Title: Unlikely Friends
Characters: Shatterstar, Skids, G.W. Bridge, and mentions of others.
Disclaimer: I don’t own a thing.
Summary: Shatterstar gets a new office partner.
A/N: This takes place just a few weeks after Civil War and a few weeks before Uncanny X-Men #489
Working in his field never forced routine upon him. Yes, he had the same tasks that he had to carry out, but the order in which they came and where they were located always differed. Some days Shatterstar was sent out many times, and he would be busy from the time he clocked in until the time he clocked out. However, some days, like today, he did not have much to do but paperwork.
Well, he was supposed to be doing paperwork.
But paperwork was boring and it was a complete waste of his skills. Nothing beneficial came from writing or typing text documents, so most of the time he rushed to do it at the last minute. Besides, there were much better things he could do on his computer anyhow, so he may as well have kept his intelligence level up.
Inwardly he cheered when he was declared the winner of his computer game. He was having a major online arena battle in World of Warcraft, and so far none of his peers had beaten his player. Fools, the lot of them. Shatterstar was a warrior born! Easily real life strategies could be used for video games; they would never beat him, as he was ranked the highest Merciless Gladiator.
“Shatterstar,” the warrior turned to see
“Is all of Constrictor’s stuff out of his desk?”
Silver eyes peered across the room at the seemingly vacant work space of Shatterstar’s former office-mate, and the warrior shrugged. “It would appear so.”
“Good, you have a new partner to share your space with. Don’t be threatening, don’t break any rules, and don’t send her running, got it?”
“Whatever, Bridge,” the alien just rolled his eyes and went back to playing his game. The older man heaved a heavy sigh.
“How many times do I have to disconnect your internet access? You don’t have authorization to be doing that!”
Shatterstar spun his chair around to face his commander and he smirked. “You can keep taking it away all you want, but if I can find a way to hack it then that is not my problem. Your security features are pathetic.”
Bridge glared and poked his head back out the door. “Agent Kirschoff! Can you please upgrade the net blockades on this computer again?”
The warrior just turned back to his monitor and saved his game before the screen shut down. As soon as Bridge left he would simply turn it back on. SHIELD’s technology was no match for him; he had been trained from birth to use systems much more advanced. The older man began speaking to someone else, and told ‘Star’s new female co-worker to make herself at home. The alien did not look up, but he could hear perfectly as his superior whispered orders to her about ignoring the warrior and his strange ways. She was then instructed to call security if needed, and then was warned that he was often difficult.
“Have a good day, agent, and if you have any problems feel free to let me know.”
“Yes, sir,” she replied.
Shatterstar just rolled his eyes and turned his music up louder before resting his chin on his desk and staring blankly at his monitor. It was times like these he could just hear Ric in his mind going on one of his famous ‘my life sucks’ rants. It was sad that a warrior such as he was subjected to such limitations. All SHIELD let him do was kill prisoners, and that was not fun. He may as well have been in jail.
“Stupid thing…” the girl across the room muttered and smacked her computer monitor. She cursed a couple of more times before sighing and kicking at the machine under her desk. Shatterstar looked up and perked an eyebrow, and then snorted when he realized that he recognized her.
“Sometimes if you flip the switch in the back on and off and then try the power button it will work,” he informed her.
She jumped at the sound of his voice. “Yeah? I’m really bad with these things…”
“They’re easy,” he rolled his eyes, and dropped his chin back down again.
“Don’t I know you from somewhere?” she asked, tucking a stray strand of blonde hair behind her ear.
“I met you a few years ago,” he informed her in a bored fashion. “You and your mate were tied to the ceiling of my team’s base at
She blinked. “X-Force? Oh yeah, I remember now! You’re Rictor’s friend! Shatterstar, right?”
“Indeed,” he frowned.
“You have a pretty good memory,” she smirked and fiddled around with her computer some more. “A lot of that stuff is pretty hazy to me.”
“Well you were brainwashed,” Shatterstar pointed out, and then could not suppress his smug grin when he was able to hack back onto the internet. “I have been brainwashed before. I do not like it.”
“No doubt,” she responded, and smacked her monitor once more. “That’s it! I’m not trying to use this thing anymore! My old one was junk, and this one is too!”
“Computers are only as faulty as the human operating them,” the warrior commented offhandedly. He stood from his chair and approached her desk, clicked a few buttons and typed a few commands into the start prompt, and soon her computer was up and running. “Just type in your identification badge number and password and you will be ready.”
Skids blinked dumbly at the screen for a few moments before she turned to look at him. “How did you do that?”
“It was easy.”
“As if,” she scoffed. “Those were all codes you put in there!”
“I suppose,” he muttered before turning around and heading back to his seat. She stared at him for a few moments before rubbing her chin and frowning.
