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: With team mates captured, Longshot's left with a decision to make.
Chapters: One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten, Eleven, Twelve, Thirteen, Fourteen, Fifteen, Sixteen, Seventeen, Eighteen, Nineteen,
Prequel Pieces: One, Two, Three, Four.
Extra Scenes: Chap 9, Chap 14, Chap 16.
A/N: This was actually done last night. But I was too busy having ADHD to edit it and post it. XDDD Oops. Anywhoo, I was TRYING to make it through this fic without having to do two-part chapters (unlike my last one), but alas I fail at being short and to the point. *sigh* Here ya go, enjoy.
“Our numbers are down low, soldiers. We have less than fifty front line attackers left to hunt the Protectorate, and I fear that the war’s end is near,” a tall, blue skinned warrior with green hair and a long black robe spoke before the group, pacing thoughtfully as he frantically tried to figure out what to do. “How many defense guards are left?”
“Approximately three dozen, Skyrocket. Only a dozen of those men are protecting the Lord,” another furry man confirmed.
“Fekt, that is not good,” Skyrocket, the field leader, cursed and rubbed his chin.
“They will not find him. Only you and two others know where the man is even located not including his guards. If we cannot get near him, how do you suppose the enemy will?” Shatterstar questioned with a scoff. “We should have our defense positioned on our injured.”
Skyrocket looked down at him. “Speak not of your ignorance, young warrior. Your time to meet with the Cadre Lord is fast approaching.”
Shatterstar’s eyebrows rose. “Me? Whyever would he desire to speak to me?”
The blue skinned man folded his hands in front of him, and gestured for the other warriors to give them some privacy. When the room cleared out, he spoke again. “The Lord has been keeping record of our dwindling process and he proposes we seek help elsewhere to assist us. He has had his eye on you, young warrior, for a very long time.”
“Why me?” Shatterstar repeated. “My rebellion experience is not as nearly as thorough as the others’.”
“But you are skilled. Not only that, but he has had his eye on you before you even joined our ranks. I cannot speak for the Lord, I can only pass down his message,” Skyrocket explained and crouched down on the ground so that he was eye level with Shatterstar. “You have nothing at all to fear from him. He is the very man that made rebellion and freedom possible for our entire race. His plans for you are only in the best interest of the people of Wildways.”
“And where does he expect for us to seek outside help?”
“From the Legends of Vid: the X-Men,” he announced.
Shatterstar’s silver eyes widened in surprise. “The X-Men? They have been unheard of in decades.”
“But they have defeated Mojo before,” Skyrocket pointed out. “They have more respect from us than many of our own soldiers do. They have the technology to help us, and they also have honed mutant abilities – much like you and our very own Lord.”
The young warrior nodded. “He wants me to go to them?”
Skyrocket got to his feet and pointed to a long field on the horizon. “He is very adamant that it is you that goes to Earth to seek our assistance. The Lord wants no other, and his reasons have not been explained. I will take you across the distance, approximately 2200 gridlev toward marker twenty-six. If we start now we can reach him by dawn.”
“Is there anything I should bring from the safe house?” Shatterstar questioned hesitantly.
“I’m sure there’s more than enough needed equipment at his hideout.”
Shatterstar sighed and nodded. “Of course. Forgive me and my seeming uncertainty. For many months the other soldiers have been hinting towards some sort of connection between the Lord and I, and truth is I have never met the man. I know not what to expect from him, and being in his almighty presence is much too great an honour for I.”
Skyrocket smiled at his protégé and placed a hand on his shoulder. “Believe me; the honour is great but not too much for the likes of you. You have but not a thing to fear from him; if his words to me are any sort of indication, Shatterstar, he is very insistent that he meets you in his old age. He has but the utmost faith in you.”
A flash of confidence surged through the young man, and he nodded at his mentor. “I will do whatever you ask of me, Skyrocket. And most certainly I will do whatever the great Lord asks of me. He has done so much for our people and to deny his wishes would be the most dishonourable thing I could do. I will accept the mission despite my apprehension.”
Skyrocket smiled fondly at him. “I know you will. I am proud of you, child, and I know that he is too.”
Pride swelled in Shatterstar’s chest and he bowed for his leader. “I will not let you down.”
“Come now, we must prepare for our journey. The Lucky One expects us.”
Shatterstar quickly got to his feet and collected his weapons. “Yes, sir.”
