Ozymandias chapter three, king of kings
"A king has his reign, and then he dies. It's inevitable. That's the natural order of things." Meredith Vickers, Prometheus
"Speak again pilot, what is the statis of mission objectives, can you confirm mission success?" Martin Sutter asked leaning heavily on his cane, his wrinkled face flushed with apprehension and more than a little fear, he didn't try to hide it. Too much was riding on this mission, nearly forth years of his life had being dedicated to the weapon plus program in all its forms and iteration's, forty years of loyalty, nearly twenty years spent as the premier head of the facility. He and Zandars father, David had grown and nurtured its independence from the original the weapon plus organisation, decades ago during weapons plus heyday. How because of Kinney's blunder all those years all that sacrifice might amount to nothing more than piss in the wind.
Everything rode on this half baked mission which he knew was meant, as much as punishment for himself as it was for their once esteemed mutant geneticist turned brood mother of their most prised asset. Not only did his future but that of his wife and family all rested on this mission more than perhaps any other since X23 had being sent on her first mission to assassinate senator and aspiring president candidate Greg Johnson.
Static crackle filled the air for a few moments, as the radio the exert team had being issued as well as its counterpart in the command center struggled to punch through whatever it was that interfering with the single. Likely some kind of Hryda spoofing shield.
The atmosphere in the command and control centre of the facility felt heavy and pregnant like a thunder storm would at any moment barge in and unleash its deluge. His liver spotted face almost gleamed with sweat, which clung to every wrinkle an line that marked his aged face like a particularly tenacious tick, even his small wispy beared was so soaked through it clung to the weathered skin of his chin.
"Sir...I don't know how it's possible but the asset...X23...She's..." a feminine voice crackled over the com channel. The Line was so heavy with static and interference that the rest of the pilots sentence became nothing more than a garbled mess.
Martin pinched the bridge of his nose, "For God's sake, someone clean, that up! We can get a crystal clear line from nearly half away cross the world. But God forbid, we run a mission practically, next bloody door." He growled, slight hypnotically. He wanted to vent more of his mounting frustrations but as his chest squeezed painfully, he relented.
"We are doing the best we can, director Sutter" one tech said from behind his bulky computer. "Hydra bases tend to have fairly good radio spoofers. I guess, the targets base's radio jammer hasn't being..." he trailed off as he pressed, the head phones he wore closer to his ears and tapped at his key board. "Hold on comm is still sketchy but its clearing..."
Martin nodded his understanding "Pilot Mellgillain, say again your signal cut out" he ordered filling his voice with as much authority as he could muster in his bedraggled state. He normally left the handling and running of missions in the hands of Zander or Kimura but the later was still a day out from returning from her last mission. While he loved Zandar like a son and he had being on his beast behaviour since his indiscretion last year, when he let his personal Vendetta with X23 or rather her male donor get the better of him.
Martin simply couldn't trust him to not do something rash too much, was riding on this mission.
His future, his legacy was on the line, if X23 failed than it would be his head on the chopping block.
He mentally cursed Kinney for her lack of judgment in using X23 for a personal matter. She was lucky, that she and that fool Kevin Heart, a former guard turned personal assistant whom had followed her around like a love sick puppy for the better part of the last fifteen years, hadn't being shot upon returning to the facility.
He had only granted them that small mercy because they were smart enough to return with X23 in toe and their assurances that no one outside of the facility knew X23 had being out in the wild. While Martin was loathed to trust the pair he had very little choice in the matter, they didn't have any mind readers on pay role and their attempts to breed or clone them had being more trouble than they were worth.
He rubbed his forehead and sighed, with Kinney's blunder hanging over his head like the sword of Damocles. He had to bank on much of his remaining credibility, stores of black mail and even call upon favours he had hoped to keep a hold of into his retirement just to keep the other heads from panicking like the sheep they were and scrubbing the entire primary sight.
After all was said and done Martin hoped he had enough left to unsure his families safety should any of the other heads, whom he was sure were even now were eyeing this place like starved hyenas. He hoped he wouldn't have to resort to burning all his bridges down to spite the other heads.
He let out a tired sigh and leaned heavily on his cane feeling every day of his long life like they were a bag of stones tied around his neck. How had he lost so much control? He knew the answer, Kinney it had started with Kinney, just after Zandar's lapse in judgment.
She had walked into his office late after debriefing X23 and presented him with a pair of dog tags. They had being Zander's father's tags back from their weapon plus days. After his father had being murdered by weapon X, Zander whom had just being a boy at the time. He had taken to the metal markers like a knight templar would take to the cross. He would no more part with them than he would cut off his own arm. Yet the clone had held onto the dog tags through the AIM ambush Zandar had claimed took the clones life and brought them back with her.
They were all the proof Kinney would ever need to rid herself of Zandar forever, if the other heads had even suspected he'd nearly flushed fourteen years worth of research, conditioning and millions of dollars invested into X23, down the toilet for a petty vendetta.
Martin shuddered at the thought of not fulfilling his promise to Zandar's late father and to Zandar himself, in the end he had almost been grateful that all Kinney had asked for, to keep her mouth shut was for better treatment for herself, X23 and for Zandar and Kimura's involvement with her child to be minimised. Compared to the ruin she could have unleased, it had being a bargain and alerted him to the fact that he needed to course correct his student. However he knew taking Zandar to task had wounded their relationship but with the current crisis he hoped that any bad blood between them had become water under the bridge and if not it hardly mattered.
The truth of the matter was even if X23 pulled off the impossible. Martin knew in his heart of hearts, he couldn't keep doing this for another four to six years like he had planned. God he would be lucky if he didn't have another heart attack by the end of the month. Between the stresses of his job, poor health, the other heads baying for blood, his young wife becoming increasingly erratic and his deteriorating relationship with Zandar.
He knew it was time to abdicate his crown and hand it down, but first he had to get his house in order before he left it to his heir apparent.
Martin was rosed from his mussing by a crackly of static. "Sir...the asset...X23...I don t know how but... She...She"
"Spit it out" Martin ordered
"Sir...She dropped a mountain on the hydra base, it's gone Director Sutter... it's all gone. The whole thing just got buried under tonnes of snow and rocks" pilot Mellgillain stated, her disbelief was clear to everyone present in the command centre despite the static which still infected the comm. "It looks like the Channel is clearing sir..I'll try and see if I can turn on the helicopters camera...Sending you a video feed now Director"
"Jesus" A young man whom sat behind a desk to Martins right stated, disbelief and shock filled his voice as his computer received the feed.
