by the point-blank shot, teeth bared and his wing leaving a bloody streak on the concrete. Though he hisses, he doesn't immediately chase after the guard -- not with the shield walling off the barricade /anyway/. Not with the heavy audible snap! of bone after the shot slams into his shoulder. "Tssss." There's still a low growl rumbling in him as he looks back to Jax, brows lifting.

Jax just looks -- pale. Kind of shaky, though the shield stays solidly in place.

Scramble darts past Steve and flips over the destroyed window to land in a crouch inside the guard station. Rising up onto one knee, she levels her gun at the two soldiers there still recovering from Dusk. She does not fire on them, however, instead reaching into their brains and /twisting/ just so, sending them into catatonia. Her eyes skip to Dusk and the blood he left on the wall. "Too many guns pointing down that hall." She grimaces. "We gotta take down the dampening...whatever."

Steve turns his head far enough to catch the butt of the pistol on his cheek rather than his nose. It raises a welt, but his head hardly budges from the impact. When he punches the soldier /back/ it's quite a bit faster, quite a bit harder, and he directs his attention further on after. "Won't be pleasant, but I can make it to that barricade," he says, "real fast."

The two remaining guards in the station are just about to retreat when Scramble arrives, and under her assault crumble against each other noiselessly. Somewhere in the distant administrative offices, some enterprising technician has wrested control of the Sentinel AI from B. The four remaining Sentinels suddenly begin moving again. The two at the far end of hallway C start moving down to join the soldiers at the barricade, and the two next to the guard station turn respectively to level their guns to fire at Jax and Steve.

With his focus on the forcefield down at the barricade, Jax's attention doesn't shift to the reawakened Sentinels until too slowly. The shot fired is met with a sudden flare of light, a sudden hiss of breath; the shield at the other end of the hall flickers, vanishes, takes a few moments to reappear as Jax's hand claps to his arm. Another shield appears just on his /other/ side, blocking them off from the Sentinels at their guard station. His eye flutters closed, teeth gritting hard as he leans up against the shield he's just made. "Even for you, that'd be. A lot of fire. If I dropped that wall again."

Dusk's good wing just hitches up in a shrug. He's eying the distant shield, eying the barricade behind it. "Whole lot of people left to get behind that wall. Someone's gotta bring it down."

"B, I don't suppose," Jax says, mild for all he's still speaking through clenched teeth, "if you asked them nice, they'd move back. If I blew the barricade /up/. It would be. Unpleasant. For them."

Steve spins around as the Sentinels come back to life, but doesn't get his shield up quite in time to block the bullet. It catches him in the ribs and he drops heavily to one knee, though he's on his feet again a split second later and is about to charge the Sentinels when the second shield goes up. He goes to Jax's side, spares one quick glance at his injury, then looks through the door of the guard station at the situation in cellblock C. His hand drops to his side, where the bullet left a dent in the armor plating, and he winces. "We have to get through there, one way or another," he says grimly, "I'll run that gauntlet if you let me through. But now there's these Sentinels, too. Can the others dispose of them when they return?"

The two Sentinels who had just fired are...firing again, actually. They don't seem to comprehend that the forcefield prevents their shots from finding their marks. Down in cellblock C, one of the officers has gotten himself a bullhorn, through which he says, "Attention, intruders: your acts of terrorism will not be tolerated any longer. Consider this your final warning." He switches the device off, but his voice still rings loud and clear in the enclosed space as he shouts "Fire!"

Two squad automatic weapons set up on tripods and six M4 carbines at the barricade open up onto the shield that separates the soldiers from the team.

"I don't think they're in a listening mood," B replies, shortly after the soldiers open fire.

Jax closes his eye. His shoulders shudder, a sickly greenish light shivering around him. There's a muted drumming from the far end of the hallway, a hailstorm of bullets not actually finding any marks but the faintly iridescent shield that protects his team. A less muted rattling from much closer where the Sentinels stand only a few short feet away. "The others -- with Ion an' Shane both down --" His voice is slower, considering. "I don't -- Ryan might be. The only one who... could still..."

Just outside, the truck has reappeared, emptied of its first batch of passengers and ready to collect the ones from cellblock B. Only a short instant later, the guard station is getting a lot more crowded -- Joshua blinks back in beside Jax, still kind of bloodied from carting Ion home and this time with a good number of others in tow. Though he has /left/ Ryan to shepherd block B's prisoners to the truck, he has new faces with him -- Tian-shin and Matt and Flicker dropped into the temporary refuge between the shields. "Maybe not the only one." He looks a /little/ exhausted as he leans, briefly, against the nearest wall.

