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 32: Sentinel X
In the largest chamber of the Capitol, a symbol and pride of American democracy, the leaders and rulers of the most powerful nation on Earth sat in a single large room under the watchful eye of every big media news sponsor in the country. Millions of people throughout the country and the world were watching live and uncensored on TV. But instead of an uplifting and inspiring portrayal of American freedom and ideals...Everybody watching was met with a surprise presentation by Professor Charles Xavier and his friend Eric Lensherr.
With countless photos of dead mutant children...Some with charred, nearly unrecognizable remains and others with permanent expressions of pain forever etched on their faces...The world was left to see the results of the actions that everybody, including the President, had been praising these past few weeks. Unbridled levels of shock and horror reigned throughout the halls of Congress as the oversized images of the mutilated bodies blared before them. Professor Charles Xavier...The man who hadn't been there while the children he had worked so hard to help were so senselessly murdered...Was giving the speech of his life. But it was not just for mutants everywhere...This was personal.
"These images..." said Xavier as he went through the seemingly endless streams of death and brutality, "These children...Were not neutralized...They were murdered. They lived in this country...A country that was supposed to exist for freedom and justice...And they were murdered. All because of the Friends of Humanity and a man named William Stryker that orchestrated the whole thing. The great general that you all so vehemently praise...You praise because he murdered innocent people. So many times this government and the media could have put a stop to him...But because of greed, corruption, and hatred...This man was allowed to live outside the law and above humanity."
Then, new images appeared on the projection screen. But this time...They weren't images of dead bodies, they were images of documents. And when some of the politicians and media personnel saw them...The air was taken straight out of their lungs.
"These documents are bank statements from a single Swiss bank owned by William Stryker...Each of which shows transfers of large sums of money to many people. Some of these people are sitting in this room right now. They include congressmen...news reporters...And members of the cabinet that answer directly to the President. Each one was paid to play a part in one large game...A game of war. Each one a mere pawn...Each one only allowing Stryker and the Friends of Humanity to bend the rules so that they could fulfill what they want...Genocide. Call it what you will...Justify it all you want...But it is still murder of innocent people and that is never justified. Because of the actions of this government...This government that people are supposed to have faith in to protect human rights...One man was allowed take control. And now look what he's done."
More images of dead bodies of mutant children appeared on the screen as Xavier's voice echoed through the halls of the Capitol. Strain soon became apparent in the old man's words as he talked about the harsh, horrific details of how his beloved students were murdered. Eric, who had been mainly an observer and a medium for keeping the attention of both the cameras and the audience attentive, saw how hard it was for him. It was hard to contemplate the emotions he was going through in talking about the students and friends that he loved so dearly. Now they were gone...But he would be damned if their lives had been taken in vain.
As Xavier let his words sink into the crowd, he took a much needed rest. But Eric Lensherr...The man who had many times tried to destroy Xavier and everything he stood for...Would not put to rest what he was trying to get across for the world to see. Now, in witnessing all the reactions from the people that had set into motion the horrible events of the last few weeks, Eric knew that there was still compassion out there from both humanity and himself. Much like the compassion that had emerged in reuniting with his children and telling them the truth, it was a hard task to understand when one is simply afraid of what may come as a result of change. But now...Eric Lensherr was not afraid of changing. He had changed his ways upon living through the nightmare of Apocalypse and he had made a solemn vow to his dead wife that the monster that had been created as a result of facing so much death was gone forever now. And he would show both Xavier and the world just how serious he was about keeping his word to Magda.
"Rest Charles..." said Eric as he stood beside his tired friend, "Let me take it from here."
"Are you sure Magnus?" asked Xavier as he managed tear his gaze away from he horrific pictures for a brief moment.
"Charles...We once shared a dream together," said the old holocaust survivor, making sure that he sounded like Eric Lensherr and not Magneto, "And somewhere along the line...I let a lot of things get in the way. I had to...Learn how to believe again. And it's taken me a long time to catch up...But as one of your students once told me...Better late than never."
That caused Xavier to smile for the first time in what seemed like forever. He had always known that Eric had a true heart that had been tainted for so long as a result of facing so much adversity. But now...He seemed so much less the mutant and so much more the man. He was the friend that he had once shared a dream with...And he was glad to have him back.
