Categories > Cartoons > X-Men: Evolution > Extermination

Stryking Magneto

by slickboy444 3 Reviews

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/...

Category: X-Men: Evolution - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Action/Adventure, Drama - Characters: Cyclops - Warnings: [V] - Published: 2005/05/30 - Updated: 2005/05/30 - 6181 words

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Extermination
Chapter 4: Stryking Magneto


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It had been another long, restless day for Eric Magnus Lensherr, better known as Magneto. He had returned to his mountain based lair after a hard day of information gathering over the state of the mutant world. He, and Xavier for that matter, knew that things weren't going very well for mutants throughout the world. Ever since Apocalypse, which in many ways he was responsible for, anti-mutant feelings had grown to an uncontrollable level. The world had come so close to destruction, but thanks to the efforts of Xavier's X-men and the Brotherhood as well, the ancient mutant was stopped before he could unleash his machines upon the world. And in the time leading up to that fateful battle, Magneto had foolishly attacked Apocalypse in a blind rage...Resulting in his enslavement. He didn't know exactly how long Apocalypse had controlled his mind...But it was too long. While under the influence of the ancient mutant's control, Magneto was forced to see and feel many horrible things. For both him and Mystique, it was something that was now permanently engraved in their minds. Magneto had survived World War II, the holocaust, and the horrible death of his wife...But being under Apocalypse's control was something that had a profound effect on him and the way he saw the world now.

Two years ago, Magneto thought he was a man with no emotion...He thought he was a man without feeling. He had already done so many horrible things to date. He wasn't there when a lynch mob murdered his wife, he threw his own daughter in an insane asylum even though she cried and begged him not to, and he hurt and betrayed his own son. At first, these actions meant little to an old man whose mind had been numbed with hatred...But during his enslavement, something very dramatic occurred that changed everything. For the first time in a long, long while...Eric Lensherr actually saw what he had become. He was forced to live and relive all of the sins that he had committed in working towards his plan for mutant supremacy. Over and over again, he had to watch the tears on his daughter's face as she was locked away in an insane asylum and treated like an animal. Over and over again, he watched himself neglect Pietro as he ran away after his sister was taken from him and saw how he had betrayed him later on when he was promised a part in his plans. And over and over again, he was forced to watch the pained look on his wife's face as the life drained from her body as a result of a lynch mob many years ago. But it wasn't just painful memories that he was forced to relive...Magneto was also forced to see the man he once was before his wife died. He was forced to see that he had actually once been happy...He had actually at one point shared a dream with his friend, Charles Xavier. Then, he became a monster...In many ways he had been more monstrous than Apocalypse after what he had put his loved ones through. And on that fateful day when he was released from this agonizing nightmare and saw the faces of his two children as they helped him up...He finally saw the monster that he had become...And refused to remain that way.

After his return from Apocalypse's enslavement, Magneto once again agreed on friendly terms with Mystique whom had co-founded the Brotherhood with him. She too had been greatly changed by the whole experience and could relate to Eric's feelings in many ways. Together, they helped rebuild the Brotherhood and got them back on track by providing some much needed money and getting them back in to school. While their plans for the future of mutants were still in question, for now they simply focused on helping those that they had so horribly neglected. Magneto had also tried to once again rebuild the shattered relationship he had with his two children. Wanda was still under the influence of Mastermind's memory manipulation and Pietro was still very apprehensive about trusting him again after being betrayed so many times before. It would be a long, hard journey towards being a family again...But it was something that Eric desperately wanted to do. He was sick of being a monster...He wanted to be a man again. However, the world had become so hostile that this insurmountable task was made even harder in the end.

