X-Men: Special Threats, Issue Six

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X-Men: Special Threats, Issue Six Empty X-Men: Special Threats, Issue Six

Post  AndyWright on Fri Nov 09, 2012 10:01 pm

X-Men: Special Threats
Issue Zero


Sore eyes, long dry from hours of being glazed and not blinking enough, looked up for a second and then returned to looking at the somewhat comical, somewhat medieval “mittens.” Heavy leather mitts covered her hands and forearms and were wrapped tightly together at her wrists.

Since Illyana had started to come out of a drugged haze a couple hours ago, memories of being taken onto a strange prison ship and being treated for her injuries had slowly swirled around into clarity. “Illyana Rasputin.”

The round-faced woman, with her eyebrows permanently high and her forehead permanently wrinkled, typed quickly and then paused. “Superhuman handle?”

“Magik. With a ‘k’”

“Magik with a ‘k.’ Powers? Oh. Never mind. Here they are. Teleportation. CMMPP, various forms, including—”


The woman somehow raised one of her eyebrows even higher. “It’s a mouthful. It just means magic. Must be where you got your name. Original.”

Illyana stood there silent and blank-faced for a few seconds. “Where is everyone else?”

“In their cells.” The woman didn’t look at her. She was typing away. “You needed more patching up than the others. Oh, and welcome to the Alcatraz.”

* * *

An electric light spun around Illyana as she stood below a tall arch of electronics. It circled her, then again, spinning along a different axis. It continued to randomly spin and circle and flash around her.

A green light turned on by a console that a blank-faced navy kid was standing next to. He looked up at a more serious-looking man who had armed guards on either side of him. Guards that constantly had the barrels of strange rifles pointed at Illyana’s head.

The kid’s voice crackled out. “No sign of her powers, sir.”

The serious-looking man walked over and looked at the laptop that was apparently running the scanner. Next to it was a small, glossy-black, expensive-looking laptop. It had the spread-winged-eagle logo of S.H.E.I.L.D. on the back.

The serious man sighed. “What about the CMMPP?”

The kid shook his head. “She’s got nothing. Classifying her as de-powered.”

The serious man turned to have his whole self face the blank-face kid. His voice lowered. “She’s not de-powered. Her powers changed. Type a note in her file that—”

“What does that mean, anyway?” Illyana adjusted her hands inside the bulky mitten/cuffs.

The serious-looking man turned soul-piercing, miserable eyes at her. Chills went down her spine and her stomach twisted up as he looked at her with some sort of complete, evil combination of annoyance, impatience, and condescension. “Cognitive manipulation of metaphysical phenomenon.”

Illyana looked up at the ceiling, mouthing the words noiselessly. She frowned at the man. “Why are there two ‘Ps?’ ‘Metaphysical’ is one word, not two.”

The steel eyes narrowed. “Take her to his cell. About time it got some use again.”

* * *

The door shut behind Illyana with the disappointing thunk of the composite-rosin latch catching to lock the plastic door. There were half a dozen candles burning on a desk. Scattered between them were dusty paper-back books: The Iliad, King Leer - The Annotated Critical Edition, Selected Non-Fictions of Jorge Borges, Le Chateau de Monte Cristo, and Finnegans Wake.

The edges of Le Chateau de Monte Cristo were well worn.

No metal anywhere. There was a wooden cot against the wall and a wooden chair next to the desk. It all looked used, but not in a long time. Along the wall opposite the door was a small window with fixed, wooden blinds. She looked out it, and saw the glowing outlines of other windows, arranged in a circle, all facing in toward a poorly lit, empty, center area

She stood there for a few moments, afraid to move or touch anything. This was quite an honor. Using a cell once occupied by Magneto.

She finally sat in the chair and lifted up her shirt a little to check the tight bandages wrapping her bruised ribs.

She jumped up and the chair fell over as the air cracked and a body with a dark face and a leg in a cast appeared in her cell. She cursed and kicked the chair toward Kurt. “What the hell? You scared the crap out of me.”

He shrugged. “Sorry.”

Illyana frowned as she gathered her nerves. “If you can teleport why not get out of here?”

