Logs:Sooner or Later. BOOM!

From X-Men: rEvolution
Sooner or Later. BOOM!

cn: explosion/some injuries (non-graphic)

Dramatis Personae

Astrid, Beau, Cassy, Harm, Nessie, Samara

2020-11-28


"Ohmygod are we dead?"

Location

<NY> Across the Rift - Pizza Barn (Defunct) - Yonkers


There's only the ghosts of pizzas in here, the place long since shuttered, windows boarded up; even the RETAIL SPACE FOR LEASE sign outside is ancient and weathered. Since last night though, it's served, a chilly but at least windproof location for the X-Kids to bed down. At the very least they had decent sleeping bags, warm clothing, plenty of food now; it was a far cry from that first frigid night in the also-unheated Blockbuster.

Far -- far -- more bustling a metropolis than Bangor, though, it might be a bit of a tense situation now that day has come as they wait for their intrepid scouts to return fron their Rift-Locating-Expedition in the Bronx. With plenty of people passing by and the occasional far-too-close hum of Sentinels outside, it's probably not a relaxing situation for anyone.

Thankfully the occasional police robot that pass by out on the street or overhead don't seem to be able to track hiding mutants, as far as they've been able to discern. Still. Just outside the plyboard-covered windows, there are all the attendant noises of a decently busy city "suburb" which -- here in the fringes of NYC is to say, still pretty much a large city. The fact that the bots are not sniffer dogs may be a very slim comfort for the displaced and hidden-away students.

If you are being charitable Cassy is currently extremely vigilant. But honestly it's more accurate to say she's a twitchy nervous mess. Every time a Sentinel comes past her head slowly tracks it. As if even moving quickly could be deadly.

Her reaction to the people coming past isn't much better. As any one could be a realtor or contractor that's made the decision that today shall be the start of the long road to the grand Pizza Barn re-opening. It never is.

Harm has been curled in a corner, half-cocooned in their sleeping bag even in the relative warmth of the afternoon, dozing fitfully on and off. Like their companions they've been blessed with new clothes since their Thanksgiving resupply in Bangor, though they still wear their chunky blue-purple-pink sweater as their outermost layer, forgoing the jacket as long as they're inside.

Normally just knowing she was inside a pizza joint, even an old shuttered one, would bring about an intense craving for Astrid. She loves pizza and probably could eat it for every meal for weeks before growing tired. Not today. Today she’s still feeling nauseous. It’s almost the exact same nauseous as when she first took the dart for what feels like months ago. In reality it has only been five days.

She’s huddled herself into the corner, trying her hardest to remain quiet and warm. She might not have extra sensitive hearing, but it’s not needed to hear the hustle and bustle of movement moving outside the closed shop. Maine may have been tense and cramped, but it was a helluva lot better than this. Her eyes keep darting towards the door, waiting for the others to return.

Beau grumbles to himself as he goes about trying to shave in one of the reflective surfaces left intact in the abandoned pizzeria, currently shirtless despite the chill. “This is some fuck shit.” he finally says aloud, finishing off his chin scruff with a few passes of the safety razor, leaving only a mustache. “I hope they’re on the way back, we never shoulda split the party.”

Samara has been careful to keep the counter of the store between herself and the front of the store, and a hood always pulled up over their head. Her hoodie is purple and fleecy-soft, and she's been rhythmically petting the fabric of the front pocket's edging for well over an hour now, occasionally rocking back and forth before she catches herself and stops. She does not react to the noises outside, nor to her schoolmates' nervous reactions, though she does look up startled at Beau when he speaks, her lamplike eyes wide and unreadable.

"Which time?" Cassy whispers, although with her power even a whisper carries across the room. "And at least we're trying to do something now."

Even if that something is just sitting and waiting.

"Astrid when was the last time you ate anything?" She looks around for something she might find palatable out of the supplies that're easily checked. "I know it's hard but... you need to keep your strength up."

