Deep Cover Chapter 4

 

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Chapter Four

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Scott looked around at the group.  Ironmonger, Dreadnaught and Vulcan had elected to change into digital camouflage uniforms with Vulcan adding ceramic plates and ballistic cloth body armor to his gear.  Dreadnaught had strapped a .50 Cal to his back along with ammo while Ironmonger had picked an M134 minigun going for a lighter round but greater rate of fire. 

“No extra firepower?”  Ironmonger asked looking at Vulcan. 

Vulcan had curled a lip at the idea of adding a gun and held up a hand which burst into flame.  “I’ve got plenty of FIRE power right here!” 

Banshee had looked through the arsenal preferring to keep her dark outfit and long cape but adding a 9mm and tactical harness from the arsenal the Fists had collected.  “You never know when a backup weapon will come in handy.” 

“Only if you’re willing to shoot someone.” Cyber had disagreed choosing to stick with jeans, hoodie and trainers.  I don’t like fire arms. 

“What about you, Carnifex?” 

Scott shook his head.  “I don’t have anything against guns, but I doubt they’ll do much against androids.  If Cyber can’t drop the defenses, Ironmonger and I will have to smash our way through . . . I doubt a gun or two will make much difference.” 

“Oh, what about me and Dreadnaught, we’re not exactly pushovers.” 

Scott looked at Vulcan, “I don’t know you.  I’ll trust you after we do an Op and I see you in action.” 

Just then they heard the door to the warehouse open and Frank and two Fists entered.  He looked them over and nodded.  Scott also noticed that all three were carrying weapons and wearing camo. 

“Are we ready?” 

 “I was just about to open the gate.  Are you coming with us?”  Banshee asked. 

“Yes.” 

“I’m strong enough to carrying all nine but it will slow me down.” 

“Don’t worry about us.  We have our own transportation.” Frank sneered.  “Let’s go.” 

Banshee lifted a hand and all light in the room vanished.  Then Scott heard a low humming sound that quickly rose to a shriek like fingernails on a chalkboard only a hundred times louder.  The shield over his ears thickened and dampened out the sound a moment later and Scott couldn’t resist grinning.  ‘I love this shield!’  A bright spot of light appeared in front of Scott and he saw Banshee standing next to it.  The light expanded becoming a ring ten feet in diameter that hung a few inches above the ground. 

Banshee gestured for the team to move through and Scott didn’t waste any time.  As soon as he stepped through his ears popped at the elevation change and he blinked taking in the moonlight drenched mountain land scape.  ‘I wonder if my shield could have helped with the pressure change if I’d been thinking about it?’  It was mostly rock and scrub and reminded him of the high desert of the American southwest.  Knowing the rest of the raiders needed to pass through the gate Scott moved away and to one side.  He scanned the area switching to IR and back, not seeing any signs that they’d been detected.  He was also a little surprised that he didn’t hear Banshee’s wailing and when he looked back instead of a ring of light the gate consisted of a ring of darkness. 

“Weird.” He muttered and returned to observing the area trying to get his bearings. 

“Looks like the perfect place for a prison.”  Angus said stopping next to Scott. He was carrying the minigun and had loaded the ammo belt into the weapon. 

Dreadnaught moved up to the other side of Scott and held up a tactical GPS.  “The prison is that way, five point two miles.” 

“Is anyone else’s ears bothering them?”  Cyber asked titling her head trying to clear her ears.   

Just then Scott heard the sound of a motorcycle starting.  He looked back in time to see all three Fists now through the portal, each sitting on a dirt-bike.  Frank had started his and was grinning.  “This should be fun.” 

Then Banshee stepped out of the portal and it collapsed behind her.  Scott saw that all of them were here and knew it was time for him to show what he could do.  ‘I hope Rhonda got my message and they’re ready for us.’

“You’re up Carnifex.” 

Scott looked up at Angus and nodded.  “Get a little closer everyone.  It makes my job easier.”  Scott extended a shield over each member of the team as he did it he could feel the connection to his shield but it seemed like each person was in their own separate bubble.  Then he willed all six bubbles into the air. 

“Shit! A little warning next time.” Vulcan gasped. 

“Which way?” 

Dreadnaught pointed.  “Over there.”

“Here we go, hold on.”

“Very funny.” Ironmonger grumped sitting at the bottom of his bubble and folding his arms over his chest. 

Scott started accelerating.  He was sure that he’d read in a file that Carnifex had been clocked at over five hundred miles per hour fleeing a crime scene.  However she’d just been flying herself and Scott was worried about conserving power.  He was just under half of what he’d had twenty-four hours ago. 

“Let me know when we reach one twenty.”  He said looking at Dreadnaught.

“Will do.” 

‘Two and a half minutes to the target should be good enough.  No one can complain I didn’t get us there quick.’  Then he grinned, ‘The higher I go the greater the chance of being detected by the prison’s sensors, but the team, or at least Ironmonger, will know that.  I need to find the right balance between an early warning and giving away my true loyalties.’  Scott caused the group to climb to what he judged was about a hundred feet.  Hoping that was high enough to be spotted but low enough so his teammates didn’t think he did it on purpose. 

“One twenty and climbing.” 

Scott slowed down and tried to estimate how much energy he was using compared to what he had in the tank.  It was still hard to figure out how much power to hold in reserve and he could feel the fatigue building.  ‘I wonder if I could veil all of us?’ then he dismissed the idea.  It wasn’t in line with getting caught.

