‘I never imagined that I’d be attending my own funeral.’ Rhonda thought looking down at the closed casket. The funeral home was mostly empty with only a few of Rhonda’s friends from the Agency attending. Director Cox had acted quickly once news of the events at the prison was public.
Of course the public had been told that a government lab had experienced a technical disaster that resulted in a fire and the deaths of most of the lab staff. They hadn’t been told it was a prison for the most dangerous mutants or that almost every mutant at the facility along with the human staff had died. There were a couple of mutants unaccounted for but that was the exception. The fire had made it hard to sort out the corpses.
Director Cox had moved quickly to secure Rhonda’s former body and they were now burying it using a story that Rhonda had been undercover and died in the line of duty. Rhonda shook her head wondering what Cindy Snow must have thought when the useless power dampening collar they’d put on her, (because she had no mutant power) had detonated. The results had required a closed casket at the funeral.
‘Another loose end tied up. Special Agent Rhonda Torres is officially dead. Another hero who died in the line of duty.’
“Hey, Scott, how are you holding up?”
Rhonda glanced over at Kevin. He was carrying two Styrofoam cups that smelled suspiciously like coffee and extended one to Rhonda.
“I’m fine, although it’s a little strange.”
“I know. We’re looking down at our team leader and pretending that she’s dead, but in reality she’s alive and undercover. I wonder how she’ll take the news. I bet she’ll be pissed.”
“You might be surprised. I bet her new body is growing on her. She’s much sexier and now has powers beyond her wildest dreams.” Then Rhonda added silently, ‘Fool! I hated that body. Like an ugly duckling I’ve now become a swan. Well, more like a Lion, but still . . .’
“Does that mean you’re going to try to get her into bed?”
“I’m supposed to be her boyfriend, remember? It’s all part of the mission.”
“Ha! Good luck. I don’t think she likes you much. Oh, did you hear the other news?”
“Besides that there is a lunatic mutant in New Mexico still on the loose?”
“Yeah, besides that . . . I just talked to Doc White and CC is dead. Looks like Rhonda is stuck, even if her body is now dead.”
“Sshhh . . . That news is still being kept quiet.” Taser looked around to make sure the Agency members in the room along with Rhonda’s civilian friends hadn’t overheard her exclamation. “Looks like a professional hit. A sniper from more than a mile away. CC never had a chance to “hear” it and the Agency team wasn’t ready for that kind of attack.
“Are there any leads? Director Cox must be pissed. CC’s ability was truly unique.”
“I’m not sure about the Director but Doctor White was pretty broken up. She and CC had been working closely together for a while.” Kevin shook his head lost in thought. After a moment he added, “As for leads, who knows? I mean there is a team tasked with figuring it out but I’m not on that team. Don’t worry, the Agency has a way of getting to the truth.”
“Heard anything from Firefly?” Rhonda asked.
Kevin shook his head. “Nope. It’s odd. You said she’d been checking in?” At Rhonda’s nod he continued, “More than twenty-four hours now and nothing.”
Rhonda turned around and headed for the door, “Come on. We’ve got a job to do.”
“Oh, what did they tell you?”
“We’re using a teleporter to get down to New Mexico. We’ll meet up with a Quick Response Team the Agency is putting together. The next time that mutant, Soulsnatcher, shows up we’ll try to take him down.”
“Fuck. I’ve got a bad feeling about this one.”
Scott adjusted the shield in front of his eyes and telescoped in on the target. The Asian grocery store did a steady business but he was more interested in anyone heading up to one of the three apartments above the store. According to Ironmonger all three were occupied by Fist members. It had been three days and so far Scott hadn’t seen Frank, his father, or anyone he recognized. He could also tell the other mercenaries were getting restless. He brushed his dark hair away from his face and paused to give his now darker skin an amazed look. ‘At least no one is going to recognize me now.’ He glanced down at the backpack that held two changes of clothes, food, water and Gatorade.
Once they’d gotten to the safe house, a five bedroom home sandwiched between two other buildings that looked identical, they’d started to relax. Cyber’s eyes had started glowing as soon as she sat down on the sofa and it hadn’t taken her long to confirm they’d not been paid the second installment.
“That mother-fucker!” Dreadnaught raged. “No one stiffs me!”
Scott was a little amused that he was more upset about not getting the money than he was about going in blind to a situation and almost dying. Not to mention releasing a powerful and most likely insane mutant.
“Can you find them?”
When Cyber didn’t say anything else Dread looked at Angus, “You said you knew where their headquarters is?”
“No, I know where we can find them. I think they were operating out of the warehouse we visited. That’ll be the first place to look.”
“Bah. They’ll either have abandoned it or it was never theirs in the first place.”
Scott turned around and headed for the door.
“Where are you going?”
“I’m checking out the warehouse. Then I’m going to hit my safe-house and get a change of clothes and new kit. I’ll be back in a couple of hours. I got paid up front, but I’m pissed about the set up. So if you plan to hit the Fists, to let them know they have to pay their debts and not to treat mercs like bait . . . I’m in. Otherwise, have a nice life.”
“Wait Carnifex, we need to talk . . .”
