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REPOST FIC: The Weapon 12/12

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  • rimmette@earthlink.net
    Well, this is the last part and Yahoo appears to be cooperating (knock on wood). I think I ve reposted all the missing parts. Disclaimers, etc. in part one.
    Message 1 of 1 , May 2, 2001
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      Well, this is the last part and Yahoo appears to be cooperating
      (knock on wood). I think I've reposted all the missing parts.

      Disclaimers, etc. in part one.

      *****

      With Logan's mental voice came a flood of memories. Marie relived
      their first week together, feeling the inexplicable connection that
      had developed between them from the moment she'd first seen Logan to
      his departure, leaving her his dog tags.

      She was so caught up in these memories and still so weak from blood
      loss in spite of her now rapidly healing wounds, that she barely felt
      the rough hands grab her, tying her wrists behind her back and
      knotting her ankles together.

      When she was thrown forcibly into the back of a large, hot, canvas-
      covered truck, she was jolted out of her thoughts and back into her
      current predicament.

      "Rogue," St. John called to her. "You ok?"

      Marie looked up to see St. John sprawled next to Bobby towards the
      back of the truck. Both were bloody and battered, but they looked
      like they would heal. A few of the younger kids were there as well,
      whimpering quietly. She nodded in response to his question, although
      she was most definitely not all right.

      "We think Kitty, Jubes, and Remy got most of the kids away. At least
      they were trying to. St. John and I were caught trying to gather
      these strays," Bobby informed her, indicating the younger children in
      the troop truck with them. When she didn't answer, he continued to
      speak. "What are you doing here, anyway? I thought Logan would..."

      Bobby's voice cut off as another body was shoved into the back of the
      transport with them. It was Logan. Bloody, pale, limp, and obviously
      dead.

      "Oh, Rogue," Bobby whispered, "I'm sorry."

      Marie lay silent, not moving from where she'd been thrown and staring
      at the only man she'd ever really loved. He was dead, and it was her
      fault.

      ~No it wasn't, darlin'.~ A gruff voice corrected her. ~I touched you.
      I couldn't let ya die.~

      'But now *you're* dead.'

      ~I'm still with ya, and now I always will be.~

      'That's not what I wanted,' Marie thought, flashing through all the
      hopes she'd had over the past two years for a life with Logan.

      ~You're alive and we're together,~ Logan projected firmly. ~That'll
      have to be enough.~

      -----

      After all the remaining survivors had been captured, a little more
      than a dozen mutants total, the troop transport drove them away from
      the only safe haven they'd known since their powers had manifested.

      The younger kids turned to Bobby and St. John for guidance and
      leadership, asking questions about where they were going and why
      these soldiers wanted them. The duty fell to them since they were the
      oldest people in the truck. Well, besides Rogue, who wouldn't talk to
      anyone, and Logan...

      "Why did they bring Logan?" St. John whispered to Bobby. "I heard
      them say they only wanted the survivors."

      "Maybe they thought he'd heal," Bobby guessed.

      "The dude is dead, Bob. What could they possibly want him for?"

      "Am I wearing their uniform?" Bobby answered. "How should I know?"

      "Not only that," St. John continued. "What happened to the X-Men?"

      "They're dead," Rogue blurted out.

      Bobby and St. John looked up at Rogue. They evidently hadn't been
      whispering as quietly as they thought if she could hear them from the
      other side of the truck over the engine noise. Then Bobby remembered.
      She'd absorbed Logan's powers so her senses were probably heightened.
      Damn!

      "Sorry, Rogue," Bobby apologized. "We didn't mean for you to hear us,
      but what did you say about the X-Men?"

      "They're dead. Even the professor. Logan saw it."

      "Are you sure?" St. John asked, unbelieving. If the X-Men were dead,
      then they were on their own with no possibility of rescue.

