2019-04-10 - He Who Makes a Beast of Himself...


A search party travels to Grayhawk Island to locate the missing Cypher.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Wed Apr 10 00:00:00 2019
Location: {$location}

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Grayhawk Island is a large tropical island off the coast of South America. It is a territorial possession of the government of Brazil, with rocky shoreline and heavy growth of tropical vegetation.

It is also the site of an unmanned SHIELD listening post.

When that listening post went offline, SHIELD Analyst Douglas Ramsey volunteered his technical skills to fix it. 'It'll take me a couple of hours, I'll lay on the beach, catch up on my reading for a day, and then come right back.'

That was two weeks ago, with nary a peep since.

Rainclouds are breaking and sun is shining through overhead, on approach to the island.

The one-man flyer Doug used to get to the island is still docked in the water, in a natural harbor on the south side of the island. Upon landing, it is easy to locate where he made his camp nearby - the entire site has been tossed, the tent flattened and the few necessary belongings he brought to the island scattered. There's a soggy copy of 'Don Quixote' with no English translation lying forlornly in the sand.

The listening post is about an hour's hike inland — for people who can't fly.

Sam Guthrie can fly, though, and faster than most. Taking point is kind of his thing, especially since he's pretty much invulnerable when he's blasting. He approaches from above, angling downward, his goggles covering his eyes as he tries to find a good, easy place to make a landing. "I don't see him, but no surprise there," he says into his communicator, beginning to circle the place, signalling to the others where the post was.

/Like a buzzard/ he thought, but then stamped that down. Doug would be okay.

Jean wasn't very keen on the chances of SHIELD finding out anything about her, but this is Doug they're talking about, and she's not one to leave her friends behind. So she pulled out the mask with her uniform and headed out with the others. She's levitated herself up enough to get a birds eye view of things at a slower pace than Sam's blasting. «I'm sure he's out here somewhere. » She keeps a loose mental link between the members of the group, while scanning the island for signs of thought or life in the process.

Meanwhile, Agent Black is examining Agent Ramsey's campsite more closely, and at times with an odd look in her eyes, almost as if she's staring through things rather than at them. "This is the work of more than one person, which isn't surprising," she says, her accent inflecting her words. "No indication of who they might be, though. And Mr. Ramsey's computer and satlink are gone. He probably wouldn't be carrying those around with him, especially not the latter. It's… a bit awkward."

Dani, meanwhile, was taking her horse at a more sedate pace in the air, following Sam towards the listening post. Dressed in gleaming chainmail that fits over the standard 'student' uniform of the Institute, she thinks in the link, «Seems like the best place to seek shelter would be in the post itself?»

As she thinks that, Brightwind glides down for a landing, a fair distance from the listening post itself. Since unlike Sam, the horse is not invulnerable in flight… and she isn't keen on making herself that easy a target.

Normally Lorna Dane doesn't really pay much mind to the comings and goings of her fellow students and X-Men. She's a pretty independent person, and so she tends to expect others to be the same. Someone being missing for two weeks, though, is kind of pushing it.

Thus it was that Polaris joined the excursion out to Grayhawk Island. She listens to the report of the SHIELD Agent at Doug's campsite, frowning a little. Unlike the others, she's not airborne at the moment. She's only just high enough to avoid being mired in the thick vegetation on the ground, a little ways below Jean and a far way below where Sam circles.

She stretches her senses, trying to get a feel for the area around the listening post. "It's a long shot to think I can get a bead on his computer or satlink," she mentions over the comms, "especially if there's a lot of other electronics, but worth a shot."

Sam can see it first — that listening post… somebody broke the *hell* out of it. It's listing off to one side, like something tried to push it over. And that thing is primarily a metal column rooted down into the bedrock of the island.

The island *teems* with life. Birds, animals… men? The thoughts of men echo on the island, but they're garbled by… something. It's hard to place them.

As our heroes touch down near the listening post, there is a sudden THUD. THUD.

Brightwind can scent it first, the horse stamping his foot and tossing his head. Jean and Polaris can feel its arrival not long after.