Scott shut the door behind him and veiled. Then he used his shield to lift himself into the air. The flight to the hotel where he’d rented a room didn’t take long. He landed and once sure no one was looking dropped the veil and used his key card to enter the room. After a quick search he determined that everything was there. ‘The Agency should have come here and left me a note.’ He picked up the hotel phone and dialed the number he used to leave messages for Rhonda and Kevin.
“The number you have dialed is no longer in service. Thank you.” The line went dead.
“What the fuck?”
He tried the backup number and found it had also been disconnected. Next he tried the number he used when he wasn’t on a mission, his own personal voice mail at the Agency. When it asked for his PIN the computer generated voice informed him that it was incorrect.
“Rhonda must have changed it. Why?” Feeling uneasy Scott dialed the normal business number for the Agency.
“You have reached the Mutant Affairs Agency, if you know the extension of the person or office you would like to reach you can dial it at any time. For public affairs press – one. For legal matters press – two. To register a new mutant – press three. To report an unregistered mutant – press four.”
Scott stopped listening and dialed the extension for Doctor White.
“The extension you have dialed is no longer in use. You may dial another extension if you wish or press one to return to the main menu.”
“What the hell?” Scott tried every number he could remember only to discover they’d all been changed. He sat there for several seconds trying to think. “The only reason to change all of those numbers would be that they terminated the operation. Why would they do that when I’m still undercover?”
Scott sat down on the bed trying to think about what he should do. “Pack up the van and find a storage facility to park it. That way it’ll be out of sight and when all of this is done I can recover it.” Then his eye fell on Cindy’s purse. He got up and dumped the contents on the bed. The ID’s still intrigued him and he picked one up.
“Jennifer Yung, who are you and why do I have your ID?”
Scott focused on the memories CC had copied into his head trying to uncover an answer. The psionic-technique opened memories to him and he tried to figure out which one was pertinent. Then it came to him in a flash.
Moonlight streamed through the window as Cindy pushed the sexy Asian minx onto the bed. She wore a white thong which seemed to almost glow in the silvery light. Cindy’s body was on fire with need but it was different from what she felt when seducing a guy. The ache between her thighs was still there but the hunger, driven by her mutation, was different. Cindy slowly spread the girl’s legs running her hands over Jen’s soft smooth skin. Starting just inside her left knee Cindy slowly kissed her way up Jen’s leg until she arrived at her prize. Cindy inhaled deeply breathing in the musky odor of Jen’s sex before licking the small bit of silky fabric covering Jen’s moist pussy. Cindy loved both the smell and taste of the half-Chinese sex kitten.
“I-I’ve never done this before. Not with . . . a girl.”
The words were softly spoken and the American accent turned Cindy on even more. “SSsshhhh . . . you are the second girl I’ve seduced.”
“Are you sure? You know I’m a mutant. That doesn’t scare you?”
Cindy used her power to pull the thong from Jennifer’s thighs and grinned up at the astonished look. “Why should I be scared?”
Then she started softly kissing the button of flesh at the top of Jen’s slit. Cindy used her tongue to make small circles around Jen’s engorged clit causing her lover to arch her back and grab handfuls of the bedsheet. Then using her fingers Cindy spread Jennifer’s inner lips and started dividing her time between her clit and Jen’s newly exposed inner essence.
“Aahhhhh . . . Oh-god-oh-god-OOhhhhh.”
Moisture started leaking from Jen’s cunt and unable to stop herself she began to buck pressing her hips into Cindy’s face. Knowing Jen was close Cindy drove two fingers into her love tunnel curling them up to stroke the bundle of nerves above and just behind Jen’s love button.
“Ohhhh-fuck . . . t-that feels amazing.”
Tasting Jen’s juices was like the sweetest ambrosia and Cindy continued to play Jen’s pussy like a maestro. Slipping her tongue in and out of Jen’s inner folds energy started poring into Cindy. But it was different from what she got from a guy. Instead of the torrent of power this energy had a taste and shape. It followed gently from Jennifer into Cindy and somehow it even felt like Jennifer.
Cindy couldn’t get enough and continued stroking and licking as the power built inside of her. It flowed along her nerves and hummed just below her skin causing her whole body to tingle with carnal vigor.
“AAaaahhhh . . .”
Jennifer’s finale scream of pleasure was accompanied by a gush of fluid and Cindy leaned back, knowing what was coming and moaned as her pussy clenched up in an orgasm that suddenly matched Jennifer’s. She rolled away feeling juices leak from her spasming pussy her whole body was on fire with pleasure.
Slowly she felt herself come down from the state of carnal bliss and lifted a tiny now softly tanned hand up. It was much smaller than her normal hand. Cindy reached up and examined a lock of midnight hair.
Cindy rolled onto her side enjoying the way her large soft breasts moved to look at her twin. “Mhmm?”
“Why do you look just like me?”
“I told you I’m a mutant. My powers are tied to sex. From men it’s like pure energy. From women it’s like a flavor.” Cindy slowly moved over and ran a tiny hand over Jennifer’s cheek. Then she kissed her soft lips. “I can change back, if you don’t like kissing your twin.”
“Call me narcissistic, but don’t. Now it’s my turn.” Jennifer pushed Cindy onto her back and moved between her thighs. “I always wondered what my pussy looks like.”