“There’s the prison.”  Banshee called out surprising Scott. ‘She must have good eyes.  Or good eyes in the dark.’

Scott caused the shield around his eyes to shift and his vision zoomed in on the object on the horizon.  There was a twenty foot wall topped with razor wire and a single entry control point.  Inside the wall Scott saw the building he knew was the operations center.  It held the only people in the compound.  Next to it was a parking lot with about a dozen vehicles.  The target was just to the south, a single story building made of heavy of brick and steel and looking unremarkable.  It was the kitchen, medical, and in-processing facility for the compound.  It was fully automated.  It was also the only way into the prison.  They needed to go through it to get to the stairs that led down to the lower levels. 

The prison only had two levels and wasn’t as big as might be expected.  Except this was where the government kept the most dangerous mutant criminals.  Sixty-two according to Cyber were on Lower Level One.  The twenty on Lower Level Two were the worst and most dangerous of the lot.  Scott knew it was his duty to maintain cover but if there was a way to stop those people didn’t get out, he needed to do it. 

The third building was the maintenance facility.  This was where the Androids did self-maintenance and where they machined the replacement parts for the rest of the prison.  They needed to get Cyber to that facility so she could access the network. 

They were getting closer rapidly and rather than slow down Scott accelerated and then caused them to climb. 

“What are you doing?” Vulcan shouted. 

Scott ignored him and when he saw they’d reached the right angle he dove toward the building.  As he did he shifted the people in his grip so that they were all in a line and he was in front.  Then he started slowing down.  By the time he reached the roof he figured he was doing about ten miles per hour.  He still smashed through the roof pulling everyone else through the hole he’d made.  The room looked like it was used for storage and he grinned letting everyone go. 

“Bloody hell, woman!”

“What the fuck was that?! This was supposed to be covert.” 

“If we’re caught I’m going to burn you before I die.” 

Scott looked at the three angry men practically shouting and tilted his head to one side.  “Do you hear an alarm?”  At this they paused and exchanged a puzzled look.

“My flight is silent.  Breaking the roof did cause some sound but Cyber is on it.” 

Everyone turned to look at the mousy brunette who had her eyes closed.  Her arms were held out and her fingers spread.  Every now and then electricity jumped between her fingers.  For several seconds no one said anything. 

“Cyber?” Banshee asked. 

After a moment Cyber’s eyes opened and they were glowing with a spinning blue-white energy.  “Yes?”  Her voice held an odd electronic quality.  “This network is like nothing I’ve seen.  It’s like it’s . . . alive.  Sentient even.” 

“Did you turn off the alarms?  Is it safe for us to proceed to the prison?”

Cyber looked at Ironmonger.  “The alarms are off.  The Androids are all running self-diagnostics.  This will take forty five minutes.  The operations center is cut off and thinks everything is fine.  You have forty four minutes and forty seven seconds left before the androids come back on line.” 

“Shit, let’s go.”

Ironmonger headed for the door when Banshee called out, “Wait.”  She started handing out what looked like Bluetooth ear devices.  “These will let us communicate with each other.  It’s best if Cyber stays here and I remain with her to protect her.” 

“That wasn’t the plan.” Vulcan growled.

“Look at her.” Banshee gestured to Cyber who hadn’t moved. “She isn’t mobile while she maintains that level of connection to this system.  She’d just slow us down and get in the way.  We can’t leave her unprotected.  I’ll stay.  Get the target and get back and I’ll gate us out.”

“And if things go south you’ll gate out with Cyber and leave us?” Dreadnaught asked.

“Of course.” Banshee agreed.  “But you’ve got Carnifex, she can fly you out.  Also as I recall, Vulcan can fly himself if he needs to.” 

Scott wanted to add, ‘Only if I’m not exhausted from fighting.’ but kept his mouth shut.  Getting caught was the objective. 

“She’s right,” Ironmonger noted, “and we’re burning time.  Follow me.” 

Dreadnaught grunted and checked the .50 before following Ironmonger. 

“Ladies first.” Vulcan gestured.

“I’m not a lady and you just want to look at my ass.  My talent is defensive.  I’ve got the rear.”

“You really do, babe, you really do.” Vulcan laughed falling into line behind Dreadnaught.

‘Sexist asshole.  I should crush his skull on principle.’  Scott followed them down into what looked like a machine shop, except that all the work had been paused.  Every machine was silent and what looked like normal humans, humans that had been working here, were all frozen.  That’s when Scott saw that each human was nearly a perfect specimen.  ‘Of course, if you’re going to make a Droid, why make an ugly one?’

The stillness was unnerving and all four hurried through the shop.  A quick dash across open ground brought them to the main building.  Scott was tempted to smash through the outer wall rather than go around to the entrance.  Particularly since the operations center was on the other side.  They’d have to expose themselves to possible visual detection to go through the main entrance.   However, he was at about one third power and wanted to conserve it.  ‘Maybe I should have hooked up with Iron.  I’d have more power right now.’  

“Hold this.”  Ironmonger handed his minigun to Vulcan and then shifted.  He grew a few inches but his skin looked like steel.  He turned to the wall and smashed a fist through it. 

‘I see I wasn’t the only one who didn’t want to walk around to the entrance.’

 “I guess we’re not worried about noise.” Vulcan noted.

