Dimensional Expertise

November 27 2014: Working in Russia, Jericho catches up with Carol and is properly introduced to Mimic


The basement of the Neftgorsk Church.



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The church has certainly seen better days. Well, Neftgorsk has seen better days. Jericho's set up shop in the basement of the place, going over the data he and his compatriots have uncovered so far and gathering some supplies from elsewhere while he watches the valley fifteen miles east and waits for a chance to move in and figure out what the hell is going on. To most of his friends this is about a Russian Black Ops program that somehow deals with dimensional To Jericho though, well, he has another stake in this. Piotr Rasputin, aka Colossus, asked him to look into the rather mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of his brother Mikhail. The latter, allegedly dead ten years, was attached to this secret program shortly before he died. Seems too much to be coincidence and, when he spoke to her, Illyana quite agreed that this is something she'd like looked into as well. So one might say this is personal to him. Not just the usual cloak and dagger (and gun) spy business.

Carol helped to distract people while Jericho…liberated…the information. And then she had other things that demanded her attention. She didn't forget about the hacker, though, and once she got a chance, she returned to Russia to check in and make sure no one needed to be rescued from torture. "Do you speak Russian?" she asks as she arrives. "Or are you running that through some sort of translation program?"

When Cal settled down in this reality, he made the other Exiles promise to come get him if they ever needed help. Which, four months ago 626 time, they did since there was a very broken reality and they recently lost a team member. It was a long mission and it all started with some people playing with dimensional travel when they shouldn't have. As Cal knows well, what happens in one reality doesn't mean it happens in all - or any - others but it's worth making sure. Which is what brings him to Russia. About five miles outside the valley and several thousand feet up, he hovers in the air and looks through some high powered binoculars to get an idea of what, if anything, he's about to head into.

The Valley is ringed with soldiers. Not literally of course but there are regular patrol routes and guard stations all around the odd valley. At the center is… it looks like a piece of night sky. A tear in reality about fifty feet high and twenty feet across at its widest. The area immediately around it is dead. Blasted to the bedrock and the vegitation for about a hundred yards in any direction is withered. Other than the obvious though there's no activity and oddly, no indication that anyone is doing anything in particular to keep this thing open. At least not on this side.

The church in the town behind is clearly occupied though one has to know what to look for to tell. Cal might, though.

"I speak Russian." Jericho chuckles, eyes gleaming, looking up from taking a hard drive apart. "I was in special forces before all this. Worked in the Middle East and Central Asia, so Russian was a good language to know. Sort of the lingua franca there. Also welcome back. Is everything in order state-side?"

"Mostly," Carol nods to the question, pulling up a chair to get a look at what he's doing. "And I'm relieved to know it's not getting the google translate treatment," she adds with a wry smile, settling in. "How goes the work? Find out anything interesting about the Russian space program yet?"

Dimensional portal? Sure looks like one. Military base? Sure looks like one. Cause of a broken reality? Who the hell knows. Even after almost ten years of fixing them, Cal still has no idea what breaks them as opposed to just being a normal branching. Slowly turning in place, he scans the rest of the countryside looking for outlying guard posts or weapons emplacements. The town might be being used so he flies closer to get a better look, going lower to avoid being spotted. Though it appears to be deserted, something about the church doesn't look right compared to the rest of the place so he aims for that.

The town appears to have been left alone by the military, too small and dilapidated and too far to be of much use. The patrol routes and strongpoints, though, those all point to a containment strategy or put another way, the forces here are aimed at keeping something in. The fact that they also keep people out is just a bonus for the Russians.

The activity in the church, specifically the tinest bit of light, seems to come from the cellar.

Jericho itches his neck. Ugh. The place is, if he had to guess, still consecrated enough for him to be uncomfortable in it. Ah well. Least it doesn't burn him. He gestures to the stack of hard drives, some taken apart, on the table. "Well enough. Still sifting through all the data. Some of it's unrelated. Haven't discovered anything about the space program per se but I did figure out what the Russians and Japanese have here. Fifteen years ago there was an earthquake. That earthquake somehow uncovered or sparked, or maybe was sparked by a dimensional portal in the valley east of here. They sent a coupel of probes through and found… something. Not sure what. But something enough for them to want to send a manned expedition. Which they did five years later. But the ship broke up on entry and the crew was presumed dead."

