Fanfic Time: X-Wars, part 22

Continued from yesterday:

  Sunset in New York, the buildings painted golden in the light, reaching fingers of shadows streatched across the city.

  Spyke watched the light slide across the landscape from his bed. His soft, warm, bed, so unlike his bunk back at the lab.

  He heard the door to the ward open, heard the footsteps, nearly put his exoskeliton on, just out of habit.

  ‘Evan…’ the soft voice, one so like his aunty.

  He turned, looked at her, she was holding another mug of milk, this one was warm.

  'I thought you’d like something to help you get to sleep,’ she said, and handed it too him, he sniffed it, hoping it was’t drugged, then drank it. Hot milk, with a hint of honey.

  When finished he placed the mug down and rolled over, so he wouldn’t have to see her face. The woman picked up the empty mug with a sigh and started to leave the room. Evan could almost hear the sadness in her foot falls.

  She had reached the door and was just opening it when Evan’s voice, a little hoase, sounded out behind her.

  'Thank you.’

  She turned, but found that he still had his back to her, she waited a second, then seeing no further response was forthcoming, she left, softly closing the door behind her.

  Ororo Munroe, then moved to the soft chair, placed outside Evan’s room, and collapsed in it. She smiled.

  'Thank you.’

  It wasn’t much, but it was a start. She curled up into the chair, determined to sleep this night, and possibly many others, there. She would never leave her little nephew alone again.


  See that fading sunlight as it streatches across the city. In another area of the building it streaks thrugh the windows of different ward, where five more children sleep, having just been scrubbed clean of paint. They rest in soft beds, peacefully, unafriad of any monsters, perhaps for the first time in their lives. Outside their little ward Logan paces the corridors, ensuring that their sleep is not disturbed.


  On the top of the building, watching the golden rays, two figures sit, a man and a woman, both angelic in their forms. They talk and whisper to themselves, sharing the beauty of the sunset.


  A little way away, in Winchester, more sleep, or talk, or relax. Jean sleeps in her bed, lulled into rest by the soft flickering light of the TV. Scott and Havok also watch TV, and old movie, they laugh and throw popcorn at the screan, each glad that the other is safe.

  Gambit stands alone, watching the sunset, he shuffles cards absently in his hands, his eyes as crimson as the fading light.

  Xavier taps away on a keyboard, doing research, checking the internet, discovering the latest mutant opinion.

  A few room away, the younger mutants, Rogue, Catseye, Rahne, Sam, and others whisper and talk among themselves from bed to bed.

  Collossus, alone in his bedroom, paints his latest artwork, this one of what look like a demon, it’s fur a rich blue, it’s eyes glowing golden. The artist steps away from his canvas a few times, he is unsure of his viewpoint. Perhaps the dying red light of the setting sun is tainting his memory.


  This light does not reach everywhere, though. In the darkness of the sewers, where no natual light reaches, sleeps another. A blue furred demon, he is huddled up in a ball. In this stance he looks almost small, kitten like, vulnerable. Occasionlly he mutters and moves in restless dreaming. A woman comes to him, with six arms she holds a blanket, which she carefully wraps round him, hoping to give him some measure of peace and comfort.


  Above this tender scene, up, up, through the hard rock, through concrete, through empty rooms, is an office. An office which is filled with chrimson light. An office which faces the Humane Foundation building. A man stands at the large window of this office, looking out onto the city, onto the Humane Foundation building, or the Haven, as the people of New York have come to dub it.

  He cannot make out the sleepers within it, but he guesses they are there. A frown creases his features, a worried look, pity… concern perhaps. Then he sneers and shakes his head. He grips the corners of the thick curtains surrounding the window. Giving the sunset one last glance, Graydon Creed closes the curtains with a vicious yank, blocking out the last of the sunlight, sending the room into velvet darkness. 


 [1] quick idea, what if Anilee only erased the human part of Sharon’s brain of the Morlock tunnels, maybe the cat part still remembers. This could be a useful plot device if we ever wanted to get the X-men to find the LotU’s hideout. Just an idea.

