Continued from yesterday:
It was warm. Someone was giving him a *fantastic* massage. Something delicious and full of calories was gently steaming nearby.
Oh, and he was naked.
That woke him up in a hurry.
“Easy, big boy,” said Rita. “You’re here to relax.”
“Nuh-uh.” She leaned on him. “Not this time. It’s come to my attention that there’s a member of the team who hasn’t been eating properly. Doing too much, giving himself too little… that sort of thing.”
“And the *last* time someone did that, I think you said, ‘Eat, or I sit on you and *make* you eat’… or words to that effect, na?”
Kurt sighed. “Point *taken*, Spiral. But was it necessary to take my *clothes*?”
Rita grinned. “Think of it as 'added incentive’,” she purred. “Maybe for both of us?” One of her hands fiddled with a buckle on her clothing. “If you feel uncomfortable… I could strip, too…”
Kurt glared at her. “You know I can’t show favouritism, Rita.”
“What favouritism?” All six arms splayed. “This is just *sex*! You need to get your rocks off, blue-boy. I’m just volunteering, is all.”
He picked up some fried chicken and began to gnaw on it. “Liebe… You’ve been volunteering ever since I met you.”
'Then why won’t you accept!’ cried Spiral, throwing all six arms up in the air.
'Because,’ continued Nightcrawler, tearing off chunks of poultry, 'that’s all the answer you need.’
'Fine,’ spat Rita, crossing her arms, 'your clothes are in corner, finish off your meal, I’m going to meet someone who *appreciates* me!’
Kurt sighed and watched her go. Why didn’t he take her up? He wondered, in truth he wasn’t entirly sure himself. Except for the vague idea that, should it 'get his rocks off,’ it should be with someone… special.
He sighed and continued gobbling up the chicken. Spiral had a point in one respect, he had been pushing himself a little too hard, if he had been in better condition perhaps he could have beated the Cajun, instead of getting knocked out within the first few seconds of the fight.
As it was, he made a silent promise to himself that, first change he got, he was going to shove that Cajun’s Bo Staff somewhere *personal!*
'I don’t suppose,’ gasped Worthington senior, 'that you have a sick bag handy?’
Angel just glared at him grimly.
They were on the top of some office building, not too far from the penthouse. Warren had been unwilling to fly his father too far, he was notoriouly air sick.
'Thank you,’ said Worthington senior at last, 'you saved my life.’
Warren shrugged, 'you’re blood, I don’t love you, don’t even like you much, but I won’t let you die. I don’t hate you that much… doubt I ever could.’
His father was silent, the he moved to get something out of his jacket, it turned out to be a small mobile phone.
He quickly typed in some numbers, then put it to his ear.
'What are you doing?’ asked Warren.
'Something I should have done when this started,’ he growled, 'it’s time to take action, boy, time to stop this. Hello?’ he was talking into the phone now, 'yes, this is Worthington II, codename Gabriel, yes, it is about the situation. Here’s the deal, I want to terminate the project if either I or the kidnapped General die. Yes, yes, yes I do want full termination. Full. Uh huh, yep, right, how long? Good. Got it. Thank you, good bye.’
He turned off the phone and put it back in his pocket.
'What the hell was that?’ asked Warren.
'The final ultimatum,’ said his father, 'as the main financial backer, and one of the only 'core’ members still coherant, I have a large amount of control over the project. If I, or the general die, then I have ordered that the project. All of the project.’
'But there might be people still in there,’ said Warren, 'other experiments, what happens to them?’
'As I said, all of the project will be terminated.'
Warren shuddered and backed away a pace. “Even the *kids*?”
“They’re just muties. No-one will miss them.”
Warren took off.
“Why?” said warren, hovering on the updraft. “I’m just a mutie. No-one’s going to miss *me*.”
Warren Worthington II sighed and turned towards the door to the stairs. It was locked. “*Fuck*…”
Warren swooped back into the Penthouse. “You’ve got to help me! They’re going to *kill* them!”
“What?” said Storm.
“Huh?” said Gambit.
