Takes place 2 years after Apocalypse, 1 year after the Phoenix. The mutant problem has grown and a obscure general named William Stryker thinks he has a solution. Has Scott/Jean, Wanda/Kurt, Kitty/...
Chapter 29: Out of the Fire
It was around 8 PM in Washington DC in the northwestern region of some of the more improvised parts of the city. The night was crystal clear except through the haze that hung over the city like an eerie halo. All around the city, people went about their nightly business as military patrols and helicopters combed the streets. If anybody had taken a closer look, they would have seen the Friends of Humanity emblems decorated on their uniforms, however because of the news and media the public had been so pumped full of fear that they didn't even try to question the actions of their government or the military. What other choice did they have?
As the feeling of fear hung thick over the district and the rest of the world, Charles Xavier and Eric Lensherr stood atop one of the abandoned buildings, looking at the small image of the Washington monument in the distance. They had been in hiding for nearly three days now...And they would soon come out of it for what promised to be the most ambitious course of action since their battle with Apocalypse. But despite this, neither man was scared. They had faced too many horrors in their long, illustrious lives to be scared by something like this. Now, their only concern was the children.
"You know it's funny Charles..." mused Eric as he looked over at the DC skyline in the distance, "When I first came here, I believed that America was the land of tolerance. I thought that anybody, no matter how different they were, would have the rights here that so many other places had denied them. Now look at it...I feel almost as though I were back in Nazi Germany."
"I understand your feelings old friend," said Xavier, "Everything has gotten to the point where everything is governed by fear. And mutants are the scapegoats. The United States is far from a perfect land...But the ideals of which it stands for are still worth fighting for. And that's what we must do."
"The odds are most certainly stacked against us Charles," said Eric as he looked at the military convoys in the distance and the ominous aircraft over Regan National Airport.
"That they are old friend...But we mustn't let the Friends of Humanity win. They are tainting this country and everything it was founded upon. Their control over everything must end before it gets to the point where there's no going back. This war between humans and mutants can only cause suffering for the both of us. The mutants are being killed like animals, the humans are being forced to live in a perpetual state of fear...Such an existence must be fought."
"And do you think peace can finally reign after all this Xavier? After all my preaching and everything we've seen...Is it possible?" asked Eric.
"It's most certainly better than the latter my friend. This war isn't between humans and mutants, it's between mutants and the Friends of Humanity. I've always believed that people are good for the most part while a select few become tainted and seek nothing more than destruction. And it is those people that we must fight against...It is those people that we must triumph over in order to bring a better tomorrow."
Eric thought about this as he felt the warm, gentle wind of the summer night. For so long now, he had been fighting against humanity...But after these past two years, he was finally starting to see things clearly. Everything was just so much more complex than he ever could have imagined and at some point, he had negated that. Now here he was, alongside his peace-loving friend, determined to fight and win for peace and understanding, not war and bloodshed. Whether or not it worked was still something that remained to be seen...But the old holocaust survivor refused to let himself fall back into old habits and fight for what he knew was right...Not just for him, but for his children as well.
"Well...We mustn't keep our public waiting Charles," said Eric as he prepared to use his powers to bring them to the Capitol.
They were just about to go, when Xavier quickly heard a noise on his laptop.
"Magnus wait!" said Xavier abruptly as he quickly opened his laptop.
"What is it Charles?"
"I just received some email from..." Xavier's eyes then widened in surprise, "Well I'll be...It's from Scott and Jean."
"What's in it?" asked Magneto as he took a look at the screen.
"I'm not sure, I'm downloading it now."
As the seconds ticked by, large streams of data began filtering into Charles Xavier's computer. One by one, the pieces of information about William Stryker and the Friends of Humanity were revealed before the two eager men. Everything from Stryker's past, to his education, to the way the Friends of Humanity had infiltrated the government and media was revealed in picture after picture and document after document. Bank statements, financial records, and pictures all showed the extent of Stryker's deception and ambition. It was definitely shocking to read...But it was the ammo they needed in their fight to end this bloodshed once and for all.
"My god...One man Charles," mused Magneto, "How can one man and his hate drive so much carnage?"
"Not just one man my friend..." said Xavier, "A madman...A tyrant...One man leading a group of extremists with limitless wealth and connections, using hatred towards mutants as a catalyst for his own ambitions. This...Is what we have to fight against. And now we have what we need to show the world the truth."
"Then we had better hurry," said Eric as he prepared to levitate them into the air with his powers, "The whole world must see this for themselves."
The alarms throughout the base blared ever louder as the team of surviving mutants gathered near the elevators.
"What the hell is going on?!" yelled Logan over the noise.
