It is a land teeming with life, where mutantkind can not only survive, but thrive. Here, they are finally safe from the genocidal impulses of humanity's worst monsters. Here, they can finally breathe. And lo, thanks to The Five, they have even conquered death.
"So why do I feel powerfully uneasy?" Danielle Moonstar asks of the air, her deep brown eyes flickering across the surreal landscape ahead of her before she recognizes it. "...And why are we in the portal garden Dougie explicitly labeled 'Not Safe', Tabitha?" Moonstar stresses her friend's name like it's a minor curse or at least a mid-tier insult.
It's not that she's angry about being woken up at an unholy hour by a friend raving about some kind of emergency. It's not that Boom-Boom's breath smells like seventeen distinct flavors of booze that all resolve into a noxious olfactory mess. It's not even that when Douglas Ramsey explained the existence of these untested portals, he used the word "Don't.". No, at this point, Dani is mostly upset that her friend hasn't actually told her what's so damned urgent.
Look at her down there, frolicking amongst the flowers and bunnies and apple trees. With her stupid hair and her stupid rum and her stupid shades. It's 2:30 in the morning. Noone should have that much energy, or the need for protective eyewear. Why are they even here?!
Don't. Do... nut? Do not! It's powerful, to forbid something, and with such great power comes the crushing burden of owning one's critical mistake. See, Tabitha Smith is a REBEL. A renegade! A teenage runaway who's gotten all grown up but still ain't here to listen to your high-falutin' rules and/or guidelines. What exactly is she rebelling against?
"What have you..." *hic* "Got?"
The challenge is directed at a low-hanging fruit on one of Krakoa's myriad sumptuous trees. Is that an apple? It could be an apple-o superior, she'd suppose, were she given to supposing about this particular thing instead of busily working out why she just answered her own train of thought when she had something much more important going on. By the way, Tabs? This thought is taking too long.
"Ha! Well!" She rejoins with boisterous good humor that's nothing at all to do with the sloshing bottle of rum in her right hand, bouncing back up to Dani with a loose, weaving gait that sets her totally bitchin' longcoat to flapping dramatically in the Krakoan warmth. And then, an arm descends with bodily force about the older girl's (woman's, really) shoulders. This close, she smells great.
"Do you want the good news bears, or the Bad News Bears? Because I'm telling you, D," she pauses to curtail a belch, grin widely and wag a knowing finger in the air below her moral superior's chin, "Only one of those is a pop culture icon like yours truly. G'wan. I'll give you one guesses."
She pauses to calculate, and then jabs that same one finger in the air, helpfully.
If there is a better word than 'glower' for the expression Moonstar offers Tabitha in response to her question, the word is definitely not in English. The Cheyenne woman probably knows one - maybe in Algonquin? Hell, Krakoan is an entirely new language downloaded into their brains whether they asked for it or not, she can probably ask Douglas to make one up.
"All bears are bad news bears, Tabi." Moonstar tries to look less sullen, but the X-men uniform doesn't really lend itself to looking casual. "Trust me. I know." She would.
"So go on. Explain." She crosses her arms, realizing a second late that it only contributes to her stern look, and tries to adjust them so they don't look AS serious. She has mixed success. Mostly she just looks uncomfortable. Which isn't UNtrue.
Boom-Boom lifts her rum-bearing arm and uses an extended digit to tug those outrageously unnecessary shades down to the tip of her nose, delivering a cross-eyed squint at Dani for several seconds in the wake of her reply. Her mouth hangs open a little, that previously-helpful arm now nothing more than lazily draping across the x-squaw's shoulder.
"...Yeah," she finally shoots back, lips pulling to one side briefly as she finishes her deep, philosophical musing, then emerging in one of those trademark shit-eating grins. "The song of your people, and all that, right? Well, it turns out your people were RIGHT."
She spreads her arms with that, and steps away, turning a pirouette that's almost graceful, until the bottle of rum throws her off-balance and sends her into a loose stagger she recovers by shoving the bottle against a clump of tangled vines that just *happen* to be playing host to the shimmering, rainbow-magenta form of a portal. Like a swirling mirror of light and water, it twinkles across the greater tableau of the garden, equal parts inviting and forbidding.
"This," Tabs proclaims as if she planned it all along, slapping her free gloved palm against the arching tendrils, "Is the bear you were built to wrestle." Hiccup. Adjust shades. Grin.
