|Dates run:||June 15-16, 2013|
|Read the logs:||Hotel California|
"I am fire. I am life, " Jean said. Her astral skin burned away to reveal a body made of fire, the Phoenix's wings unfurled.
Jean's simple trip to speak at a conference turns into a titanic battle against occult forces when a deadly trap is sprung.
Professor Lee Kirby, Laurel, Brook
Things began normally enough - returning to her hotel after lunch with an old mentor, Professor Lee Kirby, Jean had an odd encounter with an old man who lived there. The next day, Jean failed to check in with Haller, and when Charles searched for her with Cerebro in response, her psi-signature had gone from the astral plane. At the same time that Scott and Haller are searching Jean's contact numbers for clues, Marie-Ange had a precognitive vision while talking to Amanda's student, Topaz, seeing Jean wreathed in fire with demons dancing around her. Immediately, X-Force went into action, taking Haller and Scott along to assist.
Arriving at the site, the group gathered at Jean’s hotel, with not a lot to go on but Marie-Ange’s visions and a vague sense of magic being felt by Amanda and Nico. When Amanda opened the door, something happened and they find themselves split up in a strange otherworldly version of the hotel, subject to hallucinations themed on the seven deadly sins.
Scott encountered a strangely-belligerent Remy and visions of Jean and Logan together; Marie-Ange found herself traversing Dante’s Inferno, specifically the hell of the lustful; Nico discovered herself at a debutante ball and was rescued by a handsome stranger with whom things got physical; Amanda was taunted by visions of the happiness of others; Haller met another version of himself who pointed out all of his failings; Wanda was trapped by Chthon inside her own mind; Jean encountered the old man again, only to discover he was Parker Matthews as he began killing the hotel guests and staff. At the same time, Amanda was also experiencing visions of someone else's memories, preparing for some kind of ritual.
Struggling against the hallucinations, each of the group except Remy, managed to break free, eventually gathering together in the library and discovering the journal of the man in Amanda’s visions. Also revealed was the fact they were facing a demon summoned by the previous owner of the building, and that Gambit - the violent psychopath inside Remy's mind - was “loose”, having been impacted by the spell.
Marie-Ange, Nico and Remy distracted Gambit while Jean, Haller and Amanda prepared for Jean to sever the demon’s connection to the summoner’s soul and let him finally rest. Wanda and Scott headed for the greenhouse where the summoner’s physical body was housed, with Amanda helping as best she could via her connection to the hotel. Trying to save Nico and Marie-Ange from the worst of himself, Remy proposed a deal with Gambit, appealing to the traitor within. Jean fought the demon for the summoner's soul and won, but in the process she shattered the protective wards on the hotel, generating total chaos. Wanda and Scott found the summoner’s body and destroyed it, sending the summoner to his final rest and gaining the group a short respite. The break was short-lived, as realised he had to take Gambit back in order to be sure he couldn’t take on the demon's power and harm anyone else. Haller and Remy faced down Gambit, severing his connection to the demon and allowing Remy to take him back, while Haller is severely psychically injured. But with Gambit no longer providing the demon focus, all hell broke loose. Scott and Jean protected Remy from the demon’s wrath. Amanda nearly became the next host for the demon, but Nico stepped in and the First protects its property. Marie-Ange, Haller and Wanda made an exit and the group escaped back to the ‘real’ world, where only a short time had passed and everything was back to normal - except those who were injured.
Trivia and Meta
Betsy was extremely unhappy at the severe psychic injuries suffered by Haller and blamed Scott for what happened.
Professor Lee Kirby was named after comic creators Stan Lee and Jack Kirby