“My father - he’s given orders to *terminate* the entire project if he or the General *dies*… and that includes the people. Muties *and* norms.”
Storm put her hand over her mouth.
“Gambit tink we in *big* trouble.”
[To Be Continued…]
 Ours is not to question why.
 Once more unto the breach, my friends.
 I couldn’t resist ^_^
 Paraphrased from _Wild Wild West_. Movie was crap. Line is good.
 I was reading _A Streetcar Named Desire_. So sue me.
 Hey, what’s a premiere episode without lots and lots of collateral damage?
 My little blue squirrel (feel free to correct me Greg. This is all courtesy of Babel Fish, so it’s probably wrong).
 Son of a bitch
 Demons (you had to look?)
 I figured they could use it to work out stuff about Scott’s power. Y'know, get the edge over him? Just an idea. It could just be she thought it was pretty, or just plain forgot to drop it when she left.
 Side-fling to _Song of the South_ ;)
 Side fling to Terry Pratchet, can’t remember which book, think it was Colour of Magic or Light Fantastic. It’s a good line, anyhow.
 Sidefling from the short Angel story 'Every Time A Bell Rings’, by Brian K. Vaughan.
 Yes, that’s Catseye. Just pretend Xavier was the one who found her and not Emma Frost. Rest (thinking she’s a cat who can turn into a human, stilted speech etc.) should stay the same.
 Side-fling to Graham Masterton, who still makes me laugh with his description of air-hostesses.
 Paraphrased from Julia Stiles in _Ten Things I Hate About You_
 Ah, irony. The writer’s friend.
 I just figured Warren would want to know an opposing view to the one Nightcrawler offered him, and seeing Jean was a handy opportunity to do so.
 Yes, I know it’s German, but misinformation happens when the student fails to listen to the teacher ;)
 I seem to remember Stacy murmering those words at a TV screen in a previous post, that’s probably where Warren’s heard it from wether or how soon he makes the connection is up to other people.
 Sidefling to one of Warren’s many codenames in the original comics.
 I ran across an old video of the animated spin-off 'Ewoks’ and the name stuck. Mucho kudos to anyone who remembers that show. Double points if you can tell me the names of the main characters.
 Li'l _Mission Impossible_ sidefling :D
 Little side-fling to the _Beauty and the Beast_ television series. Catherine Chandler was mistaken for a girl named 'Carol’ and called 'Radcliffe’ by her boss in the DA’s department in the premiere episode.
 Another side-fling ;)
 Yes. Dr Watson == Sherlock Holmes side-fling. Very clever. Have a jelly.
 Yes. *That* Daily Planet. However, Clark and Lois are on their honeymoon ;)
 Jack the Ripper allegedly started his letters this way.
 From a miniseries about our pal Jack
 I love doing stuph like this :D
 _Fifth Element_ sidefling. Main character was called Corban Dallas. Geddit? James D. Corban?
 Tip of the hat to Terry Pratchet and his book Erik /Faust, in that the phrase 'I did it for the children’ is written on one of the paving stones on the road to hell. You know what they say about good intentions…
 Side-fling to Terry Pratchett’s _The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents_ Damn good read ^_^
 :D Side-fling crossover! :D Leela is the monocular navigator from _Futurama_ *and* the bloodthirsty barbarian companion of Dr. Who. I loved her for her catchphrase, “Shall I kill him now, Doctor?”
 Made up painkiller. Insert incidental advertising here.
 Anybody remember the show _Gargoyles_? Well, think of Lexington, and you know what this guy’s 'wings’ look like. Like a leathery flying squirrel’s, for the uninitiated.
 A Romani word. Friends bound by the heart or spirit.
 The last four lines will seem familliar to anyone who’s read the _Excalibur_ booklet that also featured Mojo’s X-Babies ^_^ but the original interchange was between Betsy and Kitty.
 Sideways Simpsons reference ;)
 Whenever big news happens in America, it happens on CNN practically nonstop for about a frikkin’ *week*… Minimum.
