2012-01-21: Raiders Of The Lost Snark


Evelyn_icon.jpg Jill_icon.jpg Nicholas_icon.jpg

Summary: Kids these days. Give them an alien technology training simulation chamber and all they can do is complain.

Date: January 21, 2012

Log Title: Raiders of the Lost Snark

Rating: G

Xavier Mansion - Danger Room

A product of Shi'ar technology, the room generates apparently solid, realistic imagery by manipulation high-resolution force fields and holograms. The walls and floor appear as a steel room until a program is turned on. Overhanging the room in the center is a control Room managing the room's mechanisms to oversee the exercise while ensuring the subject's safety.

The Danger Room is empty, the scent of cold metal sharp in the air. It's still quite early on Saturday but practice sessions wait for no late sleeper. Dividing the squad into smaller, more manageable teams of three, it's nearly time for the first set to begin. The sound of machinery and electronics humming to life fills the space from every direction.

Arrayed in the bumblebee yellow and black uniform, Jill squats and stretches her legs one at a time like a runner. "I wish they'd tell us what we're gonna be doing before we get here. It's the not knowing that kills me," she complains, still shaking off the last of a good night's sleep. "What if it's, like, all fighty and stuff? I don't like those."

"I just wish they would make these things later in the day," Evelyn replies between half-hearted attempts to stifle a yawn. "I don't even start to feel awake until noon." Her tail swishes lazily from side to side. "Never mind how hard it is to thread my tail through two sets of tail holes."

Walking into the danger room in the uniform he so despises is Nicholas. He lets out a big yawn before waving to anyone as he looks like he's just woken up. "It's Saturday aren't we supposed to be able to sleep in." He comments rubbing his eyes. He looks down at his uniform and frowns. "I really have to talk to Shane about making this less….junk visible."

Without preamble or so much as an announcement, the hum draws to a crescendo before the sleek metal walls of the Danger Room are replaced by a warm, humid jungle. The air is suddenly heavy with moisture, the sounds of exotic bird calls and buzzing insects seeming nearby but indistinct. Broad leafed trees and ferns screen out everything except what is surely the focal point of the session, a massive stepped pyramid of weathered limestone. Centuries of exposure to the elements have darkened its stone and let plants take root in the rocky outcroppings. A wide set of cracked and broken stairs lead upward to a gaping doorway, trailing vines hanging over it like a curtain.

It seems Jill is the only one who actually likes the uniform. Having a power that frequently leaves one naked lends a certain appreciation for unstable molecules. "There's, like, a machine that does it. But I guess having a seamstress to help you would make it easier." Jill continues doing her stretches, for all the good they'll do her. No muscle tissue to strain, after all. Then the world changes and the blue girl turns around slowly, awestruck. No matter how many times she sees it, having the freakin' Holodeck in the school's basement is still totally awesome. "Whoa," she coos appreciatively.

Evelyn snaps her fingers at Nicholas. "That's /exactly/ what I was just saying," she exclaims. "You're sure you don't also read minds? Because in this place you never can tell." She grins and then very nearly walks into a tree which didn't exist a moment ago. "Gah! I mean… uhm… Should I maybe go take a scout around in the treetops? Or do you guys think we should wait for an objective before we do anything?"

Nicholas raises an eyebrow at Evelyn. "Oh yeah, I'm sure you have everyone can see you junk issues." He says rolling his eyes and then, the room changes and he takes in his new surroundings. "I'm not sure I'll ever get used to that." He mutters before yelling up at the sky. "Okay so what's our goal? There's a creepy pyramid but what are we supposed to do?"

A slightly testy voice says from on high, "Go inside, of course."

"They don't leave a lot to the imagination for us girls, either." Jill shades her eyes from the pseudo-sunlight to peer up at the ziggurat, scuffing the knobby soles of her uniform's boots into the dirt. "Is it Mayan or Aztec? Or am I just way off and not even in the right part of the world?" She looks expectantly from Evelyn to Nick before the voice of God spells it out for them. "I guess, umm, we go inside then?" She starts slowly up the stairway, parting the curtain of vines and holding them politely out of the way for her teammates.

Evelyn winks at Nicholas. "I meant about sleeping in doofus," she points out. "Although Jill has a point." Of course given her usual choice of clothing makes her squad uniform look positively chaste in comparison it's hard to say which point she might be agreeing with… "I wonder who created the first versions of the costumes? I bet it was a complete exhibitionist." Finally she takes the time to stop chatting and actually look around. "Uhm, I guess we go check it out then? I'll go climb a tree and see what I can see."