“Shatterstar, watch out!”
The warrior snapped his head around and caught the flying spear coming at him just in time. He propelled his body into the air and back flipped over the group of bodies surrounding him to avoid the hit. The weapon narrowly missed his shoulder, but managed to strike a Protectorate guard in the back. Shatterstar landed in a crouch, and Longshot grabbed him by the back of the uniform and pulled him to his feet.
“Za’s Vid! You need to pay attention! You could have been impaled!” he scolded.
“I would heal,” the younger man rolled his eyes. Quickly he freed himself from Longshot’s grasp, and the two warriors continued with their fight. Transmissions had been made to Jamie Madrox’s squad, and from what Shatterstar heard, they were in trouble. Concern shot through him, but he refused to show it. He would not allow such emotions to threaten his fight performance; if there was any chance of freeing them from the Protectorate, he would have to be at the top of his game.
Their back up soon arrived when two large bodies crashed through the concrete wall of the arena exit.
“I love working with that chick, I tell you!” she fired two shots and blew off the head of a hairy guard. “Monet! Throw me another one!”
The younger woman rolled her eyes, but launched another body into the air anyways. “I didn’t know I was providing you with target practice.”
Domino cheered and shot the body in the air. “Oh people can do a lot to inadvertently amuse me.”
“I can tell,” Monet drawled and lifted into the air to approach Longshot. “How many more guards are there for us to fight?”
Four more came crashing through the air and toppled onto the ground in a heap of hair and limbs. Guido Carosella quickly followed them and looked around the room. “That was the last of ‘em.”
Longshot nodded and observed the piles of bodies. “I would think so.”
“We should move before more come!” Shatterstar insisted.
“We need to make a plan,” Longshot pointed out.
“That’s wasting time,” ‘Star countered.
“We can’t run in there blind!”
“And we can’t stand around and do nothing!”
“Planning is not wasting time!”
“But fighting is,” Domino rolled her eyes and folded her arms over her chest. “So, children, let’s say we improvise and make a plan while we’re running, huh? Sal sounded like she was hurt, and who the hell knows where the rest of them are.”
Monet placed her hands on her temples and gently let her eyelids close. “Skids isn’t far. She’s projecting rather loudly; I believe there may be a dupe with her. Or, if we’re lucky, the real Jamie.”
“Good,” Longshot nodded and grabbed the younger woman by the shoulder. “Which way?”
Monet pointed through the hole in which they came. “Through there and to the west. I can lead you to her.”
“Go,” Longshot nodded, and the woman lifted off into the air and flew at an inhuman speed through the rubble. The rest of the team quickly gathered their things and ran after her. Domino’s squad had left a great deal of wreckage in their wake; all of the lobby and the halls surrounding the arena were in total shambles. Shatterstar did not expect any less, however; just the Cadre rebellions alone could generate acres of destruction, but the added Monet, Guido, and Domino just guaranteed it. Mojo’s fortress was beginning to fall apart at the foundations, and nothing else had ever brought Shatterstar such satisfaction.
M took a corner and approached a staircase leading down to the main level of the fortress. Longshot gestured for her to continue forward, but something at the bottom stopped her. A familiar face with a barrage of weapons pointed directly at them stood glaring.
“Quark!?” Longshot called down to his former friend and team mate. “Is it really you!?”
“Careful,” Shasta reminded. “We believe he is under mind control.”
Longshot turned to face the brunette Cadre rebel and grabbed his shoulders. “How long did you say he has he been this way?”
Shasta swallowed, and never took his eyes off the goat-headed man. “I am unsure. It was shortly after your last appearance…”
“Fekt,” Longshot cursed. The leader took a few steps down and stared at his former friend. “Quark, listen to me. I don’t want to fight you!”
“I have been sent to cancel you, Lucky One. Your powers will do nothing of assistance to you as mine will cancel yours out.” The massive man pointed his sword up at Longshot and growled. “Mojo wants your loyalties once and for all!”
“Well he’s not going to get them, you traitorous fool!” Shatterstar yelled at him and propelled himself down the staircase to land a hard kick to the man’s head. Quark stumbled back, but did not fall. He raised his massive sword and screamed as he swung it at Shatterstar, narrowly missing his face by mere centimetres.
