Professor Charles Xavier leads a group of young mutants known as the X-men. Together, they fight for peace and understanding in a world that hates and fears them. Recently, however, that fight has taken many unexpected turns with the recruitment of new mutants such as Ororo Munroe, Marie Darkholme, and especially Logan, a mysterious man with an unknown past.
While it remains uncertain how he was abducted the first them, Wolverine escaped the clutches of Weapon X and was later assisted by the X-men. He eventually joined them and despite tension among the team, most notably with Scott Summers, he began to emerge as a strong presence in the X-men.
But Weapon X did not forget about Wolverine or the X-men for helping him escape. Under the leadership of General Wraith and Dr. Cornelius, Weapon X had formulated a new attack. This time, they struck Wolverine and the X-men in their own home. Having caught them by surprise, the X-men were unable to overcome the onslaught and were knocked out and captured. Wolverine’s old nemesis Sabretooth led the charge and personally ensured that Logan would not get away a second time.
Now the X-men find themselves in the clutches of the mysterious Weapon X and face increasingly grim prospects.
Weapon X Lab – Cold War
The snowy tundra of Northern Canada had always been the perfect setting to test new weapons. This area was a no-man’s land where only the hardiest of creatures could survive. Wolves, bears, and fish ruled this part of the world. If ever there was a more unforgiving terrain, this was it. But this snowy and windy night, a new predator was making its presence known.
Through the blinding snow, a burly figure wearing only skin tight blue shorts prowled the landscape. He didn’t have a name or identity, not anymore at least. He only had a designation that was given to him by his masters: Wolverine. Despite being mostly exposed in this sub-zero environment he was utterly unaffected by the cold. He moved swiftly and stealthily as if it were a warm sunny day in July. The way he carried himself displayed instincts that only the most battle-hardened warriors could boast. But he was equipped with more than just his wits. Locked onto his head was a high tech helmet with a red transparent bar across his eyes. From this apparatus, various wires ran down onto brick-sized packs stitched to his shorts. It was a high tech merge of man and machine, making the Wolverine more than just a soldier. He was a weapon.
Up ahead, his keen senses picked out a target. It was a large, fully mature grizzly bear. In this part of the world, such a creature was at the top of the food chain. Only the foolish dared to mess with it. But without fear or hesitation, the man known as Wolverine stalked his prey. Becoming one with his snowy surroundings, he carefully positioned himself for a strike. With stealth and cunning, he inched his way up to the creature from behind. He got so close he could smell salmon still on the creature’s breath. There were no rational thoughts going through his mind. His only focus was this mission.
Clenching his fist, the human/weapon hybrid snarled with intent. He craved blood. He craved to feel his enemy fall before him. Just as he was about to strike, the creature picked up on his presence. Instinctively, it rose up and turned around to face the threat. But it was already too late.
“Hrrrrrrahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!” roared the feral Wolverine.
Before the bear could attack, Wolverine leapt into the cold air and drew the metal claws buried in his hands. With ruthless efficiency, he plunged both claws into the creature’s neck and tore through the waiting flesh. Blood shot out as the bear roared out in pain. It thrashed helplessly and fell back into the snow. As it did, Wolverine relentlessly stabled and gutted the creature. With every slash he howled and grunted with fury. It wasn’t enough to just kill his target. He had to rip it to shreds, leaving no possibility for retaliation. Even after the creature was dead he kept attacking. It was only when he heard a distinct voice from the helmet that he stopped.
“That’s quite enough, Wolverine. I believe the creature is dead now.”
With a low growl Wolverine stopped and rose like an obedient animal, the blood of the creature still dripping from his claws. There was no hint of emotion or remorse. There wasn’t even a trace of humanity in him. It was as if he truly was more animal than man. Only this animal was trained. He would hunt, stalk, and kill as if he were a machine. This was just what his creators wanted.
Watching from the warmth and safety of a Weapon X command center miles away, a group of scientists and military officials observed the test. Among them were Dr. Abraham Cornelius and the recently promoted Colonel Wraith. This was an important day for the program. It was the first time they could see the fruits of their labor in action. Together, they stood near the main monitor and took in what they had just seen.
“Impressive, Dr. Cornelius,” said Wraith.
“Thank you, Colonel. While I admit the execution is still somewhat messy, the success rate is more than preferable,” responded Dr. Cornelius as he compiled the data.
“So long as the mission is complete, I’m okay with messes. But eventually we’ll have to clean it up for more specialized missions.”
“And we will,” said Dr. Cornelius, “Wolverine and his cohort, Sabretooth, are the first of their kind. Think of them as prototypes. Or concept cars if you will. Some refinement will be necessary, but they give us a solid base to build off of.”
“I would expect nothing less. But I still have my concerns and so do the higher ups back in Washington. These prototypes as you call them are still unstable. You said initially you were going to give them the reliability of a machine, but these field tests seem to indicate that you’ve just turned them into animals.”
“At least they are trained animals,” said the doctor stoically, “I meant what I said, Colonel. I do intend to make Weapon X every bit as reliable as a tank or jet fighter. But current technology limits our ability to integrate the nature of man with the nature of machine. So for now we will have to rely on machines to keep the man at bay. It will allow us to use the proper conditioning if you will to get the results we desire.”
“Just what does this so called conditioning entail?”
“With all due respect, Colonel, you’re better off not knowing. That way when you are asked by your superiors, you won’t have to lie.”
“If you’re trying to lay some of my concerns to rest you’re doing a lousy job, doc.”
“I’m simply being honest with you, Colonel,” said Dr. Cornelius, “Weapon X is an ongoing project. All great leaps in science and technology take time. Right now we’re in the earliest of stages. I can only assure you that when the time comes, we’ll take that next step.”
“And when exactly will that time be?” asked Wraith.
Dr. Cornelius rolled his eyes as he looked over a printout of the mission data. As much as he appreciated the military’s full support limitless budgets, their impatience was annoying. They failed to understand that progress could not be rushed. They also failed to understand the majesty of what they accomplished. In many ways it was more than just a weapons program. It was a step towards something grander. But that was a mission for another day.
“I can’t say for certain, Colonel. I can only assure you that no matter what happens to this project, the advances we’ve made will remain safe and secure. I’ve made sure of it.”
“They better,” said Wraith, “With all the resources we’ve sunk into this project, we can’t afford to lose anything.”
“We won’t. So long as our specimens remain, so will the fruits of our labor.”
“Hopefully the secrets will remain too. The information in their bodies alone is very valuable. Let’s just hope Wolverine and Sabretooth never remember the intimate details of what we did to them.”
“Oh don’t worry about that, Colonel,” grinned Dr. Cornelius as he gazed at an image of Wolverine, “I’ve taken every precaution in wiping their minds of any such details. Even if they do remember, they’ll never truly understand what they’re a part of.”
