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 18: The Hunter and the Hunted
"Come on...Pick up! Somebody pick up!" said Alex Summers in a frustrated tone as he held his cell phone to his ear and tried to call his brother at the institute once again.
For the past few days, Alex had been trying to get a hold of his foster parents and his brother. Right now, he was stuck in Myrtle Beach at a surfing competition. He had come not expecting anything out of the ordinary...But a few days ago after he had checked in with his foster parents...Something strange began to happen. Somehow, his cell phone stopped working and he received nothing but busy signals whenever he tried to call home or the institute. He also began to see strange news reports about mutants and a military operation in New York that was weeding them out and 'bringing them to justice' as they put it. This immediately caused Alex to worry about his older brother, Scott, who lived up at the Xavier Instituted in New York. He kept trying to call him...But every time he kept getting the same busy signal. But that wasn't the only problem that had arisen since he arrived.
Shortly after the news reports started on the TV, everybody began to gossip about mutant plots. While he participated in the competition, he overheard people chattering on about him and his rumored mutant abilities. It wasn't long before some people began to use intimidation around him in order to get the truth out of him. Other competitors, local officials, and mere curious observers made themselves known when they began to shoot him dirty looks. However, it all came crashing down recently when he was forced to defend himself with his powers against a group of guys hell bent on getting him to confess to their suspicions. Now...He was on the run and hiding in and around the surrounding city at Myrtle Beach hoping to find a way to get out and contact his brother or his foster parents. So far...His hopes seemed doubtful at best.
"Damn it!" yelled Alex as he gave up on his cell phone and retreated back into an alley between two buildings away from the crowds, "What am I gonna do now?"
Alex soon sunk to the wet ground as he contemplated his next move. He couldn't go back to his hotel anymore because ever since he used his powers to defend himself, some strange authority figures had been snooping around were asking questions about him. Now he was simply on the run from a force that he could not see. Anyone could be out to get him...There was nowhere left to go. Life had just taken a very bad turn for Alex Summers...For now he was being hunted like an animal and he was out for survival now.
"Oh man...Where are you bro?"
Magneto, Scott, and Jean now stood outside the hanger opening of the concealed base with the others as they prepared to go on a rescue mission to find Scott's brother. They were all somewhat surprised to see Magneto's willingness to help them even though he had only joined them yesterday. But in that time...Magneto had learned how the surviving X-men that Xavier had trained save his children. He had gotten a chance to speak with some of them...And learn many new things that he never would have bothered to learn two years ago. But things were different now...Magneto's state of mind was one of vast contrast compared to the man of two years ago. The X-men had helped save his children even after everything that he had done to them...It was about time that he return the favor.
"Are you sure this is a good idea, Scott? You know they've been blaring our faces on TV for days now. If one person recognizes you, all hell could break loose!" said Kitty as she and the rest of the survivors stood before Scott and Jean as they prepared to depart with Magneto on the mission.
"I know that Kitty, but I have to find Alex. Whoever attacked us knew a lot about our strengths, our weaknesses, and our connections. If they can know that, then I'm pretty sure they can find out about my brother as well."
"Then vhy don't more of us go vith you, man?" said Kurt, not liking the idea of them separating at this point, "If you guys get into trouble...Vouldn't it help if there vere more of us there to help you escape?"
"More people simply means more targets Kurt," explained Magneto as he used his powers to turn a cluster of scrap metal from the hanger into a shining metal sphere to carry Scott and Jean on the journey to Myrtle Beach, "Besides...It's safer for the rest of you if you stay here. And Pietro still needs somebody to watch over him should something bad happen."
"Well I still don't like it!" said Kitty somewhat sternly, "I mean...What if you guys get caught or captured or...I just don't think we can handle losing any more friends!"
It was clear that Kitty was getting somewhat hysterical...For she had lost so many good friends back at the institute, that losing any more was almost too hard for her to even think about. Piotr helped calm her by placing a gentle hand on her shoulder, knowing the fears that she had...But at the same time knowing Scott's predicament. He had to protect his brother...Much in the same way that he had to protect his sister. And for that, the Russian mutant could sympathize.
