Though the city may never sleep, the shopkeepers do. Many are finishing up their last transactions of the night and preparing to lock the doors. There are still lights on in the iconic Daily Planet building -- there's always /something/ to report on in this city. People are walking to and back from Central Park, perhaps heading to a concert or looking to cause mischief.
Stepping out of one of the boutiques is a redhead dressed in fashionably casual clothes with the scorching weather in mind. Jean Grey has the handle of a couple of bags looped over her arm and she's practically beaming as she speaks on her cell phone, relating her finds to whomever is on the other end. She dodges around a couple walking hand in hand down the sidewalk. They are so focused on each other, that they don't see her at all.
...or the giant, 50-foot robot flanked by several smaller, but no less destructive robots which is now stomping down the street. Car alarms begin to blast, windows shatter, and mayhem ensues!
Zandra is waiting for the bus. And waiting and waiting and wai--oh.. The blue haired young woman looks up to see destruction coming this away. "....Holy handgrenades...." she gasps, eyes wide and mouth agape for several moments. She rubs at her eyes, just making sure she hasn't fallen asleep. Is it still there? Yup. She looks around, what to do?! maybe it's a parade? or some kind of hoax?! "Where the heck is that Superdude when ya need him!"
Headed towards Jean, though still not able to see the red-head, is a far more obvious, and glaring persona that the couple WILL notice, undoubtedly because she's not only walking in their direction - ... BUT SHE'S FREAKING BLUE!!!
It's not often one sees someone with a glaring physical mutancy proudly, brazenly, showcasing it on the open streets of such a bustling burb as New York City, but here she is. Talia seems to be taking everything in; however, at the sound of the rumbling and jostling, the car alarms and just the experienced feeling at something gone wrong, her yellowed eyes, so much like her father's turn to regard the huge robot, and it's cohorts. She exhales, "I swear," she says aloud, "Why couldn't I have landed in a reality where the most dangerous thing anybody would ever be exposed to would be a sunburn on a tropical island, at the very least? Haven't I earned that?" She frowns, her gaze tightening.
And, unlike those who have noticed the destructo-bots, TJ begins walking -towards- it, her eyes now slits of yellow, face contorted to a more solemn demeanor.
The couple, once so blissfully wrapped up in one another, now begin to scream and turn to run in the other direction. Whether it was the giant robots or the brazen mutant strolling down the street that caused their terror, well... someone feel free to chase them down and demand an answer.
The sky remains clear of any caped superdudes. Really, where /are/ they when you need them? Probably off kissing babies or babes.
The largest of the 'bots moves fairly slowly, being that it has just so very much mass to move, but each step that it takes more than makes for its slowness in sheer distance covered. And each step leaves a small crater where its foot lands. The streets were not designed to accommodate giant robots, and thus, the buildings suffer for it. The smaller robots are much quicker, though not quite as destructive -- at least, not to the landscape. Still, they are doing their part to make the road look like something out of Escape From New York. One of them blasts a car, which flips over into the air -- its flight path will have it landing squarely on the blue-haired bus waiter!
"...I gotta go," Jean says into the phone, then drops it into her bags. Sigh. Can't a girl just have one good day of shopping without /something/ mucking it up? She lifts herself into the air and begins to move towards the nearest of the small robots. With the power of her mind, she picks the robot up and smashes it against the wall of a nearby building.
Zandra is staring, because that is what bystanders and those who do not go out and save the world on a regular basis do, mutant or not. As the car comes closer and closer it dawns on Zandra that no, this is not a Bruce Willis movie and she really ought to do something about the car about to squish her. With a yelp she holds up her hands and makes a pushing gesture. The car flickers with a brief cyan glow before it is bashed into the opposite direction, likely right towards the robot the first blasted it into the air.
Ooookay. There's one robot either malfunctioning and flinging itself into it's brethren or there's someone invisible - or, ... way too many probabilities. One thing Talia isn't, however, is afraid. With terrible speed she bolts down the center of the street, headed first towards the smaller desctro-bots. She jumps, long and far, landing with near-perfect balance and grace atop two robots, her feet planted on either side of their shoulders. In a smooth motion, she pushes their heads together; there's a flash of red light, the smell of brimstone, and she's leaping off the falling forms of two robots, whose heads explose into a pile of debris and wires.