Scott shivered at the power and vivid nature of the memory he could feel his pussy twitching and realized he was aroused. The memory had a flavor. He focused on the taste Jennifer’s juices on his tongue, abruptly his body started to tingle. Then he felt a shifting sensation and wave of vertigo hit him. He sat down on the bed to keep from falling over and took a deep breath.
As quick as it came the sensations passed and he sighed. “That was weird.” Then he froze, “My voice?” Knowing what must have happened Scott stood up and realized he was much smaller and his clothes no longer fit. He stumbled to the mirror and looking back was a stunning, sexy, Asian woman with tits that were probably smaller than Cindy’s but on such a small body they seemed enormous.
“That explains the IDs and the different clothes. She said she was a mutant, I wonder what else she could do.”
Then it came to him, Aqua kinesis, and an ability to breathe underwater. Somehow he knew he didn’t have her abilities even if he wore her form. Scott extended his energy shield pushing it out a quarter inch away from his body. Satisfied that he still had Cindy’s mutant ability even if he was now physically Jennifer’s twin.
“The Fists know about Carnifex but I get the feeling no one knows Cindy also has a shapeshifting talent. This explains how she can slip in and out of countries undetected.”
He quickly went to work, finding the right sized bra was challenging since Jennifer had a smaller chest but her cup size was almost the same as Cindy’s. For a moment Scott was tempted to get more familiar with Jennifer’s body but reminded himself that he had work to do.
“My last orders were to go into deep cover. To do anything required to maintain my cover. I need to trust the Agency.” He sighed. “Fine. So what would Carnifex do? She’d be pissed at the set up. She’d want a little pay-back.”
Having made up his mind Scott changed into jeans, a t-shirt, and then over the top he pulled on a warm pink sweat shirt with a hood and white letters that read University of Washington on the front.
Scott shook his head bringing himself back to the present and looked down at the grocery store and grumbled. “Three days watching this thing and nothing. At least by shifting into Jen no one thinks it odd that I stop by the store once a day for supplies.”
After he got the van loaded and hidden away in a storage facility he returned to the Mercenaries, careful to resume his Cindy look first. By that time Cyber had identified a couple of possible locations to stake out. She’d also tried to hack the Fist’s bank accounts only to be thwarted by the banks active defenses. Cyber defenses in the form of advanced A.I.s were unusual and Cyber took it as an insult and a challenge.
“While you watch for their leaders, I’ll get our money.”
The roof of the run down and abandoned ball-bearing factor had been a perfect spot for Scott to spy on the store. It was several blocks away but with his ability he had no trouble to watch it and he could fly there in seconds. He’d also been able to use the time to practice assuming both Jennifer and Sofie’s shapes. The memory of having sex with Sofie still caused his heart to race. Each woman had a distinct taste and the memory of the taste was what triggered the transformation. Shifting back into Cindy was like relaxing a muscle. Scott also learned he could only hold one of their shapes while he was awake. He reverted to his Cindy shape when he fell asleep.
Then there was the energy drain. Every time he used his shield he felt it burn up some of his energy. Oddly, shape-shifting into either Sofie or Jen didn’t seem to affect his pool of power. Knowing he needed to be ready for a fight at any point Scott was very careful to avoid wasting energy, although with Iron and Dread on the same mission he’d charged up the “batteries” at least once a day. He’d still been riding high from the sex he’d had at the cabin when he approached Angus that first night, he hadn’t needed a recharge, but justified it by telling himself he needed to keep expanding his reservoir of energy. So far there didn’t seem to be a limit to how much energy he could hold.
Now thinking about Iron’s monster cock and the things it did to his tight little pussy caused Scott’s nipples to get hard and a muscle inside his tummy to clench.
“God, what is happening to me?” The realization shook Scott. “I want Angus to fuck my brains out and not for power, just because it feels so damn good. Does that make me gay?”
At first he’d told himself that he hadn’t had any choice he was just so low on power he had to get recharged. Then after fucking Leroy he’d justified it by knowing he needed to be as strong as possible if they were going to take on the Fists. Now, he had to face the fact, this body, liked sex. No, he liked sex. Sex in Cindy’s body was an intense physical experience, beyond anything his male body had been capable of. He wasn’t sure if it was because sex as a female was better but he suspected that it was part of Cindy’s mutation. Then there was the energy. The feeling of power flowing into him was addictive.
“When I get my body back, will I want to fuck guys?” The idea wasn’t as repulsive as it would have been a week ago. “Do I want to give this up?” For the first time since taking over Carnifex’s body Scott wondered if the Agency would let him keep it. “Rhonda seemed to enjoy my body when she had it.” Then he shook his head, long dark hair dancing around his shoulders. “What am I thinking? Of course Rhonda wants her body back. She liked teasing me but I doubt she’d want to give up being a woman.”
Just then a car pulled into the parking lot of the grocery store and a familiar looking guy got out. With a thought Scott zoomed his vision in and laughed.
“Frank. At last! Time to see what you assholes are up to!”