"Ladies and gentlemen of Congress..." said Eric, using his powers to activate a microphone for him to speak out of, "You once classified me as a monster and a tyrant...And for good reason at that. I whole heartedly felt that mankind was sick, demented, and unworthy of ruling over the world. But there are reasons why I felt that way...There are always reasons behind everything."
Magneto took a deep breath as he prepared to spill his guts to the world that deemed him a monster and a threat to all life on Earth. But if he didn't show everybody Eric Lensherr instead of Magneto...Then what difference would it make for him and the promise he had made.
"I lived through the holocaust...I watched Nazis execute my parents...I watched a lynch mob murder my wife...I have seen the worst of humanity. I have experienced first hand the hate that breeds within human consciousness. I have been hated because I was Jewish...I have been hated because I was a mutant...And I have been hated because I wanted to fight back. But that desire for vengeance has nothing to do with being a mutant. Vengeance is not a trait unique to mutants...It is a HUMAN emotional response. This world has taken a lot away from me...And I once wanted to return the favor. But now...I see things clearly now. I know...That hate and fear drive this behavior that has killed many innocent people that did not deserve to die. But I see now why Xavier believed in pursuing peace instead of war...I see why men like Stryker were allowed to reign supreme and kill without consequence. It is because humanity is afraid...Not because it doesn't understand...But because that's their nature. Mutants are a phenomenon that scares many people because they threaten the fragile status quo of how things are and how people want them to be. But even as smart as the human race has become...It is still outrageous for us not to grasp the simple concept that the only one true constant in the universe is change. This no longer has anything to do with mutants and humans...This has everything to do with fear. Your fear of us...Our fear of you...Fear of being vulnerable, fear of being weak, fear of losing control, fear of the future, fear of the past, fear of the present! It's all based on fear! And like a cycle, it only self perpetuates because neither side is willing to face up to the reality! And so...Many innocent people had to die in the process...All because of fear. Fear breeds intolerance, hate, and needless anxiety. William Stryker understood that...He knew that people like you would submit to his ideals if you were too afraid to do otherwise. Now look at what he's done...Is this the legacy that we want to leave for generations of the future?"
Chatter, whispering, and worried looks permeated throughout the crowd. Nobody dared to speak...Some were too worried about what this new revelation would do to them, some were worried about the response of the two mutants standing before them, and others were just too shocked and horrified that something this horrifying could happen in America...The land of the free.
Xavier looked back up at his long time friend. With his powers, he could sense the man from within that had been nearly destroyed all those years ago. Now here he was...Fighting alongside him once again. Whether or not this changed anything was still in question...But here on this fateful night they stood together fighting for the same goal. There had been so many reasons to give up hope after these horrendous attacks...But he had not yielded to such feelings. Now, Magneto was once again a believer...Not just in humanity...But in himself as well.
With a silent nod, Eric Lensherr smiled back...Feeling as though he had said what he should have many years ago. This once again left all eyes on Professor Charles Xavier...The man who represented both mutants and humanity alike. He had only one last thing to say before he awaited the ultimate fate of their decision...Whatever it may be.
"There now...You know the truth," said Xavier as he showed the world the last grizzly photo, "Magnus and I have said everything we needed to in order to get our point across. This whole operation was ordained by William Stryker. We all have played into his hands. He used intelligence, reason, and understanding to manipulate the world with his lies. But now his lies are here for all to see. He used the fear and anxiety that people had about mutants to take control and wield so much power. His hatred drove him in the same way hatred drove Apocalypse. Now people are too afraid to leave their homes, politicians are too afraid to oppose him, and innocent people are dying. Humanity is truly an imperfect species. Fear and hatred have been a part of us for a very long time...And because of that, it faces many problems and suffers many tragedies throughout its history. Yet we still do it over and over again. And the definition of doing something over and over again despite getting the same, undesired outcome...Is insanity. Like it or not...Mutants are human. They are different...And they have abilities and attributes that nobody else has. They are not freaks...They are gifted. Their talents should be celebrated...Not feared. Humanity is truly better than this barbaric behavior. Humanity is truly better than this savagery against the innocent. There is not much more that I can say at this point to express how I feel about the injustice that has been done. But if you remember anything from this night, remember this...Nobody really knows how old mankind is...But it is most certainly old enough to know better."