"It's the security system!" yelled Scott in response, "I think we must have activated it when we powered this place up!"
"Well then who's making it go off?" said Raven.
Just then, the lights above them began to flicker and the ground began to lightly rumble.
"I don't like the sound of that..." said Pietro, getting a familiar ominous feeling about this whole situation.
The lights flickered again as the rumbling increased in intensity. Knowing that this wasn't something they wanted to stick around for, everybody scurried into the elevator and ascended to the first floor hanger.
"You think that maybe they found us?" asked Kitty as another round of rumbling hit the structure.
"Knowing Stryker, I wouldn't doubt it Kitty," answered Jean as the door opened and everybody stepped out.
Just then, Logan and X23 stopped and focused on an ominous noise in the distance.
"Logan, what is it?" said Raven, knowing that he had to be sensing something.
"Helicopters..." answered the Wolverine simply.
"A lot of them," added X23.
"Shit...They found us," said Scott as the lights once again flickered around them.
"Great, so what do we do now?" said Alex, not looking forward to facing an army of heavily armed helicopters bearing down on their position.
"Same thing as last time...We escape," said Scott.
"But they have the whole fucking area surrounded!" bellowed Logan.
"Then we'll have to improvise," said Scott as he quickly looked around and formulated a plan, "The X-jet...We have to protect it! This hanger may be armored, but most of the other structures underground aren't."
"So what do we do?" said Mystique as another round of shaking caused some of them to nearly lose their balance.
"Well for one thing, we don't leave out the hanger we came in, they'll be expecting that," said Scott as the noise of helicopter blades soon became audible for everybody to hear, "But we also know that there's another hanger exit to the east side with it's own independent power source! We'll have to use that and draw their fire to the front entrance so we can have enough time to get away."
"So let me get this straight...You say we need to lure out and draw the firepower of dozens of helicopters and God knows how many fully armed troops?" said Wolverine, "What are our chances?"
"Not good..." answered Jean.
"Sounds like fun..." grinned Logan.
Everybody present had faced seemingly impossible so many times these past few weeks that one more didn't seem like a big deal. If this was the fight that they were going to have to go through in order to get to Stryker...So be it.
"Come on guys! Let's go welcome our guests!" said Scott as he and the others quickly made their way towards the front hanger door, "Kurt, Kitty...Get to the X-jet and fire it up! Prepare the secondary hanger and call Jean when you're ready!"
"Aye captain!" said Kurt with a salute as he grabbed Kitty's arm and teleported to the X-jet.
Outside the thick hanger door, hundreds of troops had surrounded the area fully armed with advanced M-16 assault rifles and backed up with fully equipped Apache attack helicopters. Many had descended upon the front entrance while the planes overhead pounded the structure with bunker busting bombs. Now all that stood in their way was a thick hanger door.
"All units, fix bayonets!" ordered the field Captain, "Apache leader one...Blow us an opening!"
"With pleasure," responded the pilot of the helicopter.
Then, three Apache helicopters fired four armor-piercing hellfire missiles and shattered the large hanger door with a deafening bang. When the smoke and fire cleared, a gaping hole took shape and the soldiers prepared to make their move.
"Marine platoon 6616...Move in!" yelled the field captain as he cocked his Friends of Humanity issued MP5.
But just as the troops made their initial dash out of their concealed positions, a sudden gust of wind flew past them and each marine felt their assault rifles ripped out of their hand from an unknown force. This caused the entire platoon to stop cold in their tracks as the source of this force was revealed.
"Naughty, naughty..." said Pietro 'Quicksilver' Maximoff as he held all their guns now and tossed them away, "Little boys and girls ought to know that guns are dangerous. Now...I think you all deserve a little time-out!"
Just then, the rest of the surviving mutants appeared out of the hole made by the missiles and stormed their way forward into the maelstrom of the battle.
"X-men! Move out!" yelled Scott as everybody quickly scattered and began to fight against the invading army once more.
A sudden burst of telekinesis from Jean and hex bolts from Wanda sent the helicopters that had blasted to doors falling to the ground in a twisted heap. Other soldiers were driven back by Scott and Alex's energy blasts.
"Hell yeah!" yelled Alex as he looked over at his brother and continued blasting against the military, "More thrilling than ten 30 footers!"
"Don't get cocky surfer boy!" said Scott as he and his brother quickly took cover in the trees and began shooting at incoming Apaches.
However, there was no shortage of troops and ordinance for the invading forces. Many more fully equipped Apaches remained and many more soldiers stood ready to compliment the forward positions. Upon seeing the concentrations of the targets by the hanger door, the main field captain issued a major order.
