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<Snipped quote by Retired>
Could be worse... could be me...

Well, yeah, who do you think I was talking about to begin with?
okay this WEEKEND FOR REAL I can't believe it's been a week since i wrote that omg

Yeah... who would ever promise to get a post up and then not do so for a week or two or four...

Location: The Xavier Institute - Westchester, New York
Multiverse Mayhem Tie-In: X-Men/New Mutants

Interaction(s): @Bounce

The silence was deafening. A turn of phrase Kitty had never fully grasped before, yet, as she and the rest of her squad hunkered down in a random two-story home in Middle Village, Queens, understanding hit her.

It had already been three minutes since Dani had given the order to hide. Kitty, Sammy, Bobby, and Dani had dashed to the nearest house while Cherub remained unseen in the clouds. The X-Man had ordered the kids to the second floor where they were to remain out of sight until the danger passed.

From her hiding spot in a small bedroom, Kitty could hear Sammy's heavy breathing. The boy's rapid, shallow pants sounded like thunder to her ears. Or maybe that was her heart pounding against her chest like the call of a war drum. Whether it was fear or excitement or a mix of the two, she felt the adrenaline coursing through her at breakneck speeds.

"Careful," came the whispered tones of Dani over the radio. "I can hear them getting closer. They may just pass us by—"

Kitty yanked the communication device from her ear as it abruptly lit up with piercing static interference. From across the hall, she heard the pained, whispered cursing of Sammy as he undoubtedly suffered the same auditory assault.

The aliens must have jammed all electronic communications, Kitty realized. That cut her and the boys off not just from Cherub and Power Pack outside but also from Dani a floor below. She didn't like that. The timing was too convenient, cutting off comms right as they were being used.

Slowly creeping toward the nearest window, Kitty eased part of the blinds up just enough to peek through. No sign of the little guys, but that didn't mean much. She knew they could either be just out of sight or on another side of the building.

The mutant girl chewed her lip as she slowly lifted the blinds another centimeter. Everything in her being screamed for her to go out there. To join in on the action. To find whatever the aliens were using to jam their radios and disable it. To regain the upper hand.

To get herself and the others killed, Kitty's rational brain argued. There were too many of them, she knew, and despite what Kitty told herself the young mutant had to admit she wasn't ready. Not alone. She needed to get to Dani downstairs. Together the two of them could—

Movement outside caught Kitty's eyes. There! One of the aliens. Barely two feet tall it seemed, it skittered into view suddenly from beneath her. They didn't look too scary, she realized. Almost like those puppets from that old Gremlin movie.

A second entered her vision. Then a third. Each seemed to run away from the house's front entrance. It wasn't until a fourth creature scurried away from the building that Kitty realized what was happening.

They were fleeing. Something had sent them running; had put fear into their hearts, assuming they had any. Kitty's lips twisted into a grin. It was Dani. No, Mirage, Kitty corrected. The X-Man must have been using her mutant powers to manifest fear and influence perceptions to chase the aliens away.

"What's happening out there?"

Kitty nearly jumped out of her skin as she spun around at the unexpected voice. Bobby was at the entrance of the room, Sammy practically cowering behind the older boy. Bobby nodded toward the window and opened his mouth to speak again. Jamming a finger to her lips, Kitty glared at him.

"Too loud," she mouthed out the words slowly. "They're leaving. We might have a chance to slip out soon. Or fight back."

Kitty wasn't sure how many of her unspoken words were picked up or understood from either of the two boys. She held up a finger to indicate for them to wait, then returned her attention out the window.

More of the aliens were in sight now. Many more. At least two dozen by her count. They had all converged roughly a hundred feet away across the street. They were pointing wildly at the house she and the others were in, gesturing with their long, bulky alien firearms. Even if she could speak their language, they were too far away to make out what was being said but one amongst the large group was shouting into a palm-sized, silver sphere while staring daggers at the house.

"He doesn't look happy," Bobby said, now moved right behind Kitty to peer through the crack she had made in the blinds.

Kitty sighed internally and grit her teeth. The guy just couldn't shut his mouth even at a time like this. It wasn't worth getting into it with him right now, though. At least it seemed like all the aliens were far enough away that Bobby's voice wouldn't be picked up. Besides, if Mirage actually had done something to put the fear of mutants in the aliens then their position was already known. Now it was just a matter of sneaking back downstairs, regrouping with their mentor, and heading out the back.

Kitty looked over her shoulder and beyond Bobby. "Sammy," she remained quiet and cautious as she spoke. "We're going to get out of here now. Those things are distracted for the moment so let's move quickly and carefully."

"Kitty," Bobby tried interjecting but the girl ignored him.

"I want you to head right for the back door, but don't open it until we're all there with you just in case any stragglers are covering the exit. I can move around quieter so I'll find Mirage and meet back up with you at—"

Louder this time, "Kitty!"

