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1743X-Men: Special Services #2 of 4

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  • altmarvel-release-owner@yahoogroups.com
    Apr 19, 2010
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      X-Men: Special Services #2

      April 2010

      Writer: John Flint
      Webmaster: Liam Gibbs


      Bobby Drake, December Holiday, Deus ex Machina, and Matthew Renard stood in two rows, Bobby and December up front, before the door to William Stevens's apartment. They were wearing the matching black uniforms of the X-Men, though Deus ex Machina's included a number of small pockets and pouches for his own purposes.

      William Stevens opened the door, an emaciated looking black man in his early twenties with green-rimmed glasses and an oversized sweater on. His pants were quite baggy, but not in a stylish way. More like he had received them from a big brother or had recently lost a great deal of weight.

      "You must be the X-Men," William said as he turned, door still wide open, and walked back to the couch. He flipped his laptop back up and began to type. "You must be desperate to come recruiting door-to-door like this."

      Matthew grinned while Deus and December looked at each other. Bobby stepped inside. "I hope we're not disturbing you…"

      "Just wasting your time and mine," William said, continuing to type, "I'm a writer, mister, not a super-hero. I'm trying to write serious literature here, I don't have time to gallivant around in tights and a cape."

      "Hey, we don't have capes," Bobby countered. "Anyway, there is room to do both. As you may be aware, Dr. Henry McCoy is a leader in the field of genetics and still has time to serve with the Avengers. Another long-time member of the X-Men is an artist, and—"

      "Huh," Matthew said, his eyes shifting around the room before coming to a stop at the windows. "Down."

      "Don't interrupt," Bobby said, "Mr. Stevens, I—"

      "Now! Duck!" Matthew reached out and pulled Deus and December down with him as he went. The large glass windows suddenly shattered inwards, shards flying through the room.

      Bobby raised his hands, instinctively, to freeze it over with a coating of ice. He realized too late that he no longer had powers as glass embedded itself into his hands. He spun away, shielding his face from the shards with his jacket.

      Matthew reached into the first of Deus's pockets he could reach and threw whatever was in it towards the shattered window. December looked up to see Bobby reeling from the attack while William sat spellbound on the couch.

      A black man in camouflage clothing was standing in the windowsill, his right hand reaching out and grabbing the item Matthew had thrown at him: a spool of yarn. The man looked down at it questioningly, as though he expected it to explode.

      Before anyone else could reach, William blasted the man with a beam of hyper-frozen air that hardened his camouflage shirt and sent the man falling out the window. William's breathing was ragged as his breath was now visible, his power activated by his rage and fear.

      "H-hey, Will?" Bobby asked, "Could you… could you ice my hands over? Numb them so it doesn't hurt?"

      "Sure," William said, staring at Bobby's bleeding hands with intense concentration until they had a coating of frost on them. "I just hope I don't give you frostbite."

      "You brought yarn? Why would you bring yarn?" Matthew asked, as he, Deus, and December had risen to their feet and brushed themselves off.

      "Well, it did distract him long enough for William to strike, yes?"

      "You have a point," Matthew agreed.

      "How'd you know?" December asked.

      "There was a shadow," Matthew said, "it didn't look like a pigeon."

      "So, any idea who that guy was?" Deus asked.

      "Use your glasses," Matthew said, "that's what they're there for."

      Deus tried to access the menu on his glasses but failed to do so. "Uh, a little help?"

      "Here, let me," December said, taking his glasses and giving him hers as she scrolled through the options. "Okay, here it is." She handed his back to him and he saw the frozen image of the mercenary as the microscopic computer scanned worldwide databases for a profile match.

      "Bavelier," Deus said, "A mercenary, Wakandan. Descendant of a French missionary and the locals."

      "He's not a major player," Matthew said, "but he's not a total chump, either. I think we got the drop on him because he wasn't expecting any real opposition for this mission. We won't have that advantage again next time."

      "There won't be a next time," Bobby said, "We're moving to the mansion, now."

      "Oh my," December said, looking down at Bobby's injured, frozen hands, as the coat of ice began to melt on William's carpeting. "We need to get you to a hospital!"

      "No, just the med-lab," Bobby said, "Dr. Reyes will fix me right up. William, I think it best if you come with us."

      "What, after the top-notch job you `heroes' did of protecting me?" William said.

      "Is Bavelier splattered on the ground outside?" Matthew asked.

      William turned to look out the broken window, then thought the better of it. "I see your point."

      "Not only has he survived," Matthew said, "but now it's personal, as well as whatever money he's being paid to snuff you out. He won't be dumb enough to attack the mansion, though. Not with sixty or so mutants there."

      "Okay, let me bring my laptop," William said, scooping it up as they walked out.

      "Are you sure you'll be okay?" December asked.

      "Perfect," Bobby said, holding his frozen hands up before him.

      [An hour later.]

      In the Church of the Redeemers, Reverend Marcus Stevens narrowed his eyes behind his eyeglasses. "What do you mean, they set you up?"

      "Somehow, they knew I was coming," Bavelier said, "do you have any suspicions that someone in your organization might have gotten word to your son?"

      "Step-son," the reverend corrected, "he is my step-son. No biological son of mine is a mutant. And no, there are no leaks in the Redeemers. I promise you that."

      "I still think they knew," Bavelier said, "there were people there, in costumes. I only got a quick glance, but I think they were X-Men."

      "The X-Men? William's never been involved in any of those mutie groups."

      "Maybe he's joined up recently," Bavelier said, "but whatever the case, it means my fee is going up. I'm going to need to stock up on armaments and perform further reconnaissance missions. It's going to take a great deal of my time, and that means it will require a great deal of your money, Reverend Stevens."

      Reverend Stevens snarled. "Very well," he said, "if that's what it takes to purify my family name, so be it. Wipe the muties out. Whatever it takes."

      "That was what I'd hoped you would say, Reverend."

      [To be continued…]
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