The Evo world is forever turned upside down when a man named Dr. Nathanial Essex begins a project known as Shadow Cell from which the lives of Scott, Jean, Vincent, Wanda, and X23 are changed forev...
Chapter 14: Just Another Day
In was a cold, stormy night in the skies over the rugged Hindu Kush mountains of Afghanistan. Both the land and air were seemed even in their unforgiving nature towards anything and anybody that was caught in its path. The terrain below was rugged and rough...The sky above was dark, cloudy, and flashing with lightning. Yet despite this, a lone plane flew over the clouds at an altitude of 80,000 feet.
The plane looked alien...As if it were truly something not of this world. It was pretty much one giant wing that looked as though it could cover a few city blocks. It was completely black and the surfaces were completely smooth...Making it sleek, fast, and stealthy. It was an aircraft that was made NOT to be seen by radar or any other means. However, this aircraft was not piloted by aliens...It was piloted by human being.
"Speed holding steady at 700 knots...Bearing set at vector 347. We're just passing over Kabul and we should be over the target area in T-minus five minutes," said the pilot.
"Excellent..." said the Colonel, who had heard the signal from his position in the main control room, "Keep us level and watch for sudden downdrafts. The air up here is very unforgiving."
"Aye sir!" said the pilot as the engines roared through the stormy skies.
Behind the cockpit stood an impressive layout of highly advanced computer systems with processing power and capabilities far beyond anything both the public and the regular military could ever dream of. Every system monitored the area below in every possible scope from infrared to radio communications. Overlooking this vast network was the Colonel, ready at a moments notice to take immediate action to abort the mission, but given their track record...That was a remote possibility at best. Standing beside him was Dr. Nathanial Essex, who wielded no power during times like this and was only allowed to talk to his pupils as they did what they had been trained to do so well for the past eight years. Magnum was also there, watching dutifully as Shadow Cell was once again trust into another situation that threatened the whole of civilization.
"Colonel...All systems are a go," said one of the female computer operators, "It looks like that so called plant up ahead is in full swing even at this hour."
"If our enemy never rests...Then we must do the same," said the Colonel, "How's our cargo in the bomb bay doing?"
"Who, Mayhem?" asked the operator as she looked at the camera overlooking the figure of Vincent Freeman standing nearly motionless in the dimly lit bomb bay, "He's pretty much the same as he has been since we took off. Must be doing that meditating thingy he and the others do again."
"Figures..." said the Colonel, rolling his eyes somewhat, "How are our troops on the ground?"
"Just a second Colonel...I'm sending them a radio signal now," said the main female computer operator as she switched to a lower encrypted bandwidth that all secret communications were done through.
On the ground, four ominous figures stood upon the rough, unforgiving ground in the face of frigid cold and complete darkness. They were all dressed in special suits that were standard for only the most advanced tactical units. They wore rugged, black boots, mildly tight, yet still flexible pants, black gloves, and an all encompassing matching upper body suit. Strew along this suit were special arrays of straps and compartments that all soldiers had for carrying supplies. And in addition, the two holsters that carried their specially hand crafted guns were strewn along both sides of their hips for easy reach and a compartment for their hunting knife was fitted in a special holster just above their chest. Each part of this highly advanced outfit was specially designed and customized for all of them. Each one had a slight different color variation mixed in with the predominantly black outfit with Cyclops's having a touch of light blue, Phoenix having green, the Scarlet Witch having red as her name implied, X23 having a slight gray/black mixture for camouflage reasons, and Mayhem having all black since it often aided with urban combat scenarios. They were uniform of soldiers...But not just any ordinary soldiers. They were the uniforms of Shadow Cell...The uniforms that were worn into the thick of danger.
Cyclops, Phoenix, the Scarlet Witch, and X23 all stood in silent wait for their signal to initiate the mission. Cyclops, Phoenix, and the Scarlet Witch were all on a ridge not far from the perimeter of what looked to be a refinery or chemical plant. It looked somewhat inactive from a distance...But to the well trained eye, it was just brimming with activity. X23 was further away at a vantage point over 500 yards away. She was tasked with a special role for this mission...A role she was known to be the best at. She was equipped with her specially handcrafted sniper rifle and it was completely set up upon a rock where she was silently waiting and overlooking the facility...Watching as figures went in and out, carrying drum after drum of mysterious cargo.
"Man I swear...You could probably sneak a fucking freight train past the boarder patrol in Pakistan," commented Wanda as she laid low with her two other comrades in an area a mere 200 feet from the guarded perimeter.
"It's probably been done before..." said Jean as she used her telepathy to determine just how many enemy soldiers they were dealing with, "And with all the times we've been to this neck of the world, you'd think they'd give up trying to pull anything off here by now."
"Slow learners..." said Wanda as she kept her tone low while Scott was busy looking through a set of binoculars with night vision to look over the area, "So what's in those barrels this time?"
"Well part of the mission is to annihilate this place, Wanda," said Scott as he surveyed the layout of the area that he and the rest of the unit had studied on the long trip to this god forsaken area of the planet, "So I doubt it's filled with medicine."
Just then, their small, specialized radios went off as they got the signal they had been waiting for.
"Ground force...Can you hear me?" said the Colonel into the specially built earpieces that delivered the signal to the team of mutant soldiers.
