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Leave a Little Room for Danger

Posted on Fri Aug 11th, 2023 @ 5:56pm by Scott Summers & Connor Bruin & Iris Walker & Cameron Hood & Elias Buckley & Tammy Thompson & Jason (Jace) Adams & Ethan Hale

Mission: Episode 3: X-Tra Ecclesiam
Location: DANGER ROOM!
Timeline: August 13th, 1990

"Let's go over the basics," Scott said into the Viewing Deck intercom that broadcast throughout the entire Danger Room. "There are no safeties. What you see may not be real but it can hurt you if you aren't careful. If you get hurt, the safe word is 'Greymalkin'. Shouting that will immediately pause every mechanism and allow for safe extraction. Connor has devised an advanced training protocol, but since this is for team-building, the goal will be to help each other out. If the session has to be paused for safety, then the team fails. Let's see how long you can go."

Connor thumped his chest twice and threw his fist in the air.

Ethan flexed his muscles and stretched, not because he was trying to show off, but because he was preparing himself. Then flew up until he was close to the ceiling, keeping a wary out for any surprises.

Since Iris didn’t really know what to do to prepare, she opted the follow Ethan’s lead. While she didn’t have many muscles to flex, stretching seemed like a good idea, so that’s what she did.

From Elias' corner, came a silent, curt nod. He was as ready as he'd ever be.

Cameron first cracked his neck, then his knuckles. He felt ready for whatever would be coming at them.

Jace shook his head and wondered just exactly what he'd gotten himself into. But at least he wasn't academic school...this time. So he can get hurt, just like in the streets. Help each other, not like in the streets. Boy, this was a completely new world for him. "Bring it, then."

Looking at Aurora sitting near him in the Viewing Deck, it seemed only right to extend the offer to everyone else. "Anyone who has cold feet needs to speak up now. Otherwise, I will initiate the program."

"So what can we expect from this Program?" Tammy asked.

"Anything." Scott grinned. Seeing no one else backing out at the last minute, he initiated the Danger Room. "Begin!"

Without further warning, the floor to the Danger Room shifted into a sloped half pipe that ran sheer up the walls. Giant wrecking balls the size of Cadillacs fell from the ceiling and began rolling back and forth.

Connor let out a hoot and backflipped over the nearest one before kipping sideways to avoid a second. Since he had designed the program, he had an unfair advantage even beyond his ability to perform trigonometry on the fly.

With a squeal of surprise and mild fear, Iris scurried out of the way of one of the balls, then quickly glanced around for others. “Are we just supposed to dodge them?” she asked nobody in particular. “Or do we have to get to the other side?”

Ethan was up in the air, so he had a slight advantage over those on the ground, but he was by no means off the hook. He turned sideways and flew between the two wrecking balls. He thought he was going to get clear and look good doing so, but his left wing was clipped by one of the balls. It wasn't enough to do any damage but threw off his balance and caused him to do a cartwheel in the air before righting himself.

A series of rapid-fire teleports took Elias from one side of the half-pipe to the other and back again. Too easy? Maybe, but blinking in and out of the dimension was sorta cheating. So in the interest of amusing the observer, he placed himself neatly atop one of the giant orbs and balanced his feet against its turning spherical surface for as long as he could muster both energy and enthusiasm.

"Connor, what the fuck?!" Cameron shouted out as he jumped hard away from the ball that would've landed on his head. Cameron's combat boots squeaked for a moment as he scurried himself back on his feet. When the ball then seemed to follow him, Cameron sprinted away as fast as he could. As he looked around, he noticed both Ethan and Elias up high. "Fable! Gryphon! Are you guys noticing anything like a pattern to how these things are moving?!"

"Yes," replied Fable. "But I don't think that's gonna help you much." Noticing a patter and communicating said pattern were two very different things.

Tammy had turned into a living hologram and was watching from up high, trying to figure out how to help. She hadn't seen a pattern but she could project a hard light shield to protect her teammates. "Cameron, hang on! This will help!" she projected a hard light shield around him that will protect from the big balls! Then she would see if she could detect a pattern in the movement! of the balls.

Thunder cracked overhead, one peal after another sounding off as a warning for the deluge of rainfall that made the halfpipe slick and the overhead expanse hard to see for the driving rain.

Iris had quickly realized that her powers were totally useless in this scenario. But that was okay because she was small and fast. The rain complicated things, but she was determined to get through this. “I’m not sure teamwork is going to help us much here,” she shouted to her teammates as she dodged another boulder. “Every man for himself might be the way to go.”

Ethan had managed to right himself and dodge another pair of wrecking balls, feeling a little proud of himself for his quick recovery. Then the rain began to fall "Son of a bitch," he called out in frustration. He actually admired whoever had programmed the simulation, but that didn't diminish his frustration. His greatest weakness was his wings getting wet. It threw everything off and turned them into a liability.

Knowing he didn't have much time before he'd be forced to the ground he leaped onto one of the swinging balls. and started to cut the cable with his claws. He wasn't completely helpless.

Cyclops arched his eyebrows behind his visor but said nothing, just crossed his arms while continuing to observe.

For Connor's part, he knew the rain was coming because he had programmed it, so he was able to compensate for the slick surfaces. However, the lateral redirection of the rolling balls was far more chaotic than he had predicted. They were simply everywhere.