Weapon X Central Lab – Present Day
It had been a long time since Dr. Cornelius had been this excited. For the first time in years he had a chance to take his work in a new direction. Standing in an observation deck overlooking the containment cells, he took in the sight of the caged and restrained X-men. In this group of gifted mutants, he saw so much potential. He remembered how they muddled their initial attempt to retrieve Wolverine. While their interference was annoying, he was impressed by their ability. They would make fine additions to his research and once he extracted the necessary secrets from Wolverine, he could move ahead with the next ambitious phase of his work.
There were so many possibilities. The young man with optic blasts would add some much needed firepower. The girl with the telepathy and telekinesis would do wonders for their spy activities. Even that younger boy with the ice powers could come in handy, particularly in harsh environments. He looked forward to testing them after they were properly conditioned.
As he poured over the genetic data taken from blood samples, General Wraith entered the observation deck.
“We’re ready,” he told him, “My men have both Wolverine and Charles Xavier.”
“Excellent!” said Dr. Cornelius with a grin, “What of his X-men?”
“We’ve got them contained as well. But we haven’t sedated them, just as you requested.”
“And what of their powers? Are the suppressor collars I provided working properly?”
“So far, no incidents,” said Wraith, “But I am curious as to where these collars came from and why you never mentioned them before.”
“They were a gift from a friend of a friend. That’s all I can say,” said Dr. Cornelius ominously. “All you and your men need to know is that it’s vital that we keep each specimen contained. We can begin their conditioning as soon as we extract the necessary data from Wolverine.”
“It would still be easier if we kept those punks under,” Wraith pointed out, “I did background checking on the X-men. They’re a pesky bunch. They have a way of screwing you over if you let them.”
“That’s a risk you and your people will have to take. Let me be clear, General. I don’t want you to sedate them until I have a full workup of their physiology. There is so much to learn and so much potential to be tapped. If you want to make good use of it you’ll do things my way.”
General Wraith didn’t like his tone. He didn’t like being kept out of the loop either. But Cornelius was never one for exaggerations. While he didn’t share Dr. Cornelius’s excitement, he did share his ambition now that everything was back in place.
“No promises, doctor. Most of these X-men are just punk kids. They get unruly and I won’t hesitate to take them out.”
“I understand, but do be careful with them,” warned Dr. Cornelius, “There is much they have to offer and it would be a shame if we were to miss out.”
“Don’t get smug with me, Abraham. Just because you’re the brains doesn’t mean you can order me and my men around,” said Wraith sternly.
“Just because you’re the muscle, don’t think you can intimidate me either, General,” said Cornelius, his smug grin not waning, “You may have the guns, but you don’t have the power. Like it or not, I am the only one who can extract the necessary secrets from Wolverine. And I am the only one who can put those secrets to good use. If you want any of this to pay dividends, I suggest you stop defending your ego and start doing your job.”
General Wraith hated it when men like Dr. Cornelius talked down to him. But as much as he hated to admit it, he needed his expertise. He wished he didn’t because there was still so much about this man he didn’t trust. But so long as he delivered, he could tolerate his arrogance.
“Fine,” said Wraith, maintaining a stern demeanor, “But make no mistake. You need me as much as I need you. This isn’t your personal science lab. This is serious business and I expect results!”
“And you shall have them,” assured Dr. Cornelius as he gathered his materials, “Remember I once promised that Weapon X would provide a foundation for us to do much more than just create weapons. Today I keep that promise.”
“You said that several decades ago. Unless my Alzheimers is kicking in, I remember that not working out so well.”
“Better late than never,” Cornelius shrugged, “Think of me what you will. But I am a man of my word. I won’t fail this time. You can count on it.”
With a confident stride, Dr. Cornelius took his materials and followed General Wraith out of the observation deck. Wraith was still skeptical, but he knew better than most men the value of his word. He and his men had done their part in getting Wolverine back along with the X-men. Now it was Dr. Cornelius’s turn.
Weapon X - Holding Cells
These were not good times for the X-men. They were officially prisoners of Weapon X. When they all woke up from their unexpected slumber, they found themselves locked in holding cells. Only these were no ordinary holding cells. They were specially designed to hold mutants. They were made of mostly metal on all sides, but what really made them unique was that there were no bars or doors keeping them locked in. Instead there was a glowing greenish-red energy barrier keeping them inside. And if the heat it was giving off was any indication, it was meant to violently repel anybody who tried to test them.
Not only were they trapped, they were powerless as well. Scott, Bobby, Jean, Ororo, and Rogue all had these strange metal collars around their necks. At first they weren’t sure what they were for, but when Bobby tried to ice up they quickly realized their function. They kept their powers at bay, ensuring they couldn’t use them to escape. Warren and Hank didn’t have one since their powers weren’t deemed to be threatening enough of suppression. It was kind of insulting, but wounded pride was the least of their worries. In addition they had all been dressed in full bodied black uniforms with a large yellow X on the back. It was as if to mark them as prisoners.
“Well this night has officially gone to hell,” mused Scott Summers, “Guess Logan was right. His past always does come back to haunt him. Now it’s haunting us. As if he wasn’t already a big enough asshole.”
The X-men had been in their share of bad situations, but this was definitely up there. Still reeling from the attack, they all struggled to collect themselves. Scott was with Warren in one cell. Rogue was with Jean in the cell adjacent to them. Bobby was in a cell with Ororo across from them. And in another smaller cell, Hank was restrained with shackles to the wall to contain his animal strength. But as dazed as they were, they didn’t take their captivity lightly.
“You GI-Joe wannabes are making makin’ a big mistake! Ah swear when Ah get out Ah’m gonna tear off your limbs and beat ya to death with them!” exclaimed Rogue definitely at the passing guards, “Ah’m serious! If you don’t let us outta here…”
“Give it a rest, Rogue. They’re obviously not listening,” said Jean, who was still rubbing her head as she sat on the small bed.
“Well if they know what’s good for em they will!” she exclaimed, “Who are these guys anyways?!”
“Weren’t you around when the Professor updated us on Weapon X? Or did you happen to skip that class?” retorted Jean in a cynical tone.
Rogue turned towards Jean with a confrontational look.
“Don’t start with meh, Jean! It’s bad enough they stuck us in a cell together! Ah don’t need you to give meh an attitude!”
“Look whose talking,” quipped Jean.
Rogue was about to respond, but a few nearby guards had enough of their bickering.
“Both of you shut up!” yelled one of the guards, “Keep up the yelling and I’ll have you both shackled and bound like your blue furry friend over there! And trust me, my boys and I won’t be gentle!”
Rogue scowled and was about to yell back, but Jean stopped her by grabbing her shoulder and holding her back.
“Enough, Rogue!” she said under her breath, “I don’t like this anymore than you, but we’re in this together. And we’re not making it any better by yelling at each other.”
