Title: Searching the Stars
Description: Lorna, Hank & Kraven
Lorna Dane - March 6, 2008 11:06 PM (GMT)
Time of day: Early Afternoon
Place in the time-line: A week after the wedding
OOC: Beginning of the Mutant Auction storyline
Visiting museum's and galleries was a favourite past-time of Lorna's. it wasn't just the intellectual engagement they provided, but walking through the exhibition, her mind drifting brought a sense of peace that she often found sorely lacking in her own life. It wasn't just since joining the X-Men or even coming to the Mansion or even when Malice had possessed her, it was well before that she had started seeking out places of solitude to escape the worries and strains of every day life.
Now that she was trying to avoid spending too much time moping in her bedroom, Lorna had found herself coming to the numerous galleries and museum's New York had to offer. She had spent a lot of time wandering around the Mansion grounds as well, reacquainting herself with the gardens and surrounding landscapes. Really it was because she wanted to avoid any sign of Alex, and anyone else. A persistent ache in her chest over his betrayal joined the pain of her father's death and kept her awake at night. The utter horrible humiliation and realisation followed her everywhere she went and it was for these reasons that she had sought the Museum of Natural History. She wasn't alone in a crowd today though, Hank had come with her and she couldn't think of a better person to be around at this point really. His warm friendship, sense of humour and intelligence were a balm to her soul, soothing the ragged edges.
They had been to see the 'Cosmic Collision' exhibition, and were now wandering through an exhibition of photographs of the Moon. It was breathtaking, and Lorna found herself giving each one careful consideration before moving onto the next one. Clichéd perhaps but she did find that it helped to momentarily put her problems in perspective. Half way through the Lorna turned around to find that she had left Hank behind; they had both been perusing at their own speed, but now she head back towards him. She noticed the looks the big man was getting, even though he was wearing his image inducer at this point. She had been getting similar glances at her hair, far more than usual anyway, and there was a hostile under tone to them at the moment which worried her a little bit. She was doing her best to ignore it as she usually did, but it made her a little uneasy.
Linking her arm through Hank's, she gave him a smile and then tilted her head back to look up at the photograph in question. "It's so beautiful." she said, and then glancing around to see if anyone was close to them, she leaned in a little closer. "What do you think? Maybe Scott will take us up there in his spaceship?" she whispered jokingly with a soft laugh. Even if it were possible, she doubted Scott would do such a thing, considering how carefully he maintained the rest of his collection of toys.
Hank McCoy - March 7, 2008 12:01 AM (GMT)
Some days, it was just nice to get out from the school, even if he had to wear that blasted image inducer and regular clothing (albeit light clothing, to make up for the insulation his fur gave him). It wasn't as though Hank didn't love teaching. No, he loved it all right, but sometimes it was nice to get away from a classroom full of mutant teenagers who would tease each other with doughy biscuits (read, Anna Cuff and Riva) or change inexplicably into animals (Mittens and now Kate).
It was in this relief that Hank lingered more than he normally would have at the Cosmic Collision site, happy just at the fact that his companion was not a whining child dragged on a field trip, but an intelligent young woman who appreciated the exhibits just as much as he did.
Staring across the little rope divider at the massive photograph of the moon (this one depicting one of the most-recently made craters), Hank found himself daydreaming of travel to the moon. What must it be like, to set foot in such an alien place? To see dust kick up that took entire minutes to settle down again? Hank was so absorbed in his daydreams that only Lorna's touch made him blink awake again.
"Very beautiful." He rumbled, patting the hand that settled in the crook of his arm. Though no mention had been made of the 'incident', as Hank thought of it, he knew of it and would be there for support. Like Lorna, he lowered his voice carefully, aware of the patrons that milled around them, but there was still cheerfulness in his expression.
"Ah, Scott would sooner let Rosie ride in his most expensive automobile." He smiled at the image of Rosie, perched on the leather seating with Cheerios and applesauce all around.