"Put it on wide screen." Martin told the young man, his chilly voice brooking no argument.
The glass windows at the front of the command centre which looked over the facilities amply stocked vehicle bay darkened, as thin metal curtains rolled down and clicked into place. The windows turned view screen flickered with static for a moment before a sight of utter carnage and destruction filled the screen, played out for all to see.
"That's one down at least" Martin murmur quietly feeling no small amount of tension leave his body like air escaping from a balloon that had been filled to bursting. He looked over his sholder and exchanged a look with Zandar who stood, half shadowed at the back of the room. To anyone else, the expression his protégé wore would have seemed like casual interest but Martin knew better, he saw a flint of anger behind his student's eyes
Martin bit his lip, while he regretted very little in how he had raised Zandar, encouraging his talents and mind both of which had paid off in divot ends, especially as he just overcome the last few hurdles between the facility and their new line of hopeful more malleable generation of assets. Which he hoped would rid them of the need to rely on Kinney's experiment soon. However He had, over the last year regretted turning a blind eye to some of his protégé's eccentricities and obsession, which even now with a year of being brought to heel behind them and the current crisis, Zandar's anger and hatred of X23 or rather her precursor, righteous as they were still reared its head.
He shook his head disappointed but not surprised and turned his gaze back to the screen. "What is the status of the asset pilot? Has X23 made contact?" Once more the comms crackled with indistinct noises for what felt like an age. "Would someone clean up that dammed static" Martin yelled, stamping his cane on the tiled floor.
"It's as clean as we can make sir it" the man to his right said.
Martin restrained the explicative he was going throw at the man, to an audible growl as he seethed. Yelling at one of his underlings would achieve nothing but make his position look even weaker.
The comm. Line crackled back to life drawing Martins attention back to the view screen, the scene changing as the helicopter moved. "She's, acquired a helicopter...setting down near... Going to intercept" The pilot stated
"Good, good...the moment she's on board I want you to burn that helicopter and confirm the completion of the other objectives, X23 should have some evidence on her." Martin stated finally allowing himself to relax slightly. "While we wait, someone find and bring me Kinney I want her to be here when we bring X23 back."
"Martin are you sure that's wise?" Zandar Rice asked quietly having walked up to from the back of the command centre to where his mentor stood at its front without the senile old man having noticed his approach. He caught the eyes of few of the braver techs that sat behind their computers that dared glance his way, were to one degree or another filled with disgust or outright loathing.
While they had all come here with a job to do and told to leave morals at the door, the weaknesses he had long since purged himself off had slowly but surely infected the rank and file staff. Especially those with children of their own, an especially terminal weakness in his opinion which was why he had left his own little cuckoo in the care of the brat's mother, Martins wife and Martin himself. Who thought the child to be his own, at least for the moment!
His mind turned back to the pitiful wrenches that dared give him side eye for how he treated that Animal and her bitch of a mother over the years. They were not even being subtle about the contempt they shot his way anymore. 'Jokes on them' Zandar had thought to himself a few moments ago, as he memorised the names and faces of everyone glared at him.
The mere notion that he'd soon be able to purge the facility of this weakness, his old rival Kinney and Martin all in one fell swoop had being so deliciously tempting it had almost made him salivate as he drunk in Martins growing distress. However as soon as the make shift view screen came to life and showed them all a picture of the destruction the animal had left in her wake had made his mouth suddenly go dry. 'Patience' he reminded himself 'I can still salvage this so I end up on top'
Martin pulled the younger man in close, wrapping a weathered thin arm around his protégés broad shoulders. "Zander the last thing I need right now is you questioning me or snipping at Kinney even if she has it coming after that stunt she pulled with her sister and Niece...speaking of which is our insurance in place on that front?" Martin asked pulling Zandar closer in the hopes of giving off air to those that watched the two that they were a united front and he was still in charge.
Zandar bit his tongue as he took efforts to make himself look contrite and apologetic as possible though he was neither, he needed Martin to look weak and his feeble reprimand did more harm than good in that re-guard. Still he knew it wouldn't do any good to alienate the old fool, he needed him to have no option but to hand him the keys if the animal had failed in any of her objectives if she hadn't. He would need to take other... measures.
"I have a man with eyes on them both. In a few weeks he'll ingratiate himself. If all goes to plan well have eyes and ears in the house hold in case Kinney tries anything funny." Zandar explained dryly.
"Also...I wasn't trying to undermine you Martin I would never do that" he lied "but are we sure we want any eyes that aren't our own, to examine the data we had the animal retrieve?" Zandar asked coolly. "We still have no idea how hydra got the trigger...You can't afford any more leaks..." Zandar swallowed the bile he felt rise in his throat "dad...I'm worried about you"
Martin eyed Zandar for a long moment, weighing his words and sieving them for ulterior motives but could find none. While he may still have had a vendetta against the girl or rather her forbear, Martin knew in his heart of hearts that hate and righteous anger would never be enough for Zandar to wish him any harm even with their relationship being strained. 'If things weren't bad enough, this situation is making me paranoid!' he thought to himself "Your right son...it's this whole thing, is a dammed mess! That mission was never meant to be done solo or with as little planning as we put into it but with Kinney's little excursion... The other heads demanded it handled right away, plan or no plan." Martin said letting out an exhausted sigh.
"I can't believe the gull of those ass hats, none of them would be anywhere without you!" Zandar sated thaneing outrage. "And have the nerve to blame you...How bad is it?" Zandar asked leaning closer to his mentor in a show of solidarity, concern. False sincerity, dripped off him like slime of a slug which did an admiral, job of hiding his peaked interest.
The older man sighed wearily, "I practically built the facility out of the ashes of the original weapon plus project. It had always mine and your fathers dream to take what we knew and go independent. Finally make some real money for once in our lives. Now they think they can take our dream away from us." Martin stated not bothering to hide his contempt.
"Well we can't let them do that...but Martin I'm worried for you..." Zandar said resting a hand on the old man's shoulder.
"I know, son" he returned the gesture "You're a good man Zandar, but..." Martin trailed of as the door at the back of the command centre opened up and Doctor Sarah Kinney whom was escorted by two armed guards into the command centre, their faces hidden behind thick armoured visor helmets.