He limped over and sat down on Magneto’s bed. “This brig is a big ring. I can’t tell which way is forward, where the floors are, anything. And I think the entire thing is...spinning. If you know how my power works, it really isn’t that hard to trap me. I risk ending up inside the engines or a wall.”

“Why not grab me and teleport me to a wall?”

“They’ll gas us.” He raised an eyebrow and smiled. “Besides. I’m pretty sure the entire brig is composite. Maybe the whole ship! Have you seen any metal?”

“No. How do you know they’ll gas us?”

“I was just in Hank’s room.” Kurt took in a long, deep breath. “He helped design it.”

“He helped design a prison that you wouldn’t be able to escape out of?”

“I’m not the only teleporter out there. You should know that. Too bad we don’t have Kitty with us.”

“Where is Pryde anyway?”

They were silent a moment. Kurt squinted one eye. “How are you doing?”

“Tired and angry.”

He nodded. “Xavier won’t talk much. I tried—”

Kurt paused. He was frozen with his mouth cracked open. He sighed and looked at the floor.

Illyana picked up the chair and sat on it, facing Kurt.

He looked up at her. “You look fine. This isn’t the first time I’ve been beaten and captured, but I feel horrible. But you look like you know something no one else does.”

She smiled, just a little. “It’s just perspective.”

He looked at the floor, breathing slowly. He mumbled as if to himself. “I feel like a beaten dog. Put in my place. Being sent back to the school so I can be kept out of trouble.”

Illyana chewed on her lower lip, she watched Kurt. He looked heavy and tired, though it didn’t come through in his tone of voice. She took in a deep breath and sat up straighter. “You want to know how my powers changed?”

He turned his head to look at her. He nodded. “How?”

She sighed. “I was in Bamberg, Germany. It wasn’t long after Scarlet Witch went crazy and took almost everybody’s powers. I kept most of mine, though my teleportation didn’t work very well.”

Kurt remained in the same posture, his dark eyes watching her. She smiled and turned away. “I was very angry. At everything. I hooked up with an American soldier serving at a base there.”

She started shaking. She sucked in a breath through her nose and straightened out her back. “He was a drunk. He got a little mean, especially when—”

Kurt watched, waited. His eyes stayed on Illyana’s face.

She looked back at him. She was about to say something, opening her mouth, then just letting out air. Finally she forced out words. “Some days, I just wanted to run away. Other days, I wanted to kill him so bad. Just break him in half. Teleport different parts of his body all over the room. Or maybe send him up into space so he could choke on the vacuum. It would be so easy. So damn easy.”

She paused, catching her breath, waiting for her breathing to calm and for the shaking to subside a little. At least a little. It didn’t. She waited a little longer anyway, seeing if Kurt might say anything.

He didn’t. She continued. “I just stayed with him. Most of my friends were off soul-searching. Trying to find purpose. Most of us had been stripped of our chief, defining characteristic. I had always been in the minority, but now I was a victim of some sort of racial—normalization.”

Kurt nodded. He said one word. “Yes.”

“I felt so damn alone.” Then her voice suddenly calmed. “One day, he hit me. Really hard. I’ve taken much worse before, but it’s weird when it’s someone you’re with. I almost did it. I almost reached into the darkest parts of me. I was looking. I was looking for some way to rip his soul out of his body so he could watch himself die from the outside. But then I saw myself and ran. I couldn’t deal with—the imagination.”

“Of seeing him die by your hand?”

“No.” She shook her head. “The imagination of trying to figure out how to do it. The calculating, intricate, critical thinking of how to do it. Working out the words, the thoughts, the workings of sorcery necessary. The—the plans for how to cause the most horrible and condemning suffering for someone.”

Kurt frowned. “Is that how your—magic works?”

“Not exactly.” She then frowned. “And yes. It’s complicated, but none of it happens without me using all my faculties. At that moment, I wanted free. I didn’t know if I could control it anymore. I’ve lost control before. At least, I have memories. It’s all sort of a blur.”

“What happened after you ran?”

“I went downtown. There’s a little church, hundreds of years old, near a shopping plaza there. St. Martin’s Church. There were tourists with cameras everywhere. Little—informational booths about—medieval art, I don’t know.”