"Calm down Katya...This is something that Scott has to do," said Piotr in a reassuring tone, "His brother needs him..."
It still didn't sit well with Kitty, or Kurt for that matter either. But they knew that nothing would keep Scott from finding Alex. He had already lost his brother once for ten long years...He was not going to lose him again.
"I'm sorry guys...But I have to find Alex. If by chance we don't return within a day, then some of you may have to take the X-jet to find us."
"Which is why we traveling by my means first," finished Magneto as the large metal sphere opened up, revealing a space that seemed large enough for three people.
"We'll be okay guys...Don't worry," assured Jean as she and Scott climbed into the sphere and prepared for take off.
"You guys be careful out there...Okay?" said Kurt as he took one last worried look at his friends.
"We will...Until then, Raven is in charge. Take care..."
And with that, the metal sphere closed and Magneto used his powers to levitate both it and himself into the sky and began heading south towards their destination. The lingering anxiety with their friends remained...But they had faith in their ability to survive. Even though they were now in the hands of Magneto, they knew that if anybody could survive...They could. The tension in the air remained even as they all retreated back into the base that was now their home whether they liked it or not. Mystique had some mixed feelings about her being left in charge so soon after joining them. However, she had come to know Scott, Jean, Kurt, and Kitty a lot within this past week. She had earned a fragile trust from them as a result of her rejecting the bitter, angry Mystique and accepting Raven Darkholm for the first time in a long while.
"Good luck guys..." said Kurt as he took one last look at the sky before they disappeared into the distance, "Be safe..."
As Magneto and the metal sphere passed overhead...It unwillingly came into the view of the renegade mutant weapon, X23. She had been tracking the path that their plane had initially taken when it arrived in this remote area last night. Since then, the former living weapon was determined to find out what was going on and who these trespassers on her solitude were. Part of the animal inside her wailed in confusion at the presence of such newcomers...While the dormant human within her craved human contact for the first time in so long. The young, teenage girl was stuck in a battle with herself...Between the animal and the human. Much like the man whose blood had given rise to her...She was struggling to control her emotions and her pain. She was close...She could smell it. The scent of the trail from the jet that had brought them here still hung strong in the air...And she was going to find it. However...What she would do after she located them...She had not yet decided upon. But in all this searching...In all this bewildering confusion that plagued her young, traumatized mind...There still remained many unanswered question.
"What are they doing here? What do they want?"
Had they come to take her back? Were they with Hydra or SHIELD? How had they found her? X23 had to know...She needed answers. So much confusion...So many questions that she had been struggling with...It hurt just to think about it. Her mind was a jumbled mess...And even she knew that. But there seemed little that could be done at this point. She had no identity...No life...Nothing. More questions...Equaled more pain...More agony for this confused, distraught child that had been robbed of everything.
Back in Washington DC at the Watergate hotel where Professor Charles Xavier and Wolverine were trapped, they remained glued to the news. In the past week, Logan had tried to formulate several ill fated escape attempts for him and the Professor...But they never came to pass. The overwhelming amount of guards and firepower that they had was too much...Even for a man like Wolverine. They were armed with the same weapons that Magnum had used to subdue him when Stryker first arrived and revealed to them what had happened. Every attempt had let Logan to a world of pain and always had him end up back in the room.
However...At this point Logan was beyond the capacity to learn from pain. No amount of physical abuse could hope to amount to the kind of inner pain he felt for the dead children that had died in the rubble of the institute. His failure to protect those kids hurt more than any mere weapon that the guards could throw at him...And his mutant healing power just kept giving him more chances to try. His body may have healed...But his mind was still wounded...And no healing factor could ever hope to alleviate it.
"Logan...Logan I think you should see this," said the Professor as he looked at the TV in his room with a great deal of surprise.
Even though Wolverine was beyond excitement and hope at this point, he dragged himself out of his trance and made his way into the Professor's room. There, he saw an image on the television screen that nearly blew his mind.