The formerly prised mutant geneticist wore her thick off white lab coat over a professional knee length dress and practical heeled boots that helped make up for her short frame. Her long black hair was far loser and dishevelled than she normally kept it. Not one to indulge in makeup, the bags under her startling green eyes were marks against her once beautiful face along with the worry lines that had aged her well before her time.
Sarah schooled her expression into cool irritation rather than the naked concern and worry she felt for her daughter's safety. "Are the guards really necessary Director Sutter?" she asked before her gaze was drawn away from the old man and to the view screen in front of him. Images of what appeared to be an utterly destroyed mountain base repeatedly looped for all to see. "Has she been picked up yet?" Sarah asked a hint of demand in her voice.
Martin crossed his arms over his chest and glared at the woman with every ounce of venom he could muster. "Momentarily" he stated his voice as cool as an arctic wind, to the doctors credit she seemed to realise her mistake as she drew into herself but any compassion he may have had for his former 'star hire' was long since spent. "You know, I thought having being denied access to any means to keep up to date with X23's current mission and having your every movement watched, might have allowed you to absorb the full consequences that your staggering lack of judgment has brought upon you!" He spat coldly taking a step towards her.
Zandar followed Martins lead as his mentor lay into the arrogant bitch. Realising ever moment like a kid at Christmas
"I thought, maybe just maybe you would be smart enough to learn to show some respect and deference to your betters and be humble enough to apologies for the mess you created but clearly I over estimated your potential for growth Dr Kinney." Martin stated, naked contempt radiating off him
Sarah felt the corner of her lip desire to twitch upwards into a snarl but she suppressed the urge and schooled her expression into one of cool indifference. Since her jaunt to save her niece from suffering a similar fate to the one she had suffered at the hands of her pig of a father. Martin had whenever he wasn't locked away dealing with the other heads, spent their every meeting or conversation belittling her and threatening. It was humiliating to not be able to give the sour old man a piece of her mind but if there was anything she was used to it was humiliation.
After all was said and done, pride and ego had done nothing for her save to be once again under the thumb of another petty abusive man and with little to show for it.
Her career was a joke. Even if she could get out of this hell hole she was un-hireable. She hadn't published a single paper in over ten years, her work history would be so full of redactions it would have resembled a bar code more than it did the impressive resume she had when Martin first approached her and even if it was known what...who she had brought into the world. Her complicity in the facility business would see her spend the rest of her life in a cell and that was only if SHIELD or another government agency captured her.
While Martin was busy with his posturing and Rice, was unusually for him equally distracted. Her only friend and confidant in this terrible place Kevin was even now making arrangements. Calling on every ounce of good will, favour and black mail they had not used up to get X23 out of here to save her niece, Megan.
It hadn't being enough Kevin had informed her before she had being called here to be berated. He had to call upon a last resort and make a deal with an old contact from when he was 'a different man'.
Apparently Kevin's contact was none other than Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin himself. Whom was unsurprisingly well aware their situation and according to Kevin had a vested interest, in 'helping them'. Sarah shuddered at the yet unasked price, the kingpin would demand but whatever the price for the deal with the king pin of crime would be. It was out weighted by the guarantee they could get one letter out of the facility unmolested and the reach man that she knew would at the very least have a vested interest in stomping out this latest version of the weapon plus programme.
She dared to hope Weapon X, 'Logan' she mentally corrected would do more than destroy when he came. "Believe it or not director Sutter I have learnt more than you could possibly know" Sarah stated firmly after a long heavy pause in their conversation.
Zandar had done everything he could think of to not let the anger he felt writhing with in him like coiling rolls of barbed wire show on his face as he stormed out of the interview room and made all speed towards his private quarters and office on base. To say it was a fight he was losing would be a gross understatement as he all but balled over anyone foolish enough to not get out of his way.
To say he was furious was an understatement, he was unsure if there was a single word in the English language that covered the length, breadth and depth of the rage he felt as he stepped into his private domain. It took every ounce of control he had left to shut the door behind him and retreat into his sound proof quarters. It took him even more to not smash the hard drive and data teeth the animal had brought with her from the hydra base, under foot but his strained rationality held his fury at bay long enough to realise that would not end well.
However he could not restrain himself when it came venting his anger onto the rest of his belongings, he started by picking up a wooden sitting chair and smashing it against a wooden coffee table. "FUCK! Fuck, fuck, fuck!...fucking tap dancing Christ...How did the fucking animal, do it? How did those hydra morons screw this up? I gave them everything they needed... FUCK!" Zandar bellowed like a musk ox in heat as he went about smashing anything he could get away with smashing. Picture frames, old trophies, mirrors even his book shelves and bed were targets of his blind rage until his hands bled and his mussels burned with exhaustion. The only items he had not trashed or thrown around were his personal computer, the table it sat on, a single chair and the drives/ teeth X23 had retrieved.
"Those fucking idiots...I gave them everything they needed" he growled out through gritted teeth, "All they had to do was stop her from completing one of the tasks the heads cared about! Just one! That would have been enough!" he spat his mind whirled around like a spinning wheel.
Only a few days ago, if he didn't despise her so utterly he could have kissed, Kinney. She had unknowingly gift wrapped him a once in a life time opportunity to get all his ducks in a row.
With everyone running around like headless chicken it had been easy to leak information to the hydra cell the animal had just levelled. That cell had been a thorn in the facilities side for decades but Martin never wanted to escalate their cold war.
Leaking the trigger scent, a condensed version of the conditioning process used on X23 with a few bugs added to insure any of hydras plays things couldn't target him should they get lose. The cherry on top of his master stroke, the facility's mole within that cell had been exposed. Through not before said spy, could alert them of the breach, offcourse.
The heads couldn't panic and demanded a rushed half baked plan if they didn't know about some of their most prised secrets being out in the wild. He had worried that maybe he had given hydra to much but Zandar had to make sure the heads were suitably motivated and all eyes of worth were drawn here, the heart of the facility.
Some who lacked vision might call him a traitor but what he had done was for the greater good of the facility. Martin was too old and weak to lead and Kinney had long since out lived her usefulness. It had only been the old man's ridiculous assertions that, Kinney presence helped keep her brat on a lease that had kept her around all these years.
All he needed hydra to do was prevent X23 from achieving one of her more important objectives. The base's commander or their chief doctor could have escaped, the majority of the base's staff surviving X23's assault or the base at least remaining marginally operational. They could have at least managed to get some of their own experimental assets out to course some damage in the local area, any one of those would have been enough to ruin Martin whom would take Kinney with him.