"Well what do you expect from a bald guy with a wheel chair." Nicholas comments to Evelyn in regards to her exhibitionist quote and starts to make his way inside. He offers a smile to Jill in thanks as he slips by her into the pyramid and looks around to see if there is light inside or if they'll need to do something in regards to that. "Yes, because the lovely voice told us to 'climb a tree' unless you have x-ray vision I doubt you're going to see much of what's inside the pyramid up a tree."

The interior of the pyramid appears hollow, fissures in the ceiling allowing brilliant Hollywood-esque shafts of sunlight to illuminate the space. It seems the kids climbed up all those stairs only so they could have to climb down again, because there are steps leading down and deeper into the structure, stopping at a slablike door covered in elaborate carvings of near-abstract monsters. Or gods, perhaps.

Jill frowns at Nicholas' back at the sarcasm directed Evelyn's way, but waves a hand at the other girl to hurry up and join them inside. "I don't think it helps the uniform situation that I feel a lot like Lara Croft right now," Jill muses, a little dourly. "Tomb raiding. We're totally gonna see skeletons, aren't we?"

"Oh my someone seems to have gotten out of the wrong side of bed this morning or is your costume just chafing somewhere delicate?" Evelyn proclaims, rolling her shoulders. "I was going to check for hordes of angry natives or wild animals who might try trap us inside, but if you really insist on charging in without looking around by my guest." And with that she shifts into Margay form and begins idly padding along behind, taking the time to check for scents and other things a person might miss.

Nicholas doesn't say anything but turns and glares at Evelyn for a second before looking around the place. "Man a torch or flashlight would be nice. Remind me next time, bring a flashlight into a danger room session, or a whole survival pack." He says missing the powers training part of the danger room. "Oh man I hope we don't see skeletons." Says Nick as he goes to try to take the lead, checking out the place a bit before going to check the stairs leading down.

A slow persistent grinding noise like a millstone emanates from the carved door. Shuddering and shaking off a layer of dust, it begins to sink slowly downwards to reveal a darkened hallway beyond, flickering orange-yellow flames casting pools of light from torches on the walls. A soft hissing noise like distant rain fills the upper chamber as, very slowly and subtly, sand begins to trickle down from holes in the walls.

"Angry natives and wild animals? They wouldn't really do something dangerous like that. Would they?" Jill chuckles, but it's a tense, nervous sound. "I mean, there's gotta be a right answer or a way to solve whatever we're supposed to do." She stops suddenly at the door's sonorous opening but looks relieved once she realizes what happened. "See? Door's open. That's good, right?" She runs her fingers along the walls of the passageway as they approach the door, surprised when she gets a handful of sand. "Umm, I think there's something leaking out of this hole." A glance back and upwards. "Holes. Plural. There's, uhh, there's kind of a lot of them."

Evelyn responds to Nicholas and his glaring with a look of pure feline innocence. "Moaw!" she exclaims as the door opens and the way back begins to fill up with sand. On the one hand she can see pretty well even in the poor light and yet on the other she's far closer to the ground, thus caution gets thrown to the wind and the catgirl bolts for the doorway before it's even half open.

"Well I guess that's the sign for there's one way out of this thing and that's not the way we came in." Nicholas says as he starts to head down the stairs as to not become buried in sand. "I'm gonna head up and grab one of those torches just so we can see a bit better." He says as he starts to walk down the hallway a bit until he can find a torch he can get down using his telekinesis. "It's just like a video game." He mutters to himself. "The AI pushing you in the direction you need to go in."

Jill pitches slightly to one side and nearly trips in the sand as a cat zips past her. "Wait, Ev! Don't get too far ahead!" Given little choice, she follows after Nick with an occasional nervous glance backwards at the sand rapidly filling the entry chamber. "Pretty shoddy level design if the game has to force you to go forward, if you ask me," she quips, trying to keep spirits up. "Maybe they'll fix it in the next patch."

With the threat of being engulfed in sand gone for the time being Evelyn reverts to stealthy hunter mode, stalking from shadow to shadow before eventually coming out into a large antechamber filled with four large stone tables each topped with a desiccated skeletal mummy. Each of which is surrounded by a variety of stone jars in assorted sizes and a rotted wooden stand covered in cobwebs. "Hissssssss," proclaims Evelyn with evident distaste as she lurks in the doorway, unwilling to begin to process of searching this particular room by herself…

Nicholas sticks close to Jill with the torch as he walks cautiously towards where Evelyn has run off to. Once he enters the antechamber he looks around and doesn't seem like he wants to go in further. "Okay, really, what is the point of this training session, I don't want to touch any mummy." He says as stuff like this is fine in a video game but when it's real it's different. "It smells horrible in here." It seems Nick isn't exactly keen on searching the room either but he starts to remove the cobwebs that he can as carefully as he can using his telekinesis.