The grin fades as abruptly as it reappeared, the blonde's brow knitting.
"Oh, right, explain. Fuck. So, Sage, right? I just happened to be hanging out in her creepy-ass office earlier today," which definitely does not translate to 'bored and looking for things to steal', your kleptomaniac is in another castle, "And heard her talking about a whole mess of mutants who may or may not be dwelling - mistakenly, no freaking less - in a dimension somewhat parallel to our own. Boom-Boom, says I - Boom-Boom..."
She pauses to tap herself on the chest, again rather helpfully, and for good measure takes a hearty slug of Smith-imported rum (TM). Glug, swallow, wipe, grin.
"That's probably where your missing good buddy Illyana got herself off to. Wouldn't you just be the biggest damn hero that ever hero'd if you went and rescued her skanky demon butt, and liberated that whole mess of *other* mutants besides? Now I know what you're thinkin'. 'But Boom-Boom, portals are dangerous, you could end up anywhere. Maybe you'll never come back.' And..."
Tabitha pauses, tapping her lip thoughtfully. "That's a good point, Dani. A very good point. Fortunately, what you didn't account for is that I'm smart enough to think to bring a really good friend who can keep an eye on me while *I* take a look at the other side."
"You. That's... that's you. Kay?"
Dani actually blinks at Tabitha's initial tirade, and her wrinkled brow and grim look eventually soften into a small smirk of a smile. She's grumpy, but not made of stone. "Uh huh. Of course we were." She glances to the portal when Tabitha crashes against it, and she actually tenses a little when her friend loses her balance.
Krakoa's portals are very disparate, in Moonstar's experience. Ignoring the hundreds leading to everywhere on the globe, they also lead to some truly outlandish locations. The first time she stepped into a portal and came out on the moon, Dani panicked like never before - and she had previously logged some pretty world-class panicking in. You'd think Cyclops would have labeled his summer home's gate something to indicate "there is no air here", but no.
It turns out he did not.
So when Tabitha suggests... with a great deal of justifications and rationalizations and Rasputin-invoking... that they step through an untested portal that Doug very specifically told them not to step through, the young Cheyenne Woman raises both eyebrows. She opens her mouth to object, but then Boom-Boom goes ahead and voices an objection to her own plan. So Moonstar waits, because Tabitha is raising an excellent point all on her own.
Of course, it was too much to hope that she would actually succeed in talking herself down, but Dani has seen more surprising things. At least twice! "You know some of these things lead into the vacuum of space, right? That's a thing that I know, now." That must have been very fun.
"Are the two of you not understanding the words 'Not Safe'?!" A heavily Russian accent reverberates across the garden as the mountain of a shining metal man comes into view at the far end of the gardens. It may be all fun and games to both Moonstar and Boom-Boom, but for the man that all know as Colossus, one idiot (and obviously extremely inebriated) girl plotting something monumentally stupid in the middle of the night is something that requires immediate intervention.
Its an excellent thing there's people like Colossus to interevene.
"Tabitha, have you been drinking again? I thought you agreed to.. He pauses for a moment as he struggles for a moment to think of the right words, only for his face to light up as he finally figures them out. "I was of the thinking you would be not of the drinking again? Were you not saying, 'Pete, listen. I am tired of the drinking'?"
The way he says the words however shows no anger, but an overwhelming sense of disappointment and sadness that even the most stalwart of madmen would struggle to not take personally. Almost as if their failure was a failure of him. I would have thought you would know better as well?"
And there goes Danielle Moonstar, always the smarter and wiser. With her stupid good points and her stupid poise, and her stupid being the strong and stable leader Tabitha absolutely requires to function worth a flying damn. So stupid.
"An excellent counterpoint," Boom-Boom acknowledges, with a loose, adolescent shrug that dislodges one shoulder from inside her longcoat, giving her that little extra burst of '7/11 hobo chic' she sorely needed. "To which I gotta say..." Her expression shifts, not to one of the customary Boomer grins but one of her other, usually less-welcome ones: a valley girl pout. "Dani, I'm BORE--"
Boom. Wait. Just one, big, Russian boom? Fuck, that's not what she needed. "Uggggh."