It took a few minutes but when the dust settled there was an opening big enough for all of them.  “I’ll take that.”  Iron accepted his weapon back but stayed in Ironmonger form.  Once they were all in the building Cyber came up over their ear pieces. 

“Turn left at the hallway.  Cut through the cafeteria, third door on the left.  On the other side is the elevator and beyond that are the stairs.” 

 “Nice to have someone on over watch.” Dread grinned, glancing at Scott and Vulcan before stepping through the hole. 

Scott followed along.  The cafeteria was obviously for the humans working in the Ops center.  They needed breaks and food while on shift.  The androids running the kitchen probably feed them along with the prisoners.  Everything was eerily quiet, the only sound came from their boots. 

Once through the cafeteria it was easy to spot the elevator. ‘They must have set it up for easy access to the kitchen.’  The stairs were right where the schematic had indicated.  The bar that opened the door had a red sign that held a single word, “Emergency” written on it. 

Assuming Cyber still had the alarms down Ironmonger pushed it open.  Scott let out a sigh when nothing happened.  ‘Why am I relieved?  I want to get caught.’  As the last person through the door Scott looked around before pulling it closed.  ‘What now?  If I separate from the team they’ll know I betrayed them.  Shit, Rhonda, said to maintain my cover at any cost.’  Feeling like he was walking into a trap Scott started his descent. 

 

***

 

The trip down was startlingly uneventful.  At each turn of the stairs there was a camera.  Scott blew a playful kiss as he went by one of the cameras hoping that Cyber appreciated it.  Ironmonger paused at Lower Level One and waited until they’d all made it to the landing. 

“Stay close.  The stairs and elevator are in the center of the cell block.  According to the plans there are twenty cells to the left and twenty to the right.” He reminded everyone.  “We hit LL2 and we go left.  We’re looking for the last cell on the left.” 

“We know, Iron.”

“Wait.” Scott opened the door to LL1.  He looked up and down the hall before returning to the stairs.  “I just wanted to check the layout before we head down.  There were four Droids patrolling.  They’re frozen right now.” 

Ironmonger nodded and then headed down.  They’d just made the turn at the first landing when an ear splitting siren went off and a bright light over head started strobing. 

“Shit!”  Torch shouted.

“Cyber, what’s going on?  I thought you had the alarms off?”  Ironmonger asked.

“I did.  This was a command over ride from the Ops Center.  I’m working to shut it down but it brought the Droids out of the maintenance cycle.  Be ready when you get to LL2.”  

“Fuck.”  Dreadnaught cursed.

“Alright, time for speed.” 

With that Ironmonger started running down the steps skipping half before jumping to the bottom of the landing.  He put his shoulder to the door and it burst open.  Scott couldn’t see but assumed he went left.  Then he heard the electronic motor on the minigun start and then the buzz-saw sound filled the air as Ironmonger went to work. 

Dreadnaught was through next and Scott saw him turn right then the intensely loud thunder of the .50 in an enclosed space caused Scott’s shield over his ears to buzz and start to filter out the gun fire.  Vulcan went through next turning left and Scott followed tapping Dreadnaught on the shoulder letting him know the last person was through and he now had rear guard.  Scott could see the pair of Androids Dreadnaught had been firing on were smashed to bits by the heavy rounds.  He turned to follow his team mates and saw another pair of Androids each cleanly cut in half by the minigun. 

‘I guess they didn’t consider, in a mutant prison, having to defend from machine guns.’  

Ironmonger had reached the cell door and shouted into his mic.  “Cyber, open it.” 

The door buzzed and Vulcan pulled it open ducking inside.  Scott stopped next to the cell and turned around to face the hallway. 

“I got him.  But he’s in bad shape.” 

Scott looked over his shoulder to see Vulcan half carrying half dragging a very tall thin guy.  He had a full head of grey hair and a bedraggled beard. 

“Power dampener.  Get it off me and I can help.”  The voice wasn’t more than a whisper. 

That’s when Scott saw the collar around his emaciated neck.  It had a set of lights in front that slowly flashed red. 

“I don’t have a key.  I could try to burn it off you but that would likely kill you.” 

“Cyber, can you unlock 47EGD’s dampener?” Ironmonger asked. 

“No.  You have to touch it with a device that has an encrypted key.  That’s what unlocks the collars.  If I was there I could do it.  I just can’t unlock it remotely.” 

Ironmonger looked at the old man, “I could crush it, but they have explosives.  It would just set them off and that would kill you.” 

Scott thought for a moment, he could surround the collar and the prisoner in separate shields.  One to protect the prisoner the other to pull the collar apart and contain the blast.  ‘Not my job to get it off him.’ He thought. ‘It’s Carnifex’s job to get him out.’

“Droids are coming down the elevator and stairs.  These are all armed and carrying power dampeners.”  Cyber warned. 

“Can you override the elevator and stop it on LL1?  Buy us some time?” Scott asked.

“Yes, but they’ll just use the stairs.” 

“Not if you open all the cells.  Even without powers, eighty prisoners are enough to cause a distraction.”  Dreadnaught added jumping into the conversation. 

Before Scott knew it there were multiple clicking sounds and nineteen cell doors started to open.  Just then the first droid burst through the stairwell door.  Dreadnaught blew the droid apart with heavy rounds but there were screams as the prisoners on the other side of the door were in the line of fire. 

“I’ve got this!”  Vulcan shouted and sprinted to the stairs before the next droid came through.  He stuck a hand through the door and Scott heard a whooshing sound and felt a slight back blast of heat. 