Ignoring the looks of the other patrons -- for they were people that neither Hank nor Lorna would ever see again -- Hank gazed at the next photograph, this one of a lunar eclipse. "You know, if more people, human and mutant alike, were to see some of these images of beauty, the world would be a very different place." His tone was somber, not quite sad, but certainly wistful.
Clearing his throat, he patted the hand comfortingly again, lost in his own thoughts once again.
Kraven - March 7, 2008 01:26 AM (GMT)
The man who pushed through the crowds did not belong in this wing of the Museum, not in those animal skins. A few people recognized Sergei Kravinov, for he was a public figure, had been in the news, was well known in social and celebrity circles. He was a handsome man, wealthy, dashing, nearly royalty, and those who saw him now, eagerly checked their museum events pamphlets for when and where he was to be talking. Why else would a man of his stature be here?
Kraven didn't care if he was seen, felt no concern if he was recognized, his mind was sharp with his drugs and the smell of the hunt rested on the back of this throat with the metallic taste of blood. No one would leave this museum with the memory of his ever being here. The herbal smoke that he had already begun pumping through the ventilation system would see to that. Some of the children were already beginning to drop, collapsing sleepily in strollers and in parents' arms. There was nothing suspicious in this. Children could not appreciate what the museums had to offer.
Some of the adults might begin to feel heavy in the limb as well, but no damage would be done to them. After all, Kraven had no interest in hunting people, only animals...
... like the mutants he was here to catch.
The sounds of the world were heightened, the colors, the scents. The drugs in his systems put him on edge and he was on the prowl. He moved with animalistic grace and strength. He spotted the dangerous one first, and the dart he blew straight into the green haired girl's throat should easily suppress her mutant power, and draw out her camouflaged companion.
The panic as the crowd, their reactions and minds already beginning to be affected by the gas that filled the air, invisibly, scentlessly, would work in Kraven's favor.
Oh, this hunt would be glorious.
Lorna Dane - March 9, 2008 11:45 AM (GMT)
"You know, if more people, human and mutant alike, were to see some of these images of beauty, the world would be a very different place."
Lorna looked at Hank for a moment, the truth of his words striking her. “I’d like to believe that.” she said softly, giving him a smile. As Hank patted her hand and turned back to the photograph, Lorna also turned her gaze on the photograph. She wondered at human’s capacity to injure each other, physically and emotionally. It was not something she wished to dwell on at the moment though, as she glanced over at Hank; there were many good people in the world as well. Pulled from her thoughts by something she couldn’t quite place, Lorna glanced around and noticed the general mummer of the crowd changed subtly, so subtly. She slowly came aware of the heightened mesh of voices.
Letting go of Hank’s arm, she turned, curious to see what was going on when she felt something impact her throat, a sharp pain like a wasp sting. With a wince and a sudden inhalation of breath, Lorna lifted her hand to the spot in the question, wondering if she’d been stung by an insect. She felt a jot of surprise as her fingers came into contact with something sticking out of her throat. For split second her fingers probed the object, trying to work out what it was and then her instincts kicked in and she quickly pulled it out. Holding the dart in the palm of her hand, she looked up at Hank with shocked green eyes "Hank.." she said softly, her eyes moving past him to the man standing in the door way, for whom the crowd had parted. Those who hadn’t dropped to the floor into apparent unconsciousness anyway.
Without another thought, she opened herself up to her powers, as they flooded through the barriers of control she kept up. She began to glow with that distinctive green aura, the air snapping with energy as she shielded herself and Hank. With a slight movement of her hand, the metal stands that joined the rope dividers that kept the patrons of the museum away from the exhibit swung violently, heavily around, scrapping across the floor. With another motion of her hands, they lifted easily into the air, flying towards the man dressed in animal skins. She was terrified by the thought of what he might have injected into her with the dart and what he wanted with them, but her main instinct now was to simply take him down before he had a chance to fire anything else at them.