Despite the insane deadline and strict near impossible objectives, no support, the barest hint of a plan, X23 had succeeded beyond anyone's wildest dreams.
Zandar wanted to scream, he had given those fascistic idiots every advantage!
He could have only guess they had dropped the ball some ware and the animal had taken and ran to the finish line.
The only area in which X23 hadn't succeeded was getting to the ronde view on time, while that combined with the stress of the last week would be enough to get Martin to give him the keys to his kingdom but he would still, especially after the animals success have cards to play, favours to call upon.
Mortal fear filled Zandar at the thought of what Martin would do, when Rachel told him that their son was born of his loins and not Martins withered old sack.
His mentor would come back and strike him down with the wrath of an angry god. His whole life's work and that of his father before him would come down like a house of cards.
"There is only really one option now, lean on the Old man hard enough to sign over the facility and have the brat kill the whole family before Martin can do anything...but I need a cover, with the base in high alert I can't just sneak her out to deal with them and I still need to look through those hydra hard drive and data teeth to make sure there isn't anything that can be traced back to me when the smoke clears..." Zandar fumed pacing his trashed quarters like a caged lion, desperately trying to think of some way out of his precarious situation when his private computer, which had been in sleep mode. Suddenly beeped and flicked to life as window indicating someone was trying to face time him on one of his private off base channels.
Zandar rushed over to the computer and studied the identification code for a moment, he knew it by heart, it belonged to one of the facilities earliest customer's Wilson Fisk
"Fisk?" Zandar stated as way of greeting as he took in the thoroughly ridiculous man whom appeared on his screen. The relatively small size of the video chat did little to 'shrink down' the man's immense bulk. Not for the first time, Zandar wondered how such a blob of a man had risen to the top of both the United states and Canadian underworld. The man looked ridiculous, like a glazed overstuffed potato crammed into the finest white suit money could buy which he wore over a hideous Hawaiian shirt that would have looked garish during wood stock and must have being two sizes too small for him. "If you hadn't heard we are in a middle of a crisis here at the moment" he told the man curtly
"I had heard" Fisk said as sympathetically as his thick husky voice would allow. Wilson forced his thin lips to quirk upwards in something as close to a genuine smile as he could manage when talking to a man that he considered, useful if utterly loathsome.
Wilson had always had difficulty putting on an airs of servility. His own anger issues had always been his greatest failing and having to deal with men like Zander Rice had a way of stoking his rage even in ways all but the most annoying of the so called hero's, that made it their business to bother him, only sometimes managed to achieve.
Fisk could not nor would not or consider himself a kind or gentle man. However having to bear his own share of child hood abuse, he maintained a special kind of hatred for the kind for man that hurt children and he knew just from his infrequent contact with X23 and meeting Rices eye. That the other man was that special kind of asshole that made even his blood boil.
"We'll if your little birds have told you anything, they should have told you we are on lock down, the heads..."
"Are Distracted" Wilson added mildly as if it was a slip of a toung. Both men knew it was not "I'm sure they would look favourably on anyone strong enough to show your cliental that's your house is well in order and your open for business, especially in these trying times." He added feeling bile rise in his throat having to play into Rices delusions of grandeur. Wilson knew from his sources within the facility that Zandar was not a well liked figure eather by the department heads or the rank and file.
Wilson mused on the possibility, that even if Zandar was given the keys to the kingdom by his mentor and founder of the facility himself his reign would likely be an exceptional short and divisive one.
That didn't matter however, as a crime lord and a business man. Wilson had long learned the art of playing on the ambitions of men that thought their reins would be long and glorious. Most if not all of them were buried in shallow unmarked graves. "The fact of the matter is, I need X23 services tonight for no more than an hour or two and you need X23 to be accounted for the night. I'm sure we can help each other out"
"I'm listening" Zandar said
Kevin Heart breathed out a long tired sigh as he watched a, redressed and freshly prepped X23 step into the car that was going to take her to her meeting with the Kingpin of crime, Wilson Fisk. The teenage assassin looked up to where he was standing, behind one of the many observation windows that looked over the vehicle bay. For a moment he wondered if she could see him even through the one way glass
He pushed the thought out of his mind as she turned and stepped into the waiting black van, which started not long after the girl climbed inside and drove out of the vehicle bay doors which had opened to allow the car to leave. Snow and a gust of frigid air blew in from outside, chilling him to the bone.
He checked his immediate surroundings to make sure the coast was clear and before reaching into the breast pocket of his heavy jacket and retrieved a small cheep burner phone and selected the singular number in the phones contact list. "It's done, she's in root, if your boss hurts her. I swear Ill kill him and you with my bear hands!" Kevin growled
"Relax Heart" A deep gravelly voice said with barely restrained hostility "Like we said when we got in contacted with ya, the big man only wants to talk to her. You have his word, not a hair on her pretty little head will so much as touched. It was a pleasure Heart just like the old days"
"Don't you dare think this means I'm coming back you hear me! Tombstone I payed my debts...ahh" Kevin winced as a ear piercing crack and electronic squawk cut the line as the man on the other side, likely crushed the phone with his bare hands. "Fucker..." Kevin swore under his breath looking around to see if anyone witnessed his outburst but the cat walk was still empty. He dropped the phone to the floor and stomped on it until it became a mangled mesh. He gathered up the pieces and made all speed to Sarah's private quarters. He knocked on the door three times.
"Come in Kevin" Sarah said her voice faint and raspy through the door.
Kevin stepped within, trying his best to not step on anything that looked to valuable or breakable, not that his friend had made that easy. Her quarters were in utter disarray, clothes, books, folders, pictures and random pieces of flotsam littered the place. The only area were the mess was relatively contained was her small private office, were she busied herself writing.
Despite his best efforts to step around the mess, something cracked under his boot. Kevin grimaced as he bent over and picked up a small photo frame and gingerly removed the picture it contained and discarded the now broken frame in a nearby bin which was over flowing with detritus.
He smiled as he regarded the photo. A long forgotten memory flowed gently into his waking mind as smooth and clear as a mountain stream.
"She had just turned nine when you took this right? Who gave her that bow?" Kevin asked drawing Sarah's attention away from her frantic writing. "I think I would remember if it was you or me!"
Sarah rubbed her tired eyes as she regarded the photo, Kevin held. "It was Tanaka... He always liked doing little things like that for her..." she trailed of as she thought fondly of the kindly old sensei. He had been the first victim of the trigger sent. "I'm pretty sure this was taken just after Rachel announced she was pregnant with Henry...Martin was so happy he even let her have a slice of cake...oh the look on Zandars face" Sarah mused, a weak, tired chuckle escaping form her colourless chapped lips.
