Title: X-Book 3: Within the Storm - Chapter Three: Waking in the Dark
Rating: PG-13 (violence, language)
Genre: Crossover, SPOILERS FOR X2
Summary: see prologue for book 3
Disclaimer: I own nothing in regards to the Marvel characters or
any character from a previously published source portrayed in this
Reviews: Any feedback would be great and is appreciated!
In a cold cell deep within Stryker's compound, Rebecca Malloy
struggled awake from a drug-induced sleep. She was lying on her
stomach on a simple flat cot, her face touching the rough blanket
covering it. Her head was aching as she tried to move and she
opened her eyes slowly.
The room was dark, illuminated only by three small, circular lights
shining down from the ceiling. In one corner, she could see the
blinking red light of a security camera embedded in the wall. She
drug the last few memories of consciousness from her aching mind and
remembered the final attack on her home.
Well, here we go again, a voice in her mind spoke, sounding oddly
amused, I wonder where the hell I am now...
Rebecca rolled onto her back and pushed herself up with care. She
blinked in the dim light and examined the rest of the cell quickly.
The room was fairly narrow, no more than ten feet across but ran
about three times that distance in length. All surfaces seemed to
be made of the same dark metal her `bed' was made from, and
in the low light, the ends and corners of the room were hidden by
shadows. Similar metal cots ran down both long walls, and were all
unoccupied except one.
She squinted to see who was lying there, but whoever it was, he was
lying away from her, facing the wall, and she could not see his
face. He had dark hair and his long jacket identified him as the
Cajun man from the earlier attack. His arm hung off the cot limply
and she noticed curiously there were several playing cards on the
floor near his dangling hand.
Those will be useful later if we get bored, she thought with an
inner laugh, But...something tells me we won't be getting bored...
Standing slowly, she stretched her back and sighed audibly. She was
not entirely surprised at the situation she found herself in, as
strange as it was and considering she was still wearing her pajamas.
The abduction had been extremely violent, but now Rebecca actually
felt very calm, and very annoyed. She was fairly used to sudden,
bizarre occurrences, though being attacked by a giant robot was
definitely a new one on the list.
She walked then, with bare feet, down to the back of the cell and
inspected the wall. It was solid, lined near the floor by micro-
vents circulating air through the room. She touched the wall
briefly, and realized it did not feel like metal, more like a very
hard plastic. She frowned curiously, and turned to walk down to the
other end of the cell.
Passing by the four pairs of cots, she heard the unconscious man
snoring softly and she chuckled to herself.
Maybe he's been through this kind of thing before, too, she
thought with a grin in the dark.
At the front wall of the cell, Rebecca inspected the solid frame of
a door. It had no edges, no windows or slots for passing food trays
and no distinguishable way to open it. To the right of the door,
she noticed a dark square that was made of a different substance
than the wall. She ran her fingers over it and figured it was a
control panel of sorts, but she doubted it would help her get out.
All the surfaces were smooth and there was nothing but the bare
essentials furnishing it. Whoever was keeping her (and her snoring
friend) had gone through great care to ensure they did not escape.
Rebecca sighed with frustration, and leaned against the wall with
her arms folded. She wondered then what had happened to Erik
Lensherr and his Brotherhood. She had not seen them after the
Sentinel began to attack, and only the man with the red eyes and the
green mutant were with her when she was knocked out.
Glancing over at the sleeping man, she wondered where the other man
had been taken. She turned her head and noticed one other cot
besides her own looked disheveled, as if someone had been sleeping
there previously. She looked around the dark room again, searching
for sign of the green mutant.
They might have him somewhere else, she thought, And they may have
other mutants here too. So the question is...how do we get out?
Rebecca turned to face the door again and inspected the dark control
panel closely. She remembered her trick with the light in the
hallway earlier, and wondered if a quick jolt of energy might
activate it...or at least trigger a fire alarm.
