Payback Time


It was supposed to be a quick trip to the mall. Go in, buy some clothes, a few other things. Leave.

Of course, for mutants, life is never that simple.


St. John Allerdyce stepped out of Billabong. He wasn't much of a surfer, but he wanted to think about Australia. If he wasn't wanted and didn't have a safe place at the school, he'd be on the first plane to Sydney. Maybe start writing again...

He sighed, There's no place like home.

Ray was still in F.Y.E. and Mortie and Wolverine were in the sporting goods store. He assumed Scott was in the food court. He didn't know where the others were.

He smiled.

They were so careless.

So trusting.

If he wanted to do something, steal something, burn something, there was no one watching him.

Of course, he didn't want to do anything like that. He had no desire to end up on the streets running from sentinels or in MRD custody again. And he certainly wasn't going to support Magneto anymore. Not after he literally threw him into a cell for the MRD and Moss.

I wonder where That Moss bloke is, anyway? I bet Ole Bucket Head has him beggin' for mercy by now...

The sound of screaming and shouting caught his attention.

A terrorist attack? If so, human or mutant? Al-Qaeda, ISIS or Acolyte?

Was it him?

He doubted Mags would come for him, he'd abandoned him like rubbish and left him to rot in an MRD cell. He had no reason to come after him.

Then again, he hadn't a reason, known to Pyro, at least, to have betrayed him in the first place.

John stilled as several black-clad figures, MRD agents, rushed by, apparently not recognizing him in his civilian clothes.

But that made no sense. He'd been a prisoner of the MRD for almost a year, surely they'd seen him, or read his file. And he hadn't been allowed his uniform in confinement, only an uncomfortable prison jumpsuit.

Then they were probably after a bigger fish, too busy to bother with a nobody like him.

"Are you going to do this the easy way, Firebug?" A female voice called out, "Or the fun way?"

Or not...


The MRD forces rushed into the sporting goods store and leveled their weapons at Wolverine and Toad. (mainly Wolverine)

"Hold it right there, freak!"

Logan snarled and rushed at the MRD goons as Mortimer began kicking like Bruce Lee, several agents were down before their colleagues opened fire, missing the nimble Toad but hitting Logan several times. Enraged, he popped out his claws.

"You just punched yer ticket to Hell, Bub..."

Then the screaming started.


Berzerker pulled off the headphones. He could hear the shooting and screaming even over Spider One's head-banging lyrics. The other patrons were fleeing, and alarms were going off.

Clearly, the mall was under attack.

Please don't let it be sentinels... He prayed softly, before rushing to help.


St. John Allerdyce looked at the attractive green-haired woman with disgust. Her emerald uniform was covered in swirling patterns, representing her powers. Contrary to popular belief, Pyro was not stupid, he knew exactly who and what she was.


She was an MRD hound, a mutant who helped the government hunt down and imprison other mutants.

Vertigo was a bloody traitor to the whole mutant species.

And she was almost certainly after him. Not only was he an escaped MRD prisoner, but he was a former Acolyte, one of Magneto's chosen, even if he'd fallen out of favor with the old hypocrite.

He really wished he had his flamethrowers right now.

"Well, if it isn't Johnny Allerdyce. Hanging around The X-Men now?" Vertigo liked to make her captures sweat, to play a bit, like a cat with a mouse, before taking them in. "I know Magneto hasn't taken your worthless hide back into the fold."

"Mags ain't worth crap, an' neither are ya', luv." He reached into his pocket to pull out his lighter, and a sudden wave of nausea and vertigo hit, sending him to his hands and knees. "An'-an' tha's Mr. Allerdyce to ya'..." He struggled to stand, but couldn't find his balance, his ears felt like they were full of water, his vision was spinning. But he wasn't about to bow to this witch.

Vertigo moved forward and kicked the lighter away, "Little boys shouldn't play with fire."

"Bugger off!"

I got Buckley's chance a' takin' this witch without my flames. He thought glumly, as another wave of vertigo knocked him on his butt. "Y-ya' like ta' play rough, sheila? Gimme' back my lighter and I'll show ya' 'rough'..."

Vertigo just laughed.


Berzerker looked out the window of F.Y.E. to see Pyro writhing on the ground, a tall, green-clad, green haired woman standing over him. Feelings of fear, rage and disgust washed over him as he realized who she was, what she was doing. He knew how Pyro felt, she'd done it to him, too. Something dark flashed in those big green eyes.

He had been so scared.

So helpless.

He wasn't helpless anymore.

Payback Time.


"Ya' think they'll give you special treatment 'cause ya' help catch ya'r own kind? Ya're just another mutant to them, when they deal with us, they'll come after ya."

Vertigo smirked, "My own kind? You're nothing but trash. You're just a failed writer of sleazy romance novels, an arsonist, and a terrorist. Even Magneto didn't want you. You belong in a cell, you're a waste of oxygen." She laughed, "How does someone fail at writing sleazy romance-"

"It's not sleazy romance, ya' Philistine! It's Gothic Romance! Nothin' cheap or sleazy about it!" The blond man angrily began to drag himself towards his lighter, "No one insults my writing!"

"You won't be doing much writing where you're going." Vertigo playfully kicked the lighter away, again.

