Ozymandias

AN: it is with great regret in my heart that i have to say to any of my readers, follower's and people that have faved me and have patiently being waiting for an update for my game of thrones story. Sins of remembrance will not be continued, not only have I lost most if any love or interest I had in the series of game of thrones or a song of ice and fire, the world, character and lore no longer hold any interest to me but weighting for that story courses me great emotional distress and anxiety.

Due not only the above but the countless mistakes I have made in that series as well as my own rising moral objections to my own work on that series, in that I was pushing myself in direction and course I was not comfortable with. Alongside my disentrancement from the franchise and series as a whole as well as the emotional distress it has coursed me I cannot in good consciousness continue that series.

There are those that believe art or great art, the latter of which I cannot clime my series ever even got near. Can only come through great pain and suffering. That suffering and misery are a necessary element in creation, but I cannot stress enough how much I think that statement or belief is utter bull shit, I have seen firsthand how destructive genuine mental pain and illness can be to those that suffer from it and those that support and love the person suffering from those conditions and can attest to the fact that no great art was created as a result of that pain or illness more often than not any art created was created in spite of the illness not because of it.

I categorically refuse to suffer for a story, world or universe that I no longer take any joy in and subject myself or others to the pain that anguish creates feather more i refuse to allow myself to suffer for other peoples enjoyment, that is not how i wish to live and is not how anyone should live.

I had intended to post the half finished chapter I had being working on but recently my computer hard drive died and I lost nearly all of the information I had stored on it, including my fan fictions, its only thanks to the fact I sent this story to my friend imaxwebber for proof reading and editing that this chapter of ozmandias that it was not lost to the either for a 2ed time.

I must offer a thanks to my friend Imaxwebber for helping me with this story.

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AN: warring gore, torture, bodily mutilation and cannibalism

Chapter Nothing beside remains part 2

"There are two kinds of guilt: the kind that drowns you until you're useless, and the kind that fires your soul to purpose."
Sabaa Tahir, An Ember in the Ashes

XXXX

X23 slid to a stop behind the bulk of a heavy wooden box as the lidless lenses of an over head camera slowly panned back in her direction forcing her to once again take cover in the cramped and dusty service corridor she had snuck into since disposing of the two guards that wished to exploit her.

She had to actively slow her breathing to quell the tingle of annoyance and a feeling which boarded on paranoia, which crept up her arched spine like an insect. She could almost feel the camera lidless gaze drawn toward her and linger for an unconfutable long time on her hiding spot before her heighten hearing, told her that the machine started to turn opposite direction.

Normally her patience would be more than resilient enough to wait out such a minor obstacle. The Facility had gone to great lengths to train and reinforce patience, discipline and control.

However this was not the first camera she had come across while she snuck though the corridor which had seemed to be filled to nearly the brim with junk, which would have made moving though the discrete passage way silently enough of a annoyance without her having also having to circumvent several previous camera's that were just as irately slow as the one above her now.

Combined both ate away precious time and fact of the matter was it would only a matter of time before either someone missed the two men she had killed, go looking for them, find them by happenstance and would raise the alarm or the boy Jackson and his father would intentionally or not alert the guards to her infiltration. Time was something she could ill afford to lose and as a result sorely tested her patience and stoked her anxieties.

When she was very young she had once over heard Director Sutter say that was one of her male progenitor's, Weapon X's greatest weaknesses. He often boasted that thanks to the facility's heavy handed indoctrination and discipline regiment there would be no repeat of the mistakes the original weapon plus made.

It was the height of irony then for as much pride Director Sutter and Doctor Rice and others of their fraternity took in her indoctrination and their control over her since she could walk, that it was they more often than herself that suffered from a lack of patience which in turn coursed her to develop some of same traits and quirks they hated and loathed in her male sire.

Not only that but they had to concede that a certain level and training in both creative, independent and imaginative thinking was not only necessary but desirable in creating and nurturing an asset such as herself.

It was in this way that she could succeed and complete virtually any mission put before her. Weather she was given near complete leeway and discretion as to how to achieve the goals or she had to fallow, the script of a mission to the letter.

In the case of this mission, it was left up to her own discretion as to how she and in what order she was to complete each objective. However the time she had being given to complete all of them was absurdly short and the information she was given about this base, its staff, its defences and safe guards and what she may face within were at best lacking and at worst slap dash.

The only thing she was sure of besides her objectives and her strict time table was that she had being informed in no uncertain terms that failure would be punished far more severely than usual. Not the she was prone to failure in either objectives or over all missions, the number of times she had failed in either case could be counted on one hand but that never stopped them form hurting her regardless of her outstanding success rate.

She could only conclude that the facility expected her to fail at one or more of her objectives and all of this was some bizarre form of justification, for something... What she could only guess.

