Characters: Rictor, Shatterstar, Longshot, Dazzler, Siryn, Domino, X-Factor, Skids, Spiral, and Doc Samson.
Pairings: Rictor/Shatterstar, Longshot/Dazzler
Genre: AU, drama, romance, angst, humor.
Rated: NC-17 for extreme violence, language, and sexual situations.
Disclaimer: I don’t own a thing. I just play in the world of those who can't appreciate.
Story Summary: When X-Factor gets help in defeating
Chapter Summary: The rebel teams bust in on Mojo's fortress, and they don't like what they find.
Part: One, Two,
Prequel Pieces: One, Two, Three, Four.
Longshot motioned for his group to crouch down, and the three other males hit the dirt. They hid behind a small equipment vehicle directly west of the arena entrance. Mojo’s fortress took up the entire south side of the building, while the main arena was the center. The north side was the training facilities, while the east housed Mojo’s staff. The building as a whole was the biggest Rictor had ever seen, which was saying something after living in
“Siryn, can you hear me?” Longshot brought his radio up to the side of his mouth and waited for her reply.
“Loud and clear,” she responded. “Where are ye located?”
“Southwest corner entrance.”
“We are approaching the northeast,” she replied quickly. “We have taken out fourteen guards, and we’re headin’ in. I’ll be in contact with ye once we’re all the way inside.”
Longshot grinned. “That’s my girl. Now take out whoever you can and make your way down to the lower levels. Last time I was here there were approximately nine floors of cells down there. Start from the top and work your way down.”
“Roger,” Theresa acknowledged. “And good luck tah ye.”
“You know me, I always have it!” Longshot chuckled. “Team one out.”
“Team two out.”
The warrior reached into his handbag and replaced his radio with a fistful of throwing knives. He took one last peek around the corner of the equipment truck before turning back to his team. “Quark, when’s the next taping scheduled?”
“And Mojo will be attending?”
“As far as we know he has not been attending the late night shows in person,” Quark explained, and cocked his gun. “If we are lucky he will be resting, and Major Domo will have taken over.”
“Good,” Longshot grinned and looked at Rictor. “All we need is an entrance.”
“Uhm, okay,” the Mexican shrugged and looked up at Quark. “How do we do that?”
“With your powers,” Longshot furrowed his eyebrows. “Your shaking abilities! It would be the perfect diversion to set off the security, and from there we can take the emergency escape--”
Rictor resisted the urge to knock the Cadre leader's lights out.
“Uh, no can do,” Jamie thankfully intervened. “Rictor lost his powers, so he mostly sticks to punching people in the face these days.”
“Oh,” Longshot rubbed his chin. “I didn’t know. I’m sorry.”
“And ya think
Longshot’s eyes widened. “I didn’t mean to make you angry. You still want to fight, yes?”
“Of course!” Rictor snapped.
Longshot smiled. “You’re a brave warrior, kiddo. No wonder Shatterstar got along with you so well.”
“Here,” Quark reached into his belt and grabbed a couple of guns. The very sight of them made Rictor back off, but the goat-headed man held them out nonetheless. “Take them.”
“No way, Jose,” Rictor shook his head and lifted his hands in defense. “There ain’t no way you’ll see me handlin’ one of those unless it’s l
“It is,” Longshot told him. “I don’t doubt your skills, but these people are highly trained; like three or four of us put together. They have enhanced strength, speed, stamina…you’ll need them, trust me.”
Rictor swallowed and looked at Jamie, who just gave him a reassured nod. “You don’t have to fire it off unless you absolutely need to.”
Brown eyes ran across the dark steel, and Ric could not help but shiver. He hated guns, and this day just kept getting worse and worse. He wanted to so badly just run in there like an insane man on a mission, get his man and bust back out again, but it was becoming more and more apparent that it just could not be done -- especially by Rictor alone.
The Mexican frowned and grudgingly took the two weapons, and shoved them into his pants. If he wanted to get ‘Star back, he was going to have to put his own silly fears aside and just do it. He was worth it after all, and he had said he would do anything.
Besides, he just did not have any fucking powers. Human-mutants were at a disadvantage as it was on Mojoworld, but a regular old human was just looking to get killed on this planet. Shatty had told him stories of men four times as strong as him, and those were just the ones in charge of policing the streets. The men who were positioned to protect the dungeons and Mojo himself were a whole other ball game.