The brush parts, and… a creature comes lumbering out. It's the size of a rhinoceros, with an armadillo's armored skin, and an elephant's tusks and trunk. And clawed feet. It makes a noise that sounds like it vaguely has indigestion, before it stomps up to the damaged listening post, and leans into it, causing the metal post and scaffolding to *groan*. The creature… the rhinodillophant lets out a happy noise, as the rivets and angles of the post dig into an itchy spot. Ahhhhhhhhh~

Sam Guthrie flies over the monstrous creature, not attacking, just observing it at the moment. "Good gracious, that's a big 'un! I ain't much up on my Wild Kingdom, but I get the feelin' that ain't what we call an ordinary zoo animal. You ever seen anything like that, Miss Jean?" he asks or, at least, thinks, since it's kind of hard to hear him speaking aloud over the rushing roar of his blasts.

« Nope, that's a new one on me. » Jean hovers out of reach of the creature, still giving it a curious look. « We're not alone on this island, » she adds, the thought geared a little louder toward the other fliers and the SHIELD personnel with them. « But there's something weird going on with their thoughts. Not sure just what yet. »

«There is also something… not-right about this place. I can't really describe it better than that.» That would be Agent Black, being somewhat guarded about her thoughts over the link.

Dani blinks at the arrival of the creature, and reaches out with her mind to try and communicate with it. Since, well, it is an animal, and talking with them is what she does. Though at the mention of other people on the island, she does reach a hand down to touch the hilt of her sword, keeping her other hand outstretched towards the Big Critter as she verbalizes, "Hey there… it's okay. You want to be friends, right?" At least it seems peaceful enough, for the moment.

Lorna's green eyes slide closed briefly as her senses catch hold of that metal column. She feels along the column, tracing how far down it goes into the earth. «That post's rooted all the way down into the bedrock. Whatever hit that thing hit it hard,» she thinks, transitioning to Jean's mental link (it's just easier). Her eyes reopen, flaring a little as she starts to flex her magnetic powers. A little push, and she could right it…

Only to stop when suddenly something lumbers onto the scene.

"Um," Lorna vocalizes. She lets go of the column, deciding she probably doesn't want to aggravate the thing while Dani is trying to talk to it. She lofts a little higher into the air for a better look, drawing nearer to where Jean maintains her hover. «Interesting wildlife,» she considers dryly. «Can you tell how far the people are, Jean?» She's still scanning the area with her magnetic sight, herself, on the lookout for any other moving lifeforms.

The beast looks up at Dani, and for a moment, it seems to startle — but then it approaches her, and butts its massive head into her hand, before it closes its eyes, and lets out a pleased noise. A grunt, if you will. It reaches up to wind its trunk around her hand.

Out of that strange telepathic fog on the island, a mind approaches — familiar, powerful. It's up in the trees.

The figure that emerges out of the foliage clinging to a branch is stocky, strong… covered in tan-brown fur tending to cream on the belly, with clawed fingers and toes, dressed in SHIELD-issue field uniform pants. A long, fuzzy tail tufted at the end like a lion's waves behind him, and his hair is a bushy gold-brown mane, with rounded cat's ears peeking out of it.

He moves fast, before he easily lopes off a branch and lands in a crouch.

"I see you guys met Herman." Doug says, with a flick of his ears, before he blinks feline blue eyes and straightens up. He still has Doug's face at any rate, despite the fur and the mouth full of distressingly sharp teeth when he grins.

"I knew you guys would come looking for me eventually!"

Sam Guthrie lowers himself to the ground and turns off his blast field, staring at his old friend with startled eyes. "Doug?!? What the heck happened to you? You're all…beasty!" he says, putting his hands on his hips.

Jean blinks as she sees Doug's new appearance, her levitation faltering for just a moment. "Um…hey Doug," she greets, smile quirking awkwardly. "Did you know…" But then Sam's gone and dropped the bomb like he does, leaving her to just nod. "Well, that." Step one is evaluate Doug. Then try to figure out what and how.

Up to this point, even the giant critter coming out and using the listening post as a backscratcher had drawn only a slight, sharp gasp from Agent Black. Maybe she's had prior experience with megacryptofauna? But at the sight of Doug, she mutters, "Bloody hell…," and stares at him intently.