Harm stirs at the conversation, blinking and rubbing their eyes. "It would have made no sense for us to all go scouting. We would have gotten caught so fast." They look over at Astrid when Cassy addresses her. "Are you feeling sick again?" they ask, climbing out of their sleeping bag and putting on their boots. "I can make that better, for a while at least."

Astrid looks over to Beau with furrowed brows, but not much else. Her face has drained fully of color. She tries to force out a smile, but her lips only twist into a grimace. “I… I had something last night.” It is clear she doesn’t even sound convinced that’s true herself. She looks over to Harm, barely nodding in their direction before eyes settle on Cassy, “Not even sure I could hold anything down right now.” She tugs at the collar of her jacket, pulling it closer towards her chin.

“None of ‘em.” Beau growls, pulling the black t-shirt next to him over his head before walking back in around everyone else. “If something happens to them, we won’t know, and if something happens here they won’t know where we went.” The large man grumbles under his breath, a string of swears aimed at nobody in particular while he shrugs into the wrangler jacket he’s recently acquired. “Don’t think there are any right choices here.”

Samara starts rocking again, her fingers squeezing and twisting at the fabric now, though her expression is as neutral and serene as it's been. The light that shines from her grimy skin is fluttering pale gray and white. "We'll know," she says very abruptly, though not loudly, "if they don't come back."

Cassy scoops up a sports drink and tip-toes over to Astrid. "Here," she says, offering the bottle. "Maybe try a few sips of this? It's not as good as eating but it's best to stay hydrated.

She glances over to Beau and sighs. "There are some right choices. Maybe we'd all be together still if I hadn't snapped at Nanami...."

Harm goes to Astrid's corner, kneels down and takes her hand. The nausea starts easing almost immediately, although it's not gone completely. "If this is because of the dart, it'll come back in a while," they say apologetically, looking a little paler. Glancing back at Cassy, they frown. "But, Nanami and Kelawini came with us. It's not like we split up because they were mad at you." Their eyes track over to Samara, frowning with concern. "Um...are you feeling ok?"

Astrid watches as Harm heads her way, reeling forward slightly. She takes the offered sports drink and mouths a thanks to Cassy before setting it down. She lets Harm take her hand, and almost instantly feels better. “Thank you… I… I’m sorry if I’m wearing you out.” This time her lips crack into a soft smile. She feels awful they have to keep using their power to help her out.

Then out of the corner of her eye she catches sight of her left hand and swears it was just beginning to dissipate. Closer inspection proves this wrong as she holds the hand up, fingers splayed. She slowly shakes her head, holding her eyes closed for several seconds. “He’s right.” She says out loud to no one in particular, taking a large sip from the plastic bottle. “How long would it take for us to figure out they ain’t coming back?”

“Maybe we should’ve went to the mansion. The X-Men can’t all be gone.” Beau walks over next to Harm and the others and squats down onto his heels, “They’re right, if the argument was that big a deal they’d of went to Canada. I’m sure they’re still pissed, but this situation is bigger than us.”

Samara is shaking her head, but it's not necessarily clear whether this is actually a reply to Harm's question, since she continues shaking it, slowly back and forth while they rock. "Bigger than us," she echoes, frowning. "Bigger than you?" She doesn't actually look at Beau again but it seems more apparent she's speaking to him when she adds, "You are very big."

"It's not that it's... That felt like the moment we stopped even trying to talk to each other," Cassy points out with a sad shrug. "Everyone walked out."

She forces herself to smile at Astrid as she has some of the drink. "Before nightfall. Maybe? They won't want to be out on the streets too late. They'll stand out too much."

"No, no, I'm fine," Harm insists, and in fact they do look less unwell now than they had when they first took Astrid's hand. The nausea is all but gone now. "Let me know if it comes back." They offer Astrid a thin smile, then goes over to kneel down beside Samara. "Yeah, I think it's even bigger than him. Hey, so...you feeling sick, too? Or just..." They trail off, uncertain, as they watch the glowing girl rock. "...stressed...out?"