“Fuck.  He’s using that set of stairs like a chimney and feeding a fire storm into it.”  Ironmonger grabbed the old guy and tossed him over one shoulder.  He dropped the minigun and grew a foot taller.  His clothes burst apart except the boxers he’d been wearing under them.  “Play times over.  Let’s get out of here.  Carnifex.  The elevator.” 

Scott jogged to the elevator doors feeling his shield shift to protect him from the heat Vulcan was dumping into the stairs.  He reached out with his mind and extended two tendrils of shield toward the doors pulling them apart bending them slightly to keep them open.  Then he let the tendrils go and floated into the shaft and looked up. 

“Here we go.  Get close.” 

Ironmonger carrying the prisoner got behind Scott with Dreadnaught and Vulcan who’d just left the stairs following right behind.  He extended a shield over each of them and then floated up bringing them behind.  The elevator-car was in the way so he tore a hole in the floor and another in the roof.  Then he brought them through the holes one at a time. 

Reaching the ground floor Scott paused floating in the shaft and thinking. 

“Why did you stop?  Open the doors and let’s get out.”

“Cyber, are there Droids on the other side?” 

“Yes and these are now armed with serious weapons.” 

“Can you gate us back to you?” 

“No,” Banshee responded. “There is something interfering with my power.  I think when the alarm went off the anti-teleport field re-activated.  We need to get away from the prison before I can open a gate.

“Hurry, the prison is fighting me for control.  They have several very advanced AIs.  I just lost control of cameras in the prison.  I’m losing this fight.  Once they get control, all of the defenses will come back online.  We have to get out, now.” 

“If your friend can get this thing off of me, I can get us out.”  The old man stated.

‘I gotta keep up my cover.  Damn it.’  “Alright, no more playing nice.”  Scott said, and abruptly accelerated up.  As he did he formed a large cone shaped shield above him.  The shield smashed into the roof and Scott winced at the effort then he burst into the clear sky. 

It was dark but every flood light was on as well as search lights.  The sirens were still going off and it took Scott a moment to spot the building with his allies.  He pulled the team up single file and then flew toward the maintenance building. 

Abruptly heavy machine gun fire exploded into the night.  Automated gun systems started slashing rounds into Scott’s shields.  He felt his power begin to drop as he fought to keep everyone together and flying to the building.  By the time he dropped through the hole he’d made in the roof he was down to his last ten percent. 

Landing in the storage area he gasped and fell to a knee.  “Fuck.  What were they shooting at us?” 

“Two rail guns, four 50s, and four miniguns.  Lucky for you they were still powering up the laser.  Cyber’s voice still sounded mechanical.  To Scott it looked like she hadn’t moved. 

Showing energy for the first time the prisoner stumbled over to Cyber.  “Can you get this off me?” 

She looked at him and then reached out and touched it with a finger.  The flashing red light turned green and with a click it fell away. 

“Ahhhhhh . . .” The prisoner stepped back and stood up a little straighter.  “My power returns, but slowly.”  He looked around.  “I need a boost.”  He made a “come here” gestured toward Vulcan and a white ghostly energy arced from Vulcan’s chest into the prisoner’s weathered hand.  “Ah, yes.  Thank you.” 

Abruptly, Vulcan’s now desiccated husk collapsed breaking apart into several pieces.  “Just the boost I needed.”  His withered pale skin had become darker and regained the elasticity of youth the prisoner’s grey hair had become dark and when he stretched there was a popping sound from his back.  Then he stood up straight. 

“Much better.”  With that he walked to the hole Carnifex had created, “Mhmm, the kid had a fire gift.  Let’s see what I can do with his power.”  Suddenly his body shifted and changed until he was a perfect copy of Vulcan.  Then he jumped.  Flames exploded from his body carrying him up and into the sky. 

Scott lifted a hand creating a shield to hold the fire and heat away from the team. 

“What the fuck!”  

“Who was that?” 

“Soulsnatcher.  Level 9 D-class, energizer.  Level 7 B-class shapeshifter.  Level 5 C-Class psionic.  Age unknown.” 

The sound of a tornado rocked the building shaking everything and causing Iron, Dread, and Banshee to tumble to the floor.  Scott lifted himself an inch off the ground and Cyber seemed anchored to the building somehow.  Scott brought up a bubble shield around everyone.  “I don’t have enough energy to fly us out.”

Unexpectedly, Cyber dropped her hands and her eyes returned to normal.  She looked stunned.  “H-He created a fire storm and then dropped it on the command center.  At the same time he ate all the souls of the humans in the building.”

Things started to get quiet.  “What’s he doing now?” Banshee asked.

“I don’t know.  When the network went down I lost my connection.” 

“CRACK!”

Scott glanced over to where the collar had fallen only to find a burned spot on the floor and the smell of explosives. 

“Aaahhh . . . fuck that hurts.” 

Scott glanced over and saw Dreadnaught clutching his leg, a small piece shrapnel sticking out. 

“What happened?” Ironmonger asked taking a knee next to Dread. 

“The collars.  When they lose signal they are set to detonate.  With the network going down the signal was shut off.”

“That means all the prisoners are dead?” Scott asked.  Horrified and glad that no one else would be getting out. 

There was a pinging sound and Dreadnaught stood up, the piece of metal that had been in his leg now on the floor. 

“Are you okay?”

He grinned at Scott.  “I have a high level regeneration.  Already good.”