"All forces! Reinforce the south end! I repeat, all are to get over here to the south end! The targets are here! Quickly, take them all out!"
Apache helicopters and fully armed marines that had been patrolling the other areas around the base quickly followed orders and made their way over to the south end. More reinforcements were already on their way and each soldier remained confident that they would surround and overwhelm their targets. The ground continued to rumble from the bombs dropped by the F/A-18s and the F-16s overhead. But that only served to bolster the troops' spirits as they were urged on by their Friend's of Humanity officers.
"Come on! This ends here!" yelled the captain as the Apaches began launching several rocket attacks, only to have them deflected by Jean and Wanda.
On the ground, dozens of marines swarmed the wooded areas fully armed with assault rifles, hell bent on killing their targets. However, for Wolverine and X23, the trees were their domain and they were the ones that had the upper hand. As a group of marines carefully scanned the area around them, they kept their night vision goggles on and their fingers on the trigger, ready for any mutant that came their way...Or so they thought.
"Where are they?" grunted one of the soldiers as he peaked around the tree.
Just then, a rustling was heard above him and a booming voice echoed from above.
"Right here bub!" yelled Logan as he descended upon the surprised marines with his claws fully drawn.
Not wasting any time, Wolverine tore into the soldiers before they could react, slicing their guns like a hot knife through butter. Some still tried to attack him, but they were only knocked back by his animalistic reflexes and brute strength. Quickly, the small groups of marines were left to retreat from the angry mutant's wrath.
"We need back up here!" yelled one of the marines as he was thrown against a tree by Logan.
"We're already on our way!" said a nearby group as they quickly rushed to the aid of their comrades.
"Oh no you're not!" growled another animal-like voice from above.
As Logan had with the others, X23 had surprised the group of heavily armed marines enough to launch an all out attack, slicing through their weapons with her adamantium claws. With reflexes and skill that she had mastered since birth, she easily overwhelmed and fought off the marines as they too were forced to flee from the angry teenage girl that had grown up in a lab.
"Damn! We need serious firepower here!" yelled one of the marine leaders as X23 threw him to the ground with an inhuman level of strength, "This bitch is nuts!"
"Sit tight soldier," replied a nearby Apache over the radio, "We're coming!"
As Logan and X23 forced the platoon of marines to retreat, they were suddenly met with a hovering, heavily armed Apache flying not far above them.
"Die fuckin' muties!" yelled the pilot fired the 30 caliber machine gun at the two targets.
"Get down kid!" yelled Logan as he used his quick reflexes to shove X23 out of the way and behind one of the thick trees, taking a slight graze from one of the bullets.
Behind the tree, the two former living weapons remained more or less trapped in their position as the lone helicopter continued to bear down on their position.
"You can run but you cannot hide freaks!" said the pilot as he prepared to fire one of the rockets.
However, before his finger could push the button, he was suddenly ambushed by a lone black bird that flew into the open window and caused him to fall back in his seat. Then, the bird shifted back into Mystique's form as she gave the two occupants of the helicopter a swift kick, knocking one of them out the side and sending him falling through the branches and onto the soft ground while leaving the other sitting before a very angry mutant woman.
"Learn to expect the unexpected, murderer!" yelled Mystique as she grabbed him by the collar and threw him out the side.
Armed with a fully equipped Apache, Mystique turned the powerful helicopter on other attackers and began frantically firing the machine gun and launching rockets at both the ground and air. This caused many nearby soldiers to take cover or become vulnerable to Logan and X23 as the resumed their counterattack against those that had sparked this battle.
As Mystique emptied the helicopter of ordinance, other nearby Apache's closed in on her and were prepared to shoot her down. But before they could, Mystique made one last move to get out all the usefulness out of this helicopter she could. Taking control of the flight mechanisms, the shape shifter soon sent the craft on a one way collision course with one of the large Chinook helicopters that was still in the process of deploying armored vehicles. As soon as it was close, she bailed out while the soldiers below quickly abandoned their vehicles and fled from the inevitable crash. And as Mystique made her way back towards Logan and X23 in the form of a black Raven, a deafening bang echoed through the woods as both craft along with all the vehicles exploded in a huge fireball.
"Impressive..." said Logan as he saw the blast from the distance.
"I'm just getting warmed up!" boasted the shape shifter as she appeared beside him and X23 and ran with them back towards one of the creeks leading into the lake for cover.