Because the world had grown so hostile of mutants, Magneto felt that it was necessary to reform his team, the Acolytes. This was not easy...Since many of the members had left and tried to rebuild their lives after Apocalypse. However, Magneto managed to convince Gambit, Pyro, Colossus, and Sabretooth to return. Mastermind, however, could not return, for he had perished in the midst of the Phoenix incident. It was somewhat hard to get these four back on his side...However, Eric had enough influence and resources to provide decent incentives for the four men. Gambit had run in to trouble back in New Orleans and agreed to return to the Acolytes under the condition that Magneto clear his name and pay him a very generous sum of money after his term of service was up. Pryo was a wanted man back in Australia for numerous arson crimes and Magneto offered safe haven and an opportunity for permanent residence in the United States for the young pyromaniac in return for his services. Sabretooth agreed simply for money and resources that he needed in order to continue his own personal struggle against the forces of Weapon X. Colossus, however, proved to be the hardest to convince to return. Originally, Magneto had kidnapped his little sister, Illyana, in order to get him to join and after the team was first disbanded, the Russian mutant went home to rescue his sister and return to their family farm. Colossus already hated Magneto with a passion, so it took quite a bit of convincing to get him to join again...But this time, Eric offered very generous financial incentives for both him and his desperately poor family as well as protection from the Russian government that Xavier could not provide.

Since their recent reformation, the Acolytes had undergone a major shift in terms of their overall goals as a mutant team. Magneto no longer forced them to hatch diabolical plans for world domination and now primarily focused on quelling violent anti-mutant groups that had sprung up all over the world. It was a goal that the team had a greater respect for because it didn't mean hurting or killing people. It was also something more reminiscent of Xavier's more noble aspirations, which was somewhat surprising being that it was Magneto giving them these orders. While they sometimes used certain tactics that Xavier wouldn't fully condone, it was still better than the alternative. Magneto had become less a mutant tyrant and more a freedom fighter...But every day bought new challenges to the Master of Magnetism. Every day he examined and reexamined his purpose, but remained no closer to an answer now than he was the day after he was freed from Apocalypse.

************************************************

Eric Lensherr walked through the corridors of his mountain base in an exhausted heap. It was almost midnight and he hadn't slept in four days. To him, sleep always bought nightmares...Nightmares about his time under Apocalypse's control. They were dreams he hated having...And memories that he desperately wanted to go away. With a tired mind and an exhausted body, he used his powers to open the metal door that led in to the lounge area for the Acolytes. As he walked in, he saw Pyro and Sabretooth fast asleep in from of the TV and Gambit causally playing a game of solitaire.

"Working late again Mags?" said Gambit casually as he saw Magneto walk through area.

"I'm used to long hours Gambit," replied Eric with a sigh, trying to hide how tired he truly was.

"Well ya know dere is such a thing as limits," remarked the Cajun mutant as he gathered up his cards and began to shuffle the deck for another came, "Even you need sleep sometimes homme. You ought to try it...You look like shit."

"Thanks for your observations..." replied Magneto in a deep monotone voice.

As much as Eric didn't like admitting it, Gambit was right in a sense. Even he had his limits when it came to sleep deprivation. Before Apocalypse, Magneto never dreamed...But afterwards, there wasn't a single night that went by when he didn't have some sort of nightmare or horrible memory flash through his mind. It was a powerful deterrent...But often not powerful enough. Tonight, he vowed to get at least a few winks of shut eye, but even something as simple as rest didn't come easy for the Master of Magnetism. As he neared his personal dwelling, he was met with the sight of Piotr "Colossus" Rasputin standing outside his door. From the looks of it, he had been waiting for him for quite a while. And given that his return was fairly recent, it was clear that he still held a bitter distaste for Magneto after what he had done to his family the first time he had recruited him.

"Can I help you with something Colossus?" asked Magneto as he stood outside his room.

"I need to talk to you about something Magneto...In private," responded Piotr in his thick Russian accent.

"Of course..."

Magneto then used his magnetic manipulating powers to open the thick, steel door to his room. It wasn't much for a man once deemed a homicidal menace, but it was more than enough for him. The room was littered with many books and personal pieces of art that he had owned. It was something that would surprise most people because of Magneto's secretive nature. But to most others, namely his team of Acolytes, it did show that he had a human side.

"So Peter my friend, what troubles you?" asked Eric as he removed his helmet.