"And to repeat our top story, military officials released an unprecedented report today even as operations to fight off the mutant terrorist plots continue throughout the nation. In it, photos and images of what they deem to be survivors of the initial attacks are shown complete with name and mutant ability. These survivors are all members of the former factions headed by Professor Xavier and Magneto."
The TV screen then flashed images of Scott, Jean, Kurt, Kitty, Magneto, Colossus, Wanda, Pietro, and Mystique. Their full names, their powers, and their description blared over the TV for everybody in America to see. Up until this point, the Professor and Logan had no way of knowing if any of their students had even survived such attacks...But now they knew. Some of the students HAD survived. They were still alive out there. The eyes of both men widened as the report went on.
"Both national and international authorities have posted these pictures in newspapers, websites, and magazines everywhere and urge anybody who may have information as to their whereabouts to report them to the nearest authorities to face justice. So far all law enforcement agencies have been given manpower and protocols on what to do if any of these highly dangerous mutants are encountered. And other countries around the world are even taking notices of America's effort to rid themselves of the mutant threat and are beginning to formulate similar plans of action with full help from the United States. So far, public support has been overwhelming for the military and government officials that took action against such a dangerous threat and a commemorative parade is scheduled for later today here in DC."
Professor Charles Xavier...Who had been greatly weakened from such forced confinement, finally knew that at least some of his students survived. Both he and Logan stood wide eyed at the TV as they let this new knowledge sink in. Hope was now finally there for Xavier to hold on to...However, Logan still seemed somewhat stoic in his dark mood over what had happened to everything that they had worked so hard to build.
"They're alive Logan...I knew it! Now we know for certain that there are survivors!"
"What difference does that make Chuck?!" shot Logan, not at all sharing the Professor's renewed sense of hope, "Now they're wanted fugitives. Did you hear one word of what that damned thing was saying? They think were nothing more than a bunch of terrorist! They're celebratin' the fact that these innocent kids are dead!"
"They are only believing in the lies that are being fed to them," said Xavier, trying to help his friend see that there was still reason for them to believe, "It's all the more reason to stay alive and fight Stryker's forces! Remnants of the X-men and the Brotherhood are still out there Logan. We have to stay strong and believe in them!"
"Why the hell should we keep this up?" said the Wolverine bitterly as he began to retreat back into his room, "Now it's not just this country...The whole world is turning against us. Face it Chuck...We're being exterminated. Stryker isn't gonna rest until there's none of us left! Every last mutant...Is gonna be hunted down and slaughtered like cattle for no reason."
"Which is why we must fight on Logan...Not just for those that survived...But for those that could possibly be forced to suffer the same fate as many of our beloved students had. I know you Logan...And I know that giving up is not something you do. Even in a situation like this...When all possibilities seem stacked against us...We must press on. Because if we don't...Who will?" said Xavier, his exhaustion and anxiety still apparent.
Being a man that had seen nearly everything he had built go up in flames, Charles Xavier was left with so little to fight for his dying dream. William Stryker had hit them all with such ferocity and suddenness...That there seemed to be no resources left to fight him. Yet now that he knew that some of his students were still alive...He finally had a new feeling of hope. Even though Logan had given in to such agonizing helplessness over the loss of the children...He knew he had to keep his friends and family together...To overcome this most horrible of enemies.
With the high speed of Magneto's metallic orbs, the three mutants arrived in the Myrtle Beach area around noon. It was a big area with many places to look, but if Alex was there...Scott was determined to find him. Now, it was up to Jean to use her telepathic powers to locate him among this endless sea of minds.
"Jean...Can you find him?" asked Scott, still noticeably concerned for his brother.
"With so many minds in this place, that may take a while," replied the young telepath as she closed her eyes and placed her hands upon her temples, "But I promise that I will find him, Scott. If he's still here, I will find him."
"I just hope we do before the military does..."
Magneto then used his powers to fly him and the orb carrying Scott and Jean down towards the south end of the beach. With so many people down there, even Magneto was somewhat skeptical that they could find him. He kept his eyes open for any visual signs, but since he had to fly high in order to avoid being seen, that was nearly impossible.
