Spoiler!!! Click to Read!:
Originally Posted by Byrd Man
The X-Men, in their civilian clothes, were in a hotel room watching TV. Jean sat on the edge of one of the room's double beds, Scott on the other one. Jefferson and Rex sat in chairs on the right side of the room. Hank was upside down, watching the television while hanging from the light on the ceiling. The news from judge presiding over the trial of Doctor James Bradley had only come out an hour earlier. Bradley was sentenced to serve life in prison for the two dozen counts of human experimentation that he had been charged with.
While the students watched the pundits discussing the sentencing, Charles sat on the bed behind Scott. He had a laptop resting on his legs. Cables and wires ran from the computer to an odd metal helmet that was resting on Charles' head.
The wires and cables psychically connected him to the computer, that then connected him to an array of satellites that were in geosynchronous orbit with the Earth. With the satellites, he could reach out and touch every living person on the planet with his psychic abilities. The machine, dubbed Cerebro by its co-creator Erik Lensherr, gave Charles the ability to find and locate mutants. It was with Cerebro that he found the five mutants that were in the room with him now. The government had been pushing to locate and map out the locations of all the mutants in the United States, but Charles had not so politely refused. If the government saw the map of mutants, they would know the truth about the mutants. And then, what he feared most might come to pass.
Charles' eyes fluttered open as he closed the Cerebro program. Closing the laptop, he put it on the nightstand beside him and stood.
"I have some news to report,"
he said, walking towards the TV. "The woman who was with Creed was in fact a mutant, Cerebro was able to confirm that. There is also more. She wasn't the only mutant at the courthouse today. There was another somewhere in the crowd with Creed's followers and one inside the courtroom with Doctor Bradley. Sitting where Doctor Bradley sat during the sentencing hearing."
Jean started. "That means..."
Hank said, flipping down to the ground. "Why else would Bradley be so passionate about trying to create mutants if he himself was not one?"
"What about that other mutant, Professor?"
"The scan seems to indicate they left soon after we beat our own hasty retreat from the area."
"So what's our next move? Creed's here and his has a mutant helping him, a very hot one at that. But do we confront him or what?"
"Creed is a hate monger, but he hasn't done anything wrong. I want us to continue to keep an eye on Doctor Bradley. He's being moved soon. If Creed and his Friends of Humanity are going to make their move, that's when they'll strike."
"Well, we need to move sooner than later,"
Scott said, nodding towards the TV. "They just said they're moving him to a federal prison in Indiana today."
The crowd gathered around the courthouse's back exit. They yelled and booed as Bradley was led out in chains by six police officers and baillfs. He looked at the angry mob and their signs and smirked.
"I'm a monster?" He yelled over the din. "Look around, you goddamn knuckle draggers! You're the monster! I'm an agent for change! I'm the future! You're obsolete!"
The security escorts continued to march Bradley towards a reinforced prison van. Amongst the protestors, the X-Men walked. They kept their civilian clothes on, two of them adopted radical disguises. Rex's multi-colored skin was replaced with the skin of a normal Caucasian male, his bald head now covered in a thick crop of blonde hair. He had managed to change his outward appearance. Even now, only minutes into shapeshifting, he was having trouble concentrating and keeping his form.
Hank, meanwhile, looked like a normal, stocky young man with glasses and dark hair. His change in appearance was due to the small device on his belt. The holographic image shifter, a top of the line camouflage Hank had "liberated" from the government was able to hide his furry form behind a thin layer of hard light.
Scott said through the team's telepathic link. ~Keep an eye out for Creed and his pal. Look for anything odd. Suspicious behavior, familiar faces.~
~Wow, this chick is hot. I wonder if she'd like to take a ride on the ole--~
~Dude! We just heard all of that!~
~Get the hell out of my mind, you pervs!~
~We're not in your mind. You're broadcasting out like you've got an antenna in your forehead.~
~I believe the solution is to quite literally keep your more scandalous thoughts to yourself.~
~C'mon, focus. We've got work to do. Jean, try a psychic sweep and see if you catch anything.~
Jean reached out to the people around her and began to read her thoughts. She flinched a bit as so many voices filled her head. Dozens of voices droned in her head loudly. She gritted her teeth and focused, honing her telepathy down to just a few voices. The volume in her head went down and she began to focus her telepathy on just a few people at a time, reading their minds and moving on.