The spike of emotions flashing through Jax's mind is -- mingled. If there is relief, there is shock as well. Dismay, anger. Outwardly, he only draws in a slow breath, muscles tensing, the light around him dimming. "Don't go into that hall. There's something in the walls... turns us. Off."

Matt's arrival comes with a significant boost to the team's powers (with the exception of Steve), though he himself in no way looks prepared for Terrorism, dressed as he is in a seafoam green t-shirt with a great white whale curled upon it, worn blue jeans, and brown hiking boots. He has an olive Blue Suns messenger bag slung across his chest, and is gripping its strap tightly with the hand not clamped onto Joshua's shoulder.

Tian-shin is at least in her X-men uniform, her sword strapped across her back. "I can feel /everything/," she mutters, somewhere between impressed and intimidated. "There's...a /lot/ wiring and machinery in those walls. Good thing I don't need to know how it works to--" She closes her eyes briefly. "--completely wreck it."

Flicker is uniformed also, unarmed save for a knife sheathed at his hip. His brow lift after Tian-shin speaks. Eyes flicking to Jax as he steps, cautious, out of the guard station towards the C-block hallway. Eyes the Sentinels behind one shield. Eyes the soldiers shooting from behind their barricade. The rows of open prison cells. "/Now/ can I go?"

"You drop /that/ shield," Dusk is flicking blood from one wing, flicking a long thumbclaw towards the nearer shield, the Sentinels behind it, "I can take /those/ two. Save you some brainpower, man.

Jax's eye is finally opening again. Maybe a little wide, as he looks at Matt. Then away. Not at Flicker. At the ceiling. His hand -- sticky with blood from the wound in his arm -- falls to his side. When Flicker speaks there is a sharp and sudden wash of nausea that surges to the forefront of his mind. << -- Go /home/ -- >> is there, first, << Joshua you shouldn't have -- >>

-- but he cuts these off sharp and quick.

(Joshua's brows just raise. He doesn't answer.)

"Should be eighty-two people in that cellblock," is what he says to Flicker, out loud. "And the truck's all the way out in front of the mess hall. That's a lot of jumps. -- Joshua, get Dusk behind the Sentinels, take those first. Then if there ain't no more suppression in this hall --" He stops here, pressing the back of his hand shakily to his temple.

Joshua clamps a hand on Dusk's shoulder, reappears quickly with him on the opposite side of the shield, just behind the shooting robots.

As the circuitry in the walls rapidly oxidize, the more delicate parts of the complex power suppression apparatus break down. Though it certainly does not look in any way dramatic, it does register as a change in the power draw of the mysterious ultra-classified system on B's operations board. It is also clearly sensible to Flicker with the return of his powers.

The arrival of the cavalry doesn't seem to dissuade the soldiers who are still firing, if more sporadically, at the shield in hallway c. From one of the cells near the barricade, though, comes some commotion. Two inmates have pulled one of the flimsy mattresses from a bunk and together /throw/ the thing over the barricade at the soldiers there before ducking back into their cell. The soldiers, for their part, had been quite focused on the intruders and scatter, with surprised yips, from the projectile. This causes the shooting to stop momentarily, replaced with angry shouting from both sides.

And then someone fires /into/ the cell.

Back behind the team in cellblock B, the Sentinels are turning around to face Dusk and Joshua, never lowering their guns, firing again on the suddenly nearer targets.

Scramble's mind races--as much about Matt and Flicker's sudden arrival as whether Ion and Shane have been stabilized, though she gives voice to none of these frantic half-formed questions and instead stretches out her newly-augmented abilities. Shakes her head. "Shit what the --" This in reaction to the soldier who just fired at the prisoners. "Imma go drive those fuckers crazy." With that she runs out into the hallway of block C. "If you goin this way gimme a lift," as she passes Flicker.

Steve looks kind of like a dog at a tennis game when the new additions show up, but he's quick to accept the reinforcements at face value and is also headed for the barricade, keeping pace with Scramble. "Hold your fire, soldier!" he bellows, his voice suddenly loud and commanding. "Are you seriously going to gun down unarmed prisoners?"

Somewhere back here, Mirror is still impassive. Fingers tapping against the crook of hir arm with this all. Watching the gunfire, watching Steve.

Dusk's wings flare, one nudging Joshua behind him as the Sentinels start firing. The other is bashing at the farther of the two robots, thwacking hard into its side. He reaches a hand up for the nearer one's shooting arm, grabbing and yanking with a low snarl -- pulling hard not just to disable the arm but to hurl the bot itself towards its partner.