"We're at the south end," said Magneto as he looked up at the vast expanse of beach before him, "We'll work our way up along the coast. Jean, can you keep the search going at this speed?"
"Yes...But barely," replied Jean with a noticeable amount of struggle in her tone as she searched for Scott's brother, "Just don't go so fast and give me time to sort through so many minds. If he's down there, we'll find him."
Now Scott could do nothing but leave the search to Jean and Magneto. He hated the feeling of being helpless and not having the power to find Alex himself, but at desperate times like this, he was willing to go above and beyond in order to prevent the loss of another loved one.
'Hold on Alex...I'm coming...'
While Scott, Jean, and Magneto flew overhead in their frantic search, activity in the shaded areas within the city went on feverishly as clandestine soldiers of the Friends of Humanity continued to search for Alex. While they didn't have the power of telepathy on their side...They did have some good old fashioned technology to aid them in their search.
"General Stryker...This is Baywatch patrol here with an update on the Havok hunt," said one of the leaders of a group that was scouring the area in jeeps and inconspicuous sports cars, "We've been tracing his outgoing signals from his cell phone and we've narrowed the search down to several square blocks."
"Good work Baywatch patrol," answered Stryker's voice over the line, "Keep in touch with communications and make sure that you've cornered him. Alex Summers had a rather nasty power, so use caution and stealth. Do NOT risk upfront confrontation. Use the element of surprise. It is our greatest weapon against these most worthy advisaries."
"Right General...Baywatch patrol, out!" said the group leader as he turned off the communication and turned to the driver of the jeep as they turned another corner, "Ha! Worthy...These freaks are like rats in a maze with no exit!"
"Add to that, this kid ain't no X-men or Acolyte!" scoffed the driver, feeling rather relaxed about this mission despite the emphasis that Stryker put on it, "I don't know why this kid made it to number one on the secondary list."
"Well according to the command center, this kid is the younger brother to one of the X-freaks," replied the leader.
"Brother!? Damn, aren't there enough muties in the world as it is?" moaned the driver as he stopped at a traffic light.
"There won't be after this operation is done!" grinned the leader of the patrol in response.
Just then, another communication came over the radio with a great sense of urgency apparent.
"Boss...We just got another reading on the kid's cell phone! He's trying to make another call! We've got him! He's trapped in some old motel building a block and a half from your position!"
Excitement then ran through the inhabitance of the jeep as the leader quickly responded to this new development.
"Quickly...Assemble all teams and seal off the area! I want everyone to ready their guns and assassin teams should be ready to move in!"
"Right sir!" replied the voice as the communication line ended.
The driver then picked up the pace as he sped down the street towards the motel. Eagerness hung strong in the hot, summer heat as the two men prepared their automatic assault rifles for battle. They wore inconspicuous street clothes, but on their shirts...The Friends of Humanity emblem blared their allegiance and their intentions on what they planned to do once they located their target.
While the strike team surrounded the old, unused motel...Young Alex Summers huddled in the shadows of the dirty building frantically dialing out to his foster parents. He was getting very nervous about this whole ordeal and the tension about mutants was just too great for him to ignore. He felt alone, isolated...And worried for the well being of his brother the more he got an out of service signal every time he tried to call him.
"Come on...Come on..." said Alex as he waited impatiently for someone to answer, "What in the hell is going on here?"
Unknown to Alex and the heavily armed assassins that currently surrounded his area, Magneto and the orb with Scott and Jean in it passed overhead. Jean was still frantically scanning the area for any telepathic sign of her soul mate's brother. The longer the search continued, the more worried Scott became as the tension began to get to him.
"Any luck Jean?" asked Scott wearily, trying not to think of what might happen if the military got their hands on Alex before they did.
"No...Not yet," said Jean as she kept searching, "But don't worry Scott, I promise you we'll..."
Then suddenly, the expression on the redhead's face changed as a new sign flashed before her minds eye. Scott quickly noticed this and his anxiety quickly surged as he stood eager to know.
"What is it Jean?! Did you find him?!"