“Say…why you here? No offence or anything, but aren’t you like a criminal, or something? You busted us out of the Xavier Institute and fought SHIELD just a couple of weeks ago…”
“That’s exactly why I’m here,” he growled miserably, and frowned when he got booted off the internet again. “That is the only reason I am here. I would not work for these fools voluntarily.”
She smiled a little. “I thought that was neat what you did.”
“At Xavier’s. It was like you guys came and gave everyone a kick in the ass; reminded them that the world wasn’t over just because M-Day happened.”
“Well you don’t have to thank me. Although I was quite willing to do it for that particular cause, it was Captain
“It always amazed me that more people didn’t do that,” Skids told him, and leaned back in her chair as she gazed across the room at him. “Hired X-Force for things, I mean. You guys always got the job done."
“X-Force of old were not mercenaries,” he muttered. “Domino and I are quite different from the rest of them. I have no doubts that my old team mates would stand for the cause of freedom, but they are not ones who get paid to do ‘dirty work’ if you will.”
The woman smiled slightly. “I have a hard time seeing those guys get paid for anything, really. Although I heard you had Ric doing that stuff for awhile in
Silver eyes narrowed. “I did not have him doing that. He brought me with him.”
“Yeah,” she nodded sheepishly. “Tabitha told me all about it when X-Force was staying at my friends’ place. She also told me that you were…uhm…dating him.”
Blue eyes twinkled amusedly, and she leaned back in her chair. “I always wondered about him. I knew him when he was just a little kid; I used to watch out for him. I always thought he had the hots for Tabby, yet at the same time it doesn’t surprise me that he…well, you know.”
The warrior raised his eyebrows at her and stared unblinkingly for a few moments. “It sounds to me as if you and Tabitha gossip a lot.”
Her cheeks burned red. “No, I just care about Ric. Like I said, I used to watch out for him when he was little. He just came to
“So when I saw Tab I just wanted an update on him, you know? To make sure that he was okay.”
Shatterstar nodded thoughtfully before turning back to his computer to hack onto the ‘net system. “I can understand that. I often check in on him myself.”
“Oh…you aren’t with him anymore?’
“Not really,” he murmured.
“That’s too bad,” the blonde frowned and tucked her hair behind her ear. “Tabby made it sound like you guys were really good for each other.”
“I’m not really good for anybody,” 'Star uttered. “As you can see, I just wind up in ridiculous situations like these.”
“Well where is he now?”
“Depowered?” she gasped sadly. “Oh no…but I bet he’s not taking it that badly? I remember him hating his powers and being so scared of them.”
“I remember him loving his powers,” Shatterstar retorted. “He used them quite often and they were his number one line of defense.”
The girl propped her elbow on her desk and leaned her chin in her hand. “Gosh he’s really grown up. Every time I think about him I can’t help but think of that sweet little kid I used to know.”
“Sweet?” Shatterstar scoffed. “Are we talking about the same Julio? Because mine swears too much and makes crude comments about people – namely ones he feels threaten his machismo.”
“Julio is his first name,” Shatterstar blinked confusedly.
“He never told anyone that,” Skids’ lips twitched up a little.
“Well he told me it,” the warrior shrugged. “I got it out of him the first time I sat down and talked to him. Although he told me it was a secret and that I wasn’t allowed to tell anybody. But sometimes I’m not good at keeping secrets. Especially if they’re silly ones.”
The girl laughed at that. “It is kinda silly, huh? But then again, these days I feel like going by a codename is worse. But I was like Rictor when I was a kid and preferred to go by my codename all the time. Then when I decided I wanted people to call me by my real name, they kept forgetting it wasn’t my codename! Can you imagine going by a silly name like Skids your whole life?”
He nodded. “I have strange names too.”
“Shatterstar isn’t that bad,” the blonde grinned. “It’s a neat name.”
He shrugged as his game started back up. “But it is not a normal name. I have a normal name alias, but that’s not really my name. It’s the boy-who-looks-like-me’s name.”
Skids blinked. “Uh…clone? Twin?”
“Maybe,” ‘Star shrugged again.
“You don’t know?”
“Not really,” he admitted uncomfortably; thinking about all the crap Mojo and Spiral had done to him only hurt his head.
“You know, these databases are pretty thorough. Maybe if you look hard enough you can find some clues,” she told him seriously, and crossed the room to sit on his desk. “I can help you if you want.”
Shatterstar stared at her disbelievingly. “You don’t even know how to turn your computer on, Skids.”
“Sally,” she corrected, and rolled her eyes – reminding him very much of Tabitha right then. “And you can do the technical stuff…I’m just saying I can help you find clues!”
“They monitor everything we do, Sally,” he mumbled in a bored fashion.