XXXX

While her manipulation of the typical weak willed hydra soldiers that had happened upon her, Jackson and his father had allowed her to enter the mountain side compound, without as far as she was aware alerting the base to her infiltration and well ahead of time had being an unexpected boon, however her having to dispose of her personal captors

Had all but denied her any advantage that ploy had bought her and while she had thought the use of this pass way would provide her a safe and relatively secure and secretive way avoid the main thoroughfare, corridors and patrols. Immediate upon entering this service corridor she had regretted not squeezing her lithe body into an air duct or finding her way into a crawl space instead.

Almost the entire available space was crammed full of materials both familiar and strange. Everything from building materials, massive blocky obsolete computers many of which had at one point or another become home to rat's, beakers full of samples had turned cloudy as their contents petrified and objects even she could not readily identify.

The dust covered junk had being piled in so many lopsided and seemingly random heaps though out the corridor, that the random assortment of moulding debris would have created obstacle course she had to navigate at without knocking anything over.

Lest she possibly risk someone over hear any the resulting crash and collapse of one of the plies of trash.

Which given her particular skill set would hardly have be a challenge but the cameras were proving to be an irritation and time sink she could ill afford, if she was to make as much use as possible of the ever shrinking window of time she had to make use off before her infiltration was discovered.

She took a breath concentrating on the here and now as she waited for the camera to move away enough for her to dash forward. She couldn't help but wonder what had possessed the commander in charge of this base to place so many camera's not only within the main avenues and internal layout of the structure but within this and likely other near forgotten passages?

Paranoia may have being the most obvious and logical answer, after all it infected the entire of Hydra from the ground up.

Yet something didn't seem right to her, it was the amount of internal security she had seen so far would have being excessive for anyone not counted among hydra's high command, Red Skull and other notable hydra leaders.

Never mind the impressive external defences she observed from the would have being more than enough to be able hold up to and possibly even defy a well supplied military assault for considerable time, even if the defenders were outnumbered a hundred to one in that the base's staff would have plenty warning and ample time to escape or buy time to be reinforced.

Only a team of either enhanced or empowered individuals could hope to punch through the outer defences quickly and even then it would test and possibly bleed any but the most powerful groups of so called super heroes she was aware of.

She tilted her head as she readied herself to vault from her hiding spot and considered something she hadn't had before.

Any group weather they were a mundane military force, SHILD or a team that had access to empowered or enhanced individual's would require the deployment of infiltration operatives, to get as much information as possible and or make openings for their comrades.

She realised in that case the amount of camera's she had seen, even those placed seemingly forgotten places such as the cramped corridor she found herself sneaking through. May have not being as much of and overindulgence as she first thought.

Her eyes widened as she worked though everything she had seen, imagining it all in her mind's eye with sudden clarity.

The top most level of the base, where hydra were in the processes of building a run way and air field, where their command centre and staff was likely housed was made debility too, inventing a target for any infiltrator to use as a means of entry. The other defences were far too well entrenched for a direct assault any soldiers or personal that were taken out of the equation by an infiltrator would be missed before long and the internal security would eat up pressures time.

Anger and frustration flushed in her breast, 'How did I not see it sooner?' she chided herself. This was a trap and a extremely fine one an what was worse, she had fallen right into it. If she had being given more time to observe the base and plan or if the facility had being able to give her more details on the base, its complement and capabilities she may have not made such a blunder.

She needed to bring her mind back into focus, there was little point to giving into to her aggravated emotions but they would not let her focus her attention on the here and now and she needed to resort to drastic measures to restore it.

She slid one claw from her right hand and touched the razor sharp tip to the white skin of her left arm just below the black wrist band she wore and lightly pressed down and quickly craved a sideways cross into her own flesh. Blood and pain welled up from the spot bringing with it the clarity she needed when ever her emotions began to affect her to the point of distraction. She breathed out as the fog in her mind cleared, she didn't need any more than one cut, which quickly healed as her skin sealed within seconds and the scar that would have formed if she didn't have her healing factor would have joined the countless now invisible other cuts she had carved into her flesh over the years.

Her mind brought into sharp focus she could now take a moment to think through a plan

She knew going to the medical ward would almost certainly alert the base to her presence as she hadn't neutralised the bases internal Security systems, it was a calculated risk as she needed to retrieve her uniform and equipment to have the best chance of completing her objectives and getting out of the base alive.

While she had being trained in the basics of cyber warfare and subversion she was by no means proficient and she could not guarantee that her skill on its own would be enough to blind and deafen this compound, if she did neither she would be surely foiled in her task and would be extremely unlikely to escape. With this base clearly being a well constructed trap, her only reliable means she that would allow her to achieve any of her goals let alone affect her own escape was the number of fast acting and vicious virus and malware programmes that were contained within a number of universal computer jacks that were a part of her standard gear.