 [2] Professor Squid - I was watching a Stan Lee documentary today, and apparently this was the original working title for Doctor Octopus. Gotta love those references, ne?

 [3] Yes, I’m guest-starring the cops from _Law and Order_

 [4] Yup, more X-Force (later renamed X-Statix) for you. Sluk only appeared in the one issue, and died before the story even took place, so I’m not entirely sure what his powers were, but his face was completely covered in orange, gloopy tentacles.

 [5] thought it’d be more interesting if we made Hank pre-blue stage, it’s another interesting story line for us to explore later, right? And yeah, I agree with 'Nutter this one episode should finish soon.

 [6] Yeah, that was Evan, whether he’s Storm’s nephew or not , and whether she knows it, is up to us to decide later. I thought I’d be interesting to have a 'trouble maker’ among the sweet tots, someone a bit bitter. Just an idea. 

 [7] I stole that line from someone else’s EvoFic, but I can’t remember which one. Kudos, whoever you are.

 [8] That’s what *Logan* thinks :) William’s physical mutation - serrated bone claws - has yet to manifest. Logan’s claws were changed to adamantium, something we learned when the Overrated One lost his adamantium skeleton for a while :)

 [9] Remember that?

::Chapter:_:Three: Rain of Terror

  General MacAllister was talking to his people, and his people were talking about something *very* different.

  “With the Military Secrets act–”

  “–though this isn’t technically a time of war–”

  “Perhaps we can obfuscate that.”

  McAllister slammed his fist on the table. “SHUT THE FUCK UP ABOUT THE TRIAL!”

  His people shrank.


  “I *know* where those mutant fuckers live. We can *hit* them while they’re unaware. We can strike them while they’re down.”

  “Is that wise, sir? The PR–”

  “Will not hit the fan because the *jury* is going to be *sequestered*,” said MacAllister. “And who cares about PR when we can take down a bunch of psychotic, mutant, terrorist, monster *freaks*?”

  They looked at each other.

  “Sir… uh. We’re legal division?”

  MacAllister sighed. “Then *get* hold of someone who still has their *BALLS* attached and tell them to flood the fucking *sewers*!”

  “Flood the sewers,” repeated a legal aide.

  “That’s where the enemy is, soldier. That’s where we strike. We’ll drown 'em like rats.”

  “But rats can–”



  “Then get moving and follow orders! Huphuphup!”

  They scurried from the room like cockroaches from a light. Lawyers. The necessary vermin.

  “We’ll get 'em in one strike,” he muttered. “And *win*…”


  Warren Worthington III was doing a talkshow spot. They’d given him a stool to perch on so he wouldn’t dislocate his wings on the high-backed chairs.

  “You -ah- walk around like that every day?”

  The wings flexed and ruffled. “Out in the open? Why not? Like I said, I’m tired of hiding, and mutants should *not* have to hide. I wouldn’t be a man of my word if I turned up with a coat thrown over them, would I?”

  “Well, yeah… but your mutation is -uh- kinda obvious. Aren’t you worried about snipers yelling, 'aim for the guy with the wings’?”

  Warren laughed. “I’m not looking for any tickertape parades, or keys to the city. Right now, I’m worried about the kids.”

  “Oh yes, all those little mutie kids. Can I call them muties? Or is that a hate word?”

  “You can call them muties if I can call you a flatscan,” Warren grinned. “I understand the very human need to insult something new. It’s understandable. I might not *like* it, but it’s understandable.”

  “So -uh- how many kids have you got in there, exactly?”

  “Exactly? Six hundred and forty-seven.”

  “Six *hundred* and– *whoah*. And you’ve been running *how* long? Two days?”

  “Forty-eight hours as of now.”

  “Jesus -whoops- um. Do you -uh- object to blasphemy?”

  “I’m an atheist, Rob. I don’t believe a kind and loving God would let something like that happen to that many innocent kids.”

  Rob whistled. “Okay… So the natural question now is - how did you *cope* with three hundred kids a day? Do you expect this inflow to continue?”

  “I certainly hope it slows to a trickle,” Warren laughed. “We - well… we winged it.”