"Think they're halfway there already." Flicker's voice is edged as he watches the soldiers fire into the cell. He doesn't waste any time after this. Reaches for Scramble's arm and then he is vanishing, a blur of motion down the hallway. He drops Scramble off just in front of Jax's shield -- but /he/ continues on right through it, a sudden shimmering figure appearing in the midst of the soldiers abruptly. Reaching for two of the nearest at hand to vanish with them, their worlds shifting into a nauseating lack of focus as he vanishes with them -- back down the hallway, past his teammates, through the wreckage of the previous cellblocks, depositing them out on the roof for Hive to have. Then back in, blurring past his team again to reappear among the soldiers a few seconds later, reaching for two more.

Tian-shin turns her attention to the Sentinels, stretching her powers into the one nearer to herself--farther from Dusk and Joshua--and feeling around until she finds a battery. When she does, she discharges it. All at once.

The Sentinel Dusk grabs staggers under the tug of his immense strength, servos tearing inside its arm, which nearly comes off altogether as it spins away from him. Its partner manages to get off one more shot at Dusk before it suddenly jerks as if electrocuted, its joints locking in place as its indicator lights go dim and the magic smoke starts pouring out from the joints in its armor. It crumples into a heap when the first Sentinel smashes into it.

The soldiers behind the barricade are already in chaos before Flicker and Scramble arrive: the two officers are arguing about the Mattress Incident, while their soldiers are also forming camps of We Need to Defend Ourselves From These Freaks versus What The Actual Fuck Are You Doing?! (At least some of these arguments are shouted loudly enough for Steve to make out, and a few are clearly directed /at/ him--"How can you take their side, Cap?" and the like). Flicker's first pass only generates confusion, but a second later they seem to realize that two of their number have vanished, and forms a defensive circle of rifles bristling outward.

/Scramble's/ arrival, by comparison, doesn't seem to generate nearly so much alarm--after all, she's on the other side of both shield and barricade and hasn't even lifted her firearm.

When Flicker returns, those facing in the direction of his approach start firing before he's even breached the forcefield.

Matt remains at Jax's side in the guard station, eyes darting nervously back and forth between the two fronts, wincing as the Sentinels fire on Dusk, wincing even harder when the soldiers fire into the cell. But his boosting of his team's powers does not waver, at least, and his mind is perhaps startlingly calm considering the circumstances.

Scramble drops down low enough that she'd have the barricade for cover if Jax's shield were to drop, and she closes her eyes, concentrating. She stretches out her powers for the soldiers nearest to the barricade, dropping them into paralyzing despair as they attempt to shoot at Flicker through Jax's shield.

Steve breaks into a sprint and catches up with Scramble just about as Flicker is returning. Raises his shield reflexively when the soldiers start shooting, forcefield or no. "Do the right thing, soldiers," he bellows over the roar of gunfire, "stand /down./"

There's another snarl from Dusk, a spray of blood against the broken window shards of the guard station, his arm dropping limp and bloodied to his side with the Sentinel's last shot. He twists around, slamming one boot up heavily into the first half-broken robot as it falls.

Flicker isn't pausing, meanwhile. It's hard to see much of him, really, still. Shimmer, blur, two more guards vanishing with him -- though there's a few spatters of blood trailing every so often in his wake this time. Drip-drip-drip in an erratic wide glisten of breadcrumbs left down the hall. Once more it isn't long before he returns empty-handed for new cargo.

When the pair of Sentinels falls there's a very faint sigh of relief from Jax. /That/ shield, at least, vanishes.

The soldiers are not really listening to Steve. /Possibly/ they are too busy panicking as they get picked off horror film style by the ghostly flickering teleporter, two by two. From a /different/ nearby cell, another mattress comes flying into their midst along with oaths in both English and Spanish. The soldiers duck reflexively, which makes Flicker's next trip /slightly/ less perilous, but they also fire back, which makes the interior of that cell considerably more hazardous. Somehow, this doesn't actually /discourage/ other inmates from following suit, and soon various objects (most of it completely harmless, on the order of pillows and clothing, but some of it almost assuredly contraband) are pelting the soldiers from the cells around them.

Three soldiers near the barricade are neither shooting nor paying any mind to flying debris, however; one of them has dropped to his knees, another staring vacantly into the offing, and a third is just sobbing openly.

-Yoink-. Two of the soldiers actively firing into the cell are the next to vanish with Flicker, leaving their commanding officer behind.

Steve gives up on trying to talk the soldiers down, but he does stretch out his hand toward Flicker when he comes back around. "Take me in," he shouts, though there's a considerably less gunfire since the teleporter's /last/ pass.