"So it wasn't a space program," Carol grimaces, leaning back and crossing her legs as she considers that. "They called it a space program. It was an interdimensional exploration program. Because that always ends well." She tilts her head, working it through. "Makes sense to use astronauts. At least they're prepared for the unknown. Plenty of training."

Blinking into the church avoids the sound of using a door. Bonus if it was alarmed. Hovering avoids creaking floor boards. Mimic drifts closer to the stairway as he hears voices, sending his mind out and down to lightly touch whoever might be there and get impressions from what they're projecting. English?

"Yeah…" Jericho answers, still unaware that they have a visitor. "I gather they weren't entirely certain there'd be a terrestrial body. Or air on it. Or what have you. The data from their probes was pretty limited. They brought the Japanese in on it because one of the things they found they didn't have the resources to exploit. Explains the strange presence of Japanese intelligence here. And they're keeping it from… well… everyone. They want whatever they can get from this. Tech, resources, what have you. They don't want SHIELD or the UN or anyone else to coopt it. Or try to take it by force. Hence the secrecy."

"They must have found something there they wanted," Carol muses. "Which means it was either something that counted as a weapon, or something they figured they could make money off of. Not a lot of other reasons to get into that sort of thing." She tips her head back, glancing toward the stairs. "But as we've seen neither swathes of destruction nor an upswing in the economy, I'd guess they're having some transportation issues."

English for sure. And American accents. Talking about SHIELD. "They also might not want the UN to decide that this is damned dangerous and make them stop." Mimic says, walking down the stairs. "Which it probably is and should be." Carol he recognizes after a moment. Trent? Not a clue.

Jericho turns at the voice and grabs at his blade. The thing comes out of the case and unfolds into a saber in less than a second as the chair he was sitting in goes flying. He's halfway into a high guard when… "Piotr?" The hacker blinks. In the light the guy who just addressed them looks like… but no… the voice is wrong and the face… the blade lowers in confusion. "Can I… help you?"

Carol doesn't bother with a blade. She twists toward the voice, a bright glow around her hand, though it fades when she recognizes Cal. "Damn," she drawls to Jericho. "Looks like someone called the teachers in." The words are softened by a faint smirk, and she tips her chin up toward Cal in a nod of greeting. "One of the X-Men," she explains to Jericho. "Potential ties to SHIELD."

"You know Piotr?" Mimic asks, looking at Trent curiously. "Who are you?" He returns Carol's nod and adds "Call me Mimic. And yes, I am an X-Men so would like to know how Piotr is involved in this."

Jericho relaxes when Carol mentions this is one of the X-Men. His relationship with the group has been mixed but more positive than negative by a fair margin. Granted he mostly gets along with the younger ones but that's probably just 'cause he's had more exposure to them. The blade folds away and he slides it back into its case with practiced ease. "My name's Jericho. Illyana lives with me. And I'm a friend of Piotr's. They both asked me to look into some unusual circumstances surrounding their brother's death. Trail led here." So actually Piotr did the asking and Illyana confirmed it later after she learned that there were some irregularities. Still, he is looking into it on both their behalf. Also true, he's only seen Piotr a few times, but the two got along well enough and the big Russian had been comfortable enough asking his help in this.

Carol's revelation gets a curious look. "SHIELD? That's a big step."

"It's a complicated one, too. Nothing set in stone yet," Carol murmurs to Jericho, settling back in her chair again as Mimic gets the basics of the story. She doesn't have any answers about the Rasputins, though, so she falls silent, crossing her arms loosely over her chest.

"Oooh, you're Illyana's friend." There's not quite quotes around friend when Mimic says it. Not quite. Tachyons and gossip are the only things known to travel faster than light and Illyana living with a guy has certainly qualifies. The specifics, of course, depend on who's telling it. "Well, potential." he repeats. "And only me personally. But working together at times, we could do a lot of good for this planet. That dimensional rift being a prime example. What about it brings you here?"

"It's being studied by the Russians and Japanese and has been for the last fifteen ish years." Jericho bends over to pick up the chair from where it fell. He nods to Carol. "Myself, Miss Marvel there and a couple others have been looking into that aspect of it. It also happens to be the last project Mikhail Rasputin was assigned to before he died. The Russians tried to send people through the rift. No one came back." No bodies recovered but the wreckage was pretty definitive. Still, having experienced dimensional issues before, Jericho knows better than to take such things at face value.

The bit about being Illyana's 'friend' gets a chuckle. Naturally, that will have been talked about, which amuses him. Some things are universal after all.