Upon saying his final words, Professor Xavier went silent and waited for whatever reaction came as a result of this fateful event. Even if they decided favorably, it would not bring back the students that he had lost as a result of all this carnage. But for whatever it was worth...He owed it to them to see that their memories lived on and were not forgotten as footnotes in the pages of history.
While Eric and the Professor were fighting Stryker's influence at the Capitol, the new group of X-men continued to do their part. Upon fighting their way out of the Pentagon, they once again used the X-jet to get away. Thanks to Jean's psychic powers, they finally had a lead as to the location of William Stryker. Time was always against them and uncertainty about what would be the end result of this battle still hung strong. But the future was the last thing on their mind at this point...Only the present mattered. From moment to moment, ever last second was a struggle. Yet second by second, moment by moment...They fought on. And as the X-jet once again flew over the skyline of Washington DC, there remained only one final destination in this most fateful of battles.
"We're almost there..." said Scott as they drew ever closer towards the man that had been so responsible for all this death, "I'm taking it down."
"An unmarked warehouses right along the Potomac...Unlit and inconspicuous...A perfect place to hide for a guy like Stryker," commented Logan as he looked out the window at the area where Stryker was believed to be.
"I wonder why he chose a place so big..." said Alex as everybody unfastened their seatbelts and got up in preparation to move out.
"With this guy...Expect the unexpected," said Jean, "But I know this is the place I sensed. The man is here...I'm sure of it!"
"Then let's not keep him waiting!" said Raven eagerly as they all filed out of the jet.
As soon as they stepped out of the jet, they took in the ominous scene around them. Unlike other parts of DC, this place was poorly lit. Traditional logic would have told anybody else that no man in their right mind would want to hide around here. But Stryker was far from a traditional man, so they would have to look in untraditional areas to find him. However, ever since this whole ordeal had begun, William Stryker had been ten moves ahead of them. He had dutifully and thoroughly played them like pawns in a game, anticipating their every move and dictating their limited options. And whether or not this time would be any different was still in question.
Logan and X23 took the lead, carefully sniffing the air for any trace of Stryker or anybody else that would lead to him. Jean kept her mind open, but so far she had not been able to penetrate the area around this place. It was not an easy feat to keep a powerful psychic like Jean, who had a great deal of telepathic aptitude as a result of her encounter with the Phoenix, locked out.
"Hmm...I can't sense anything," said Jean as she tried to look harder with her mind, "Something's blocking me out."
"In a place like this...That's a rarity," said Kitty.
"But if they have psychic shielding powerful enough to keep me out...Then they must be hiding something," assumed the redhead as she stopped probing, but kept her mind open just in case.
"That definitely sounds like a precaution Stryker would take," said Colossus.
"All the more reason to believe that he's close," said Scott as he and the others carefully scanned the area.
Logan and X23 kept tracking whatever scent they could pick up. They continued to lead the group through the twists and turns of the area. It was quiet...Yet something still didn't feel right. They continued to work their way closer and closer to the area near the river, but they still could not sense any trace or clue of Stryker. Then finally...Something caught their senses.
"I smell something..." said X23 as she sniffed over towards the south side of the area behind one of he larger warehouses, "Engine oil...Very recent."
Logan quickly moved over to where she had gotten the scent and quickly picked up on it himself.
"I smell it too...Come on, let's check it out," said Wolverine as the others soon followed close behind.
Both former living weapons followed it closer as they moved fast despite the others trying to follow behind them. But with so much on the line, they didn't have time to wait. The more they followed the scent, the closer they got until finally, they reached the source.
"Senator Kelly..." grunted Logan, "It's his car...He must be here too."
"Good..." said Mystique in response, "He deserves nearly the same punishment as Stryker. It was because of him Stryker gained the power he has now!"
"True...But vhy is he here?" wondered Kurt, "If he's a senator, shouldn't he be back at the Capitol?"
"You're right Kurt...He should," said Scott, finding this situation all the more suspicious.
"Maybe he fled when the Professor and Magneto showed up?" suggested Pietro.
"It's possible...Hell if I were him, I'd want to get pretty far away too if two of the most powerful mutants one Earth had shown up," said Alex.