She whipped around incredulous that even Bobby Drake could be so stupid as to raise his voice like that in such a situation. She stopped dead in her tracks before scolding him, however, as she caught the look on his face.

Bobby's eyes were wide and cast with fear. The infamously calm and cool teenager was shaken by something. That was when Kitty realized Bobby had lifted the blinds more than halfway, creating a perfect view outside of the aliens. As well as a perfect view of the inside and the three of them for the invaders across the street.

"What are you doing?" She began to ask incredulously, reaching out to grip his arm and pull him away from the window. Instead, she instantly pulled her hand back the moment it brushed against his skin.

It burned. Not with heat but with the shock of sudden and intense cold. Frost collected against the boy's skin as it almost appeared to crack and resolidify as a whitish-blue hue.

"Bobby?" Her voice was unsure now. Kitty had never once seen her classmate use his abilities in all the time he had attended the Institute.

Standing taller, wisps of steam rising from his frigid body, Bobby shouted just two words before the world flashed white.

"Get down!"

* * *

Deafening silence turned to cacophonous violence as a random, two-story home in Middle Village, Queens erupted in a massive flare of blinding energy.
Alright, I ended up extending my break/relaxation period. Admittedly, I've been a little mentally drained the past couple weeks after my recovering, and I've put off a lot of things since then. This weekend I'll be getting back into action, though. Not sure how many others are still here, but I plan to at the very least finish the arc Bounce and I are on.
<Snipped quote by Retired>

Just glad to hear that you're okay.

Thanks. It wasn't anything life-threatening, but it definitely took me out of commission for about a week. I'm more annoyed at the fact that I had to use up almost all of my remaining sick days as a result.
Apologies for my absence. Got swamped with work. I'll have something up for Bounce tomorrow.

By tomorrow, I clearly meant two weeks.

I had a medical 'emergency' of sorts that left me sidelined for a while. I've actually been back for several days now but have been enjoying some relaxation away from everything stressful, like the internet. Not sure if the event has been wrapped up yet but I'll take a look at the IC sometime soon and get back into action before too much longer.
Apologies for my absence. Got swamped with work. I'll have something up for Bounce tomorrow.
Ended up having guests over the weekend. Originally only planned for them to be here briefly on Saturday, but they ended up sticking around until just now. Wasn't able to work on my response, unfortunately. Sorry, @Bounce, didn't get to do the rapid back and forth I had thought I could. Will try to get my post up over the following couple of days if I have any time after work.

Location: The Xavier Institute - Westchester, New York
Multiverse Mayhem Tie-In: X-Men/New Mutants

Interaction(s): @Bounce

Kitty nearly dropped her bagel as the radio in her right ear crackled to life. Dani had given each of them a communicator several days ago with strict instructions not to use them under threat of severe punishment. Surprisingly, not even Bobby misused them in the time since. Likely too busy chasing after girls to bother. Still, the communication device had been dead silent until now, and its sudden burst of chatter caught the young mutant by surprise.

Especially given the words that buzzed in her ear.

"Suit up and meet on the lawn. We’re moving out," Dani directed.

Suit up? Moving out? What was going on? They had only gotten their training uniforms the other day and there wasn't a scheduled team practice until after the weekend.

Stuffing the rest of the bagel between her lips, Kitty began scrambling about her dorm room. Whatever the reason Dani was calling them out now, the teenager would figure it out a lot sooner by simply obeying.

The next several minutes were some of the most hectic since Kitty had first arrived at the Xavier estate. Rushing out in her yellow and black suit, she was met by Dani and Katie. From there, the others joined them shortly after. Moments later Kitty found herself being ushered into an alien warship.

Katie's alien warship.

Power Pack's, technically, but that distinction didn't make Kitty feel any better about the circumstance. Here she was, apparently about to embark on her first legitimate crisis situation, and it seemed to be Katie that was leading the charge.

Kitty bit the inside of her cheek and told herself not to focus on that. She clenched her fists a minute later when Dani filled her in on the full extent of the situation - with Katie at the X-Man's side. It was only a brief flight from the Institute's grounds to the skies above Queens, but more than long enough for Kitty's nails to make dents in her palms.

The hatch to the craft opened and the little blue angel boy swooped out. No sooner had Cherub left the smartship than a voice called out from the ether. A second joined it. Then a third and a fourth. Four colorful figures emerged from seemingly out of nowhere, and although Kitty had never met any of them before, she knew them all well enough.

Power Pack.

"Oh, you have got to be kidding me." The exasperated words were muffled by the conversation between the four newcomers and Katie.

Kitty shot a look to Dani hoping to find support in her frustrations, but was met with the sight of the older woman nodding along.

"Good idea on the subway," Dani agreed. "I'll let the X-Men know your route so they can keep the threat far away."