::Chapter:_:Three: Premiere Episode (part 2)
It was darkest time of night in the high turrets of New York. At this period, just before the sun shines her head, many strange things occur, for many monsters hide in the darkness, and many children too.
All, to use the cliche, is not what it seems, in these troubled times.
For example, watch this shady street. It is all-but deserted, a homeless person sleeps in the overhang of a graffiti covered shop, litter shifts and flutters in the soft, night wind, a stray cat and dog follow each other down the street, and far in the distance police sirens blare.
Then another two other figures appear, a boy of no more than fourteen, and a girl only slightly older. Heedless to the sleeping tramp, they call out names and, as if beckoned, the cat and dog come to them.
What next would have astounded even the most hardy New Yorker, as both creatures changed, shifted form, lost fur, soon where two stay animals had stood, were two girls.
'Sharon! Rahne!’ Laughed the boy, 'We were so worried!’
'Yeah,’ added the other girl, 'what happend to you guys?’
'Wish I could say, Tabby,’ sighed Rahne, 'last thing I remember, we were fighting those Legion Kids… then… I dinnae quite know.’
'Perhaps you were knocked out?’ suggested the boy.
“And transported several blocks away?” said Rahne critically.
Sharon shook her head. “Think not right. Cat form good, yes? Perhaps change back on own, but… not clear. Head pictures all fuzzy.” she tapped at one temple with a claw. “Something wrong, but… not right inside here… like been sleepy-sleep with eyes open.”
The others looked at Rahne for a translation, but the lycanthrope simply shrugged, at as much of a loss as they were.
'Well, whatever it is, it can wait, we’ve gotta get back to the manison.’ said Tabby.
'What about the others?’ asked Rahne.
'A few of them are still at the warehouse,’ Tabby replied, 'the others our out searching for you. I’ll use the communicator to get us back together at the werehouse, then we can go back to the mansion before we’re missed. It’ll be dawn soon.’
'Yeah,’ murmered Sharon, 'and judgment day for the General.’
En route to the prisoners, Nightcrawler heard a soft whimpering, not an uncommon sound in the tunnels, but it was coming from a most uncommon location. Stacy’s quarters. He frowned. She was a strong woman, one of the strongest he’d ever met, something must have really upset her.
“Worthington…” He growled.
He knocked lightly on the door. “Stacy?” His voice was low, soft, compassionate.
“Leave me alone!” Hers was raw, hoarse, devastated. His shoulders sagged. He tried the door only to find it locked. But a locked door had never been an obstacle for him.
Stacy sat up as soon as she smelled the brimstone.
“What part of 'leave me alone’ don’t you understand?” She demanded as she hurled a pillow at him. He caught it easily and continued towards her, studying her face with eerie glowing eyes.
“He really got to you, didn’t he?” He said softly. She just lowered her head. He sat down beside her, placing a comforting hand on her shoulder. “There is a reason why we don’t get personally involved…” She threw her arms around him and began to sob against his chest. Nightcrawler was glad he hadn’t bothered with the armour.
“I never should have sent you…” He whispered as he stroked her dark hair.
“I thought I could handle it…” She whispered back. “I didn’t think he’d turn out to be…” She pulled away, frowning up at him. Despite how warm his embrace had been, her power picked up on something. Nightcrawler was giving off some majorly powerful pheromones…they were intense…intoxicating…irresistible…
“Wonderful…” She murmured.
Nightcrawler’s eyes widened as she kissed him. Not that he minded the kiss, if there was one thing Stacy knew it was how to kiss…and how to do a whole lot of other things that he didn’t want to think about right now. But after sobbing over the pretty boy, to suddenly lip-locking with her boss? It just wasn’t right! But how could he push her away? Two rejections in one day might push her over the brink. But if he didn’t, he’d be taking advantage of her. The pheromones he knew she was reading were due to his close call with Rita…or at least they had been. For once, he didn’t know how to handle the situation.
_'Damned if you do…damned if you don’t…’_
Nightcrawler mantally thanked God, as he broke away from the kiss.