"Gross!" Jill recoils, looking anywhere but at the skeletal figures. "Aww man, they better not come to life or anything. That would be so historically inaccurate." Still, of the three, she appears to be the most willing to investigate the room. More carvings in… whatever language it happens to be, pictures, totem animals, the usual stuff. She opens one of the stone jars and, from her expression alone, immediately wishes she hadn't. "Don't… don't look in those," she advises shakily. "Don't knock any over, either."

There are times having a sensitive nose just isn't a plus point. Like when someone takes the lid off a jar filled with bits of people which have preserved just about well enough to ensure they're exceptionally unpleasant and not just filled with dust. Evelyn dashes back down the dead end everyone had just arrived from, then after a few moments she staggers back in looking decided unwell. "Oh god I'm never ever going to forget that," She takes a few deep breaths and adds "I thought I was going to throw up, not that it'd make this place any more gross…. Maybe there's a tunnel hidden under one of the big stone tables?"

Nicholas just stands by the door and looks around, he's still for quite sometime before he starts walking through the room, looking at the walls, floor and pretty much anything else but the dead things. "I just want to get out of here, there's gotta be a way. I mean it's like Indiana Jones here in here but not as awesome." He says quietly with a hint of discomfort in his voice.

Underneath the cobwebs and general grime, the glint of something metallic catches the torch's light. An ancient hand-wrought necklace of gold ornaments and bone beads hangs around the neck of a deep relief carving of a figure with a jaguar's head, leaning forward as if trapped halfway in the wall. The flickering play of light and shadow across its contours do little to reassure that it's only stone.

Kneeling down, Jill starts to run a hand along the floor underneath the tables. "I dunno," she says skeptically. "There's big flat stones but I can't get any of them to move." Her attempts to do so are punctuated with a few grunts of effort. "Besides, umph, shouldn't we be trying to go *up*? Hnng! Y'know, to get the hell out of here?" Her boots skid noisily on the gritty floor as she gives one more stone a hefty jerk and it comes away far too easily. Trying to keep her balance she flails backwards into one of the mummy tables, a stone jar tipping, teetering, rolling slightly, but finally stopping. "That was close. Found somethin', though!"

"What is it? It better not be grooves cut into the tables for blood to drain through, because I saw that in a movie once and I really don't want this to end up the same way," Evelyn asks, edging closer to the doorway while covering her nose. "I'd bet even Indiana Jones would suck if we were actually forced to do it. Although the snakes wouldn't be so bad, I think they're cute. But anyway down wouldn't be so bad an option, because we're probably only a little below ground level with all the stairs we went back down. And it would mean there could be a tunnel exit hidden in the jungle."

"If you need anything moved, let me know." Nick says, his voice sounding a bit weak. "There's some sort of necklace on a jaguar thing over here." He says reaching out a hand to pull the necklace off with his telekinesis and holding it up for the others to see. "Maybe this and what you found go together?" He says as his eyes continue to glow with the use of his powers.

"If it's for draining blood, it's awfully big. More like a playground slide." Jill beckons the others closer, setting aside the stone she removed and crouching by the newly revealed hole in the floor. With sufficient light present, she leans over it. Not very steep and with a rounded bottom, it winds away into darkness in the direction of the entrance they first used. "I guess I'll go first, in case there's, like, spikes at the bottom… Unless anybody's got any better ideas?" she asks hopefully and looks back at her teammates. There has to be a better idea than this.

Evelyn frowns. "Wow, this day keeps getting better and better. Jumping down a hole hidden in a collapsing tomb yay team." She makes her own very light inspection of the room, before shrugging. "Well, we could always send a body down first but that would mean whoever goes after is going to slam into it. So… no not really. Guess you get the pleasure of leading the way."

Nicholas shoots a nasty look Evelyn's way before looking to Jill. "If you feel safe doing that than sure, I don't want you getting hurt but as soon as you're down safe just shout the okay then Evelyn will go down and I'll be last, just in case." He'd feel better if Evelyn wasn't left up here alone. "I'm not exactly keen on opening up one of those tombs and seeing what'll happen."

Jill twirls a finger in the air in the world's smallest and least enthusiastic cheer. "Hooray me." Edging carefully into the hole feet first, she draws in a breath, holds it, and slips over the edge. "EEEEEEEeeeeeee…" Her squeal grows distant and echoing before ending in a faint, faraway splash. A long pause. "Okay," Jill's voice, dripping with uncertainty, reverberates up the tunnel slide. "I think it's safe. But you're not gonna like it."