"Oh no..." was Jean's only response, causing Scott's heart to skip a beat, for he feared the worse, "Magneto turn around! We just passed him! He's in some old motel building!"
"I see it..." said the master of magnetism as he turned around and quickly discerned the building that Jean was talking about.
Scott was now both anxious and ecstatic that they had found him...But his fear over what Jean had actually sensed didn't alleviate his major concerns.
"Jean...Is he alive? Is he okay?" asked Scott anxiously as he tried to stay strong for his brother's sake.
"Yes...But they already found him!"
"They?! Who found him?! The military?" asked Scott wearily.
"I...I'm not sure Scott," said Jean as she rubbed the temples of her head, trying to make full sense out of what she had sensed, "It looked like the military...But I didn't sense it was them or the same kind as there was back at the mansion. They felt like something else...But...I'm just not so sure."
"Then who do you think they are? If they're not military, who are they?" asked Scott, confused by this new revelation.
Jean wished that she could give him the right answer...But for all her powers, she truly didn't know. They had both come in thinking that their primary opponents would be military like they had been at the mansion and the cave. But if this wasn't military...Then who was it? And why did they behave so alike?
"I...Don't know who they are exactly. But they have the same intentions...That much I know," said Jean as the spheres touched down on a building adjacent to the old motel.
"Then that's all we need to know!" said Scott as the sphere opened up and he and Jean stepped out into the hot, summer sun.
The three mutants then took a long look at the area around the motel. From the looks of it, the building was abandoned. All of the windows were boarded up, the outer walls looked as though they were in disrepair, and there was a condemned notice on the door saying that the building was scheduled for demolition soon. It was a good hiding place, but from what Jean could sense...It wasn't good enough.
"How many are there Jean?" asked Scott as he surveyed the area.
"A lot..." answered the young telepath simply, "Over two dozen from the looks of it."
"Two dozen?" said Magneto, sounding somewhat surprised at the number, "But how did they find him before we did? Where are these men getting all their data?"
"I'm not sure Magneto...I'm really not. Whoever these guys are, they were trained to make mental shields...So we better not underestimate them."
"Are they armed?" asked Scott, even though he had a pretty good idea what the answer to that was.
"Heavily..." said Jean, not liking the worsening situation any more than Scott.
"Then we best find young Alex before they do..." said Eric as he levitated himself into the air.
Jean followed suit and levitated Scott as well as they prepared to extract Alex before it was too late...
However, just as the three mutants were preparing their rescue, the lead assassins were moving in towards their target from the inside of the building. Alex was still huddled in one of the rooms on the first floor after having given up on calling Scott and his parents. He merely rested his head against the wall...Full of uncertainty on what he should do next. With a long, exasperated sigh...Alex rested his eyes in hopes of keeping his strength up for whatever was to come. But as he let the silence of the abandon motel surround him...A strange noise caught his ear.
Outside in the old, rickety halls...Ten heavily armed soldiers slowly made their way towards the room where they believed Alex to be. The leader had in his hand, a small handheld electromagnetic scanner that was fixed on Alex's cell phone signal. Even thought the cell phone was off now...It had been just long enough to get an absolute fix on the targeted mutant's location. A slow grin spread across the face of the leader as he and his men surrounded the door that they suspected their enemy to be behind. With a silent hand signal, the lead assassin now stood in front of the door and prepared to knock it down with the butt of his gun. As soon as he did...It would only take a few seconds to finish what they came here for.
In a silent countdown...The leader prepared to knock down the door while his men held their assault rifles in a full ready position to fire. Then...With one swift motion...The lead assassin forced the door open and the heavily armed men rushed into the room.
"FREEZE MUTIE!" yelled the lead gunman.
But everyone was taken aback by great surprise...For their target, Alex Summers, was not there. The room was empty...There was nobody here. As the shock wore off, the assassins moved into the room with greater caution, scanning for any signs of possible escape. Then...Something caught the lead assassin's eye on the empty floor near the corner of the room.
Laying in the small corner of the room...A single cell phone lay on the floor. It was turned off...And it wasn't dusty, hinting that it had been left there only recently. Feeling a new sense of urgency, the lead assassin was about to inform his comrades...When suddenly, a new voice erupted from one of the adjacent rooms.
