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"The Player on the Other Side" (WIP, CH.2) Scott [PG-13] X1 and X2

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  • rachel_martin64
    Title: The Player on the Other Side Characters Ch. 2: Scott, Stryker, OC Summary Ch. 2: The commander of Alkali Base locks horns with William Stryker. Summary
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 13, 2003
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      Title: The Player on the Other Side

      Characters Ch. 2: Scott, Stryker, OC

      Summary Ch. 2: The commander of Alkali Base locks horns with William
      Stryker.

      Summary WIP: A popular officer is framed for the destruction of
      Alkali Base. His friends band together to ruin the mutant they
      consider responsible.

      Rating Ch. 2: PG-13

      Note Ch. 2: Anything Stryker says about U.S. domestic policy on
      terrorism should be taken with a grain of salt. A sack of salt.
      A whole salt mine, in fact.

      Author: Rachel Martin

      E-Mail: Rachel_martin64@...

      Archive: Archive anywhere.

      Disclaimers: The X-Men belong to Marvel and 20th Century Fox. No
      copyright infringement is intended and no money is being made.

      Feedback: Feedback is welcome. Critical comments will not be
      misinterpreted as a flame.



      II.


      Colonel Sam Tyler lifted the receiver of the telephone on the
      wall beside the vault-like door to the Alkali Base Operations Center.
      He dialed no number; the phone had no dial, and no keypad. He heard
      no dial tone, and no ring.

      After a moment of silence, a voice asked, "Name?"

      "Tyler, Sam." He was the only Tyler on Alkali Base, which marginally
      simplified his life.

      Pause. The voice said, "Nine thousand."

      Tyler did a quick calculation in his head. "Eighteen-twelve."

      "Stand by."

      Tyler hung up the phone and turned toward the door. He listened for
      the click that would mean the locking mechanism of the door had
      disengaged. He didn't assume it would.

      Sam Tyler had stopped assuming a lot of things since reporting to
      this godforsaken place in the Canadian Rockies. He had stopped
      assuming he had access to every room in the labyrinth that was the
      converted dam complex. He had stopped assuming his password would
      open every file in the network. Just this morning he had stopped
      assuming that he knew the identity of every person who entered or
      exited the facility.

      Tyler took a deep breath and only moderately succeeded in calming
      himself. William Stryker might be the lead researcher on the Cerebro
      Initiative, but Sam Tyler was the commander of Alkali Base. And Sam
      Tyler fully intended to wrest control of Alkali Base from the Cerebro
      Initiative. Dr. Stryker might have managed to intimidate the previous
      base commander, but a new sheriff was in town.

      "Open the pod bay doors, HAL," he muttered.

      Click.

      He hauled the heavy door open and strode through.

      Tyler was unsurprised to find Stryker in Lyman's office. Major Lyman
      was the leader of a platoon-sized element that reported through
      Stryker directly to the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition,
      Technology, and Logistics. It had been made abundantly clear to Tyler
      that they did not report to him. Tyler knew little about
      the "Republican Guard," other than the fact that they all carried
      higher security clearances than he did. More disquietingly, they were
      the only personnel on base who routinely wore sidearms. Even the
      military police who guarded the dam were required to return their
      weapons to the armory at the end of each shift.

      A noticeably reduced number of Lyman's men were swaggering about the
      complex today. Tyler had in fact observed (with a sense of quiet
      satisfaction) a number of distinctly battered-looking individuals
      limping about. Stryker and the Republican Guard had pulled a
      vanishing act seven days ago, returning from their mystery mission at
      about oh-four-thirty, according to the watch officer's log. Had
      returned with unexpected guests.

      Pacing about Lyman's office, apparently in conference with
      Stryker, was Dr. Yates, a Cerebro contractor who doubled as the base
      physician and surgeon. It'd be a cold day in hell -- or a warm day in
      Canada -- when Tyler went to the bitch for so much as an aspirin. At
      least Stryker's aide, the creepy Japanese broad who wore those
      vampirish blue contacts, was nowhere in sight. Tyler, who spoke
      Japanese fluently, had yet to engage her in conversation, and hoped
      to avoid doing so for the remainder of his tour of duty. He didn't
      figure it'd be difficult -- he'd never heard the woman speak to
      anyone on the base at all, in any language, though presumably she
      spoke to Stryker.

      And yes, Stryker was wearing a uniform again. Someday, Tyler thought,
      the pathetic old fart was going to have to come to grips with the
      fact that he was retired.

      "I'm fully occupied at the moment, Colonel." Stryker glanced at his
      watch in a dismissive gesture as Tyler stalked in.

      Tyler ignored the hint. Placing his hands flat on the desk, he leaned
      over and said conversationally, "What is Scott Summers doing at
      Alkali Base?"

      If he had hoped to startle an honest expression out of Stryker, he
      was sadly mistaken. Stryker didn't miss a beat. "Please don't expect
      me to know the name of every cook and bottle-washer assigned to this
      facility."

      "I don't have any personnel who are mutants. And nobody but a mutant
      has to wear a contraption like that on his face. And that uniform
      he's got on sure as hell isn't U.S. or Canadian. I know who the guy
      is, Dr. Stryker. The mutant you brought in this morning. Cyclops,
      that's his code name, right?"

