2020-02-13 - To Sleep To Dream


Nick and Isis follow a hunch and don't like what they find.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Thu Feb 13 07:08:16 2020
Location: Paragon Investigations

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Theme Song



Nick is at this point starting to become aware that something is wrong. His investigation continues and he's making real progress, but every time he gets close to certain elements of this case, something happens to put him off it. Usually something that takes him or Isis directly out of play.

But this is dangerous to be thinking because, well, this is exactly the kind of thing that seems to trigger one of these events. Its almost as if someone is watching, a theory that Nick is increasingly aware is increasingly likely. At the moment he is in the office and he's just getting up to see where Isis went. He heard the printer going a few minutes ago. She's been very organized recently.

Isis has been many things lately, scatterbrained isn't one of them. Today she's been organising files for cases, making sure all the paperwork is in order. Whether that's just to keep herself busy or because it's a real change in her behaviour is hard to tell.

She really hadn't liked their last field encounter though.

"Did you want something, Nick?" She asks as the big brown wolfman appears.

"Yes. I was just wondering… do you sense any other minds about right now?" Nick has a theory, you see. It's a theory that they're being tampered with. Isis was always kind of vulnerable to this. Nick knows that her early life makes it easier for other people to set behavioral expectations and have her alter herself to try and meet them. That may have happened between the two of them. But he also knows that coincidence doesn't explain everything that's happened recently.

And if one rules out coincidence, intention is the only thing that is left.

Nick leans on the doorway, watching Isis as she works. Which he does sometimes, she knows he does. She can usually smell and hear him after all.

isis is dressed in a way that Nick likes. Long gone are the baggy, ill fitting, hand me downs. Now it's snug jeans and little tops - all still quite modest but they don't her form like the other clothes used to.

"Always, Nick. Well almost always. There's normally minds around during the day." Those bright blue eyes turn to look at the werewolf, a puzzled frown furrowing her brow as her nose twitches. "That's … not what you mean though, is it? You mean …" She gestures with a folder in her hand "… 'near' us."

"Yes. A telepath, maybe." Nick has some anti-telepathy training and this does make him a bit wary. He has to be very careful what he thinks right now. He has to be very careful what he says because saying it will make him think it, at least on a surface level.

It is the day and there are a lot of minds around. New York is a big city after all and even out here in the Bronx, there's plenty of people going about their business. A lot of them are visiting that pizzeria just a few doors down. That place always feels like indulgence and satisfaction. If Isis goes looking, she has to be able to cut through that.

And Isis isn't a telepath - she's an Empath. For the feline-like mutant, she has to be able to sort through the emotions and find the one that doesn't fit. Not an easy task when there are so many people able. She frowns at Nick and puts the file away before moving towards him and rubbing her ears against his arm.

That's not so unusual and it helps keep her thoughts from wandering towards the fact they might be monitored. Hopefully it distracts Nick a bit as well.

"Can you smell the pizza from here?" She asks as she lets her mind roam. "I want pepperoni and extra cheese for dinner." Because of course she does. It takes such a lot long time for her to sort through the minds and the feelings but slowly she nods to Nick as she finds something that's different. "And why do you think we've never met Jarvis?"

"Right. Extra pepperoni and cheese." Nick deliberately mixes up what Isis says she wanted and drapes an arm across her shoulder. It helps ease the tension. Her question is a very good one.

"I don't know. I get the sense he isn't at the office Pepper works at. Maybe he's always somewhere remote. England maybe? He sounds British." Odd for the theatrical voice to never formally introduce himself in, say, a video call, though.

No, no odd minds over there. None in the park. None in the tax office across the street. None in the Pizza Parlor. Wait. There's something. Feels like it's a bit more distant than expected. in those apartments a block over.

Nick putting his arm about Isis, changes the tenor of her surface thoughts a bit. They've both had anti telepath training but a good telepath could get through those shields, mixing things up is a good way to go.

"Deep crust and extra pickles." Isis agrees canting her head as she finds what she's looking for. "You might be right. But not England. Not that far." She murmurs. "He might be another building, not too far from where Miss Potts works. Like a block over or something." If it's only a block, she could put them to sleep and slip into their dreams to see who they are.