"SURPRISE!" yelled Alex as he took the armed men by surprise and let out a powerful blast from his glowing hands.
From outside where Scott, Jean, and Magneto were hovering, this blast did not go unnoticed as they quickly identified the source.
"That's gotta be Alex..." said Scott eagerly, knowing only his brother would make that much of a scene when he was threatened.
"Let's go get him out of there!" said Jean as she took Scott down towards the back near where the explosion happened with Magneto following close by.
Back in the room, Alex thought he had managed to fight them off by taking them by surprise...But he quickly found out that his actions merely triggered a near mechanical response as more men leapt into the room and opened fire with their weapons. Immediately, he hit the ground in a quick effort to avoid the bullets and crawled for cover. Over the din of gunfire, Alex heard a loud, dominating voice.
"Now we've got him! You can run but you cannot hide mutie! We got the area surrounded!"
"Just my luck..." muttered Alex as he heard the men get up from the blast he had given them and scramble towards the room.
Knowing that he couldn't be left trapped by these heavily armed men, Alex quickly used his powers to blast a large opening in the rickety old wall. Even though the stability of the structure was far from sound, it was his only option. As more bullets tore through the thin walls, Alex quickly leapt out through the hole and into the sun, where he hoped to have more running room to get away. But no sooner had he exited the building did he find himself facing nearly a half dozen more heavily armed troupes with their guns aimed right at him.
With guards approaching from behind and gunmen standing right before him, Alex's hands now glowed ever brighter as he felt himself trapped. There was nowhere left to run...He was now at the mercy of these deadly efficient assassins.
"It's over freak...Accept your fate!" said one of the gunman as he and his comrades prepared to open fire.
This was it...This was how it was going to end. Alex tried to catch his breath as he stared down the barrel of so many guns. He prepared to let out one last powerful burst from his hands to make his last stand against these trained killers.
'I'm coming mom and dad...' thought Alex as the assassins prepared to fire.
Then suddenly...Before any of the gunmen could pull the trigger...The sophisticated firearms began to shake and vibrate ominously. They tried to shake this off and pull the trigger...But they were stuck for some reason. Confusion quickly settled over the troupes as they struggled to ascertain the source of this phenomenon.
"What the hell?! What's going on here?!"
Then...The guns were suddenly yanked from their hands by a mysterious force and flung high into the air. Alex then heard the gunmen coming up from behind him and quickly turned around to face them...But before even he could contemplate any further action, they were all suddenly knocked back by a mysterious force as well. Confused, Alex quickly scanned the area for the source of this phenomenon that had just save his life...But was quickly brought out of his days when one of the assassins recovered from his daze and quickly charged Alex without his gun and only armed with a small military knife.
"Get up! Kill him before it's too late!" yelled the man as he rushed Alex with murder in his eyes.
However, the man didn't get far. Out of the sky above him...A single red optic blast knocked him back and send him flying into two of his other comrades. That blast was a sight all too familiar to Alex...And it brought a new feeling of relief to the young mutant as he identified his saviors.
"Scott! You're alive!" exclaimed Alex as he saw him descend to the ground with Jean by his side.
Quickly, Scott ran over to his little brother...Whom he had lost once before...And refused to ever lose again. Alex looked tired, exhausted, but he was alive and well...Which was all that mattered to Scott at this point.
"Of course I am bro...You didn't think I'd leave you out to dry again now would you?" said Scott with a relieved smile as he and Jean stood by Alex's side, helping him catch his breath after days of tension.
"But...How'd you get here? And what the hell is going on? I wake up one day...And suddenly mutants are the cause of every problem in the world," said Alex, hoping that he could get some of the answers to the questions that had been plaguing him since this whole ordeal started.
"I wish I knew...But we're just as confused as you are. We don't know what the hell is going on, but we've been running and hiding ever since it started."
"So...The institute really is gone?" said Alex somewhat solemnly...Knowing that was the only haven for mutants like him and his brother.