As much as Rogue resented being talked down to, she didn’t want to make this worse. It went against her defiant nature, but she fell silent. She still pulled away from Jean, making it clear she still harbored some resentment after what happened in the gym earlier. And Jean got the message.
“This ain’t over,” mused Rogue.
“I know,” sighed Jean, “But we’ve got enough to worry about at the moment. We have no idea what they’re doing with Logan or the Professor.”
“How bad are we talking here? Don’t be sugarcoating it for me, Grey. Tell meh so Ah know how pissed off Ah should be?”
“Bad enough,” was all she said, “If what Logan told me about these people is any clue, I don’t even want to think about it.”
It did not bode well. It was already clear from the attack that these people were truly without humanity and ethics. Now they were their prisoners. They had to escape, but it wasn’t going to be easy.
In the cell across from Jean and Rogue’s, Bobby was pacing restlessly while Ororo sat anxiously in a corner. Bobby kept groaning under his breath, going over all the ways this situation sucked. Being attacked and abducted was one thing, but being attacked and abducted in the Xavier Institute was something else altogether.
“This completely, utterly, and unequivocally sucks!” he groaned, “How could these guys just barge in and attack us? Isn’t the mansion supposed to have security?”
“It is,” said Scott from the cell across from his, “Which is why it’s so suspicious. They must have found some way to short out the security system. That’s how they got the jump on us.”
“But that’s impossible,” said Warren who was sitting with his back against the wall across form Scott, “Hank and the Professor designed that system. There’s nobody else who knew about it.”
“Well obviously it needs an upgrade!” groaned Bobby, “Seriously, we get attacked enough in the field! Do we really have to worry about being attacked in our own home?”
Bobby couldn’t keep himself from brooding and paced even faster. But his demeanor and tone wasn’t doing Ororo any good.
“Bobby please…” said Ororo, sounding short of breath, “Keep it down. I…I’m having a hard enough time keeping it together.”
“Are you sure you’re okay, Miss Munroe?” he asked with a concerned look, “Usually I’m the last one to get over a beating. You’re starting to worry me.”
“I…I’ll be fine,” said Ororo, hugging her shoulders, “I just can’t stand being confined like this.”
“Hey, I hear you. Nobody likes being locked up in a cage,” said Bobby, kneeling down to comfort her.
“No, you don’t understand!” she said anxiously, “I…I have claustrophobia.”
“Claustrophobia?” said Bobby with a look of surprise, “I thought that was only in made for TV movies.”
“Trust me, it’s real,” she said, now sounding like she was hyperventilating, “I…I’ve always hated small spaces. They make me feel so…”
But she couldn’t go on. She tried to slow her breathing, doing some of the technique’s Hank and Professor Xavier taught her. Her heart was still pounding in her chest and she was still very tense. But she wasn’t sure how much more of this she could take.
“I…I need to get out of this place!” said Ororo.
“Easy, Miss Munroe! Take deep breaths,” urged Scott.
“I’m trying! It’s easier said than done! If I stay in here much longer…”
“Well don’t worry. Nobody cages the X-men and gets away with it,” assured Bobby, “We’ll find a way to escape. Right Scott?”
In the other cell, Scott was pondering that very issue himself. He had been analyzing their situation ever since they woke up. These were the kinds of scenarios he trained for since the early days of the X-men. Because of that, everybody turned to him first for a plan. But he wasn’t always able to give one.
“I don’t know, Bobby. I’m working on it,” said Scott.
“Not to put any pressure on you man, but try and work faster,” said Warren, “I’ve got a very bad feeling about this place.”
“So do I,” said Scott in a low tone, “But I’m open to suggestions.”
“I’ll keep that in mind,” said Warren, “Maybe you should take your glasses off or something. You know that inhibitor will probably hold your powers back. As long as we’re here, why not make the best of it?”
“That’s okay. I’ll keep them on,” said Scott in a flat tone.
“I said I’ll keep them on, Warren!” said the X-leader firmly, “Let’s worry about one thing at a time, okay?”
Warren fell silent. Scott always was sensitive about his powers. He thought he would jump at any chance to control them even in a setting like this. But for some reason, that notion didn’t even cross his mind. Warren wasn’t sure what to make of it, but now was not the time to dwell on such matters. They had to get out of this cage and away from these deeply disturbed people.
As Scott thought hard about his next move, he looked across at Hank. He had a worried look in his eye. He was undoubtedly concerned about Ororo after hearing her distressed words. He couldn’t blame him, but these Weapon X goons weren’t taking any chances. He managed to give his teacher and teammate a confident nod, assuring him that he would think of something.
‘Please Cyclops…come up with something quickly. I cannot bear to hear Ororo suffer any longer!’
The captive X-men fell silent as they further contemplated their situation. Nobody even contemplated the possibility of letting Weapon X do what they want with them. They had to escape. It wasn’t even a question of if. But as they contemplated the how, the sliding doors from the holding cell entrance opened and the team was met with a distressing sight.
From the doors, a team of Weapon X soldiers and scientists wheeled in two gurneys with secure metal shackles and elaborate metal locks. On one gurney was Wolverine, who had a special mask over his face and various wires sticking out of his body. He was completed sedated and restrained. The guards weren’t taking any chances with him. On the other was Professor Xavier, who had a couple of IV’s going into his arm, which appeared to be full of sedatives. He was barely conscious and looked to be in bad shape.
“Professor!” exclaimed Scott as he saw him, “What have you done to him?!”
From behind the gurney’s, General Wraith and Dr. Cornelius followed closely. Sabretooth was also with them, looking all too happy to see his enemies trapped like this.
“Pipe down, kid. He’s still alive…for now,” grinned the feral mutant.
“If you do anything to him and I swear…” the X-leader began.
“You’re in no position to make threats, Mr. Summers!” said Wraith, “You’re mentor is in a lot of trouble and so are the rest of you. You made a big mistake getting involved in our affairs and now you must to pay the price.”
“Um…I assume we’re not talking lunch money here, right?” said Bobby.
“Not remotely,” answered Wraith, “But I can assure you that you won’t be harmed.”
“Somehow I find that hard to believe when you stick us in cages like this,” said Jean.
“Believe what you want, but don’t bother deluding yourselves. You’re a part of this whether you like it or not,” Wraith explained, “You see, we’re not monster. We’re not just going to cage you like animals and dissect you. The lot of you have stumbled into something so much bigger and as such you’re going to be play an important role. You’ll be doing your country a favor. You’ll even get to stay heroes. But you’ll be doing it with our rules.”
“Bite me, General Jackass,” scorned Rogue.
Wraith shot the young woman a threatening look, but he didn’t have time to get into a spat with these deviants. There was a lot of work to be done. They would all be quiet and submissive soon enough.
As they rolled Xavier and Logan passed the cells, the X-men watched anxiously as their teammate and mentor passed by. It came as no surprise that they kept Logan restrained in every possible way, but seeing the Professor like this was even more distressing. They could only imagine what they had planned for them, making escape all the more vital. But it was starting to look increasingly complicated.