"So, have you decided...?" Kevin asked putting the photo in a small arm bag that was already overstuffed with wads of cash, photos and folders and a few other odds and ends.
He grimaced slightly as he looked her up and down, she had changed out of her dress into a pain button up light blue t shirt, long black skinny geans and a fur lined jacket. Her long hair hung around her face like a drab black curtain, she leaned heavily on the door frame that separated her office from the rest of her quarters exuding exhaustion.
He reached over, slowly and gently so as to not startle her and brushed some of her hair out of her face. Her eyes were red and puffy, her chapped dry lips quivered. She looked past him her expression blank and tired like some emotional vampire had sucked all the life out of her. He wasn't sure she even really saw him in that moment.
"I have...the letter for him it's on the table...I have the one for ...For Laura" she stated nodding towards her private computer and the table it sat on and reaching into her jacket for a pocket sleave hidden on the inside of the lining and retrieved a single, thick white envelope.
Kevin nodded, stepped past her and took the envelope from where it sat on the table it looked to be as thick as the one Sarah held and took it. "I hope this is worth it...you know Fisk is working an angle right? Are you sure he will come?"
Sarah turned and smiled weakly, her green eyes half lidded "I know...but Fisk doesn't matter...I know my daughter Kevin, she doesn't want to hurt anyone. If Fisk thinks she'll kill for him just because he has a better offer." She shook her head weakly. "As for her..." Sarah swallowed "Father"
The word hung there in the air like a snow flake, suspended in time. "Call it a matter of faith."
He snorted "No atheists in foxholes ha?" Kevin chuckled at his own weak joke. He smiled sheepishly as a bit of life seemed the come back to her as she glared at him. "So...Laura...I think it suits her"
She nodded sagely "Yes...yes it does...I just wish we had done this sooner" Sarah hid her face behind her hands and let out a soft sob "She'll never forgive me for...all these years...I could have...I could have."
Kevin wrapped her in a hug and rubbed her back, letting her sob quietly into his sholder her mask of self control having well and truly fallen away "Don't do that to yourself, just promise me one thing?" he asked braking away from her after her crying fit passed
He gently lifted her chin, Gods help him. He wanted to kiss her so much but knew he couldn't. It was just a bridge to far "Make it up to her and yourself for all the years you got left in you, no regrets, be the mom and woman Laura needs in her life."
"I..." Sarah stepped away rubbing her eyes "I'll try."
With that Kevin gripped the letter he had being given a little tighter, if king pin was true to his word the letter would reach its destination in a few days and this nightmare could be over, all they had to do was wait.
"A matter of faith" he chuckled as he left the room, he had a letter to deliver.
A bitter tragic laugh escaped her as she watched him go and held onto the letter that was for all intensive purpose's her last will and testament a little tighter.
She once thought it a ridiculous concept to have faith in anything or anyone after she had being failed so spectacularly as a child, yet here and now after years, decades of dedicating herself to science and logic or at least thinking she had. She had somehow managed to gathered up all the lose treads of faith, trust and belief she could muster with in herself and pin them all on a man she did not know beyond the reports she had read.
Those reports had hardly filled her with confidence but what other choice did she have? Even so she couldn't help but wonder would Logan come?
And if he did would he come as an avenger? To destroy the same breed of people that had once done to him what they were now doing to her daughter?
Would he come as a father to rescue a child born form his cloned genes?
Would he come at all, would he care? Sarah didn't know but she had to believe that he would, for vengeance, for justice, for connection and maybe just maybe for love. Because if she didn't make it out if she couldn't spend the rest of her life loving her daughter , someone to had be there for Laura when she wasn't.
Someone had to Love her daughter and show her how to love in return.
As corny as it sounded even to her tired, bedraggled mind love had saved her and she knew beyond a shadow of a doubt only love could save Laura.
X23 stiffened slightly, taking in her surrounding as the blind fold was lifted from her eyes.
She found herself in a large richly detailed dining room, a massive table made of some dark vanished wood that could comfortable sit a dozen people stretched out before her. Scores of plates, bowls, dishes and trays were filled with all manner of evidently freshly prepared food from every culture she knew of, were spread across the table in a feast that could feed a dozen people.
Hidden among the waiting feast X23 could make out bottles of fine wine as well as jugs of chilled cocktails and fruit juices.
A human sense of smell would have been, over whelmed. Her own sense of smell, however was far more refined and accurate perhaps even more so than the male donor for her genetic code. Which was just one of the many ways she zinged when Weapon x zagged, beyond merely their different genders despite her being a clone.
She could pick out the scent of every individual dish large and small, well known stable and rarity alike as well as determine a respectable amount of the ingredients used in their preparation. Her stomach growled with hunger and her long neglected taste buds began to water.
The facility had always strictly controlled her diet to such an extent, that taste was virtually known to her. She sook herself out of her momentary distraction and refocused her keen senses on the rooms occupants.
There were the two men that brought her in and were now making all haste to get as far away from her as they could without leaving the room, treating her like she was a venomous snake that could strike at any moment. She didn't begrudge them their caution but she was not inclined to kill anyone in less she was told to or was threaten.
Both men wore finely tailed suits over white button business shirts and long black suit pants with shiny shoes. They wore domino masks with opaque lenses to hide their, identity's. It was a wasted effort. She could easily identify the two by their scent alone. They typically worked closely with Doctor Rice whenever he deployed her on less than official missions or private contracts, like this one appeared to be.
It was not an uncommon thing for someone to contract the facility, officially. Only for that official mission to be a smoke screen for some other objective they didn't want the powers that be at the facility to know about. X23 was not entirely sure why the subterfuge was even necessary. Doctor Rice rarely deployed her or other assets on missions that would harm the Facility or its interests. It had happened offcourse from time to time but going through all the effort to cover up her less official activities when that wasn't the norm and these private commissions were seldom little different to the ones she normally went on seemed like wasted effort on both parties' behalf.
Through the fact that two of Doctor Rice's henchmen or at least men that were in on his convoluted scheme, had their loyalties bought by the kingpin was note worthy, if not entirely surprising.
She dismissed the pair as her gaze flickered towards, two middle aged women. The one closest to her was a tall and willowy middled aged Caucasian woman with dull brown hair. She carried herself even while standing still with a dancer's grace. The other woman was younger by half a decade, she was shorter, rounder with dark ebon skin.