Hank McCoy - March 12, 2008 04:21 PM (GMT)
Staring at the photographs again, head tilted back only slightly, Hank felt Lorna's hand leave the crook of his arm. He turned a little, questioningly but not alarmed, only to find Lorna staring at something in her hand, shocked and fearful. He peered closer, finding that it was a dart.
"Were you stuck with that?" He asked, trying to keep the urgency out of his voice even as he saw the point where the dart had pierced her throat. Hank's first instinct was to extend his arms, in case it was a tranquilizer, but Lorna's powers were activating and he looked around for the source of the dart.
His line of eyesight following Lorna's own, he caught sight of Kraven in the doorway, and the big man tensed. Even if he had not known Kraven -- because Kraven was always on television, on the news for some act or another -- it would have been easy to pick him out of the crowd.
He had stuck Lorna, that was for sure. Hank felt his fur bristle under the image inducer, his mouth tighten into an angry line. "Stay here." He murmured, already moving towards the hunter. "You!" He barked, careful to keep the feral growl that was rising in his voice out. "What did you stick her with?" One clawed hand reached out, tightening around Kraven's wrist.
Kraven - March 12, 2008 09:56 PM (GMT)
The stuck mutant began to glow and the metal in the room reacted. Kraven who had no fillings in his teeth, no pins in his bones, and had for this hunt shunned metal weapons, as his employers had done their research on the prey he was to hunt, stood unaffected, unmoving, even as a man moved towards him, unaffected by the gas. It was a special herbal blend that bonded to the brain chemicals of humans, not mutants, for there was indeed a difference that a geneticist might have been able to explain where Kraven could not. He was immune to its narcotic effect because he had built up an immunity.
It was what he did.
The huge man clamped a hand around Kraven's wrist, and the Hunter let him, knowing it was his only way to judge what he had already suspected. Yes, the hand that grasped his appeared to be human, but it was a paw, nothing but a paw beneath an illusion of normalcy. Kraven smirked up at the "man" and said, "Animals should not be made to deny their nature."
Then, as the metal posts that the green hued beauty flung towards them, Kraven, his strength increased by drugs and madness, jerked the hidden beast forward and directly into the metal posts, blocking his own injury but surely causing the disguised animal to suffer. He released him, thrusting him backwards, and springing backward into an acrobatic flip, that landed him over to the side, hidden behind a wooden display case that held a collection of moon rocks. Stupid really, this interest in the dead stones of the lifeless spheroid that circled this world. There was so much more value in the animal life of this planet, in all its variations.
Kraven's blood was pumping, and he looked at the museum goers that remained on their feet. They were beginning to show the effects of his smokes. Those who did not fall would grow panicked, hallucinating, incoherent. The mutants would soon be seen as monsters, and would have to defend themselves. That would be enough of a distraction for Kraven to strike. He did not want to damage the mutants. That would lessen their price.
As he waited for his drugs to work, hidden from the view of his prey, he heard the beginnings of panic from the crowd, now cut down to less than one fifth of its numbers. "What... what's happening....?"
"It's... it's her! That green haired chick! She's one of them!"
"Mutie freak! The president said they were evil!"
"My babies, they won't wake up!"
"It's her! It's her!"
Kraven smirked, and waited for the crowds blood to boil. The female and the hidden beast would have their hands full. He leaped to the top of the display case and spread his arms, dramatically, "These animals walk amongst you!" he shouted, dramatically, "Turn them over to me, and I will trap them, cage them and control them!" He drew his bone knife, and pointed it at Lorna, "Roll over, animal, and I will make your capture swift. Fight me, and the humans, the rightful top of the food chain, will tear you limb from limb!"