For Jean it was even more distressing as she looked at Logan with a great deal of concern. She knew better than the others how much Weapon X affected him. During their psychic sessions she got a sense for the kind of torment and rage they instilled in him. Now they appeared poised to take it a step further and everything they had done to save the man inside him may be lost.
“Logan…” she said distantly.
When Sabretooth saw this, he walked up to Jean’s cell and grinned sadistically.
“So you’re the runt’s squeeze? I gotta say, he’s got good tastes. Always did have a thing for redheads,” he said with an ominous leer, “But seeing as how he won’t be datable much longer, maybe you and me could hook up later and have a little fun.”
“I’d rather have my brain sucked out through my feet,” scowled Jean.
“Careful what you wish for, darlin’! Around here that kind of thing can be arranged.”
Sabretooth continued to stare down the attractive girl. But as much as he wanted to taunt his enemy’s woman, Dr. Cornelius reminded him of his duties.
“That’s quite enough, Sabretooth,” he said, “Come along. I’m sure you won’t want to miss the show.”
With a predatory grin, Sabretooth cast one last look at Jean and followed the convoy. There was no way he was going to miss seeing Wolverine suffer again. The only thing that bothered him was that it wouldn’t be nearly enough in his mind. But he wasn’t too worried. He was certain he would have other opportunities to make him suffer.
As the X-men watched Wraith and his men walk off with Logan and the Professor, the anxiety grew. The imperative to escape was not only grave, but now they were working on a time limit. These mysterious men were definitely up to something and whatever it was it was going to start soon.
From his adjacent cell, Scott saw Jean’s exchange with Sabretooth. He didn’t see her to know she was probably anxious. Even though he still didn’t approve of her dating Logan, he was not going to let something like this stand.
“It’ll be okay, Jean,” he assured her.
“I want to believe you, Scott,” she said desperately, “But I’ve been in Logan’s mind. I’ve seen what these men are capable of. It’s definitely not going to be okay with them!”
“We’re going to stop them. We’ll save the Professor and Logan as well.”
“How can you be so sure?”
“Because I never make a promise I can’t keep, especially to you,” said the X-leader, “I’ll think of something. You have my word.”
His words were caring and honest. And much to Rogue’s chagrin, Jean took comfort in them. Hopefully, Scott could keep his promise. They had to act before these devious men got too far.
Weapon X - Psychic Containment Chamber
Charles Xavier was in a daze. From the moment he woke up from his capture to the moment they started moving him, everything was a blur. He couldn’t see straight, he couldn’t focus properly, and he couldn’t use his powers. It was a surreal sense of being, but he could feel that something was very wrong about this. Even in his dazed state, he could pick up on the dark thoughts of his captures. He could tell their intentions were anything but noble.
Sometime during the process when they were moving him, he broke off from the convoy escorting Wolverine and was moved into a special chamber next to the main lab. It was small and confined, similar to the cells where the rest of the X-men were being held. Only this one had a special feel to it. It was darker and had various machines and sensors hanging from the walls and ceilings. It was difficult to discern what they were for in his current state, but they seemed to be interfering with his psychic abilities.
“Prop him up,” ordered Wraith to his soldiers.
The masked soldiers did as they were told, rolling the gurney up against the wall and then elevating it so that Xavier was in an upright position looking directly at Wraith. He was still restrained, unable to move any part of his body. He remained very disoriented, but whatever drugs they were giving him were starting to wear off. His vision was becoming clearer now and he could finally look the man responsible for this in the eye.
“Hello, Charles Xavier,” said the General in a firm tone, “Welcome to Weapon X.”
Wraith then turned to his men and signaled them to back off a bit. They obediently complied, taking their position just outside the door with their weapons in a ready position. This gave them some privacy so that Wraith could address this man in a more personal manner.
To Xavier, his presence was disturbing. He saw in this man’s eyes someone with little humanity and great ambition. There was nothing to indicate he felt his actions were wrong or unjustified. He wasn’t the least bit put off by his presence or that of the X-men either. There were many dark thoughts dwelling within his mind, but Xavier didn’t need his telepathy to see just how malevolent a man like him could be.
“I’m glad we could finally meet,” he went on, “You and your X-men have made quite a mess of things. Believe me when I say we did not plan for this, but you left us no choice. Had you just let us re-capture Wolverine, all this unpleasantness could have been avoided.”
“You’re talking to a psychic, Mr. Wraith,” said Xavier through his daze, “I know what you’re thinking and I know when you’re lying.”
“Then I’ll save myself the trouble and skip the part where I assure you that you and your team will be okay. Because the reality is you brought this on yourselves when you took Logan under your wing. That man is dangerous in more ways than you can imagine. He’s not meant for some idealistic school or some vigilante task force. He’s a weapon, plain and simple.”
“He’s a man!” said Xavier with greater strength, “A man you’ve tormented for no other reason than to serve your agenda.”
“Now that’s just insulting,” said Wraith with a half grin, “Because in many respects, you and I are after the same thing. I’m just going about it in a more pragmatic way.”
The General moved in closer to the bound psychic and looked down at him as if he were looking down at any other enemy combatant.
“Stay with me, Xavier. I didn’t put a power dampening collar on you because I want you to be able to see into my mind. I want you to know beyond all doubt that I’m being sincere. You need to believe me in order to understand why I’m doing what I’m doing. Because I’m not the monster you think I am. Far from it. I am a General. I only seek to defend my country. I do so with the same dedication as you have for your students.”
“By turning human beings into weapons?” retorted Xavier.
“Call it whatever you want, Charles. It’s all for the greater good, even if you can’t see it,” said the General sternly.
“There’s nothing to see, General. You’re an agent of tyranny! Men like you who seek power and control always are!”
Xavier maintained his defiant look. He was even more stubborn than Wraith anticipated. General Wraith backed up slightly and took on a more reasonable posture. One way or another, this man was going to understand the true nature of Weapon X.
“Wrong again, Xavier. See, I’ve read up on you. You carry yourself as a man of reason,” Wraith went on, “So I assume you believe in the tenants of law and order. You of all people must understand that in order for civilization to flourish, there must be rule of law and there must be authorities to enforce this rule. Historically, those authorities need only the sanctions of the state and a supply of arms to carry out this function. But as the world has grown more complex, these arms are no longer sufficient. Now that mutants have entered the picture, the foundation of civil authority is threatened.”
“So you think it’s justified to undermine that authority yourself?” retorted Charles.
“I’m not undermining anything!” said Wraith firmly, “Weapon X is just a response to the times. Back in the Cold War, the world got a lot smaller. Just defending physical boarders is no longer enough when anybody with enough money and time can strike from across continents. At the same time the mutant population exploded. Abilities and powers the likes of which we’ve never seen are springing up everywhere. All of the sudden there are individuals powerful enough to destroy armies, wipe out cities, and murder thousands. Just look at what your own students can do! If one of them has a bad day, they can just decide on a whim to go on a rampage!”