Though X23 could tell with the same glace in which she first took in the pair, the bulk black woman carried wasn't fat but rather amble muscle, her own hair which was nearly as dark as her own coal dark skin and was cut into extremely fine stubble.
The women unlike their male counterparts were unfamiliar to her. They seemed less concern with her and more the last two figures that shared the room. One having being here when she had entered, the other having picked her and the two men the king pin had bought up.
Wilson Fisk sat at the opposite side of the long table, sipping on a long thin glass filled with some kind of dark and pungent wine, his long term body guard and right hand man, Lonnie Thompson Lincoln better known as Tombstone went to stand to his right. She was familiar with both men having been contracted by Fisk more times than she could count.
Tombstone was unusually tall, easily cresting over seven feet. He was dressed in similar attire to the male guards through forwent a mask not that a mask would do much to hide his identity. He was rather physically striking beyond just his height.
His skin wasn't merely white or pail like her own flesh, it lacked any colour what so ever thanks to his albinism. His face was covered in so many scars and wounds that had never healed correctly it resembled a shattered concrete slap. Tombstone's brow line was heavy and could even be described as rocky as he seemed to lack eye brows. He did have hair, on top of his head thin and bone white, slicked back. He chewed on a long tooth pick, his grey lips pealed back to reveal shark like teeth. He watched her with unsettling light red eyes
In comparison Wilson Fisk seemed comical next to his favoured underboss. To anyone who was unfamiliar with the man or didn't have access to heighten senses, like herself. Would have easily come to the conclusion that Wilson Fisk was a grotesque blob of a man that had through pure happen stance found his way to the top of the criminal underworld.
She knew, from a few comments Doctor Rice had made over the years he certainly thought so despite having read the same files she had. What most took to be blubber or fat was in fact almost ninety present muscle, Fisk was born with a rare genetic quirk that not only granted him abnormal muscle growth but said muscle developed more akin to the bulk of a sumo wrestler or marine mammal without the associated fat.
Which rather than making Fisk grotesquely obese, made him likely one of the strongest humans to ever live without the benefit some kind of super power. However It was the man's will power which radiated off him like the heat of a naked flame that X23 found far more intimidating than his impressive bulk.
"Ahh you've arrived, good..." Fisk said lifting his gaze to take in the teenage assassin and waved a hand to a waiting chair . "There is something of great importance I feel we must discuss but please help yourself to anything that takes your fancy...with the day you've had you must be starving?" Fisk stated waving a hand to the feast laid out before him. He narrowed his eyes as the young mutant didn't move an inch, he delicately picked up a fork and speared a chuck of butter chicken form a curry that lay before him and bit into the meat, which was so tender it melted in his mouth.
Still even with him showing the food would do her no harm, X23 hesitated as if unsure scanning the dining room with deliberate and single intent. Though he could see no fear in her posture or bearing despite undoubtedly being well aware of her situation
Wilson allowed his mind to wonder briefly for a moment as he thought on his long and mixed history with Logan, thoughts he soon turned to the Girl. Whom he was realtivly certain the clawed Canadian was only aware of through rumours, the facility unlike its weapons plus predecessors had mostly succeeded in keeping the so called, super heroes from finding out about their operations and X23 herself. However he had heard that Captain Rogers had a near miss with the girl, just as she was put on the open market and made her rather spectacular debut.
Regardless of whether or not Logan knew about X23 or not it was clear to him what their connection was, the claws were kind of a dead giveaway. She wasn't the first of the clawed mutant's way word children, He had dealings with. Yet he was taken aback by how different father and daughter were from each other.
Logan would have taken to the food and drink and whatever distraction Fisk had laid before him without second thought.
Not that the man was stupid, from his encounters with the clawed Canadian over the years he could never doubt the, mans intelligence. The two of them had even being criminal rivals for a time. Well rivals was perhaps too strong a term, Logan's criminal empire had never grown so large to truly threaten his own holdings but it had being a thorn in his side for a time but he doubted the mutant man even payed that much attention to it anymore, his interests lay else ware these days.
Logan simply had endless certainty in regard to his own abilities and resilience, perhaps to the point of arrogance or at the very least needless risk. If things went wrong Logan would and could easily cut his way out of any trap Wilson drew the mutant man into and they both knew that. Logan was direct an uncomplicated.
The girl on the other hand was a different beast all together, she held herself not with a lack of certainty or confidence per say, Wilson had followed her exceptionally bloody career for many years, beyond the jobs she had done for him. She was as skilled if not more so, then her father but here, now! X23 shifted, she analysed and she thought through the options before her. Even if her course of action would be the same, she would go about it in her own way, of that he had no doubt.
X23 tilted her head, took one final sniff of a steaming cut of stake which was the nearest meal to her and sat down. She cut into the meat and took a bite. All at once her long abused and seldom used taste buds came to life. Herb, butter, charcoal, sauce and just a hint of blood ran over her tongue as she chewed on the soft meat.
Wilson smiled and took a sip of his wine and another bite of his own meal "See now that wasn't so bad now was it?" he asked after allowing, her to indulge for a long moment or two. "... I'm afraid you have me at a disadvantage." Fisk suggested in a playful tone as if he wasn't familiar with her in the slightest and the girl was an unknown but entirely welcome and captivating guest at the social event of the season.
X23 regarded him with cold green eyes, her forehead wrinkling.
"You know who I am" he clarified after washing down a portion of his own chosen meal with a lengthy sip "And you must know how I hate being at a disadvantage, yet I have never gotten your name despite the many times, I have contacted you...so please tell me your name?" Wilson pressed his tone firm but not unkind.
X23 lips pursed slightly "You know my designation" she stated tensing in her seat. Her knuckles losing colour as she tensed "What is my mission? Doctor Rice stated you wished to inform me in person"
He frowned, the skin on the bridge of his wricking and his lip twitched. However despite the subtlety of his expressions and how briefly they showed across his face. The girl sat taller, straighter if that was possible with her posture already putting most flag polls to shame. Despite himself Wilson found the twitch of his lip forming into a frown. She certainly had sharper eyes than her old man, he'd give her that.