Dani, of course, hadn't met Doug before, though she does end up petting, "Herman? That's your name, huh?" She smiles at the strange animal, then glances over at Doug. Until Sam actually said something, she didn't realize that this… well, this isn't how Doug normally looks. "And you must be Doug, then." She scritches the forehead of "Herman", sensing that's something he'd appreciate. Brightwind, for his part, stays a bit clear of Herman.

«Life-sign heading our way,» Lorna warns as she catches sight of something's magnetic aura flitting through the trees. But as it draws down into the clearing, Lorna… blinks.

"You look different, Doug," she says wryly. "I can't quite put my finger on it."

She plants a hand on her hip. Being that she's still aerial, this gives her the interesting appearance of standing on thin air. "So did you come for the boring repair job, stay for the furry makeover? What happened? Is this permanent?"

"Oh, heh," Doug scratches his fingers through his… mane. "I guess you can call me 'CatDoug'." He beams. His tail lashes behind him. "That's quite a story. I landed on the island, set up camp, and hiked up here to the listening post… which is when I met Herman here. Turns out those armor plates get itchy, and this is just what the doctor ordered. I don't suppose any of you have noticed something… funny about the island? Well, so did I. After nearly getting squashed by Herman here, I looked around and found—"

Doug walks over to a clump of bushes and pulls it aside, before he reveals a square rock with a glyph in it. "This. It's some sort of obfuscation spell, but a really clever one. It obfuscates the works of men — including itself. Knowing the spell is there in the first place is the key to seeing through it."

Then he grins at Lorna. "Well, it's given me a new level of empathy for physical mutations, that's for certain." His tail flicks. "That's me, Doug Ramsey."

"…Anyway, after the curtain got yanked back, I discovered that this little magic trick was hiding a *lab complex* somebody built on the island. There's other Chimera out there, like Herman. If you hear a hooting noise, be really careful, that's the Sharkangutangs. They're on the other side of the island right now but they move fast and frequently."

"…Anyway, I infiltrated the facility to try to figure out what was going on. I found out it's operated by some start-up called Gene-u-tech headed by some dime-store Doctor Moreau named Doctor Anton Sevarius. I was in the process of looting their computer network for data when I had an encounter with Sevarius and his guards."

"While I was trying to get away, Sevarius *shot me in the ass* with what I thought was a tranquilizer dart."

"Iiiiiiiit was not."

Sam Guthrie laughs and shakes his head, "Trust you to go on a secret mission and find yerself turned into a kitty cat. You need any help takin' out this mad doctor? And maybe we can see if he's got a cure for what ails ya there…unless you kinda like it. Gotta think there's some wicked side effects, though," he says.

Jean frowns as she listens, keeping a mental ear open for any other approaching creatures. If that's the sort of thing that's out there, she'd rather not run into anything unplanned. Like…shark-monkeys. "We should be careful," she says slowly. "I can't see what benefit the doctor would get from transforming you into something stronger and faster unless he thought he was also getting some benefit from it. Any strange urges since the change?" she asks, exerting a slightly awkward bit of mental pressure on Doug's mind - a prelude to checking for anything out of place that gives him the opportunity to object.

"Avoid physical contact," Agent Black warns, her tone clipped and no-nonsense, her accent a bit sharper. "Whatever that was /could/ be contagious. By the sound of it, probably not, but let's not take any bloody chances, hmm?" She's pulled out her phone — possibly a tricked-out SHIELD special, but if it is, it could easily be mistaken for a late-model Samsung — and is shooting video of Douglas of the Apes. "Simmons is going to want to see this," she mutters under her breath.

"I'll need to get a look at that glyph, also," Sarah adds. "I /may/ be able to do something about that."

Dani shrugs, "Well, if they are animals, I might be able to convince them to not attack, though if they're single-minded predators, that might not be quick enough." She hmms, and pats Herman on the head, who promptly releases her other hand.

Taking a step back, she looks over at Doug, "So did this doctor realize that there was a listening post here, or was that just bad luck for him?" While she can communicate with Rahne, she doesn't try to reach out towards Doug in the same way.