"Yeah..." said Scott, not hiding the pain in his tone.
"What about the Professor?"
"We don't know Alex," answered Jean, wishing that they weren't so ignorant of this grave situation.
"Then...What do we do? How do we..."
But before Alex could finish his sentence, a loud yell came from one of the men that had been knocked out by Jean's telekinetic blast. He had struggled through bodily pain and returned to his feet. Out of his pocket, he pulled a 9 millimeter pistol and pointed it at the three mutants with rage in his eyes. Scott, Jean, and Alex were about to respond...When suddenly the pistol was yanked out of his hand by the same mysterious force from earlier and flung back at him...Hitting the man in the head and knocking him out cold. Looking up to find the source of this phenomenon...Alex quickly found who was behind their mysterious rescue...Magneto.
"YOU!" bellowed Alex angrily as his hands glowed brightly, "What are you doing here!?"
Alex unleashed one of his blasts, but Scott and Jean quickly diverted his aim away from Magneto and quickly restrained him.
"Alex calm down!" urged Scott as he tried to hold his brother back.
"Calm down?! That's Magneto for crying out loud! How the hell can you tell me to CALM DOWN?!"
"Easy Alex, he's with us," coaxed Jean, trying to stop Alex from firing another blast, "He's okay now..."
"How in the hell can HE be okay?!" yelled Alex, not believing it for a second, "Have you forgotten with this prick did to us, Scott?!"
"No...I haven't," said Scott, "But things are different now Alex...Magneto helped us. If it wasn't for him, there's no way that we would have found you."
"Scott speaks the truth Alex," said Magneto in a deep voice as he landed on the ground, "I mean you no harm this time...I give you my word on that."
"Yeah...Your word," said Alex, his words dripping with sarcasm, "THAT means a lot to me."
Scott merely let out a frustrated sigh at his brother's stubbornness...Not that he was surprised. After what Magneto had put them through on Asteroid M, nobody could blame Alex for his harsh views towards the master of magnetism. And hearing that he had somehow miraculously changed since their last encounter was definitely a hard thing to believe and Alex's views were not easily changed. This didn't surprise Scott at all...For some reason...Stubbornness seemed to run in the family.
"Please Alex!" urged Scott, "He's telling the truth! If you don't trust him, trust me!"
Alex shot one last hostile look at Magneto before looking back at Scott and Jean. Nearly three years ago, he had been in a similar situation with Scott...Where he asked his brother to trust him. The result of that mistake could have killed them both...And Alex had since vowed not to put himself or Scott through the same thing. But since Scott had willingly trusted him on that fateful day despite his arrogance...Alex felt that he at least owed Scott a similar favor in return.
With an admitted sigh...Alex finally forced himself to calm down.
"Okay...I'll trust you bro..." conceded the young mutant, but as soon as he finished those words he turned back to Magneto once more, "But if I think for one second that you'll betray me or my brother AGAIN, then I'll..."
But before Alex could say any more harsh words, Magneto cut him off.
"I would not expect anything from you less Alex...I know trust is not easily gained. But I only require a single chance...That is all I ask. I don't expect you change your views immediately...But in the meantime...Let us get out of here and return to our temporary home."
Using his powers once more, Magneto summoned the large metal sphere that had brought Scott and Jean here in the first place. It was a familiar sight to Alex and he was still somewhat apprehensive, but a reassuring hand on his shoulder from Scott helped calm him down somewhat even if he still didn't trust Magneto.
"Don't worry Alex...It'll be okay," assured Scott as the three of them stepped into the sphere.
Upon closing the shining, metallic apparatus...Magneto used his powers to levitate both himself and the sphere into the air and quickly set them on a path northward back to the base. Scott was definitely relieved to have his brother back safe and sound, but there remained the ongoing mystery of what had been going on for the past week to cause such a dramatic change in the world.
"So where exactly are we going?" asked Alex as he, Scott, and Jean settled in for the trip back.
"Like Magneto said...Our temporary home...You'll see it soon enough when we get there," answered Scott.