Wilson never imagined it would be easy to talk to the girl but he only had a limited time with her to make sure he got something out of this night before Rice came to collect her as was their agreement. He couldn't waste time on her thinking he had brought her here for something as mundane as murder. "You don't have one, at least from me tonight." He sated somewhat wistfully. The girl was despite his assurances still hyper alert, aware of every movement he and his guards made. Even something as subtle as the rhythm and cadence of their breathing was taken in by the young assassin with the same importance and inherent threat as if he pointed a loaded gun at her heart.
"I do not understand" X23 stated
Wilsons' frown deepened and his fists clenched, he had seen the same hyper alert state stare in his own reflection as a young man, even after he had beaten his father to a pulp with his bare hands. He unclenched his fists and smiled as warmly as he could manage.
"As far as the facility is concerned you are already on mission, killing one of my under bosses that is trying to turn state evidence." Fisk explained as casually as he might have in his younger days explained to a corner shop owner they were late with their protection fee and needed to pay. There was no anger in his voice, no hostility, no promise of violence only a statement of fact. "A shape changer whom owes me a favour or two has taken your place on that job. They may not be the as a proficient killer as yourself but I doubt anyone but your own mother or father could tell the difference." He paused as he saw X23 stiffen slightly at the mention of her parents, he couldn't tell if she reacted because he knew who she was related to or because nobody not even her mother had stated the exact nature of their relationship out loud.
X23 did not fully understand why but felt a spark of anger and what she could only describe as worry shoot though her making her muscles tighten, when Fisk mentioned Doctor Kinney. She breathed out, 'control' she thought to herself pushing her wayward emotions to the back of her mind. "If you do not wish for me to kill for you tonight, is there something else you wanted from me?" She asked pushing aside the rich stake she had been enjoying.
"I merely want to speak with you tonight" Fisk told her honestly. "Get to know you, like I do your father" He said having noticed the brief flash of emotion that crossed her face before she suppressed it and believing it came at the mention of Wolverine.
X23 narrowed her eyes and studied Fisk's face and words, looking for any sign of dishonesty or alter motive. She could pick up on strands of each but nothing that would indicate he was being completely dishonest, working an angle certainly though what he hoped to accomplish she had no clue.
She knew at the very least that Fisk's claim of knowing her father was truthful. She'dread enough of her male donors files to know that the two did have a complex history but that could be said of a great number of people whom interacted with weapon X. Though she didn't know what the Kingpin hoped to gain by bringing up his connection to her predecessor. "I am not permitted to..."
Wilson leaned forward and lifted a finger to interrupt what was likely a prepared statement. "You're not permitted to do a lot of things aren't you?" Wilson asked probingly.
She fidgeted in her chair despite herself.
"You're not even payed for what you do are you?" He added shaking his head despondently. "What if I told you I could change that for you? What if I told you I could give you everything you ever wanted?" He Pressed. "Freedom for both you and your mother, a chance to live your own life without the fear of the facility hurting either of you ever again and if you wish it a meeting with your father"
"Impossible" X23 stated growing truly aggregated now
"Not so my dear, very little is Impossible if we have but the will and the drive to achieve our dreams and I can offer you more than the chance to explore those aspects of yourself, I could offer you opportunity." Wilson told her earnestly he lifted his hands, palm side up towards the ceiling as if he was a priest resighting gospel. "And there is no greater will than the will to be free! This country was built on that, has fought wars over that undeniable right and it is through that same will! I have attained my wealth and power, it can be the same for you and I'm willing to help you achieve it. Should you only consider my offer?"
Her eyes narrowed "You wish to own me?" She asked again reading Fisk's expression, she let out a small soft sigh. He seemed earnest in his offer but she could not take it, the facility or perhaps more importantly Doctor Rice and Kimura would never allow anyone else but themselves to own her. While she had known no other existence she had long ago decided she disliked being owned and despite the impossibility of the kingpins offers. She found that she liked the idea of trading one master for another even less.
Wilson razed a hand in a charming gesture when he noticed her mounting discomfit. "I have no intention of owning you or anyone." Fisk sated soothingly
"I merely prepose the option to call upon my aid, should you tire of your current station" He said lifting his glass to drink once again. "A person of your talents should be rewarded, not punished for a job well done. You deserve a better life and I can help you get it." He told her hoping to play into her ego, in his experience people with powers or abilities like her own tended to have strong egos. However it appeared for the moment she lacked any pride in her skill and to say she had a diminished sense of self worth would be a gross understatement. "
X23 shook her head dismissing his assurances "No, you would not. You are the kingpin" she stated matter of fact. "And I..." she trailed off
Wilson leaned forward, his interest peeked "Yes?"
"I do not like it" X23 stated her voice quite, her eyes down caste as she slipped a claw out of her right hand and gently but firmly, pressed its razer tipped edge to the inside of her left wrist and slid down, cutting the pail thin skin as her thoughts dwelled on the pain she had unleased on others. Their faces, last moments and pleas for mercy grew in her mind until she could think of little less. She was unable to push them or their accusations away for each and every one were true and she hated that they that fact.
Wilson nodded noting the girls grisly act of self harm "I see..." he let out a long tired breath "Believe it or not I understand, truly I do." he told her bringing her attention away from her act of self mutilation, something like curiosity flicking across her face. He stood up to his full height, motioned to the female guards who took his jacket and at a whispered command lifted the back of his shirt.
Her eyes widened slightly as she saw dozens, upon dozens of faded scars. X23 slid the claw back into her hand and the small x she carved into her own flesh, sealed, scabbed over and then faded into nothingness in the span of a few seconds. She stared at Wilson intently as he rolled back his shirt and sat back down, forgoing his jacket when it was offered. The act of showing her, his own scars seemed to have drained the man, slightly. "What do you want?"
He glanced over to Tombstone, whom was tapping his watch "I'm afraid our time together tonight has drawn to a close, my people will take you back to be picked up by Doctor Rice. Rest assured this is not the last time I intent to reach out to you in this manner, I'm sure given time. You and I will come to some kind of agreement" He said draining the red wine he had being sipping at for the duration of their conversation. "All I want from you, is to think on what I have offered and even if it comes to nothing remember tonight and what I offered you" Wilson told her, refilling his empty glass with thick, brown rum.
With that their word of parting, the clone stood up, nodded her head and marched to the door way out of the dining room, with all the precession of a military marching band. The two guards that had brought her in, blind folded her and took her from the room.
"Dam shame, boss, you went to all this effort, for the clone to snub ya" Tombstone stated gruffly, taking out the tooth pick he had been chewing on and stuck it into a slice of cooked sausage as he started to walk towards the door the girl had just being taken through.