The Russian born mutant was noticeably irked simply by standing in the presence of this man, but for that Eric could hardly blame him.

"Don't call me that Magneto..." replied Colossus sternly, "I am not your friend and never have been."

"I'm sorry...I understand your reasoning but...Please, just tell me what is it that you want to talk to me about."

The apprehensive look on Piotr's face didn't cease, but Eric had come to accept that ever since his return. After the hell he had put this man through, Magneto felt he deserved much worse. But he knew that violence truly wasn't in Colossus's nature. He never showed a true desire to harm anybody...Even when he was forced to do so based on orders given to him. The man was a great soldier, there was no question about that...But fighting is something he did only to protect those he cared about. Magneto did greatly admire this quality in him, but given all he had done to the man...It was hard to really show it.

"I came to tell you that the doctors you sent to help my mother called earlier and said that her condition was finally improving. And they expect her to make a full recovery," said Colossus as his tone grew less stern.

"Well that's good to hear," replied Eric as he finally saw some of the hatred the young man's eyes wane at the mention of his mother. "I told you that I am a man of my word...No matter how much you dislike me."

"Yes I know," replied Piotr, "But that's not what I came here to tell you. I came here because I have a request."

"What kind of request?" inquired Eric as he took a seat on one of the chairs in order to rest his tired body.

"I know my term of service to you isn't up yet...But I desperately wish to see my mother now that she is well. It would only be for three days at the most...I simply desire to be there with her to make sure she is recovering."

Upon hearing this, Magneto didn't really need to think about his response. A while back, Piotr was greatly concerned when he got word that his mother had fallen ill and wasn't expected to live through the summer. And since Siberia wasn't known for providing good health care, Colossus was forced to beg Magneto to help. Eric willingly agreed to send several very skilled doctors that he had known back in Europe hoping to gain more of the Russian mutant's trust. Colossus had been a good Acolyte since his return despite his bitter resentment. He never hid his hatred of Magneto for threatening his family, but he also never broke from their agreement. And for his loyalty, this simple request seemed more than feasible.

"I don't see any harm in that," answered Eric after a brief silence, "I'll arrange for your transport tomorrow."

"Thank you..." answered the Russian mutant.

After that, Piotr made his leave. Even though it was a generous act on Magneto's part, Colossus could never bring himself to ever truly trust him. He hadn't failed to notice the dramatic change in his demeanor in the last two years, but change or no change that didn't make up for what he had done in the past. However, Colossus tried not to focus on such things as he retired to his room that was adjacent to Magneto's. He only yearned to see his family again and be by his mother's side while she recovered. Eric's doctors had performed a miracle in saving her life and he wanted to be there to share that miracle even if it was for only a brief time. While Colossus remained restless and simply lay on his bed wide awake, Magneto tried to get some sleep as the clock now read 11:55.

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Outside in the calm, dark areas surrounding Magneto's complex, a series of fighter jets neared the area in the thick blackness of the night. There were at least a dozen fully loaded military fighter planes that included F-16 fighting falcons, F/A-18 super hornets, and F-15E strike eagles. All were loaded with both air-to-ground and air-to-air armaments. Below them, a vast array of military vehicles and fully armed ground troupes surrounded the area in full stealth mode. There were at least 1,000 soldiers surrounding the complex that had once been used as a ski lodge. They all knew that inside, the Master of Magnetism himself resided. The clock neared midnight as the field commander of the division took out his communicator and established contact with the general over an encrypted frequency.

"General Stryker...This is team Alpha checking in. Our air support has just confirmed target acquisition and all ground troupes are ready to move."

Stryker, who had just finished speaking with the team over at the Brotherhood, quickly responded.

"Well done captain, the hour of attack is finally upon us. Now, patch me through to the rest of the soldiers on your team including air support...I have a brief message that I want all of them to hear."

"Sir, yes sir!" said the captain as he signaled his communications officer to comply with the general's request.