"Sounds good to me..." said Alex as he rested his tired body from the exhausting ordeal that he had undergone in the past few days, "So who else is there? And why exactly is this happening?"
Scott looked back at Jean with a worried look, not wanting to go over the grizzly details of how they got this point again. He could tell that Jean was tired from all the telepathic searching she had done to find his brother against all odds. With a gentle nod...He allowed her to rest...While he filled Alex in on all the grim details of the past week.
The leader of the group of assassins that had failed to kill Alex struggled to get up along with the rest of his team. Nobody was seriously hurt...But the feeling of failure was injury enough for them as the leader struggled back to the jeep that he and his comrades had arrived in and picked up a communicator and switched to an encrypted line.
"General Stryker...General come in," said the lead assassin in a tired and frustrated tone, "Its Baywatch patrol."
After a few brief moments of agonizing waiting, the leader finally heard a familiar voice over the line.
"Go ahead patrol..." said General William Stryker in his usual calm voice.
"I have bad news...We had Havok cornered in an old motel and we were so close to finishing that freak off but..." the leader soon struggled to catch his breath, ashamed to be reporting such failure to the general.
"Calm down soldier...Just tell me what happened," said Stryker, whose voice seemed void of all hostility.
"It was Magneto and two of the Xavier freaks!" answered the lead assassin, "They somehow got here and found us! We tried to fight them off and complete the mission...But they overpowered us and got away...All of them! I'm sorry general...We failed you."
The tone of the leader's voice was full of great remorse...For it was as if he was speaking to the grim reaper himself...Begging for his life. However, General William Stryker remained collected, if not intrigued by this new development as he briefly considered the implications of such a development.
"Do not add insult to injury comrade," assured Stryker over the line, "This was a circumstance that you could not control. I do not blame you for such occurrences and you shouldn't blame yourselves. This is but a new development...And rest assured, it will not change the final outcome of this war."
William Stryker's merciful words helped alleviate the pain of failure to the lead assassin, but it did not change the fact that they had failed. As assassins...They were trained to accomplish whatever deadly task that they were assigned to. And they hadn't done that. Normally, they would expect a general or recruiter to be furious over this...Yet General Stryker on the other hand...Didn't seem angry in the slightest...Nor did he feel threatened at all. It was a strange attribute that the assassins found unique...And greatly respectable. It was also one of the reasons why they followed their general with such great faith and loyalty.
"I never doubt your plans or aspirations my general...You can be assured that my team and I are still at your disposal and we will not fail you again, sir!"
"Your loyalty is much appreciated..." said the general over the line, "Now quickly reform the rest of your group and give medical aid to anybody who needs it. Return to Norfolk as soon as possible and proceed to take down the targeted mutants on the secondary list. Stryker out..."
"It shall be done sir..." said the assassin as he quickly began to comply with the general's orders.
Back in Washington DC, General William Stryker was left at an interesting quandary from the report from Myrtle Beach. His opponents were definitely living up to their reputation as he had observed. While this was a disturbing development for the rest of the team...It didn't seem to worry the general in the slightest. He was still as confident as ever. By his side, the ever intimidating Magnum seemed equally unthreatened and undaunted.
"So Magneto and the survivors have teamed up now..." pondered Stryker as he thought about this new development with a somewhat humored grin on his face, "If I weren't so knowledgeable about how these freaks think...I might actually have been surprised. Now our enemies are united...And now they'll save us the trouble of locating them all individually. They think that they there is strength in numbers...Yet because of their ignorance, it will only make things easier for me. The time is fast approaching...And nothing shall change the outcome of this fateful war..."
AN: That's it for now folks! So what do you think? Still confused on Stryker? I know his character is somewhat different...But I promise that all questions about him will be answered eventually. But there is still a lot of story left to tell! Magneto and Mystique are still struggling with their nightmares, Wanda is still under the influence of Mastermind's manipulation, and X23 now knows of their presence! And Alex is also in the mix now! So don't think that the action is done yet! There is still more to come! And as always, I beg of you all to send me reviews! Please send them to me via email or post them on the fanfiction website! Until next time, I wish you all the best and I thank you for reading my story!
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