~So far, I'm not getting anything. There's the usual hate and fear, but nothing out of the ordinary.~
~Tsk, tsk, tsk,~
a feminine voice said in a British accent. ~You just need to try harder. Here, sweetie, let me help!~
Jean felt a click in her head. The thoughts came racing back into her head. She head them all. All their thoughts, all their hopes, dreams, fears, and fantasies. The collective thoughts of nearly a hundred people all filling her head at once. Jean fell to her knees, pulling at her hair. She screamed and threw her head back. In her rage and confusion, she let out a telekinetic wave that sent the people around her off their feet and to the ground.
~What the hell just happened?!~
Scott asked the rest of the team. A loud feedback noise hit the rest of the team and made them flinch.
The backlash caused Rex to lose focus. His shape shifted back to his regular form. The people around him screamed, a woman pointing at him angrily. "MUTANT!" she shouted. "MUTANT!"
Rex said, holding his hands up. "Would you believe I was framed?"
The crowd seemed to turn their attention from Bradley towards Rex. Looking around nervously at the encroaching mob, he chuckled and squeezed his hands. gas poured out of his skin, filling the air with tear gas. They began to scatter and run away. Meanwhile, the police and guards rushed Bradley into the armored van.
Scott reached into his jacket pocket and pulled his visor out. He slipped it on and turned around to see a diamond-clad fist hurling towards him. The blow hit him in the chest and knocked him to the ground.
Gasping for breath, he looked upwards through the ruby filter and saw the sparking, diamond-covered woman standing over him with a raised fist.
she said with a snarl. "I really hate busybodies."
The diamond-clad mutant was knocked off her by Hank's large sneaker covered feet. She hit the ground and skidded across the parking lot.
"I had heard that diamonds were a girl's best friend, but I had no idea to this extreme."
Hank helped Scott to his feet. The holographic image inducer on his belt flickered off for a moment, revealing his true form, before it flickered back on.
"Where's everyone at?"
"I don't know,"
Hank said, looking through the tear gas haze Rex shot out of his hands.
"Marvel Girl's down. Find her and see if she's okay."
Scott said as he pulled his visor from his jacket pocket. He clicked it over his eyes and activated it. "I'll deal with our friend here."
Hank jumped away through the mist and Scott turned his attention to the diamond woman. Or where she had been. In the few seconds he'd looked away, she had managed to vanish.
~Professor, can you hear me?~
Scott said as he attempted to mentally reach out to Charles.
~No can do, love,~
the woman's voice said in his head. ~Your teacher can't hear you. He's blocked off from the entire area.~
Out of the mist, a sparkling diamond fist flew. Scott ducked and shot a blast upwards, knocking the woman back a few feet. She deflected Scott's optic blast with her hand and charged again. Scott side-stepped and tripped her with a sweeping leg.
"Come on, lady,"
he said with growing confidence. "I fought practice dummies smarter than you."
Chuckling, the woman came at him again. Scott began to dodge, only to be struck by a diamond-encrusted fist. He yelled in pain as he felt his collarbone snap. Struggling with the pain, he tried to fire another blast. He strained his eyes, trying to will the optic rays to fire out. But they wouldn't.
"Rule one when fighting a psychic, darling,"
she said, lashing out. Scott stepped to the right and was met by a hardened elbow to his chest. "Don't fight a psychic. They can hear your every thought and every planned move. They can access your brain and shut off your little light show. They can also manipulate your every nerve ending and make you feel emmense pain."
Scott screamed and fell to the ground, wriggling as every nerve in his body felt like it was being stabbed with white-hot knives.
"Or they can make you feel the greatest pleasure you've ever known..."
The pain shut off in his brain just as quickly as it had came. It was replaced with an entirely new sensation. Now, Scott wriggled on the ground... but for entirely different reasons.
Jefferson shouted as he came out the fog. "What do you think you're doing?!"
He thrust his hands out and shot two lightning bolts from his palms. Smirking, the woman easily shook off Jeff's lightning attack.
"Diamonds insulate electricity."
Reaching out to Jeff's mind, she dropped him to the ground as well. While Scott and Jefferson were at the mercy of the diamond woman, Rex was busy with his own problems. He was trying to fend off attacks from a dozen Friends of Humanity who had not turned and ran when Rex had tried to subdue the crowd.
