X:4:X The Plan

February 9, 2015: The X-men meet with Reed and Ben to hear about a terrible sickness infecting mutant kind.

Baxter Building

Home of the Fantastic Four




Mood Music:


Reed Richards is standing in a lab somewhere in Washington DC with a handful specialists from the CDC and throughout the scientific community. Samples from a dozen corpses, all mutants, are laid out behind a hazardous materials tarp. The only manipulation that can be conducted is through thick blue gloves and tools that pass through four checks to get to a point where they are introduced with the specimens.

Ebola? Ebola is child's play when it comes to this stuff. It's lethal, horrific, and without containment, it will easily decimate the mutant population on the East Coast.

Scientists including Reed work around the clock in order to garner as much information as possible. When they're done many of the minds look to Reed for a plan. Nothing on this Earth is the solvency.

"I know of someone," Reed says towards the weary biologists, biochemists, and biomedical engineers. "I'm not sure if he will be able to make the journey, but I know if I go back there to get what we need, I will not be able to travel alone."

The team breaks up, heading their separate ways, hoping that Reed's "friend" will be able to assist. If not, it does not appear that mutants will stand much of a chance against this terrible malady.

Reed boards the Fantasticar, pulling the glass encasement back into a lock before he calls upon his supercomputer. "HERBIE," he says solemnly. "Get me Charles Xavier."


A team of X-men, regardless of colors or philosophies, has been sent by Xavier to the gleaming spire of the Baxter Building. As they pass through security and make their way up to the meeting rooms, the entire headquarters seems to scream corporate. Once you board the see through elevators, you'll be able to witness all sorts of technological marvels of varying nature. And of course, Johnny Storm's vehicle collection is down there to the right.

Once you arrive, you're asked to wait for Dr. Richards for a few moments in a large, completely white conference room, the only break-up in the stark color is the blue chairs that sit around the plain white table.

Beast knew he'd be on this as soon as he got wind of it. He hasn't had a chance to actually see the illness or anything related to it, but with his work on the HYDRA vaccine, he figured he'd be called in to work on this. Looking about as they make their way to the room where they're to meet Dr. Reed, he gives a low whistle, "I've always wanted to see this place. It's living up to its hype and I haven't even seen any of the laboratories."

For an affair such as this, Scott Summers has chosen to wear the black with blue trim that signifies him as 'Cyclops'. Throughout the journey, he has remained very quiet. The mask that contains his tactical visor conceals most of his face, but the exposed mouth and chin are clearly twisted into a frown that is both worry and disgust; he'd seen some images of what this disease can do, an he fears his dreams may be haunted for some time.

In the conference room, he's chosen to stand, arms crossed, near the outer edge of the room. This type of catastrophe lies more in the hands of the scientists. If anything, he's here to help guide, and blow down any doors that might get in their way.

No comment is given to the place, even though he does find it impressive. His thoughts remain simply too occupied to form words, yet.

Kurt Wagner, the Amazing Nightcrawler, is there, featureless yellow eyes wide and trying to take everything in. It's a marvel, and he'll admit to a little bit of excitement. "I've only read about it in the newspapers," he whispers to Beast. "I couldn't begin to imagine what the laboratories look like." He walks the room, looking at windows, the walls, looking up, trying to catch every last sight and commit it to memory. "In better days, I would like to come back."

Longshot is neither mutant, nor human, something other entirely, but he's become sympathetic with both since coming into alliance with the X-Men. Whatever this viral threat might be, he hopes something can be done to alleviate it. He knows there are brilliant minds among them: Beast and Jean being foremost among them. What did he have to contribute, other than good looks, natural charisma, brilliant swordsmanship and his personal experience and research playing Dr. Blake Corningstone in the Syfy thriller "Germivorus Rex"?

Luck. Never hurts to have a little bit of luck on your side. Or bio-engineered superhealthy genetic samples. But mostly luck.

"And I'm sure if you see them, you'll be packing your bags and running for the Baxter."

Jean was teasing. A little lighthearted jab here and there to at least keep the greetings and hellos bright. Where it causes for her to wear something that notes her station? She does not. Plain shirt, jacket, jeans, glasses. Green eyes a wonder at the elaborate display of architecture and shui with hands tucked in back pockets to create an easy gait as she spreads herself far enough to check out the collection of cars without leaving her spot.