While Mystique, Logan, and X23 continued their fight in the trees, Pietro, Wanda, and Colossus kept up theirs closer to the lake as they led the army as far away from the secondary hanger exit as possible. Pietro had been nearly killed by these soldiers earlier and now had a bullet permanently lodged in his chest because of them, so he was eager to return the favor. Wanda, and her famous volatile temper, used her hexing powers to keep the bullets away from both her and her twin as well as disabling some of their weapons. However, even without their guns, many of the soldiers still attacked as William Stryker had ordered them to do so. Being marines meant that they were willing to fight to the death and it was clear that they were going to make this battle as difficult as possible for the surviving mutants of the initial attacks.
"Looks like we've got more reinforcements!" said Pietro as he saw several manned jeeps speeding their way while Wanda fended off several mortar attacks with her powers.
"Yes...A lot more from the looks of it comrades," said Piotr as bullets bounced off of his thick metal skin.
"Damn! How many of them are there?" said Wanda as she and Pietro quickly made their way towards a position farther from the lake so they wouldn't be easy targets.
"Too many..." answered Pietro, "Fuzzy and Kitty cat had better hurry it up! In the meantime...This is for the bullets assholes!"
Using his super speed Pietro ran at dizzying speeds towards the cars and sped past them, kicking up a great deal of dirt in the process. The sudden blindness and shock from the dirt had quickly disoriented the occupants of the jeeps causing one to swerve into a ditch while a soldier in another one suddenly felt his rifle go off into the dashboard, hitting the radiator and disabling the vehicle.
"Holy shit, what are the chances?" grinned Pietro as he quickly appeared back alongside his sister as they continued to fight.
On the opposing east of the hill where the terrain was most rugged, Scott, Jean, and Alex dealt with the deployed armored vehicles that had been sent in through the paths that led towards the lake. Armed with optic blasts and cosmic blasts, Scott and Alex managed to disable many of the tough military vehicles one by one, however that only slowed the advance and didn't stop it.
Once again, the three mutants hit the ground as a round from a tank hit near them and they were forced to take cover.
"Damn! There's too many of them!" said Alex as he tried to return fire, but ended up missing.
The noise of the explosions had gotten to the point where it was deafening and it was starting to affect Jean's concentration. However, thanks to the years of mental discipline and a power boost from her encounter with the Phoenix, she managed to keep the three of them shielded. But it was clear that they were running out of time.
"You're right Alex...We can't stop them all!" said Scott over the noise, "We just need to hold them back and wait for Kurt and Kitty to come through!"
"Well they better hurry..." struggled Jean as she deflected another hellfire missile from an Apache helicopter in the distance.
Scott quickly adjusted his visor for distance shots and took careful aim at incoming Apache's while Alex kept blasting the ground vehicles. After a few well-aimed shots, Scott managed to down three helicopters while Alex created a brief ditch in the path, forcing the vehicles to go around.
From above, F-16 and F/A-18s continued dropping bombs on their position, but Jean managed to use her telekinesis to deflect them enough so that they fell closer to other soldiers rather than them. However, they all remained careful to not kill, for they didn't want to give the world any more reason to fear mutants.
As Jean deflected another bomb, several more rockets soon came speeding towards them from a distant Apache attack helicopter. Immediately, Scott saw the faint flares thanks to the darkened background.
"I got em! Keep deflecting the bombs Jean!" yelled Scott as he took aim and fired.
Years of target practice in the danger room had paid off as Scott quickly managed to hit every projectile even if some of them were a little too close for comfort.
"Nice shootin' bro!" said Alex as he let out another blast towards an incoming group of jeeps.
As the jets in the air flew over the area and turned around to make another pass, Jean was left to shield her boyfriend and his brother once again as the rate of fire increased. While they were slowing down the advance to some extent, Jean could with her powers that it was only a matter of time before they overwhelmed them all.
'Scott...' sent Jean through their link, 'I can sense more...A lot more. They're coming in over the ridge. We have to get out of here! There's too many of them! We can't keep this up forever!'
'Just hold on Jean...' urged Scott as he kept firing frantic optic blasts into the distance, 'I know you can do it baby. Just a little longer...'
The distance between each group of mutants and the invading military was closing fast despite their best efforts. Nothing would stop them, for there were only so much eight mutants could do against an entire army fully equipped with some of the best gear in the world. Everybody soon found themselves retreating for cover as the concentration of firepower grew more intense on the area. However, trees and ditches only did so much before they were obliterated by artillery and bombs, forcing the surviving mutants to find another place to take cover.
As the jets overhead prepared for another bombardment of heavy bombs, Jean suddenly got the call they had all been waiting for.
'Jean...It's Kitty. We're ready! Kurt's coming out to get everybody as right now!' Jean heard in her mind.
"Jean! What is it?" said Scott, noticing the sudden change in Jean's expression.
"The X-jet is ready! Kurt's coming for us!" said Jean as she put up another shield to deflect a round of incoming mortars.