“I’ve never been there.”

Illyana squinted one eye. “Really?”

Kurt laughed. “Never been to Bamberg. Germany is a big place.”

Illyana shrugged. “Well, there’s this painting on the ceiling, an optical illusion. If you stand in just the right spot and look up, it looks like there’s a vaulted ceiling, windows all around. It’s topped by a dome. It’s clever, but it’s fake.”

Kurt nodded, waiting.

Illyana looked back at him. “It was like me. I was supposed to be powerful, supposed to be one of the X-Men. I’ve always known I was just a—that I was something else. Fake. I couldn’t even remember how many of my powers were from being a mutant or which are byproducts of all the hell my soul’s been through. I hardly know how to operate in normal society. I hardly knew the difference between a healthy relationship and an abusive one.”

She paused, expecting Kurt to say comforting things. People liked to say comforting things after stuff like that. Kurt just waited.

She looked at him with her eyebrows raised. “I whispered something.”

The silence was beginning to annoy Illyana. Kurt’s patience was keeping her consistently off-guard and uncomfortable. “I whispered—”

Finally he said something. “What?”

She closed her eyes. “I want to be real.”

She could hear her heart beating in her head, it was so quiet. She didn’t breathe. She waited, then opened her eyes and looked at her hands. “And they were gone. I could still imagine killing people in various horrible ways, but somehow I knew that I couldn’t hurt anyone that way anymore.”

“When did you discover you could manipulate metal?”

“Weeks later. That’s a different story.” She stood up and moved a couple paces away from the chair, toward the door, away from Kurt. “You probably think it was God.”

Kurt chuckled. “Well, I am leaning in that direction.”

“Because it was in a church.” Illyana turned just her head around toward him. “Somehow God changed me.”

He shrugged and stuck out his lower lip. “I don’t know. Possibly. Xavier is the expert, not me. Have you told him yet?”

“I haven’t told anyone.”

Kurt’s face lost some color. He nodded.

She stared at him. “I thought for sure you’d tell me it was God. That He was answering my prayer and giving me a new power and a new chance on life. You’re the devote Catholic and all. Most of the time, anyway.”

Kurt opened his mouth and his eyes smiled. “Well, I know my faith has been a bit inconsistent at times. Sometimes I’m over-zealous and other times I avoid bringing it up at all. Then there was that time I went through that whole—carving-marks-into-my-skin phase.”

“What?” Illyana’s face lit up. She folded her arms. “Carving marks? With a knife or something?”

Kurt broke down laughing. “It was so stupid! Not the best time in my life. Thank God the scars have started fading.”

She joined in the laughing, then sat back down in the chair. They then looked up at each other and laughed again.

Their faces flushed, they looked at the floor. Illyana shook her head. “We’re both a couple of complete messes.”

“Yes.” He said it very calmly and matter-of-factly. “Illyana. Whatever the cause for your powers changing, I do believe there is a reason. I don’t know what you believe, but it give me peace to know that there is a God who works in our lives. Maybe you don’t—”

“I know.” She nodded. “I don’t know if I’d call it—”

There was a deep rumble from no apparent direction. Illyana and Kurt stood up.

Kurt went to the window. “What was that?”

* * *

“You don’t look okay.”

“I’m fine. Go away.”

The sailor, whatever his rank was—the navy’s confusing rank structure had always given Six a headache—walked off. He left Six standing by the bows of the strange ship, looking forward out over the cold, gray water. It stretched off into a gray horizon below a gray sky.

The deck shook. Six looked at her feet, then turned around to face the strange bulk of the ship. There was a bulge all around the upper decks where the cylindrical prison quarters were kept. The extra deck space made for plenty of area to place extra missile batteries, though.

She heard another boom and looked to the right and left of the ship. No other vessels in the area. The explosions were coming from inside the ship.

Six folded her arms, tapped a finger irritably against her elbow, and sighed. “That was quick.”

* * *

Xavier was not surprised.

He looked out through the copper-composite mesh covering the window of his cell, covering the entire cell in fact, as sounds of confusion slowly rose in volume.