Scott veiled and then willed himself into the air. In a few seconds he descended into the parking lot and looked around to make sure no one was watching before dropping the veil. Today he’d switched to a denim mini-skirt with leggings, a tank that showed off his tight tummy, and matching denim jacket. He pushed into the store and waved at the elderly lady behind the counter.
“Hi, Mrs. Wang, how are you today?”
“Oh, hi, Jennifer. I’m good. What are you looking for today?”
“I’m out of tea and I want to pick up some rice noodles for dinner tonight.”
Scott gave the woman Jennifer’s cutest smile and flounced off toward the back of the store pretending he didn’t see Frank.
“What kind of tea are you looking for?”
Scott looked up and realized that Frank was a lot taller than he was while wearing Jen’s body. “Ginseng. You can’t find it in most stores, plus I like supporting Mrs. Wang’s store. She’s such a nice person.” Scott gave Frank his Jennifer’s most open smile and then winked at him.
Frank seemed surprised so Scott took advantage and brushed by him, his tits lightly touching Franks arm as Scott squeezed past. Scott kept walking already knowing where the tea was and allowed a slight smile to show. He knew how hot Jen was and there wasn’t a red-blooded male out there who wouldn’t have responded to the flirting. ‘Well, at least the straight males.’
Scott turned around and raised a single questioning eyebrow.
“My name’s Frank. Frank Chen. I don’t remember seeing you around before. And a beautiful girl like you . . . I’d remember.”
“I’m Jennifer. I’m in grad-school at the University.” Knowing the hook had been set Scott couldn’t resist, “It’s a pleasure to meet you Mr. Chen.”
As he collected his items Scott could tell that Frank was distracted. It was more than just stealing lustful glances at Scott, glances Scott made sure to encourage. Scott got in line behind Frank at the counter and couldn’t help thinking Frank had a nice butt. For a moment Scott thought about digging his nails into Frank’s ass, as Frank pounded his pussy.
‘What the hell! Get a grip Scott.’ He yelled silently at himself.
“Going on a trip Mr. Chen?”
“Yeah, a short one. Business, you know.”
Scott waited for Mrs. Wang to finish ringing up Frank. Trying not to look impatient. Then he paid for his items knowing he needed to hurry. He didn’t want Frank to get too far ahead of him.
“There you go sweetie. See you tomorrow.”
“Thanks, ma’am.” Scott flashed Jen’s most winsome smile and then left the store. As soon as he was sure it was safe he veiled and rose into the air. He made a quick side trip to get the backpack he’d left on the roof of the factory and then raced after the dark sedan. The traffic in Seattle was bad enough that Frank hadn’t made it very far. ‘No all I need to do is stay above him and see what he’s up to.’
Rhonda looked around the squad bay feeling bored. The attack on the mall had happened days ago and so far they didn’t have any good leads. Soulsnatcher had just vanished leaving dozens of desiccated corpses and even more burned bodies in his wake. The survivors were all terrified and the news had been running non-stop about the danger this new mutant posed.
Rhonda and the team had learned the truth. Soulsnatcher according to sealed government records was a generation one mutant. His name was Willard Jones and he’d been the head of the sales department of the pharmaceutical and research company the government had contracted to develop the Accelerator virus. The government had denied all involvement when it escaped the company’s protocols and had gotten into the general public.
Willard had become Soulsnatcher and it had taken a Spec-Ops team and a very powerful Psi-gifted mutant to take him down. He’d been so dangerous that at first they’d kept him drugged and in a coma. Then once they’d developed the mutant suppressor tech they’d brought him out. The problem was that even suppressed he was too dangerous for a normal prison, thus the high security special prison.
“How are we supposed to track a guy who can assume the shape, has the powers, and possibly even the memories of anyone he’s drained?”
“Our research indicates it takes time for him to fully integrate a new person. He has access to the mutant powers at once along with the shape. However, skills and memories take more time. He doesn’t even bother with normal humans. He just takes the energy and moves on.”
“Still there were what, twenty-six, at the mall that he drained? Plus the cops.”
“All of them were normal humans. It’s doubtful he’d assume one of their shapes. He’d have no power other than his draining ability. Plus, the notes from Psi-Knight, the woman who stopped him the first time, there is a limit to the number of identities and shapes he can hold. She thought it was six but that’s never been tested.”
Rhonda glanced away from Debbie. She had been one of the few bright spots so far to this assignment. There were eight members of the strike team; two squads of four. Each squad had a teleporter, a level 5, C-Class, psionic to shield the team, and two members to take out Soulsnatcher. Taser and Eros were on the same team and Rhonda had augmented Scott’s normal arsenal by adding a minigun.
Rhonda caught Debbie’s eye and winked. The resulting blush caused Rhonda’s dick to twitch. Last night she’d managed to get both Rhonda and Seraph, an D-Class level 6 energizer from the other squad, into a three-some. After they’d both passed out from carnal bliss she’d slipped out of the building. She’d recovered the special phone and used it to contact the Shadow Lord.
Rhonda: The plan is on track. I’m with a strike team, waiting to take down Soulsnatcher.
Unknown: His escape is a disaster. Never let a good emergency go to waist.
Rhonda: What do you need me to do?
Unknown: Take down Soulsnatcher, publicly. Become the poster-boy, all American hero, who stopped the evil mutant.