Logan and X23 continued to sniff around the car. The scent of the man that had helped bring so much death was almost sickening in a sense, but it only served to further motivate them to find this man and make him pay for his crimes. And hopefully...They would find Stryker in the process.
"He was here...Alone," deduced Logan from the smell, "He came here...Got out...And went inside this place."
"He was also panicked..." added X23, "I know the scent of such feelings...And he was definitely anxious when he left the car."
"Well what are we waiting for?" said Pietro impatiently, "Let's go in and find this guy while the trail is still fresh!"
"Hold it speedy!" said Wanda as she forcefully grabbed his shoulder to keep him from running off in his usual fashion, "I know it's not your style, but don't be hasty...You were already nearly killed once."
"Hey, all the more reason to find him and fuck him up!" replied Pietro as he shook of his sister's hand, only to have Kurt teleport in front of him, blocking his path.
"Listen to your sister mien friend," said Kurt, "Ve have to stick together against Stryker. The man may be a monster and a murderer, but he is not stupid...So ve must fighting smart if ve are going to have any hope of success."
"Fine..." said Pietro grudgingly, still itching for some payback, "But Stryker helped put ten bullets in me...So forgive me if I feel a little bitter."
Pietro didn't run off, but it was clear that he wanted to. Wanda gave Kurt a grateful look, causing the blue mutant to smile in response. Pietro had seen this and couldn't help but be weary with how his sister was looking at Kurt. However, he forced himself to push that to the back of his mind for the time being, knowing this wasn't the best time to think about such things.
"Okay everybody...Stick together," said Scott as they found an opening near a rusted door that looked like it was the one that Senator Kelly had entered, "Knowing Stryker, he probably is prepared for something like this."
"Yeah, that's comforting..." scoffed Kitty sarcastically as everybody made their way into the dark entrance.
Logan and X23 remained in front, carefully sniffing the air for any trace of Stryker or the senator. However, the whole warehouse was almost pitch black and it was hard to see anything that wasn't ten feet ahead of them. So Logan and his clone were the major eyes and ears for the team as they moved through the vast, unknown area as slowly and carefully as possible. The tension in the air was thick and anxiety hung strong for the X-men as they moved step by step into the unknown. Any minute now, they could be hit with a surprise attack or they could find out that there is nothing in this place at all and they had just wasted their time in coming here. But they would have to force all feelings of uncertainty off to the side for now if they were to keep a level head against this most dangerous of advisaries. Stryker wasn't like Apocalypse...The European businessman was a man of the shadows who never made his intentions fully clear to both his enemies and his allies. He was not misinformed or mentally incapacitated by hate...He was intelligent, strong, and driven. He was truly unlike any other enemy they had ever faced before.
As the team followed Logan and X23 towards the center of the area, the anxiety over what they would find here hung strong. But the longer they were in this place, the less likely it seemed that there was anything here of importance.
"Smell anything Logan?" asked Raven as she watched the Wolverine carefully and meticulously sniff the air.
"Nope...Nothin' yet," said Logan.
"What about you Jean? Can you sense anything?" asked Scott.
Jean took a few seconds to finish another psychic sweep, but with no promising results.
"I...Can't seem to get around the shielding," said Jean as she finally gave her mind a rest, "Whatever protection surrounds this place on the outside also seems to work on the inside."
"That's strange...Why would a place like this have such shielding to begin with?" pondered Colossus.
"Simple...They're hiding something," said Raven.
"Well...Judging from what I can see, there isn't much here to hide," said Alex.
Then suddenly...Just as Alex had finished his comment...The high powered lights strewn along the ceiling came to life and illuminated the narrow area around the group of mutants in an abrupt fluorescent glow.
"God...I had to open my big mouth!" said Alex as everybody scanned the area for the cause of this phenomenon.
The adrenaline in the air ran high as everybody looked around for any signs of a presence in the building. It was unclear whether this was some kind of trap or just a freak occurrence...For it could go either way with a guy like Stryker. Now, they remained fixed in the small area illuminated by the single light above them...Acting as if it were some spotlight in a crazy show. Nobody knew what to expect now as everyone tried to process the situation...Then, a strange noise echoed through the building. Soon, everybody stopped scanning the area and simply tried to determine what this new phenomenon was. And it didn't take long before they found out...It was clapping. It was hard to tell where it was coming from because of the echoes, but the sound was unmistakable...Somebody was clapping. Then suddenly...They heard a booming voice come from the darkness.