Guards were running in the spiraling hallway outside the brig. Xavier instinctively tried to peak in on their thoughts, but hit the static wall being generated all around him by that mesh surrounding his cell. If he really needed to he could push past it a few meters. He knew he could, because they’d had a hood over his head, generating a similar field a few hours ago when they’d been scanning him. He’d been able to pull a few thoughts out of the kid running the machine.

He knew about the S.H.I.E.L.D. laptop.

He didn’t need to push through the field now. He knew what was going on.

He heard an explosion. He heard a familiar crack-crack-crack of a particular type of attack used by a particular former student of his. He heard someone crying out and then tumbling.

The door to his cell began to hiss. One of the hinges began to glow, then the other, then the latch as well. The glow turned pink as the composite material hissed and popped like burning wood.

Xavier rolled himself backward away from the door. He closed his eyes and covered his ears.

There was a crack that left Xavier’s ears ringing as bits of composite material rained down over him. Through a cloud of dust, he saw the door slowly tip back, then fall out into the hallway with a disappointing thud. It turned to the side a little and began to be dragged away by the rotation of the outside hallway’s floor.

Xavier closed his eyes, breathing in the smoke. He had a choice, but he already knew what he was going to do. He was lightheaded and nauseous and it wasn’t from the smoke.

He opened his eyes. A tall figure in a heavy trench coat, with long hair, dark eyes, and a big grin, stepped in through the haze. “How are you professor? Long time no see.”

* * *

“Ma’am! Someone’s broken into—”

Six looked around as the once-clear air snapped opaque with a crack. Thick fog appeared from nowhere, everywhere. Six could not see the anxious naval officer standing right in front of her. She could hear him cursing, though.

At least one of the mutants they’d brought on board was out, the one who could fill the air with fog at will.

“The kids are loose,” she said, walking forward, a hand out to awkwardly push the kid to the side. She closed her eyes, concentrated, then opened them.

Her vision switched to infra-red, giving her much better visibility. There was a large speedboat tied up next to the ship. She couldn’t see anyone on it.


Six turned around, looking for who had just spoken. A slender woman, NVGs on her face, smiled big and waved. “How ya doing?”

Six smiled back, playing along, and was about to ask a question, but then frowned as the girl reached out to touch her shoulder. The ship around them seemed to rise up strangely. The girl pulled her finger away, then seemed to float up above her a little.

Six looked down. Her feet were embedded into the deck. “What the hell?”

The girl walked off casually, waving as she went toward the prison deck.

* * *

“Should we do something?”

Illyana shrugged, looking up and listening to the chaos. “We could—”


Kurt jumped back as someone walked through the wall, almost bumping her face into his.

Pryde folded her arms and smiled as he almost tripped over the chair. “Kitty?”

Illyana chuckled. “Now you know how I felt when you came in.”

Kurt frowned at Pryde. “What are you doing here?”

“What do you think? Busting you out. I’m here with Remy. Let’s go.”

Kurt was still somewhat in shock. “Gambit’s here?”

Pryde took both of them by the hand and dragged them through the door. “Come on!”

* * *

“Professor, I know you don’t like it when we hurt too many people, and—”

“It’s just around this corner.”

Xavier shoved himself forward, almost too fast for Remy to keep up enough to even give an effort to push him down the hallways. Xavier had been woozy from drugs when he’d been brought down here, and had that damn inhibitor hood over his face, so he was having trouble remembering his way back to where they’d scanned him.

“This computer so important that you—” Remy stopped as a marine came around a corner and brought a huge gun to bear on them. He held up a two of clubs in his hand, smoke and sparks running up the edges of the paper as the whole thing began to glow. He readied to throw it at the wall next to the marine, but then Xavier held up a hand.

The marine lowered the weapon and stood still, his face calm and his eyes fixed off into nowhere. Remy deactivated the charged card and looked down at Xavier, who was smiling.

Remy chuckled as he tucked the card away. “Oh yeah.”

Xavier’s eyes lit up as they came to a security door with a thick, plexiglas window in it. Through it, he saw the laptop.

“That door shouldn’t be a problem.” Remy touched the thick latch. It charged, the covalent bonds of the molecules destabilizing under his careful guidance. As the material slowly began to glow, Remy frowned at his old teacher. “So what’s on this computer anyway?”