Each troop from foot soldier to fighter pilot had a communicator for instant contact with the pentagon. All signals were sent over a secure line with an encrypted signaling code. This gave Stryker peace of mind, knowing that his enemies couldn't possibly know what was going on. The element of surprise was still on his side...And he intended to keep it that way as he began to speak to all the combatants of team Alpha as they stood ready to strike outside of Magneto's complex.

"Attention all troops of team Alpha...This is general Stryker. In a matter of minutes this fine division will begin an all or nothing assault on one of the most dangerous mutants in the world. On your priority list...This man is the primary target. His name is Eric Lensherr...But we all know him as Magneto. His powers are highly dangerous and very destructive, which is why we must take him out first! Magneto once planned to annihilate all mankind simply because he feels that the world shouldn't be populated by those who he feels are inferior. Inferior? He simply gets to decide that we and all of our families should be murdered in cold blood simply because HE thinks that we're inferior?! Ladies and gentlemen of the armed forces of the United States of America and the Friends of Humanity...If ever you needed proof of the danger of the mutant race...Look no further than the madman that now resides in that humble dwelling on the mountain. This man will seek to kill us all. So we must strike him before he strikes us! Because one strike from Magneto...Is one strike too many for the innocent masses of mankind."

Stryker's inspirational words struck at the heart of every soldier both military and Friend's of Humanity alike. They served as motivation and a source of determination for the daunting task at hand. Now, every plane was locked on the structure where Magneto and his Acolytes were now resting peacefully. With every soldier in the area still listening...General William Stryker decided that it was now or never.

"The time is now 12:00...On my order...Alpha team...STRIKE!"

************************************************

Magneto had given up trying to sleep...Even as he tried to rest his eyes, horrible images of his enslavement with Apocalypse still dominated his mind. He decided to get up and read for a while...Something that often helped relax him when he was feeling stressed. Using his powers, Magneto retrieved his helmet and made his way over to the bookcase. Then suddenly...After taking a mere two steps...A loud, blaring alarm echoed through the whole complex.

A flashing red warning light that had been installed as a security measure was flashing brightly as confusion gripped both Magneto and the rest of his team. Colossus quickly got up and assumed his metal form while Pyro, Gambit, and Sabretooth got up in a state of uncertainty.

"What in de hell is goin' on here?!" yelled Remy over the incessant alarm.

Magneto was about to exit his room when a sudden sense of immanent dread came over him unlike anything that he had felt before or ever since...

"Something's wrong..." said Eric as he froze in place.

Then...The clock struck midnight...And a sudden, deafening explosion echoed through the area. And before Eric could even process this...A massive fireball surged through the every square inch of the area and a blinding light engulfed his body. Acting on instinct, Magneto quickly used his powers to put up a very strong magnetic shield to repel the blazing fireball and quickly shielded his eyes from the blinding flash. No sooner had one explosion rocked the area, did several others follow in quick succession as nearly a dozen precision guided bombs fell upon the area from the planes overhead. Eric strained his mind and body in an effort to repel each of them as the he suddenly felt the ceiling above him collapse. Gritting his teeth in determination, Magneto reinforced the magnetic shield around him...Diverting the collapsing debris away from him as more explosions rocked the area. Then...The blasts ceased.

Nearly collapsing from the sudden overuse of his powers, Eric Lensherr managed to open his eyes and take in the destroyed area around him. A sudden sense of shock came over him as he looked above to see that the standing structure had been wiped out completely by the explosion and now the cool night sky stood clearly over him. He began to tread through the rubble of what had once been the basement of his complex...However, now it was all one big pile of charred debris. Small fires were now burning within pockets of rubble as the Master of Magnetism tried to make sense out of what had just happened. Soon, his attention immediately shifted towards that of his comrades...And he began calling out to them.

"Pyro...Gambit...Sabretooth...Colossus?! Anybody?!" yelled Magneto in as he placed his helmet over his head once more.