"Loud and clear Colonel..." answered Cyclops as he kept his sight on the facility through his night-vision binoculars.
"Is everything in position?" he asked as he stood safely above the danger in a high flying B3 megafortress.
"Affirmative..." answered Cyclops, "We're all in the cliffs to the rear and X23 is in place. The front entrance is crawling with fully armed troops, all equipped with enough stolen AK-47s and M63 machine guns to fight a war in North Korea."
"As was expected," said the Colonel, "But you should all be more than capable of handling them."
"We've faced larger forces before, Colonel. You know that," said Cyclops as he watched the activity level heighten within the facility.
"But that's no reason not to take this any less seriously," said the Colonel in response, "This is a vital mission that not even SHIELD would want to risk, but it must be done. Those drums contain enough modified VX influenza to kill every man, woman, and child in the Western hemisphere three times over."
"VX influenza? That virus that makes anthrax look like a skin rash?" said Phoenix, who was also overhearing the signal that was being transmitted to all of them, "I thought we got rid of that shit back in Russia with that splinter group that stole it from the North Koreans?"
"Unfortunately there was a deal beforehand that we just learned of," explained the Colonel, "Part of the initial base strains were sold by a rather crafty profiteer that the Taliban tried to use during Operation Enduring Freedom...But they couldn't manufacture enough of it to make it effective."
"So they went into hiding and have been making it on their own time while most of America is focused on Iraq..." said Wanda, knowing well enough by now how the terrorist game worked, given what they had dealt with before, "And it's in a region close to the Pakistani boarder so it's untouchable by pretty much everybody who wants to avoid an international incident."
"Well said Scarlet Witch," said the Colonel, feeling it was getting rather redundant explaining certain details to missions at this point with everything Shadow Cell had done these past three years since they were put into action, "Which is why you all have been given the task of neutralizing it before it can be deployed."
"Lucky us..." said Cyclops as he heard shouting in Arabic in the distance.
"They're moving the virus out tonight and almost all their primary and secondary personnel teams have come to help," continued the Colonel, "So that means that if we don't stop them tonight...We could have a serious problem throughout major population centers all over the Middle East and Asia by morning."
"So that's why they picked this unruly hour of the night to move out..." said Cyclops as he and the others stood poised to secretly storm the area and put a stop to this grave threat.
"Exactly..." said the Colonel, "Now remember, you won't have a lot of time with this one."
"Yeah, when do we ever?" scoffed Phoenix as she fed images of the layout via telepathy to the rest of the unit.
"Unfortunately...That's how the game is played," said the Colonel, getting somewhat annoyed by their remarks, "And since this is a rather sensitive mission, we'll be watching over you for a change 80,000 feet above in the B3. We'll also be delivering a special...Package via airdrop in a few minutes. That will be your signal to enter."
"Sounds good to me..." said Wanda with a smile, knowing full well the kind of 'package' that the Colonel was talking about, for it was an expression she never got tired of.
"Oh, and another thing...Dr. Essex is here with me," said the Colonel.
"Dr. Essex?" said Cyclops, feeling somewhat shocked along with the others since they rarely came on missions, "What's he doing here?"
"Support Cyclops...I'm here just for support," said Dr. Essex as his voice filled the radio waves of their communicators, evoking somewhat of a reaction in all of them, for this was their mentor speaking.
"Doctor..." said Phoenix, not knowing what his presence here implied.
"Relax my dear students...I volunteered to come here because it is vital for you all to understand that no mission must be seen as 'just another task' for Shadow Cell," said Dr. Essex as he spoke in the wise, knowledgeable tone that they had all come to know so well, "Each day...Each mission...It all brings new challenges for the five of you to face. Whether it be the jungles of the Congo or the deserts of the Middle East...No mission must be seen in the same context as the last. Now I know you all have been fighting and succeeding so dutifully these past three years and it seems that it has gotten to the point where the unit merely moves from crisis to crisis. Yet you must never forget that each mission is like your first. Experience is but a relative term and sometimes one must be reminded of that which makes us all inherently flawed."
Such words gave the soldiers of Shadow Cell something to think about as they prepared to go on yet another high risk, world threatening task. With all the logistics they had learned in order to become soldiers, it was often quite easy to forget the philosophical, humanistic aspect. Dr. Essex, along with Magnum, had become the only anchors keeping them tied to both sides of the spectrum for that of the duty of a soldier...And the spirit of a soldier.
"So what does that make us in this instance?" asked Cyclops over the radio, unable to fully commit his attention to the facility at the sound of Dr. Essex's voice through their communicators.
"It only makes you indifferent to the prospect of success or failure," explained Dr. Essex, "With every one of your great successes...It's easy to forget just how many people are able to live to see the next sunrise because of what you've accomplished. As a soldier...You're trained to be apathetic to all except that which you are told. Yet as a warrior...You must never forget the emotions that drive us all to go above and beyond the mere scope of completing a task. So with this mission...I am here to remind you that no matter how powerful a force you all have become...You are only as strong as the will that you wield."
