5025/Germination: Astral Hunt

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Germination: Astral Hunt
Date of Scene: 27 July 2018
Location: Astral Plane
Synopsis: Emma Frost examines the Astral flux... and finds something very sinister at the end of the bread crumb trail.
Cast of Characters: Shadow King, Emma Frost
Tinyplot: Germination

Shadow King has posed:
The Astral Plane is as always: unpredictable, untethered, and formless or as formed as minds making up the plane itself can be. The pieces of thought and consciousness that make up the plane and everything that moves within and through it is a liquid, alive thing, moreso than anything in a physical realm.

It is here that the flux happened. And the soft tendrils of the source of that flux can be traced, led back, winding inside and through so many other things. But for a telepath of skill, it is merely unraveling an exotic story. Memories that make up the essence of the place have much to say.

One such trail feels right. It had something to do with the flux, or was in the way of it. Yet upon drawing close to that awareness, something is torn. As if the pages of a book of thought were simply ripped out in a fierce chunk.

Emma Frost has posed:
Emma Frost was nothing if not.. well, cocky isn't quite the word, but it is close and suffices. She's certainly confident - and why shouldn't she be? She's got any number of bits of cred under her belt, and she also happens to be one of the world's foremost telepaths.

That disturbance on the astral plane had caught her attention. More, it had nigggled enough that she'd poked at it. And now that she had poked at it, she had a trail...

It might not be the wisest of ideas to go chasing ghosts on the astral plane by one's self, or without leaving word about what one is doing.. but that brings us back to cocky.

Thus it is that Emma chases down that trail, projecting herself along it, through the astral plane, seeking the source. Or at least a glimmer of what those mssing pages might be.

Shadow King has posed:
The threads, the trails, they all lead towards this one awareness. A mildly shielded mind. At a simple look, no different than any mutant mind with some telepathic ability. But brushing against that presence, that astral fragment of a mind? The shell was thin. Something is below.

The disembodied scrap of consciousness is horrifying.

In a physical sense, it would be as if a person were skinned alive. Then allowed to heal. Then all limbs were broken. Allowed to heal wrong. Then, body emptied of all internal organs, but barely still alive. The mind has been tortured beyond levels of any purpose. Yet it isn't entirely empty, there are fragments in what remains.

And the trail led here.

Emma Frost has posed:
Very few things have had the power to repulse the woman, Emmma Frost having seen more in her life than most, and having had to gird her loins so to speak against the most basic of human emotions to survive and carry on in a world she'd had to fight tooth and nail to survive in... but this? This had the woman cringing in both a physically and mentally visceral way.

What remains, she notes to herself, would best be put out of its misery. To be allowed to die the death that it hovers at the edges of, clinging stubbornly and perhaps preturnaturally to life (?) and awareness (?) despite what has been done to it.

Regardless of what would be best, and despite the drawing to mind precisely how she would and should put the thing out of its misery... Emma pauses, and considers the alternative:

If there was hope... how? How might she proceed to change the path of thise wretchedness.

All the while considering that as fools errands went, it mght only be more cruelty of herself to ponder and poke at the idea of salvation. Still, Emma ponders.

Shadow King has posed:
The mind does have thoughts. It's just there reeling, and circling over the same ground, over and over. The mental swirl is wearing a hole in its own consciousness, as it just wears over and over on the same set of thoughts, like an obessive compulsive repeating the same phrases, the same THING.

It is very unaware. Blind. Walking the same four feet, wearing a hole in the 'floor'. The shredded awareness doesn't seem to see anymore, certainly not Emma.

Yet suddenly it may be apparent what this thing is. It is as if someone drew all these lines to a corpse, and set it on a pole. For all to see.

Emma Frost has posed:
While it 'paces', Emma's awareness circles about the thing counterclockwise, regarding it. Drinking it in. In many ways it's a skull on a stick. Or, more to the point, a crudely done lobotomy with the village idiot left chained to a wall, guarding the only entrance. Or exit. Only, Emma didn't actually know, yet, if that analogy was more than fanciful representation, or an actual fact.

That becomes her first line of inquiry. Was there more here than this tortured presence, or was it nothing more than a warning of what happened when you...

Well, Emma didn't know what transgression might have occurred, but fate and the gods were fickle, it didn't always need to be something great and wonderous for examples to be made.

Shadow King has posed:
The flux itself, days prior, had felt very alien, those alien minds being pulled in. This consciousness in front of Emma touched them, somehow. Perhaps it was involved with the web of mushrooms as they were drawn into the Astral. There are pieces of that. And there's also an undertone, in the way this soul was severed and left here. A menace, that the mushrooms themselves don't usually carry. They aren't very emotional, and there's emotions here.

Whoever set this up (and yes, it was set up) left some emotional tags of a sadistic nature behind. There are tracks of it still being connected, in some way, to several other minds. Subtle, very subtle. Perhaps six other minds. Whether they are in this state is impossible to tell from looking at this one.

Overall, it feels as if someone drew multiple mental signatures to this spot, along with a volume of fungal minds, and it's all in a pressure around this spot. His this mind a warning? That would be a very good guess.

Emma Frost has posed:
Subtle is a thing Emma also does well, and while she plans on untangling this 'mind' from the others connected to it, she's also making certain that she notes their signatures and presences that she can track each of them down.