“And so are we!  The anti-teleport field is down.” 

The room went dark and Scott heard Banshee start to wail.  Then a point of light expanded as a gate opened.  The team didn’t waste any time jumping through. 

Scott blinked and looked around.  They weren’t back in the warehouse.  He couldn’t tell where they were except that it was raining and all he could see was trees.  He turned around in time to see Banshee step through and freeze.  A white energy arced from her body back into the gate.  The Scott spotted Soulsnatcher still looking just like Vulcan standing on the other side of the gate. 

“Leaving already?  You all have such delicious souls and powers.”

Just then Banshee’s shriveled corpse fell forward and the gate winked out.  The silence was defining. 

“Oh, fuck.  What the hell have we done?” 

Ironmonger’s words broke the silence and Scott looked around at the stunned faces. 

“I don’t know.” 

 

***

 

Rhonda looked down the scope sighting in the target.  The range was just over a mile.  She couldn’t believe how well this was turning out.  The way the Agency had set things up she’d been able to contact Scott through the encrypted messaging system.  Indicating that the director wanted him to fully assume the identity of Cindy Snow, and that he was authorized to commit any crime needed to maintain that identity, had given her tremendous pleasure.  The idea of the tall, strong, playboy now in the body of a sex starved nymph made Rhonda hard. 

She believed in being thorough and an hour with one of the agency’s top female IT technicians had been all it took.  Gloria had been an adequate fuck, although she’d been delirious with pleasure and would now do anything Eros/Rhonda requested, legal or illegal.  The idea of assisting with a “black” Op had also appealed to her sense of adventure.  Gloria had been too happy to delete all of the messages and electronic traces of communication between Scott and the Agency.  Rhonda had also had Gloria change the phone numbers used to remotely check in and the codes preventing Scott from accessing any Agency system. 

Taser was now staking out a house on Rhonda’s orders not knowing that the family that lived there, although mutants, had nothing to do with the Fists or Scott.  It was just a red herring.  Rhonda left Taser there explaining that she needed to track down another lead and would get back as soon as possible. 

Rhonda grinned as her target came into view.  With a deadly focus she exhaled slowly applying pressure to the trigger.  There was almost no sound as the suppressed sniper rifle kicked into her masculine shoulder.  Then the man’s head exploded like a ripe melon hit by a sledge hammer.  Rhonda didn’t wait to see the response her shot would cause. 

The office window had only been opened enough for her to shoot through it.  She’d shoved a pair of desks together creating a firing position she could lay on while she waited for her target several feet back from the window.  Now she closed the window and returned the desks to their normal position. 

Next she disassembled the rifle each piece would go in a different location starting with the barrel.  She hid that in the ceiling tiles.  As she made her egress she’d get rid of the rest of the rifle.  She looked over at the husband and wife accountants.  They hadn’t stood a chance.  She’d put the woman to sleep with a focused pulse of her empathic power and hit the man in the jaw knocking him out.  After that she’d broken both of their necks.  The dead can’t reveal secrets during psionic interrogation. 

Rhonda walked slowly away from the building.  There were plenty of people in the street and in the distance she could hear the sound of sirens.  The car she’d stolen earlier was where she left it and dropping off the last of the weapon in a trash can at the edge of the parking garage she got into the car.  The Agency had two Energizers capable of teleporting.  Rhonda didn’t trust either, they were both male, she needed her movements to be untraceable.

However, before being assigned to the Pacific Northwest Rhonda had worked in L.A.  There were a few mutant teleporters who worked for the stars.  One owed her a favor.  The woman was slightly over weight and in her mid-forties and had been happy to teleport up to Rhonda’s apartment, only to be met by Eros.  The sex had been quick and unsatisfying for Rhonda.  It had been pure bliss for Carla.  Now Carla waited, exhausted and asleep in a hotel a few miles away.  Rhonda grinned.  One quick hop back to her former apartment and then Rhonda wanted to see if it was possible to fuck someone to death.  ‘Can I push so much pleasure into her that she has a heart attack? If I can do it without fucking her then I won’t have to worry about getting rid of the body.  If not . . . There is that industrial incinerator.’ 

 

***

 

“Calm down, we’re on your side.”  The megaphone blasted Frank’s words into the air as the burning man flew toward them.  Frank looked over at Al, “Are you sure that thing is working?”  

Al nodded nervously.  “Yeah, my psi-shield naturally protects me from Soulsnatcher’s powers this device is supposed to amplify my power.  It should cover all of us.” 

“That’s fine, but what about all that fire?”  Tony wondered.  His mutant ability allowed him to blink to any location within about a hundred meters; useful in a lot of situations but in the open desert.  Looking down at the flaming ruin of what was once a high tech prison.  There really wasn’t anywhere for him to go.

Abruptly, the human descended toward them hitting the ground a few hundred feet away.  Flames and a shockwave of superheated air rolled toward them.  All three Fists of Anarchy turned away trying to protect exposed skin.  When they looked back the flaming mutant had been replaced by a tall thin woman with light brown hair.  She was totally naked and moved through the molten rock as if it didn’t bother her.   

She lifted a hand and made a come here gesture and then paused when nothing happened.  She frowned and gestured again brow contorted with concentration. 

“Shit.”  Al panted, “He-she’s really strong.” 

“Who are you?”

Al let out a sigh of relief as Soulsnatcher stopped trying to pull their souls from their bodies.  