“But you can still get into all those other programs. What makes you think they’d catch you going through files?”
Silver eyes narrowed at the girl, and the warrior sat back in his chair and folded his arms. “Whyever are you interested? You hardly even know me and it’s only your first day on the job and you already want to risk it?”
“They asked me here,” she rolled her eyes. “It’s not like I have anywhere else to go anyways. Besides, there has to be something the least bit interesting around here. And since you’re such good friends with my friends you can’t be that bad of a guy.”
“That would depend on who you ask.”
“You’re difficult, you know that?”
He smirked. “So I’ve been told.”
“Well? What do you say? It’s not like you have anything better to do anyways.”
He nodded his head in agreement, and flickered his gaze back over to her desk. Her computer was still on the start screen. Feeling a little mischievous himself, he sent a few prompt codes over to her system before gazing back up at her. “If you can get logged onto the internet through your computer for me, we’ll do it.”
“Piece of cake,” Sally hopped off his desk and returned to her own. As soon as she sat down, her eyes widened. “What happened to my screen?”
Shatterstar smirked again. “I thought you called it a piece of pie?”
“Cake,” she corrected, not taking her eyes away from her monitor as she irritably pushed her mouse around in circles.
Her face fell and she poked her finger against the power button on her tower. She blew a chunk of hair from her face before moving her eyes back to look at him. “You did that, didn’t you?”
“I would not do any such thing.”
“You lie,” she chuckled. “I see why Ric got along with you now.”
He ignored the pang in his chest that occurred every time she brought up his name. “Guess we’re back to being bored then, aren’t we, Sally?”
She shrugged and gazed longingly out the office window for a few moments. “Unless you want to go grab some lunch. I’ll buy.”
“You mate doesn’t mind you buying lunch for strange alien men?” he half teased.
“He probably would if he was still alive,” she muttered, still watching the sky outside. He frowned, feeling unsure of what he was supposed to say to that. But blue eyes just moved back to him, and she forced a smile. “Which is why you should settle your business while you still have the chance. It’s not so bad, especially if you’ve got a friend to help you.”
Red eyebrows rose curiously. “Friend?”
She shrugged as she stood, and shouldered her purse. “Why not? We gotta share all this space together, so we may as well be. Besides…” she smiled nostalgically. “Any friend of Tabby and Ric…”
“Right,” he sighed amusedly and stood from his seat as well. “I hope you have a lot of money then. I eat a lot.”
“Don’t all men?”
“I don’t know,” he mused, and rubbed his chin as they exited the room.
Sally laughed and rolled her eyes at him. “Get real; it was just a joke!”
“Are you sure you're okay with this?” he questioned cautiously. “You do not have to feel obligated to do things because of your friends.”
“I know that,” she shrugged. “But…I don’t know. They aren’t around much anymore, and to tell you the truth…it’s gets a little boring spending all my time alone.”
“I know the feeling,” he muttered.
“Sometimes a little distraction can work wonders,” she whispered, almost as though she were trying to convince herself just as much as she was him.
“If you are looking for a distraction, I should acquaint you with Domino. She always drags me around to stop me from being a blob on a log, or so she says.”
“A bump; a ‘bump’ on a log,” she chuckled.
“And sure, Domino sounds interesting.”
Shatterstar smirked, and he grabbed the cafeteria door. “Careful; you may not know what you’re getting yourself into with that statement.”
The girl looked around the large room at all the stuck up suit and tie men and women. Most rushed past them without giving them much of a second glance – unless it was glares, of course – and pushed through them as though they were second class citizens. And since they were mutants hired only to do undercover dirty work, they may as well have been. Sally frowned slightly at the unwelcoming atmosphere, and looked up at him. “Well, at this rate, that would be better than this, huh?”
Shatterstar smiled bitterly, knowing she was already having second thoughts. “It is, I assure you.”
Sighing, Sally grabbed ‘Star by the elbow and directed him to the lunch line. “Come on already then. If you’re anything like your buddy then I know you won’t stand for someone stealing the last sandwich.”
Shatterstar felt a nostalgic smile of his own twitch at his lips. “I suppose you remember some things well after all.”
“And if the rest of the people around here are any indication, I may as well keep it in mind,” she gave him a friendly smile, and gestured to the line. “Shall we?”
He nodded, feeling an odd sort of comfort with this new, strange connection to the people of his past. She seemed nice enough, and perhaps her befriending him was just a way for a lonely girl to start working things out for herself again. It was obvious she was not at SHIELD because she was dying to become some super cop. He was sure she would probably share her reasons eventually, but for now he figured he would do what they call ‘humour’ her and go along with it. Besides, if she was as close to Julio as she claimed to be, she couldn’t be that bad.
Go to part two.