'I’m sorry,’ he whispered to the confused Stacy.
He moved up off the bed and to the door. The key was still in the lock, so he turned it and opened the portal.
On the other side as an extremely nervous looking Leech.
'Uh, boss,’ he said, 'um… you should come out, the other kids…’
At the mention of the children, Nightcrawler’s eyes widened, and he pushed past Leech.
'They’re in the clean-room!’ The green boy called as his leader strode away.
He soon reached the 'clean room,’ a smallish, whitewashed room filled constantly with the smell of disinfectant. At the momment it was as full as it had ever been, with children.
Non of them were too badly hurt, mostly it was scrapes, bruises, cuts, the odd twisted ankle, and one with a broken nose, but nothing serious.
Having said this, in the germ infested areas of the sewers, even the smallest injury could be vulnerable to deadly infection.
'Vas happend?’ asked Nightcrawler, his voice hard and harsh.
'We were attacked!’ said one little girl, 'a load of other mutant kids came to where we were holding the bad man. Spiral was there, she managed to get the bad man out, but we had to deal with the rest of the kids!’ The girl sounded somewhat bitter at this.
Nightcrawler turned angrily on Rita, 'why didn’t you tell me they were fighting!’ he balked.
'A bit of scrapping will do them good,’ was Rita’s reply, 'toughen them up, and what’s the harm in pounding a few of those pretty upworlder muttants. Besides, they were just goons from Xavier.’
'They were children!’ growled Nightcrawler, 'just children, and now we have to use up medical equipment on them just because of your blood-lust! I despair of you sometimes, Sprial, I really do!’
He turned back to the gathered children, and nodded to Patch, who proceeded to set to work on them, healing their small injuries.
There was a quiet silence, untill at Rita spoke up at last, 'it’s nearly dawn,’ she murmured.
'Ja,’ sighed Nightcrawler, and he was glad for it, it had been one of the longest nights of his life, 'let’s find out what the poll says, shall we? Let’s get this business over with.’
Scott wiggled his numb fingers, and tried not to notice when the huge octopus made a grumbling noise at him. He was currently submerged in the green, streaky water up to his waist, and… *things* kept sliding around and through his legs that he really didn’t want to know about.
“Alex. Yo, Alex, wake up.”
Alex, able to fal asleep anywhere, had done just that, and snorted at his brother’s urgent voice. “Dwa?”
“Shhh. Somthing’s going down. Any chance you know what time it is?"
Blinking in the poor light, Alex recollected his senses enough to shake his head. Scott swore beneath his breath, and looked to where the gaggle of young mutants set to guard them were chuntering excitedly to each other.
"What could get them so het up that they’d stop watching us like flippin; hawks?”
“Uh, just a stab in the dark, but we’ve been down here quite a while now, right?”
“Right…” Scott didn’t like the axious tone Alex’s voice had taken, and twisted slightly to look at the younger man. “Your point being?”
“Welll… you know what’s supposed to happen at dawn, don’t you?”
Scott tok a moment to process, and then swore so mightily it would’ve ruined his credibility had any reporter worth their salt heard it.
“Oh *fuck* me running backwards. That’s *all* we need!”
Kurt slid up to the computer terminal and rested a hand on Tech’s shoulder. The smaller mutant flinched, not having heard his approach, and hastily flipped off the image he was looking at.
“Tell me you’ve been watching the polls and not just porno,” Kurt snapped.
“Uh, yeah boss…. I mean, no boss, uh… It wasn’t porno boss. Just that 'most layable mutant’ thing I told you abou - ”
“I don’t care.” The spaded tail slapped the ground, and Kurt looked across to where General MacAllister was tied to a chair, eyes wide and absolutely stricken with terror beneath the duct tape that was his gag. “Polls. Now.”
“Right.” Tech brought up the relevant window, and peered hard at the screen. His expression wavered for a second, before caving in to trepidation. “Uh, boss… I don’t think you’ll like this…”
Kurt frowned, and turned the screen towards him. “Give him over to the law? What kind of a result is *that*?”
