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SHADOW MAN---CH:14 A QUESTION OF LOYALTY 14/15

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  • razberrybullet
    Chapter 14-A Question of Loyalty Wolverine is right, Miss Grey, said Magneto seriously. Throughout time mankind has abused and slaughtered those who differ
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 23, 2002
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      Chapter 14-A Question of Loyalty


      "Wolverine is right, Miss Grey," said Magneto seriously. "Throughout
      time mankind has abused and slaughtered those who differ from the
      norm. Today people fear mutants like you and me because we have
      abilities they do not. And fear rapidly becomes hatred. Why should we
      allow ourselves to be persecuted? All we ask is the freedom to live
      our lives, but to do that we must combat this hatred or die. The
      Holocaust has shown us the truth of that."

      He took her hand in his. "Join us. Help us in the coming battle. Give
      your future children a world where they will be honored for their
      mutant gifts rather than martyred for them."

      "I . . . " She slowly withdrew her hand, again ran it over and over
      the other as if soothing a hurt. "I can't believe that fighting those
      who fear us will make them fear us less. There must be another way
      for people to accept us as their equals. Education. Sharing our
      talents . . . "

      Magneto's smile was twisted and bitter. "I hear Charles talking.
      Noble sentiments such as those lead only to the grave. Our grave.
      Don't you understand, Miss Grey? We can never be their equals. We are
      already superior. And the common run of humanity cannot, will not,
      accept their inferiority. No, it's people like you and Charles that
      make our survival all the more precarious. We are so few in number we
      must unite if we are to live freely. We must join forces, strike the
      enemy first, hard and fast—or else spend the rest of our miserable
      existence in fear and hiding."

      The woman looked at each in turn—Mystique, Toad, Magneto, Wolverine.
      Her gaze lingered longest on him, questioning. Logan scowled. She
      turned back to Magneto. "I understand your sentiments, but I don't
      agree with your solution. Once people are convinced we are no threat—"

      Magneto interrupted her with a humorless laugh. "I most certainly
      intend to be a threat, Miss Grey! However, since it is clear that our
      cause is not yours, shall we return to our original discussion? You
      were about to tell me of Charles's plans and of others who know that
      I am here."

      "I can't tell you that."

      "Cannot? Or will not?"

      She gazed at her hands, one still stroking the other, gave a slight
      shrug.

      Magneto spun on his heel to face Wolverine. "You were successful
      before, my boy. Persuade her to cooperate."

      Logan felt sweat pop out on his forehead. A few minutes ago the
      locking device had jerked in his grip—Jean was trying to open the
      door! He'd confronted her then, not knowing whether to reveal her to
      Magneto or keep silent, but when she said the team had come for him—
      Logan turned the wheel, withdrawing the bolts a little more, hiding
      that action with his body. He could do it faster than Jean, who was
      pinned under Magneto's eye, but he hadn't yet completed the task. He
      needed more time.

      "She doesn't know anything. Even if I slice an answer out of her
      sliver by sliver it'd probably be lies. She's stalling, hoping that
      old One Eye will come to her rescue. There are more entrances to the
      lab than this one. He'll find a way in eventually. I say we leave her
      behind and beat it out of here."

      Magneto's frown of consternation slowly became one of
      suspicion. "You're suddenly very vocal, my boy. What are you doing
      over there by the door?"

      "Nothing. Resting—"

      "We'll just make certain of that!" Magneto spread his hand, snaring
      Logan in an invisible net. Twitching his finger he lifted his prey
      and in that way the prisoner, still gripping the wheel, managed a
      last pull as he rose.

      Logan heard a soft shunk as the bolts returned home. The door was
      unlocked. Would Magneto notice? To prevent that he must draw
      attention to himself.

      "Just leave her and let's go!" Logan said as Magneto reeled him
      in. "If the X-Men have found us others can too."

      Magneto studied his hovering victim with narrowed eyes. "Possibly,
      you are right, but . . . possibly Miss Grey's presence is testing
      your loyalty to me, to the Brotherhood."

      Logan forced a laugh. "Testing my loyalty? She's a broad and broads
      are only good for screwing. I'm plenty loyal to that! Bring her
      along, then, if you want, and we'll have some fun. But let's get out
      of here now!"

      "You will follow my orders without hesitation."

      "Yeah, sure."

      "Let us see the proof of that." Magneto waved his hand and the power
      trapping Logan neatly set him down and winked off. "Miss Grey still
      refuses to answer my questions. You, my boy, will make certain that
      she does so. If not, you will cut off a finger. From the left hand, I
      think. We'll leave the doctor her right hand for the time being."

      Logan found himself looming over the woman, claws already flashing
      from his fist without his remembering having shot them out.

      "Tell him, dammit! Say something!" he snarled.

      She looked up at him, eyes huge. Her lips quivered, firmed as she
      pressed them together and shook her head.

      Mystique grinned, her tongue flicking in and out. Toad smirked,
      grabbed the woman's left hand to slap it flat on the table. Now all
      looked expectantly at the executioner. He roared, slashed down with
      all his strength. And the table split, one half crashing to the
      floor, the other half still standing, steadied by her hand and five
      fingers.

      Logan whirled, claws now jutting from his other fist as well, but
      despite his painfully-acquired, enhanced speed he was too slow to
      disable Magneto. As he knew he would be. Invisible chains immediately
      seized him, hoisted him, wrenched him as though to rip him apart.

      "Door . . . " he gasped, motioning with his eyes from it to Jean.
      That was all he could get out before the ligaments in his shoulders
      snapped, his arms popped free of their sockets, and he gave a harsh
      cry as he fell down, down, down into a pit of black fire.

      Consciousness was slow in coming, his strength had been sapped by too
      much recent healing. Logan realized he was lying on the lab floor,
      the tiles cold against his naked back, forgotten and freed of the
      binding chains. He attempted to move an arm and at his persistence it
      finally twitched. But that minor action ignited a flare of flame in
      his shoulder. Sweat born of pain leaked into his eyes, and he
      couldn't even lift a hand to mop it off. He blinked it away as best
      he could, resigning himself to being a doorstop until he had
      recovered sufficiently to be of greater use.

      'May you live in interesting times.' Wasn't that supposed to be an
      old Chinese curse? From his horizontal position he looked around the
      lab and decided things were getting pretty damn interesting. Jean was
      all but hidden by Magneto, Mystique and Toad. She was telling them
      something. A line of bull, he figured, because she kept one eye on
      the door at their backs. And the door itself had taken on a curious
      life of its own, pushing into the room ever so slightly and sprouting
      a glove on the side. But that the curse was in full fettle, Logan
      knew from the rats.

      They swarmed, slithered, skittered down the empty elevator shaft
      which he could just make out through the entrance to the lab's animal
      room. They flooded and flowed over the floor tiles like a tide of
      gray mud. They swirled around him—over him until he bared his teeth—
      all drawn to Magneto as if they were steel filings and the man was in
      truth a magnet.

      And there was even more, Logan saw, too dazed by the rats to object
      to anything else bizarre. Woods-scented Fawn now entered from the
      animal room followed by a couple of young wolves and a big lynx
      kitten. Then a whiff of burnt sugar/chili pepper drifted out on her
      heels and, sure enough, here came Rogue tagging along behind, busily
      stripping off her gloves. Why was he not surprised?

      Wincing at the acid-like burning in his shoulders, Logan pushed
      himself over to the wall with his bare feet and, wriggling his spine
      snake-wise, hitched himself up enough to sit. He settled back to
      watch events unfold. He'd done his bit, he was ready to be
      entertained.
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