The girl, interrupted simply groans, rolling her blonde-capped head back against the portal's living extremity, a foot tap-tapping impatiently against the ground as she's scolded. See, technically she's an adult, and so is Dani. But Piotr is an ADULT. All caps. Unavoidable. Unstoppable. The antithesis to all her independent badassery and free-spirited, totally awesome rebellious... erm, heroism. Mirage can be stern, but Colossus is *disappointed*.
That's so much worse.
"I'm always tired of the drinking," sullenly-stage-mutters the blonde bombshell, looking forlornly at her quarter-full bottle of rum, "After I'm done drinking. I guess I'll... get rid of it." A little more pouting, and then with a heartfelt sigh she raises the bottle and polishes it off with three swift, throaty gulps, gasping in the aftermath, and letting out a little whoop before she remembers where she is and what was happening. "I-- I mean, oh no, I'm a bad girl. How could I?"
Her eyes roll askance, and she waits a few moments as if waiting will help her seem more sincere, and then she pushes off the vines and saunters forward toward both her fellow mutants.
"Look. D. Last time y'all got to go on a space adventure, I missed out. *I want a space adventure*, Goddammit. And Pete." She holds out both hands, placating but for the bottle they're still bearing - hey, she's a drunken shithead, not a dirty littering garbage person. "I'm sorry, okay? But Sage thinks there's decent people who need rescuing through that big shiny ooze gate, and what Sage thinks? Sage KNOWS, big guy. You know all I want, deep down, is to save the day and do good shit! This is a chance to do something that isn't just..."
She seems to be trailing off, but rejoins with a boisterous wave of the emptied bottle, "Adding to my regrets, fuck! So stand back and let me," she glances at Dani and amends swiftly, "Us! Save your sister's very polite and upstanding butt, and maybe do some more good besides."
She'd be more convincing if she maybe took those shades off, but... she's certainly trying.
Bored? Really? As Moonstar is about to roll her eyes harder than one person should be capable of, she hears a deep, rumbling Russian accent, and actually flinches just a bit. She may be a grown woman now, but a small part of her still remembers being the young girl who saw all of the X-men as authority figures. Well, except Kitty. Kitty was never in charge of her, and that's absolutely the last word on the subject, thank you very much.
Of course, she wasn't *actually* planning to rush headlong into an unsafe portal. If Boom-Boom had bothered explaining this plan before she'd gotten up, the situation would probably be very different. So when she realizes Colossus has come to 'stop them', she is pretty far from upset.
"Busted!" She cries out in mock dismay, and waves to Colossus while she tries to look appropriately contrite. She screws up her face to show Tabitha that she is _well and truly_ regretful that they will not be plunging headlong into the unknown... and sees Tabitha polish off the rest of that drink. Well - that's one way of getting rid of the booze.
The worst part of it all is that she can actually sympathize with Boom-Boom. She spent months in a wheelchair after her cage-match with the Demon Bear tore apart her spine and left her half-dead; being unable to go with the team on missions was galling. Even for Dani, who is pointedly NOT an adrenaline junkie.
No matter what Sam says.
"Maybe..." She gets ready to say maybe they can go on board the Starjammer, and then she remembers the crew and her face takes on a very unpleasant look. Not them. Never again. "...Maybe we can ask 'Berto if Deathbird has ...anything that needs ...taking care of?" That's stupid. She could just have the ENTIRE SHIAR EMPIRE handle it. Dani puts her hand to her forehead and sighs, before looking to Colossus helplessly.
"What about Ilyana? Since when has she needed the saving?" The words would almost sound sarcastic coming from anyone else, but with Piotr Rasputin? They're seemingly just about as geniune as they get. Except anyone who truly knows him just MIGHT sense the sarcasm that actually is there. Of course Magik needs saving. She's a silly girl who constantly is getting in trouble.
The metal Russian does let the fact that Boom-Boom downed the rest of the foul liquid she calls rum faster than a classic car sucks down gasoline slide, only to narrow his eyes at Moonstar now. "Danielle... You can be doing so much better with your sarcasm." The words come out with a heavy emphasis that the Cheyenne woman has brought shame to herself, her family, her ancestors, and even the family cow.
Returning his gaze to Boom-Boom, he slowly speaks once again. "Now. Tabitha. You will tell me from the start, just what you intend to be doing, da?"
Boom-Boom will take all the sympathy she can grab, though it may be over-charitable to give it; it takes her at best forty eight hours into the comedown of adventure to get frustrated with the lack of explosions and danger in her life. Parties are an okay substitute, but for how long? Not long, that's how. And as the saying goes, por que no los dos? That's right, little girl.