“My name is Frank Chen.  My father’s organization is responsible for freeing you.” 

“Is your father Solomon Chen?” 

Frank stood up straighter and nodded.  “He is.” 

“Then lead the way.  I’m excited to meet my old friend.”

 

***

 

“Fuck, I’m so fucking hungry.” Scott gasped, and fell to his knees crashing with exhaustion. 

He felt weak and he started shaking even though a part of him knew it wasn’t his body that was weak, he was starved for energy.  ‘I’m down to what?  Five or six percent?  What happens if I don’t feed soon?’ 

“Carnifex, are you okay?” Cyber asked, taking a tentative step toward Scott.

He looked up and saw Cyber with a concerned look on her cute if exhausted face.  Then he felt a connection . . . a tugging sensation.  He looked over at Ironmonger and felt a heat blossom in his groin.  At the same time a deeper more primal hunger expanded from his tummy.  Slowly, Scott stood up, his mouth started watering and he took an unsteady step toward Iron.  Then his nostrils flared as the wind shifted and Iron’s strong masculine scent drifted toward him.  Scott tried to think but everything in his world seemed to narrow down to just one thing.  He took another step toward Ironmonger.

“Cindy?”  Ironmonger’s voice seemed like it was traveling down a long tunnel.  “C-Cindy are you okay?”

Scott without thinking started to use what remained of his power to strip off his clothes. He felt his power stirring and also knew he was weaker than he should have allowed himself to become.  Ironmonger got an uneasy smile and held up one metallic hand that slowly shifted back to skin. 

“Slow down, Cindy.” 

“What’s going on?”  Cyber asked, sounding shocked. 

“Clothes.  Off.”

“Ha!  Woman, after all of that and you’re thinking about sex?  I heard you were crazy but really?”  There was a bit of awe in Dreadnaught’s voice. 

Ironmonger started backing up, now fully human and he held out both hands as if to slow Scott down.  “Hey, girl take it easy.  I gottcha covered.  Let’s go someplace private.” 

Scott reached out with his power ripping the boxers off Ironmonger and felt a bit of drool leak from the corner of his mouth. 

“Impressive.” 

The footlong appendage nestled between Ironmonger’s thighs was starting to stand at attention but Scott couldn’t wait.  He lifted himself and Iron into the air bringing them both together twenty feet above the ground.  Scott’s lips found Iron’s tool and with the right amount of kissing, stroking, and sucking it was soon fully engorged. 

“Cindy, damn it.  You know I like to fuck, just let me go.” 

Scott had fully wrapped Ironmonger in a shield immobilizing him and Scott didn’t waste any time.  Floating above Iron Scott spread his legs and impaled his feminine sex upon Iron’s cock. 

“Ahhhhh . . .” Sensation blasted through Scott.  The feeling of being stretched and filled, the intimate touch of sensitive skin on skin, and most importantly the geyser of power that flooded and filled him.  Every sense came alive and Scott couldn’t think.  His body on auto-pilot as it bucked and squeezed working to milk the masculine essence from Ironmonger while feasting on the sexual energy from their union. 

Scott wasn’t sure how many times he came or how long they fucked.  His first coherent thought was when he climbed off the now unconscious Ironmonger.  He felt for the first time the uniquely feminine popping sensation as Iron’s cock slide out of his pussy and for a moment missed the sensation of being filled.  Then he realized they were on the forest floor.  Iron was passed out flat on his back and as Scott stood up he felt something leaking down his thigh. 

“W-What happened?”  He wondered and looked around.  They were alone.  Scott stretched and realized he felt great!  Better than great.  His body now hummed with energy.  He closed his eyes trying to figure out if he was fully re-charged and realized he was at a bout ninety percent of what he’d felt right after CC had swapped him into Carnifex. 

“Did you kill him?” 

Scott glanced over his shoulder and saw Dreadnaught standing next to Cyber.  He was still carrying his .50 but it wasn’t pointed at Scott.  They both looked stunned while Cyber also looked appalled. 

“No.  He’s just tired.  I-I don’t normally lose control like that.  I let myself get too weak and had to re-charge.” 

“You’re an energizer who feeds on sexual energy?” Cyber asked, sounding both shaken and fascinated. 

“Yeah.  Keep that to yourselves.  I’d rather be known as a slut than a slave to the needs of my powers.” 

“We all have secrets.”  Dreadnaught said, then gestured toward Ironmonger.  “When will he wake up?”

Scott shrugged, “In a bit.  He’s just tired.  Where are we?” 

Dreadnaught reached into a cargo pocket and brought out a GPS.  “We’re on the Olympic Peninsula, about sixty miles west of Seattle in the National Forest.  I think this is a place Banshee set up as a retreat.” 

“Why?” 

“Because if you walk for five minutes in that direction there is a cabin.  We discovered it while you and Iron were distracted.  There’s a well, a wood stove, and plenty of dried and canned goods.”  Cyber answered.  “The only thing it’s missing is electricity and the internet.”  She sounded slightly offended at the lack of internet access.

 

***

 

“Who is Soulsnatcher?  Why don’t I know anything about him?” 

“You’re from Australia, and no offense . . . but you’re what?  Twenty-five?” 