“But they don’t,” said Xavier strongly, “They’re still human!”
“Maybe your students are, but it takes only one for everything to come crashing down! How can any authority hope to enforce laws when the individuals involved are too powerful to contain? The answer is Weapon X. Take a man like Wolverine, make him indestructible and turn him into an obedient force that can deal with these situations. Now we have law and order again for humans and mutants alike. We have a weapon that can keep the peace without bombs or bullets.”
His reasoning was still mad. But Charles Xavier could sense that this man truly believed in what he was doing. He felt truly justified in putting people through this. His intentions were good, but his sheer lack of humanity was barbaric. Charles had learned in his experiences with Magneto that intentions or not, no good can ever come from this sort of heartless ambition. But Wraith wasn’t done.
“Now don’t think that we do this to just anybody. Believe me, if you knew half of Logan’s history you’ll understand why I don’t lose any sleep over what we did to him. That man is the real monster. He and Sabretooth are both products of unpleasant growing pains for this project. We’ve since worked the kinks out and now that we’ve got him back, we’re going to finish what we started.”
“So you’re going to torture him again and turn him back into a weapon?” said Xavier, his tone full of resentment.
“Not in the way you may think,” said Wraith with an ominous grin, “He will be a part of our plans. After all, he is the key. But since you and your team insisted in meddling with our affairs, they’re going to be part of it as well.”
“No!” exclaimed Xavier, “I won’t let you do to my students what you did to Logan!”
“You’re in no position to make that decision, Xavier!” shot the General, “You sealed your fate the second you aided that animal! One way or another, you and your students will help Weapon X fulfill its original intent!”
The stern military man then walked up to Xavier and looked him square in the eye with his penetrating gaze.
“Look into my mind, Xavier. You’ll see what your X-men will be in for. You may not like it, but take comfort in the knowledge that they’ll still be a force for peace. Only now, it’ll be on our terms.”
Xavier gazed back at this imposing man. His powers were weak from the drugs, but he could still peer into General Wraith’s mind. He could see a glimpse of what he was going to do to him and his students. He saw pain and suffering. Every sense of humanity and compassion would be ripped from their beings. They wouldn’t be human or mutant. They would just be tools, weapons under control of men like Wraith. It was a cruel fate and one he refused to see his students endure.
“Your wrong, Wraith,” said Xavier strongly, “Your plan will never succeed. You’re not a patriot. You’re no soldier either. You’re just another madman.”
Wraith snarled at Xavier’s remark. He was inclined to slug him good for his words. But he wasn’t going to give him the satisfaction. He would get his punishment soon enough.
“We’ll see about that, Charles,” he said as he turned away, “But do yourself a favor and save your strength. You’re going to need it”
They were bold words from a man not prone to exaggeration. But Xavier did not flinch in the face of such threats. He had to remain strong for his students. He couldn’t allow Weapon X to get away with this. Stopping them wasn’t going to be easy, but his X-men had gotten out of many situations before. He had to have faith that they would be able to do it again.
The staunch General said what he wanted to say and left Xavier to think about it as he awaited his fate. He walked back out into the facility, closing the doors behind him and isolating him in the chamber. The advanced technology integrated into the room would ensure his psychic abilities were contained. It was a shame a man of such power resided himself to such foolish idealism. But soon he would see for himself the true power of Weapon X.
Weapon X – Main Lab
Everything was set as Dr. Cornelius set Logan into place for his next big test. Upon entering the lab, he had a group of soldiers and scientists set his gurney onto an operating table with an elaborate array of machines and electronics hanging over it. It was a cold, sterile environment and one Logan had been in before. But this time, they weren’t taking any chances. An entire squad of soldiers remained on standby, ready to take Wolverine down if he even flinched. Sabretooth was there as well to act as insurance. He also made sure he was bound by layers of restraints. No matter how determined he was this time, he would not be getting out.
With wires and IV’s protruding from all over his body, Dr. Cornelius began amassing data. Many secrets dwelled within this brute and those secrets were vital to the success of Weapon X. It was only a matter of extracting those secrets and putting them to good use.
“How long is this gonna take, doc? You know how much I hate being in labs,” growled Sabretooth.
“Patience, Victor. I must first extract the necessary information from Logan’s physiological makeup. There are many secrets dwelling within that he’s not even aware of.”
“Well whoop-de-do,” said Sabretooth dryly, “At least speed it up! I didn’t help you pricks for nothing.”
“I assure you, this won’t take long,” said Dr. Cornelius with a grin of intent.
As Dr. Cornelius began gathering data, more fluids were pumped into Logan’s system. These were to act as accelerators so the system could more efficiently extract information. There was a lot to sift through. Wolverine was a complex specimen with much to offer. Cornelius and a team of his scientists worked feverishly to compile the massive stream of data. It was almost lost upon them that the influx of fluids stirred the feral man from his sedated state.
“Doctor, his vitals are becoming erratic. I think he’s waking up,” said one of the female scientists.
“Don’t worry, my dear. Just keep working,” said Dr. Cornelius confidently, “This process was bound to wake him up, but we’re more than prepared. There’s no need to be concerned.”
That was never comforting when dealing with a man like Wolverine. But Dr. Cornelius’s subordinates did as they were told and kept working. As more data was compiled, Logan let out a deep growl. The chemicals were getting to him. His accelerated healing factor was starting to eat away at the sedatives. It was stressful on his body, but none of that mattered to the scientists involved.
From the depths of unconsciousness, the feral man emerged. He was drowsy and dazed. He couldn’t move, talk, or see straight. But Logan was still fully aware of what was going on. He didn’t even need his senses to figure it out. He already knew and it was enough to stir his inner rage.
“Errrrrr! Rahhhhhhhh!” he howled out, his body contorting in his bound state and causing the restraints to stress.
“Doctor!” exclaimed another one of the scientists.
“I said keep working!” he commanded, “It’s okay. He won’t be escaping this time.”
“He better not,” grinned Sabretooth, “I like him like this.”
The nightmares that had haunted Logan for so long were real and tangible. This wasn’t another image in his mind or a haunting memory. This was really happening. Weapon X had him again and they were using him as their personal guinea pig. And to make matters worse, Sabretooth was with them watching over with that snide look. It stirred him in the feral rage that so often consumed him. He had only escape and vengeance on his mind. Through his rage he continued thrashing violently. But it was no use. The restraints and shackles held, leaving him completely at their mercy.
For Abraham Cornelius, it was to be expected. He was the only one besides Sabretooth who was not wary of Logan’s rage. He had dealt with it for many years. In some ways Logan’s rage wasn’t an obstacle. It was a tribute to his work. While Wolverine may have been difficult to deal with, he still succeeded with him in so many ways. And he was poised to succeed again as he printed out a brief reading and approached the bound man.
