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FIC: X-Book 3: Within the Storm, PG-13, Chpt 4

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  • Kathleen
    Title: X-Book 3: Within the Storm - Chapter Four: Preparing to Meet the Enemy By: Kath713/Leen713 Rating: PG-13 (violence, language) Genre: Crossover, SPOILERS
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 17, 2004
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      Title: X-Book 3: Within the Storm - Chapter Four: Preparing to Meet
      the Enemy

      By: Kath713/Leen713

      Rating: PG-13 (violence, language)

      Genre: Crossover, SPOILERS FOR X2

      Summary: see prologue for book 3

      Disclaimer: I own nothing in regards to the Marvel characters or
      any character from a previously published source portrayed in this
      story.

      Reviews: Any feedback would be great and is appreciated!

      ***

      Chapter 4:

      Stryker stood in the central operations room of the base, leaning
      forward slightly with his hands on the ledge of a large, blinking
      control station. There was a smug half-smile on his face, and the
      soldiers around him were busily preparing for the approaching mutant
      threat.

      "Is everyone in position?" he asked the commander to his
      right, who nodded.

      "Yes, sir," he replied, "And the squadrons approaching
      from Chicago have also called in to let us know they will be within
      a mile of the compound in one hour."

      "Good," Stryker said, "Have our guests arrived yet?"

      "Recon reports the first helicopter has landed in close proximity
      to the base," the soldier said, "It did not make any attempt
      to
      stay below our radars. The second craft has been more difficult to
      track but had been maintaining a steady path behind the helicopter
      before it descended."

      "Has everyone been equipped with a neural inhibitor?" Stryker
      asked, and was again met with an affirmative from the commander at
      his side.

      In the months since Alkalai Lake, Stryker had been preparing for
      another encounter with Erik Lensherr...but also with Charles
      Xavier. His base was secure against Magneto's power, and now his
      soldiers were equipped against Xavier's as well.

      His scientists had studied the information gathered from the now
      defunct company of Systems Operations, and had used their
      information on mental domination in mutants to develop a defense
      against it. Each of the soldiers now wore a neural inhibitor
      crowning their heads.

      The inhibitors resembled thin wire spectacles attached to strange
      silver cap; two clear lenses covered their eyes and a series of thin
      metal cords covered their heads. The electro-magnetic interference
      caused when it was activated made the wearer immune to outside
      psychic influence...at least, all their tests had proven as much.

      Stryker had once used such a device to keep Xavier trapped inside
      his own mind. Now, he used them to keep the Professor out of the
      minds of his soldiers.

      "Tell them to wait..." Stryker mused, "About five
      minutes...and then activate their inhibitors. Let's give the all-
      seeing Professor a little peek before we blind him."

      --------------------------------------------------------------

      With a loud protesting shriek from the hinges, Sabertooth forced
      open the doorway with mild effort. Magneto waited behind him, along
      with Pyro and Mystique. They stood at the end of a short tunnel on
      the side of the mountain, and had so far met no resistance in
      approaching the base.

      Magneto regarded the crumbling door with disguised concern. Like
      the Sentinel, the substance it was made from was not metal of any
      kind, yet seemed to possess the same strength in structure. So,
      whoever created this compound knew enough not to make it of metal.
      But Magneto knew, just as with the hapless guards of his old plastic
      prison, people never knew how easily the tiniest amount of metal
      around them could become deadly.

      The four members of the Brotherhood entered the compound with
      discretion, ready to face down any guards they may meet. They
      walked for several minutes before their path lead them to the large
      empty hanger where the Sentinel stood dormant.

      Magneto walked toward the device and ran one gloved hand along its
      belly. It had obviously been attacked, by multiple means, but
      seemed quite intact. His hands found five claw marks and he
      wondered what had become of the Lady Deathstrike.

      "Magneto," Sabertooth called then, making no effort to lower
      his booming voice, "Over here..."

      The large mutant stood by the open hanger door and pointed out
      another set of claw marks, deeply set in one controlled swipe.
      Magneto smiled broadly.

      "The Lady is inside," he said and turned to Sabertooth,
      "Take Pyro and head inward. Kill all those you find, save any
      mutants taken by the Sentinel. Bring them back to me alive.
      Mystique and I will head up to the second level and rendezvous back
      here in one hour, unless I specify otherwise."

      "What about the X-Men?" Sabertooth growled but grinned as if
      he already knew the answer. Mystique's eyes grew wide, but gave
      no
      other indication of concern at the large mutant's words. Magneto
      glanced at her briefly, smiling confidently, and then looked back at
      Sabertooth.

      "Avoid them if you can," he said, "They are more a
      nuisance to us than a threat. However...if you should come upon the
      Wolverine...well, I'm sure you would like to have a few words
      with him..."

      Mystique's tense muscles relaxed slightly at Magneto's order.

      Sabertooth nodded and smirked over his large teeth.

      "A few words..." he growled, "Maybe less..."

      He began to storm across the hanger, and Pyro hesitated a moment
      before following, deciding he would rather deal with Sabertooth than
      Magneto's fury. Pyro took out his lighter and held it firmly in
      his palm, new anticipation to use his fire also motivating him to
      follow the large mutant.

      "Burn me..." Sabertooth rumbled to him, "And you're
      dead."

      Pyro did not pause, but glanced at the charred part of
      Sabertooth's arm with bitter amusement. That firestarting chick
      might have just done him a favor, giving Sabertooth a little taste
      of the flame. It might make the large mutant rethink shoving Pyro
      around again.