Pausing only long enough to be certain the Sentinel is /staying/ down, Tian-shin rushes into the cellblock C hallway, feeling out the guns that are firing and corroding their moving parts.

There's a familiar twist of space. The world distorting around Steve. Flicker takes him past the shield, past the barricade, past all the gunfire, setting him down on the other side of all the soldiers. Doesn't stop moving, grabbing one of the officers and one of the remaining soldiers to vanish again -- though he's considerably more sluggish on both his approach and his departure, this time around. By /his/ standards, anyway. Still a blur. Just a more easily trackable one.

The more senior and more belligerent of the two officers finds his firearm quite solidly jammed, as do the two soldiers aiming at Flicker as he blinks back toward them again. The /other/ officer is screaming for his people to fall back, but in the confusion no one is really listening, and a moment later he is abruptly in command as the other officer vanishes with Flicker. Only one soldier manages to get a solid shot off at Flicker this time, just as he's departing, as likely hitting one of his /own/ as the teleporter making off with them.

There's a /lot/ of invective flying around, and a lot of personal hygiene products, as well, though the latter somewhat ease off when Steve appears on their side of the barricade, replaced by a few whoops of encouragement. Cheers aren't the only things that greet him, however: the soldiers may be hesitant to shoot at Captain America, but the Sentinels are not, both lifting their arms to fire.

Steve's shield blocks one of the Sentinels' shots, but not the other, which catches him in the side, below his left arm, in a gap between the plates of his armor. His blood looks like just another red stripe on his uniform. He sucks in a sharp, pained breath, then slams the edge of his shield into the neck of the nearer Sentinel, at the same time kicking out at the other one in a bid to spin it away from him.

This time, there is a /lot/ more blood dripping in Flicker's wake when he takes the soldiers down the hall. Splat. Splat. Splat.

With so many of the soldiers vanished or occupied, now, Jax is making his way down the hall towards the barricade. The shield vanishes as he approaches it. Instead, a bright flash of light sears out towards the head of the Sentinel Steve has kicked at, neat and targeted.

Dusk is following after Jax, one hand held protective across his chest, bloodied and inert. The /other/, though, is reaching to /shove/ the barricade back, without much effort.

Flicker -- is paler, when he returns. A noticeable tear ripped through his jacket. Grabbing the last officer, one of the remaining soldiers. Taking off again wordlessly.

Tian-shin neutralizes the remaining soldier's guns, and joins Dusk in Jax's wake, drawing her sword at long last. Her attention is turning to the last remaining Sentinel, though; if it doesn't look /entirely/ scrapped after Steve is through with it, she discharges its battery, as well.

The Sentinel Steve hits with his shield is in bad shape, but still on its feet until Tian-shin turns it into a piece of smoking postmodern statuary. The other one twitches and collapses as Jax's light melts a smouldering hole in its faceplace. The four remaining soldiers are frantically trying to clear their suddenly uncooperative firearms. Two look and feel like they are inches from just fleeing, and one actually just drops his rifle and draws a combat knife with which he lunges at Steve.

Scramble also straightens up and comes through the barricade as Dusk pushes it aside. She turns her gaze on of the soldiers who looks like he'd rather run, and turns his fear into monstrous, debilitating horror.

Steve turns toward the soldier trying to stab at him. Doesn't actually try to get out of the way, just lifts a hand up to seize his attacker's wrist twist it hard, forcing the soldier to either throw himself or come away with a broken arm. He is not slowing down noticeably, despite /bleeding/ rather noticeably now.

Scramble's victim shrieks and, turning, flees. So desperate is he to get away that he stumbles and falls and actually just keeps /crawling/ until he reaches the guard station at the end of the C hallway. The soldier who stabbed at Steve looks very surprised when his body elects to /flip over/ rather than endure a very painful injury. His confusion might be somewhat truncated by landing flat on his back, which knocks the air out of his lungs in an audible huff. The two remaining soldiers simply drop their weapons and put their hands on their heads.

The prisoners surge from their cells now, not waiting for an all-clear from either the PA or the raid team members visible to them. They're crowding around their rescuers, some clamoring for information, some offering water, some just silently awaiting instructions, and yet others finding their own way out the way that the team had come.

Jax's nose is dripping kind of a lot of blood -- his face pale, his posture unsteady. Joshua may not quite be back with the truck just yet but surely he will be soon. Jax just straightens, as the inmates surge out around them, glancing over to his battered and bloody team with a faint furrow in his brow. "-- This way," he says, voice a good deal steadier than his posture. "Our ride's outside. Let's -- get out of here."