"I'm sure everyone would be kindly to your visits, Kurt." She assures him, but other than that.. she remains quiet.

Mimic can't contribute much to the scientific end of things but he can do quite a lot on other ends, not the least of which is making sure Beast and the other scientists can do their jobs. And while he hasn't worked with the FF here, he does have experience with them elsewhere which the Professor was aware of. "Think it's HYDRA again, Beast?"

Unlike some of the other X-men, Roberto da Costa looks absolutely at home and in his element in the slickly corporate offices of the Baxter Building. Even in his Red Team skinsuit and burnished armor, with its practical and camera-friendly cutaways, something of the suit and tie clings to him. He seats himself at the conference table, his posture relaxed, and folds his gauntleted hands on the tabletop in front of him.

He smiles slightly as the others comment on their surroundings. "Normally, I suspect I wouldn't be allowed within 100 meters of this building without an ironclad NDA," he says lightly. "I'd like to think Richards has decided I'm trustworthy — more likely he just really needs the X-men's help." He smirks and tosses a dark red thumb drive onto the tabletop. "I've got quite a record here on our work against the last anti-mutant plague. I hope it's useful."


There's nothing good on TV. The gym's systems are down for maintenance. Some jackass Autotuned him screaming as he was dragged around by the Fantasticar at Queens Center mall the other week, so leaving the Building is still more trouble than it's worth.

So, sometime after strangers begin filing into the conference room, Ben Grimm thuds in to see what's happening with a freshly cracked beer at his lips. Behind him, there's a motorized cooler overflowing with more cans.
His eyes flick across the assembly as he cross the threshold, and he doesn't move too far past it as he finishes his sip; instead, he seems to be studying the mutants with particular attention paid to Nightcrawler and Beast. When the can finally lowers, he resumes walking, headed for a massive blue chair that could have only been made for, well, him. "Maybe I oughtta think twice the next time I give Reed a hard time," he decides with a shrug and a thoughtful murmur. And then, at more conversational volumes : "Don't mind me, just droppin' in for the show; plenty'a brews, if any'a you are thirsty from all this… whatever this is you're doin' here."

"Perhaps that is the reason, Mr. da Costa. Perhaps not. In truth, I did not have any idea you were coming. I merely asked for the assistance of Charles Xavier. I asked him if he had any friends in the mutant community who might be willing to risk their lives to save those of their brothers and sisters. Apparently, Professor Xavier believes you are able and may be willing. In the end, that is truly enough for me."

Reed Richards walks from behind the wall and takes a place towards the front of the room, but given that it is a circular table there is no head.

"Lady and gentlemen. My name is Reed Richards and I have been working with the government to solve a case that gives me great concern. It is important that you understand that I rarely have great concern. You may have recently read reports about the death of several mutants at the hand of a rare disease. I have just come from the District of Columbia and can confirm to you that this disease is real, it targets mutants, and it is highly contagious."

Oddly, despite his sterile tone and serious nature, Reed does not even give a wary look to Ben Grimm, the Thing. Instead, pounding a few brews seems that it might be completely acceptable to Richards, presuming you happen to have been his best friend for years upon years.

"I must confess I know little to nothing of many of you other than you like to keep your secrets. While it is not a belief I share, it is not one that I will be critical of. Especially not in this time of great need."

"In essence, I need a strike team to accompany myself and some members of the Fantastic Four to procure an element not of this world." Reed shakes his head as he speaks, underscoring the severity. "I will not lie to you, the danger is great. But without you, I am not certain you will have much to worry about in the long run."

Beast turns to Mimic first to answer his question, "I don't know. It could be, although last I heard, they had turned their attentions to the Occult and away from mutants." Which means he's still kept busy, but not in the more scientific capacity. Longshot gets a longer look as he doesn't recognize the other and golden eyes widen as Grimm enters, dragging the cooler behind him. "I didn't think this was a social call?" is murmured to Kurt just before Reed begins his speech. Once he pauses, he raises a clawed hand briefly before asking, "Do you have analyses of the disease? Samples? We dealt with a potentially deadly virus recently and if this is related, we may be able to tweak the vaccine that we currently have."

Behind the visor, Cyclops' eyes dart from one to the other as they speak. Each have had an influence on him; some more than others; but their conversation does cause the frown on his face to soften.

Just a bit.