Rhonda: If I do that, I’ll have to leave the Agency. Once the public knows who I am I can’t work as a Special Agent. I thought you wanted me to take over SMAC.
Unknown: This is a bigger opportunity. After you’re a hero we’ll need you in D.C.
Rhonda focused on the mental-drill she’d learned from CC. Even if she didn’t have true psi-abilities she had a disciplined mind and the shields prevented anyone with telepathic talents from overhearing her thoughts. They wouldn’t last if a telepath started poking around in her head so Rhonda knew she needed to be careful.
The door to the squad bay banged open. “We’ve got him!”
Rhonda looked over at the Alpha Squad leader. Hammer was a tall guy and he was already moving to his kit. “Intel just picked him up from a news report. There’s a woman flying over a water park in Arizona. She is an Energizer with cold powers. She’s killed a bunch of people by freezing the water they were in.”
“That doesn’t sound like our target.” Rhonda noted moving to get into her gear.
“She’s also leaving desiccated corpses behind her.”
“It’s just outside of Phoenix and is known for being a resort frequented by mutants.” Debbie answered. Rhonda looked over at her and she blew Eros a kiss and whispered. “Good luck.”
“We don’t need luck.” Taser replied smirking.
“Take my hands.” Harold, Jumpstart, the D-class teleporter said.
The four members of Rhonda’s squad linked hands and then she felt a burning sensation, followed by a wave of nausea and vertigo, everything went dark and they were floating. Then sight and sound returned with a crash and Rhonda looked around.
Rhonda saw a woman with snow-white hair floating twenty feet above ground to her south. She swung the minigun around and started the electric motor. To the untrained eye this looked like any other minigun, except that it had been modified by the Agency. The rounds were depleted uranium. Every tenth round was WP which helped Rhonda track the rounds to the target.
Every 50th round had a dampener in it. The dampener activated when the tip of the bullet flattened out on impact. It had to be touching a mutant for it to work but odds were good that it’d be in contact while the next several rounds struck since the rate of fire was a hundred rounds per second.
“Stay within thirty feet of me.” Thirdeye announced. The small man wasn’t very intimidating but he was a level 6 C-Class telepath. Jogging toward Soulsnatcher everything around her started to slow down as Eros/Rhonda shifted into battle mode. There was a flash and Hammer’s squad jumped into existence.
Hammer lifted a hand and lightning slashed down from the sky into his fist. The lighting solidified into the shape of a hammer. With a smooth throwing motion he flung the hammer of living lightning at Soulsnatcher.
The thunder that had accompanied the lighting strike had drawn the woman’s eyes and she grinned. “At last! Mutants worth draining.”
She lifted her hand and gale force winds slammed into the lightning-hammer pushing it to one side. Then she made a, “come here” gesture. When nothing happened she had a shocked expression.
“You didn’t think we’d show up unprepared . . . Did you?” Hammer laughed pulling the M240 off his back. Seraph lifted her hands and light coalesced around her. When the glow faded a blonde angel with snow white wings and a shining dress stood there. She snapped her wings and rose into the sky a flaming sword appeared in her hand. She threw her sword which shot like a bullet toward Soulsnatcher.
Abruptly, Soulsnatcher shifted. Clothed in a long dark robe with his hood up he lifted a pale feminine hand and darkness blossomed around him.
“Fuck.” Rhonda shouted in frustration and cut loose.
The sword disappeared into the growing ball of darkness as did Rhonda’s rounds.
The scream came from Hammer’s squad.
Rhonda looked over and saw a gate hanging in the air just behind the squad. Their teleporter had a flaming sword sticking out of his guts and their telepath was down, nearly cut in two by Rhonda’s rounds. Abruptly, the sword vanished and the teleporter slid to the ground gasping in agony.
Soulsnatcher stepped through the gate and the ball of darkness where he’d been vanished. “Gotcha.” He made the come her gesture and Hammer screamed as energy arced from him to Soulsnatcher’s hand.
“Get over here!” Thirdeye shouted at Seraph.
Taser screamed and unleashed a torrent of lightning at the darkly cowled figure but it was too late. Hammer’s mummified corpse crashed to the ground as Taser’s lightning struck. The power of the blast lifted Soulsnatcher up and tossed him twenty feet to one side. With her line of fire obstructed Rhonda raced forward and to one side shooting as she ran.
“Eros, that’s the limit of my range.”
Rhonda skidded to a stop and kept on firing.
“Aahhhhhh!” Soulsnatcher’s scream of pain was the first clue that the rounds were working then darkness enveloped him. Rhonda stopped shooting having learned that lesson once and looked around. Seraph was now floating overhead a sword blazing like the sun in each hand. Taser moved to stand next to Rhonda while Thirdeye and Jumpstart jogged up to them.
“Where’d she go?”
“I don’t see her . . . him. Anywhere.” Seraph announced. As she did she spread her wings climbing higher she started to circle around looking for the mutant.
“Shit. What now?” Taser asked.
Rhonda saw reporters headed their way and made a snap decision. “Stay here. Get your faces covered.” She gestured at the passed out teleporter. “Jumpstart. Get her to Doc White now and get back here.”