As she hits the ground, her tail is unwinding from a well-hidden stiched 'pocket' in the back seam of her pants.
CLANG! The robot is smashed by the flying, glowing vehicle. Screams fill the night air as the general populace panics and attempts to flee the scene. People are leaning out of the windows from the Planet, some of them snapping pictures, while others are filming the chaos on their cell phones -- all of this is sure to hit the blogosphere, quickly. The largest of the robots smashes a fist into a building, raining chunks of metal, brick, and glass onto the sidewalk below.
A familiar scent makes Jean's nose twitch; the brimstone residue of a bamf is unmistakable. «Nightc--» Wait a second... she doesn't pick up on Kurt's mind. That's... something to be pondered later. Extending her hands out towards the falling debris, she uses her telekinesis to redirect it, sending it crashing into some of the smaller robots instead of landing on hapless bystanders.
Zandra is looking about for a place to find cover! Because she definately does not want to end up on the news! No Sireebob! There is a quick thought of sending out an electromagnetic pulse towards the news office.. But guilt changes her mind. That much property damage would probably just get her into trouble. However towards the robots? maybe that'd be better! She races between a series of cars and ducks down. See that's the act of some one totally not involved! She's just another goth chick. As she ducks behind an old VW Bug she peeks around and holds out her fist. A deep, deep breath is taken. "Please work!" and she opens her palm and a near invisible rush of energy springs forth. As the Electro Magnetic Pulse washes down the street any time it hits something metal the contact spot flickers with a cyan spark.
"Holy hells bells," shouts TJ, as she jumps up onto some of the flying debris, does a backflip to avoid more of the flying splinters of cars, metal, and other crashing or exploding 'bots. She lands on another robot before filling the air with another one of her Hex Bolts onto that bots head, and launching herself upwards onto the back of the huge, giant, 50' tall death machine. "Man," she swears to herself. "Did you eat your Robo Wheaties, or what?" As she tries to cling to the back of the 'bot, and slowly crawl her way up it, to it's shoulders - and, more importantly, it's head. It won't exactly be a quick process, or one without dangers. Her feet, which would normally help her out are still in their boots. So she's only pulling herself up with her hands at present.
Electronic devices malfunction in the wake of the EMP; car alarms suddenly go silent, some of the shops go dark, nearby cell phones fail, and two of the smaller robots drop falter before shutting down. For the moment, Zandra is safe from being caught on tape -- the lens are focused on the bamfing, backflipping blue mutant girl with a tail and the flying, telekinetic redheaded mutant.
It takes the 5-foot robot a minute for its sensors to register that there's something on its back. In a canned, digitized voice it announces: FOREIGN LIFE FORM DETECTED. TERMINATE. And promptly begins to flail around in an attempt to reach Nocturne, which isn't going well for it. Nor are the building faring well, either. More rubble falls to the street below.
A few of the smaller robots begin to attempt retaliation, firing energy bolts at Jean. Since telekinesis is pretty useless against energy bolts, she is forced to dodge them. Lifting some of the more manageable chunks of rubble, she flings them at the robots attacking her, knocking them out of commission.
Zandra urks as lights go off in the shops. "Damn.. gotta learn to aim better one o' these days.." she wrinkles her nose with a sigh. Cupping one hand in the other and pointing a 'gun' out of the other she does just that. Takes aim. Her eyes narrow ignoring the headache rapp rapp rapping on the inside of her skull. She levels it towards the knee joint of the Large robot, "Bang!" she whispers to herself, trying to concentrate on messing up whatever gears are in the leg. Maybe if it can freeze it into place it won't take out half the city!
"Hey!Hey!Hey!" Complains Talia, as it's all she can do to remain on the gigantic robot's back, "Stop moving around so much so I can get up there and blast you!" She thunks a booted foot into Gigantic Destructo-Bot in protest, and with some difficulty, shirks her boots off. "So help me, if you trash those...," she warns the big bot, and it's tiny brethren. But, four-'footed', now, Nocturne is able to secure herself more aptly to the robots back, and scurry up it a bit more cleanly, and quickly than she'd been before. The added foothold provides stability, too and as she reaches the shoulders, she spies Jean in the distance. This gives her a great sense of not only relief - but, a sense of something familiar, to her, at least. "I hope you can catch, Aunt Jean!" She shouts at the top of her lungs. Taking a quick sprint up the Robot's skull, she does a backflip right off the top of the thing, twisting 'round in a move only Nightcrawler could mimic, and fires two smoldering Hex Bolts straight into the Robot's face; trying to aim for it's eyes. This leaves her open to plummeting to the surface -- and hoping Jean heard her. And will catch her.