Meanwhile, in the reality outside her scatter-brained meanderings, Tabs shoots a positively triumphant glance at her flummoxed friend. Which in effect means she directs two flat panels of plastic her way, but hey, those are some triumphant eyebrows, don'tcha think?
Those brows knit anew, however, under the continued scrutiny of Colossus.
"Ugh! What! I just did that!" She protests, the strained note of knowing futility in her valley girl twang. "FINE. Me, D," she gestures with the base of the bottle, from Moonstar back to herself, "Go through the big shiny P." She tips the hand back to the shimmering, mysterious expanse that stands betwixt rearing vines. "Find your highly-capable and non-princess-like sister, work out what's got her all held up wherever the fuck she's ended up, and either bring her back or stay on the other side liberating mutants and generally being heroic and stuff."
Her hands find her hips after a failed attempt, and she draws herself up as if to illustrate this latter point. Her coat fails to flap dramatically in the wind as she does so.
"We can't just hole up here on Paradise Island drinking Mai Tais and forgettin' about everyone who's not been lucky enough to make it here. And you have my Official Boom-Boom Guarantee that if I poke my head through that portal and *explode*... when the Prof brings me back, you can like, kick my ass and rehab me and teach me how to do oil paintings or whatever."
She wrinkles her nose, and grudgingly adds, "I won't even sniff the paint thinner this time."
"Much better with my..." Moonstar blinks at Colossus, and then gives a small scowl. In spite of herself, there is that little spark of anti-authority in her. However, the look quickly leaves her face. After all, it's Piotr. The man could no more be mean than he could breathe water. She looks a little bit more properly chastised this time, and re-crosses her arms, hugging herself just a bit. "...Look. I'm on your side, Piotr." She pauses for a long moment before reluctantly adding to that. "...Mostly." A weakness! Pounce Tabitha, pounce while you still can!
"But Boom-Boom is not *entirely* wrong, is she?" Entertaining the idea for a bit, Dani has to admit that most of the worst things that could possibly happen involve waking up in one of those gross egg things. Not an entertaining way to start a day - but Cyclops and Storm and them have all had to do it - and they're all perfectly fine and normal... ... Aren't they?
Moonstar pushes the tiny, nagging thought away, it's a silly thing. Instead, she looks to Tabitha. "I want to help, too." She pauses, and then sighs the heavy sigh of one who is conceding too much. "But this isn't just popping off to Nebraska to say hi to a few friends. We should organize a team. Check with Scott. You know. Do the grown-up things." There's a bitter note in her voice there; it's not like Moonstar is the paragon of responsibility. By comparison to Boom-Boom, maybe.
"Back me up tall, dark, and Russian."
While Boom-Boom explains her plan, and Moonstar attempts to talk herself out of even entertaining the idea of going along with the drunken cheerleader's wacky shenanigans, Colossus just idly glances between the two women. Unmoving, unnerving, and completely allowing his silence to make it all that much more uncomfortable for the two. Then briefly for only a fraction of a microsecond, a smile almost starts to form before returning to the disapproving scowl he had previously been wearing.
"You mean to be telling me, that you want to ignore plain instructions and leap into portal without knowing where it goes? What if portal drops your small and fragile butt onto the Sun? What would be left to regrow? Da, nothing but ash. Take a moment and think."
Of course, the fact that he'd have a bit more time to actually safely get out of there before he too turns to ash is something he doesn't outright say to either of the women. Some things don't need to be said to get an unsaid point across, even if it'll take them all night to realize.
If Boom-Boom notices the chink in the x-squaw's armor, she doesn't seem ready with the stiletto. Though it's hard to really tell what she's thinking behind those shades, and beyond the nosehair-scorching fumes of alcohol rolling out of her corrupted pores. Really, it's a wonder she'd held it together this long and hasn't passed out already, though an astute eye - of which there are at least several present - can't but note the waver in her every motion.
"Boom-Boom is not wrong at all," the blonde bomber bounces off Dani in what's supposed to be a cool, disaffected way, but honestly makes her sound more like a very smug, wasted Pokemon. Folding her own arms across her chest now, she looks back to Colossus with a roll of her eyes that's so overt it's *easily* visible over the rim of those silly sun specs. Organize! Grown-up! Scott!
Those are some of the most boring words she knows.