"Impressive my most worthy opponents...Very impressive," said a deep, collected, intelligent voice.
"Stryker!!!" yelled Logan, immediately recognizing his smug tone.
"Nice to see you too Wolverine," replied Stryker in a humored, snide tone.
Everybody kept scanning the area that was still covered by darkness in an effort to find out where this voice was...Knowing now that it would lead to the man that had been responsible for so much death.
"William Stryker..." grunted Raven, now more eager than ever to come face to face with her daughter's murderer, "Show yourself!"
They were met with a sickening laughter that echoed through the building. Being there all at once had not frightened this man in the slightest...It only amused him and from the looks of it, he was enjoying it. His smug laughter made the skin of every one of the survivors even more enraged that this man was taking them for fools and was not at all intimidated by their collective presence.
"You freaks...You really have proven to be every bit as predicable as I have calculated in preparing for this most momentous war," said the general's voice as it echoed through the halls, "I have studied and restudied every last possible tidbit of information about you and your kind. And it's not just within the last two years that it has been done...This time was a long goal in the making. None of you could ever possibly ascertain my level of commitment, patience, and dedication towards my ultimate goal of saving humanity and bringing it into a golden era."
"You monster! You murdered innocent people!" bellowed Colossus as he clenched his fists in anger at this man's snide remarks.
"Ha! I had a feeling that one of you would say that," said Stryker from wherever he was hiding, "And it's not because I have psychic powers...It's simply because I've gotten to know my enemy so well that I know how they think and function. I calculated, predicted, and projected each and every move you freaks would make from the time before the attacks to this moment right now as you stand in my presence."
"Bub...You had better watch it! You have really tried my last nerve!" yelled Logan.
"Oh please...Does it sound like I'm scared of your pathetic threats?" scoffed Stryker, his tone thick with sarcasm, "Some of the most famous and well known mutants in the world...Good and bad alike...Now stand before me. But as I look at you, I don't fear you like the rest of the mindless, uneducated masses...I pity you."
"Fuck you!" yelled Alex, not liking at all the way this man was talking to them.
"That's it? That's the best you could come up with after everything I've done?" laughed Stryker, "You know if I didn't have so much respect for you...I might have actually been hurt by such a remark. But hear me mutants...I am NOT Apocalypse. I am NOT some redneck bigot who thinks he has a right to hate something purely because it exists."
"Then why are you doing this?!" yelled Kitty at this seeming sick and sadistic man, "Why?! What did we ever do to you?!"
"Ah the young are so ignorant," commented Stryker, once again sounding humored by the young teenage girl's response, "You all truly have no idea how nature works do you? You have no idea at the logic that drives the forces that has led you all down the path you have chosen. Two years ago...You freaks helped unleash a single mutant that could have murdered every man, woman, and child on the face of this planet. That's over six billion souls. The pain and loss that you feel now as a result of these attacks...Imagine such a pain on the level that you all threatened to unleash...Imagine these few, insignificant deaths that you all so hate me for being projected all over the world onto ever square inch of the planet. One mutant...That's all it took. And you all helped him."
"No! We stopped him!" yelled Scott, not wanting to hear any more of this crazy madman's babble.
"You were only cleaning up your own mess," scoffed Stryker, "You caused it...And you stopped it...While every other human being on the face of this planet was left powerless. One mutant...That's all. Not an army of conquerors...Not a race of invaders that we could manage to somehow fight against...One mutant. Any one of you could reek more death and destruction by yourselves than I could ever hope to in multiple lifetimes. Even the greatest of nuclear wars pale in comparison to the death that a single mutant could bring. And yet you would still say my actions are not justified."
"How is murder of innocent people EVER justified?" yelled Kurt.
"Innocent?" laughed the general, "If any of you knew only a fraction of what I know about the world, you'd understand. Mutants are ticking time bombs in a sense...But not in the classical means that you would hear other Friends of Humanity members so passionately describe them as. Mutants are a problem because they go against nature. In my vast collection of knowledge...I have surmised that mutation in nature is a slow, rational process that helps to enrich life and make it better suited to an ever changing world. Paradoxically, mutants like yourselves only seem to enrich death."