“It’s okay; we just need a change of plans,” Longshot waved his hand, and then turned to Madrox. “How trained are you in combat?”
Jamie grinned. “I’m a licensed fighter pilot, medic, police officer, sniper, US Armed Forces lieutenant, detective, spy, and hit man. Oh, I was also trained by SHIELD. Twice.”
Longshot grinned, and motioned for Quark to open his bag. “You sure do come in handy.”
“So I’ve been told,” Jamie smirked. “And I can give you any amount of me you need, too. All of my dupes are equipped with my knowledge.”
“What exactly is your power?” Quark questioned.
Gleefully, Rictor punched Jamie in the back of the head, and produced two dupes. “He can do that. Hit him! It’s fun.”
“Jerk!” a dupe yelled at him.
“Bitch,” Rictor spat.
“Why I oughta!” the dupe shook his fist angrily.
“Enough!” Jamie Prime yelled and rubbed the back of his head. “Both of you smarten up, and don’t fucking hit me again!”
Quark dumped open his sack and revealed a whole stash of weapons. The two Mojoworlders began sifting through them, ignoring the bickering by the Earthlings. The goat-headed man just shook his head and regarded Longshot. “Humans have such strange abilities and ambitions. I fear they may cost us our mission.”
“Screw that,” Ric snapped. “We’ll freaking help you. Trust me, amigo, we don’t wanna be doing this just as much as you, but it has to be done so long as that fat fuck is alive.”
“Amigo? Fuck?” Quark looked at Longshot. “They speak strangely, too.”
Longshot eyed Rictor. “It’s just slang, Quark. That’s all.”
“Take these,” Quark looked up at Jamie. “Get as many men as physically possible from you.”
Jamie nodded. “Boys?” the dupes nodded in return, and the three of them began stomping their feet on the ground and began mass producing dupes until there were a few dozen of them. Rictor figured the utility van probably was not doing a very good job of hiding them anymore. Nonetheless, the rest of the weapons from the bag were collected by the dupes, and Jamie himself.
“On my count,” Quark motioned, and lifted a grenade launcher onto his shoulder. “On three we all storm the west entrance.”
“Right,” Longshot acknowledged.
Quark stepped to the side and aimed his weapon toward the south entrance. “One…two…” he shifted once more and squinted his right eye for better aim. “…three!” The blast sounded, and the bomb flew for several feet until it hit and blew open the south lobby. Immediately the guards began fleeing toward it, giving the rebel team ample time and space to storm the west entrance. The dupes ran forward first, followed closely by Quark and Longshot. Jamie and Rictor trailed the group, but still ran with much intensity. It was obvious to the Mexican that X-Factor’s leader was sticking by him to keep an eye out, and so long as Jamie did not voice it, Rictor would let it slide.
The dupes held open the doors and ushered the group inside. They were faced with an extremely long hallway, and Quark directed them straight to the end of it. Strangely, the walls were lined with all sorts of cables and mirrors, and Rictor had to remind himself to keep moving and not get distracted. When they got to the end, a large metal door stood in their way. Quark lifted one massive combat boot and kicked it in, knocking it straight off of its hinges.
“Remind me not to bug you before you’ve had your morning coffee,” a dupe muttered.
“Shut up and get moving,” Jamie Prime chided.
“Don’t talk to him like that, bossy!” another dupe spoke up.
“Guys, this isn’t really the time to bicker,” a timid Jamie said. “We have people to save!”
“Right we do!” Longshot beamed, and squeezed past the group of dupes to take the lead. He quickly hung a left and made a run for a tall and narrow stairwell. “Jamie, you will have to get rid of some of your men! Can you send them down the stairs to keep watch?”
“Sure thing!” Jamie Prime turned around and lifted his arms. “All right boys, I need four of you with me. For the rest, I want half stationed in the hallway and half on these stairs. Use the weapons given to you, you hear?”
“Yes, sir!” a bunch called.
“Good job, boys! We’ll meet up soon, okay?” Jamie grinned and pulled the four closest to him up the stairs. “All set!”
“Awesome job!” Longshot cheered and turned to bound up the stairs once more. When they got to the top there was one more door, and the Cadre leader stopped and brought a finger to his lips. “We’ll find Major Domo in here.”