As these words permeated through the five mutant soldiers of Shadow Cell in their respective area, it helped strengthen their resolve to see this mission through. No matter how many times they faced death both on and off the battlefield, they always had one thing to hold onto...Each other. As a unit, they functioned solely as one, but with the guidance they were given, they were far from being machines. Each individual played their part and fought with every ounce of determination and drive...Yet they always managed to function cohesively. They had grown up together...They had worked to overcome the past together. And now their most solid hope resided in the bond which they all shared...Some more than others.
The mission was on...It was all that mattered now. Life and death were meaningless to them now...Only the mission was their focus. With heightened determination, the five mutant teens that had become the most unstoppable secret force in the history of American military might stood poised to fend off global catastrophe.
"Are you done Dr. Essex?" said the Colonel in a somewhat sarcastic tone as he once again took over, "Now...One last final check. Are you all in position?"
"We're good to go Colonel," affirmed Cyclops as he and his two nearby comrades readied themselves for the fateful moment to come.
"I'm ready..." said X23 as she remained motionless with her sniper rifle firmly in hand upon her perch far back from where her three other teammates were preparing to storm the base.
"Good..." said the Colonel as he switched frequencies to the lone Shadow Cell soldier that currently resided in the aircraft bomb bay, "Mayhem...Did you get that? Do you read?"
In the bomb bay, Vincent Freeman was standing tall near the area where the aircraft would open. It would expose him to bone chilling temperatures that would instantly freeze anybody else who dared to venture outside. He had a specialized mask and cover over his usual uniform that hid his face.
"Mayhem! Answer!" ordered the Colonel impatiently.
"I'm here..." responded Vincent in a low, highly focused tone.
"I can't tell you how annoying that little trick is," said the Colonel distastefully, "I swear, you and the others do it just to annoy me."
Vincent didn't respond to that, not feeling that this was the time to smart mouth the Colonel as he and the others so often did. He stayed focused on the daunting task at hand...One that only someone of his body and power could ever hope to accomplish.
"Anyways, we're nearing the drop point," said the Colonel as Dr. Essex watched with mild amusement at the Colonel's ever present distaste of dealing with the mutants he still despised in many ways, "We're leveling off at just above 80,000 feet. The wind speed outside is around 105 miles per hour and the temperature is minus 96 degrees Fahrenheit. Now keep in mind, you're going to be dropped in the thick of facility. Every guard there is armed to the bone and there's enough deadly cargo surrounding the area to threaten all human life on Earth. Once you hit the ground, the clock starts ticking and your comrades go to work."
Vincent didn't say anything in response again as he simply remained focused on the task at hand just as his comrades on the ground were. They were already in the thick of it...And he was now about to join them.
"I take it from your silence that you understand completely," said the Colonel as he looked at the digital map display to see that they were near the drop point, "In that case...T-minus 60 seconds to drop. Open the bomb bay..."
With a few commands from the pilot, the rear opening of the large, imposing aircraft that was not supposed to exist in the minds of many Americans began to open as a rush of icy air surged through the compartment. Such cold would have frozen even the toughest soldier in their place, but Vincent remained firm and such cold didn't even affect him as the wind filled the bomb bay and he looked out into the darkness of the night sky.
"30 seconds..." said the Colonel as tensions ran high throughout the info center.
Vincent then took a step towards the edge of the bay and looked out onto the thick, stormy clouds that completely covered the area. In his mind, Jean had sent telepathic images of the whole area and with his photographic memory, he had all the guidance he needed through the pitch black night.
Clenching his fists in preparation, Vincent received telepathic word from Jean and the others below that everything was ready and they wouldn't deploy until he made his entrance. In his head, he heard Wanda send her wishes of luck through Jean's telepathy, which actually made him smile somewhat as he prepared to make a leap of faith into the dark night.
"Spread your wings and fly, Mayhem..." said Dr. Essex over the radio with an ominous smile as he delivered the final command.
With one last step...Vincent "Mayhem" Freeman stepped out into the icy air of the night and began falling through the sky at great speeds aided by his flight abilities. After a few tumbles in the air, his body stiffened as he extended both arms directly towards the ground below...Using the image and guidance in his mind and memory to make his way towards the target at tremendous speed.
"The package is on its way Shadow Cell..." said Dr. Essex as the Colonel prepared to take themselves offline for the duration of this very secretive mission, "Prepare to make your move. This will be the last word you hear from us. We shall extract you at the given location, but for now...You're on your own. Make us proud my children...Make yourselves proud...Over and out."
With that said, all communication between the B3 and the five soldiers of Shadow Cell were officially severed and no more contact between them was in play. Now, the only contact they would have would be with each other...And that was all they would need.
As Vincent picked up speed in the air, Scott put his binoculars away on the ground as he and the two girls beside him stayed low, ready to being once they got the signal.
'X23...Are you ready?' said Phoenix via telepathy, which was always their main source of in battle communications since it was efficient, clear, and completely undetectable.
'Aren't I always?' responded X23 as she now had several guards in the rear entrance in her scope with her finger now eagerly against the trigger.
'Then its all Mayhem now...' sent Phoenix, 'When the fireworks begin...The clock starts ticking.'
'How long?' asked X23, keeping close track of the movement of her targets.
'20 seconds...' she replied, doing a quick telepathic sweep to check up on Mayhem as he plummeted to the ground at an ever increasing speed.