      "Look," Rogue growled. "Do you want a play-by-play? Fine. Chuck went
      pretty quick. A couple of rounds from armor-piercing bullets through
      the skull'll do that to ya. He was dead before he even started to
      fall. 'Ro took longer. She was cut to ribbons by..."

      "Stop!" a young voice interrupted her. Kara, one of the newest and
      youngest students at 12, was clutching her hands to her ears and
      shaking her head. "No. It didn't happen. I can't hear you."

      Bobby scooted over to the young girl as quickly as he could, given
      his bonds and his injuries, and tried to comfort her.

      Rogue just looked at St. John with a fierce stare and said with
      absolute certainty, "They're dead." Then she went back to watching
      over Logan, sinking back into her own thoughts.

      St. John settled back to pull at his bonds again. Damn his stupid
      mutation! He couldn't make fire; he could only manipulate it once it
      was alive. If only he hadn't lost his lighter in the fight, he could
      have them all out of there by now.

      When he thought about it, he realized that they all had pretty
      useless mutations for escaping. All the students that had useful
      powers hadn't been caught. Bobby was the closest thing to hope they
      had, but he'd already tried and failed to freeze and break the cords
      holding him. He could only freeze things down to around zero degrees
      Celsius, and these ropes seemed to have a lower breaking temperature
      than he could generate. If only Rogue had gotten Logan's claws. But
      no, that wasn't a mutation, that was a science experiment.

      He'd just have to keep trying to pull apart the knots by will-power
      alone.

      -----

      The truck finally stopped after hours of bumpy travel. Almost
      immediately, two grenades pluming gas were thrown into the back with
      the helpless mutants.

      With Logan's help, Marie recognized the smell almost immediately. It
      was a nerve gas that forced unconsciousness but didn't kill. They
      were trying to disable their captives before they moved them.

      ~I know that smell,~ Logan thought to her, and she could feel his
      fear flowing through her at that realization.

      Marie struggled against her bonds with the strength that panic gave
      her. She saw her fellow prisoners succumb to the gas, but she fought
      against it, hoping that Logan's mutation would keep her awake.
      Eventually, though, even her struggles slowed and ceased.

      She could hear voices outside the truck saying that it was safe now
      to enter. Just before she gave into the unnatural sleep the gas was
      demanding, she saw the canvas covering the back of the truck pull
      away to reveal a face that filled Logan with terror. It was a bald,
      old man with square-rimmed glasses. Then she passed out.

      -----

      "This is better than I could have imagined," the Professor said,
      rubbing his hands in glee.

      "But your precious Weapon is dead," the Colonel said, confused.

      "Yes, but now we have a new batch of mutants as well as something
      better than the original Weapon."

      "What?"

      "That girl, the one they call Rogue. She absorbed the Weapon's
      powers. Tests show she's gained the heightened senses and quick
      healing, and X-rays even show the claws growing in. In about a week,
      they'll be fully grown, and we can line her skeleton with
      adamantium," the Professor said, waving around the papers detailing
      the test results like a child showing off an all-A's report card.

      "So," the Colonel said with a shrug. "That makes her the equivalent
      of the previous Weapon."

      "No. She can absorb mutations with a touch. That makes her
      upgradable."

      The Colonel quickly thought of another problem. "That metal's
      extremely rare. Where will you get..." but then he trailed off,
      realizing the answer to his own question. "Of course, the body."

      "Yes," the professor agreed, nodding vigorously. "We strip the metal
      off one skeleton and seal it to another."

      "So you're going to start the surgery immediately?"

      "No." The professor's face turned down in confusion. "I just told
      you we're waiting for the claws to grow in."

      "No, not for her. To get the metal out of the other body."

      "Oh that." The professor waved his hand dismissively. "We've
      already got a tub of hydrochloric acid. Soak the body in there for a
      few days and nothing will be left but the metal."

      The Colonel still looked confused. "But what about the bone the
      metal protects?"