“Don’t exert yourself over me. Seriously. Save it for when it’ll be needed.” Astrid leaves no rooms for ifs as Shewatches Harm walk towards Samara. Her gaze is held on them for a minute before she turns back to face Cassy. “Yeah…I hope you are right.... What do we do if they don’t show up tonight?” She throws the question out to the room. Suddenly she holds her left hand back up, staring intently like something is seriously wrong, but again it appears perfectly normal. She bites down hard into her bottom lip, leaving an indentation once her lips part again.

“Funnily enough, I don’t feel very big for once.” Beau pushes to his feet and sighs. “We give them until morning, if they don’t show up then we’ll need to figure out where they’re being held.”

Samara's glow cycles through a series of muddled dull colors in rapid succession when Harm address her, but she doesn't look at the other student. "Sick," she repeats, her head still shaking. "stressed out. I don't know. Can it be both. I don't know which one. How?" It's hard to tell who she's addressing this not-exactly-question to at first. "How can we figure out?"

"Lets not think about what could go wrong okay?" Cassy asks, glancing around for a new place to sit before settling on a perch on the edge of a dusty countertop. "We know they can defeat Sentinels and no-one knows to look for us here."

She glances between Beau and Samara. "If we need to find anyone who goes missing I can just walk by and listen. No need to get inside any buildings. So don't worry about it okay?" Assuming of course they don't get swarmed by Sentinels long before the morning...

Harm bites their lower lip hard. "It's hard not to worry, but I think Cassy is right. Between Kelawini and Nanami's powers and Gae's -- street smarts, I think they're probably as safe as any of us can be, out there." They reach a hand tentatively for Samara's. "You can be sick and stressed, yeah."

Astrid doesn’t even want to start thinking about heading further into the city to search for the other kids. Of course Cassy can hear inside buildings, which will be a huge advantage to their search, but how will they avoid detection from the Sentinels? “That right there is the best advice I’ve heard yet. Let’s wait to panic until something does actually go wrong.”

Then it happens again. Or at least Astrid thinks it does. She pulls her left hand back up, staring at it. This time it doesn’t look normal. Not even remotely a It isn’t immediate, which is what she is used to, but instead the sublimation process appears to have stalled, her flesh paused in a half solid half gas like state. The scene where Marty McFly is gradually disappearing pops into her head. “Oh fuck.” She murmurs. Then her eyes go wide. “OH FUCK!”

“We’ll just burn that bridge when we get to-“ Beau’s words fall short as Astrid starts freaking out, his own eyes going wide as he notices her hand as well. “Oh fuck.”

Samara pulls her hands back from Harm, tucking them up inside the sleeves of her hoodie, her entire body curling inward defensively. "Oh fuck," they also say, though sort of flatly, or maybe a little questioningly, with none of the panic in Astrid's voice.

Cassy turns around as if to say something in response to Beau and then Astrid shouts. She twists to look at her "What's wro..." and then people start shouting and the sudden noise makes her jolt with surprise.

And with her nerves so on edge and her reactions blunted by exhaustion and stress. She slips and falls over the side with a muted thwump and a groan. "Ah shit that.."

With their back to Astrid at the moment, Harm seems more confused than anything else at the others' reactions. Then they look over their shoulder and gasps. "Oh no, does that mean your power is --" They do not finish this question, but drag Samara to her feet and try to get them both out of the way before the blast comes.

Within seconds Astrid completely turns incorporeal, but she doesn’t immediately explode. There is a glitch in her powers, most likely due to the unstable effects of the drug as it begins to wear off, that leaves her in a strange ghost-like form. It takes roughly three Mississippis before she explodes outward, and once the apex of the blast is reached, the gaseous form slowly returns to leave her bloody, battered and unconscious in the exact spot she was just in.