Carol isn't touching the issue of Jericho being Illyana's friend with a ten-foot pole. Nope. "When this started, all we knew was that it had to do with the Russian space program," she adds for herself. "I've sort of got some unique qualifications when it comes to that sort of thing."

"That long?" All that is news to Mimic. "Well, there's a possibility it could be incredibly dangerous. Or just a good way to kill overly curious Russians. I'm not sure which. No idea what's on the other side?"

"No, but I'm not done pulling everything they had." Jericho gestures to the hard drives on the table. "So far as I can tell they've never tried to send anyone else in. But things have come out. Sometimes just strange, sometimes real bad. A couple years ago they almost lost containment. Still not clear what it was that came through though." The hacker shrugs.

"Oh, that reminds me…" He produces a stick drive and offers it to Carol. "I think you're familiar with the physics of a craft experiencing high energy particle bombardment. I'd be curious to know what you think of this data. The Russians pulled it off the black box of their failed expeditionary craft. What was left of it anyway."

"I'm familiar with a lot of forms of high energy particle bombardment," Carol says ruefully, reaching out to take the drive from Jericho. "Usually on the delivery end, though." She turns the stick between her fingers, considering. "You know, I'm pretty durable," she muses. "I could always try to fly in myself."

"So it's a two way portal. That's good." Mimic muses as he considers everything Trent said about it. "We might need to go scout it ourselves." he agrees, giving Carol a nod. "Just because it's been able to be dealt with so far doesn't imply it'll stay that way."

"I agree and in any case it seems like the next logical step to finding out what happened to Mikhail. Mostly I've been waiting to find out what's on the rest of these drives before going in. Also…" The hacker makes a face. "It's not always open as wide and I'm not particularly keen on getting stuck on the other end. Wherever that is. And I'm not familiar with ways to get back that don't involve this." Or Illyana.

"There's always the long way back. Though I haven't been built for that for a while," Carol admits, rubbing a hand at the back of her neck.

"If it hasn't closed in fifteen years, it's unlikely to do so in the next couple days so long as we don't take steps to close it." Mimic points out. "As far as it shrinking… Well, it obviously doesn't stay small so it would just be a question of waiting." And possibly staying alive. "Unless I can teleport through the rift. I've never been in a position to try that." Turning to Ms. Narvel, he says "Let's say it's vacuum on the other side. Can you survive? Extreme temperature? Do you know what's come through to here?" he asks Trent.

Jericho cants his head, wondering what Carol means by 'the long way back.' "Something pretty dang nasty. The reports are incomplete but whatever it was they broke out antivehicle ordinance and came within a whisper of activating their 'cleansing' protocol… which involves a nuke. So, something big and tough… or a lot of little tough things. Not sure. We've been encountering strange things all over the general area. Not sure if they're dimensional transportees or more odd secret experiments but the whole thing's been out of a science fiction movie."

"I used to be able to," Carol grimaces to Mimic's question. "Though I haven't been in a position to test it for a bit. Not the way I'd prefer to test it, but it's an option if it needs to be."

"Well, it's unlikely it's a vacuum if things are coming through but you never can tell. It's easy enough to test though." Mimic says, glancing upwards. It's only about sixty miles after all. Closer than the U.S. "The only real question is, is there any evidence to indicate this is a rush job?" he asks Trent.

"Maybe…" Jericho says slowly. "The aperature widens and closes according to cycles that the Russians have worked out though there's a pretty significant margin of error in them. It's widening now and, if their calculations are right it'll start to shrink to a pinpoint in something on the order of a week." Could be more or less. Margin of error. Isn't math lovely?

"Cute," Carol says as Jericho explains their window. "Let me guess. The next time it opens up is in fifty years during some sort of extremely rare celestial event."

"Unlikely since it's been going for fifteen years. But it could be a weeks or even months." Mimic says. "So we should probably go soon, if not immediately. There's no telling what we'll find on the other side or how long it'll take to deal with. I think we can at least assemble some basic supplies though and let Jericho finish those files in case there's more there we should know."

"A few days then." Jericho nods. "Are you planning on coming with us, Mimic?" He'd been considering contacting Illyana and asking if she could come as well. If only because this concerns her quite a bit. "Well er, don't be a stranger. Miss Marvel I'd be interested to know what you think of that Data. I'll be here if either of you need me." He pauses. "Mostly."

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