Then Rhonda headed toward the media and flashed Scott’s best smile. “Folks, this is still an active crime scene. My name is Special Agent Scott Irons. I’m with the Special Mutant Affairs Command and we are still searching for the criminal who attacked the park.”
Rhonda saw cell phones up recording and cameras flashing. ‘I guess Eros’s days working spec ops are over.’
At the same time she heard Taser mutter, “Eros, what are you doing?”
Rhonda looked back over her shoulder. “I’m taking control of the scene until local law enforcement arrives.” She stated as if it were the most natural thing in the world.
Just then Seraph landed, she now had a mask over her face and looked around before walking over to Rhonda. “There’s no sign of Soulsnatcher anywhere.”
Just then Jumpstart reappeared. “Got her to the doc in time to save her, I think.”
Rhonda nodded looking calm. “Fine. Jumpstart, take everyone except Seraph back to HQ and then get back out here. Taser, you’ll have to carry Truesight’s remains. We’ll want to be ready to re-deploy as soon as we get another hit on the suspect.”
Then she looked at Seraph, “Get back overhead and keep alert. I need to know if Soulsnatcher shows back up.”
The reporters were too stunned to ask any questions for the moment which suited Rhonda just fine.
Scott settled onto the ridge that gave him a good view of the small family farm about a half-mile away. The land had little by way of cover being mostly flat and cleared for farming. The ridge offered a good observation point. The farm itself was small and unassuming. A low building the Scott assumed was a chicken coop. A large barn for farm equipment, a granary and a large farm house with a wraparound porch. Even though it looked like a thousand other small family farms that could be found all over Washington this one was different. Different because it was Frank’s destination.
He’d followed Frank as he drove two hours north and east of Seattle, up into the foothills of the Cascade Mountains. The flight had drained less of Scott’s power than he’d been expecting and he chalked that up to having more energy in his reservoir than ever before. He felt shaken as he fumbled Carnifex’s phone from his jacket’s pocket.
Just as Frank’s car pulled into the yard a gate had appeared near the large barn. The familiar figure of Banshee stepped out of the gate. At first Scott had thought she must have survived. Then he let the delusion go. He remembered using his power to float her mummified corpse to a spot near the cabin and then helping Ironmonger dig a grave.
The woman’s body blurred and shifted and suddenly a tall handsome man was standing where she’d been. Scott felt shocked, it was Hammer, one of his few friends. They’d gone through the academy together and had even worked an operation or two together over the years.
‘Fuck. Soulsnatcher must have got him.’
Scott drifted closer but couldn’t hear what they said. The two mutants walked into the farm house and Scott knew better than to follow. His veil was pretty good but it caused a blurring when he moved. That would be a give away that he couldn’t risk. Instead he’d gone into the barn to see what he could find.
The bodies of the farmer, his wife, and daughter, all mummified caused his gorge to rise and he had to fight to breathe. ‘That monster has to be stopped!’ Looking around the barn he saw that it was mostly empty. The exception was a military vehicle with U.S. Air Force on the side. Looking it over Scott couldn’t place it. When he climbed into the back he saw what looked like a large bomb.
Not knowing much about bombs Scott got out his phone and took several pictures to include the serial numbers from the side. Knowing the Agency would want to deal with this right away Scott used a number for leaving tips. He sighed with relief when the number still worked. The automated voice system was still irritating but he quickly left a message he was sure would get their attention.
“I’m a concerned citizen. I’ve spotted a dangerous mutant who’s been all over the news. They’re calling him Soulsnatcher. He is staying with a group of mutants who call themselves the Fists of Anarchy. They’ve also stolen Air Force equipment it looks like some kind of bomb.” Then Scott read the serial number from the photo he’d taken along with the GPS coordinates. After that he settled down to watch. While he did he opened the backpack he kept with him during his stakeout of the grocery store.
After drinking some water and eating an energy bar Scott decided it was time for Carnifex to make an appearance. If the Agency was going to show up something in the back of his mind told him he should keep his alternate identities a secret. He quickly changed into the bigger clothes that fit Cindy and relaxed allowing her form to come to the front. Then he sat down watching the farm.
“God, I hate waiting.”
Dusk arrived before Scott noticed anything odd. He’d ended up lying on the ground using the backpack as a pillow. He’d also turned his phone off and pulled out the battery. The Agency could use his message to trace the phone. While he wanted them to get Soulsnatcher he didn’t need them to know he was here.
“I should just fly back to Seattle and let the Agency deal with this.” But he couldn’t leave. He had to know if-when they took Snatcher down. “Besides,” he mused, “Snatcher can gate out at any time. Best if I keep an eye on things.”
Just then there was a flash of light and the farm house blew up. Half a mile away Scott felt the concussion. The barn took some damage as debris from the farmhouse slammed into it. Then he heard the roar overhead and looked up spotting a spec against the rapidly darkening sky. ‘They used an airplane to drop a bomb on him? Shit they must be desperate.’ There was a second flash of light and five mutants appeared. Scott still veiled rose into the air leaving the backpack and raced down to the scene of destruction.
“See, a two thousand pounder from forty thousand feet and all that’s left is dead mutants.” Scott recognized Taser’s voice. “I need to make sure the nuke is secure.”