      "You never took biology did you?" the professor sniped. "If you did,
      you'd know that bone is alive with connective tissue, veins, and
      arteries running in and out. The acid will simply slip into the bone
      through the gaps these tissues provide."

      "Oh," the colonel said. It was a gruesome thought, dissolving a
      man's body for spare parts. But then he reminded himself that it was
      just a mutant, not really a man. Whatever happened to his body
      didn't matter.

      -----

      Rogue woke to the familiar feeling of a pen marking her skin. Both
      she and Logan immediately panicked, trying to get up only find she
      was restrained by metal straps. It was Logan's dream! No, Logan's
      reality.

      That face she'd seen right before she passed out. That was the man
      who'd cut into Logan and given him his metal. She remembered him
      from the dreams despite the bio-safety headgear he'd been wearing.
      Logan also recognized him from his half-remembered more recent
      experiences as the man's personal killing machine. She'd been
      captured by the people who'd tortured Logan, and the drawing meant
      that they were going to do the same to her.

      "She's woken up too early," a female voice observed. "I can't get
      these lines accurate if she keeps thrashing around like that."

      "We had to take her off the sedative drip for the surgery. She's
      been on it for almost a week. It should've taken longer to wear
      off," a male voice explained.

      "Well, it didn't," the female's voice countered.

      Marie opened her eyes to see a mousy, middle-aged woman and a gray
      haired and bearded doctor.

      "NO!" she growled, a mixture of both her and Logan.

      They had been there, in the dreams. They were going to hurt her.
      Logan raged inside her at the thought of his Marie going through that
      mind-killing agony. He wouldn't let it happen. He had to protect
      her.

      Despite both her and Logan's efforts, the shackles held.

      "Maybe if we gave her the paralytic early..." the doctor mused.

      "It couldn't hurt." the woman concurred.

      Marie watched helplessly as the doctor went to the counter and filled
      a syringe with a yellow substance. The needle stung as he injected
      the drug into her vein, burning as it pumped into her system.

      Soon, despite being wide awake, she couldn't move a millimeter. Her
      eyes drooped and lost focus until she could only see blurry images.
      She could feel though. Every movement of the pen was amplified up by
      her touch-deprived skin until she was consumed with terror of the
      ordeal to come.

      'Logan survived it,' she thought, trying to reassure herself. 'Sure,
      it drove him insane for years, but...'

      ~I don't want you to have to survive it, Marie. I'm trying. I'll
      figure a way out of this. I promise I'll keep you safe.~

      It was a promise they both knew he couldn't keep.

      Once the pen made the last stroke on her body, the bed moved and she
      was wheeled into an adjoining room. Her vision was blurry, but both
      she and Logan recognized the tank.

      Marie and Logan combined their strength, trying to move her body even
      an inch, but it was completely unresponsive. She was trapped and
      completely helpless to resist them.

      She was quickly unstrapped from her bed and shackled onto a platform
      suspended just above the liquid in the tank. Just as her left foot
      was being locked into place, she felt it move. She regained a little
      control of her body. Of course, now she was trapped. Too little,
      too late.

      A rubber breathing mask was forced over her mouth and nose and the
      platform was dropped into the liquid of the tank, tinting her vision
      green.

      She saw the man with the square-rimmed glasses come to stand beside
      her, just as he had to Logan so long ago. He was dressed in a
      biohazard suit, and he held a shimmering scalpel in his hand. As he
      reached down towards her thigh, Logan and Marie both screamed into
      the mask.

      Pain tore through her body as muscles were ripped and pulled apart.
      That wasn't the worst of it, though. After the metal clamps were in
      position, the man picked up a flat metal instrument and began
      scraping her bone free of clinging muscle. It was like a root canal
      performed without anesthetic multiplied by a thousand. The pain
      froze her breathing as every scrape added a new shock.