More interesting, though, is the oversignature. Or, more to the point, the awareness that something manifested these things. Drew the fungal presences in, as well as this mind and those tangled with it, and left this here as a warning.

The other minds will help Emma know, perhaps, why this mind was drawn in and left here. She wonders if it is connected with the small shows of control they've already seen on earth. If this here was a firm suggestion that such nonsense be stopped. More interesting, though, is what might be capable of doing this. The sheer amount of power and skill needed is frightening, even to her.

One thing is for certain, though, once she's gleaned what she can from the poor thing, she'll end its misery... Or.. Emma stops herself and ponders. Should she? There's dabbling in the waters and sending small ripples across the lake, and then there's throwing boulders. Releasing this.. well it's more creature now than thinking mind.. from its misery would be something of a boulder, and boulders drew attention.

She'd no doubt they'd want that attention eventually.. just maybe not quite yet.

Instead, once she's secured the signatures of the other minds within her own for further investigation once she's done with this, Emma considers the damage done, looking for telltale signs of who or what might be responsible. Odds were she wouldn't recognize it, but even so, firming up what she could now would mean she would be able to in some distant future. And that was always valuable.

Shadow King has posed:
The mind itself is screamy. Hard to ignore while examining it. So during the examination, it's noisy. Like trying to read a book while someone is blasting music in your ear.


The mind itself, once Emma delves around that noise, has a few little memories. Tags of this person, who cannot rememer his own name anymore, directing fungus around. Making them do things. Kill each other. Yet those are the only memories that are left. And they are playing on repeat, with the noise.

Someone left those memories alone. The message is fairly clear: Do not touch the fungus, or this happens. Who did this? It is an entwined thing. It is fungus and it isn't. It is something that feels rank, dark, sadistic. It doesn't make sense.

Emma Frost has posed:
Is and isn't. That could be lots of things. Progenitor. A more evolved form. A parent. Emma wasn't sure the specifics mattered right this second. That she could mull over later. She could mull it over with minds as talented as her own and come up with more educated answers than her scant time on this plane would allow - especially if she didn't want to be throwing bouulders.

But subtle.. ah, yes, that she could still employ here. The warning could be left - she'd want to show the others if it came down to that, especially if they intended on throwing boulders - but she could turn the volume down. Leave the thing on repeat, but without awareness of the soundtrack and visuals it was mindlessly stuck in.

Essentially finish the job, so to speak, without killing the thing. It would forever wander along the path it was dredging in memories - an eternal Sisyphus - only she could disconnect it from any feelings or attachents it might have to what it was seeing or hearing.

She could even leave the soundtrack of its primal screaming in. Ultimately such things were merely channels. The thing didn't need to be connected to the channel for the broadcast to continue.

If she did it right - and Emma intended on doing it right - the greater presence would be none the wiser unless it were directly looking for something like this. And if it were... well, then Emma thought smugly, she'd have at least left a fair decent calling card.

Shadow King has posed:
Tracking the 'is and isn't creature? That might take a miracle. Tracking this poor soul's body, or what might be left of it? Not too difficult with some effort and time.

And those other six minds that are linked to this one? It feels as if it is more of a way of checking in: that those minds will notice if this one dies. Perhaps they are watching over it. Or perhaps those shouts of pain are broadcast to them. That would be the most logical. And a gentle probe will agree: this is what is happening. Those six are being reminded.

Emma's touch, though, reduces the emotional pain the creature is in. Yes, it continues to spew the same message, but the pain lessens. It quiets. There's some peace, as the message disconnects from the torn and raw fear it was reliving. She did it a mercy.

Emma Frost has posed:
Such a shame, Emma thinks. Her best work always done under the guise of secrecy and silence. Few would ever get to appreciate this singular act of mercy. Though some might witness the results with the body itself, once found, and were it able to be healed of this trauma.

Emma's skills weren't pitiful, but they might not be enough. She wouldn't know until she could do more than she'd been able to do here. And here she'd done all she could until they - and she knew it would be they - were ready to draw attention to themselves and face the brunt of the 'is and isn't's' wrath.

Emma had no doubt it would be wrath. Wrath and chill disregard were the only things that could evoke this level of sadism. And there were no other redeeming emotional traces left upon the creature.

She had the signatures she needed. Most importantly, she *knew* this mind - had compartmentalized it within her own as a uniqueness no different than a fingerprint or dna helix - and with time, effort, and likely help, they could find the body that housed it and take next steps.

But first, she needed to return to her own plane, and to gather those others that they might discuss what she'd found, and what needed to be done.

Shadow King has posed:
Just as Emma is withdrawing, a seventh mind came into the collection. It is not different, not special, but it reacts with revulsion and confusion to the 'screamer', as if newly exposed to the warning, which makes it 'ping' a little bit. Just a small bit. Which means if anyone is watching all this, they are bound to come. If she wants to remain subtle, it is time to withdraw.

Emma Frost has posed:
Much as she'd like to stay and be a fly on the wall, and she knows exactly how to do it too, it hasn't been lost upon Emma that the area she's 'in' is showing signs of instability. If she had to guess, she'd say it was the same as the original flux. And much as she'd like to witness the 'is and isn't', Emma also values her sanity and her mind, and doesn't care to be trapped here as another example.

With some reluctance, but prudence, she grabs the seventh signature and withdraws, taking her astral self back to her body, and once there, settles down to alerting those who should be made aware of what she has found out to the information that she has gleaned.