“'Star, no!” Longshot yelled and stormed down the steps. A couple of the
When Longshot grabbed at his arm, ‘Star slipped from his grasp and slid across the floor and under Quark’s legs to avert them both. Using his hands for balance, the Cadre warrior bent his legs into the air and kicked at the back of the goat-headed man’s leg to trip him to the floor. The massive body collided with the concrete roughly, and Shatterstar wasted no time in disposing of his body. Two quick hands clutched Quark’s horns, and ‘Star sent him crashing down the stairs head before feet. He landed ungracefully at the bottom, and had a hard time getting back up.
“Stop fighting him, this instant!” Longshot commanded.
“We need to get to your wife,” Shatterstar spat angrily. “Stop sticking up for a traitor!”
“He’s still our ally!”
“Not anymore,” the younger man protested and stomped his foot in frustration. “How can you be so dense?! You are much too optimistic for his recovery, and we do not have time for such things! Mojo could already have the team dead!”
“We should move, Lord,” Shasta said in a small voice.
“Friends don’t kill friends,” Domino sided with Longshot. “Unless of course there’s no other way, but whatever. Listen to the guy; he knows what he’s talking about.”
Longshot opened his mouth to speak, but was cut off by Quark teleporting between their bodies. A massive grey fist collided with Longshot’s jaw and sent him crashing into the railing behind him. Shatterstar instantly sprung to action and ordered the Cadre rebels to assist him. Without a single protest they did so, and Quark engaged in a bloody sword fight with seven of the men. Quark was massive, strong, and fast – just like all the rest of the bipeds were engineered to be – but his mind controlled anger put him at an advantage. The other
Shatterstar was pissed off.
Old ally or not, the man was standing between them and their mission goals. Quark also attempted to take out Longshot, and that was enough of a reason by itself to attack him. Whatever happened to Quark had changed the man that he once was; he was supposed to be dead. Even though Shatterstar knew full well that citizens of Mojoworld almost never stayed dead, death was a fate far better than being under the control of Mojo.
He had been run through by a sword, blacked out, and possibly even died. He was not sure. But strangely a new sense of life flowed through Shatterstar, and it was only emphasized by the astonished faces around him. “I live. And for the first time in a long while…I feel whole. Thank-you.”
“Now it’s time to say good bye – to you and all your friends! Like, forever.” The Spineless One interrupted the scene as he crawled into the room half phased between the dimensions. Long fingers pointed toward Shatterstar accusingly, but Longshot wasted no time leaping toward him with his knives drawn out and ready to defend.
Shatterstar growled and leapt over Quark’s swinging blades and landed feet first against the man’s chest, sending them toppling down the staircase. The younger man practically surfed the larger body the entire way down, and Quark released a startling cry. Shatterstar’s grip never loosened despite the flailing, and he swung his sword down and slammed it right through the Quark’s throat, pinning his head to the floor at the bottom of the stairs. Scarlet red splashed and spilled against the uniforms of both men, and the former Cadre commander gasped for breath.
“You will be c-cancelled…half-breed! You’re n-nothing but a…disgrace to the entire d-dimension…”
Shatterstar twisted the metal angrily and glared down at the goat-headed man. “How does it feel to be destroyed by a disgrace, vehjka?”
“Fekt…” he gurgled, blood staining his lips.
“Shatterstar!” Siryn screamed from the top of the stairs and ran down to approach him. “Are ye okay?!”
“I’m fine,” he spat.
“Quark? What happened?!” Longshot demanded as he ran down to them.
Shatterstar yanked his sword out of the body struggling to breathe and looked down at it strangely. Quark’s muscles were contracting, his lungs slowing, and blood continued to pour from his mouth. Their former ally continued to mutter incoherently. A strange mixture of rage and hatred combined with guilt surged through him, and already Shatterstar could feel Longshot glaring daggers into his back.
“Forgive me if I do not share your enthusiasm, James. Losing is not something I am accustomed to.”
“C’mon, we’ve all been through a lot lately. After what happened with Sebastian Shaw an’ his buddies takin’ over ours minds – you ran Domino through for God’s sake!” James Proudstar reached his arm out to Shatterstar, and the warrior could not help but smile at the gesture as he was pulled to his feet; a smile that was strangely placed amongst all of his inner turmoil.
“In an odd way, you have only made my point. As one who trained to be a warrior – who has seen death a thousand times – why does this single incident with Domino haunt me so?”
Jimmy only shot him a friendly grin. “Maybe…it’s a sign you’re becoming human.”