      The metal came next. They formed the liquid adamantium to her bone,
      the chemical used to soften the metal burning into her ravaged
      flesh. It was pain without end, torture without solace. She knew
      for certain that she couldn't survive this.

      Just as she had that thought, she felt strong, comforting arms grab
      her shoulders and pull her away from the pain. There was no more
      agony, and as she looked around, she saw a black empty world where
      before only a green lab had existed.

      Turning around, she found herself in Logan's arms, and her joy was as
      overwhelming as the pain had been mere seconds ago. He was here.
      They were together. But how?

      Sensing her question, Logan answered, "It wasn't until I felt the
      pain again that I remembered. I came here the last time they
      operated on me. It took damn long to figure out, and they were
      almost done once I found the place, but it helped me hold on to the
      last bit of my sanity."

      "Where are we, Logan?"

      "Your mind, darlin'. A place so deep that they can't hurt us. Here,
      we can do anything and be anywhere. See?"

      Logan swept his arm out and the blank emptiness changed to a bright,
      snow-covered valley. Marie could feel a crisp chill and breathed
      deeply of the clean, undisturbed forest's scent.

      "Alaska," she sighed. "This is what I thought it'd be like."

      "I know," Logan said with a contented smile, his face completely
      relaxed for the first time since she'd known him.

      "How long can we stay here?" Marie asked.

      "As long as you want, darlin', but you should probably check back
      sooner or later. If something happens where you can escape, you have
      to be ready."

      "I don't want to leave, Logan. Ever."

      "But, Marie, if you can escape, then..."

      "Then what, Logan? I have everything I want right here."

      "If something happens and they don't take care of you, your body'll
      waste away and die."

      "Then I'll die. I don't want to go back and be a puppet to some
      sadist scientists with God complexes. Let them do what they want
      with my body. I'm not going back." Marie was firm in her conviction
      and Logan understood completely. If he hadn't had revenge to drive
      him on, he might never have emerged from the calm depths of his mind
      the first time.

      "Ok, Marie. We'll stay."

      -----

      Erik was surprised to find that the much touted Weapon, hunter of
      mutants, was the girl he'd almost killed over five years ago. Her
      body had matured, but the real change was in her eyes. They were
      empty and dead. Windows to a soul that had packed up and left long
      ago.

      How had it come to this? If only Charles had listened to his
      warnings about humans, perhaps he would be alive today. Perhaps his
      children would be with him instead of fighting in Erik's Brotherhood
      or living in fear and hiding. Perhaps this young woman would still
      have life in her eyes.

      After their capture of the human's "ultimate weapon," the metal in
      her skeleton made it easy for him to control her. He kept her alive
      for months, maintaining her health by controlling her body with his
      powers.

      Jubilee, one of her old friends, talked to her for hours every day in
      an attempt to bring her back. She was the last to give up on the
      girl with the white-streaked hair, but after six months with no sign
      of life, even she conceded that it was hopeless.

      Erik took pity on the dead-eyed girl. She would live decades,
      perhaps centuries, longer than her friends with her healing ability.
      His mutation was the only thing that could put her suffering to an
      end. If he didn't act now, he might die, and she'd be abandoned to
      slowly starve to death after all her friends were gone. This was the
      humane... No humans were butchers. This was peace. This was right.

      Her few friends, Gambit, ShadowCat, and Jubilee, each took a turn to
      privately say goodbye. Then Eric entered her room.

      After saying a quick Jewish prayer he remembered from childhood, he
      reached out a hand and commanded the metal in her neck to twist and
      move. Her spine cracked like a twig, severing her spinal cord. The
      metal, contorted as it was, kept healing from occurring. The girl
      stopped breathing almost instantly and within a minute, she was dead.

      -----

      The transition was miraculous and almost instantaneous. Logan and
      Marie moved from the quiet, stunted peace of her mind to the vast,
      unimaginable eternity that heaven provided. They were overjoyed to
      find themselves still together, forever.

      The End.
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