  The band played a rim shot.

  “Thankyou. We *were* very lucky that the X-Men called ahead about the survivors. Otherwise, we’d have had only fifty beds and no chances whatsoever. I owe Sandra Mayberry a *very* large paycheque at the end of this week. Mwa.” He blew a kiss to the camera. “You’re a gem.”

  “And Sandra is your…?”

  “Life-saver,” said Warren. “Relax. She’s happily married, a mother of three. *Normal*, before you ask… and almost scary when it comes to organising the enormous *mess* we had on our laps on the first day.”

  “How hectic *was* day one?”

  “We were doing okay until the fateful phone call. Then it was one insane scramble to get everything in place. Alison drafted homeless people, since we needed a workforce on the spot and–”

  “Whoah. *Homeless* people? Seriously?”

  “Seriously. She picked about twenty people who had 'will work for food’ cards and offered them lunch with strings attached.” Warren laughed again. “All of them were *very* serious about getting the work done. Very dedicated. In fact, many of them are staying on for R&D, care and maintenance, security, therapy. One’s even a teacher.”

  “And you trust them around the kids?”

  “They’re a *LOT* less dangerous than the people who had them before, Rob. Besides, we have a security guy who comes with an inbuilt set of ginsu knives. You’d know him as Wolverine?”

  “Oh, yeah… I think I remember him. Quit the X-Men at the introductory press conferance. Told Shawn Dann where he could shove his mike.”

  “That’s why I like him,” said Warren. “With Logan around, nobody’s going to make one wrong *move* around the kids. They’re not even going to *think* about it.”

  “Wow. Can we see some of the kids? Do we have a video?”

  “Well, yes. I bought a tape of some of the quieter, more adjusted ones. And the babies.”

  “There’s *babies*?”

  “Near as we figure, they were stolen from maternity wards, so their families may still be alive,” said Warren. The tape played. “I know, you think babies look alike… well, they don’t to their Moms. And I am appealing for any recently-bereaved Moms to take a look at this video and come to us if you spot someone familliar.”

  “Aaaaaaaaaaaaawwww…” cooed Rob. “Aren’t they the cutest? This is supposed to be the mutant terror?”


  Nightcrawler turned off the TV. “*I’m* the mutant terror,” he said. “Pity they’ve forgotten about it.”

  “Hey, at least they aren’t hunting us, right?” said Tech.

  “And we’re all eating better,” added Marrow.

  “*Some* of us are,” muttered Spiral.

  “Enough,” said Nightcrawler. “I had a full meal.”

  “Yeah. When I sat on you,” said Spiral. “Had a full meal since then?”

  Nightcrawler looked away. “That’s none of your business.”

  “You *made* it my business, Boss.”

  “Pft! Who am I hurting, liebe? *Really*?”

  Spiral had no immediate answer.


  Forge blinked as an alert sprang up on his system. Keywords: Mutant, nest, eradicate, strike and kill.


  He read the memo.


  He activated one of his emergency accounts and used it to send the memo to one Doctor Jean Grey. If she couldn’t stop it outright, she’d at least be able to get a warning through. She had, after all, met the Morlock leader - sorry, *Legion* leader - once before. She’d have a feel for his mind at the very least.

  Now, if only he could get a warning to the Morlocks themselves…

  Pity he hadn’t found a way. Not yet.


  Jean was hunched over her keyboard.  She’d been checking her usual haunts, which…she was too ashamed to admit to anyone…included that ludicrous poll on which mutant people considered the most seductive…well, the actual term was layable, but she found that so demeaning.  It was even more demeaning that for the past week she had had a healthy lead on the competition, made worse by the fact that whoever designed the website chose that awful picture of her…

  She arched a brow when she discovered that her picture no longer graced the number one spot.  Instead there was a lovely pencil sketch of a demon.  A demon she knew only too well.  A demon that now had a 37% lead over her.  She frowned.  'Just goes to show you…’ She thought. 'There are a lot of sickoes on the Internet…' 

  Jean looked up from the keyboard as her e-mail pinged at her. Thoughts of the blue mutant, 'He does have amazing cheekbones…’, leaving her as she retrieved the newly arrived message.  It was flagged at the highest priority, but she wasn’t familiar with the handle of the sender, so she automatically scanned it for viruses. It was clean, so she opened it.  