She is going to have to move quickly. The moment she really has a solid fix on the mind it swings into action, trying to stir up things and push buttons to put her off the scent and also put Nick off the scent. In this the mind has an advantage, since it has been doing this for some time.

But it has never tried to do this when Isis was 'looking right at him' so to speak. That will make a difference. Specifically it makes it hard to do anything subtle, things that rely on the target not knowing what you're doing. Unfortunately… Isis comes pre-programmed.

Isis is also trained to do this. AIM had been thorough in honing her as a weapon. The question is whether this mind will be attacked or manage to grasp the hooks in the felines mind and wield her.

Claws extend from her nails, digging into Nicks arms as she concentrates. Her mind hits the other one, forcing it asleep - the small woman slumps in the wolfman's arms as she enters the dream.

It's a battle being waged there and Nick can feel himself starting to sleep - being drawn into the battle that Isis is about to wage.


The sleeping mind is no less potent for the fact that it is asleep but here the playing field is more even. The telepath is trained to operate like this, in mental battles but Isis is a master of dreams. She will get to set the stage but she can still feel the pressure on her mind to think of anything else. And there are a great many things she'd rather be thinking of, her opponent knows.

Nick slowly sinks down, and his eyes shut. He slips into the dreams along with Isis though what he'll contribute is still… in question.

Who says it was Isis pulling Nick in. He's been attacked and shaped in his dreams before.

Isis certainly hadn't been prepared for a battle though her training certainly does kick in. This time it's not a horrific or terrifying dream they find themselves, the telepath - who is indeed a man, is playing basketball. Something he enjoys, a lot from the look of him.

Isis is sitting on the sideline eating icecream, watching. And Nick? Well he's playing too.

It's then the shots pepper the court, drawing blood and knocking down the other players. The telepath is hit, blood oozing from wounds in his chest. "We don't have long, Nick …" Isis says. "… what did you want to know."

The other telepath is strong though and could well break the slim mutants hold.

"Who he is, who he is working for and what he has been doing to us." Nick says very quickly. The surreal turn of the dream has him jumping. Looking around for the shooter, whom he might see but the presence of an actual shooter is not important for dream logic.

"Who is winning?" He looks at the scoreboards. One says 'Ferals' and the other says 'Me'. Right not the 'Ferals' column has a higher score in it. Is that a signifier for who has the upper hand in this?

The telepath's mind is finely trained but Isis has the drop on it. She can bring forth images. And some of them may surprise her. Because some of them are definitely people from Lobo Tech. Like that lawyer they've met. And a very large, very… imposing looking man.

Isis has to concentrate to twist the dream to find the information Nick is looking for. With Nick asking the questions, the telepath is already thinking of answers. All Isis has to do is shape the dream to draw the images forth.

The actual shooter isn't seen, but each of the telepaths team mates lay dead.

The scene shifts to an office overlooking a research lab setup, behind a large desk is a very large man. They've seen his picture before and Isis frowns.

"We need to increase our numbers …" The big man is saying. What is that in the lab behind him?

Nick has a good eye for detail, it's one of the things that makes him so good at this job. He looks for logos. He can't see any but there's a lapel pin on the Big Man's suit. It looks like a tooth. He mentally 'jots it down'. It looks custom. Maybe pearl. He might be able to find it later in image searches. This guy's suit is expensive. It's an Armani. Which means this guy has money, which means he's a higher up, which means there should be pictures of him.

A scent. That makes sense. Dreams engage all the senses. Nick sniffs. "Isis… does that scent smell… familiar."

It does. It was on that woman. The Lawyer. Not heavily, but it WAS there.

"What else do you see?"

He's fighting but it's HARD to fight dreams like this. Isis can definitely get what he wants. And what he wants is a bit horrifying.

"It is, yes. That woman …" Isis waits for a moment and lets the dream focus on the lawyer. It is her and the image of her brings that scent to mind. Neither of the animal-like mutants could forget it. "We're on target, Sir." the woman is saying as she looks to the telepath that Isis is tormenting. "We just need you to condition those two so we can bring them in."

The dream spins, Isis whimpers in Nicks arms at the effort, and the 'Big Man' is talking again. "Then we can show everyone who the dominant species is."

"Condition…" Nick is starting to put it together. The things that keep throwing them off whenever they're on the verge of catching someone. The things that distract them at critical moments. Were they done deliberately by this telepath? That seems to be what the dream is implying.