"Well it's about time!" said Alex as he shot another round of cosmic blasts at menacing Apache.
After a few tense moments, the three mutants were relieved to see their blue, furry friend appear behind them, ready for transport.
"Let's go Nightcrawler!" said Scott as he shot another rocket as it got within 50 feet of their position.
"No need to tell me twice!" said the German born mutant as he quickly grasped his three friends and teleported to the X-jet.
Upon arriving in the hanger, Scott, Jean and Alex quickly made their way in. Scott manned the cockpit while Jean sat beside him and Alex behind Scott. The control panels were all lit up and everything seemed ready to go. Now, they just needed the rest of their friends.
"Good job Kurt," said Jean as she strapped herself in, "Now hurry up and get the others. I'll guide you with my telepathy. Now hurry!"
Using the brief mental flashes from Jean, Kurt quickly transported himself to Pietro, Piotr, and Wanda as they took cover behind a bush while hundreds of rounds of bullets whizzed by them at an increasing rate.
"All aboard the Nightcrawler express!" said Kurt over the noise.
"Kurt! Thank God!" said Wanda as she quickly threw her arms around his neck while the bullets continued to zoom by them.
This action was somewhat disturbing to Pietro as he saw the way his sister reacted to Kurt's presence, but in the thick of battle he wasn't able to think too much of it as he grabbed on and prepared to port out.
Upon dropping Colossus and the Maximoff twins off in the jet, Kurt quickly received another telepathic message from Jean showing him the location of Mystique, Wolverine, and X23. Once again, he wasted no time in teleporting out into the blaze of gunfire and mortars.
Upon arriving, he found Logan and X23 tearing into a group of attacking marines that had tried to sneak up on them...Which only turned out to be a big mistake on their part. Both former living weapons tore through their rifles with their claws, rendering them useless. However, that didn't stop any of them from attacking, but they proved to be little match for the two mutants.
"Wolverine! X23! Come on! Ve have to get out of here!" yelled Kurt as he was forced to use his agility to dodge an incoming attack from one of the marines.
"I'm not done yet!" growled X23, who seemed to be in full animal mode now.
"Yes you are! Now hurry up kid! We have get out of here and fight the source!" yelled Logan over the noise.
With an angry grunt, X23 managed to separate her mind from the fury of combat, something she was seldom able to do...But now that she had friends and because of Logan, she had all the more reason to be strong. Both Logan and X23 soon gathered alongside Kurt, but Mystique was still nowhere in sight.
"Vait! Vhere's my mother?!" yelled Kurt as a sudden sense of dread came over him.
However, unknown to him, on of the armed Friends of Humanity officer that Wolverine and X23 had missed managed to sneak up behind the blue mutant. There was a narrow window of opportunity for him to take out the targets and he intended to make good use of it. Upon taking aim, he prepared to finish what they had come here to do.
"You muties are fucked now!" bellowed the soldier as the three mutants turned around in shock to see the raging man before them.
However, before he could fire his gun, Mystique appeared from the bushes beside him and swiftly knocked the gun out of his hand and drop kicked the man to the ground before he could even take notice of her.
"That's...For pointing a gun at my son," said Mystique as Kurt let out a massive sigh of relief.
"Mother come on! Ve have to go now!" urged Kurt as the three mutants grabbed on to him.
"Can't argue with that!" said Mystique as she and the others saw more Apache helicopter descending towards the area.
With one last trip, everybody was safely in the hanger and on the X-jet.
"Okay...Is everybody here?" asked Scott as he did one last check of the system.
"Everybody's here mien friend!" confirmed Kurt, "Now let's get out of here!"
"In that case...Hold onto your butts."
Everybody quickly strapped in as the anxiety in the plane grew. Fighting off the attacks had been intense and if this was how hard it was to fight the army from a distance, then that didn't show too much promise for when they finally went up against Stryker. But nobody had expected this fight to be easy. Now, they were about to leave one challenge and face the next as Scott fired up the engines and the plane began accelerating. Everybody held on as the G-forces started to take effect and the end of the tunnel got closer and closer.
Outside the hanger, many of the troops had stopped fighting as their targets once again disappeared from view. This, of course, did not sit well with the Friends of Humanity officers present as the quickly scanned the area for any sign of the targets.
"Damn it! Where did those freaks go?" grunted the field captain as he picked up his communicator and switched it to and encrypted bandwidth, "General Stryker, we've lost sight of the targets. They all just disappeared somehow. The troops were saying it was the teleporter."
Over the line and back at the Pentagon, William Stryker had watched the battle unfold before his eyes with little change in his demeanor. Many shots of charred earth and confused, yet alert soldiers dotted the large video screens in the central control room. However, Stryker remained calm much in the same way he had since this whole thing began.