Evelyn pouts at Nicholas, then pokes her head part way down the hole. "Was that a splash?" she shouts down after Jill. "Because I'm not a very strong swimmer. Oh why am I drawing this out, might as well jump down and get it over with sooner rather than later." Carefully sitting so she won't squash her tail and so she can slow her descent with her feet as much as possible she bites her lip, then slides into the darkness.

Taking one last look around once Evelyn is down, Nick mutters to himself "Into the chute flyboy" before jumping in after them. It's a bit of a slide down before he splashes in after the two girls. "I really hope this is water." He says realizing he left the torch topside. "Damnit…well, let's hope there is light down here." He grumbles looking back up.

The hip-deep water at the bottom of the slide is surprisingly cold, but thankfully neither swift moving nor full of critters. However, the light at the end of the tunnel is… literally a light at the end of the tunnel. The water flows from a natural cave into the open air, cascading into a shallow blue-green pool with pebbled shores. "What took you?" she asks with feigned impatience, the quick plunge leaving her none the worse for wear. Both she and her uniform are apparently water resistant.

Evelyn shrieks when she hits the water. "Oh god it's getting in through the gap for my tail," she exclaims springing to her feet and trying to pull herself up the wall, tail thoroughly soaked and sploshing around. "Oh god that's unpleasant. If someone can carry me I /might/ be able to see a bit better, but I won't be able to talk. So we'd need some kind of code for directions."

Nicholas hits the water with a splash with not much grace, standing up once he's landed not on his feet. "Well that's a good sign…I hope." He starts to walk in the water towards the light, making sure he's staying close to Evelyn and Jill. "I need my hands for my powers otherwise I'd offer Evelyn. Unfortunately if I needed them I'd just drop your catself into the water."

"Oh, come here, I'll carry you," Jill offers in the tone of the long-suffering. She holds out her arms, not exactly sure how this is going to work but game to try. "I think the bad part's over, at least. I hope, anyway. Don't lose that thing you found, Nick. I'm pretty sure it's why we came here." She clears her throat conspicuously and glances upwards… at the ceiling of the cave. "Though that could have been made *clearer* before we started."

Evelyn sighs. "No it's all right, if something happened you'd only have to drop me too and I have no clue if my cat form can swim. Besides if there's light ahead we just need to test our footing before each step and head towards it, right?" And thus she begins following along, shuffling her foot forward to check the footing before every step. "Shouldn't the treasure be something grander than a necklace? Maybe a huge diamond."

Nicholas continues to carry the necklace thing resigning to hold onto it physically rather than with his powers. "What this thing?" He says looking at it. "There will probably be a pigmy tribe outside waiting to get this thing calling it the idol or something." Yeah he's seen Indiana Jones way to many times. "Let's head out." He says starting to lead the way.

Shrugging and lowering her hands, Jill takes to the water. "Even if we found something like a huge diamond, we couldn't keep it anyway." She slips under the surface, a sinuous blue snake weaving back and forth ahead of Nick. It stops at the cave mouth and morphs back into a Jill-shape, complete with uniform. "Not just 'cause it isn't real. 'Cause… it belongs in a museum." She smirks at her own little reference. Her thumb and forefinger pluck at the yellow and black material of her squad uniform appreciatively. "I should really wear this more often. Kinda liberating." With that, she liquefies again and heads down the short waterfall into the shallow pool below.

"If we /do/ find a tribe of people who want to kill us then maybe you could shape yourself to look like the thing from the carvings?" Evelyn suggests, miming something vague with pointy ears. "Well, yeah if it was real and we did find a huge diamond of course we'd sell it to a museum. But I suppose there aren't places like this outside of fiction." She sloshes forward some more, then pauses to try dry her tail a bit. "Sorry for the wet fur smell by the way."

Nicholas grins at Jill at the reference, his first smile since the session began. "Evelyn, there are places like this, maybe not as cool but what about all those old Incan and Mayan ruins and such?" He asks before jumping down the waterfall after Jill. "Let's hope this ends this damn thing and I can head back to sleep."

Before Nick's feet can hit bottom, the simulation fades and clears. With it, the necklace, pyramid, jungle, even the water soaking in hair and fur vanishes. The room is once again bare steel and empty. "Good work," says the voice from the observation booth overhead, brisk and businesslike. "And if anyone else has any comments on how I design my simulations… kindly keep them to yourself."

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