  It was a memo…forwarded to her from the unknown sender…it looked very official…

  “By order of General MacAllister…” She breathed.  "The mutants lead by the terrorist known as Nightcrawler have built themselves a headquarters beneath the city…this nest is to be eradicated in a pre-emptive strike at 0300 hours tomorrow morning by breaching the walls at the Hudson River and flooding the tunnels.  When the waters have subsided, three platoons will be sent in to kill any remaining mutants…

  “Oh my God…”

  She glanced at the clock.  It was nearly 11:30…only three and a half hours to find him…warn him…and get them out of there…

  She had no idea how many mutants he had down there…she knew many of them were children…and would they believe her anyway?  No…he was a reasonable man…and he truly cared for his people.  He knew what MacAllister was.  He’d listen.

  Or she would make him listen!


  “Hey, Boss! Hey, Boss!”

  “Pauline? Was ist–?”

  “It'sasurfacer, asunsideran'shecamedownthewaytheothertwodid, an'nowOrpheushasgot'eran'hesayshe'sgonnafeed'erto*Steve*!” The small child known as Pauline took a deep breath. “Yagottacomequickan'tell'im*no*!”

  Nightcrawler leaped up and *ran*. It didn’t matter which surface he ran on, or how many legs he ran on, but that he got there before a life was ended.

  Octy the squid[1] was suspending a slightly bedraggled redhead over a very hungry aligator.

  “Thou shalt not kill, Orpheus,” said Nightcrawler.

  “Rats,” muttered Spiral. “You *never* let me have any fun.”

  “Liebchen… what did I tell you about strategic genius?”

  Spiral mumbled something.

  “Was? I didn’t hear.”

  “I have the strategic capacity of an overripe courgette[2],” Spiral grated.

  “Sehr gut. Orpheus? Put the sunsider safely down, will you? Let’s see what she came here to say, hm?”

  Jean Grey coughed and spluttered when she regained her feet. “You’ve got,” she wheezed, “to get out of here. MacAllister… he’s going to flood the sewers…”

  Nightcrawler turned and pulled a cord, and klaxons began to sound. “Evac! Evac! Spiral, go with Jean and shut 4, 7, 9 and 12 doors. I’ll get the rest!”



  “Damn,” said Spiral. “Come on, hotpockets. Time to dance.”


  “Hotpockets?” Jean wondered as Spiral pulled her into the newly opened portal.

  “Over there!”  Three arms shoved her in the back, pushing her towards a rusty chain.  Spiral’s six hands clasped it and began to pull. “C'mon!” She growled.  "This sucker’s heavy!“

  "How many of these things are there?” Jean asked as she took up position on the other side of the massive, metal-toothed pulley. She gripped the chain, wrinkling her nose at the sliminess of it. She could easily just use her mind to do it…but something told her that this job was going to require more muscle than that.

  “Twelve all up.” Spiral said after a moment’s pause.  She wasn’t sure just how much she should be telling the X-Man.

  “So Nightcrawler’s handling eight?”  Jean frowned.

  “Don’t let his svelteness fool ya…” Spiral grunted as she yanked on the chain.  "Guy’s nothing but muscle.“

  Jean picked up a flash from Spiral’s mind that made her want to blush. There was an awful lot of frustration in there too…so she could tell that Spiral’s erotic fantasies concerning the blue mutant were just that…fantasies…he hadn’t lain a misshapen hand on her.

  She could also sense the hostility directed towards her.  Spiral didn’t like her on so many levels.  She saw Jean as some kind of perfect woman, beautiful, desirable, able to walk where she herself never could. And then Jean got a flash of a dark haired woman…a woman that was all that…a woman that Spiral had once been…

  She must have gasped out loud, because Spiral threw her a dirty look. She doubled her effort on the chain, and between her mind, her arms and Spiral’s six, they soon had the massive gate down.