Lorna Dane - March 16, 2008 03:08 PM (GMT)
Lorna didn't have the time to stop the metal poles as Kraven jerked Hank in front of him like a shield, but she managed to deflect them, away from Hank so the blows were only glancing. "Hank!" she exclaimed as Kraven pushed him away, and she moved quickly towards her friend, attention divided between him and the hunter. Or she tried to move quickly anyway, but a wave of dizziness halted her progress, the floor tipping and spinning. She flung a hand out to try and balance herself on something, and one of the metal chairs that were usually sitting at the edges of the room swung drunkenly towards her, scrapping heavily over the floor. The noise sent the drugged and hallucinating humans in further frenzy, but that was nothing to what was happening in the rest of the room as Lorna's control began to slip.Every piece of metal that could be magnetised, was, and given the same polarity, they began to repel each other, forcefully bursting apart. The noise was horrific, as the furniture and displays in the room began rearranging themselves, accompanied by screams of fear and pain.
Lorna was not Magneto, she didn't have his levels of strength, she had never trained herself to use her powers as a weapon, never explored the full extent of her powers, but within her she had the potential to almost rival the father who had never been a part of her life other than a ruthless enemy. The effects of her powers were not, then, localised to the room she was in, or even the floor, but spreading out through the museum; all around electrical circuits began overloading, lights and computers blinking off as well as the more obvious affects of the metallic materials magnetising. Unaware of the majority of the chaos she was causing, Lorna steadied herself, gritting her teeth as she tried to break through the faintness that was beginning to take her over, blurring and darkening her vision.
"These animals walk amongst you!" he shouted, dramatically, "Turn them over to me, and I will trap them, cage them and control them! Roll over, animal, and I will make your capture swift. Fight me, and the humans, the rightful top of the food chain, will tear you limb from limb!"
Lorna heard his voice first, and looked, dazed, in the direction of where it was coming from. She watched as he laid down his ultimatum and with a supreme effort of will she took in her surroundings. Putting more concentration into controlling her powers than she'd had to since they manifested, Lorna managed to release most of the magnetised objects in the room, but her powers felt so strange, as though they were apart to fly out of her grasp at any moment. Whatever Kraven had injected her with was really doing a number on her. She was however aware of the growing hostility towards her from those humans left conscious, encouraged by Kraven.
Black spots swimming across her vision, Lorna was aware that she was fading fast, but not wanting to go down without a fight, without an attempt at saving herself and Hank, she focused on Kraven, or more importantly the display case he was standing on. Metal supports with glass between them. With rapidly diminishing control, Lorna used her powers to crumple the metal struts, which folded like paper with a screeching crunch, the glass panes between them splintering into jagged shards, while the top surface Kraven was standing on dropped straight down. A moment later, Lorna released a radial burst of magnetic energy, which knocked the humans intent on attacking her and Hank back, but which she also hoped would hit Kraven if he managed to leap off the case in time.
And that was it...she was all out of power. There was nothing there. Sinking to her knees, Lorna tried to keep her head up but was unable to even see the results of her handiwork. The effort of controlling her powers while the drug fought against her had exhausted her, the poison in her system doing the rest as her body slumped to the floor.
Hank McCoy - March 21, 2008 02:36 AM (GMT)
The moment that Hank's paw closed around Kraven's wrist, he knew something was going on. The other man let him, surprising in itself, but the surprise didn't last as Kraven yanked him forward. Automatically, Hank fell forward, one foot stepping out instinctively as he sought balance and shield himself from the blow that was coming.
Obviously, though, Lorna was using her powers, and the blow from the metal was glancing at worst. Hank shook it off easily, looking around in trepidation at the panicking humans. No, this was not good.
"Lorna!" He called, doing his best to ignore Kraven's ramblings as he sought about for his companion. Her power was failing, that was obvious, because the movements of what metal was left were weak. Someone smacked Hank with an umbrella, a movement that surprised him so much that he whirled around to deal with it...
...just as Lorna collapsed.
"Lorna!" He barked again, fighting through the tide of humanity towards where the woman was. Carefully, keeping an eye about for Kraven, he gathered Lorna into his arms and hunched over her limp form, attempting to fend off any blows as he searched for an exit.