She stepped back, covered the panel with her hand. Before she could
focus her mind enough to draw out her power, a voice called to her
from the back of the cell.
Toad had awoken nearly an hour earlier and had been crouching next
to his cot trying to decide what to do next. He had studied the
blue prints of numerous military bases, with the information
Mystique had first gathered from Stryker's base at Alkalai Lake,
and later from what the Lady Deathstrike had been able to steal for
the Brotherhood from other government facilities. Now, he was
trying to work out an effective escape plan for himself...and the
young woman asleep in the next cot down.
Out of all the locations within Stryker's old bases, he knew the
mutant cells were the most difficult to escape from, if it was
possible at all. The walls were fire-proof, did not hold moisture,
and were not made from any kind of metal. The best plan he could
think of was waiting for a guard to check up on them and then
fighting his way out. That may have been plausible if he were
alone, but he would not risk the life of Erik's prize.
Toad watched her intently as she slept, the rise and fall of her
body breathing confirming that she still lived. The braid in her
hair fell across her face, and her eyes moved in dreaming patterns
underneath the lids. In his mind, Toad compared her to her younger
presence in the old video Deathstrike had recovered.
A strange frown fell over his face. She looked peaceful, even in
the midst of danger, and another twinge of disappointment hit him.
For months, he had watched her over and over again, burning in that
moment of pure rage, apparently destroying her enemies (who were
also his enemies) in a wave of pure fury and power. However, none
of that anger seemed present in the young woman before him, and he
had not known how to react to her sarcastic, confident banter as
they had run from the Sentinel.
Toad tried to push his dissatisfied curiosity from his mind and
focus on planning their escape, but his thoughts of fire lingered.
The low light falling upon her red hair reminded him of burning
embers, fading in the cold, still hot enough to re-ignite the flames.
What are you doing, you freak!? A cruel voice from his memories
suddenly screamed in his mind. Toad winced slightly and closed his
What the hell do you think you're doing?! The voice continued to
scream, Don't you look at her! Do you think she wants your ugly
mutant face staring at her! Go back where you belong! Go now! The
the NORMAL children
don't need a stupid
mutant around ruining their playtime! Go back where you belong!
Shut up! Toad thought, grinding his small teeth together painfully.
He knew the voice, one of many wicked voices but the earliest in his
memory. It had been from the orphanage, the voice of someone long
dead. And he knew she was dead, because he had
"Shut up," he said aloud, but quietly. Toad opened his eyes
again, and glared at the young woman's sleeping form.
Her plain face, normal, unspectacular. He was sure she had no
problems walking down the street without being yelled at or spit
on. Her simple but expensive looking house; she has probably never
had a care in her life, never searching for food or fighting for a
place to sleep. Her red hair, gleaming in the light like the hidden
fire within, was still beautiful even in the dark
STOP LOOKING AT HER, YOU FREAK! the voice screamed again, You have
no right! Now get back in the room! I'm going to lock you in
this time so you won't bother these decent normal children again!
Toad closed his eyes again and a vicious hate filled his mind again,
overpowering the malicious voices
Toad crouched silently and clenched his fists. He opened his eyes
again, and leveled them instead on the red-eyed member of the X-Men
lying unconscious in another cot. It would be so easy, killing the
Cajun man before he awoke (one less X-Man would be a happy thing),
focusing his hate where it belonged instead of on the girl, who
Magneto wanted alive.
But, Toad paused. The thought of the young woman waking up as he
worked disturbed him greatly. He was still had a mission to finish,
and he doubted she would want to help him escape if she saw him kill
their other `bunkmate.' He needed to keep her with him until
they found Magneto, and Toad would be able to deliver the young
woman to his leader.
Toad sighed with frustration and was deciding what steps to take
next to get out of the cell, when he heard the young woman stir.
Instinctively, he scaled the back cell wall and clung to the dark
corner of the ceiling to watch her. She sat up slowly and looked
around before standing and walking around the room.