"That's not true!" yelled Jean, trying to fight through the psychic shielding in an effort to locate where exactly this madman was.
"So says the one who once threatened to destroy the entire universe..." quipped Stryker.
Everyone let out a collective gasp as they heard him say those words, implying that he somehow knew about the Phoenix and how close life itself had come to being destroyed.
"What? How did you..." began Jean, but was soon cut off by the general once again.
"Yes...I do know about the Phoenix," said Stryker as he relished in their reaction, "I know how close this universe came to being dismantled on the atomic level...I know how it took only one mutant to lose control of her abilities to bring the universe itself so close to total annihilation. You think my ration is misconstrued? Even as I once again show how it takes only one mutant to destroy so much? You freaks give me all the evidence I need to justify my actions. Call me a monster all you want...But don't ever call me stupid or ignorant. I have ways of finding out what I want to know. I work for my knowledge...I gain every ounce of it through blood, sweat, and tears. It is through this knowledge that I have concluded that the only way for the human race to evolve above it's current state is to exterminate the ongoing threat that only seeks to destroy and impede it."
"What kind of fucked up logic is that?!" said Pietro, "You think that just because some of us have messed up that it's okay to wipe us out?!"
"You call my logic fucked up?" said Stryker in a humorous tone as he heard the words of the young speed demon, "This world has almost been wiped out on two separate occasions by two separate mutants. And has any one of you been punished for your indiscretions? Has any one of you faced the consequences of your actions? Is that not simple logic in of itself?"
Nobody said anything else at this point. They knew that no matter how they responded, Stryker would twist their words to his own advantage because of how he flaunted his educated, well spoken demeanor. But this silence only further aided Stryker in his rant and allowed him to further justify his actions.
"Oh...What's the matter? No angry outburst? No snide response questioning my means or my sanity?" mocked the general, "Maybe now you see how I can justify why I do what I do. I can't say I blame you for being speechless...Not everybody can hope to attain the level of knowledge and education that I have gained in my illustrious life. But it is for those reasons why I will succeed where entire governments have failed. You see...Both you and humans keep insisting on playing by the rules in hopes of getting things done. Yet in looking back at your progress these last few years, the rate at which you strive for change is nothing short of glacial. Violence, hate, intolerance...Be they against mutants or others is just something humanity has been to painfully slow to overcome. But finally...As we enter the final chapter of this historic operation...You freaks will go from being the means of destruction, to the one force that will unite humanity once and for all...And lead them into a golden age."
"What?" said Scott, confused by this man's twisted words, "What do you mean?!"
Stryker once again laughed at the response he got. He wished he could photograph each and every one of their reactions for the sole purpose of looking at them over and over again. The bewilderment, the ignorance, and the simple level of gullibility...It was just too much for Stryker to look at without maintaining a straight face.
"You all have played my game long enough now," continued Stryker as his laughter died down, "Even before the attacks, you were all my pawns. You believe that the Friends of Humanity and Operation Extermination are just means to eliminate all mutants do you not? Well since you all seem to be so slow in seeing things clearly...Let me educate you. The operation and it's success as fed to the public by me and the organization I run has begun a process that will provide the basis for a new world order. It is most certainly ironic...For in wake of all the fear and anxiety caused by you mutants, humanity has never been more united. Race, nationality, ethnicity, gender...All boundaries have been eliminated as a result of the fear that you all have helped generate. Now...Everybody is too afraid to riot in the streets, cause needless crime and destruction, and bring harm to the innocent. And once you are all eliminated...A new world will finally emerge...One better than the one with you freaks. Humanity will finally have the capacity to work together instead of needlessly fighting their own kind. And all that was needed...Was a scapegoat. And what better scapegoat than those who had sought to destroy us all?"
The logic that this man offered them as justification for his crimes were not the normal means in which enemies of the past had used. This man's goals reached so much farther than they ever could have imagined. And now they were reduced to nothing more than mechanisms for a single man to shape humanity in the way he saw fit. The world of peace and prosperity that he spoke of seemed similar to the world of peace and prosperity that Xavier spoke of. But this man used fear, bloodshed, and war...Xavier used peace, love, and understanding. Yet all this fighting and sorrow, simply to lead up to this point and die only to make this world a better place through lies and deception rather than justice and truth. But did the ends justify the means at this point? If they died, would that not make the world that the X-men had fought for?
