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1753LA NUIT #2 of 5

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  • altmarvel-release-owner@yahoogroups.com
    Apr 29, 2010
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      Antoine lay on the dirty carpet, contented with the cartoons of Fantomex on the TV while his big brother, Benoit, flapped through the pages of the newspaper for something about the Sentinel seen in the skies above Paris the night before.

      Finally, he found it, a small article near the back. A donation to the government of France of one Sentinelle by Shaw Industries. Unlike the ill-famed Sentinels of the previous year, this was a careful product of industrial ingenuity which would only hunt down those "evil mutants" whom the government sent it after. Supposedly, it was not a weapon of genocide but merely of law enforcement.

      Benoit scoffed. He still remembered fleeing his childhood home with the aid of Dr. Kilgrove, his promise to protect his baby brother, the riot as the angry mob killed his parents for their genetic defects, their `inhumanity.'

      He knew the truth, the real reason why the Sentinelle had arrived. It was a gift, yes, and the industrial giant no doubt hoped that the government of France would see the benefit of buying several more for their own protection from the monsters.

      The word `mutant' was not yet in common usage among most people. The heroism of the X-Men was still a secret of the United States government, whispered among the ghettoes but disbelieved by most. People spoke of horrors, atrocities being developed in countries like Genosha, and this they did not disbelieve.

      Benoit Nott looked down at his little brother, still absorbed in Fantomex's battle with the corrupt police force. Benoit wouldn't mind being as Fantomex, protecting his little brother from the corruption of the world.

      He might have to prepare himself to act soon; he had already manifested his power. For all he knew, any day now Antoine might do the same. And the cycle of hatred and violence that had closed for their parents would begin again for them.

      They had to be ready. They had to be ready, he knew, to defend themselves, and to fight back.



      LA NUIT
      CHAPTER TWO
      "ESCOUADE M"


      The children looked up at the Sentinelle, which had remained an inert statue for their entire lives until today. Roles found themselves reversed as it was now the children who stood motionless, watching blankly as the Sentinelle began to shift its enormous weight.

      It would have appeared to any casual onlookers present as though someone's shadow grabbed the children and snatched them away before the Sentinelle could smash its boot down on them. The shadow extended impossibly through the air, rather than against the ground and walls, reaching back to a pale-faced man in a black and yellow costume.

      It was not the traditional X-uniform worn by the X-Men at present; that was a special suit designed by Forge, transmitting data via satellite back to the mansion alerting to danger in the wearer's physical condition. Antoine Nott had come to Paris on a vacation, in civilian attire, not expecting battle. As such, he fitted himself in a costume resembling that of the New Mutants of old through manipulation of his Darkforce power. It clung to his body in a way that normal clothing would not, so he need not fear the possibility of it tripping him up in battle.

      His face was visible and he lacked a secret identity of any sort. He was La Nuit, the newest member of the X-Men. He was on leave due to injuries sustained by the Hunter, who had shot him in the belly. Somehow, his powers healed the wounds entirely, but Xavier still felt it best if he went on leave for a period to rest and recover.

      Today, he was quite thankful that this had been the case so that he might be here to witness the rise of the Sentinelle and to stop it from murdering anyone.

      "Sentinelle," La Nuit cried out, "Stop this at once! Your primary objective is to protect the citizens of France!"

      "Tzzt," Sentinelle buzzed in response and aimed its palm at the mutant, emitting a heat-pulse that La Nuit pushed off into the sky with a tube of Darkforce. He was much weaker during the day than he was at night, but he was still strong enough to deal with one lone, antiquated Sentinelle bearing several rust spots.

      He hoped.


      THE FRENCH BROTHERHOOD OF MUTANTS

      "Pleased to finally meet you," Xavier said as he shook Benoit's hand. This man, Xavier, not to be confused with the famous professor whom Benoit had never met, was also a mutant. In Benoit's modest apartment, three other young mutants joined them for drinks and appetizers while Antoine was in his bedroom, ordered to stay there, secretly listening in on the conversation.