"I'd rather die than go back to that Hell-hole!"

"I'm not giving you a choice." Vertigo smiled cruelly.

A full can of soda impacted with the back of the hound's head, knocking Vertigo to her knees.

"Remember me?" A boy's voice called, "'Cause I sure remember you."

She turned, dazed, to see a boy of about 12, with piercing green eyes, a huge yellow mohawk, and glowing hands.

She remembered him. Almost a year ago, that brat in the sewers.

Ray Carter.


She'd had him when Cyclops showed up and defeated her. Now it seemed Fate had given her a second chance.

Wait, glowing hands? What was his power, anyway?

Vertigo smirked, "Well, if it isn't Berz-"

Berzerker blasted Vertigo in the chest, sending her sailing across the corridor and through a plate glass window into Bed, Bath and Beyond, where the MRD hound fell crumpled beneath a pile of soap. The store's alarms activated, adding to the bedlam around them.

"Thanks' mate." Pyro stood unsteadily and snatched up his lighter, "That sheila was a nutter!"

"I know. She's the one who tried to bring me in. Chased me down like a dog. If not for Cyclops, I'd be in a cell right now." His voice was cold, with a slight trace of bitterness, "She deserved what she got."

Pyro huffed, "So she goes after kids too? I hope her bum gets sacked..."

Ray nodded, "Let's go help the others."

"Right." Pyro grinned, and a dragon of flame sprung to life, "Burn, baby, burn!"


The MRD troops retreated quickly in shameful defeat as The X-Men and their students left before any sentinels could arrive on the scene.

Logan turned to Mortimer, "I didn't know you could fight like that."

"Neither did I." Mortimer was shaking slightly, still terrified that a sentinel or ten would show up and kill them all.

John turned to Ray, "Thank's. I owe you one, mate."

Ray just shrugged. "That's what we do. We're a team, we watch out for one another."

"You know the media's going to blame us for this, don't you?" Scott said in annoyance.

"Yeah. We beat up the poor widdle MRD goons who came after us with guns an' a crazy, sadistic hound." Logan said sarcastically, "The media's 'bout as impartial as the Klan when it comes ta' mutants."



"You realize, Ray, that you could have killed her."

"He didn' have a choice. He saved my bum from that she-devil."

"I am aware of that, Mr. Allerdyce." Xavier sighed, "Please, I would like to speak with Mr. Carter alone."

"He's a good kid." Pyro shot a quick look at Ray before leaving the room.

"She toyed with me, back in the tunnels." Ray said softly, "She practically tortured me..."

"I am aware of that, as well. However, though we have to use force at times to defend ourselves and others, we must also show restraint. You are not fully trained in the use of your powers, and they can easily become lethal. And I know that, at that moment, you did not care if you killed her or not. Many of us have enemies, people who've hurt us greatly. We..." He rubbed his eyes, "We can't become executioners. The man you saved, Pyro, was an enemy not long ago, as was Mr. Toynbee, but they are our friends now. People can change. One day Vertigo might see the wrongness of her actions and decide to help our cause."

"I doubt it."

"It's not impossible."

"Only improbable."

"You were right to save Mr. Allerdyce, but you must learn restraint, self-control." Admittedly, restraint and self-control were words most young boys did not like."You have to learn to 'pull your punches' so to speak."

Ray nodded, "Yes, sir. Even if I do hate her, I don't want her dead..."

Well, that's some progress... Xavier thought.


"How'd it go, mate?"

Pyro, Toad and several others were waiting for Ray when he stepped out of the office.

"It's good. We just talked about controlling myself and my power, I didn't get into any trouble."

"Atta' boy!" John threw an arm around Ray's shoulder. "I'd take ya' to a pub, but yer underage."

"We could go play video games..."

"Great idea!"

They rushed off to the rec room.


Vertigo had several broken ribs, a broken right arm, embedded glass from the impact with the store window and a severe electrical burn on her chest. Berzerker had not been playing games. Gone was the frightened little boy she'd chased through the sewers.

From the look in his eyes she was sure he'd meant to kill her.

Now she was in the hospital, as were most of her colleagues, being debriefed by a superior agent.

A very unhappy agent.

"Vertigo, not only have you been defeated, again, you have been defeated by a child. Publicly. The mall's surveillance cameras captured everything, and they have been leaked to the press. You have disgraced yourself, and more importantly, you have disgraced this agency." The grim-faced agent's voice was cold as ice and sharp as a razor, "As of this moment, you are no longer employed by the MRD. You're just another worthless mutant. You will be taken into custody at once."

"You can't do this to me!" She growled, trying to pull herself from the hospital bed, "I was distracted by Pyro and had no backup! It won't happen again!"

"No, it will not." The agent said firmly as several heavily armed MRD officers entered the room to escort Vertigo to her new quarters...



Berzerker was hunted by Vertigo in the WATXM episode 'Excessive Force. '

Vertigo gets her just desserts!

Buckley's chance - No chance at all.

Sacked - Fired.

Spider One is the lead singer of Powerman 5000.

St. John is properly pronounced as Sinjin.

Pyro was supposed to reappear in the season that never was, but the show was cancelled. I assume that means he got out of MRD custody in canon.