Nessie has been curled up in a corner, tucked as small as she can be which is still not all that small -- it looks anatomically unlikely, her upper torso twisted down beneath the hard lower carapace of her body, her many legs curved around this like a cage, but seems to be working fine for her. She's jolting out of her nap at the boom, tail lashing and eyes wide. "Ohmygod are we dead?" switches quickly to a panicked, "Ohmygod is she dead?"

It might be hard, in the initial chaos and worry, Astrid unconscious and battered on the floor, explosion still ringing in their ears, fire starting to crackle in Astrid's corner of the dusty old eatery, for some of them to immediately take note, but the sounds outside the old pizzeria have shifted sharply. Not just the everyday city bustle. More panic, some screaming. Several people calling 911, little though it is necessary with a faint wail of sirens already flicked on from some enterprising nearby police car, a fainter hum of approaching bots.

At the three Mississippi mark Beau realizes he should probably move, but it’s too late as the explosion throws him into a wall, cracking it (and a couple of his ribs). He lets out a low groan, “ohmygod am I dead?” he wheezes, crumpling momentarily to the floor.

Samara scrambles to her feet at Harm's urging, but she is not terribly agile or fast and they barely clear the edge of counter by the time Astrid explodes. The blast slams both teens against the corner of the counter and sends them sprawling. Fortunately for Harm but less fortunately for Samara, the latter cushioned the former's impact. She isn't immediately getting up.

Cassy staggers to her feet. Her power made the noise painful and distracting but it doesn't linger. She seems okay, at least from the front, as if the counter shielded her from the blast.

"Is everyone.." Even as she speaks her face turns ghostly pale. As her power makes her body vibrate and agitates the bit of wood that's poking out of her back. Shock numbing her until it's too late.

Her eyes seem to be losing focus. "I don't..." And then she slumps forward. Whatever that bit of wood is poking into. It was probably pretty important.

Harm's shriek is abruptly cut off when the impact with -- well, Samara, actually, knocks the air from their lungs. They sit back up from where they've fallen, wincing and rubbing their head as they look around. "Oh no," they mutter, reaching out to touch Samara's hand, then scrabbling over to do the same to Cassy. "Oh no! We have to get out of here but Cassy's hurt -- pretty bad." Their voice is high with panic now.

"Ohno, oh no, oh no." Nessie's tail is lashing harder. She's rising up onto her stiltlike legs, staring over at the beginnings of the crackling fire. "We have to leave," she says first, and then, "ohno we can't leave." She's scuttling over to crouch low, pull Astrid away from where the fire is starting and start to drag her across the room; her eyes are darting to Cassy but even she only has so many limbs at once. "How will Kelawini and them find us if we -- oh no. Oh no."

The sirens are drawing closer. The humming, too -- it's stopped just outside one of the boarded windows. Outside, a calmly neutral robotic voice: "Please stay calm. A fire has been detected at this location. We are here to help. Please stand back." The message that follows is clearly prerecorded from the Fire department, a list of fire safety protocols for evacuating if possible, staying safe if not until the Sentinels can get inside. After this, a heavy banging against the boarded up window.

Beau peels himself off the floor, leaving some of his clothing and skin behind. It takes him a few moments to come back around fully, the banging eventually drawing his admittedly fuzzy attention. “Shit. Fuck.” He turns his head to look at the others, “Alright, I think it’s time to move. Can we get her out of here, or do you need a few minutes?”

Samara has picked herself off the floor, and though she's limping badly she rushes to help Nessie move the unconscious Astrid. Her light is coming in blotchy pulses of gray and murky red. The banging and the Sentinel's voice make her freeze, but only for a second. "Can she go on your back, again? Can Cassy?" There's no skepticism in Samara's voice, but she is looking between Nessie and the two injured girls appraisingly.