He allowed his vision to zoom in and watched his friend and a woman he didn’t recognize hurry into the barn. Then Scott saw his original body and froze. Hovering in the air, Scott was unsure what to do. It was so surreal. Watching himself give orders.
“Thirdeye go with Dozer and make sure Soulsnatcher is dead.”
“Jumpstart, stay with me. Be ready to act if something happens. We think Soulsnatcher’s range is about twenty five yards.”
Scott felt an urge to float down and introduce himself. Then he shook his head, ‘That’s crazy. The team would have to arrest me. Even if they don’t know who raided the prison and Cindy never committed any crimes in the U.S. we have treaties with Australia and there are arrest warrants for her there.’
Just then Dozer had reached the edge of the ruined farm house. He made a gesture and chunks of rubble flew away. Small fires were still burning and Scott was impressed with how careful Dozer was being as he plowed through the building. ‘That’s right. I remember him now; he’s an D-Class telekinetic level 3 or 4 if I remember right. He must also be doing something to keep the heat away.’ Scott continued watching and after moment nodded, he was moving between two and three thousand pounds at a time. ‘Level three.’ The barn door opened and a woman Scott didn’t recognize came out.
“Eros, positive confirmation. We’ve got a nuke. I’ve called it in. An Air Force recovery team is on its way. ETA One-Five Mikes.”
‘Holy shit, how did those idiots get a nuke?’
“I’ve got a body.”
The announcement drew everyone back to Dozer who was roughly in the middle of the ruined farm house. He pulled up a limp and broken body and it took Scott a moment to recognize it. ‘Frank. You poor bastard.’
Then the rubble shifted. Dozer quickly floated up and away, unfazed by the movement. “Relax. This happens a lot in this situation. I’m guessing the house had a basement and the wreckage is still settling. Aaahhhhhhh . . .” Dozer went ridged his back arching with pain as a white light snaked from his body down into the ruin.
“Noooooo!” Thirdeye screamed moving toward the rubble and extending a hand, desperate to stop what was happening, but unwilling to enter the dangerous wreckage. The flow of energy slowed and suddenly Dozer seemed to break free, his body flew back and away landing next to Thirdeye steam drifting up into the air as he took deep gasping breaths.
Then the ruins exploded up and flying into the night a burning comet ascended. The blazing form of Vulcan was one Scott had seen before but he was sure the others hadn’t.
Rhonda looked around, “Taser, Seraph, you’re up.”
“KKKKeeeeeeaaaahhhhhhhhhh!” Taser extended both arms up into the night and the thickest lightning storm Scott had ever seen shot up at the fleeing mutant. At the same time the female Scott didn’t recognize blazed up with white light. A moment later an Angel with white wings holding a pair of flaming swords replaced the more non-descript blonde.
At the last moment Soulsnatcher shifted to one side and transformed mid-flight. Hammer appeared in the space Vulcan had been occupying and he reached out bathing his hands in the electrical storm. His momentum spent he started falling toward the SMAC team only now he held the largest hammer Scott had ever seen, and it was made of living lightning.
“Remember to stay back.” Eros shouted as Seraph took to the sky. “If you get too close he can take you.” Then he turned to the mutant next to him. “Jumpstart, get Dozer to medical, now, and get back ASAP. Bring anyone not on a mission who might be able to help.”
As he fell Soulsnatcher swung the lightning hammer around in a circle and then launched it directly at Rhonda. Scott gasped knowing there was no way she’d escape. Then Rhonda blurred to one side while Taser stepped into the path of the bolt. The sound of thunder rolled over the farm and the explosion sent sod, rocks, and dirt flying.
“Ugh, did anyone get the number of the bus that hit me?” Taser tried sitting up and Scott could see through his enhanced vision little bolts of electricity arcing over his skin. His clothes were burned and if Scott had to guess most of the damage was from the explosion and the crater created by Soulsnatcher’s strike. Not the lightning.
Slowly, Eros sat up. “Fuck. That sucked.”
Scott breathed a sigh of relief. Taser must have absorbed enough electricity to reduce the blast and Rhonda had made use of her mutant speed and reflexes to get out of the way. His former body’s healing would be kicking in now so Rhonda would be fine.
“Oh, that tickles.”
Scott looked back and saw that Soulsnatcher had resumed Vulcan’s shape and was laughing at Seraph. A pair of flaming swords were sticking out of his chest. They winked out after a moment.
“I like to play with fire too.”
Then he shot toward her. Seraph darted away flapping her wings although Scott could tell it was mostly for show. Her Energizer ability was what allowed her to fly, not the wings. The pair rocketed away from the farm and Scott followed behind.
“You’re not getting away that easily.” He muttered, looking for an opportunity to help without giving away his presence.
Soon they were several miles from the farm above the Cascades and try as she might Seraph couldn’t shake Soulsnatcher. She threw one flaming sword after another at him but he just let them hit and his Vulcan body absorbed them without showing any damage. Then Soulsnatcher lifted a hand and made a grabbing gesture.
“AAAaaahhhh . . .” Seraph arched her back hair flying wildly about her as white energy flowed from her back and toward Soulsnatcher’s outstretched hand.