      -----------------------------------------------------------------

      Wolverine flexed one fist experimentally, but did not unsheathe his
      claws. He was looking straight ahead, frowning in thought as they
      followed Magneto and his Brotherhood. Mostly, however, he was
      thinking about the Lady Deathstrike, and her last words to him on
      the ground.

      Think of me...think of me as you die...Brother, her voice rang in
      fury through Wolverine's mind, and as he flexed his hand, he could
      feel the unnatural blades grinding against his bones. It was
      painful, but only for a moment. The memories of past hate, and what
      it had driven him to, was worse.

      Two years ago, it would not have mattered. Two years ago, he was
      alone, he did not have anyone to look after, anyone looking up to
      him, anyone who cared whether he lived or died. Now, he had felt
      responsibility, he had felt friendship, he had felt love, and he had
      felt loss. Yet, out of all of those emotions, he was discovering
      that guilt was the most difficult to face.

      "Magneto has landed, Professor," Cyclops said from the
      pilot's seat and Wolverine drew himself back into reality.

      "Circle once, Scott," Xavier said, "I'll try to reach
      a mind within the base that may know the best place to land..."

      The Professor closed his eyes and focused on the lives in the
      compound below. He felt the minds of dozens, not quiet one hundred
      men and women with their thoughts busily filled with their
      respective duties. He did not sense the prisoners within, but found
      himself drawn to a familiar mind. Xavier frowned, this mind was one
      he recognized, but from where...he concentrated, and almost had a
      name...

      Suddenly, Xavier inhaled with surprise and opened his eyes. The
      minds of those in the compound below were cut off, disappeared. He
      focused again, but could sense nothing. He rubbed one temple with
      his fingertips and frowned.

      "Professor?" Wolverine asked, and Xavier met his face gravely.

      "There are many within, but...I could not get an accurate
      count," the Professor admitted, "Bring the jet around to the
      front
      hanger, where the Sentinel touched down."

      Wolverine smirked, "Right through the front door, huh? Isn't
      that a little rude?"

      Xavier sighed but spoke cynically, "If those within were
      concerned with manners, they would have apologized after destroying
      the Malloy residence. Besides, they know we're here. I've
      lost all
      sense of their minds, and unless they have all suddenly died, they
      have a way to block my power."

      Xavier did not add about the familiar mind he sensed. The hate he
      felt there had been all too recognizable, though impossible that it
      was the same person. Stryker was dead, but he was not the only man
      of power in the world who hated mutants. Who was continuing his
      work?

      Cyclops landed the jet conspicuously in front of the open hanger
      door, and then stood and walked to the back. Wolverine moved next,
      followed by Nightcrawler.

      "Keep radio contact," the Professor said, as he directed his
      chair after the three X-Men, "I will continue to scan the area
      from
      here and keep you notified of any changes I am aware of."

      Sid stood from the passenger seat and began to exit the jet as
      well. Xavier held up a halting hand and met the young man's
      angry gaze.

      "I'm going with them," Sid said and Xavier shook his head.

      "I don't think that would be wise, Mr. Malloy," he said
      firmly, "Scott, Logan and Kurt have been trained for this. They
      will recover your sister and..."

      "What makes you think my sister needs rescued?" Sid asked
      angrily, and then took a few more steps forward, "We have more
      experience with this type of thing than you know..."

      "I understand," Xavier said, "But for now, I must insist
      you remain here. You can sense her mind, yes? Use that to let us
      know where they are, and maybe she will use that to find the way
      out."

      Sid continued to glare angrily but did not attempt to follow the X-
      Men again.

      "This entire place is made of glass and stone!" he exploded
      suddenly, "Can't anybody else feel that? I would be more
      help inside than out here!"

      Xavier remained completely calm, his gaze unwavering.

      "And if the hanger doors close..." the Professor explained,
      "Or if that Sentinel is reactivated, wouldn't it be better if
      you
      were here to help those inside get out?"

      Sid stood in anger for another moment and glanced between the X-Men
      and their leader.

      He finally sighed resigningly, "Fine. If that's what you
      think is best...fine. But...if I feel, at any time, that I'm
      needed
      within, I'll be gone before you can stop me..."

      From the bottom of the jet's ramp, Sid heard Wolverine chuckle
      with amusement.

      "I...wouldn't try that, bub," he said, "Charles can
      come up with some pretty convincing ways to stop you. What do you
      think, Professor? Six year old girl...he's got a sister...she
      could
      braid his hair..."

      Sid turned and looked at Logan with angry confusion that quickly
      faded into a strange amusement. Wolverine smirked and walked off
      toward the open hanger door with Cyclops and Nightcrawler. Sid
      turned and looked at the Professor warily, but with a grin.

      "You can do that?" he asked, and Xavier shrugged
      noncommittally.

      "It was part of Logan's `quit smoking' program,"
      the Professor replied.

      Sid nodded, but his smile faded, "I meant it, though. I will
      leave if I'm called."

      Xavier nodded, "I don't think my influence could stop you.
      However, if we..."

      The Professor then frowned and tilted his head. He may not be able
      to sense the minds inside the compound, but he most certainly could
      sense the two other minds quickly approaching.

      "We're going to have company soon," Xavier said, looking
      pleased and annoyed at the same time, as the small jet carrying
      Rogue and Mary drew closer to the compound.

      ***
      Archived at www.fanfiction.net/~leen713
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