"Calm down Captain. That teleporter must be the one they call Nightcrawler. His range is limited to two miles so don't be dissuaded. They're still there. That much you can be sure of."
"But where could they have gone sir?" asked the captain.
But before anything else could be said, one of the subordinate colonels saw something and let out a quick yell to the others.
"Sir! The lake! Something's happening in the lake!"
The captain along with many other marines and officers soon turned their attention towards the lake that had remained in the center of the whole battlefield. But something strange was happening within the waters. Even from a distance, large bubbles could be seen boiling up on the surface by some mysterious force. Stryker also saw this from one of the unmanned aerial vehicles flying over head and soon a slow smile creped across his face as though he knew what it meant.
Then suddenly, a powerful burst shattered the surface of the water and the X-jet came speeding out like a rocket into the night sky.
"Well I'll be damned," said the Captain as he and the rest of his soldiers looked back at what they were seeing.
Back in Washington, the smug grin on Stryker's face only grew wider as he looked at his targets fleeing once again from his wrath.
"These freaks...If they weren't so predictable they almost wouldn't be worth killing...Almost," said Stryker as he switched the frequency on his headset to another bandwidth, "Attention wildcat interceptor squadron...As I predicted, the survivors have once again tried to flee in that jet of theirs. But this time, we are prepared. You are all flying the most advanced fighter jet in the United States arsenal...The F-22 Raptor. There are three of you and one of them. On my order...Blow those freaks out of the sky."
"Sir, yes sir!" said the three elite pilots in the F-22s as they followed their advanced radar to the small, almost unnoticeable blip.
Aboard the X-jet, everybody breathed a sigh of relief as they cleared the lake area and ascended to 20,000 feet. The ride out of the secret opening had been bumpy to say the least, but the SR-77 Blackbird held together and got them out once again. But as the surviving mutants of the initial attacks tried to catch their breath from such an intense fight, Scott Summers, who was flying the plane, caught something on the radar screen.
"Oh shit?" said Logan as he saw the expression on Scott's face, "What do you mean 'oh shit?!'"
"We've got company...Three interceptors closing fast!" said Scott as he increased the speed of the aircraft.
"Well can't this thing outrun them?" asked Pietro as the plane began to vibrate as a result of the engine being fired up.
Scott took another look at the radar, but only managed to grunt in frustration as it merely confirmed what he had feared.
"Outrunning these guys aren't an option," said Scott as he kicked in the afterburner, "I'd recognize those radar spikes anywhere...They're no bigger than birds, yet they fly nearly as fast as this jet does. They could only be the F-22 Raptor, the US Air Forces next generation air superiority fighter."
Everybody looked back at the young man strangely.
"Discovery channel..." he explained.
Logan rolled his eyes at that as the X-jet was switched into a fighter mode.
"Well can you out fly them kid?!" grunted Logan over the noise of the engine.
"I'm not sure," said Scott, knowing full well the speed and power of the F-22, "Only one way to find out! Hold on!"
Knowing that this would put every ounce of his flying abilities to the test, Scott had one last thought go through his mind...One that Jean picked on and couldn't help but smile at.
'Dad...Wherever you are...I know you're watching, so this is for you.'
Using the advanced avionics of the SR-77, Scott took evasive maneuvers, but the three bogeys from behind only followed him closely as they prepared their weapons to take down their targets with one single blow.
"Looks like we got us a dogfight here!" said the wing leader as he and his two wingmen broke formation and took action against the movies of the Blackbird.
Back in Washington DC, William Stryker along with many other subordinate officers watched intently at the epic air battle unfolding before them. Now, the fight was on...But Stryker seemed the only one not worried, for he kept smiling the whole time.
With the power of the X-jet, Scott took the plane into a risky nosedive back towards the ground at dizzying speeds while the three F-22s quickly matched his move. One of them had the craft slipping in and out of the targeting radar because of the stealth, but as they got closer in range the signal got stronger. The three planes were now flying different attack patters and their positions were scrambled to be in and around the area the X-jet.
"Standard cornering maneuver..." said Scott as he identified the pattern, "Time to kick it into high gear."
Everybody held on to their seats as Scott ignited the afterburners once more and began to ascend.
"Clever little devil..." said one of the pilots as he followed the trail, "I'm going after them. I think I can get a lock on at this range...I just need to get a little bet closer..."
In the X-jet, the targeting alarms suddenly went off, indicating that they had been locked onto by one of the jets. But before Scott could take any action, the pilot of the F-22 beat him to the punch.
"Wildcat 2...Fox 2!"