The smaller robots have all been crushed, smashed, toppled, or disabled. Zandra's aimed pulse strikes true, and the robot grinds to an unsteady stop. It's the perfect opportunity for Talia to go for the eyes. The hex bolts blast through the robot's eyes, resulting in an impressive explosion which sets of a chain of robo-destruction! Only, this time, it is the robot that is being destroyed, and not the other way around.
"...Aunt?" As baffling as the appearance of this not-Nightcrawler-girl is, Jean /can/ catch, and does so just in time to keep the fuzzy blue one from landing painfully on the street. As she is setting TJ down gently, she senses another presence nearby and glances around, trying to pinpoint it. Drifting down to land beside the blue mutant girl, she offers a smile. "That was good work. Are you alright?"
Zandra eeps as she spots that the blue girl and her ultra cool stunts. "Wow... " she says rather distracted until she watches the headless robot lurch. "Oh $#@!" and she brings up both hands, doing her best to ease the Robot down to the street instead of letting it topple over into buildings, cars or any other people about. It might be too heavy, but at the very last minute a terrible idea occurs to her... if your going to play might as well play big right? Should she be able to do so, as the bot starts to slump she'll maneuver it into a 'The Thinker' type pose, locking its joints into place as she does so.
And thus the immensely large robot - and hopefully all its smaller counterparts are thwarted. Cleaning /up/ messes was never part of TJ's training - just stopping them from happening. She grins, suddenly, wide, and asks abruptly, "Please tell me there /aren't/ a whole lot of those things around? That was not very fun." A heartbeat's worth of a pause, and she adds, "Oh. And, nice catch. As usual. Or, well, what - normally - would be usual."
"No, there aren't. Not /usually, at any rate." Jean studies the girl for a moment, quite puzzled as to her appearance. "Thank you? I think. Usually, yes, I'm pretty good at catching these days, and you're much lighter than /some/ of them others."
By now, the curious are creeping back onto the scene, since it the robots are all down, and it looks like things are over. People are whispering, and some are pointing in the direction of the two mutant women. Some people are glaring.
Springing up to an upright position, Talia offers a wide smile, looking incredibly like her father . "Well," she offers, "Here I am." A pause, "But, well, it's kind of - complicated, Aunt Jean." She gives a sheepish grin, and her three fingers on her hand brush her hair back. "I'm Talia. Talia Wagner."
Aunt? Jean's brows arch, but she offers Talia a smile. "It is a pleasure to meet you, Talia. Well, meet you... here? I admit, I am a /little/ confused about who you are. But I think we can sort that -- OW!"
A thrown rock hits Jean in the shoulder. Now that the danger is passed, the populace is free to turn their fear and anger on those who "deserve" it: the mutants. "This is all your fault!" a man shouts at them, and hefts another stone to throw at them. "Go home, muties!" shouts an elderly woman, swinging her cane in their direction threateningly. With that, a barrage of insults and rocks comes hurtling at the girls.
"Whoa!" Cries TJ, as she's pelted as well. The next few rocks are not so lucky as to hit her. She spins, snatching one in the air with her hand, a second with her foot, and a third with her tail in a flurry of movement. Then, jumping into the air, she tosses all three rocks into the pile of debris, not back at the humans. "Didn't realize you guys played serious dodgeball out here." She points at the individuals who tossed the rocks at her, "You, you, and you, ... are out!" She grins, widely, then looks towards Jean. Tipping sideways, she speculates, "I'm just glad Uncle Logan isn't here, right now. He would /so/ be rubbing it in my face that he was right."
"We wouldn't have these problems if it weren't for /your kind/," a woman spits out at TJ and Jean, glaring at them. More rocks are thrown. "Go, get out! Leave! All your fault! Filthy /mutants/!" Some of the human citizens are picking up busted pieces of the robots and hurling those at the two as well.