Wilson smiled warmly "You think so?" he shook his head. "Not at all Mr Lincoln, while I am disappointed that our young assassin didn't jump at the chance to undermine her masters. I am hardly surprised" He said shrugging nonchalantly. "Having lived through my own miss spent youth. I knew this would never be easy and besides, tonight was never about her saying yes to my offer as genuine as it was...This whether or not X23 knows it or not was just the first stage in our negotiations"
Doubt flickered across Tombstones craggy face "Seems to me she gave you a pretty definite no on killing folk, makes no sense to me" ToomStone shook his head. "Since that's all, she's ever done!"
"Perhaps..." Wilson conceited "But no's can turn into yes's with the right motivation and besides I have plenty of killers on my pay role and while X23's skills in that regard put nearly all of them to shame they are not the only skills she has to offer" He said entirely complementarily and earnestly. "Frankly the facility is far too focused on that aspect of her skills and there is the way they treat her..."
"It's not like your exactly light handed yourself boss" Tombstone pointed out as respectfully, as he could.
Wilson raised a single eye brow but nodded in tacit agreement "I'm no saint but I've dealt with these kinds of people before. They always think the stick is all that is needed" Wilson shook his head an expression almost like pity filled his face "Using such blunt methods never lasts, sooner or later something gives" He took a swig of his rum "And after my conversation with Rice and what my little birds have told me. Not to Mention what the girls mother is upto, something will give very, soon"
"And when it does, you think she'll come to you?" Tombstone asked dubiously halfway to the door
"She'll have very few places to go and I would certainly welcome her with open arms, her skills even when not applied to murder would be immensely profitable. However that wasn't what tonight was about. Its why I have every intention of having Missy Kinney's letter reach Logan and when he learns about what the facility has done, well..." Wilson smiled through there was no warm in the expression.
"It all comes tumbling down? How does that help us, boss?" Tombstone asked scratching his craggy brow. "Wont wolverine just take the kid to his school of freaks?"
Wilson inclined his head and nodded in subtle agreement. "Most likely yes but given, how self involved the xmen and mutants tend to be. It's unlikely that X23 will ever become overly involved trying to stop or hinder our operations in a meaningful way innless we antagonised her or them and I've never seen a need to, poke that particular hornet nest and even if we do cross swords. She will remember tonight and carry this moment with her for many years which might make her hesitate or turn a blind eye." Fisk explained at length.
"And there is the fact that while having the facility service's to call upon has been a benefit to our organisation in the past." Fisk sated honestly "Over the last few years they have started to compete with some of our operations and allowing Logan and X23 to downsize that dreadful place and likely remove much of its effective leadership and power players to boot. Will be to our benefit, as we provide our protection and resources to anyone willing to pay in the years to come and should they not pay or start to step on our toes again..."
"We know two clawed freaks with scores to settle and long memories" Tombstone added impressed
"Quite, now why don't you take a doggy bag with you?" Wilson said with a chuckle pointing at one of the many untouched meals left on the table "See that our young assassin meets with Mr Rice, I would hate for her to be late for her next appointment"
The ink transferring leadership from now former Director Martin Sutter to current Director Zandar Rice had not even dried yet when he opened the boot of the car he had driven his mentor home in and gave X23, whom had being told to hide within, her last order.
With that he left and told her to find him when the mission was completed
The mission itself was clear and simple
Kill Martin, Rachel and Henry Sutter and make their deaths look like natural causes, she had completed two out of three of those objectives and now stood outside the burning Sutter home. Sweat rolled down her face despite the chill in the air that found her and wrapped her in its icy embrace. The objective she had elected to ignore whimpered in her arms as she held a boy no older than six years old close, shielding him as best as she could from the flames and the cold of the snow that gently fell from the sky.
She had never done this before
It was true she had let people not mentioned in her missions or where not objectives escape or she simply ignored them. It was also true that she had gone feather than ever before with the father and son, she had used to get into the hydra base earlier today. Though she didn't know if they had escaped the final destruction of the base and would likely never know but she had never defied a direct kill order.
She didn't understand why she had spared the child, only that when she found him cowering in a cupboard, a lethal dose of untraceable poison in her hand. She couldn't take his life, she wouldn't. As she looked into his eyes, she saw herself and didn't like what she saw and didn't want to see it, that look. Ever again not from people like him, people who didn't deserve to die.
Now in the snow, watching the house of the man that had bought and sold her a thousand times over burn and holding his child, comforting him the best she knew how. She felt it
The weight that had been with her since her first kill to now
Change, it was there but it was different, not by a lot but just enough for her to be aware of that she had and could change.
She not merely ignored or let go someone whom was not selected to die by her hand. She had chosen
X23 had chosen more in that moment then she ever had before. It felt wonderful and horrible all at once, the choice was hers not Sutter's, not Rice's , not Kimura, it had always being hers and would be hers for the rest of her life.
She doubled over as if in pain, holding the child closer, an agonised scream issuing from her mouth as tears ran down her face. The choice was hers and that was a terrible thing for she had believed it wasn't. She had been razed in cage abused in all the ways a mind could conceive, striped down and told everyday of her life, that she less than nothing.
That had been a lie one told and believed but it was a lie that she had been breaking herself from for some time now she knew. The weight of her sins grew and grew until one final sin could be added that would break her forever.
She set the boy, Henry down on the snow covered ground beside a tall tree, the area lit by the roaring fire. She hoped that the trunk would provide the child with some degree of shelter from both the roar of the flames and the bite of the icy wind. He wore pale blue pyjamas decorated with various heroes, spider man, Captain America, Thor and even Ms Marvel. He clutched a headless Spiderman toy to his chest like it was a cross, tears streamed down his face as he watched the fire consume the only home he had ever known.
Her acute hearing picked up the shrill approaches of sirens in the near distance, likely only ten minutes away if that, Rice would be closer and eager to get back to base before they were cut off. He wouldn't have time to check that she had finished the job.
By the time they had returned to the facility, the boy would be safe with the first responders and likely the media would want to interview him as soon as they could. With so much attention thrown his way he would be safe until interest died down and once that was done Zandar might not even care that he was alive, the child knew nothing of value and was no threat to him.
She undoubtedly would be punished but right now X23, didn't care. She had defied what she was made to do, what the facility had told her was her only worth in this world and that act of defiance, rebellion and freedom felt right and true, neither she nor the facility could deny it any longer.
The king pin had been right about that much
Next and final chapter: Colossal wreck