This question hung strong in the minds of all he surviving mutants to the attacks. It was a strange paradox to them and everything they had been fighting for. Yet one thing still remained...The images and memories of the dead bodies of their friends and family. The hatred and fear that the world now lived in...Was that a world that they wanted future generations to live in? Would order, peace, and security come at the cost of having the freedom to live without fear? Would such a cost be worth it? It was not something that they had to think to long or hard about as a renewed sense of determination came over the X-men.
"You're crazy!" grunted Logan, "Fuck your intelligence...It doesn't make you any less crazy!"
"Pal...You have jumped past all the normal routes and have stepped into complete insanity!" added Alex, now wanting more than ever to find out where this monster was hiding, "You think a world of fear, deception, and greed is a world worth living in? I take it back...You're not a monster...You're a fucking devil!"
Such simpleminded retorts only amused the general further as another round of his laughter echoed through the halls of the warehouse. No matter how much they insulted him...No matter how much they tried to rail against his insane goals...He merely scoffed at them and was amused by their efforts.
"Simple responses from simple minds...Why am I not surprised?" chuckled the general.
"Say all you want Stryker!" bellowed Colossus throughout the dark halls, "We WILL fight you! And you shall not prevail in your sick dreams!"
Once again, this caused Stryker to laugh in amusement at the words of his enemies. Now...He felt that the time had finally come to reveal himself and show them just how serious he was about accomplishing the goals he had so meticulously set.
"As I have said before my most worthy of advisaries..." said Stryker's voice as it seem to come closer towards their position, "The time to stop me has come and gone...For I have already won."
Then, with a casual snap of his fingers, the light in front of the X-men came on and a huge figure appeared before them...One that they knew all too well.
"Mein Gott...Sentinels!" said Kurt as everybody took in the sight of a bigger, stronger, more menacing looking machine version of the mutant killers that they had so come to loath.
The robot was nearly twice the size of the old sentinel model and had three times more armaments...Ones that they could see at least. The eyes on the humanoid machine were glowing red now, hinting that it was turned on and already activated. These powerful machines were a mutant's worst nightmare...For they existed only to kill those with an X-gene within their blood. But the giant mutant robot standing before them wasn't the only major sight standing before them...Three smaller figures also stood in front of the powerful creation. One...Was the unmistakable image of William Stryker in full military uniform, standing tall and proud of what he had done and how he had done it. Two...Was the equally recognizable image of Magnum, the Russian born super assassin that never left Stryker's side. Three...Was the man whom had allowed Stryker to gain the status he now had through twisted use of the political system, Senator Edward Kelly. But the fourth presence was the real shocker...It was the man they thought safely in jail, Bolivar Trask...Founder of the Friends of Humanity...Creator of the sentinels.
"Bolivar Trask?!" said Logan, recognizing the man immediately as the shock of his unexpected presence filtered throughout the group.
"Surprised to see me?" grinned Trask, "Well after you freaks shut down my organization and sent me off to jail, I have to say I was not happy! I have been waiting for this moment for two years now! And if you think jail has changed my views towards mutants at all, you are sadly mistaken! Fort Leavenworth prison was not a pleasant place to say the least...But thankfully it gave me plenty of time to create the medium for which all mutants would perish under!"
The shock of seeing this man who was supposed to be in jail by all accounts quickly wore off as they heard his snide comments. Trask had been the founder of this organization that had murdered their friends and family while destroying their homes and livelihoods in the process and Stryker had been the leader that headed the operation.
"Welcome to the final act X-men..." taunted Stryker further as he stepped forward, "I present to you Sentinel X...The final solution to the mutant menace."
AN: I'll leave it there for now! But stay tuned! The battle with the final plan of Operation Extermination is about to be set into motion! It's been a long road leading up to this point for both the X-men and William Stryker! And more heart stopping action is still to come so stay tuned! So what do you think of this story thus far? It's been long yes, but have you enjoyed the twists and turns of the story along the way? Please let me know what you think! Review by sending me your feedback via email or post it on the fanfiction website! I urge you all to review! Thank you all for reading and I wish you all the best!