Ben's offer of a beer is casually declined, by way of a prickly revelation of his all-too-serious demeanor. "Never while in uniform." It's worth noting that the F4 member's unique appearance doesn't seem to bring any change to his expression, but again, the visor.

Upon Reed's entrance, Cyclops' attention turns fully upon him. When Richards takes his seat, Cyclops does as well; next to Jean and Beast, notably. A question is added upon the tail of Beast's inquiry.
"Also, what do we know of its delivery method? Is it airborne?"

"I would hope so, liebchen," Kurt turns slowly around, his tail following suit soon after, an easily smile rising. "Is this not the shining beacon for cities?" His voice lowers and his tones sound a hint of humour, "But to be sure, I won't touch anything I shouldn't." Which is why he left the bamfs at home.

His other teammates for the evening are regarded; always fun to see how others react. His friends, he knows; the others, the newer Xers, he's not all that certain about. He doesn't doubt their loyalty, never. It's simply… how to work together? That is remedied, however, by experience.

The sound of Thing's entrance gains Nightcrawler's attention immediately. Brows rise as his tail flicks, and at the offrance of beer, the smile that had been in place grows brighter for the moment. "If you are here, you must be needed, whether you know it or not, mein freund."

It's Reed's arrival that pulls Kurt's attention away, and he falls silent. He knows nothing of diseases and the like; he's a courrier. "An element not of this world?" A quiet whistle sounds, "Where would one get such a thing?" Other than, well, off the world?

Longshot has no problem going for the brew, walking over to where Thing is stationed. He, too, is the muscle in this particular gang, although his muscle is supple, slender and sexually attractive, where the Thing is Lumpy McLumperson. Still! Kismet is kismet and it seems that he and Mr. Craggybrows are very much in the same boat. Longshot was actually quite used to people of a wide variety of appearances - and Ben was still way more handsome than Mojo.

Longshot knows who everybody is because he continually reads the computer files at the Mansion. Seriously, was he the only one who did that? It was, like, DVR, but for real life. You can't join a soap opera right in the middle. You have to read the wiki and the recaps, man, or else you're totally screwed. He takes a sip of a beer and looks up at Ben, "Don't mind Cyclops, Mister…" momentarily pulls out his phone and consults "Benjamin Grimm aka the Thing. He means well and is playing the part of stern leader who never falters in the face of danger and must be stoic and show no weakness. Someday, he may crack under the pressure, but not in this episode, I don't think."

While the Thing had eyes on Kurt and Hank, Jean had eyes on him. It was a little surprising to see a figure such as he, but it seemed, just by speech, that the Thing carried a sunnyed disposition in a time most grim. Get it?

Her seat was taken up next to Beast, one leg crossed over the other beneath the table, hands resting upon its surface as fingers slightly tap and questions roll out like thunder.

Each topic was covered without her own questioning, save for the usual..

"And what element is this you are tasking us all to find?"

A glance is given towards Longshot and his antics, a slight frown curling her lips as her hand strikes out snap fingers in his direction. "Be nice, darlin'. Put the phone away." The beer was soon thought about, maybe she'd take the man up on his offer. It wasn't as if she were in uniform.

"Orange is better than blue?" Mimic asks Thing then smiles at the offer. Beer doesn't make it a social call. Beer is just polite. "Thank you, Thing. Another world, another dimension, or another reality?" he then asks the other member of the FF present, starting small to large in 'other'. As he questions Reed, he casually holds out a hand for the can of beer that starts floating toward it.

Despite being caught speaking of the devil, as it were, Sunspot seems unconcerned by Reed's appearance. "Doutor Richards," he greets him, smiling and inclining his head slightly. "I hope I'll be worthy of Xavier's recommendation and your trust." As usual, the warm vowels of his Brazilian accent and his slightly stilted diction play against each other. "Feel free to drop by the Red Team offices any time, if you're interested in a more candid look into our efforts. Candid is what we do best."
He sits forward, growing a bit more somber as he asks, "Where, exactly, not of this world? One of my group, Illyana, has considerable range for safe and instant transportation." He spares an amused glance at Longshot and his smart phone. "She has a profile on our website, but I know more precise figures if you're curious just how far she can go."

Relaxing again, the Brazilian gives Grimm a lopsided smile and adds in a quieter tone, "Another time, camarada. I try not to drink during business hours now that I'm supposed to be a role model." He leans back and tucks his hands behind his head. "Paparazzi, you know."