Lorna folds her arms as she absorbs everything Doug's telling them. She drifts lower in the air as he shows them the glyph, peering at the rune. "Magic and mad science?" she muses. "You know you probably should have radioed back for some backup long before this. You could have skipped the whole CatDoug stage."

Looked at on the topic of physical mutations, Lorna tosses her verdant green hair. She looks pretty proud of it, honestly. "It's an immense burden," she drawls with a sardonic grin, "this hair."

Despite her flippant air, however, it's clear that Lorna is on edge. She doesn't like the word "chimeras," nor the implication of experimentation going on, and there's a faint charge to the air around her like she's ready to raise a shield any minute. "What kind of forces has this Doctor got? Could we just do a smash and grab with all of us here?"

"Based on my evaluation of my own physical responses," Doug says, "And the way my body's changed over the past couple of weeks, this is an ongoing degenerative mutation. I'll gradually get more and more… feral, I guess." Doug's tail lashes, "And I imagine he figured that by taking my communications equipment by the time people got to me, it'd be too late."

His ears flatten. "But I have to admit I've been kind of enjoying it. New colors, new tastes, new scents overlying my own senses. I'm stronger, faster…" He trails off, plainly ambivalent about the whole thing. One would think there'd be less conflict than is plainly evinced on his face.

"At least he didn't spice me with a giraffe or a dodo bird or something." Then Doug looks up, and says, "The facility's further inland. We can try to sneak back in — but you guys have way more firepower than me." His tail lashes, expectantly. "So I say we go in loud, right through the front door."

Sam Guthrie suspected Doug might've been a bit too eager to fight just to enjoy a chance to be on the frontlines. But he wasn't going to deny his friend the opportunity to get his hands dirty for once.

"I admit, my specialty is kinda knockin' down doors, but it ain't my rodeo," he says, looking to Jean and the SHIELD agent alike for guidance. Sam's done his share of leading in his time, but he knows when he's in charge and this? This ain't it.

"I think that one's down to SHIELD," Jean says with a look in Sarah's direction. "But we're here right now, and unless SHIELD's upped their superhuman staff, we're probably the biggest guns you're going to find for this." For all she looks young (and is), she has the confidence of someone who's done this more than just a few times.

"Besides, if there's anything we can do to help Doug, we're in." As her mental probe confirms Doug's hypothesis, her lips purse. "If we can't reverse it, at least you're still mostly you if we can stop it now."

"We clearly need to get in there if we're going to help Agent Ramsey," Sarah says. "Our people /might/ be able to halt or reverse the process, but time would not be on our side, given that they would be starting from square one. And if we /are/ going in hot, full disclosure time. I'm not here just as a SHIELD liason. As Agent Ramsey already knows, I'm with WAND." She makes a quick gesture in the air, briefly conjuring glowing magical geometries. "I can attempt to counter that obfuscation spell, though I can't promise anything until I try. And I can make myself useful in other ways. Most particularly, I can provide exfil directly back to our transport once we have what we want."

Dani nods, "Loud and proud right in the front door works for me. It's what Valkyries are good at, after all." She grins at that, then moves back over towards Brightwind, easily hopping on the winged horse as she looks at Sarah, "Want a lift there?" Then she looks at Herman, telepathically communicating with him so he can make up his own mind on helping or not.

Lorna turns a speculative sort of look on Doug as he talks with surprising ambivalence about his changes. "Sounds like it is nice," she says bluntly, "…up until you start meowing and hacking up hairballs. No, Doug, we gotta fix this. 'Degenerative mutation' isn't gonna end well."

She looks between the others as they speak, nodding as the SHIELD agent even reveals she's got some magic of her own to make the extraction easier once they're done. "Go in loud's fine with me," Lorna weighs in, predictably. Her hands curl a little with a corresponding flicker of electric arcs, green lightning dancing between her fingers. "Let's bring this place down."

Herman lets out a honking noise, and raises his drunk.

"Well then I guess it's unanimous." Doug says, grinning. "Let's do this."