“One chosen by the humans, no doubt.” Spiral, dressed and looking as dangerous as ever, sidled up and rested an arm on his shoulder. Kurt shrugged her off, and she looked angry for a microsecond before shrugging and looking at the screen. “There’ a thirteen per cent gap between that 'kill the bastard’.”
“I *know*, Spiral. What I don;t understand is *why*.” Kurt paced, irritated, and then flung his hands into the air. “Ach, is there any way the votes could’ve been tampered with?”
“Nuh-uh, boss.” Tech shook his head. “I programmed this poll myself. One vote per computer and no more, *wherever* it is.”
MacAllister watched Kurt’s agitated pacing, and flinched when the tail slapped the floor for a final time. “Then we,” the elf snarled potently, “Have a problem, because there is no way I’m handing this cretin over to the 'authorities’ where he can buy his way to freedom.”
Rogue had a bad habit, other than her hacking. It was called eavesdropping. Thus she learned about Worthington senior’s ultimatum before any of the other students at the Institute when Storm called in to report to Xavier. Now what to do about it. She couldn’t let Nightcrawler kill that…even she didn’t have the language to elucidate what she was thinking…when doing so would kill all those innocents. She had to make sure that Nightcrawler knew what was going down. He probably missed out on a lot in the sewers, and she knew just how to do it.
She had yet to vote on the General’s punishment, and she had seen the part of the poll that allowed new categories to be added. There was a fourty character limit, but she knew just what to say. She entered in the new punishment button. She knew that Nightcrawler and his men would be watching all suggestions. She wrote, “Worth. sez U kll Gen, he kill all in proj” He seemed to be a smart man. Hopefully he’d figure out her message.
Kurt and Tech watched as a window for an new punishment came in minutes before the poll closed. It was Rogue’s. It only took Kurt a moment to peice together the disjointed message.
“It seems we have an informant topside. It could be a ploy. Trace the call. Whoever it is has just added a whole new facet to the game.” And with that, he left.
“Oh, puh-lease.” Spiral snorted. “It’s an empty threat. You’d never kill the creep. You won’t kill anything!”
“He killed the rat that was chewing on the power cables…” Tech said softly.
“You know what I mean!” She slapped him across the back of the head. “He won’t kill anything with a discernable IQ!”
“It is against God’s law.” Nightcrawler said flatly.
“God’s law!?” Spiral growled. “Have you looked in a mirror lately? God gave up on you a long time ago! Why the hell should you care about His law?”
Nightcrawler glared at her, absently touching the cross that hung amid the chaos of trophies and other mementoes at his throat. His faith was the only thing he had left now, from a past, a life, that he refused to talk about, and he guarded it ferociously.
“Fine.” He growled, not feeling like arguing with her. “Then it is against MY law!”
“So what are we gonna do with him?” Tech asked. “You gonna turn him over to the authorities?”
Nightcrawler frowned. “If I do…he won’t get what he deserves…though Corban’s testament MIGHT assist us…but if I don’t…” He sighed. “I will make myself a liar…I said I would do what the people chose…”
“Crap!” Spiral hissed. “You’re gonna hand him over?” Nightcrawler didn’t answer, he just looked troubled, lost in his own thoughts. “Damn! You ARE gonna hand him over!” She glanced at MacAllister, looking very smug over his gag.
“Can we at least hand him over in very small pieces?” She asked, fingering the blade of one of her many knives.
“You’re right, liebe… I never *did* say 'whole and unharmed’…” Kurt smirked, entertaining the thought of cutting him a thousand times in several very cruel places.
“Dibs on breaking a knee,” said Spiral. “He’ll remember us for sure if we break a knee.”
Once again, Rita had a knack of saying the wrong thing at the right time.
“You have a point.”
“I’ll get a hammer.”
“You’ll only make him want to hurt us back… anything we do to him - will be visited back on us a thousandfold. We’ve got to just let him go.”
“You *never* let me have any fun!”
Kurt just turned and headed towards Orpheus’ pet.
“Summers,” he said.