"Eh, we all have our rules," Ben - who is wearing blue pants with a prominent '4' badge at the waist and black boots - says to Longshot as he takes his seat. "Mine's about eatin' stuff bigger'n my head; kind've a cop out these days, but a man's gotta have a code."

After a thoughtful sip, he adds, "Little pearl'a wisdom from a great philosopher," in a conspiratorial whisper, then turns his attention towards Mimic, to whom he simply offers, "Jus' tryin' to imagine this place with a dustin'a blue fur, is all." Beat. "Or orange fur; I ain't discriminatory."

As far as Roberto and the paparazzi go, Ben just shoots Roberto a stormy frown and starts to mutter something about buzzards, but— there's kind of an epidemic that needs to be discussed.

As he politely shuts up (for now), Ben fetches a fresh can of beer from the cooler and gently nudges it towards Nightcrawler with his stubby, squared off fingers.

When it tips over and clatters the rest of the way towards the elf, he penitently looks down at the table and concentrates intently on downing the rest of his beer.

"Certainly," Reed says to the Blue-furred Mutant. Well, the larger one anyways. "I would happy to share the complete analysis. I trust that your scientists will find, as I did, that the answers to a vaccine do not lie anywhere here on Earth. I wish it were that simple, sir."

Richards nods to Cyclops, "It is transmitted much in the same way as influenza, so I trust you can see why immediacy is so important."

And then to Kurt, "Forgive me if this ends up sounding complex, but I will get right to the point the best I know how. Essentially all atoms have a pulse on the electromagnetic spectrum that is unique to elements of its own kind. Picture a hydrogen atom. Though a hydrogen atom does not have a neutron in its nucleus, it shall serve us well enough. Most electrons in most hydrogen atoms "flow" the same general way in relation to the spectrum. Not all, but most. Hydrogen upon hydrogen upon hydrogen atom all have this general flow, for the most part, relative to Nucleus North, if you will. The problem is not that I cannot find the proper element here upon Earth, sir. The problem is that I cannot find enough of the atoms with the opposite flow. Instead, we will have to travel to what I and the Federal Government have dubbed the Negative Zone. There I can find the lithium, hydrogen, and phosphorus necessary to develop the cure. I know how to do it, my friends. I just do not have the elements available to me on this planet." In answering Kurt's question, he eventually lands upon Jean's.

Lithium, hydrogen, and phosphorus. Simple, right?
"I suppose that depends on your definition of world, dimension, and reality," Reed says to Mimic. "There are theories that all of them are able to be visited through travel. Other theories would disagree."

"Getting there isn't the problem, Mr. da Costa. Although, I'm extremely interested in your friend Illyana if she wishes to come along."

Reed's eyes finally flicker towards Ben and the dropping of the beer meant for Kurt. They have cleaning robots, of course.

"We gotta punch the shit outta some bugs from a backwards universe, prob'ly," Ben helpfully supplies.

And then, he crushes his now-empty can flat between his palm and the table.

"That scientist would be me," Beast points out, "And are we certain that this is targeting -only- mutants? If it was created here, on this plane of existence," he glances to Mimic briefly before continuing, "Why can't the vaccine be created here. All of those elements are available, in abundance, here. What is so special about these elements that are in this 'Negative Zone' and why must we go there?" After creating two vaccines against mutant-targeting viruses, he's going to need some extra convincing.

"If this is about conquering some alternate universe, I'm not entirely sure we're the folks for the job," is offered in response to Grimm's comment.

Longshot gets a decidedly long look from Cyclops. This is not the time for a response, and potentially not the place, either. The look, however, it speaks for itself.

Reed's answer has him sitting up a bit straighter. He doesn't add anything more, instead opting to pay close attention to the scientist's words. It isn't until Reed has finished that he provides another question.

"What can we expect in this.. 'Negative Zone'?" Then, a glance toward Ben Grimm. "Aside from backward universe bugs."

So, he does have a sense of humor.

"Illy would be an asset," Kurt begins, and sounds as if he'd continue, but he doesn't. No.

Thing's push of a beer in his direction does get a step in that direction from Kurt, but Longshot intercepts before the fuzzy elf does. Not that he minds; he doesn't know what the other man can do. Now, he's got something of an idea. With a three-fingered hand out for the beer, the blue mutant looks to Thing, "Danke, mein freund. To your continued health."