Two advanced, medium range sidewinder missiles then deployed out of the compartments from the aircraft and were sent flying towards the X-jet at great speeds.
"We've got incoming!" said Jean, as she saw the controls from the co-pilot's seat.
"I see them!" said Scott, "Hold on!"
With a quick jerk of the controls, Scott made a sharp vertical U-turn in mid flight and was now flying directly towards the aircraft that had just fired at them. It was a risky maneuver that almost caused everybody to lose their dinner, but it broke the lock from the missiles, causing them to fly harmlessly off into the sky.
Then, as they drew close to the plane that had shot at them, Scott did something very unexpected and slammed on the air brake...Causing everybody to practically jump out of their seat. And in the process...He pulled a mach 2 sonic boom that disrupted the fragile aerodynamics of the F-22, causing vital parts to dislodge as smoke started to form. The pilot tried to recover, but a sudden fire broke out in the cockpit and all the computers went offline.
"Damn! I've taken damage! This is wildcat 2, I'm going down!" said the pilot as he hit the ejector button and was blasted out of his aircraft at sub-sonic speeds.
Back on the X-jet, there was little time to rejoice. Everybody was still trying to recover from the two death defying moves that Scott had just pulled and some found it harder than others.
"Let me know if you're gonna do that again Scott!" said Kurt as he tried to slow his heart down from the adrenaline.
"Hey it worked, didn't it?" said Scott.
Just then, one of the other F-22s quickly appeared behind the Blackbird and was closing fast.
"Looks like we've got another one," said Jean as she looked at the radar screen and saw the opposing aircraft drawing dangerously close.
"Don't worry...I know how to handle it," said Scott with a grin as he took a sudden nosedive with the plane towards a large lake, most likely Lake Erie.
"Yikes..." said Alex as he held on again for another bumpy ride.
The bogey behind him kept closing even as he drew within missile range. Both planes descended to dangerously low altitudes over the water and the distance between them was closing fast.
"Wildcat 3...You're in range! Fire a missile!" ordered the wing leader as he followed a saw the two craft near the lake on his radar screen.
"I'm almost there..." said the other pilot, "Just a little closer...And there will be no way for them to dodge it!"
"Just fire now!"
"I'm just about there..."
The alarms in the X-jet went off again as the plane behind him locked on to his radar signature. At such a low altitude along the water, it would be nearly impossible to avoid a missile...But Scott stayed low as everybody once again held on to their seats.
"Cyke..." grunted Logan, "They're on us!"
"Wait for it..." said Scott as looked out at the dark lake before him and the radar screen on the dashboard.
"Cyclops..." said Raven, as she and the other increasingly felt the effects of the G-forces.
"Wait for it..."
Then, as the F-22 behind the Blackbird was about to fire the missile...Scott pulled another risky move and adjusted the aft of the back flight controls while simultaneously dipping the tip of the wing into the flat surface of the lake below. A sudden jolt was felt throughout the plane as the water was kicked up from the wing. But this sudden burst of water that was kicked up from the Blackbird hit the pursuing fighter jet behind them as the pilot remained to focused on firing the missile to attack. Once the water got in to the engine intakes, the plane quickly stalled and alarms went blaring off everywhere. And at such a low altitude and at such a high speed...There was no other choice for the pilot other than to eject.
"Two down...One to go!" said Scott in triumph as he ascended to a higher altitude and did a sudden horizontal U-turn back towards the final jet.
"Are you crazy kid?!" bellowed Logan as everybody tried to recover once again from the dizzying maneuvers he had just pulled, "You'll kill us faster than Stryker at this rate!"
But Scott didn't listen to Logan's criticism, he just adjusted the X-jet to a level plane and began increasing the speed at full throttle directly at the last remaining F-22.
"Cyclops...Scott...What the hell are you doing?" asked Kitty as everybody felt the intense G-forces push them back into their seat.
"Taking out the last plane..." answered Scott as he only increased the speed even more.
"How?!" said Kurt, feeling as though all the air was being forced out of his lungs and into his throat.
"A little game I like to call...Chicken...X-men style!" grinned Scott as he ignited the afterburner.
"Cyke...This is no time to play games!" yelled Logan over the noise of the engine.
"Oh...But you guys always said I needed to lighten up and have some fun every once and a while!" replied Scott as he looked intently out the window as the speeding F-22 drawing every closer.
"Well forget everything we ever said about that!" yelled Kitty as they approached mach 3.
"Too late everybody!" said Scott as he showed no intentions of letting up.
"Great! Of all the times to finally lighten up!" groaned Alex.
"Just hold on guys! I know what I'm doing..." said Scott as firmly gripped the flight controls and kept accelerating.