And then Isis gets hit. Hard. The telepath has managed to bring his strength to bear through the haze of the dream and target Isis mind directly once again. She might be able to fend it off, if she's not caught off guard, but if she does her control of the dream is probably going to slip a little bit.

"Dominant Species. Wait. They used that phrase in documents sometimes. See if he has anything related to… Isis? You there?"

Isis is taking it all in but it's hard for her to comprehend. "They're training us?" They are but not how she thinks of it. There's a strangled sound as her mind is hit by the telepath.

The dream does slip, the scene changes a little - Isis is soon strapped on one of the tables in the research lab, lab coated people standing around her.

This is her nightmares, Nick knows that - the memories of what was done to her as she was growing up.

"Nick! Nick!…" Even as she fights, she tries to the twist the dream to give Nick what he's looking for.

The dream twists and turns as the control of it waxes and wanes. They might need to get out of here soon.

Nick lunges across the room, knocking faceless researchers - they literally have not been given faces by the dream - out of his way as he does so. He grabs Isis by the wrist and tries to haul her off the table. He would be easily strong enough to do so in the real world but in a dream physical strength is not at issue. What matters is the story being told.

"Isis! End it!" Kill the connection. If she can. The psychic attack is ongoing and the telepath is trying to regain control of the situation. If he does, it isn't entirely clear that they'll know. After all if he didn't want them to, he could just… arrange that so.

"Nick!!" Isis is panicking a little as the dream takes hold. It's so real, so like what they did to her in real life. "I'm sorry, Nick. But you have to WAKE UP!!!!" Oh man, this is going to hurt. One sleeper waking should through the dream off.

Nick feels a sharp pain in his arm and then another one. It should be enough to jolt him from his dream. When he wakes, Isis has sunk her teeth into his bicep and isn't letting go till she knows he's awake.

"YYEOWWWWW!" Nick almost howls when he comes to. He's been bit hard enough to draw blood and Isis has fangs. That HURTS! It does wake him up which was the point but the way he jerks makes Isis teeth tear a little bit which of course only makes it hurt more. The brown werewolf shakes himself and tries to pry Isis off him.

"Ow ow ow ow ow! I'm awake! I'm awake! Let go!" Teeth. So many teeth. Even though it's really only the fangs he's feeling it's more than enough.

There's a coppery taste on Isis tongue and it takes Nick a good moment to pry her off. "Oh good you're awake. I wasn't sure I could get us out… " Had she been awake when she started biting him? Maybe not. Which might have been interesting and amusing if the situation wasn't so dire.

"We … are in trouble, Nick. We have to get out of here."

She doesn't know if she can fend off another attack.

"And go where?" Nick says, rubbing his arm. "This is a telepath. They're already tracking us. Even if we went to the Institute they could find us there. And we can't STAY at the Institute. We've got too many things we're working on that need us out here."

They both have counter-telepath training but what they REALLY need here is a telepath. Isis won't do, she's just an empath. Although…

"I don't suppose you could mask us, could you? Make us 'feel' like other minds out there. Confuse him about who is whom."

Telepathic science isn't something Nick is up on but he knows that Telepaths have to identify minds basically 'by feel'. And if something feels off, they might get confused. Or lost.

"The Insti——" Isis words die on her lips as Nick finishes his statement. "We can't stay here Nick … they want us…" At least, she thinks they do.

"You want me to … I … I'm not a telepath, Nick and I've never tried that. I can … but there's no guarantee it will do anything."

She's not a telepath. She's an Empath and putting out a fake set of emotions … is going to be exhausting.

"I know you're not but…" Nick waits. He knows this is going to be work for her and he won't have any idea whether or not it has worked. She will though.

Isis can feel the mind of the telepath searching. She can feel it notice her and start to 'lock in' on her. And then she starts to put out those fake emotions and… that sense of being 'acquired' gets fuzzier. He's having a tough time telling 'where' she is. If she can keep it up he'll lose them entirely which will probably be very, very disconcerting for him.

"I'm trying, ok?" Isis answers quietly. She's a powerful Empath but no one had thought to get her to stretch those abilities. That might be because they were worried about her biting them.