Shatterstar gaped. “If that is so…what will become of me?!”
“Why did you do that!?” Longshot demanded and roughly grabbed ‘Star by the shoulder to spin him around. He pointed an accusing finger in his son’s face and glared. “We could’ve helped him!”
“No, we could not have. Let’s find Dazzler and Rictor now.”
Longshot groaned and dropped to his knees beside his former friend. Shatterstar could see that he was hurt and upset over the loss of him, but for some strange reason he could not care. He wanted to find the others and to fight Mojo. Standing around and waiting was pointless, worthless, and futile. So without saying another word, the young warrior stepped over the bleeding body and continued down the stairs and toward the main floor of the fortress. A couple sets of footsteps began to follow him, and despite Longshot’s protestations, ‘Star knew it would only be a matter of moments before his father followed him down too. It was war, and there was no such thing as murder in war – which meant that what happened to Quark had to happen. He was sorry a good warrior had to fall, but all good warriors eventually did.
Longshot did not take long to chase after him, and with him he brought all the rest of their squad. When he caught up though, he did not even give 'Star a second glance. The older man’s jaw was set and he stared straight ahead of him. Shatterstar narrowed his eyes at him and huffed; Longshot was mad at him. Whatever.
“Skids!” the blonde man called down the corridor. Bodies lay scattered on the floor and there were scorch marks everywhere. Bombs, guns, and power signatures were definitely present; Madrox’s squad had probably been through there.
“In here!” a voice called. It came from the double doors at the end of the hall, so the team picked up their pace. Siryn and Monet rocketed off into the air and took the lead, and they reached the girl first. Terry poked her head out the doors after a few seconds.
“There’s only three of them left!”
“Fekt,” Longshot cursed as they entered the smaller area. Skids sat on the floor and worked on cleaning the blood off of her head, and with her were two Jamies. “Are you the real Jamie?” Longshot asked them both.
“Well technically we are all real Jamie,” one began, pressing a hand to his chest. “I have a heart, a brain, and a personality! So does he…so do all of us! We are all, in fact, very real.”
“I just wanna punch somebody’s lights out!” the other one yelled.
“Definitely dupes,” Monet rolled her eyes and grabbed the angry one by the shirt. “What happened to everyone else?”
“Some ugly bastard tried to pick a fight with me! With me! Can you believe that?! Well I showed him and I took him out to the cleaners! And believe me, lady, he definitely needed it!”
Monet dropped the ranting Jamie impatiently, and the group all looked down at Skids. The blonde haired woman eyed the dupe wearily before speaking. “They took three Cadre rebels, Rictor, Dazzler, and the real Jamie. One of the rebels looked barely conscious, Alison was injured, and Jamie had been knocked out.”
“What’s wrong with Alison?” Longshot demanded.
“This man with very big claws scratched up her stomach. She had a lot of damage there, so Rictor and I were trying to move her out of harm’s way when they had attacked,” she explained furiously, sounding every bit guilty. “One of the big guys – Magog, I think – he was leading the ambush. They caught us on the stairs and knocked us down and I hit my head. It made me lose control of my powers! It’s all my fault!”
“It ain’t your fault, kiddo,” Domino scoffed and pulled her to her feet. “You got caught off guard, so you can’t blame yourself. You’ll drive yourself crazy doing that.”
“Did you see where they went?” Shasta asked her.
She winced as she looked up toward the brighter lights of the second floor. “Up there…somewhere. They didn’t take me ‘cause they couldn’t grab my force field. And my head…it hurts—I’m really sorry.”
“Don’t be sorry,” Longshot placed a hand on her shoulder. “I’m going to take a psychic imprint from you, okay?”
Skids nodded hesitantly, and Longshot grabbed her hands tightly as he took a deep breath and focused on his power. The glow of light from his left eye brightened considerably, and his lips moved in unison with the information that he gathered. After just a few seconds he nodded and he regarded the group. “Let’s go!”
“Where are they?” Shatterstar asked him as they took off up the stairs.
“I’m not 100 percent sure, but I’m thinking they’re in the quarters,” Longshot explained.
“Mojo’s quarters!?” Shasta gaped.
“Is that a bad thing?” Domino mused sarcastically.
“I would rather be in the dungeons, put it that way,” Shasta told her and unsheathed his swords. “The security will be very…how do you say? Tight?”
“That’ll about ‘say’ it,” the merc sighed.