"UHHHH!" he shouted, jumping into the air to avoid the collision between two balls.

After they collided, however, their momentum slowed to a fraction of their original speed.

Slippery slopes, falling boulders, and rain were not like any kind of training he'd ever heard of. But if they were supposed to work together as a team... Jace ghosted so that the rain and random boulders passed through him until he positioned himself in front of the small girl who wanted to go solo. "Hey, name's Jace." He quickly turned to face the next ball falling towards them, putting a foot behind and lowering his shoulder. He then increased his density as hard as he did when the Wendigo scratched him. Hopefully, the ball would either slow, break, or push him backward a few feet. Hopefully, it wouldn't break his shoulder or neck.

The wrecking ball smashed into Jace and immediately bounced off, though not before sending him flying as well. With the slick rain not being enough to maintain the momentum, the next stage of the drill commenced.

Pitfalls opened up in the floor, capturing the wrecking balls. Then enormous pistons launched them near to the top of the expanse of the Danger Room, allowing them to fall where they would on the halfpipe with renewed speed. Up and down they went without regard for any mutants in their path.

“Case in point,” muttered Iris as she dodged another boulder. She’d had time to push him out of the way of the boulder, but if she had done, she’d have been squashed. Instead, she had trusted that he knew what he was doing and concentrated on keeping her eyes on the danger at hand.

But, now there was a new danger. When the balls had settled into the pits, she thought perhaps the exercise was over, but they couldn’t be so lucky. Instead, they were launched back into the air. Iris screamed and raced as far as she could before the boulders were in danger of dropping on her. She got as far as two lengths before she had to stop and watch them again. “Connor, I’m going to throttle you!” she shouted at nobody in particular.

Having heard his name, Connor saw Iris in trouble and dove for her. Cradling her petite frame against him with one arm, Connor fell into a roll over the opposite shoulder and sprang upward to dodge a newly formed pit. Two wrecking balls collided behind them where Iris had just been. One rolled away from them and the other into the pit that was about to relaunch it all over again.

Channeling various different athletes Cameron had seen over the years allowed him to dodge and weave. The slick surface was not as much of a challenge for him as might otherwise have been. He had watched plenty of ice skating as well. What he wasn't entirely ready for, however, was when a large wrecking ball was heading straight down from him. But sheer stubbornness made him raise his hands above him. With every fiber of his body, Cameron forced the hard ball to shift into a more powdery substance. The effort was draining to the man, and he collapsed onto one knee. But at least one wrecking ball was gone.

As Ethan clung to the wrecking ball he was on, which was literally hanging by a thread, he was wishing why in the hell he had volunteered for this training. He cut the last remaining strand and the ball plummeted to the ground. He managed to tuck and roll and avoided taking any real damage.

Then the real fun began as all around him boulders started leaping back towards the ceiling. He could not have agreed more with Iris. He wanted to strangle Cameron himself.

With the rain continuing to fall, his wings were soaked through and there was no way he was going to get off the ground.

Then another wrecking ball shot up in the air. He managed to mostly dodge out of the way, but only mostly. He was struck in the shoulder. It was a glancing blow but it knocked him to the ground and he felt his collarbone snap.

Fable faded in and out of the Danger Room space which was far easier for him than to waste time in predicting the pattern of the death trap. He respected Iris' choice to go it alone but smirked when she was rescued by Connor. Teamwork was working for those two just fine, it seemed. He cast his gaze about the others, noting Cameron succeeding well enough on his own so far but registering the dropped knee as fatigue starting to take hold. He'd keep a little longer, though, Elias decided as he saw Ethan get taken down.

Port into place, port immediately back out with wounded cargo - Elias placed Ethan down gently in the trauma center, then immediately jumped back into Danger to check on the others.

"Had enough yet?" The teen called out from a position halfway in and halfway out of the far wall.

A loud buzzer went off, signaling the end of the drill. Immediately the simulated rainfall came to a stop. Large crane claws came down to retrieve the remaining wrecking balls. Floor plates rose up out of the watery pitfalls where the indoor precipitation had drained. Gusts of hot wind scored the moisture off the now level floor and walls. With the halfpipe nowhere to be seen, the Danger Room had returned to its original nondescript appearance.

"Teleporting wasn't expressed as against the rules," Cyclops said, "so while I can't technically disqualify the win, I'm still chalking it up to a wash." He crossed his arms and let his disapproving frown turn upside down. "Not bad for rookies."

Jace settled down after it all happened. So much going on in one room. He quietly 'harrumphed,' knowing that this new life was going to take some getting used to. But it would be worth it, wouldn't it?

“That’s not fair,” protested Iris half-heartedly, a grin spread across her face. “We survived. And he’s not the only one who used his powers.”

Ethan stood slowly to his feet as the Danger Room returned to its normal state. He unfurled his wings and started flapping them. He winced noticeably. The wings were still heavy from all the moisture they'd absorbed and his left side, the one with the broken collar bone hurt like hell.

He wasn't too worried about the pain, he healed pretty quickly. Not Wolverine quickly, but fast enough. In an hour or two he'd be good as new.

He was more worried about his performance. His failure.

"Survive is about all we did," he muttered half under his breath.

"Good enough," Scott said. "Aurora already went upstairs to the party. Everyone get cleaned up and I'll meet you up there."


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