Shifting his body from flesh to steel, he reached out and grabbed an aluminum baseball bat by its barrel and ripped it awya from the attacker wielding it.
He asked with an arched eyebrow. The color of his body changed again as he shifted from steal to aluminum. He held the bat by its handle and looked around at the now nervous and unsure hate mongers. "Batter up..."
While Rex turned the tables on his attackers, Hank was helping a semi-conscious Jean up onto her feet.
"Can you hear me?"
He asked, switching his image inducer off. "Marvel Girl? Say something. Jean?"
she said weakly. "I need lots and lots of aspirin."
"There you are,"
Charles said as he came through the mist. He nodded at Hank and looked Jean over. "I felt Jean's psychic backlash, and then lost contact with everyone. Jean, are you alright?"
"I'm okay. I just... that lady got into my head, she flipped a switch. I could hear everything everyone was thinking. I couldn't take it."
"Believe me, I know what that's like. Where are the others?"
"Scott was engaging in fisticuffs with our mutant friend. I have no idea where Jefferson or Rex are."
"Someone call my name?"
He said from the haze. Rex came into view, a baseball bat over his shoulder. "Sorry, I was taking some batting practice. What's going on?"
"Go find the others, help them. Try and distract her and break her concentration. If you can do that, I can knock her out."
Charles took Jean's shoulder and helped her as Hank and Rex ran towards where Scott was last seen. They came through the haze and saw Scott and Jefferson on the ground, both of them now passed out. Standing in between them, the diamond woman watched and waited.
"More boy toys? Marvelous."
Growling, Hank leaped into the air and prepared to pounce on her. The woman dodged his claws easily and grabbed Hank by the arm. She slammed him to the ground like a ragdoll and turned her focus to Rex.
"Come on then, b****,"
he said, his body shifting colors and compositions. ~Professor, I need you to run interference for me in this one. Shield my thoughts.~
~I'm with you, Rex. Keep her busy, I can do the rest.~
Running towards the woman, Rex hit her with a titanium fist. The diamond coating bucked, but didn't cracked. Snarling, she struck kicked Rex in the knee. While the two of them traded blows, both Jefferson and Scott began to stir.
~Scott, Jefferson, I need you both awake and ready,~
Charles said in their minds. ~I can only communicate with you while she's distracted with Rex. Our shot will be limited, but here is the plan.~
Charles transferred his thoughts to Scott and Jeff. Standing, the both nodded and saw Rex, who nodded towards them. The woman turned and saw the two young mutants standing and ready.
"The bloody hell?"
The woman was knocked backwards by two titanium coated fist. Scott saw the small crack forming in her shielding and let loose with a powerful blast. She screamed as the optic blast tore into her skin. On instinct, she dropped her diamond form. Pointing his finger, Jefferson zapper her with a lightning bolt. Unshielded, the electricity hit her and knocked her to the ground.
Rex pounced, pinning her to the ground while Scott and Jeff rushed to help. Cyclops stood over the woman, his visor glowing ruby red.
"You move or even try to use those psychic powers, I'll make you pay,"
She spat. "You just all made the biggest mistakes of your short, insignificant lives."
"Last guy we fought said that. Didn't work out for him."
"And I'll have you know we all live very significant lives filled with adventure and video game playing!"
"Why are you working for Creed?"
"Working for Creed,"
she chuckled. "I don't work for that unwashed hick."
"Really? Why did you try to attack Bradley?"
"I didn't try to attack him. I distracted you. Successfully."
Looking up and around, Scott traded a look with Rex.
"We need to go..."
The three SUVs were parked off the side of the rural highway. Creed sat in the passenger seat of the lead car, a pistol in his lap. There were four men in the car with him. They watched as an armored van rolled by "MICHIGAN STATE CORRECTIONS" stamped on it.
"That's it," he said. One of the men in the back passed out ski masks to the rest of them. Creed slid the mask over his face and put a walkie-talkie to his mouth. "Alright, we're moving out. Remember the rules. Don't kill the guards. The mutie is fair game."
The SUVs started and pulled out on to the road, following the armored van down the highway.
Three miles down the road, Wanda Maximoff stood on a bluff overlooking the highway. She spun a rusty nail in her hands and watched the road intently. She ran the probability and numbers in her head.
The odds were in her favor.