Although if you say them in that order, it's kind of... weird... wait, what was happening? Oh! Clearing her throat, she gives another languid shrug, this time - by no small act of inebriated grace - actually getting both her shoulders back into her coat. It's an improvement. In her mild jubilation at this act, she loses her grip on the empty rum bottle, which bounces - miraculously survives - and goes rolling back toward the much-vaunted portal.
"Alright, big guy, you were losing me until you mentioned my butt. I... don't wanna be some buttless freak." She gnaws on her lip, as if this genuinely bothers her. "Maybe you're right. Lemme just... tidy that up..." She looks around for a moment, and then a moment longer, before spotting the bottle she *literally just dropped*. Her hands Jack Sparrow about before she sets off toward it, clearly feeling the effects now but apparently determined not to let that rule her decision to foul up this very pleasant garden. She comes about with her aforementioned rear to the portal, roughly central to it, and glances at Dani before she bends over to pick up her trash.
Her right eyebrow kinda scrunched inward just now. The start of a headache, maybe? Those shades really can be a terrible problem.
See? Even Boom-Boom can come around when faced with the cold, unyielding... logic... that is Colossus. Moonstar smiles at that, and nods to her borderline-bolshevik bass backup. Teamwork! Now they can handle this like rational, level-headed adults. That's good, right? People always tell her that's good.
When the bottle heads towards the portal, though, Moonstar's brows furrow. "Tabi..." Dani begins, her eyes darkening as she starts to cross the distance between herself and her friend. "Careful. *I'm* the only person around here that gets to be one with the spirits." Is that... is that a joke? Is she allowed to do that?
The Cheyenne woman reaches out a hand to steady her friend, because that's what friends do. And also because maybe she needs to drag Tabitha away from that portal before something rather fathomably stupid happens.
However, once Moonstar is close enough to Tabitha the disapproving scowl finally vanishes and is replaced entirely with an almost alien grin. The ground itself trembles as the silver behemoth suddenly breaks into a full on dash towards the two. Once he is close enough, both women will find themselves within his cold metal embrace as he takes a mighty leap into the air.
"That is why you will be going with me! Da! We will have most excellent adventure!"
"Are you..." *hic* "Allowed to do that?"
Boom-Boom echoes that very thought, pausing in her grasping - which, if it's an act, is masterfully inept - to shoot Dani what amounts to an ornery drunk's exasperated glare. Why's she confusing the issue? This plan was really very simple, and yet there was no way the big, nice, chromey Russian was going to see through it. Right? "I don't need your help, D. I'm a big girl..."
Okay, she sounds actually annoyed now, lips in full pout as she definitively fails to pick up the bottle, and sends it skidding *away* from the portal. And there's Pete scolding her again. "I already-- ugh, to hell with this!" Dani reaches out, and Tabs straightens up with a waver, forcing her to extend a little further and grabbing the other girl's wrist to pull her off-balance.
She's about to do something really stupid, and then she's falling entirely against her will. Not backwards, as she intends, but flat on her ass as the ground suddenly isn't where she thought it was. With a muted 'eep' she thrashes to more tightly grab Moonstar's arm, setting the both of them up rather too well for the subsequent metallized bear hug.
This would be a *great* time for a quip. It really would.
Something smart, incisive, and dripping with pop-cultural significance.
Unfortunately, Tabitha Smith is very, very drunk, and her whole world is spinning.
So at about the point she finds herself going ass-first into a mysterious portal, she vomits explosively.
It is, as the kids said back when Boom-Boom was still cool, gnarly.
"What do you mean, am I allowed?" Moonstar sounds incensed at Tabitha's question, and is about to give her the most intense finger-wagging that has ever occured without being punctuated by explosions, when the world shakes under her feet and she stumbles for just long enough that Tabitha gets her off-balance. "Wait, wha--" She turns her head just in time to see Colossus charging at her at full speed, an Osmium Onslaught of a man wearing a massive metal grin and pounding out small earthquakes with each massive step as her team-mate prepares to hurl.
She was not prepared for today.
"Thursdays! Why is it always Thursdays?!" The young lady cries out as she is tag-teamed by the friend she was trying to help and the comrade she was relying on FOR help. No! This isn't how this was supposed to go at all! Where is the planning? Where is the responsibility?! ... Damnit, where is her rifle?! The answer to none of these things and more... after the break.