When she came toward the back wall, he was sure she would spot him
and held his breath. As she turned and moved away from him, he
exhaled slowly. He decided she must not have advanced senses or she
would have noticed him when they were so close. He continued to
watch her silently until he saw her reach for the door's dark
panel. In an instant, he knew what trick she was going to try (just
like the lamp in her hallway) and he called out.
"I wouldn't do that if I were you," Toad said with his
thick English accent. Rebecca turned and blinked with surprise as
he jumped down from the shadows. She looked pleased to see him,
knowing she would need all the help she could find to escape from
this place, and to see that he was still alive.
"Hi," she said, using the same tone she had when she first
greeted him at her home.
Toad walked toward her slowly, hesitant to enter the light. The
rooms of her house had been dark when they met before and he did not
know what her reaction would be when she finally saw him.
"I wouldn't try that trick you did earlier," he
continued, watching her cautiously, "You'll only fry out
useful if you do that."
Rebecca sighed and glanced back at the door.
"I thought I might activate a fire safety release," she
replied, "I've tried it before and it worked
Toad shook his head, "Not here it wouldn't. These cells are
made for mutants, pyretics included. There aren't any fire
"Oh," she replied, "Shit."
"Right," he answered back, sounding as frustrated as she did.
She heard him jump onto the farthest cot and crouch there, staring
thoughtfully at the other wall.
Rebecca regarded him curiously, or as much as she could through the
shadows. His eyes shone an amber color from the overhead lights,
but she could not see his other features clearly.
After a few moments passed, Rebecca walked over and sat down on the
cot across from him. Toad blinked in surprise as she looked at
him. They were both in the dark now, each wondering about the other.
"What's your name?" Rebecca asked after a minute.
"Toad," he said simply, glaring at her. He waited for a
frown, a look of distaste but she just grinned.
"Hi, Toad," she replied, "I'm Becca. So, how are we
going to get out of here?"
She presented the question in a concrete, matter-of-fact tone that
did not hold any doubts that they would escape. The weight of her
words surprised him again, a force that did not allow for any other
options, and something just a little bit smug that he liked.
"There aren't many ways," he began, absently scratching
the scar on his jaw, "These cells don't have many weaknesses.
fire safety shit, proper ventilation, even the basic of decent needs
aren't here, just in case a mutant could escape through the pipes
Rebecca nodded, "What about security? Somebody has to check up
on us. Or else the lack of `basic decent needs' might leave
them with some big messes."
Toad looked at her cynically and sneered.
"I don't think that's there biggest priority," he
said with undisguised vehemence, "What do they care if mutants
walking around in their own shit."
Rebecca stared at him, and the anger on his face made him look
vicious. She could feel the hate in his voice, and she wondered
vaguely if he was as dangerous as he seemed. She knew dangerous
people, and knew what hate drove people to do.
She glanced over at the other unconscious man nervously, knowing for
some reason he and Toad were enemies, but saw that he was breathing.
Toad noticed her concern and his vicious glare never left her face.
"He'll be wakin' up soon," he said and Rebecca looked
at him again, "He probably has the fucking X-Men lookin' for
"What's an X-Men?" she asked, and Toad laughed bitterly.
"Not the Brotherhood," was all he replied, and then they both
After a few more minutes, the tension in the cell was broken when
the Cajun mutant stirred with a groan.
"Merde," he said, pushing himself up slowly, "What the
He slowly sat up and rubbed his head in his hands. He noticed the
fallen playing cards and gathered them slowly.
"You're more than a few cards short of a full deck,
LeBeau," he mumbled to himself, "This now officially proves
Join the fucking team. Mon dieu, I am a genius. I could have been
protecting the women but no
Gambit suddenly noticed the other two watching him dumbly, and a
friendly grin appeared on his face.
"Oh, good," he said with sarcasm, "We're all here.
Did we live
or is this hell?"
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