The Gene-u-tech compound is a fortified laboratory complex built onto the island, with armed guards more than capable of dealing with the Chimerae infesting the island. A force of hyper-powered individuals? Not so much. Doug is riding on Herman's back, as the group charges the gates. "Avon call-ing!" He crows, before he springs up and onto the wall, taking out two armed guards and vanishing from sight.

The guards on the walls start shooting — there are more in the courtyard.

Inside, a scientist runs up to a dapper-looking man who had been… taking breakfast out on a veranda. "Doctor Sevarius, we're under attack!"

"Well then *get rid of them*, fool," The doctor snarls, in a voice made for chewing the scenery.

"I think they're X-Men, doctor-"

"…X-Men?" He growls, and gets up. "Well then stall them, while I take the Mutate samples and make my escape." He turns, and runs inside.

"Stall them…" The scientist says, swallowing. "Lucky us."

In the distance, a sleek black aircraft approaches the island. "Island in view, sir." The pilot says. "…Smoke coming from the facility."

"I see." An unseen speaker says. "Maintain approach."

If you want to make a noisy arrival, Cannonball's probably your man. He quite literally storms the front gate, the guards' bullets bouncing harmlessly off his blast field as he careens in, hitting hard and blasting open the facility to give the others access in his wake.

"Y'all start nabbin' baddies, I'm gonna make a few more holes in the walls. I reckon this place could use a little redecoratin'!"

« Lorna, stay back with me to start, » Jean directs, pulling up a telekinetic field to help with the bullets. « We don't want to accidentally fry these records until we get what we need. After that… » Well, after that there's no need to let them fall into anyone else's hands, is there? « Let's keep the wizard here safe. »

School-approved non-academic activities at the Xavier Institute: D&D. In the back of everyone's mind is a reflection of where all the minds she can sense are at, like a video game map in the corner of the screen.

«Sod that», comes Sarah's retort over the mindlink, as she cloaks herself in an invisibility glamour. «I can slip on ahead quietly while you lot are making all the noise. Ramsey, I'll take any help you can give in finding my way through this maze.»

Speaking of D&D, you have your very own ranger with a winged horse mount! Soaring in the wake of Sam's chaos and confusion, Brightwind lets the invulnerable X-Man take the lead, while Dani seems to have some sort of psychic bow, which she then uses to shoot at the guards one at a time. Each guard that gets hit lets out a very Wilhelm-like scream and collapses to the ground.

There's no permanent damage, honest, just about ten minutes reliving your worst nightmare. Also, side effects include an aversion to birds, horses, and Asgardians.

When Polaris wants to, she can go pretty damn fast in flight. She's hot on the heels of Cannonball as he goes blasting in towards the facility, riding a current of green energy, though once the directive comes in from Jean she puts on the brakes. She CAN be trained! Though honestly, part of it is that she likes Jean, so she's inclined to listen to begin with.

«Got it, Jean.» That magnetic energy unwraps from around her and fans into a frontal shield, dropping the bullets that the telekinetic barrier doesn't stop. «I'm at least gonna disarm the shooters,» she reports as she scans the mental 'map' Jean's offering them, reaching forward with a targeted magnetic pull. Her intent: to try to drag away the guns of those in closest range to fire at Agent Black.

Of course, 'the wizard' has her own ideas. «Hahah,» Lorna thinks in Jean's direction, as Sarah stealths and disappears. «I like her. Hey, you think Doug is enjoying this a little too much, though?»

As the X-Men hit the compound, it becomes apparent to the guards that they're fighting a losing battle — they retreat inward, giving ground slowly, protecting the main building.

In the main lab, Sevarius hurriedly packs frozen genetic samples and Mutate embryos into a refrigerated carrying case. He looks up, when Cannonball hits something that shakes the whole structure.

"Happy to." Doug says. "The largest building is the main lab complex. Sevarius will probably be there." He whips around a corridor, springing onto an armed scientist and knocking him to the ground before leaping off him. "This way!"

That low-flying black aircraft comes in over the island. "Hold position here for five minutes." The unseen passenger says. "Then take us down to the landing pad."

A few minutes later, Sevarius runs into another part of the compound, clutching that case. "Worthless dolts. Well, my lovely…" He says, before he pulls down a lever, setting off a warning klaxon, "Why don't you go greet our guests?"