The fire in the fireplace was burning brightly and the woodburning stove was heating up.  It was early afternoon but it was so overcast it felt like night had fallen.  Then it started to drizzle and the cold damp air was easily kept at bay by the cozy cabin.  Cyber had taken charge of the cabin once they’d all arrived and had water in a pot heating and sorted through the various dried and canned goods.  Ironmonger was still out so Scott had used his ability and floated him along behind them as they trekked to the cabin.  Now he was snoring soundly while lying on the cabin’s only bed.  Scott tried to ignore him and focused on what Dreadnaught had just said. 

“I’m twenty-eight.  Can you just tell me who or what it is that we’ve unleashed?” 

Dreadnaught sighed and for the first time since Scott had met him looked old.  The Detroit mutant ran a hand over his face.  “You’ve got to understand, I’m older than I look.  I’m a generation one mutant.  I was exposed to the Accelerator Virus in 1951 shortly after it escaped the government labs.  I believe ninety percent of humanity carries at least the dormant virus today.” 

“I know.  I know.”  Scott interrupted.  “You don’t need to lecture us, grandpa.  I learned all this in school.  In the 50s and 60s the virus spread to most of humanity.  There is no vaccine.  For second generation and beyond it only activates during puberty.  You’ve got a 50-50 chance of it activating.  The mutation can be as small as changing eye color or as dramatic as dying during the change.” 

“They don’t teach everything in school.  The 1950s and 60s were a chaotic time.  Villains rose and heroes fought them.  Some of us choose to try to use our abilities to make money to support families.” 

“You make being a mercenary sound noble.” Scott scoffed.

“Why do you do it, if not for the money?” 

“Oh, I do it for the money.  I just don’t delude myself into thinking that I’m helping anyone but me.”  Then he paused and took a deep breath, “How does this relate to Soulsnatcher?”

“He or she, no one is really sure, although based on what we saw at the prison he must have started out as a man.  Anyway, he was an original generation mutant.  This was before classes and levels so I can’t confirm what Cyber said earlier.  All I can tell you is that he appeared in Texas and had nearly a third of the state in a panic.  He can snatch the souls from his victims and then assume their form and powers.  He can boost their powers when he assumes their form well beyond what they could do because of his energizer abilities.  The more souls he eats the stronger he gets.” 

“Why in the world would anyone want to release him?” Cyber wondered.  She had just added bouillon cubes to the boiling water creating stock.  She had dehydrated vegetables sitting to one side along dried pasta.  The sizzle of canned meat hitting a pan was a little distracting and Scott’s tummy rumbled. 

“That’s a good question.  What do the Fists gain?”

“Anarchy?”

At this all three mutants looked over at Ironmonger who’d just sat up.  “It’s in their name.  The Fists of Anarchy.  They want to cause chaos and bring down governments.  If you check out their website they believe in survival of the fittest and that governments only get in the way of nature and natural selection.  Unleashing something like Soulsnatcher on the United States will undoubtedly cause Chaos.” 

There was silence as the four mercenaries thought about what they’d just done.  Scott wanted to fly into Seattle and make contact with the Agency and let them know what happened.  There were problems with that idea.  The first was it would blow his cover and he’d been ordered to maintain deep cover.  The second was that the government probably already knew about the prison break and who was on the loose.  Soulsnatcher hadn’t been subtle when he’d destroyed the prison.  Scott could only guess what he’d been up to in the hours since they’d escaped.

“What do we do?” For a moment Scott hadn’t realized he’d spoken out loud.  

“I don’t know about you, but I’m going to eat, sleep, and then find civilization.  I got paid half up front so I need to check my account.  If those fuckers didn’t pay the rest I’ll have to visit them in Seattle.”  Dreadnaught noted. 

“Get me an internet connection and I can tell you if you got paid, each of you.” Cyber offered.

“No need for me.” Scott said trying to sound confident. “I got it all up front.  Still, I’d like to pay the Fists a visit.  What we just freed will kill a bunch of people not to mention two of our teammates.  It could have been any of us.  I think a little warning would have been nice.”  Abruptly Scott felt furious, “If you think about it, we were used.  I bet Solomon Chen thought we would be Soulsnatcher’s first victims.  Makes sense, half up front means he only pays half the cost of freeing him.  I think I’d like to express my displeasure. 

“Oh, like the warning you could have given me before you all but raped me?”

Scott felt a flash of guilt and looked over at Iron who was grinning at him.  “Sorry Iron.  I-I haven’t lost control like that since . . . shit I can’t remember.” 

“Don’t worry about it.  I was willing, just . . . I’ve never felt anything like that.”

Cyber dumped the vegetables into the broth letting them boil before adding the pasta and reducing the heat.  “Soup should be ready in a few minutes.”  She was doing her best to focus on the pot and nothing else.

“What are we going to do about Vulcan and Banshee?”  Ironmonger asked.  “What happened to them doesn’t sit well with me.  With a little warning we might have protected ourselves.  I agree with Carnifex, the Fists probably wanted us to die while rescuing Soulsnatcher.” 

“Then we’ll have to express our displeasure.”  Dreadnaught growled. 

 

***

 

“Holy shit, look at that!” 

Taser’s shout brought Rhonda into the room.  They had rented a room at a local hotel across from the apartment building they were uselessly staking out.  It was Rhonda’s turn to keep watch so Kevin had been relaxing, watching TV while eating a pizza.  The game show had been interrupted to show a flaming mutant flying over a shopping mall in Albuquerque.  Beneath him people were shouting and screaming and then falling over as what looked like electricity arced up from them to the mutant.  The desiccated corpses that remained behind him sent the survivors into a panic. 