'Then I think we all know the drill...' sent Cyclops through the telepathic channel that was now reading loud and clear for all of them thanks to Phoenix, 'We fail...Lots of people die. But we won't...Because failure is never an option. Now I know Dr. Essex said we need to see every mission as if it is our first...But I think that there are a few traditions we should never leave behind. So with that...Let's make it happen...'
With an affirmative signal from each one of the five mutants of Shadow Cell, there was nothing left to do other than prepare to carry out that which they had been trained so ardently for. Three years of constant death defying missions in all corners of the world had hardened them all more than any level of training could hope to muster. And as with tradition, every time they were about to begin a mission, they always used the same signal and the same words to symbolize that unity that was Shadow Cell.
'Kuwabara...Kuwabara...' they all chanted via their minds as the final seconds fell upon them.
Vincent "Mayhem" Freeman had used his flight powers to increase his speed to the point where he was going as fast as a falling meteor. A powerful glow of energy had formed around his hands as the friction of the air caused to heat up tremendously, but Mayhem could take it, for his was invulnerable. And with every mission brought new innovation through which they used their powers to great affect against the enemy. And as the young mutant soldier saw the ground coming fast and the wide cluster of unsuspecting enemy soldiers looking completely oblivious that that which they were about to face, Mayhem clenched his fists and activated his special booster powers that made his whole body glow brightly with intense energy...Giving him the full fledged energy of a falling meteor as he prepared to make the impact that would signal the beginning of yet another mission to save millions of innocent lives.
"Let the Mayhem begin..."
Suddenly, the glowing light from the heated air around Mayhem's hands caught the sight of the unsuspecting Afghan soldiers and before any of them could react, a deafening bang rocked the whole area around them. With overwhelming power, a huge explosion from the sheer force of the impact unleashed a bright light that temporarily blinded those unlucky enough to see it and unleashed a shockwave that knocked the bewildered enemy soldiers off their feet and shattered windows all throughout the facility.
Angry cries and yells in Arabic suddenly erupted throughout the air as one of the soldiers who hadn't been blinded saw a figure emerge from the crater. Mayhem knew he was stepping out into a maelstrom as he easily rose to his feet and ripped off the protective covering of his mask and straps, leaving him in his regular Shadow Cell uniform so the enemy would know who they were about to face. And as the bewildered and unaware troops of the Afghan insurgency began to process what was going on, Vincent "Mayhem" Freeman whipped out a bandana that bore the same Japanese symbol that he had tattooed on his chest and wrapped around his forehead.
"It's an intruder! Quick! Kill him!" yelled one of the soldiers in Arabic who was still trying to get some of the barrels of the virus that had been knocked over by the shockwave into the convoys.
With loud war cries of renewed determination, the dozens upon dozens of heavily armed troops readied their AK-47s and began firing at the rogue intruder.
'Why do they always want to do it the hard way?' thought Mayhem as a lifetime of training kicked in as if it were as easy as breathing.
Bullets bounced off him harmlessly as he used his super speed to perform super fast CQC attacks on several insurgents, snapping their necks, crushing skulls, and throwing them in front of bullets that were meant for him. Then, in a blur of high speed skill, Mayhem grabbed one of the insurgents from behind who was manning a high caliber M63 machine gun mounted on the back of a truck and cut his throat with his hunting knife while turning their own guns against them, using the machine gun to hit barrels of fuel and hitting the engines of several convoy trucks, putting them all out of commission.
As the mayhem ensued in the front, the impact had sent an immediate signal to X23 as she sprung into action, firing off over half a dozen rounds at perimeter guards and opposing snipers in the cliffs that Phoenix had detected. Her specially modified rifle, super human senses, and powerful skill gave them all no chance. She was too far away and too accurate with her gun for any of them to even know what hit them as the contents of their heads blown away by the force of the bullets in a matter of seconds.
'Sentries down...' sent X23, signaling her three waiting comrades to spring into action.
'Good, we're going in. Now jump on your bike and meet up with Mayhem in the front. I'm sure he could use your help,' sent Cyclops in response as he used his powers to unleash an optic blast, opening a hole through the gate where led Phoenix and the Scarlet Witch into the rear loading areas of the facility.
X23 wasted no time as she took her sniper rifle up off the ground, slung it over her back, and jumped onto her all terrain motorcycle. As she made her way down the rugged path, her three fellow teammates found their way into the facility through a loading dock where the convoy trucks had been earlier. Several guards came out through the area having felt the impact from Mayhem, but they were taken down by Cyclops's energy blasts and Jean's pyrokinesis.
As they made their way down the corridors of the facility, the lights flickered from the damage done by Mayhem. However, they knew the layout of the facility thanks to Phoenix and they had their targets in sight as they heard Arabic shouting echo through the halls. In the narrow walkways, the three mutant soldiers whipped out one of their guns and hunting knives for CQC combat. In confined areas like this, firearms were usually more effective than powers since they were more focused and in a place of such size, there was no shortage of targets.
With each turn down the halls, they met more and more guards scrambling to get to their emergency posts. Cyclops, Phoenix, and the Scarlet Witch managed to return fire, but some did get lucky and got a few shots off with their AK-47s...However, with Phoenix's telekinetic shielding and the Scarlet Witch's hexing, they didn't have a chance of landing any hits. Some enemy soldiers popped out of nowhere from rooms all along the halls, but they were quickly neutralized and killed with CQC.