There was no response to his calls as Eric limped along the rugged debris looking for survivors to this sudden and unforeseen occurrence. His traditional uniform was not torn and charred from the dust and fires that had consumed the area. Slowly, but surely...He managed to collect his thoughts as he neared the area where Gambit, Pyro, and Sabretooth had been lounging. Then...He suddenly heard a noise come from a pile or rubble behind him. Then...He heard a low, but audible voice come up from the debris.

"Uhh..."

Then, Magneto heard a few Russian obscenities muttered through the blackened pile of rocky material...And he quickly identified who it was.

"Colossus...Are you okay?" said Magneto as he used his power to lift the debris.

Piotr Rasputin then emerged in his full, metal form the rubble. Most of his clothing had been torn or burnt by the explosion...But he seemed okay as he gently rubbed his head from the throbbing pain of having a ceiling collapse on one's head. A look of great shock then fell upon him as he looked at the destroyed structure surrounding him.

"What...What the hell just happened here?" said the Russian as he looked at the destroyed structure around him.

"I'm not sure...But..." however that's as far as Magneto got as he was suddenly interrupted by the sound of gunfire in the distance.

Shells and mortars began detonating in and around the area and other smaller bombs were being dropped from planes overhead. It then became clear to both men that they were under attack. Somebody had dared to strike them with all the firepower that they could muster and systematically destroyed the complex while they were still in it. In a fit of rage, Magneto used his powers to ascend from the basement floor to a hovering position around 12 feet above the surface. Still in his metal form, Colossus was levitated too. As the view in to the night became clearer, both men saw large columns of armed military vehicles in the distance. And they weren't just in front of them...They were all around them as well.

"They dare attack ME?!" said Eric in a fit of anger as he saw flashes from gunfire in the distance.

"You sound surprised..." muttered Piotr under his breath even though Magneto wasn't really paying attention and hadn't heard the Russian mutant's comment.

Then, as the vast array of military machinery closed in on the area, the field captain got a glimpse of the two surviving men. Instinctively, the captain picked up his communicator and switched to a different frequency so only he and the general could hear.

"General Stryker! We have two surviving mutants in the area!" yelled the captain over the noise of the vehicle engines.

"I can see that...Can you identify which ones they are?" replied Stryker from his Washington based control center at the Pentagon in a calm, seemingly undaunted tone.

"From the looks of it, we believe that one is Magneto and the other one may be the tin man!"

A brief silence then fell over the line as Stryker considered his options. For some reason, he was not fearful or enraged by this development. Even after the massive amount of firepower that had been concentrated on such a small area, two of the five targets survived. But Stryker neither seemed angry, nor shocked for that matter at this. Then, he came to a decision and sent his reply to the field captain.

"Captain, stop the advance and switch to special anti-magneto armaments. In addition, coordinate with the aircraft flying overhead to hit that bastard from both directions. Be sure to concentrate all firepower on Magneto and beware of his powers...They have the capability to tear each and every one of your vehicles apart. On my order, only foot soldiers are to advance now and make sure that you remind them to remove any and all traces of metal around them."

"Sir, yes sir!" replied the captain as he switched channels to an all access bandwidth that every soldier, including the pilots in the air, could hear.

"All troops listen up! Magneto and the tin man are still alive! By direct order of the general, all vehicles are to stop the advance! But all marines and special FOH forces are to keep going on foot armed only with anti-magnetic weaponry! Do NOT leave any trace of metal on your body! And in addition, all aircraft are to switch to laser guided bombs and target ONLY Magneto!"

In the skies above, the main formation of fighter jets made a quick turnaround of their previous route and began a diving descent towards Magneto's position. Invisible laser target designators from ground forces had marked Magneto as he remained in a hovering position back down below above the ruins that had once been his base of operations.

The master of magnetism was now fully prepared to unleash all of his magnetic fury upon the vast army that had dared to attack him. But both he and Colossus were surprised to see the massive mobile force stop its advance and some of the more forward positioned vehicles actually reversed their route.

"What are they doing?!" yelled Magneto, who was somewhat confused by this action.