The comment regarding fuzz leavings is given something of a grin before he adds, "It's not yet spring. No shedding for me, so your central room cleaning system shouldn't find any of my fuzz."

It's Reed's explanation, Kurt is assuming in layman's terms, that brings something of a worried look to the fuzzy face. "I see," is all that is needed.

The beer that Thing tips towards Kurt might have fallen over and made a noise if Longshot hadn't reacted with lighning speed, unsheathing his sword and catching it on the tip as it falls over. With a flick of his wrist, it's somersaulted into the air, and Longshot twists his sword and catches the brew on the flat of his blade, safe and sound, 'You might want to wait a moment. That is probably most foamy and would make a comical spray upon your face, Nightcrawler." he says.

Still made a fair clattering noise, but it included a nice show, at least.

Longshot doesn't get anything at all from Scott's look in general - it is perfectly consistent with his character and general depiction. "I once starred in a pilot for Mojo called the Negative Zone!," he says, his brows furrowing, "I'm here to introduce you to another dimension…a dimension not only of sight and sound, but also of taste and smell. Some of those smells will make you feel bad. That's why it's called…the Negative Zone…" He sighs, "I liked it, since it was only hosting duties and the writing was better than the usual monkeys - I don't know why, Mojo just loved shows written by monkeys with typewriters - I think they may have started to evolve down in the writer's room."

"Anyway, I'm from another dimension! So…I have that going for me!"

"What possibly is so special about the elements found in the Negative zone is that they're negatively charged." Hence the wording, correct? "It could be an assumption that the elements acquired from the Negative Zone could provide an even more sturdier vaccination that what we've previously come up with."

She leans back into her chair as the mild action ensues, a light nudge given to Scott as this was first time meetings for all. It was an odd bunch that gathered, but sometimes odd pairings gave the best results.

"From what …" Her words were cut off momentarily as a hand lifts to press against her temple. Whatever she was going to say possibly didn't make any sense, so she left it alone for now, content to listen.

"Oh, they are all able to be traveled to." Mimic assures Reed. "Though getting to them is usually the trick. This Negative Zone sounds more like a dimension if it's exactly the same as this one except reversed in… whatever it's reversed in. Polarity? Is this anti-matter you're talking about?" At Hank's question, he says "I would take a wild guess, Beast, that whoever made this weapon either did it in the Negative Zone or used material they got from it specifically to make sure it couldn't be cured here." Longshot's words get a sour look. "Mojo." he mutters. Been there, done that, didn't enjoy it at all. Popping the beer open, he takes a drink.

Predictably, Reed's impromptu lecture leaves Roberto completely lost. Equally predictably, the last thing the proud Brazilian would ever do is admit that a near-stranger has him at a disadvantage. "I'll discuss the matter with her, certainly," he says evenly. The actual discussion will involve a lot of helpless waving and talk about upside-down electrons and quadruple-checking Google Translate to make sure that he still speaks any English at all. "Red Team members' involvement in X-men missions is purely voluntary, but I'll let her know you asked after her." He eyes the beers being passed around enviously. If he had known the discussion would devolve into particle physics, he might not have been so quick to make an offhand remark about nosy photographers.

"Nothin' good," a now solemn Ben murmurs in reply to Cyclops. His hand hasn't really moved from the can since it was squashed; instead, he's just kind of rolling his palm around on top of it, its metal edges clicking across his multitude of stony grooves like a baton skipping across cell bars.

He doesn't really see Kurt looking at him because he's too busy staring sullenly at the table; he does, however, reach for another bear and vaguely tip it in the Elf's direction, since there were words there too. Most of the other words - the questions about the necessity of visiting the 'Zone, Illyana's involvement, Mojoverse's weird programming choices - blur together, because he already knows what he needs to about the inevitable mission:

He really, really doesn't want to be there.

Reed takes in a sharp breath and turns towards Hank, "I understand your skepticism. If looking for a solution here on Earth is your aim, I encourage you to do so. My research, and those of my cohorts at the CDC, have led us to the very opposite conclusion. I trust you will make your own determination and act according to your own analysis."

"Why you think I would want to conquer anything is lost on me. If I did, I would not ask a group of mutants that I have no intelligence on to assist me in doing it. I certainly would not use the lives of these men, women, and children to further my aims. The further you probe into that theory, the farther away from logic it ends up, sir."

"I don't even know you people's names. Aside from da Costa."