The deeper they went the more obstacles they faced. Then, they finally got to one of the main junctures where the path to the most secured areas of the facility diverged and this is where the next phase in the mission was to take place.
'Scarlet Witch! You take the left! That's where their computer room is!' sent Cyclops as he used his gun slinging skills to cap two armed security personnel that had emerged from up again, 'Phoenix, come with me! We have to destroy the main vats!'
'Right! I'll meet you both near the front loading areas!' affirmed the Scarlet Witch as she made her way down the left hallway, hexing three unlucky enemy soldiers and shooting them all in the head with her gun in the process.
'Remember...We need those computer files,' reminded Phoenix, 'Without that data, another one of these facilities will be up and running before the week is out!'
'Don't worry, I know how these pricks operate!' replied Wanda as she briefly stood flat against a corner before leaping out into the open with two guns drawn this time, taking down five more guards before they could get a shot off, 'Radical militants may be great fighters, but some of their computer skills are marginal at best.'
As Cyclops and Phoenix encountered their own difficulties on their end, the Scarlet Witch faced three more high level officials armed with European made MP5s near the main access doorway to the computer room. They knew someone was coming, but they didn't know that she had hexing powers. And as she made her way down the final corner, she used her hexing abilities to make each powerful gun explode right in the faces of the bewildered men carrying them, causing them all to scream out in pain just as they felt their bodies levitated into the air where the Scarlet Witch drained the life out of them and slammed their corpses against the wall, leaving the path to the computer room open.
There was a powerful security lock and a heavy steel reinforced door to the main computer room, but thanks to a little hexing, the door was warped into scrap metal and cast aside as the Scarlet Witch wasted no time and finding the main computer and feverishly typing away to get the info she needed.
As she began to hack the systems as she had been trained so ardently to do, more guards came to the area, most likely out of protocol to destroy all sensitive data in wake of an attack. The Scarlet Witch was forced to divert part of her attention away from the computer screen to hex or shoot each intruder as they came. Then, as her mind worked feverishly to find what she wanted, she hit a snag.
"Shit! PGP pro XL 4 encryption!" she cursed, "This is going to take longer than I thought..."
Then suddenly, another guard stormed into the room, but was quickly hexed to the point where his head nearly popped off as the Scarlet Witch reached into her pocket and pulled out a USB flash drive and inserted it into one of the sockets. On this drive, a powerful decryption program that she herself had created with the help of the others went to work tearing apart the highly encrypted data while she simultaneously searched for the files she needed.
Time was ticking away and she knew she would have to make up for it after this was done. The surge of guards had seemed to die off with only two more coming throughout the rest of the decryption process, both of which were greeted with a couple of bullets through the head. Then finally, the files she needed were located as her decrypting program finished the job. Using an empty disk that she had brought, she quickly copied the files and removed her flash drive. Then, she used her powerful hexing abilities to destroy the room with a burst of destructive force, hoping Cyclops and Phoenix were having better luck than her.
As the Scarlet Witch finished up on her end, Cyclops and Phoenix had made their way down a far more elaborate maze of corridors that were all crawling with heavily armed guards. Cyclops had used optic and energy blasts to blow them all away into a heap of bloody mangled flesh while Phoenix knocked them back with her telekinesis or fried them to the bone like a T-bone steak. Some guards managed to pop out and surprise them, but they met the same fate as the others as they were either shot or decapitated with their knives.
'Cyclops! We're almost there!' she sent as she recognized the area from the telepathic images she had memorized along with the others.
'Good! How many do you sense in the main area?' he replied as he fired another optic blasts down the hall where nearly half a dozen armed guards had tried to block their path.
'At least 30!' she responded as she used her telekinesis to slam a couple of insurgents up against the walls, turning them both into bloody messes.
'Damn!' cursed Cyclops, 'That's way more than we expected!'
'I guess we'll just have to work around it!'
Then, once they got to the main entrance into the heart of the facility, they were greeted with large, imposing metal doors that were many times bigger than the ones the Scarlet Witch had faced. But since time was of the essence here, they didn't slow down in the slightest as Cyclops used his powers at a higher level to tap large amounts of energy that made his body glow the bright ruby red color of his blasts. While Phoenix was preparing to help, she was forced to fend off several pesky guards that had heard the racket they had caused and scrambled to fight it. However, thanks to a few gunshots and some pyrokinesis, they didn't stand a chance.
Then, as Cyclops channeled the energy that now resided in his body into one huge blast that would blown the flesh off of anyone who was in it's way, he unleashed a blast that mangled the heavy steel doors into scrap metal, allowing both him and Phoenix to enter the main processing facility where the modified VX influenza virus was manufactured in great quantities.
Every guard in the room wore biohazard suits, but Cyclops and Phoenix had the advanced body chemistry of a delta class mutant, so no virus stood a snowball's chance in hell against them as they wasted no time in taking down the guards.
"The seal is broken! Shoot them! Shoot them damn it!" yelled one of the guards in Arabic.
"Too late assholes!" grunted Cyclops as he opened fire along with Phoenix.