In a deep tank that suddenly begins to flood the courtyard, something stirs.

…Out in the courtyard, there is a gush of liquid — except it seems to be more slime than water. Something comes out with it. It's massive, wet, black-brown in color, and wriggling, with a squid's tentacles, the body of a gigantic salamander, and the sucking, mouthing head of a hagfish.

It grabs one of the compound's guards, and swallows it whole.

"Sevarius set loose Hagatha!" Somebody shouts.

"Is he *nuts*?"

Sam Guthrie sees the lumbering, sudden and frankly horrifying visage of the monstrosity the doctor has unleashed and he says something that nobody who knows him well has ever heard him say. He's Sam Guthrie, wholesome country boy, churchgoin' kid, role model, team leader, future lawman.

"WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT?" he calls out loudly.

Sam breaks loose of the building and goes upward, careening up towards the sky and getting some height before turning around and barreling back down at the thing like his very codename.

« Good work! » Jean sends a wave of approval Lorna's way as she reclaims the weapons, still running overwatch on her end. When Sarah requests intel on the building, Jean provides a slightly different sort of mental link, translating the information from one brain to another until Sarah has the same information about the layout as Doug does.

"What the actual-" That part doesn't even go through the mental link, as Jean gets a birds eye view of the creature down below. « So, hey, people might want to avoid the courtyard right now… Anyone got a fireball? »

(Nope, just a Cannonball!)

«Well, maybe I can cast charm monster instead?» Brightwind circles around the courtyard, well out of reach of the whatever-this-is, while Dani concentrates a bit, then shakes her head, «It's… well, all instinct, mostly about eating. Sorry gang!»

At that, Brightwind gets some additional elevation, allowing Dani clear shots at the few guards that haven't run for the hills between the X-Men crashing the party or Hagatha not knowing which side she's supposed to devour.

All righty. Aircraft overhead. Nightmare on the ground. Sarah looks around quickly, and spots the landing pad. Those keeping mental tabs on her will perceive a vertical oval being described in the air by her gesturing, as she speaks a few quick words in some ancient tongue. And then she steps through, and out of a matching glowy-geometry-framed portal that's concealed from the landing zone — and, she hopes, from the pilot — by a small nearby building. «I have eyes on the good doctor's likely escape route», she informs the rest of the team.

A mote of warmth travels back to Jean from Lorna in return, though the fuzzy sentiments don't last long. Not when that thing suddenly floods out into the courtyard. «The shit is that?!» is Lorna's unladylike reaction. Unlike Sam, probably no one should be surprised at Lorna's language.

«I'm gonna move up and help Sam, I'll stay out of accidental frying range,» she tells Jean, before gliding forward to a position high over the courtyard to do just that. She brings with her all the guards' stolen guns, which she uses her magnetic control to flip around in the air until they are all aiming at the creature. A twitch of her mind pulls all the triggers at once, emptying the weapons' magazines in the monster's direction. Though as she's doing that…

«Guys?» Lorna sends, as unexpected metal pings on her senses. «There's another aircraft in the vicinity. Not one of ours. Not sure why it's here or who's on it. — Oh, you got it?» she amends, when she 'hears' Sarah check in. «Cool.»

When Sam hits… uh… Hagatha, the creature responds by making slime. A lot of slime. It *clings*. And then the thing does that grody hagfish trick where it twists itself into a knot and sheds the slime, before it's off across the courtyard. It makes a… noise.

In the meantime, Sevarius is in a hidden hangar inside of the lab complex, about to enter a small one-man flier, when he discovers Doug crouched on top of it. "…Going somewhere, Doctor?" He says, leaning down.

Sevarius's eyes widen, and then he chuckles. "Well. If it isn't our intruder. Tell me, how's your new set of lion genes treating you, mmmm? Getting a little more wild every day, aren't we?"

Doug snarls. "I am not an animal, Sevarius. I am a human being, and I'm not letting you get away." He crouches, to spring—

And then Sevarius reaches into his pocket and presses a fob, causing the outside of the flyer to electrify, convulsing Doug in pain - which echoes through the psychic link, as he falls to the ground. "I prepare for *any* eventuality." Sevarius says. "Goodbye." He climbs into the flier, starts it, and takes off.