“You want him dead?” Rictor questioned; Shatty had told him all sorts of shit about Mojo’s right hand man.
“No!” Longshot scoffed. “Well, not unless we have to.”
“That guy’s an ass though! Shatty told me--”
“Shatterstar’s Domo is not this Domo,” Quark reminded.
Longshot nodded. “Well, it’s the same Domo technically, but Shatterstar’s Domo is a lot older and crankier. We usually manage to persuade our Domo to get what we want; Mojo doesn’t treat him all that well.”
And right at that moment, Longshot’s radio buzzed to life. “Team one, can ye read!?”
“Oh crud, it’s Terry!” a Jamie grabbed Longshot’s arm. “Answer her, hurry! She sounds upset!”
Longshot pulled out the radio and hushed him. “We copy,” he whispered. “What is it?”
“We have a bunch of men down! We’re on the third level down of cells. We’ve found all sorts of rebels and prisoners, but not Shatterstar or Dazzler. Our numbers are dwindlin’!”
“Work on opening the cells and freeing the prisoners, and we’ll meet you down there in a few minutes,” Longshot assured with a frown. “Is X-Factor okay?”
“Yeah, we’re fine. It’s yuir men!”
“Okay,” Longshot nodded. “We’ll be there as soon as possible.”
“Acknowledged. Team two out.”
“Copied. Out,” Longshot shook his head miserably. “I was worried this was going to happen.”
“What?” a dupe asked panicked.
“We need to pick up our speed,” Quark explained. “If we already have that many men down, they must be getting ambushed by guards. It’s only a matter of time before the main Protectorate is summoned, and then we will all be in grave danger.”
“Well let’s get a move on then!” Rictor snapped.
Longshot nodded and tossed his hand of knives at the door. The knob and locks were destroyed, and the wood swung open easily, revealing Major Domo amongst the television controls. His face did not betray any surprise he might have felt. However, he did raise his hands and gesture to the group of seven security officers surrounding him. They quickly sprung up, and made an effort to attack the rebel group.
Instantly, Longshot and Quark sprang into action; the leader tossed his blades and knives, while Quark battled with a set of swords. Jamie and his dupes went after a small few, leaving Rictor to battle one particularly nasty looking guard. He was much taller than the Mexican, and had an exceptionally thick layer of red fur covering his meaty body. Snarling fangs snapped at Rictor’s face, and he jumped back. As if on instinct, he went straight for the gun in his belt, and he pointed it at the guard.
“Don’t make me use this, chingado!” he yelled.
The guard laughed, and slipped his hand down to his own belt. Brown eyes darted to the area, and as soon as he realized that the beast had his own arsenal of firearms, Rictor squeezed the trigger of his gun repeatedly. Bullets sprayed directly into the guard’s face and head, blowing the back of his skull out and painting the wall behind him crimson red. The large body collapsed limply to the ground, and Rictor shakily dropped the weapon to his side.
Trained and responded just like a good little soldier should, he thought disgustedly.
“Ric, behind you!” he heard a Jamie scream.
The Mexican did not even turn around. Instead, he bent his knees and waited for the body to come fumbling into him. His second attacker made contact almost right away, and using his lower center of gravity, Rictor sprung back up and flipped the larger being over his back and onto the floor. One leg rose into the air, and the Mexican proceeded to slam his combat boot into the side of the new guard’s head, before pointing his weapon again.
“Today’s a really bad day to piss me off,” Rictor shook his head irritably.
“Silly biped!” the slobbering monster hissed. “Mojo will have your head! Mojo will prevail! Mojo will--”
“Shut the fuck up!” Rictor spat and slammed his boot into the hairy forehead again. Looking up briefly, Ric noted that the Jamies had apprehended their three opponents, while Longshot and Quark had easily taken out theirs. Brown eyes moved back down to the guard beneath his boot, and the monster grinned up at him eerily.
“Mojo will--!” not letting him finish, Rictor rolled his eyes and slammed the butt of his gun into the beast’s forehead, knocking him out instantly. He could not believe how easily he had taken them out; on any other day he most surely would have gotten his ass kicked.
“Good show, darling,” Major Domo drawled from his place on the other side of the mother board. “My dear, Longshot, it’s been ages.”