“Don’t bother struggling, Wolverine. We’ve taken greater precautions since last time,” said Dr. Cornelius, “There will be no bloody escape to look forward to. Even you must have realized by now that your fate is tied to us. You can never escape it.”
“Hrrahhhhhhhhhhh!” howled Wolverine, trying to lunge forth at the snide scientists.
But Dr. Cornelius just kept smiling. He even boldly leaned over so he could speak to him without his associates hearing.
“But don’t worry. You’re doing more than just giving us back our best operative. You may not know it, but you have in you the entire legacy of this organization. I know it’s hard to contemplate given all those gaping holes in your memory, but it’s true. You are in every sense a product of Weapon X.”
Logan let out another round of angry growls, but Dr. Cornelius remained undaunted. He wanted his star specimen to know the truth before the next phase began.
“You are in many ways my greatest achievement. You see, when you and Sabretooth first arrived you were mere thugs…unapologetic traitors to your countries. But that mutation of yours was your saving grace. For you see, the healing factor you possess is unique. Both you and Sabretooth have it. It keeps you from getting sick, it keeps you from aging, and it keeps you alive through the perils of war. But before you came to us, it was limited. Re-growing fingers and hands was difficult enough. Re-growing whole organs was near impossible. In your previous state you never would have been able to survive the adamantium bonding process. But we changed that.”
When he mentioned the bonding process, a flash of memories played out in Logan’s mind. He remembered being suspended in a bio-tank, wires going in and out of his body, and a blinding pain engulfing him from head to toe. He also remembered seeing this same man in a younger form as it happened. And looking at him again sent him into an even greater rage.
“You…” he growled through his mask.
“Yes…it was I,” he said with confidence, “Well, I and a few other associates I’d rather not name. But it wasn’t just your healing. Your enhanced senses, your animal-like reflexes, and your heightened sense of awareness were all products of the same procedure. The remnants of that procedure still reside in your body. They’re as much a part of you as the adamantium. Those remnants, an advanced genetic package if you will, is the key to our success. You destroyed the original in your first escape. Now I’m not just going to get it back. I’m going to use it to create a new generation of Weapon X products. Your new friends, the X-men, will provide excellent specimens.”
“NO!” roared Logan, thrashing more violently.
“Oh don’t worry,” assured Dr. Cornelius, “They won’t undergo the same messy procedure you endured. But they will still be properly conditioned. You’ll even get to work with them. I may even let you lead them. We’ll just have to do something about that attitude of yours in addition to those bothersome memories. One way or another, you will be Weapon X again, Wolverine.”
Logan let out another round of angry growls. He continued testing the limits of the gurney, fighting the restraints with every intent to disembowel this man where he stood. But the old man was not dissuaded by his struggles. He seemed very confident that he was going to make good on his threat. That enraged Logan even more as he looked on at Dr. Cornelius with murderous rage in his eyes.
“I’LL KILL YOU!” he howled.
Sabretooth responded by stepping in and slugging Logan across the face. Had his body not been covered in metal shackles, he would have clawed him too.
“Shut up, runt! You’ve had this coming to you for a long time!”
Sabretooth went for another blow, but Cornelius held him back.
“That’s enough, Sabretooth! You’ve had your time with him already,” he said, “Please step aside and let finish my work.”
As much as Victor Creed would have loved to keep beating on his enemy, he didn’t mind giving other people time to make him suffer more. He cast Logan a snide grin before backing off. He was going to enjoy this.
“Fine,” he said, “He’s all yours, Doc.”
Logan snarled viciously at his hated foes, but remained bound on the gurney. Despite more chemicals going into him, he kept fighting his imprisonment. No amounts of restraints were going to contain him. These bastards took everything from him, poking and prodding him like he was their own personal lab rat. He endured that experience once and he wasn’t going to endure it again without a fight. And if he got free, these men better start praying because nothing was going to keep them from his rage.
“Doctor, his vitals are spiking again! They’re practically off the charts!” warned one of the other scientists, “We need to begin soon or he may become too unstable!”
“Let me worry about that,” said Dr. Cornelius, “I assure you I can handle this animal. Just do your job so I can do mine.”
Dr. Cornelius returned to his console and entered in a few commands. He had his data. Now they were ready to begin the next step. And the next step just happened to be the most crucial.
Once the proper commands were given, a series of mechanical arms hanging from the ceiling were activated. They each descended towards Logan, some attaching themselves to some of the wire entries going into his body and others positioning themselves near his face and neck. But the largest of the mechanisms had a large helmet at the end of it with various wires running out from the top. This one descended right onto his head and was automatically secured.
When Logan felt this he thrashed even more violently. More memories came rushing back as he realized what this was. Years ago he remembered something just like this being placed on his head and afterwards it was all a blur. He remembered pain and agony as his mind was warped beyond recognition. Now they were about to do it again, this time leaving nothing to chance.
“I’ve erased your life before, Wolverine. I can do it again,” said Dr. Cornelius in an ominous tone, “Don’t expect it to be as inefficient as last time. When I’m through with you, there will be no more Logan. There will only be Wolverine.”
Dr. Cornelius then turned to his associates and nodded in affirmation. What started back in the darkest days of the Cold War was finally about to be completed.
“You may begin.”
Weapon X – Holding Cells
“Hnn…augh! It…it’s happening again! I feel sick!”
“Oh man, not now, Scott!” groaned Warren, “Of all the times to…”
“I’m serious, Warren!” exclaimed Scott as he keeled over in the corner of his cell, “Back away! I think I’m going to puke.”
Scott’s pained groans echoed through the holding cells and were getting worse with each passing moment. Some like Bobby were getting sick just listening to them and tried to shut it out. Warren was doing his best to try and keep him upright, but he kept keeling over and clutching his stomach. It looked like he would start throwing up at any minute.
“Scott? What’s wrong? What’s going on?!” exclaimed Rogue from the adjacent cell.
“I don’t know,” said Warren anxiously, “He was fine a minute ago.”
“Well he sure doesn’t sound so fine anymore!”
Everything was happening so fast. One minute they were anxiously waiting in silence, trying to figure out a way to escape, and the next Scott started groaning in pain. At first he said he was fine, but it just kept getting worse. Now he couldn’t even stand. It was agonizing for Rogue and Jean, who couldn’t see him since their cell was right next to the one he was in. Weapon X hadn’t even gotten their hands on them yet and already they were suffering. It was not boding well for their chances of escape.
Rogue huddled near the front corner of the cell, trying to get a glimpse of what was going on. She nearly burned herself in the process on the energy beams. Jean had to pull her back to keep her from making it worse. Even though she looked just as worried, she seemed a lot calmer about it.
“Be careful Rogue. I’m sure he’ll be okay,” she said.