Harm is holding Cassy's hand tightly, their squeezed shut, their teeth gritted hard, and their face almost bloodless. "I can't fix this in a few minutes," they gasp, "it'll be best if I stay with her but we can move her now." Their eyes skip fearfully toward the banging from out from. "Have to move her now. No choice. We go back to where we left the bus. It's our only hope of meeting up with them again. Someone help me with her." They're struggling to lift Cassy now.

The banging continues -- harder, harder -- and ends with a splinter-shower of plywood crashing into the space where Astrid just was before Nessie moved her out of the way. The Sentinel that skitters inside is unbothered by the fire it is standing in. A second one -- spidery also, but smaller, darker, follows soon behind it, dispatching the flames with a generous coating of fire suppressant.

The first, though, is lowering its squat round body, swiveling slowly as it moves further into the room. "Remain where you are," the Sentinel is now informing the group. "In accordance with the SAFE HARBOR act, you will be taken into custody. Do not attempt to resist arrest."

Outside, the sirens have gotten very loud and very close, stopped somewhere quite nearby.

Nessie squeaks loud at the splintering. She starts to drag Astrid upward, a shriller edge of panic in her voice. "We have to go I need a hand --" It's a good thing the other girl is unconscious because it's probably not super comfortable, the way she is being unceremoniously draped over Nessie's broad back.

“Sure. No resisting.” Beau lifts his hands slowly and takes a step forward, putting himself between the robots and everyone else. “You guys ready?” He chances a glance back at the teens, trying to ready himself as best as he can.

Samara is lending Nessie as many hands as she has to get Astrid situated with her admittedly unimpressive strength, but that done she just freezes in place again, staring down the Sentinel.

Harm and a ton adrenaline have managed to drag Cassy over to Nessie by the time the Sentinels break in, but they certainly have not the strength to lift the wounded girl onto her back much less arrange her beside (on top of?) Astrid. This doesn't stop them trying, their eyes widening as Beau steps in front of the Sentinel. "Oh gods oh gods oh gods," is their litany now, voice high and shaking.

Nessie does have strength -- plenty of it -- even if it's considerably awkward as they get the two girls situated on her back. "Ohmygodohmygod," she's still whispering under her breath, "ohmygod okayokay --" That's all -- as soon as they're on and steady she is bolting for the back door.

"Remain where you are," the Sentinel repeats, almost patient in its steady tonelessness. Its legs are about as skittery as Nessie's -- it's barreling forward, aiming to push straight past Beau to get toward her when she moves. The huge teenager doesn't prove that easy to move and when he initially fails to budge it stops, starts to circle behind Beau, deigning to get out one flexible metal limb attachment as it informs him: "Do not attempt to resist. You are under arrest."

Beau lashes out, firmly grabbing ahold of one of the sentinel’s limbs and slinging the robot towards the smaller one that was putting out the fire. “Follow Nessie!” he barks at the other teens, putting himself back between them and the mechanical spider-monsters.

When Nessie runs, Samara doesn't need to be told. She's still limping but bolts for the back door at speed, her light dim and gray and rippling fast over her skin.

Harm also scrambles for the backdoor, desperately trying to keep up with Nessie. En route they grab hold of Samara's hand, wincing hard but taking away some of her pain to let her run more easily.

The spider doesn't seem much damaged by the throw, but it is taking a second to find its feet and recover its balance -- certainly enough time for Beau to follow the others out.

Unfortunately -- outside the recently-exploded store there is now something of a crowd. A cluster of gawkers across the street trying to catch a peek at what has drawn the police -- of which there are several cars worth, some with their guns already drawn and trained on the blown-out windows, the back door; more guns swiftly come out as the kids emerge. There's a whole cadre of Sentinels, too, much more quiet while not in motion, dotted around the very-recently-on-fire pizzeria.

"Hands in the air," barks one of the cops. Another is just staring at Nessie. "Shit. We're gonna need a bigger car."