"Hnnnn…" Doug says, before he looks up, and grins— and then rolls over, clutching the length of fuel hose he ripped out of the flier's engine before Sevarius got there. "Not every eventuality."

Outside, the others can see the doctor's flyer rocket out of the compound, shoot into the air in an arc — and then crash into the jungle, as the engines die.

On the aircraft, the unseen speaker murmurs, "…Lay down cover-fire. Give the X-Men time to dispose of that creature."

The aircraft, black and sleek and hideously advanced, descends down over the compound and begins firing energy blasts at the creature, causing it to retreat back, step by step. Guns pound the hideous Chimera's hide as Polaris turns her powers on it, causing it to spill ichor onto the ground, until finally it's convulsing, dying.

The aircraft slowly descends, and lands on the pad. A hatch opens, and a single man, tall and spare and *immaculate*, spectacled, with blond hair with nary a strand out of place and an expression that serves as an impeccable demonstration of stoicism steps out. He's adjusting a cufflink.

Thankfully, sticky slime isn't going to hold onto the outside of Sam's blast field. He makes sure to keep it up, realizing very quickly that the squishy (and, honestly, smelly) stuff coming out of the monstrosity probably isn't good for his help.

He's planning to make another pass, but it doesn't look like it's going to be particularly necessary. "I'm gonna take like ten showers when we get home," he mutters to himself.

Jean cries out as Doug's pain hits the link, quickly insulating the others against the pain that echoes over it, even as it costs her the opportunity to try to stop the doctor from escaping. It takes her a moment to recover, but once she does she steadies the link. « Agent, do you still have that escape route ready? » she asks, giving the doctor a cautious eye. « If this goes sideways, I think I can cloak us all long enough to get to you, but who knows what this guy's capabilities are. »

«I lost sight of Severius' escape craft, and I have an unknown in sight who arrived on the larger aircraft. I can rendezvous with you there,,,> (She mentally indicates a spot along her ingress path.) <…or if you can come to me. Your call. Until then, I'm observing the new contact from cover.»

Dani glances over towards where the plane carrying the doctor crashed, « Should I go after him? I doubt he'd get too far in the jungle, Jean. » She holds position for the moment, though she still has her psychic bow ready in case more trouble rears its ugly head.

Lingering high in the air over the courtyard, Lorna has a good vantage point of most of what is going on. She starts to descend towards the landing pad from directly above, though she staggers in the air temporarily from Doug's transmitted pain. It doesn't last long, at least, thanks to Jean.

She pauses while she's still a good distance away. Polaris is out of ammo, but that doesn't stop her. Her hands turn, palm up, wreathing in energy as her eyes glow green, and the floating weapons disassemble midair, their metal components reshaping and cobbling together into a long, pointed metal spire.

That makeshift spear hovers on standby beside her shoulder for now, but it's definitely pointed directly at that man emerging from the high-tech aircraft. «I'll put this thing through his capabilities if he gets rowdy,» she grumbles, though she's holding her position for now pending a decision to engage or bug out. «Your call, Jean.»

The dapper man in the suit approaches, seemingly unfazed by the debacle unfolding around him or being confronted by a team of the most powerful mutants in the world.

"Thank you for your assistance, X-Men, but your assistance is no longer required."

He *stares* Jean down, which is not an easy thing to do when you're facing a telepath. "My name is Owen Burnett, and I'm here as a representative of the controlling interest in Gene-u-tech. The party I represent was concerned that Sevarius's experiments were getting… out of hand. I am now armed with ample evidence that his suspicions were correct."

Out in the wilderness, Sevarius pulls himself out of the downed aircraft, and wipes a trickle of blood away from his forehead. "Damn them!" He says, as he sets off through the woods. "Well, I have more than one way off of this island—"

Shapes move up in the trees over Sevarius's head, and then the hooting begins. He pauses, and looks up, and reaches to his belt for a gun, as the shadows close in.

Inside, Doug staggers to his feet. 'I'm all right,' He thinks. 'Got a little rowdy, there. Should've thought that through.'