"Unfortunately," Jean replies to TJ, with a sigh. Holding out her hands, she forms a telekinetic 'shield' to help block the thrown debris. She, also, does not throw the pieces back at the humans. Closing her eyes to concentrate, she reaches out with her telepathy, searching for a dearly familiar mind. «Scott. Please tell me you have mounted a rescue and are on the way? We're sort of surrounded and I think a giant robot stepped on my car.»
«Calvary is on the way, saw your little run in with robos on the news. Should be there in t-minus 90 seconds.» Scott, high above and invisible in the X-Men's Blackbird jet speeds towards the location of the robot attack, the large billow of black smoke a sure fire sign of where the altercation happened. "Alright, Ms. Pryde, we're zeroing in on their location. Better be ready to jump on my mark, I'll try to land the Bird and join the rest of you as soon as I can." Waiting a second to get confirmation, Scott slowly brings the Blackbird down to a hover over the Daily Planet building, giving a clear view of the growing riot below. "3...2...1...okay, mark!" he calls out. «Dropping package now.»
And the package drops as Kitty phases herself and her backup through the floor of the Blackbird, careful to avoid anything electronic on her trip... well, aside from some robot parts. "BRAAAAAWK!" Lockheed gets to the ground-level before his bipedal companion, swooping in to grab some of the tossed debris into the air. Mere seconds later, Kitty drops down, into and through the pavement, resurfacing a moment later, grabbing hold of Jean and TJ's ankles and phasing them. "Missed us!" she taunts the angry mob.
"Whoa!" Shouts TJ again, as Kitty - and Lockheed, drop down from the sky. And then, she's phased! This is clearly not normal. "Okay, Intangible Girl," she says, slowly, "Thanks for the assist, but I really don't think egging them on is going to help matters," she says with a slightly amused sort of smile. She shrugs, unconcerned, "They're just expressing their fear. Anger. We're a convienent outlet." The bigotry does not seem to bother her, in the slightest.
The fact she looks almost exactly like Kurt would look, if he was younger, and a female, might throw Kitty off when she gets a good look at Talia. Scott, too, for that matter.
To Jean, TJ asks, "I'm going to presume this is our key to vamos?"
Oh crap. A dragon! Some of the people run at the very sight of Lockheed. Others are too far gone into their fear, anger, and hatred. They're uncivilized enough to throw rocks at people -- they aren't going to hesitate to throw them at an 'animal', too, while spewing their slurs and hate.
"Kitty, what have we talked about? We do not taunt the pitch-fork and torch wielding villagers." Jean flashes the young Ms. Pryde a grin. "But good timing."
"Indeed, it is," the redhead replies to TJ. "Talia, this is Kitty Pryde. Kitty, this is Talia Wagner." The introductions are made just as smoothly as if they were standing in the foyer of their home. "Let's make with the vamoosing."
"Wagner? I'm guessing the resemblance to a certain friend of ours is not co-incidental," says Shadowcat, climbing the rest of the way out of the ground, only removing her hands long enough to give Lockheed a sharp whistle so he can land on her shoulder, before she phases the dragon along with her fellow mutants. Whoever she is to Kurt, she thinks to herself, she's got their patience in common. She can almost imagine him saying the same thing about anger and fear... but with the German accent, of course.
Lacking her father's rather obvious, almost 'stereotypical' German Accent, Talia remarks, "I'll explain when we get to safer ground, where these people aren't going to hurt anyone," she says, gently with a smile towards Kitty. She looks back to Jean, "Well, Aunt Jean. I suppose it's up to you to lead the way? I'm familiar with New York. This one's a little different, though."
Through the fleeing throng of people comes the second bit of cargo Scott brought with him on the trip: his revved up '67 roadster. He swerves left and right to avoid fleeing pedestrians, at one point even hopping the curb. His telepathic link with Jean helps him zero in, eventually pulling the car up to the side of the trio and rolling down his window. "Need a lift ladies?" he says, though in his usual deadpan. His visor glances over Jean, Kitty...and then She-Kurt. "Jean...I see you made a new friend..." he says before gesturing for them to enter the car.
"Give it one more minute..." Jean replies to Talia, as she helps to telekinetically fend off the metal and rubble missiles. It's then that Scott pulls up in his flashy car. "And here we are. Never one to miss making an entrance, are you, dear? I call shotgun! Hop in, I'll fend them off." She holds off the attack long enough to give Kitty and Talia a chance to get into the car.