      Silence. Stryker wasn't staring at his wristwatch anymore.

      "You've been in the Genetics Monitoring database?" Stryker asked
      softly. "How did you obtain access? That database requires a Level
      Nine security clearance."

      Tyler sidestepped the question. He had not been able to crack the
      database. He did, however, have a far-flung network of battle buddies
      and a secure satellite telephone.

      He bluffed, "I'm the commander of this facility and I'll open any
      file in any database maintained here. So let's talk about Cyclops."

      "Mutant X106, you mean?"

      "I'm talking about the guy with the nuclear eyeballs, okay?" Tyler
      fought not to shout. "I'm talking about the mutie freak who's
      supposed to be able to punch a hole through Cheyenne Mountain. So I
      don't suppose Alkali Dam would be much of a challenge for him." Okay,
      so, he was shouting. "Why'd you bring him to my base and when were
      you planning on telling me?"

      Stryker settled back in Lyman's chair. He sighed, as though the base
      commander were boring him. "Mutant X106 was picked up in a raid by
      the Joint Terrorism Task Force. He pretends to be a shop teacher at a
      private school near New York City. The school is actually a cover for
      a terrorist training camp. If you've read the mutant's file, you know
      he's been linked to Magneto and the attack on the world leaders'
      summit. There's clear evidence he's working with al Qaeda. And while
      I agree he's earned an all-expenses paid vacation in Cuba, I
      persuaded the Secretary of Defense to detain him here instead."
      Stryker stared impressively at Tyler. "Rehabilitation, not revenge,
      Colonel. It's the only lasting solution to the mutant problem."

      Tyler hesitated angrily. He'd served in the Far East since before
      September 11th, and didn't know much more than the man on the street
      about "homeland security" or mutant activism. He didn't know the
      players, had merely a basic grasp of the issues, and didn't know the
      applicable laws. He'd seldom even read any English-language
      newspapers while overseas. He realized, to his chagrin, that he
      simply didn't know enough to punch holes in any story Stryker might
      tell him.

      Much later it would occur to him that this had probably been the
      deciding factor in his selection as commander of Alkali Base.

      "What about the old man in the wheelchair? And the pack of kids? Who
      the hell are they?"

      "The old man is a member of the Board on Army Science and Technology
      at the National Academies. He's here to monitor and evaluate the
      first clinical trials of the Cerebro, which, I am happy to say, are
      only days away. As I'm sure you noticed, his health is precarious. He
      needs his rest and I'll thank you not to disturb him." Stryker rolled
      his eyes. "The children were scooped up with Mutant X106 in the raid
      on their so-called school. Mutant X106 is their legal guardian,
      believe it or not. A sad commentary on our social services, wouldn't
      you agree? Part of the terrorist recruitment strategy -- the adults
      adopt or foster young mutants and train them up."

      "So what the hell are the kids doing here? Why weren't they placed in
      foster homes back in the States?" Tyler snapped.

      "The President personally ordered them to be taken into custody and
      interrogated." Stryker shrugged at Tyler's incredulous look. "Young
      as they are, these mutants are in violation of the President's
      Military Order. Obviously they're not going to be charged, but
      they're in possession of intelligence vital to the war on terror."

      "They're kids!"

      Dr. Yates interrupted. "For heaven's sake, Colonel, these so-called
      kids are little terrorists in training. Their mutant powers could
      manifest at any moment. Do you think foster parents are fighting over
      them? New York State can't even find a prison willing to take them.
      It'll be months before they can be placed." She shrugged. "What
      better place to detain them than at Alkali Base? This is the Mayo
      Clinic for mutation disorders."

      "Whoa," Tyler said slowly. "Whoa there. The Cerebro -- you said
      you're ready to start clinical trials. That's what you just said,
      isn't it? You're not -- you aren't going to experiment on those kids,
      are you? Is that what you brought them here for?"

      "Excuse me, Colonel, if I don't appreciate the comparison to
      Mengele," Stryker said haughtily. "As you know, the Cerebro
      Initiative is concerned with developing a means of suppressing or
      neutralizing mutation disorders. Now those who funded this project
      did so with the goal of eliminating a terrorist threat to North
      America. But my own goal has always been the rehabilitation of
      mutants and their re-integration into mainstream society."

      Stryker fixed Tyler with a stare of religious fervor. "Mutant X106
      could be the first to benefit from the Cerebro Initiative. With my
      help, this alienated young mutant could be returned to his former
      productive life as an auto mechanic. And those children? They need
      never manifest their mutations at all. They could become normal
      children. Adoptable children. Would you deny them that opportunity?"

      "Well, no -- of course not -- I didn't mean --" Tyler floundered.
      Dammit all to hell. How had he wound up on the defensive?

      Stryker got to his feet. "If that's your idea of experimentation,
      Colonel, then I am proud to be guilty."

      Stryker regally swept toward the door of Lyman's office. Tyler meekly
      stood aside and let him pass.

      Sam Tyler felt like a complete idiot.


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