“How the hell can you say somethin’ like that? He sounds like a dog chokin’ on it’s own tongue! Some best friend you are!” spat Rogue.
“Just take it easy!” said Jean strongly, “It’s Scott. He’ll get through it. He’s tougher than you think.”
Rogue still wasn’t convinced. How Jean could say something like that at a time like this was beyond her. And it seemed to be getting worse.
Back in Scott and Warren’s cell, he erupted into a sickening coughing fit. He sounded like he was choking on his own lungs. More groans followed as he started to go limp. As this went on the guards seemed oblivious. They had clearly been instructed to ignore the prisoners no matter what. But this was getting increasingly harder to ignore. Warren tried to at least sit him upright so he could rest, but then Scott went into a series of major convulsions. At that point Warren had enough and ran up to the front of the cell.
“Hey! We need some help here!” he called out.
“Quiet punk. We’re not falling for it,” said one of the guards.
“No, you don’t understand! His powers are based on absorption of sunlight! If he gets cut off from it for too long, he gets really sick!”
“Right, and we’re supposed to believe that?”
“Look at him, damn it!” yelled Warren, “Do you really want to be responsible for letting a prisoner die? Or worse, not doing anything to help when you should have?”
Three guards carefully approached Scott and Warren’s cell. They closely watched Scott. Others soon followed, keeping a close eye on the other cells. He did look pretty bad. He started coughing again, forcing himself to swallow another round of bile. It was hard to see for sure with the energy beams obstructing their view. But Warren had a point. If they let a prisoner die on their watch, General Wraith or Dr. Cornelius would have their heads. And with that Sabretooth guy they hired, that wasn’t a metaphor.
One of the guards looked at the others. He was the lead guard and it was his call on whether or not they should act. He hesitated at first, but then Scott erupted into another coughing fit.
“Damn it, will you help the guy already!” exclaimed Bobby from the other cell.
“Shut up, kid!” spat the other guard as he turned towards the others, “Open the grid. But first, I want wing boy here to back up and face the wall! Keep your hands where I can see them!”
“Fine! I’m doing it! Just help him, okay?” said Warren.
The winged mutant complied with the guard’s request. He moved towards the back wall and held his hands up. The guards kept their guns pointed at him. Once they were satisfied the lead guard turned towards one of his subordinates and nodded. He inserted a special key into a socket in the wall and placed his finger over a fingerprint reader. This powered down the energy grid, allowing the guards to enter the cell.
They went in carefully. The lead guard went over to Scott while three other guards moved in closer to Warren so he wouldn’t try anything. They kept their weapons pointed right as his back, making it clear that they were in charge. Warren stayed still, looking right at the wall while the lead guard checked on Scott.
“I’m not doctor, but it doesn’t look too bad,” said the guard critically.
“Hnn…it’s going to get worse,” warned Scott, “NOW WARREN!”
Suddenly, the guards behind Warren were shocked when the young mutant flexed his in a way that caused them to literally shoot out in a large span. This quick movement momentarily disoriented the armed guards. It left them stunned for a half-second, but that was all the time Warren needed to act. With agility refined from hours of sessions in the Danger Room, Warren swung around and kicked the weapons right out of the hands of two guards.For the third, he lunged forth and grabbed the rifle in swift disarming attack. Once he had it in hand, he systematically swung the weapon like a bat and knocked out the three guards.
“What the?!” exclaimed the lead guard.
But it was too late. As Warren was disarming the three guards, Scott shot up and slugged the lead guard with a punishing right cross. Then as he was falling back, he grabbed his rifle and flipped it up to hit him right under the chin with the butt of the gun. This knocked him back, crashing into the three other guards in the process. Then all hell broke loose.
“Shoot them! Take them down!” exclaimed the other guards.
“Go Warren!” ordered Scott.
With the rifle still in hand, Warren took to the air and flew in a beeline right out of the cell and into the crowd of armed soldiers. Many of them still had their guns pointed at Scott so they only had a second to turn their sights to Warren. But it was a second too late. Acting as a flying ram, Warren plowed into the group of guards and knocked them all back. Some just hit the ground while others crashed into the energy grid of other cells, which effectively knocked them out through the punishing shocks.
“Ahhhhhhhh!” they all yelled.
A couple of guards managed to avoid the attack and moved slightly to get a clean shot at Warren. Since the spaces were so confined there was no way for him to fly up high to avoid them. But he didn’t have to. Just as they turned their sights on Warren, Scott jumped into the fight as well. With a rifle he took from the guard still in hand, he lunged forth and beat one of them over the head with it. He could have shot them with it, but it was on a lethal setting and killing was a last resort. Now with only two guards left, Scott and Warren had the upper hand. And despite being armed, the two guards were anxious.
“Hit the alarm!” one of them said, “We need back up!”
“Oh no you don’t!” said Warren.
Just as one of the guards was reaching for his communicator, Warren lunged forth and tackled him to the floor. He managed to get a shot off, but it missed wildly. The other guard tried to shoot him, but Scott made quick work of him with a kick to the knee and a right cross to the face. With all the guards now down, the escape was on.
“Guess these wings are good for more than just flying after all,” grinned Warren as he looked over the unconscious bodies.
“Warren, I know I don’t say this enough, but you kick serious ass!” said Bobby, “Now how about setting us free?”
“Just sit tight, Iceman. Warren, cover me!” ordered Scott as he went to work.
“Sure thing, but hurry up. I get the feeling this won’t go unnoticed for very long,” said Warren as he picked up a rifle and stood near the end of the hall.
Scott moved quickly, grabbing the key that the guard used grabbing his unconscious body so he could use his finger on the scanner. First he freed Rogue and Jean, inserting the key and using the guard’s right hand as he did when he entered his cell. But as glad as Rogue and Jean were to be free, Rogue was livid at what just happened.
“Wait a sec! That whole sick gag was a stunt?!” she exclaimed as she stepped out of the cell with Jean.
“Escape tactic 321,” said Scott assertively, “You’d be surprised how often it works.”
“Damn it, Scott! You scared the hell out of meh! You could have at least filled meh in!”
“See what happens when you skip training?” commented Jean.
Rogue shot Jean a dirty look. Jean just smiled smugly. But Scott maintained a serious leader-like demeanor.
“Sorry, Rogue. You can yell at me for it later,” said Scott, “In the meantime, help me get the other cells open.”
Setting aside her frustration, Rogue helped Jean and Scott open the other cells. They freed Bobby and Ororo next. As soon as the barrier was done, Ororo rushed out into the open. It wasn’t a moment too soon either. Her claustrophobia was really starting to get to her. She needed to lean against the wall to catch her breath for a moment. Bobby and Jean stayed with her while Rogue and Scott freed Hank.
“That’s right, Storm. Take deep breaths,” said Jean.
“Take them fast though,” said Bobby, “We get captured again I doubt they’ll throw us into cells.”