A mother with tears streaming down her face cradled the husk of her five year old daughter.  Somehow she had survived the mutant’s passing while her daughter had been caught in his power.  A cop car stopped on the street and two cops got out pulling rifles.  The bullets smashed into the flying mutant without any affect.  Like insect bites.  When He got closer he lifted a hand and both cops fell over dead. 

“What the fuck is that?” Rhonda gasped. 

“Who is a better question.”

Just then both of their cell phones buzzed. 

Rhonda looked up from reading her message.  “Report back to the Farm at once.  National emergency?” 

Taser nodded.  “Rhonda is on her own until this crisis is over.” 

“I’ll get the van if you want to sanitize the room.” 

“Sounds like a plan.”

Rhonda hurried out and tried to make sense of what she just saw, “Oh, fuck, could that guy be the prisoner that Scott and the Merc’s were planning to release?”  Rhonda had ignored the message making sure to delete it and remove all traces.  Now she wondered if that hadn’t been a mistake. 

The drive up to the farm took longer than Rhonda remembered.  She wanted to understand what had happened and felt trapped.  If it got out that an Agent had been on the team that had unleashed the horror currently rolling through New Mexico then the whole Agency would get pulled into the public square. 

The Agency lived in the dark, doing things to protect civilians that the government didn’t want anyone to know about.  If an Agency operation was responsible for this disaster then every part of that Op would get scrutinized.  Rhonda felt her blood run cold.  ‘I can’t allow that kind of an investigation.  They’ll find out what I did.’

 

***

 

The night was clear and Scott enjoyed the view as he flew a few hundred feet above the tree tops.  In a line behind him he had Ironmonger, Dreadnaught, and Cyber the effort hardly seemed to touch his reservoir of energy.  He didn’t want to think about it but after they had all agreed that they needed to pay the Fists a visit Scott knew he need to be as full of power as possible. 

Getting Dreadnaught to agree to go for a walk had been simple enough.  The sex had been amazing.  Leroy was eighty eight but his body looked like it was twenty-five.  His cock was almost as big as Angus’s man meat and his regeneration allowed him to be back at full mast within minutes.  Scott had ridden one amazing wave of pleasure after another until energy was spilling out of his eyes, ears, and mouth.  At that point an exhausted Leroy had suggested they take a break. 

He’d left Scott in the clearing blissed out on power and carnal satisfaction.  Scott wasn’t sure how long it had taken him to make it back to the cabin but when he did it was late afternoon and the rain had stopped.  The soup they’d had earlier had been replaced by a hash Cyber claimed would at least fill them up even if it wasn’t as nutritional as she would’ve liked.  She also blushed every time she met Scott’s eye. 

Flying sixty miles didn’t feel like too much of a strain with all the power he’d absorbed yet Scott was conscious of conserving his energy.  What he’d learned was that his energy shield ability was very adaptive but in battle he went through power quickly.  The tree line broke and Scott saw the water of the Puget Sound. 

“Here we go.” He whispered and used his shield to create a conduit to carry his words to each of his friends.  Then he shifted the shield around each of them so that light bent around them creating a veil.  “We’ll be at the docks in a few minutes.  Does anyone have an idea for getting from the docks to a safe house or a place where we can watch the Fists?” 

“Yeah, I’ve got a spot not far from their headquarters.” Ironmonger replied.

“Once I’m online I can figure out what they’re up too.” Cyber added.

Scott dropped lower until they were skimming along a few feet above the water.  There wasn’t much maritime traffic but the harbor up ahead was filled with light.  Scott angled around the few boats in the harbor and brought them up onto the pier.  As soon as they all touched down he dropped the veil and shields around them. 

“Holy shit!” 

Scott glanced to his left.  A sailboat had been tied to the pier and a teenage boy was standing there mouth wide open. 

“What?  Never seen a real live girl?” 

The kid’s mouth fell open and Scott turned on his heel marching down the pier.  He could hear Cyber giggle and thought Iron was probably shaking his head.  As they approached the end of the pier Angus took the lead. 

“I know where we are.  I’ll get us an Uber.”  He pulled out a smartphone and powered it up.  “I’ve got a safe house here.  There’s plenty of room for everyone.  We can get cleaned up and check bank accounts.  Then decide what to do about those rat-Basterds.” 

“The Fists?” Dread asked, looking for clarification.  

“Who else?”

Scott followed along trying not to think about what he’d done.  He needed to make contact but couldn’t as long as Cyber was around.  She would have no trouble tracing a call back to the secret servers at the Farm.  There had to be something he could do he just needed to make contact.  ‘I could just slip away.  Mission is over.  I’ve been paid.  Then I can contact the Agency and we can get this all sorted out.’  As soon as he considered it Scott discarded the idea.  ‘They said deep cover.  That means stay in character until they can swap someone else in.’   

The Toyota Camry arrived within a few minutes and the skinny white kid with blonde dreads and the smallest glasses Scott had ever seen pulled to a stop. 

“Dude, are you looking for a lift?”

Angus stepped forward and pulled open the passenger’s door and climbed into the front.  Scott frowned when he realized either he or Cyber would have to sit in the back middle.  Before he could say anything Cyber pulled open one of the back doors and climbed into the middle. 

“I’m the smallest.” 

The drive took twenty minutes even though Scott thought they hadn’t gone more than two miles.  ‘I could have run faster.  And with my talents I easily could have flown us over.’



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