What was going on? Hank's mind was ticking, though too sluggishly for his own liking. Obviously it was a trap meant for them, and so Hank searched for an answer as he tried to wade towards the door.
Kraven - March 21, 2008 05:02 AM (GMT)
The display case fell, and Kraven leaped from it, acrobatically, his agility enhanced by his drugs and concoctions. He flipped over the heads of the panicking populace, catching a banner announcing next month's "Comets Comets Comets!" exhibit. The girl's out of control powers caused the lights to burst and the electronics to screech. Metal flew in shards and battering clubs, driving many of the people to their knees or running for their life. Kraven heard cries of pain, screams, wails.
He didn't care. Why should he? They were just human.
The metal fell as the female did, and the Beast cradled her, calling her 'Lorna' and trying to escape with her, but Kraven would not allow this. Oh, no. The people flailed at the two mutants, the larger and more conscious once shielding his mate from the blows.
Kraven was suddenly before them though, standing between the mutants and the door. He leveled his blow dart and said, "People, stand aside. The Hunter shall take care of these rampaging beasts."
The gases in the air filled the people and they struggled to understand what was happening. More of them fell and Kraven met Hank's eyes. "If I tell them to fall, they will fall. But if I tell them to tear you apart, they shall do it willingly."
He held up a small thin collar and said, "This is for you, Beast. Wear it and you will be assured to see another day. Fight me, refuse me, and I will kill your female, and drug you into insensibility. You will still be mine, but she will be dead. Follow me, take her to my employers and you both survive. The choice is yours, animal."
Hank McCoy - March 21, 2008 11:39 PM (GMT)
For a long time, holding Lorna to his chest, Hank could only stare at Kraven. Willingly give themselves up? How could he, when it meant that they would be in an unknown, dangerous situation? But Kraven's threat made it all the more risky, and he swallowed dryly.
Between certain death, and the mere chance of it, he would be a fool not to take the small chance. As much as Hank wanted to be the hero, to stand up and sacrifice himself, he knew that it wouldn't help. Lorna would die if it happened.
Finally Hank inclined his head in silent agreement. Carefully, he shifted Lorna so that she was balanced in one arm, and bent foward, exposing his neck. It was a risky move, definitely, but he was less scared of the collar than losing Lorna.
"You will not hurt her." Hank growled, staring defiantly at Kraven. Perhaps it was a bit presumptious of him to be saying such a thing, but then again he wasn't leaving without the promise of Lorna's safety.
It was all very surreal, and Hank's line of eyesight traveled the room, wondering if this might be the last place that he would ever see. He was not generally a gushy man, really, but sometimes there were situations that called for it -- such as now.
Kraven - March 22, 2008 01:59 AM (GMT)
"You will not hurt her." Hank growled, staring defiantly at Kraven.
He tilted his head forward and allowed himself to be collared.
Kraven smirked and snapped the small device off the Beast's collar that hid his true form. The man melted away, revealing the blue fur and simian face. "Much better," the Hunter said, "You should not hide your magnificence under mundanity my Beast."
What was left of the crowd panicked at the sight of the revealed Beast, and Kraven looked around him, annoyed. They'd served their purpose and now he needed them no more. Just as his words had goaded them into their panic, as his smokes played on their susceptiblity and manipulability. He looked around him and said, "Sleep... and forget..."
And, they fell, every last one of them fell.
The Hunter turned to the Beast and mockingly scratched him behind his ear like one would a large dog. "You see, my Beast, how the human pack is no different from the animal? I am the alpha male. I am pack leader. There is no shame in being bested by me. You were bound to lose." He gazed down at the unconscious female and said, "A pretty thing. She'll fetch a good price, though you, my fine monster will be worth far more. Bring her, and follow me, Beast. Deny me, and that collar will shock you to death, and the girl will be left alone with me... and though I do not rut with animals, there are many things I could do with her that will be far less pleasant."
He had no choice. They belonged to the Hunter.
By the time the people revived, their memories spotty, and confused, there was no sign of the Hunter and his captives.
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