It's only one quick vault for TJ, as she slides into the back of the car with the same smooth grace as the man she so closely resembles, "Nice ride," she comments, with a grin and wide yellow eyes. "I wholeheartedly approve. It's good to see you haven't lost at least your sense of style with wheels," she comments casually to Scott, as if she's known him for a very long time.
Shadowcat and Lockheed scurry into the car. In the safety of the car, the dragon sniffs cautiously at TJ. New friend? Sniff sniff. Happy but confused chirping sound. Apparently he approves of she-Kurt. She smells less smokey than the older male version, though. He's not sure if he likes that or not.
"I think I like the plane better, but I will admit this has a certain cool factor," says Kitty. "I'm sure we'll be accused of stealing it on the news tonight." Ka-thunk. Some debris hits the rear passenger-side door, and Kitty winces. That's gonna take some effort to buff out. Poor Scott.
Scott eyes his rearview mirror and squints slightly at the blue stranger in his backseat. The high-pitched voice confirms that this isn't an image inducer problem. "Thanks," he says cautiously to all the compliments as he starts to peel off. "But don't praise me quite yet, I need to get use back to the Bird while losing these maniacs and making sure I don't have too much damage to the-" Before he can finish that sentence, a piece of debris goes through the rear window. "Get down!" he says, taking a sharp turn and zooming off northwards.
"Yes, I'm sure we will. Dangerous criminals that we are," Jean replies dryly, with a roll of her eyes. She winces when the rear window is smashed out and twists in her seat to check on the girls. "Are you two alright back there?" Some of the pitchfork-and-torch wielding villagers are chasing the car down the road, though the vehicle is quickly leaving them in the dust.
"Just peachy," calls TJ, who checks over both Kitty, and the flying purple lizard-creature with her. "So, where we headed?" Pause. "Oh, by the way. I'm Talia Wagner. Most people call me TJ. And that," she points at Lockheed, "Is -adorable-." She doesn't know if it's a he, or she. 'That' works for now. She reaches out two of her three fingers on her hand to touch - or pet, the winged dragon. "Aunt Jean, and Uncle Scott I know. Not familiar with you," she offers, in friendly manner to Kitty. "But, pleased to meet you just the same." She flashes pearly white teeth in a warm smile.
Lockheed takes a short flight across the back seat, landing in TJ's lap. Hi! Kitty, meanwhile, ducks, making sure to pull TJ down with her. "Jeeze. I'm starting to think they don't like us," she mutters.
A few more swift turns and the car seems to be out of site of the mob and circling back towards one of New York's several hundred parks. Sitting up straight he nods his head slightly. "Pleased to meet you Ms. Wagner, I think we might know a relat-" He blinks a bit at the mention of 'Uncle Scott.' More suspicious glances in the rearview mirror. «Where did you find this girl?» is thought aloud before Scott actually pulls his car into the lawn of the park he's been driving around, following a set of tire track he himself made. A few second later, and the surroundings suddently shift, looking so much like the cargo hold of the Blackbird.
«In a fight with a giant robot, if you can believe it,» Jean replies telepathically, flashing Scott a grin. "What you do, TJ," she warns out loud, "do /not/ feed Lockheed cheese or milk products. Not that we /have/ any cheese with us, but just so you know when, eventually, we get home and are faced with milk and milk-based things, and he's giving you The Eyes. Resist." When the car rolls to a stop, she pops her door open and climbs out. "That was one of the more interesting trips into the city."
"So," wonders TJ as she's pulled down with Kitty, thudding Lockheed lightly on the head, as if she were entertaining a lapcat, her demeanor casual, easy, as if this sort of thing happened to her everyday, "Is my dad around? Or, is he off at the circus? Or ... well, he's okay, here, isn't he?" She asks, hesitantly. Hopefully in this reality, Kurt isn't dead. That's one of the few things she's not sure she could deal with.
"What she said," says Kitty, patting her lap so the dragon will climb back into it, and stop harassing the new arrival. He obliges, after giving TJ a few more sniffs. Kitty's about to say something else. "...Dad?" Pause. "How does that... he's not that much older than..." she makes a bit of a face. "Please tell me this is a time travel thing."