  "All righty then.”  Spiral beamed as she wiped her hands on her pants legs.  "One own…three to go…“ She grabbed Jean by the collar and danced into another portal.


  "Raus! Raus! Raus!” Kurt pushed each small runner through the safety of the portal. “I don’t care whose candy it was. Go! It’s not worth your verdammt *lives*!”

  They were through. Every last one. He almost *climbed* the chain in his hurry to seal the door, but had to grip the ground with his feet.

  He was, as Spiral said, all muscle. But that muscle had been wasting slowly away through lack of nutrition. His body was eating itself.

  Next week, he swore, he’d start looking after himself. All he had to do was survive today.

  The door shut with a solid boom and he moved on to the next one. Halfway there. How much time was running out?

  Nobody to clear out. Sehr gut. He pulled on the mechanism and sealed the door. On to the next one. Nobody, but the gears were rusted and it was tough going. How much *time* did they have left? Did he hear water rushing in the tunnels or was it just a train?

  Move, move, move…


  On to the next one. Gott, he was tired. He moved to the chain and tugged a little… then he saw the small figure crouching on the 'wet’ side of the wall.

  “Ach!” He moved to pick the kid up. Juliet. She was petting a wounded kitten. “Gekommen sie, madchen…”

  “Broken,” she said.

  “Ja ja ja. Sehr gut.” He placed her down and tugged on the chain.

  Juliet, for some unknown reason, wanted to heal her prize on the dangerous side. He had to hold her back with his tail.

  And the verdammt chain wouldn’t *move*!


  Kurt continued to tug on the chain, but it continued to refuse to cooperate.  He lifted his feet off the ground, hoping his body weight would help.  He snarled when it still refused to move.  He looked up, frowning when he saw something in the shadows above.

  “Stay here!”  He said to Juliet, pointing to a spot on the ground on the 'dry’ side of the wall.  

  She nodded her ascent without even looking up at him.  She just petted the kitten and kept murmuring “Broken…” over and over again. 

  He let out an exasperated sigh, and hoped to God she’d stay put as he scrambled up the chain.  He frowned as he reached the top.  "I am going to KILL them if we survive this!“  He grumbled to himself.

  Someone had painted a crude bull’s-eye on the top of the mechanism. There was mud, slime, webbing and Lord only knew what else gumming up the gears.  There was no way he was going to get the door closed without first removing all the gunk.  He closed his eyes as he sunk his fingers into the mess, trying not to think about just what the ooze squishing between his fingers consisted of.

  Juliet looked up from the kitten as great globules of muck began to rain down into the water below.  She stepped away, sheltering the little ball of fur as best she could.  Kurt, too busy with the slime removal, didn’t notice her walk back into the danger side…


  ”…aaaaaannnnd–“ {Slammmmm…} ”*Four*!“ Spiral dusted her hands. This took some time. "Done and *done*. You do good work-outs to keep up with me, hotpockets.”

  …fear. Very real, very deep. Adult fear. Mired. Two fingers and a thumb struggling to get rid of it and get *out* and in his ears, the rushing of water…

  “Nightcrawler’s in trouble,” said Jean. “Something about the door mechanism. Stuck.”


  “I don’t know… it’s rusted and mucky…” she concentrated on finding a number. “Three. I see a three.”

  “Then come on!” Spiral grabbed her and danced…


  “Juliet!”  Nightcrawler yelled, spotting the girl wandering with her kitten, stroking it absently, on the wrong side of the door.  "Get back here!“  He twisted, instinctively, stupidly, reaching out for her, despite the fact that she was a good number of feet below him.

  The water was beginning to move much faster now…and it was getting a lot deeper.  He had to get this door down.  And he had to get Juliet out of danger.  And he had to do it fast.  He took a firm grip on the remaining gunk, concentrating on what he could see, and teleported. 