Both he and Piotr remained in a hovering position, when suddenly...Bullets began flying by their heads. Magneto immediately tried to put up a magnetic shield, but was quickly shocked to find out that they passed through the shielding unaffected by such projectiles. Then, it quickly dawned on him why this was so.

"Lead rounds treated with plastic..." said Magneto, realizing that he wasn't just dealing with a simple anti-mutant mob hit...He was most certainly dealing with something far more complex.

"Let me guess...Completely non-conducting of electricity and magnetism?" commented Colossus over the din of noise that had engulfed the area.

"Unfortunately yes!" responded Magneto as he used some of the metal framework of the destroyed complex to form a shield around him and his only surviving comrade.

The bullets kept coming and some of them were quickly beginning to erode the charred metal that Magneto was using to guard himself from the lethal rounds. He attempted to use more of the discarded girders as a shield...But his exhaustion was quickly beginning to take a toll on his already tired body and mind. Then, from above...A single laser guided bomb from one of the F-16s flying overhead was deployed and released upon Magneto's position. However, the master of magnetism was too busy diverting the bullets to notice this development. Colossus, on the other hand, saw the faint object as it fell closer towards them with each passing second. As much as he didn't like Magneto, he had still given a promise of loyalty until his service was up. Even now as Magneto's base and complex lay in ruins, the disciplined Russian mutant took action. Armed with his superhuman strength, Colossus let out an angry grunt as he caught the 500 pound, precision guided bomb with his bare hands and heaved it over in the directions where the gunfire was coming from. Needless to say, this shocked both the soldiers and Magneto as a blinding flash engulfed the area and caused all of the soldiers to fall back. There was still some gunfire echoing in the distance...And upon recovering from the initial shock, a sudden realization came over Magneto.

This was no ordinary strike...This was coordinated. They knew where he was, they knew his weaknesses, and they knew how to avoid his keen sense of detection. He and Piotr had just survived a devastating strike against their base and the full force of a 500 pound bomb from above. There was little doubt in the old mutant's mind that there were more laser guided bombs with his name on it aimed at him and they may indeed reach their target if he stayed here. Then...Something else hit him...If they had the capacity to strike him...Then they also had the capacity to strike the Brotherhood...Where his two children resided.

"Colossus...We have to get out of here!" yelled Magneto as he immediately used his power to move both him and Colossus away from rubble of their base at high speeds.

"Wait!" yelled the Russian mutant as he tried to fight against Magneto bringing him along for the high speed magnetic ride through the night. "We have to go back! What about Gambit and Pyro and..."

"There's nothing more we can do for them Piotr..." replied Eric in a slightly monotone voice.

"NO! We can't just leave them!" argued Colossus angrily.

"If we go back...Then we'll die just like them," said Magneto as he used his powers to pick up speed and zoom away from the battle field amidst ground fire from below.

Colossus just grunted and let out an angry yell in to the night. It was grim confirmation that his comrades back at the base had perished...And there was nothing he could have done to prevent it.

Just then, several F-15E and F-18 fighter jets zoomed near them and fired six sidewinder missiles at their position. However, this time Magneto managed to use his powers to deflect the oncoming projectiles and Colossus, still overcome with a sense of grief over what happened to his friends, used his strength to punch two of the missiles away with hiss bare hands. Magneto then used his powers to bring both him and Piotr higher in to the sky and into clouds where hopefully, the planes wouldn't follow them. But after the damage done my Eric's magnetic bursts and Piotr's show of uncanny strength...The planes decided to peel off their attack knowing that their brand of weapons were now useless against Magneto in this level of battle. As Colossus watched the planes fly away and head back towards the area where their base now lay in ruins, he quickly turned back to Magneto...Who was still accelerating their speed with his powers towards an unknown destination.

"Magneto...Where are we going?! The jets have retreated!" yelled Piotr as both he and Magneto picked up speed.

"I know...But if they hit us...Then they may have it other targets as well...Like the Brotherhood," said Magneto with a great sense of dread in his tone.

Colossus saw the deeply concerned expression on his face and soon realized what he meant by this.