“Since you hollowed me out, yes,” Longshot replied bitterly and approached the android. One fist was clutching four blades, while the other gripped a long, metal sword. “Thought the joke was on me again, did you?”
“It usually is,” Domo sighed sarcastically, and folded his hands over his chest. “But whatever are you barging in here for now?”
“You know what I want,” the blonde warrior growled, fierce and intense in a way Rictor had never seen him before. “Your boss and his time dancer have my family. And I want them back.”
“Well you’ve come to the wrong person, darling,” Major Domo drawled again, almost in a bored fashion. “You know I don’t run the dungeons.”
Quark stepped forward and aimed a massive gun at the android’s face. “You have one more chance to give him an answer or I will blow your face right off of your body, you Spiral-sucking monkey!”
“Major Domo!” a new voice squealed spastically. Rictor spun around to see another android -- that one a female -- burst into the room with her hands in the air. “We are underattackohmygod whatwillwedo!? Mojo is gonna besomad! Don’t tellthemathing! Don’t tellthemathing! Don’t tellthema--”
A blast sounded and the android’s head blew clean off of its shoulders, hitting the wall behind her. Major Domo’s jaw dropped slightly, and he looked back at Quark. “Well that was just rude. Minor Domo did not do a thing to you, dear.”
“And I’ll rudely do the same to you!” Quark yelled.
“Domo, please,” Longshot insisted. “Tell me where Dazzler and Shatterstar are located and I will leave you be.”
The android eyed the Lucky One for a few moments before sighing irritably. “Fourth level of the dungeon layers. The new section beneath the arena floor. They are being held in cell block Tredlak.”
Longshot nodded, and motioned for the boys to retreat. “Thanks, Major Domo.”
“I didn't do it for you,” he rolled his eyes.
“I think I may regret not killing him sometimes,” Quark muttered.
After collecting an army of Jamies on the main floor, Longshot’s team had ambushed two more groups of guards on their way down to the basement. The emergency signals still had not been activated, meaning the team still had a few minutes of time to buy. Rictor, while still disturbed at the shooting from earlier, was beginning to get anxious knowing that he was getting closer to finding Shatterstar. Longshot had kept his cool thus far, but the concern that shone in his eyes said different.
Major Domo had claimed they were down in the dungeons, but Rictor could not shake the nagging feeling that there was more to it. What if they were dead? What if they were injured? What if it was a lie just to set them all up for a trap? Any of the three options were totally possible on Mojoworld, and the thought alone was enough to make the Mexican nauseous.
The added element of the dungeons did not at all help. Putting nasty memories of The Right aside, Rictor was horrified at the sight of them; they were unlike anything he had ever seen on Earth. There were no beds, no toilets, and no sinks. All that made up the interior was four solid concrete walls, and a steel door with a food slot. There was no light, and there was barbed wire surrounding the slot on the door to prevent escape.
And suddenly Rictor did not think his problems were so bad.
“Did you get them all?” Longshot called, as his team ran up the hall of the third level to meet Theresa’s.
“We freed the ones on this floor and the one up,” she explained, raking a hand through her hair. “We dinnae know if they got out or not.”
“Excellent work,” Longshot clasped her shoulder and nodded.
“Razar is dead,” Shasta, the pretty boy warrior from earlier, replied. “Same goes for Moonglow, Jupiter, Ripcord, and Milak. We lost a few more newcomers as well.”
“Fekt,” Longshot frowned. “We haven’t much time then.”
“They died honorable,” Shasta told him. “They died defending others, and for that their deaths are meaningful.”
“Their freedom was their lives’ most meaningful achievement,” Quark agreed. “Did you take from them a symbol of their accomplishments?”
Shasta nodded, and held up a fistful of torn uniform strips. “Yes, they are here. We shall wear them in their name and honor.” The warriors quickly tied the fabrics around their wrists, and prepared their still functioning weapons.
“Did you find out where we need to go?” Monet questioned impatiently.
“Yes,” Jamie nodded, and shot her a look. “One more floor down?”
“Yes,” Longshot nodded. “Fourth level down in the Tredlak cell block below the arena floor.”
“Well how about we keep standing here all day then,” Rictor snapped and folded his arms. “Or, you know, we could get a move on so we can get them the fuck outta here.”
“Such impatience and anger surrounds you, soldier,” Shasta smirked. “You run your mouth far too much.”