«Smart-ass» Scott thinks as he unbuckles and moves to close the cargo door of the plane, realizing its own a matter of time until someone wanders into the back corner he parked the jet in. "We can sort that all out when we get back to mansion," Scott says matter-of-factly, as if the suddenly appearing daughter of Nightcrawler ain't going to phase him. Why should it, right? He starts to make his way towards the cockpit area of the jet. "And Ms. Wagner, I can assure you that your father is fine...and a friend," he offers, in the most comforting voice he can muster.
Now that they are safe inside of the jet, Jean pushes back the short sleeve of her shirt to assess the damage done by the rock. It's nothing much, but there's already a bruise forming. Of all the X-Men, she's certainly not the most physically tough. «I can't believe they tried to stone us,» she thinks to Scott, her mental 'voice' sounding terribly forlorn. She manages to keep her expression neutral, so as not to bring down the girls -- at least not any more than they might be.
"TJ," looking up from her arm, Jean turns her attention to the new mutant. "Are you alright? Were you injured at all back there? We have a first aid kit on board, and I can patch you up."
"Jeeze," complains TJ, though good-naturedly. "Now you're sounding like Logan. Anytime I got into a scuffle, I swear, he would almost have puppies." She rights herself up, still 'petting' Lockheed, curiously, "I'm fine. Been through worse. I had good teachers, growing up. You," she tells Jean, "Logan. Dad. Mom, and Rogue, ...," she trails off thoughtfully. Then, she answers the question on EVERYONE'S mind, but only Kitty has asked, so far. "No. I was, well, am, it's - a long story. Short story is, reality hopping."
"It says something about my life that your answer makes perfect sense to me," Kitty says to TJ in a slightly dry tone. "Well, welcome to our corner of the multiverse. The world hates and fears us, but you can buy knockoff Superman action figures in Chinatown. Gotta love a double standard," she remarks. Lockheed purrs at the petting.
Keying in a few commands, Scott starts the Blackbird hovering in the air, slowly lifting as to not jostle around the passengers; keeping steady isn't any harder than staying on your feet on the crosstown bus. «The heat is building up. Hundred has good intentions, but I think his support of the JLA has made the anti-meta crowd more hostile,» he thinks, eyeing the bruises in his periphery vision. «I should have been there.» "I'm sure our resident geniuses at the Mansion will be eager to hear about it, Ms. Wagner," he calls out, not looking over his shoulder as he does, the jet starting to slowly lurk forward. He also doesn't mention that he didn't hear his name on that list, an omission he's trying to not take personally...or worry about the implications.
Jean moves to the front of the plane to take the co-pilot's chair. Not that she actually plans on co-piloting, but just to sit beside Scott. Swiveling the chair around, she looks back at TJ. "If I may ask, TJ, who is your mother?"
Reaching out to Scott, she gives his arm a comforting pat. «I was shoe shopping, darling, and I know how boring that is for you. I'm sure that if you could have anticipated the city being attacked by robots, you would have tagged along.» There is a pause before she adds -- having read Scott's mind, or just picked the thought up through their shared psychic bond -- «She did call you /Uncle/ Scott. Don't take it personally. Maybe you gave her detention and she's still sore over it.»
Of course she called him 'Uncle' Scott. She's grown aware in her time with the Exiles how different realities can - differ. And, she doesn't want to cause suspicions, or bad blood if this particular Scott isn't really Evil Incarnate. She'll save it for another time. She continues to give Lockheed his demanded attention, cheerfully. "If you don't mind," she says, "I'd -really- like to get some shut-eye? And be happy to answer all the questions you have in the morning. But, it's been a -really- long day, what with the giant robots after being left behind by my team, and stopping secret agencies from ruining all of reality." She leans back, and closes her eyes. "Appreciate all the help."
"We'll be home in a few minutes, and we can hook you up with your very own room," Kitty promises. Lockheed climbs into TJ's lap again, purring and nuzzling the fuzzy blue mutant. New friend, yay! One who knows how to pay him the attention he so rightly deserves! "Traitor," Kitty tells the dragon with a laugh, relaxing a bit herself as they head back to mutant HQ.
«That's the problem. I suspect I'd do that same.» Scott remain silent for the rest of the trip home, waiting until everyone has claimed their own seat before accelerating the jet slowly to full speed. Within minutes, the merry band of mutants are home safe again...or at least one version of home.