“Do we have a plan or are we just going to attack?” Skids questioned from behind the group. She had both arms over the shoulders of Jamie’s dupes as they helped her up the stairs; she was still a bit wobbly from the head hit she took.
“I dinnae know if a plan would even help against them,” Terry muttered. “If the last visits we had were any indication, things never seem tah go tah plan around here.”
“Gotta rely on dumb luck sometimes,” Longshot grunted and kicked open a door at the very top of the stairwell, approximately four floors up from where they entered.
“Dumb luck’s a good thing for some of us,” Domino pointed out.
“Please don’t start with your ridiculous puns again,” Monet rolled her eyes.
Shatterstar just scowled at all the bantering that was going on. Why would people prattle on and on in a time of battle like such? It made little sense to him. They were distracting themselves of the fear that they reeked of, and both such things infuriated him. What kind of soldiers were these people? Surely an attack was looming as they entered the top hall of the quarters, and their voices would only allow the Protectorate to pinpoint their location.
Sure enough, they caught sight of Spiral as soon as they turned the corner. She stood at the end of the hall with two arms folded in front of her chest, and nodded at the group. “It’s about time you arrived.”
“Spiral!” Longshot yelled. “Where are they!?”
“Mojo has them,” she replied simply.
Rage burned within Shatterstar and he clutched the handles of his swords tighter. “You set this up, didn’t you!?”
“Don’t be stupid, boy,” she scoffed. “They got themselves caught and I did not have to assist with that. They were stupid enough to do it on their own. Perhaps if you divide your team into squads, you should not put your most valued fighters together while you leave useless humans to side with mutants with equally useless powers.”
“Perhaps you should shut the hell up and tell us where we need to go,” Domino cocked and pointed her gun at the Executioner.
“You think your pathetic weapons stand a chance against me?” she asked, clearly unimpressed.
“We’ve listened to you the whole way,” Longshot stepped toward her angrily. “Now it’s time for you to do your part.”
She shook her head. “You know exactly what it is he wants, Longshot. The rest is up to you and you only. If you walk into that room without attacking, you will not get attacked in return. You or any of your people.”
“Nonsense!” Shatterstar yelled. “He already has them!”
“And they are unharmed, for the most part,” Spiral continued calmly. She turned and pointed a finger to a large, black steel door at the end of the corridor. “Mojo sits through there. All of your friends are there as well and Mojo has every intention of releasing them to you so long as he gets what he desires.”
Longshot stared at her coldly. “All I have to do is surrender myself to him?”
“Fekt, no!” Shatterstar cursed at him, and sheathed a sword to grab his arm. “You cannot do this! Let’s just kill him and be done with it!”
“We’d start an all out war if we did that. There’s a good chance a fight would break out in there, and we wouldn’t get the others back alive,” Longshot pointed out.
“You’d have to take a chance,” Spiral smiled, looking all too amused at the prospect of it. “Longshot can surrender himself to Mojo with the intent of allowing the rest of you a peaceful life. Once Mojo has what he wants, you will not be bothered by him again. Or, of course, you can attempt to fight him. There are approximately fifty members of the Imperial Protectorate behind that door, and if you choose to do battle with Mojo you choose to do battle with them all. Your team mates being held hostage are being held at gunpoint by at least one dozen of these guards. The second you spring for attack, there is a very good possibility their brains will be splattered on the floor.”
“Fekt!” Shatterstar stormed forward and glared at her. “You knew this would happen, you snivelling fool! If you cannot get what you want, then no one can! Is that it?”
Spiral did not back down from his close proximity. Instead, she stepped forward and gazed up at him. “You have been training your entire life to fight, warrior. I have watched you grow and hone your skills. I trust you’ll make the right choice.” She leaned forward and spoke into his ear, so low that the others could not hear. “You may have the genetic make-up of someone else, but the intuition and influence comes from the one who raised you. Don’t do what I wouldn’t do.”
Shatterstar growled and shoved her away from him roughly. Quickly he unsheathed his sword and pointed it at her throat. “I’m not like you!”
“Well you’re most certainly not like him,” she bared pointy teeth at him and gestured toward Longshot. “You’re much more dangerous and unforgiving, aren’t you?”
“I’ll kill you!” Shatterstar hissed through clenched teeth. “I care not what you’ve done for me.”
"Shatterstar, back down!" Longshot demanded. "Spiral, take us in. Now."
Go to part two.