"Kitty, Bobby, Cherub, Sammy." Dani pointed at each of them in turn. "While Power Pack's routing civilians through the tunnels, the four of you are on rescue detail with me. Our job is to get the injured and those pinned down out of immediate danger.

"Cherub, you're our eyes. You stay above us and call out anything you see. If any hostiles get anywhere within five hundred meters of us, I want to know about it. Keep a lookout for any collapsed structures; odds are someone will be trapped inside."

"Sammy, you stick to my side. I want you on your phone checking social media reports on this. Look for anything that discusses where groups of civilians may be hiding out, or any comments of distress from people isolated and calling out for help. And if anything on the news feeds suggests those portals outside are getting in any way more dangerous, you tell me immediately."

Kitty had stopped digging her nails into her palms at this point. This was beyond whatever feelings she had about Katie. She had told herself she'd be a better team player and this wasn't the time for her to backtrack on that. Not with a genuine crisis going on.

"Kitty, you're our ace-in-the-hole."

That got the teenager's attention. Kitty pushed everything about Katie and the Power Pack to the far recesses of her mind.

"Usually it'd be too dangerous to move debris and civilians without risking further damage, but your powers will make things a lot easier for us. Wait for my go-ahead, though. Don't just go rushing in." Dani added that last part with a knowing look.

She called out for the last member of their team, "and Bobby!" Dani had to yell to get the boy's attention as Bobby hadn't moved from his seat since the ship had begun to hover over Queens.

Dani tossed a large duffle bag into his lap. "That's got all of our medical supplies in it. Don't lose it."

"Alright," the X-Man ordered. "Let's get a move on, we've wasted enough time as is."

* * *

It was nothing like Kitty had imagined.

Queens was on fire. Figuratively and literally. Neighborhoods burned as alien plasma weapons tore through houses and exploded vehicles. Screams filled the air as terrified families were chased by the diminutive creatures that continually poured out of the dimensional rift high above.

Kitty was far from all of that, though. Dani had taken the four students through a series of sidestreets that gave a wide berth to the hellscape deeper into Queens. Dani had told them to let the X-Men handle that chaos; it was their job to check the outlying homes and roads for those in need.

So far, they had come across only two individuals who needed rescuing. The first had been a young man fleeing on his bicycle that had had a collision with a parked car. In the fellow's hasty retreat, he had skinned his knee and knocked the chain loose on his bike.

The second individual had been an older woman the fivesome had come across outside of her house. She had been packing her tiny car with what seemed like every belonging she owned, apparently deciding that evacuation was lower on the priority list than saving her plants. Both had been sent on their way toward the Eighty-Third Street subway, though not before precious time had been wasted convincing the elderly lady to drive off without her petunias.

Still, despite not coming across anything dire as of yet, Dani made it a point for the group to check every single house, garage, tool shed, and any other structure they came across. Better safe than sorry, Dani had explained. You never knew where scared civilians may seek shelter in a crisis.

As Kitty finished clearing another house, she couldn't help but consider if Dani was keeping them further away from danger on purpose. They were so far from the center of the action that it felt purposeless to be there. With Katie and her old team directing the bulk of fleeing Queens' inhabitants to safety, and the X-Men directly engaging the alien threat, Kitty wasn't sure she was doing much of anything useful.

No. She had to push those thoughts to the side. Kitty couldn't start doubting Dani now. She had to have faith in the older mutant's methods and trust that Kitty and the rest were being put to the most use possible.

"Okay, that's another neighborhood secured," Dani said as Kitty gave the all-clear signal. "We're moving on. Rego Park is next and we'll have to be extra diligent. There are a lot of high-rise apartments in that area, plus a few schools I want to make sure we thoroughly scan."

"We're lucky this happened during the weekend," she added, "but public buildings like that are still likely to be swarmed with those looking for a good place to ride things out."

Kitty had considered as much already. In her mind, the schools and local police precinct would have been the first places she'd have wanted to check for civilians. It seemed only logical that those, and perhaps any fire stations in the area, would be prime locations for scared people to hide during a crisis. Still, Dani's plan to carefully check every last nook and cranny had its merits, Kitty knew.

"After that, we'll hit up Forest Hills which will put us much closer to the action. Then—" Dani stopped abruptly as she clutched a hand over her ear. "Say again, Cherub?"

The clone's voice came back small over the comm unit. "There's a group of six aliens. No, wait, there's more. They've got weapons and just came around the corner toward you!"

Dani cursed, spinning around in a circle in search of the threat. That wasn't nearly enough warning as she had intended. There was no way they'd be able to move away in time.

"Cherub, get higher and out of visual range. Let's not find out how far their weapons can fire. The rest of you, on me, and stay quiet." Dani rushed back toward the house they had just cleared. "We're hiding."
Yep. Xavier was the only freely available character of the bunch, I believe.
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