"And I hate to be short with each of you, but I will need to know, nearly right away, whether or not you will join me. Because if you do not, I will need to put together another team and another plan right away." Reed's eyes flicker up towards a clock up on the fall wall where they came in. The time ticks down on him and the pressure grows more and more intense.

Beast turns to look at Jean, "And why can't we create negatively charged elements here?" Obviously, he doesn't think it would be that far of a stretch. "Between Dr. Reed here, and some of our other allies, surely we have the equipment to do such a thing and it might be easier, safer, and less expensive in both money and resources," and personnel, "than going to a new place."

He then looks to Cal, "If that's the case then all right, I can see the need to go there. But without the data, I don't know that we can make that assumption."

Looking back to Reed, "So, you know nothing about us, we know nothing about you, and you're asking us to go to an alternate world to get items to cure a disease we know nothing about. Can you at least get me the data now so I can review it on our way?" Or there? Or now…

It might be a bit unexpected, but Longshot's swordplay actually earns a small grin from Cyclops, along with a small nod of approval.

Back to Reed he looks. "Call me 'Cyclops'. Consider me in. You and your people have a solid reputation, so I'm going to go out on a limb and extend my trust." He glances around toward the others, stifling an apologetic look for Beast; he knows the man well enough to understand his skepticism and appreciate it. However, he's going to trust his gut on this one, and lead by example.

"If you're wrong?" Cyclops looks back toward Reed. "Then, Doctor Richards, I suppose none of us will be around long enough to hold a grudge."

Once he's got a can (two now!), Kurt holds one in hand, the one offered by Ben, and the one from Longshot, wrapped about in his tail. That will have to wait until it settles down a little. The one in hand, he pops the tab and takes the first tentative sips. Just in case.

"Negative zone. Which could mean…" A frown creases the blue face, "This won't affect us, would it? A negative version of us?" That wouldn't be good in his case. (Another reason now, unknown until now, why it's good the bamfs aren't here!)

Kurt steps forward, in the face of the concerned grumblings of the other, and speaks up. "I am Nightcrawler, und I will go. My specialty is teleportation."

Even though he isn't looking up, Ben sharply jerks the can away from Kurt when he feels it being pulled from him, then raises his sour expression towards the elf momentarily before popping the can and drinking from it.

Longshot gives a big, fat thumbs-up to Calvin, "I know, right? Big ol' sack o' pus! Like a father to me. I'd miss him if he weren't a complete and total bastard who wanted me skinned alive!"

"And my name, Dr. Reed Richards, MD, Ph.D., is Longshot! Adventurer, celebrity, icon, swashbuckler, five year winner of the Mojoverse's "Least Repulsive Humanoid" Award! You may have seen me in such film as "Rocket Master" and "Kung Fu Cryptkeeper!" he says, "I've also lead several small revolutions, overthrown a government twice, and have dismantled two nuclear bombs. They were, I admit, props, but realistic ones!"

Whatever had Jean locked into silence must have been important. While introductions were made she kept her own name silent, her eyes do lifting, a sign of fire laced within pupils as she focuses in upon the good doctor. She sits up briefly, fingers knitting within her hair to comb it away from her ear, pinky and middle finger pressed to her temple as the room slowly fades and falls away.

A lump of flesh..


Shaky hands..


There's a leader among them.

Strong beliefs..

A face in the mirror belonging to Doctor Reed. The lines of worry seem almost prominent. A flash of a memory of a figure most sure..

Jean drops herself back into the here and now with a fall of her hand upon the table, her gaze completely serious as she slowly stands, the only one possibly to approach the Doctor with a kind smile and a lift of her hand. "Jean. Jean Grey. I believe you."

She seemed almost distant, distracted, messages and images transferred across the ethers back home. A listening mind given faint nod at message received. Always in the know. "Phoenix. If you want to be covert."

"Not quite nothing, Beast." Mimic tells him. Though he has met an evil Reed or two, most were heroes as this one seems to be. "I'm in as well. You can call me Mimic. When do we leave?" It's really as simple as that. People - mutants - are dying and it could become an epidemic.

Ah, a negotiation! Even a cost/benefit analysis! Roberto may not know the first thing about particle physics, but this turn in the conversation plays to his strengths. He holds up a hand for calm before speaking. "You'll forgive my colleagues, but the track record for human scientists trying to turn mutants into unwilling soldiers is enough to make anyone cautious, certo?" the Brazilian says to Reed, his tone lighter than his words.