"I have to find them Piotr...I have to find my children before those bastards find them first!" yelled Magneto as he set course for the Brotherhood. "Please...I need your help!"

It was at this point where Colossus noticed that this man was sounding less like Magneto and more like a deeply worried father. His anger had given way to anxiety over the possibility of his children being killed like the rest of their comrades back at the base. Piotr Rasputin still despised Magneto...But for the sake of the children of both the Brotherhood and the X-men for that matter, he knew he had to do what was right.

"Very well...I will help you...But I'm doing it for the children...Not you," answered the Russian mutant sternly.

"Thank you..." said Magneto gratefully, feeling as though it would be better in the end if he fought for the children...Rather than a monster like him.

************************************************

Back at the rubble of Magneto's complex, the vehicles once again advanced and quickly surrounded the charred area. Dozens upon dozens of soldiers began scouring the area...Making sure that the targets that they had come to kill were truly neutralized. But in communicating with the planes overhead, the field captain was not happy to learn that the fighter jets had not been successful in taking down Magneto and were now returning to base. This left the field captain with the unpleasant task of informing the general of this development. As all gunfire ceased and the vast division of men, women, and Friends of Humanity soldiers began the long clean up, the field captain grabbed his communicator and radioed the general back in Washington.

"General Stryker...This is team Alpha. I have some bad news...Magneto and the tin man got away. I just got word from our boys in the sky that he's now speeding away from the area towards the northwest at an increasing speed."

The field captain wearily awaited the general's response...Uncertain how his superior was going to take this news. Then, after a brief moment, he got a response.

"Do not concern yourself with such failure captain...War is always full of misfortune," said William Stryker in a strangely calm tone, "But you have succeeded in other ways...We have Magneto on the run. We have taken out his base of operations and limited his ability to organize any such attack against us or other humans. Your teams work with him is done for now...You and the rest of the Alpha division are to go ahead with the clean-up phase of the main plan. And remember...It is imperative that you follow the steps that I have given you down to the last detail...Is that clear?"

"Sir, yes sir!"

"Excellent, now proceed as planned captain...I expect a routine check in every 15 minutes and I want the primary tasks of your team to be accomplished in no more than three hours. Stryker...Out."

And with that, the general turned off his communicator. A slow grin formed across General William Stryker's face as he looked up at the large monitors in the center of the main Pentagon control room. On the high-resolution screens, over a dozen pictures graphically showed the ruins of the Xavier Institute, the Brotherhood boarding house, and Magneto's mountain based complex. The three main targets that he had ordered an attack on were complete...And now each structure lay in ruin. A feeling of great accomplishment and pride soon overcame the general as he watched with eagerness and satisfaction at the destroyed structures. Beside him, his female associate, Magnum, saw this and spoke for the first time since they arrived at the Pentagon.

"William...What of Magneto and the surviving mutants? What is to be done about them?" asked the blond Russian woman as she stood beside the general with her intimidating presence.

"My dear Magnum, you need not worry about those renegade freaks..." said Stryker was a laugh, "This is only another part of the reality of war...Those pitiful excuses for opponents will not be able to hide once I set in to motion the next phase of my plan. I have somewhat been looking forward to this part. For you see...Now that we have these freaks on the run...The real fun can begin!"

************************************************

AN: Well, that's it for now. Sorry all you Gambit and Pyro fans...But it doesn't look like they made it past that attack. I know...I know...Some of you will hate me for these last three chapters. But remember that this is AU! It is a story! I'm simply telling this because I wanted to do something different with the X-men. And it most certainly isn't over yet...There's still plenty of action to come! Now that the surviving mutants are on the run, there are many obstacles that they must overcome. Stay tuned...Four X-men are still alive, Pietro is still fighting for his life, Magneto and Colossus survived, and William Stryker is still holding all the cards. The aftermath of the attacks is next, and you won't want to miss it! Thank you all very much for reading and please don't forget to REVIEW! Send them to me via email or post them on the fanfiction website! Well, that's all for now! Thanks again and best wishes to you all!

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