“No you don’t!” Scout growled in his soft alto. He was close enough so he extended a shield and enveloped the evil mutant. As he did he made sure the shield cut off all oxygen and sealed all psionic powers within the confining bubble.
Abruptly, the energy that had been flying toward Soulsnatcher stopped and Seraph tumbled toward the ground. Scott reached out and caught her in another bubble. He wasn’t sure if her mutation would allow her to survive the fall but she appeared to be unconscious.
Soulsnatcher spun around his eyes finding Scott. That’s when Scott realized he wasn’t veiling any more. ‘I need more practice at multi-tasking.’
“Who are you?”
“No, I recognize you. You broke me out of prison.”
Then the flames around Soulsnatcher winked out as the oxygen within the bubble was consumed. Soulsnatcher looked surprised, and then astonished, as he fell to the bottom of the bubble. His hands went to his throat as he desperately sought air. Then he reached toward Scott and made a come here gesture. Scott felt something push against his shield.
“I don’t think so, asshole.”
Soulsnatcher’s face started to get red and he reached out with both hands toward Scott. This time it wasn’t a push, it was a surge, a tsunami of power as Soulsnatcher sought to break the shield. A bright spike of pain blossomed in Scotts head as he desperately tried to hold the shield containing Soulsnatcher’s power. For an eternity they hung on the edge of a knife and then the pressure faded. Soulsnatcher slumped to the bottom of the bubble and transformed.
The old man Scott had seen in the prison was now a young man. If Scott had to guess, he’d have said the guy was in his late twenties. Scott adjusted the shield to allow some air into the bubble trying to judge how much to allow without waking him up. At the same time he sighed in relief and checked his reservoir. Over half his energy had been consumed.
“If you let me out, I can help.”
Scott looked down at Seraph and realized that she had come to and was standing at the bottom of the bubble looking up at Scott.
“Sure. Sorry about that, I just didn’t want you to hit the ground. I wasn’t sure what would happen.”
Scott released her and Seraph soared up and then moved over to float next to Scott. “It would have hurt but probably wouldn’t have killed me. I’m tougher than I look. Names Seraph.”
“Nice to meet you. Did you have a way to hold him?”
Seraph reached into a cargo pocket and pulled out a power dampening collar. “This should do it, it’s a PDC.”
“I know what it is.”
Scott used his power to lift the collar out of her hand and pressed the button that opened it. Then he sent it through the shield holding Soulsnatcher and snapped it around his neck. With a thought he pressed the activation button and the red lights activated.
“Come on, my team is prepared to take him into custody.”
Suddenly giddy with post fight relief Scott flew along behind Seraph. As he did he admired the view. ‘I wonder how it would feel to wear her body? Although it would be her normal body since I don’t get to copy the mutant’s powers. From what I saw of Seraph’s normal body she looks very similar to her “Seraph” body. She just hides under the business suit and Special Agent persona. I bet she’s a tiger in bed.’’
The flight back to the farm took a few minutes and during that time Soulsnatcher started to stir. Scott made sure to keep his psionic powers contained even though he was now wearing a power dampener. Then they were descending and for the first time Scott thought about coming face-to-face with his team.
By now there were about a dozen agents on site and two fliers had formed up around them a about a mile from the farm to escort them in. Once on the ground Scott floated Soulsnatcher over to Rhonda and dropped him at her feet.
“I think you were looking for him?”
Rhonda looked at Scott and for a moment there was a slight grimace. Then it was gone. Suddenly, Scott got an uneasy feeling. He drew his power in and tried to seem as non-threatening as possible. He was keenly aware he was surrounded by SMAC Agents most of whom would know about Carnifex.
The curt command caught Scott off guard. He couldn’t remember using that tone, ever, on one of his team mates.
“Soulsnatcher chased and caught me. Just as he started to use his power the mutant, Carnifex, showed up. She somehow cut him off. I lost consciousness briefly but when I came too Soulsnatcher was out cold and she was in control. I gave Carnifex my PDC and she used it on Soulsnatcher. After that we returned here.”
Rhonda nudged Soulsnatcher with her boot and when he didn’t move grunted. “Good job, Seraph.” Then she looked at Scott. “Thank you for helping with this operation. I take it you were the anonymous caller?”
Scott nodded, hyper aware that he was now the center of attention.
“What where you doing here?”
“Business. Mine. Not yours or the U.S. governments.”
Rhonda moved closer to Scott stepping within arm’s reach. At the same time Scott felt a flutter against his mental shields. He grinned realizing that Rhonda was trying to use her empathic powers on him. She didn’t realize that his mind was automatically shielded.
At this Scott glanced over at Taser who had stepped forward. He looked bruised and tired but he’d survived. Taser gave him a slight nod. As if to say, “Well done.” and Scott relaxed. For the first time in over a week he felt relief.
Then he saw blur of movement out of the corner of his eye and heard a click. Scott felt the weight of a power dampening collar settle around his neck and he stepped back gasping. “What the hell?”
“Cindy Snow, Carnifex, you are under arrest. Do not resist or we will have to take extreme measures.”
If you liked this post, you can leave a comment and/or a kudos!
Click the Thumbs Up! button below to leave the author a kudos:
And please, remember to comment, too! Thanks.