"I think it's working. He can't find us, not at the moment, but Nick, I can't keep this up indefinitely and this guy knows how to manipulate dreams."

Nick knows well that Isis needs to sleep so can feed on dreams. If she doesn't … well, people really don't want to find out what happens.

"I know you are…" Nick says. He doesn't talk much more because he doesn't want to distract her and he knows she needs to focus. There's another solid minute, it probably feels like agony, and the telepath breaks off the search. He probably can't keep up a search that intense for very long either.

"Then you have to find him. Tonight. And deal with him. You know what his mind feels like. Do you think you can?" Even though he knows how to manipulate dreams, Isis was born for this. Literally. Few can match her in her element.

Isis lets out a shuddery breath as the pursuit breaks off, falling against Nick again and rubbing her ears against his chest. "He's stopped for the moment. If I were him, I'd be calling in reinforcements. They will have more than one telepath, you can be sure."

She's scared, Nick can tell from what's rolling off her. The idea of being an experiment again really doesn't appeal.

"If I do, how are we going to stop him? Do you want me to … " She swallows. She could kill. She's done it before and she'll do it again. If Nick wants this TP stopped, then they should do that.

But that's not the X-Men way.

"It'd be best if we can make him forget. But if not…" Nick sighs. "We may have to try to burn him out. Make sure he can't do this to us again. Us or anyone else. You know if he's done it once he's done it a dozen times…"

The wolfman swallows and steels his resolve. "Worst case scenario, pop us out next to him and we'll take him to SHIELD." Nick will probably punch him first. Several times. But that's probably the safest thing to do. SHIELD already knows of the problem and THEY will have these facilities to hold this guy.

"I'm not a Telepath, Nick. I can't fuck with his mind." Isis answers. She so rarely swears that's got to be jarring. "I might be able to make him burn himself out, but it could well hurt me - I'm strong but so is he."

She swallows and turns her blue eyes to Nick "I've never dreamed walked with anyone else. You know it's dangerous, right? And it will take about five hours to get there…" Of all the things that Nick is asking, that is the only thing she's even remotely sure she might be able to do. "Dreamwalking is dangerous - the land of dreams has dangerous creatures."

Her mind is searching though, as Nick and she talk. "I've got him. And there people asleep near both of us."

"If you can't take me then you may have to do it." But Isis knows how to fight so Nick isn't worried for her in that regard. It is a risk sending her solo but not as big a risk as leaving this guy to strike again. Even if he doesn't come after Nick and Isis again - which he will - he will go after someone else. Someone who can't defend themselves.

"What do you think is the best course?" It isn't often that he asks Isis that but he is asking now.

"If you do exactly as I tell you, you can come with me." Isis answers quietly. "It won't be nice and it won't be easy getting through the Dream Plane, but we can do it. I can fight his mind to stop him pulling us into the dream and you and I can fight him physically."

Rubbing her ears against the wolfman one more time, Isis straightens "It's not likely he's been taught to fight anywhere near as well you and I."

"If you're ready … "

When he is, she sends them both to sleep and pulls them into the Dream Plane and starts walking - it's strange. A shadow city of New York, really with shadowy figures experiencing their dreams - they aren't really here, just touching the plane. It's the things that are in here that she and Nick will have to be careful of.

"I am. Let's do this…" NIck says. As the dream plane wraps around him he's barely aware of his body slumping. He's been in dreams with Isis before but he's never journeyed through them. He has absolutely no idea what to expect, other than it's dangerous. But he doesn't know what that means. Are they likely to be attacked?

Or is there just a dream pizza parlor that she's got a big tab at?

It's strange being led through the streets of New York by Isis, her small hand in Nicks larger one. They don't move like normal, though - it's jumps and starts. Moving blocks at a time in a blink of an eye.

Isis glances behind them and tugs on Nicks hand to get him to move faster. He can feel the dread as it looms behind them getting closer. This … is the stuff that nightmares are made of, surely. "Nearly there, nearly there. Just another …" The woman is looking at doors now. "… one of these … "

Nick can hear the scrape of claws against the pavement. Hear a sibilant hiss and feel cold dread down his back.

"This one!!!!" Isis reaches for the door and throws it open, dragging Nick through with her.

And all goes black when they step through. They have no senses at all.

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