“Nightcrawler,” said Summers.
“I may have something of a deal for you.”
“You get to rescue the Herr General, over there, and look good for the papers… provided you send some medical supplies and cash to a specific address.”
“Are you suggesting I *sell* *OUT*?”
“Why not? You’ve done it already. Every day, you walk back into a guilded cage, ne?” Three blue fingers drifted to the crucifix on the chain about his neck, and played with the gold ring there. “Why not look good for your human masters - and help the needy at the same time?”
“You *could* always join us, you know,” Scott hinted. “No more living in the sewers…”
Kurt scoffed, longish nails catching on the ring. It had a diamond in it. “It’d be a betrayal in a way, of what I want. You can’t be free *and* some human’s lapdog.”
“So what’s with the ring?” said Alex.
That one comment - five words long - earned him a glare that would have made the younger Summers brother be glad to see the wrath of Satan.
“Forget I asked,” he murmured.
Scott looked as if he were considering, something, but didn’t want to speak in front of his brother. Heh. With all they’d seen and done, he still chose to play the role of overprotective older brother. That was easy enough to fix.
“Spiral, take the younger one down below. Use Leech to keep him under.”
When they were alone, Scott was quiet for quite a while, planning exactly what to say before he spoke. “If I were to just hand you the supplies, our children would be hurt. If you just set us free, they would be suspicious. Besides, Alex isn’t very good at keeping his mouth shut.”
_Why would he call his brother by name to the enemy?_
Scott continued. “What if we were to somehow manage to escape on out own? Obviously some damage would be done, probably to both sides. Of course, the media would only be sure of damage to us. But then again, there’s no reason for you to fake injury, now is there?”
_Where is this going?_
“Jean especially likes the chocolates from this one shop about two blocks nort of here, Antonia’s. I was planning on going there next Tuesday to pick some up for her birthday. It would be a shame if I were to get attacked. Someone with a lot of skill with computers could order and overnight any kind of medical supplies they wanted with one of the cards I carry in there. The credit cards would be much easier, especially considering what the web is like today. And some postal services will leave packages at any address you give them. Of course, whoever mugged me would have to keep me trapped for a few days to get away with all of this, and you can be sure I’d try to escape. Especially since no-one would look for me for at least one night, since I’ve been planning on staying with a friend. They called yesterday to cancel, but with all the excitement it could have slipped my mind to mention that to anyone. No matter how much I hate my lot, I will protect my team. But you understand, I can’t get you what you want.”
Scott’s gaze had never wavered the entire time.
Kurt chuckled. He liked this man.
“Orpheus. Let him go. We can let Leech watch him.”
Orpheus made a face. “Are you sure this is above the level, boss?”
“Nein, it’s quite underhanded. But it’s *my* kind of underhanded, and I like that.” He made a 'come hither’ motion to Spiral. “Gekommen sie, bring General Idiocy with you. We can put all our bad eggs in one basket.”
“Do I get to beat up on any of them?”
“*MO-O-OM*…” Doctor Jean Grey was on the 'phone. “I have *NOT* given up my doctorate to become a whore! That was *NOT* my idea! It’s a publicity thing and I went under protest!”
She tapped her nails on the wall.
“No. He’s *gay*. Half the stories you heard about that sort of studio are urban myths, Mom. He wanted to make me *look* like a slut, but not *make* me one.”
Tap tap tap tap tap.
“So *what* if fifteen thousand teenage boys are drooling over me? What? Most *what* mutant?” She picked up a pencil and snapped it. “I don’t freaking *BELIEVE* it!” Little bits of kitchen detritous rattled about in the air, orbiting each other and occasionally hitting more solid and permanent fixtures. “I’m going to *KILL* Dann!”
She spent a moment pacing and listening to the other end of the line. “No, I’m not *with* him, there’s nothing wrong with 'that nice Summers boy’… apart from the fact that he’s blander than white rice…” Jean sighed. “*Yes*, Mom, I *know* bland is good for the long haul…”
Meanwhile, Scott and Alex were fighting for their lives.