Xavier didn’t answer right away. Even after they backed up, the latch blew, and they walked into the room to take the computer. He looked at it, folded up as the glossy surface reflected the light of the alert strobes blinking along the walls. His hand froze a second, then he took it.

Xavier nodded to Remy and put it on his lap. All the blood went out of his head. His jaw clenched tight as he tried to keep his face from betraying any emotion. Shaking hands drove the wheels of his chair, rolling himself out into the hall, following Remy to the way out.

He knew they would get away.

* * *

“We don’t have much time! Storm, can you freeze up the ocean around them or something so they can’t follow us?”

Ororo’s forehead was tight. She looked up at Pryde, who was standing in the breach in the side of the ship they’d come out from, with pained eyes and nodded. She was a wreck. They had to have given her much stronger drugs than anyone else. Everyone else was fine and coherent.

Over half of them were out in the fancy-looking speed boat. Only a few more of the refugee/students were still on there way. They didn’t know where they’d taken Takahashi’s men, but they weren’t on the prison ship. All the kids had been taken below deck in the boat. Just Ororo, Kurt, Illyana, Remy, and Xavier were up top right now. Remy was fumbling with the helm controls.

There was a slap-slap-slap of big feet running on metal coming from the hole in the side of the ship. From that opening came Hank, his big, blue, furry frame jumping into the air with a kid held in each arm. He landed with as much grace as he could on the boat, set the kids down, then jumped back up to grab two more. Pryde told two adult students to wait their turn.

Illyana looked up at the top deck of the ship, at the sailors lining the edge, looking down at them stupidly, silently. She look at Xavier. “You sure you have all of them stunned?”

Xavier shook his head. “Not everyone. And Valkyries are on their way.”

“On their way? Why didn’t they just keep them onboard?”

Someone, not Xavier, answered the question. “Because they can fly.”

Illyana snapped around to see that masked face staring right at her. Six, the one who had single-handedly defeated all of them before, was hovering over the water with her arms folded, looking at her from only a little over an arms-length away.

Up above, Illyana heard Pryde cry out a “Damn it!”

Then Illyana noticed the two thick “anklets” around Six’s legs. “That looks uncomfortable.”

Without unfolding her arms, Six pointed skyward. Illyana turned just her eyes upward and saw silver specks coming in from above the clouds overhead. In moments, there were surrounded on every side by several dozen of the robots—at least fifty. All began charging up lightning on their arms. Electricity sparked and arced and danced between them and the ocean waves.

Six’s mask, looking recently glued back together along its crack. looked extra demonic in the purple and blue light. “Time to go back to your rooms.”

Someone was laughing. Illyana turned around and saw the dazed, delirious Ororo smiling with drooping eyes locked on to Six.

Ororo’s eyes turned white. “No.”

She waved an arm around her, her palm downward, her eyes on the water. Inverted tornadoes of water rose up from the ocean, each one coming up from directly below one of the Valkyries. They engulfed each, one after the other, then froze to solid ice. Crystal stalagmites fell from the air into the water, floating, each with a confused robot encased within.

Six’s eyes went wide, she turned to fly off, but was immediately swallowed up in water and ice. Storm made her cage much larger and thicker than the others. Storm’s arm continued, waving in a swooping gestured around her, catching and trapping each and every single Valkyrie in a vortex of water, no matter how far away or upward they tried to fly. Soon the whole field of view was covered with tiny iceberg-prisons bobbing up and down and side to side in the waves.

Six’s block of ice floated there next to the ship, Six’s shocked expression sealed away. The ice around her then squealed a little and a crack formed. Illyana moved back, away from the boat's edge. "I think we need to go."

Ororo stood up straight and limped to the side of the boat, looking down at her defeated enemy. She turned to Remy, who had been watching the whole scene with one side of his face smiling. “Gambit. Get us out of here.”

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X-Men: Special Threats, Issue Six Empty Re: X-Men: Special Threats, Issue Six

Post  Mechajared on Wed Nov 14, 2012 3:09 am

Nice work on the escape plot there Andy, this really takes me back to the Chris Claremont/John Byrne days.


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