Much their disadvantage, the people who operated this area weren't armed and stood little chance against the firepower of Cyclops and Phoenix. Some were armed with pistols and a few assault rifles, but it wasn't much at all as many of the occupants of the large room scrambled. Up on the higher catwalks that overlooked the vats, some enemy soldiers tried to get a good position for a clear shot, but such moves made them easy targets for Cyclops's destructive optic blats that shredded the catwalks like a hot knife through butter, sending them all falling to their deaths.
Higher up in the main control facility, three of the chief scientists responsible for these agents of death were scrambling to unleash the vats, hoping to kill off the intruders one way or another, but Jean sensed their minds and quickly sent them powerful psychic seizures, wiping out their minds and killing them with only her thoughts. Some guards tried to run, escaping on motorized fork lifts with barrels of the virus, but Phoenix's telekinesis stopped each of them cold in their tracks and flung the still bewildered men against the hard metal vats without mercy, making sure that none were left alive in this monstrous ploy for global genocide.
'Phoenix! The vats!' sent Cyclops with his thoughts as the last few armed soldiers fell to gunfire, optic blats, and fireballs from pyrokinesis, 'We have to destroy them all!'
'I'm on it!' replied Phoenix as she took to the air with her telekinesis and hovered near the center of the large, spacious area, 'Time to burn this fucking hell hole to the ground!'
Fire enveloped her body as she summoned her powerful pyrokinetic abilities and began setting the whole area ablaze. There was fuel and gasoline all around the area to run the machinery, providing ample sources to feed the fire. While Phoenix turned up the heat, Cyclops went to work as well, putting away his guns and knife and summoning large amounts of energy, making his body glow brightly as he unleashed enormous blasts that tore apart the large metal vats with a deafening bang. The powdery contents inside were all burned away and the elaborate machinery was blasted to bits by the fire and energy bursts of Cyclops and Phoenix.
Some of the guards and workers unlucky enough to still be in the area were met with a fiery fate or blown apart into globs of flesh from ruby red bolts of energy. However, this did not affect the two mutant soldiers in the slightest. They were warriors without mercy and in the face of their enemies, they would not hold back in sending them all to meet their maker.
'We did it, Cyclops! That's the last one!' sent Phoenix as she launched one last fireball at vat that Cyclops had just blown apart to take care of the virus.
'Good! Now what do you say we get the hell out of here!' he sent back to her as he glow around his body faded and she descended back to the ground.
'Sounds like a plan!' she sent as she met up with her long time friend and teammate and made their way to the front to meet up with the Scarlet Witch, Mayhem, and X23.
As each vat was blown away and every speck of the virus was burnt to a crisp, all that was left was to clear out the remaining enemy forces. The sealed entry paths that had separated the heavily sterilized manufacturing area and the loading docks for the convoy trucks had multiple levels to ensure security and cleanliness, but in wake of the powerful fires and blasts, they were all pretty much open for the two mutant soldiers to make their way out.
Along the way, Cyclops and Phoenix had to use optic blasts and telekinesis to blow through the remaining barriers, but luckily, there were no armed guards along the way since many of them had fled in wake of the breach. Then, as they entered the loading areas where there were still many empty convoy trucks and armed jeeps and motorcycles, the noises of the ensuing battle outside could clearly be heard.
'Scarlet Witch! Where are you?' sent Jean with her telepathy, not seeing her anywhere as she and Cyclops feverishly scanned the area for her.
Just then, three more assault rifle toting militants who were attempting to flee on a few motorcycles appeared and Cyclops and Phoenix immediately leapt into action, hitting the ground and firing off several deadly shots. More guards came and the two mutant soldiers were prepared to fight back, when suddenly the bodies of the enemy soldiers were levitated in a mysterious purple glow that Cyclops and Phoenix knew all too well. The unfortunate men let out cries of pain as their bodies were practically ripped apart in a bloody mess and from the maelstrom of flesh and gore, the Scarlet Witch emerged from the shadows.
'Sorry I'm late,' she sent the both of them, 'Got a little held up back there.'
'Yeah, so did we,' responded Cyclops, 'Did you get the files?'
'Oh come on Cyclops, I'm too good for that,' scoffed the Scarlet Witch.
'Don't get cocky,' said Phoenix as she mounted one of the motorcycles and hot wired it, 'It's not over yet. Mayhem and X23 are still out in the thick of it all and some of the convoys with the virus will slip through if we don't help them.'
'Then what are we waiting for?' exclaimed the Scarlet witch as she jumped onto a motorcycle and hot wired with the help of her hexing powers, 'Let's go lend them a hand!'
'Right! But before that...You know what to do,' said Cyclops as he jumped on the last motorcycle and started it up as they all began making their way out into the roaring melee in the front entrance.
With an affirmative nod, the Scarlet Witch stayed back briefly as she closed her eyes and began to concentrate her hexing powers on key points of the large structure. With all her training and experience as a soldier of Shadow Cell, Wanda Maximoff was second to none when it came to efficient demolition. She could take down any building, any time, anywhere and this was no exception. The enhancements to her powers all those years ago from the bio-mutagenic accelerator had given her a range and intensity well beyond that which she was capable of before and with a few well placed hex bolts, the key steel support beams that held the facility up were warped and weakened on a molecular level as the whole area started to shake violently and the electricity shorted out.