For the pilot on the other jet, the strange change in maneuvers for this exotic aircraft didn't faze him as he kept flying his straight at his target. This aircraft had already taken out two of his wingmen...Two of the most elite pilots in the air force. It was clear that they had underestimated their enemies. But now...The last remaining pilot of the F-22 Raptor was left to fulfill William Stryker's orders and he vowed to dutifully accomplish this task no matter what.
"General..." said the wing leader into his radio, which was connected back to the Pentagon in Washington, "I don't know who's flying that thing...But he's either a certified combat ace or an eccentric psycho."
"With these freaks...Assume it's both," said Stryker over the line as he and all his subordinate officers continued to watch the tense moments unfold before their eyes.
"I wouldn't be surprised..." said the wing leader, "Because right now...From the looks of it this guy wants to play chicken. But thankfully...That's a game I always win!"
Both aircraft were now on a collision course as they sped towards one another at supersonic speeds. Neither one of them seemed as though they were going to turn as the distance between them rapidly began to close. The pilot in the F-22 prepared a missile...One that he knew he wouldn't be able to avoid at this speed. But even the alarms aboard the X-jet didn't dissuaded Scott. He kept speeding towards the opposing craft while everybody else in the jet held on tightly.
"Come on, come on, come on..." said Scott under his breath as he fought the G-forces.
Nobody had the capability to say anything now. It was as if the signals to their vocal chords from their brains had ceased to function. Scott gripped the flight controls even firmer as the planes were only seconds away from colliding head on.
"That's it...That's it..." said Scott.
Then, from firing compartment of the other plane...The pilot of the F-22 launched a single missile at the aircraft.
"You're dead freak!" yelled the pilot.
Suddenly, Scott did a high speed barrel roll in mid flight...Causing the missile to speed past them with only millimeters to spare. The brief instant of shock from the other pilot was all he needed as the V-shaped, forward swept wings made contact with the backward swept wing of the F-22. Because of the strong alloy shell that both planes had, neither wing broke...But the great speed and direct impact that the X-jet wing had clipped the F-22 with was more then enough to send it into a devastating tailspin...One that could not be recovered from. The stunned F-22 pilot tried to take control, but only caused his avionic controls to snap like twigs as the high tech plane was sent falling into the ground at great speeds. And like his two comrades, the wing leader was forced to eject.
Back in Washington, the witnesses to this epic air battle could only look at what they had just seen with their mouths hanging wide open in shock. One jet had beaten three elite pilots in the best aircraft that American taxpayer money could buy. But despite this...William Stryker remained calm and unfazed and only said one thing.
"Well...I'll be damned."
As everybody aboard the X-jet took deep breaths to get their hearts going again, Scott slowed down and level the plane off at 40,000 feet. The young leader couldn't believe what he had just done...He had flowing outnumbered and outgunned against three of the best aircraft in the free world and triumphed. He and the rest of his friends were alive and well...And ready to take the fight to William Stryker himself. As Scott caught his breath, he felt a warm feeling in the back of his mind.
'You did it Slim...' said Jean through their psychic link, 'I can't believe what you pulled off back there...But you did.'
'Thanks...Now the hard part begins,' replied Scott as he rested his head back against his seat upon engaging the auto-pilot.
Just then, Alex unstrapped his harness and stumbled up towards his brother's seat.
"Scott..." he said, obviously out of breath, "Dad...Would be so proud of you right now!"
"Thanks bro..." said Scott.
"No problem...Now if you'll excuse me...I have to go throw up now." And with that, Alex fell back into his seat and grabbed a barf bag and proceeded to throw his dinner up.
They had been assaulted three times now by the military and each time they had survived. William Stryker had shown that he could attack them wherever they went and could find them at any cost. But this time...They weren't going to hide anymore. Now...The survivors of the X-men, Brotherhood, and Acolytes were going to fight side by side against the man that had caused so much carnage. Their homes were destroyed, many of their friends and family were now dead, and each time Stryker seemed to be one step ahead of them. But now...They were through running. Now...It was time to fight back. And with that...The new group of X-men set a course for the fight that would definitely be their most intense to date...Their destination...Washington DC...Their enemy...General William Stryker and the Friends of Humanity.
AN: Well, there you have it! The escape part is over...Now all that's left is the big battle between the new X-men and the Friends of Humanity. Things are heating up now and you won't want to miss the action and suspense that is sure to ensue! So what do you all think so far? It's been long, yes...But how have you enjoyed the journey to this point? Please tell me! Please send me your reviews via email or post them on the fanfiction website! Either way is fine! I'd love to know what you think! Until next time, thanks for reading my story! I wish you all the best!