“Whatever, braids,” Rictor rolled his eyes and looked at Longshot. “Shall we?”
“Indeed. Jamie, are you still able to produce more men if we will need them?” the Cadre leader questioned the X-Factor boss.
He nodded. “Just say the word, and I’ll give you the man power.”
“Excellent,” Longshot shot him an optimistic grin, and clapped Rictor on the shoulder before taking off in a run. “Then let’s go!”
That anxiety struck Rictor again as the two teams took off in a run. Blood had been spilled already, and they were still so seemingly far away from their destination. He fought to catch up to Longshot. Even if he knew his own teammates better than anyone else present, for some reason, he felt more comfortable with Longshot. He was not sure if it was the fact that Longshot had lived on both Mojoworld and Earth, or if it was the fact that he knew where he was going. It very well could have been because Longshot reminded him so much of Shatty in a weird way, but whatever the case, Ric thought it best that he stick with him throughout the rescue effort.
The stairwell leading down to the next floor was even more dreary, damp, and dark than the others they had used. The same cables and mirrors that had lined the lobby of the west entrance lined the walls of the basement as well, and it gave the Mexican the creeps. It gave off the illusion that the place was alive -- watching them.
And it probably was.
Longshot stopped at a door at the next level and kicked it down without a pause. The hall was still dank, but lined with all the cell doors like the floor above. The Cadre leader looked around with a horrified expression before smashing his fist through the control box on the wall. He fiddled around with a few buttons and soon all the doors were opened.
“Everyone up and out! Hurry! Flee while you can!” he called and took off in another sprint down the hall. The cellblock they were looking for was still a ways up, so the team had to pass through all the prisoners to get there. The sight of them sick and decaying - and the smell - it made Ric want to double over and puke.
“Keep moving,” Quark urged from behind him. “Just hold your breath and run.”
Rictor nodded and pushed forward; ignoring the concerned looks Jamie was shooting him from the left. “How much further?”
“Around this corner, I think?” Longshot replied, eye glowing wildly. He had been using his powers along the way, and now he seemed absolutely certain of his direction. A sharp left, a right, and then two more, and they came across one more large door. Longshot stiffened at the sight of it, and rubbed at his temples.
“What is it?” Terry asked with concern in her tone.
“This door…” he frowned irritably, and looked down at her. “It’s very similar to the prison I was kept in for over a year. Only mine was all the way down in floor nine.”
The Irish woman bit her lip and placed a hand on his forearm. “Come now, boyo. We’re so close.”
Longshot nodded, and gestured for her to take the door. The redhead clenched her fists and let out a belting scream that shook the building’s foundations. The door was instantly knocked from its hinges and twisted into a flimsy metal ball. The room was dimly lit, but just as disgusting smelling as the last. Rictor was not deterred, however. He pushed past the massive warriors surrounding him and ran inside.
His jaw dropped at the sight.
Bodies lay everywhere. There were dozens of prisoners shoved into the room, most sickly and starved, while some lay dead. A couple of slaves had been eating pieces off of one of the corpses. Fecal matter was all over the floor. The smell of rotting bodies and human waste invaded Ric’s senses, and he gagged.
“Shatterstar!” he called, and suppressed the urge to vomit.
Movement from the corner of the room caught Rictor’s eyes, and he sighed with relief when he caught sight of the brilliant red hair.
“Shatty! Amigo, are you okay!?” he ran toward his friend.
“Rictor, no!” Longshot yelled.
Confusion hit the Mexican, and when he looked back to his friend, he noticed for the first time that his eye was glowing. His left one. And that only glowed when…
“Fuck, Shatty! No! What are you doing!?”
With a growl, his very best friend unsheathed the sword off of his back and pointed it at him. “I do not know who you are interloper, but you will face death shall you step any closer.”
Ric’s jaw dropped and he felt his chest tighten up. Behind Shatterstar’s shoulder Dazzler approached, hands glowing phenomenal colors. Both of them had wild hair, and their clothing was so torn Rictor should have tactfully averted his eyes. But he could not. Because the one thing that stuck out most to him was the flat, blank look in their eyes. Something was wrong. Something was so very wrong.
“Shatterstar?” he croaked pathetically, one more time.
“I warned you,” the warrior hissed, and a loud humming noise filled the room as the metal of his sword began to glow.
Go to chapter four.