“I’ll be okay,” said Ororo, still sounding short of breath, “I…I just wasn’t ready for this.”
“It’s part of being an X-man,” said Jean with an encouraging gesture, “You learn to be ready for everything.”
While Ororo recovered, Scott and Rogue used the unconscious guard to free Beast. Once his barrier was down, they undid the restraints holding him to the back of the cell using the same key they used for the cell. Once free he stretched his sore limbs, but stood ready to help.
“Thank you, Scott. That was an Oscar-worthy show you put on,” commented Hank.
“I’m just glad it worked,” said Scott, “But can you do anything about these collars? We’re going to need our powers if we’re to save Wolverine and the Professor.”
“Let me see…” said Hank as he looked at the device around Scott’s neck.
Hank’s brilliant mind went to work, analyzing the collar and looking for any sort of power mechanism. Time was a factor so he couldn’t waste time postulating on how such a device may work. He wasn’t aware technology like this even existed, but that never stopped people like this before.
After a brief analysis, he saw a small hole on the back of the neck. He quickly surmised it was a locking mechanism. But it appeared to need a key of sorts. Then he looked down at the small key Rogue was still holding that she sued to open the cell.
“Hmm…I believe I’ve found some kind of lock,” he said, “Rogue, hand me the key you used to unlock the cell.”
“Sure thing, but these things don’t have some kind of exploding fail-safe, do they?” said Rogue as she handed him the key.
“Only one way to find out,” said Hank.
Without further analysis, Hank inserted the key into the collar. Rogue momentarily braced herself for the worst, but to her relief nothing happened. There was only a small click as the collar came off and she felt her powers return to her.
“I’d call that a success,” said Hank proudly.
“Good work, now get them off the others. We have to get moving!” said Scott strongly.
“You might want to hurry it up,” said Warren from the end of the area as he looked around the corner, “We’re about to get some serious company!”
“What part of that is supposed to shock me?” groaned Bobby.
Hank went onto remove the collars from Scott, Bobby, Jean, and Storm. With their powers back they would be able to put up a fight and find the Professor. Following Scott’s lead, they gathered near Warren at the north end of the holding cell. Ororo lingered for a bit longer. Hank had been deeply concerned since he knew about her claustrophobia so he stayed back to support her.
“Are you okay, Ororo?” he asked as he held her in a light embrace.
“I am now,” said Ororo, managing a smile, “Let’s just get away of this awful place.”
Hank smiled back and they met up with Scott and the others. There they could see out the small circular window into the corridors. These were the halls they wheeled Wolverine and the Professor down earlier. They could already see guards pouring into them and heading their way.
“They’ve escaped!” exclaimed one of the soldiers.
“Damn it, take them out! Orders are shoot to kill!” said another.
But that wasn’t going to stop them.
“This way, X-men!” said Scott as he took charge.
Using his optic blasts, the X-leader blew open the door leading into the corridor. The resulting burst knocked a few Weapon X soldiers back, but others quickly came in to replace them. Destroying the door also tripped the alarm in the process. Soon the whole area was blaring with lights and deafening tones.
“Jeez, why do all these places have to have alarms this loud?” groaned Bobby.
“Ah’m not sure, but at least we know who to take it out on!” said Rogue, eager for some payback.
The X-men plunged into the wave of guards. Marvel Girl put up a telekinetic shield to deflect incoming rounds while Cyclops, Iceman, and Storm went on the offensive. Cyclops unleashed concentrated optic blasts that knocked the Weapon X soldiers out in short order, Iceman hit them with ice beams that froze them where they stood, and Storm filled the halls with wind gusts and miniature tornados that blew them back and disrupted their aim. Angel finally put the rifle he took to good use as well. He changed the setting to stun so it fired concentrated shocks like they did during the mansion attack. He hit several guard with his weapon, knocking them out cold as they had done to him earlier. It was a very satisfying feeling.
“Wow, these things are alright!” grinned Angel.
“Don’t get too comfortable with it,” warned Jean, who was keeping the shields up, “We don’t want you going all Rambo on us!”
“If you can find a way to make wings useful in close quarters like this, I’m all ears! But for now, this will do!”
While Angel was enjoying his new weapon, Beast and Rogue stuck to the direct approach. As the X-men surged ahead, they took out any guard lucky enough to avoid the blasts. Rogue let out her earlier frustrations by drop kicking several guards before absorbing them with her powers. The extra life energy gave her an added burst of strength that allowed her to hit harder and nearly break the goggles in the masks with one of her blows. It almost gave Hank a run for his money as he pulled off some agile twirling kicks in mid air and some effective pounces that pinned their adversaries to the ground. Soon, they found themselves at the end of the corridor and near a major junction.
“Guys! Logan and the Professor are just up ahead!” said Marvel Girl, who was clutching her temple, “But we have to hurry! I think they’re about to start some kind of experiment!”
“In a place like this I don’t even want to know what that entails,” said Iceman as he froze two more guards to the wall.
“Let’s not wait around to find out!” said Cyclops as he led the team down the right wing of the hall.
But as they followed Scott down a new path, they were met with an unwelcome sight. Standing at the end of the hall was a large barricade with over a dozen guards standing behind it. But it wasn’t just any barricade. It was similar to the energy barricade that kept them in their cells earlier. In addition the guards had all their weapons pointed right at them from behind the barrier. They assumed that field kept things on the other side out, but would let their bullets pass through. Even with their powers, it was a major obstacle.
“End of the line, freaks!” said the guards.
“Okay, guess we’re not going that way,” said Cyclops, “We’ll have to go around!”
“Uh…that might not be possible, Cyclops,” said Beast as he looked down the other hall.
The others picked up on Beast’s observation as well. Down the other branch of the junction there was a similar barrier that had just gone up and a number of guards were gathering around, positioning themselves in the same way with their rifles pointed right at them from behind. It seemed both paths were a dead end and fighting through was going to be too costly.
“Fall back, X-men!” Scott ordered.
The team retreated back into the corridor they came through, avoiding an initial burst of gunfire from behind the barriers. But they didn’t get far before they realized they couldn’t go that way either. A new team of Weapon X soldiers was swarming the area, most likely responding to the alarm and following the trail of bodies. There were a lot more of them this time as well and they looked much more prepared.
“I do not think retreat is an option either,” said Storm.
“Please tell meh you have another one of those elaborate plans for a situation like this!” said Rogue as she and the others stayed close.
Scott looked down each blocked path and analyzed the situation. This was the one part of escapes nobody could plan for. Weapon X showed some efficient planning as well. They were prepared for the possibility of them breaking out. It left them utterly trapped with the heavily armed soldiers of Weapon X bearing down on them from all sides. By any account, their chances were bleak.
“I wish I did, Rogue,” said Scott in a grim tone, “But for a situation like this, we may have to do more than just improvise.”
Next Issue: Revenge of Weapon X Part 3
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