      "I told you that Benoit was just what we're looking for in new additions," Simone said, smiling at Xavier.

      "Maybe we should test him out," Sylvie said before taking a sip.

      "Yes," Thomas said, nodding in agreement, "after all, there are a few outcasts nowadays who will pretend at being in our condition to evoke our sympathy but in fact have no special power at all."

      "Oh, I've been practicing, watch this," Benoit said and made a claw of his fist, as his shadow-claw reached out and grabbed the television remote from its place on the coffee table without anything but his shadow touching it. The shadow shrunk back to his body and he took the remote in hand and laughed.

      "Very good," Thomas said as everyone clapped. "As for me, I can protrude razor-sharp spikes from my elbows and knees when I bend them. You will forgive me if I avoid it now, I don't want to ruin my outfit."

      "Of course," Simone said, "and as you know, I can evoke vivid hallucinations."

      Benoit smiled. Yes, he knew.

      "I am super-strong," Sylvie offered up. This surprised Benoit as she was something of a waif.

      "I can absorb solar energy," Xavier said, proudly, "and redirect this energy as a sort of energy blast."

      "Together with our leader, Sang, we consider ourselves the French division of the Brotherhood of Mutants," Thomas said, "looking out for our fellow mutants. We want all able-bodied mutants to help us in our work; together, we can build our own society and protect our freedoms in the face of human oppression."

      It should be remembered that at this time the exploits of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants was not widely known to the world at large; all most mutants had heard of it was that there was a brotherhood, formed by mutants, for mutants, with mutants' interests at heart. As such a number of small-scale organizations or gangs such as this one sprung up around the world, only to divide or be splintered up by force in short order.


      EXPLOSION

      La Nuit smashed the Sentinelle with a giant shadow boxing glove, shattered a portion of its face, while at the same time creating a shadow-hammock behind it to keep it from falling over onto any buildings or persons.

      The Sentinelle gave little fight, swiping ineffectually at the air and occasionally offering up a burst of plasma from its eyes which La Nuit easily deflected into the skies of Paris. Before long, it was apparent who the victor of the battle would be.

      Antoine just hoped that the news media would not play it up as a mutant destroying a national landmark, as the Sentinelle had become in recent years.

      "Tzzt," the Sentinelle buzzed again, "Tzzt!"

      "So you say, but I am beginning to think that perhaps you lie," La Nuit said as he tore open the Sentinelle's chest with a Darkforce battering ram. He spread the wound further, soaking up the sparks and wires that lie within.

      "I am no electronics expert, but some of this is new," Nuit declared to himself as he looked over the internal circuitry of the giant beast.

      "Tzzt tzzt tzzt!" Sentinelle buzzed.

      The world exploded in a flash of white for La Nuit, and then darkness immediately thereafter descended upon him.

      He was not conscious long enough to form a thought concluding that the Sentinel had been booby-trapped.


      SANG

      Antoine followed the Brotherhood carefully, staying a block back and peeking over the corners of buildings at his brother and his new friends. He wanted in on the secret, desperately, and adored the thought of his brother becoming a criminal-hero like Fantomex.

      Benoit entered a deserted building and met Sang, the leader of the mutant gang, his skin blood-red, no hair anywhere on his body.

      "This is Benoit," Sang said and smiled with his white fangs at the fellow Frenchman. "We will need to come up with a better codename than that for you, my friend! I am Sang."

      "We are all going to need magnificent codenames," Sylvie said.

      "You are right, of course," Benoit said, "I'll have to think it over."

      Antoine watched from a hole in the wall as they spoke, then turned as he heard something. His eyes widened as he saw Escouade M charging the building, wearing their riot gear, carrying their batons and holding the canisters of gas they were soon to throw into the building.

      The Sentinelle hovered in the air overhead, shining a massive spotlight on the building that immediately interrupted any conversation.

      "We are found out," Sang said, "Escouade M!"

      The police beat the cheap door down and stormed the building, as Antoine began to shake with fear.

      CONTINUED.
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