He leans forward, steepling his fingers in front of his lips. "Mas, Hank, you must admit that we need speed and certainty. Developing a procedure to synthesize a substance can run over schedule, and the results may not be what you expect, or as much as you need." DCI's extensive interests in mining and chemical engineering stand him in good stead here, at least. "With lives on the line, difficult and expensive mining seems to be a better option than hoping to develop a synthetic alternative."

With more extreme reactions on both sides answered, Roberto feels comfortable voicing his own position. "We'll certainly do whatever we can to help you, Dr. Richards, but of course, we expect an equal stake in this operation. We will happily act in consensus with you, but we are wary of taking orders. I hope you understand?"

After setting his half-empty can down, Ben turns a baby blue scowl towards Reed and grumbles, "We don't even know these people," with a broad sweep of his four-fingered, ham-sized mitt, "but jus' like that…" A loud SNAP! of his fingers, then: "… ya wanna waltz back in there, eh?"

Shaking his head, Ben envelops his beer in both hands, rumbles unhappily, and doesn't say anything for a few seconds as he resumes looking down, into the depths of the can.

"You owe me," finally determines in a dark murmur. "Ta' health," he sardonically adds with a glance towards Kurt.

"Want and must are two different things, Ben," Reed shoots back. "I understand your reluctance," he says to Beast and da Costa, "But as I said, you'll be able to get your hands on the evidence and come to your own conclusion. I have no interest in leading your team or giving out any orders. I save that for my group, and we operate more as a grouping than any sort of military operation. In any event, I wouldn't dream of ordering around another group. I assume you have your own leadership structure for that."

Reed nods to those who have introduced yourselves, "The transportation will need a few days to prepare." He doesn't bother to say that he's never pushed anything so big as an expanded Fantasticar through the opening to the Negative Zone. If you want to save the world, you need to be willing to do the impossible, and that's not something that Reed shies away from at all.

"My goal to make the needed preparations is the weekend. I play chess often with Professor Xavier and I trust you will be able to be contacted through him in some manner. The particulars do not concern me. If some of you choose not to show up, I understand. If you otherwise are able to bring allies who were not able to come today, they are welcome. Either way, I do not have much time to squabble over details as you might imagine. I must begin work right away."

Reed Richards stands abruptly and nods to the group, "I appreciate you coming. I apologize, but I have to adjourn this meeting immediately to begin preparations. Ben will see you out."

"HERBIE," Reed calls out to no one in particular. "See that a data packet with all information, relevant or not, is included for our blue friend here and that he gets it before he leaves."

"Good day, ma'am. Gentlemen." Briskly, Reed leaves the room the same way he came in.

Beast throws a glare at Sunspot, "It's 'Beast'…" and the former student should really know better. He looks back over as Richards gives his speech and blinks once he turns and leaves. "And I think I'd forgotten how most scientists are." A glance is given to the X-men he knows well, "If I ever get like that, smack me."

Mimic lightly smacks Beast.

"You guys know where the doors are," Ben mutters as he points towards the entrance to the conference room between sips of beer. "Good talk."

"Filho da puta," Roberto mutters as he gets up to leave. 'Beast' just couldn't let him have his moment, could he? "Because 'Hank' is way more specific and identifying than 150 kilos of blue fur."

Scott, having noticed the color in Jean's eyes, only finds himself more convinced that this is the right thing to do. He stands and offers a nod to Richards. "I'll have a dossier on who's coming, along with their special and unique talents, by sunrise, on your desk."

Longshot walks up beside Scott and claps a four-finger hands on the man's shoulder, "Count me in. Unless you don't want me. You're the Captain of the ship, right? You've even got the eyepatch thing going! I always was a good pirate. Well, if we're going raiding, you'll have my sword at your disposal, if you like. Sorry if some of the others are a mutinous, treacherous lot. It was ever so amongst their greedy hands! But if any more give ye any grief, ye'll have the point of me cutlass to see 'em walk the plank!!" he declares, and then shakes his head.

"Sorry. Flash back to "Pirate King of the Titanic on the Bottom of the Bermuda Triangle with Amelia Earhart". It…wasn't one of my better pieces. But fun!"

Scott looks back to Longshot. "Danger Room. Six o'clock sharp. That's A.M. Don't be late."

With that, he turns to follow the others out.

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