Sam Guthrie lands next to Jean, his blast field finally going down and leaving the blonde boy staring icy blue eyes at the newcomer. "Last I knew, whatever company you are don't count as law enforcement, not here nor nowhere I know about. You may be high up in your corporate ladder, mister, but that don't count for diddly squat to me…er, us," he says.

« Hold it for now, Lorna, » Jean replies to the magnetic mutant, though there's still a faint hint of approval behind it. She lowers herself enough to be closer to Burnett's level, keeping a steady shield around herself and the others in sight. "Yeah. I mean, I guess that's one of the dangers of stationing people on a remote island with access to a whole lot of wildlife, right?" she retorts, glancing toward the building as Doug checks in. "Your doctor got into some human experimentation. It's created something of a problem for us." 'Us' being the woman on the winged horse, the Cannonball of a young man next to her, and the energy-lance-bearing mutant still airborne.

And then there's the British-accented voice from somewhere behind the gentleman, as Sarah walks up, dropping her cloaking spell as she does. "I daresay SHIELD would also be rather /interested/ in what's been going on here. Magically concealing an off-book research facility does not generally engender trust."

«10-4,» is Lorna's dry response to Jean. She drifts down a little closer as Jean engages the man in conversation, in order to be nearer on hand for overwatch. «Whole thing smells fishy,» is Lorna's private opinion.

Smooth talking is one arena in which Lorna knows it's better other people take point, however, so she doesn't say too much. Her defensive position says enough for her.

"We have license from the Brazilian government to operate a facility on this island." Owen says. "I'll happily produce the paperwork verifying that and you can see for yourselves. It's all in order." He looks toward the facility. "This building and its contents are the property of Gene-u-tech and by extension, my employer." He gives a faint smile that could only be described as wintry.

"As for human experimentation, we disavow all knowledge of illegal research. SHIELD's lawyers may call our lawyers."

He turns to Sarah, and for a moment there's a glint of *something* in Owen's eye. "Remember, Miss Black. There's always a bigger fish."

Meanwhile, Doug has limped back out into the courtyard.

Owen looks over at him, and says, "…I see. Allow me to make a phone call." He takes a phone out of the pocket of his coat, and dials. "Sir. It appears the X-Men were here rescuing a compatriot who became a victim of Sevarius's experiments. Yes. Thank you." He hangs up.

"My employer will allow a supervised search of Sevarius's lab for a retromutagen. However, all other data and experiments are proprietary." He turns, to walk inside.

Well, that's…good enough for Jean. For now. Thankfully, she doesn't answer to SHIELD commanding officers with legal precedents to worry about. "Thank you," she replies, nodding once. "It's appreciated." She'll follow and help search, but this isn't really her speciality. Doug's the one who knows what he's looking at.

A search of the lab produces a vial of antigen, loaded into a hyposyringe gun. Owen has been studying Sevarius's files. "Interesting. According to this, a partial dose of the antigen will stabilize the mutation in its current state. A full dose will reverse the effect."

Doug studies the gun, and turns it over in clawed hands. "…Huh." He glances up at Jean. "I'd like to enjoy this for just a little while longer." He says.

Owen stands up. "I've been as good as my word, Marvel Girl. Now I'm going to have to politely ask you to leave. There's a considerable amount of cleanup here to do and I can't keep you underfoot."

He turns to walk away, and pauses. "…But, please, take my employer's regards with you. Anticipate invitations to the gala he'll be throwing as a housewarming for his new New York residence once construction is complete."

«I do not like this bloke, and I most decidedly do not trust him. I particularly do not like that he somehow knows my name. But for now, we need to play nice and get what we came for.» That would be Sarah, over the link. «But at least we know this facility is here, now. I'm ready to leave when you are.»

Jean gives Doug a long look, but finally nods. "It's your life, your choice," she says after a moment, an echo of agreement with Sarah across the link. "Thank you," she says once more to the strange company man. "Do please let your employer know that we'll be ready to handle any…reoccurences of this sort of thing in the future." With that, she nods to the others and looks to Sarah. « Time to blow this popcorn stand. »

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