Following the signal of Phonix's telepathic guidance, Cyclops and the Scarlet Witch made their way through the collapsing structure on their motorcycles and with a powerful optic blast from Cyclops, they had an opening in the main gate as they all rode out into the firestorm, passing numerous bodies in the process that had succumbed to Mayhem and X23's wrath.
The radical militants armed only with their AK-47s and their desire to die for their cause still swarmed the two mutant soldiers with great ferocity as they tried in vain to fight back. However, Mayhem's speedy CQC and invulnerability make him practically unstoppable as he took down enemy after enemy without mercy, shooting them in the head, crushing their skulls, and cutting their throats so fast that he moved in a blur.
For X23, her gun slinging skills for which were second only to Magnum's downed wave after wave of guards from distances both near and far. Her speed and agility with her nimble young body allowed her to perform acrobatic maneuvers that coupled with the firing of her trusty handcrafted guns, left mounds of dead terrorists in her wake. Those unfortunate enough to get close met a far more bloody fate with her adamantium claws that sliced through flesh unabated and without mercy as she let out animalistic growls into the night, fighting with all her power to carry out this mission along with her comrades.
Both Mayhem and X23 had been holding their own for some time now as more trucks armed with M63 machine guns and convoys carrying drums of the virus were blown up in huge balls of fire. However, with each second that passed, their focus became more and more on Cyclops, Phoenix, and the Scarlet Witch...Knowing that the final move would only be made once they showed up.
'Damn it!' cursed Mayhem inwardly as he felt several rounds bounce of his invulnerable form and turned to fire three bullets into the head of the unlucky enemy who did it, 'Guys, where are you?! Some of the convoys are going to get through!'
'Not if I have anything to say about it!' replied X23 as she turned towards one of the roads where some of the insurgents were trying to escape.
However, just then she felt a round hit her in the arm, which only seemed to further enrage her as she unsheathed her claws and pounced upon the man that fired that shot and disemboweled him while he screamed in pain. The wound quickly healed and X23 had a very high pain tolerance, so it didn't affect her in the slightest. However, it did divert her attention long enough to allow three convoys to get further down the road. Both she and Mayhem were prepared to go after, when suddenly they heard a deafening bang from the facility and heard the sound of three motorcycles coming fast.
Cyclops, Phoenix, and the Scarlet Witch were now out of the crumbling facility and there were still a few guards lingering around the area, all of which tried to take them down, but it only caused them to meet with bullets, fireballs, optic blasts, and hex bolts. Then, once they were far enough, Cyclops turned back and channeled vast amounts of energy from the area around him. Both Phoenix and the Scarlet Witch covered him as Scott looked back through the darkness to see a few more clusters of terrorist lingering near the building trying to save what they could. However, no resource of theirs would be saved...Not while Shadow Cell was on guard.
With a single loud yell into the night, Cyclops unleashed a massive concentrated beam of energy that he channeled through both his hands and directed it to the already crumbling structure. As soon as the beam impacted, the sheer release of energy blew the building apart, causing it to fall to erupt into a fireball that consumed any of the personnel that were unlucky enough to be near the area.
'Another world threatening facility...Up in smoke,' mused Cyclops as he struggled to catch his breath from all the power he had just used.
'Amen to that Cyclops,' sent Phoenix through their link as both she and the Scarlet Witch admired the fiery display, 'Now come on...Let's finish them!'
With an affirmative nod, the three mutant soldiers made their way down the rugged terrain, capping off and killing insurgents as they saw them. Some tried to hide, but they could never hide from Phoenix's telepathy. As they got close to the road, they saw X23 and Mayhem still taking down clusters of guards in a quick, bloody swoop. Upon nearing their position, Phoenix and the Scarlet Witch used their powers to do a quick sweep of telekinetic and hexing force to knock the surrounding enemies off their feet, leaving them prone to bullets and pyrokinetic blasts.
'Hey hotshot, care for a lift?' smirked the Scarlet Witch as she pulled up alongside Mayhem, who couldn't help but grin at her little remark.
'You know me...How could I ever refuse?' replied Mayhem as he leapt onto the back of the motorcycle while X23 jumped onto the back of Phoenix's motorcycle.
'There are still three convoys and at least six trucks down the road!' sent X23 as they began to accelerate on their bikes down the rugged roads of the Hindu Kush mountains.
'Do they have drums of the virus?' asked Cyclops.
'Affirmative! I could smell it!' replied X23.
'Well they can run, but that won't make a damn bit of difference for us!' said Phoenix, who already had them in her telepathic sights, 'Let's go!'
As they sped off on their bikes into the night, they followed Phoenix's telepathic guidance as their small, nimble motorcycles had a much easier time overcoming the rugged terrain compared to the large, bulky trucks and convoys. Many of the enemy soldiers were still struggling to ascertain what had just happened and how so many of their comrades had fallen to a mere five soldiers. But that wasn't their primary concern now...All they wanted was to get their precious cargo away from the maelstrom. However, it didn't take long before the sound of motorcycles began to echo though the air and several trucks armed with a platoon of armed soldiers sprang into action.
"They're coming! They're coming!" they shouted in Arabic as they readied their guns for combat.