  He reappeared on the cold, wet floor, feeling more than a little dizzy.  Too much too often, he knew he’d pushed himself past his limits. He looked down, his eyes widening when he noticed the water was now swirling around his knees.  He heard Juliet scream.  He dropped the gunk and ran towards the sound of her cry… 

  She was clinging to a rusty pole in the middle of the rapidly swelling stream with one arm, the other holding the now mewling kitten above the raging waters.  She was sobbing in great terrible gulps.  She looked at him imploringly.  He reached a hand out towards her.  If she wasn’t holding the kitten she probably could have reached him.  But he didn’t expect her to sacrifice its tiny life for her own.  He quickly peeled off his armour and waded into the swell.

  The force of it threatened to pull him off his feet, he knew it wouldn’t be much longer before they were under water.  "Come, sweetheart…” He plucked her off the metal strut, turning him in his arms so she could wrap her arms around his neck.  "This is no place for man, mutant or feline…“

  He struggled back towards the tiny ledge, only just above the waterline, he noted.  He winced at the sudden flash of a very bright, and very familiar light.

  "Spiral!”  He yelled.  "Get her out of here!“  He held the child towards his second in command.

  "C'mon!”  Spiral reached for him.  "We’ve ALL gotta get out of here!“

  "Nein!”  He shook his head.  "I have to get that gate closed!  We’ll lose everything!“

  "You’re more important!”  Spiral told him.

  “Do as I say, Spiral!”  He commanded.  "I will be right behind you!“

  She glared at him as she snatched the child from his arms.  "C'mon, hotpockets, let’s book.”

  “I can help him.”  Jean said.

  “I cannot ask you to risk your life…” Nightcrawler began.

  “And you can’t stop me.”  Jean cut him off.  "I can hold back the water while you get that clear.“  She pointed at the gate mechanism. "Then you can get us the hell out of here!”

  Nightcrawler and Spiral exchanged a glance.  There was a certain amount of amusement in it…but also a lot of respect.

  “I find is it unwise to argue with a lady…” He said with a toothy grin.


  Jean frowned and glared at the water. It wobbled as her strength ebbed and flowed, and Nightcrawler cursed and dug at the gears with all four gouging limbs.

  “Broken…” said Juliet.

  “Verdammt. Spiral! Get her *out* of here!”

  “But *boss*… What if you–?”

  “I can get out fine. *GO*!”

  Spiral opened the portal, but in order to do so, she had to put Juliet down…

  The child immediately went to the nearest creature that felt pain.


  One fatal flaw. One lapse of concentration…

  The water fell towards Juliet…

  Nightcrawler leaped, snatching up the child and tossing her wholesale into the portal… but the water had him. He grabbed hold of a pipe in passing. Glared intently at the shore where Jean and Spiral stood watching.


  “Ach! Misfire!”

  Those might as well have been his last words, since the water took him away.

  “You get that damn gate closed!” Jean screamed, then dove, unthinking, into the torrent.


  Kurt closed his eyes and tried to go limp.  It was all he could do just to keep his head above water, there was no way he could possibly swim against such a ferocious current.  He knew he didn’t have the strength left to try another teleport.  Besides, even if he did it would be too dangerous to make the attempt, he was moving too fast to get a lock on a safe arrival point.

  He felt strangely calm.  He remembered reading somewhere that happened when you knew you were going to die.

  'Well…’ He thought as he wrapped heave fingers around the mementoes at his throat.  'At least we will be together again…’

  Jean grasped for Nightcrawler’s mind…he couldn’t be too far ahead of her.  She feared what she might find in there, but she had to do it. She wondered absently if he thought in English or German…

  'At least we will be together again…’

  'What the…?’  

  The thought was serene, almost wistful.  The last thought of a drowning man.  Not if she had anything to do with it!  She may not totally agree with his methods…but he certainly didn’t deserve to die!



  Nightcrawler gasped as another mind touched his.  He was angry at the intrusion.  He knew who it was.  He knew all about the X-Men…and their powers.  He wondered just how much she’d seen…

  'Get out of my head, woman!’ He growled at her, tightening the grip on the ring.  He could feel the water tearing at him, and though he didn’t care if he lost everything else, he couldn’t afford to lose the ring…

  It was all he had left of her…