However, before they could get a shot off they were met with a powerful ball of fire from Phoenix's pyrokinesis that quickly consumed them all and caused the truck to veer off a cliff and explode into a fireball. Panicked yells echoed over the sound of the motors as they shot blindly into the dark, but this only worked to the advantage of Shadow Cell because the flash of their guns gave their position away.
With the gap between them closing in, two of the trucks abruptly began to swerve and catch fire as hex bolts from the Scarlet Witch mangled the vehicles and the unlucky occupants. One of the convoys was now in sight and Cyclops had a clear view thanks to some of the fiery explosion from the trucks. With one perfectly aimed optic blast, the first convoy was blasted to smithereens as it exploded from the force, taking the deadly virus and another one of the trucks with it.
As they sped to catch up with the other two convoys, more trucks assaulted them along the way, but since they didn't know what the hell they were shooting at, they merely hit air as the flash of their guns gave X23 an easy shot with her guns, taking down the shooters in the back and blasting out the tires, causing the truck to veer off another rugged cliff and sending all the occupants to their deaths.
Upon nearing another convoy carrying more of the virus, the Scarlet Witch accelerated the motorcycle so she could get closer and managed to stay behind in a blind spot so the drivers armed with Pakistani made pistols couldn't fire back.
'This one's mine...' sent Mayhem as he launched a couple of small energy blasts at the rear tires, causing it to violently swerve and veer off a cliff, exploding into another fireball that rose from the rocky ground below.
'Nice shot! That leaves only one left!' sent Cyclops as he pointed out the final convoy which was quite a distance away, yet perfectly in sight as it drove past an adjacent cliff.
'It's far...But not far enough!' said X23 through her thoughts as she grabbed her sniper rifle, which was still on a sling in her back, and positioned herself for one clear shot, 'Keep it steady Phoenix! I think I can hit the engine from this angle!'
'In this terrain, that's not going to be easy,' sent Phoenix in response, 'But I'll do my best.'
As they all slowed their speed somewhat to make sure they would have the best possible angle for X23 to shoot from, the young 14 year old girl that had been trained to be an expert soldier focused her thoughts and concentration on this one shot. She was moving at nearly 50 miles per hour on the back of a speeding motorcycle going over rugged mountain terrain aiming at a moving target. It seemed like an impossible shot, but those were the kind of shots she was best at as she slowed her breathing, focused her eyes, and gritted her teeth in determination as she eagerly fingered the trigger of her rifle for one well-placed shot.
'One shot...One kill...One shot...One kill,' she chanted in her mind over and over again, saying to herself the very motto of every sniper.
Then, with a fraction of a second to work her skill, X23 squeezed the trigger and unleashed a single shot...And almost immediately, the engine to the convoy truck erupted in flame as the bullet hit the volatile fuel and ignited the gas. Pained screams from the enemies echoed through the night as the abrupt explosion slowed the convoy, causing the remaining two trucks to smash into it and explode as well, adding to the fiery explosion as it consumed both the men and the drums of the virus.
With a quick telepathic sweep, Phoenix determined that there were no survivors and with a quick sniff of the air from X23, it was affirmed that the virus was destroyed and would never unleash its deadly wrath upon the world. With every last enemy now dead, the five mutant soldiers stopped on their motorcycles and watched the brilliant display of fire and destruction before them in a daze.
Now that the adrenaline of combat had worn off, the five soldiers of Shadow Cell were given a quiet moment to witness the success of yet another mission. Cyclops snaked his arm around Phoenix's waist as they both managed a small smile while Mayhem and the Scarlet Witch seemed to do the same, holding onto one another's hand as they were finally allowed to catch their breath and take in the now calm air.
The five mutants of Shadow Cell that had been trained and refined since childhood to be unstoppable soldiers of death had never been prone to excessive displays of emotion when it came to combat. But no matter how many missions they went on or how many parts of the planet they traveled to in order to stop world threatening plots, the feeling of succeeding and saving so many lives that would have otherwise perished as a result was something that always struck a chord deep within their minds. They had lost count how many times America and the world had come close to the brink of disaster, but for Scott Summers, Jean Grey, Vincent Freeman, Wanda Maximoff, and X23...It was just another day in the life and world of Shadow Cell.
AN: Quite a life, isn't it? This is the kind of stuff that Scott, Jean, Vince, Wanda, and X23 have lived in this universe. They are now at the ages they are in the main plotline of the show and their lives are remarkably different. Since their past was erased, their lives are all centered around Shadow Cell. Yet in this world Professor Xavier, the X-men, and the Brotherhood all still exist, but many things are different now. You'll see these differences as this fic progresses and rest assured, they will be major! This is the universe I have created...The universe of Shadow Cell. Scott, Jean, Vincent, Wanda, and X23 are very different now and the world of X-men is now forever on it's heels in this story! Oh, and by the way, that chant they said, "Kuwabara, Kuwabara," was something I added in because it sounded cool. For anybody who's played Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, which I remind you inspired this fic, you may recognize those words from Colonel Volgin. I don't know what they mean, but I just think they sound cool! So what do you think of it so far? Do you like this somewhat different universe for the mutants of Shadow Cell? Do you want to see just how much this changes the overall X-men: Evolution universe? Please tell me! Send me your reviews via email or post them on the website! I don't care what you do as long as you REVIEW! Thanks a lot for reading everybody! I wish you all the best!
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