Gear she had hidden in Jackson's camping bag and there was also the fact that the medical ward were he and his father had being taken. The medical ward was where she had the best chance to retrieve and then destroy any weapon plus data this hydra cell had stolen and take any information on experiments or assets they had completed off their own merit.

As irritated as she was the rellie on such things as chance and luck, they were ephemeral and unreliable at the best of times in her experience. She could only trust that her luck had not run out and that the camping bag hadn't being taken from the young man and that he was still with his father, if either wasn't the case. Then the trials she would face in overcoming this base would be all the harder.

'Now that least I have the starts of a plan' she thought now that her mind was no longer muddled with indecision in dealing with and puzzling out the unfolding situation that she had being ill prepared for beyond her extensive training and conditioning, a plan formed in her mind. 'I have to get any information from the medical ward, kill the head doctor and his staff and retrieve my equipment. Weather I am able to retrieve my equipment or not, I must overcome the security systems or the risk I will be locked down and over whelmed or fail my mission will be...'

Her internal musings trailed of as the distinct squeal of the rusted servos that moved the camera back and forward, informed her the camera was finally pointed enough

away from her for her to make a move. She slid the claw back into her hand and vaulted the crate she hid behind with a single fluid motion and sprung forward like a spring aiming for one of the few patchers of concrete floor that was not covered in detritus about ten meters a head of her.

She landed with a soft thud, her reinforced combat boots taking up the majority of the vibration of her Olympian jump dispersing the sound of the impact.

She sprinted across a few meters of ground that was relatively free of debris before having to climb up a pile of seemingly tightly stacked wooding beams that blocked her path almost utterly walling her off from the nearest exit. The only means forward was the sizable gap between the piles and the ceiling and a space between the pile and left wall, a space so thing that even a cat would have trouble squeezing through.

She found perch on the top of the plie with the practiced ease and pulled herself up with a soft exhale of air. The wood was soft and almost squishy to the touch. It took her a moment to realise the torso high wall of wood was home to a nest of termites.

Her fingers dug into the soft mouldering wood, disturbing the nest of the white soft body insects. They did not take kindly to her assault on their nest, several hundred of their big headed soldiers rushed out of dozens of holes and bit into her fingers as she perched on to the top most board, light and lithe as she was she could already feel the wood warp and strain under her weight but it held as she holster herself up and over, going into a crouching position, the wood creaking and cracking under her weight.

The vantage point allowed her to see the rest of the corridor, while it was nearly as cramped full of detritus as the passage ways she had already traversed thankfully there were no feather cameras , well at least any close enough to make her out in the gloom of the corridor. As a bonus she could at last see the exit in full. She tilted her head as instead of a solid door made of wood or metal, there was a thick plastic opaque curtain's.

She carefully climbed down the other side of the termite infested pile of wood and tip toed her way past several mobile table's piled high with glass jars, some of which had fallen some time ago and smashed to pieces, covering the ground in shards of glass, desiccated and rotting animal and plant specimens most of which were so degraded she could not identified and long dried liquids.

While the whole corridor was thick with the stink of mould, animal droppings and the vague scent of chemicals that made her hackles rise, no ware was the reek more concentrated than here. As careful as she was she couldn't avoid stepping on some of the shattered glass which crunched softly under her thick boots.

She had just stepped free of the crowd of trolleys and glass containers and reached the 'curtain door', when parts of the top most board she had used as a perch, came crashing down into a few of the metal trolleys she had just squeezed through. The rotten wood smashed into half a dozen glass jars and even managed to knock one of the trolleys over, this in turn knocked two more over like dominos.

X23 stood stock still for a moment, daring not to do so much as breathe as she listened for any sign that she had being detected. She curled her lib angrily as she heard two pairs of heavy foot steppes', stop and turn in the direction of the hallway she was in. One pair stepped closer. The soft foot falls were deafening loud to her as focused and tuned her already sharp hearing in on the pair.

"Did you hear that Lue?" a young man, his voice cracking asked, with mild uncertainty.

She herd another man, draw closer. X23 could tell he was larger and likely older than the first man by the sound and weight behind his foot falls which echoed through the quite hallway. "Probably someone using the corridor for a smoko" another man, whom x23 presumably to be Lue stated with casual indifference, his voice was a thick dry drawl, he sounded like he was either from Australia or South Africa.

"We better check it out. It's a dump in there. They might have hurt themselves" the younger man stated and started to step closer to the curtain door his long shadow reaching the door frame long before he himself. "It's not like we have anything better to do" he added after a while.

X23 moved swiftly to the left of the sheet covered door frame, she grimaced slightly as she tensed the mussels connected to her hand and feet claws. Slowly her claws pierced the skin of her hands and slid free, without the customary snikt sound her claws made when they sprain forward from her hands and feet.

Slowing down the release of her claws was an especially painful process as the skin of her hands and feet tried to heal even as her claws pushed through it but if there was anything she was used to and could deal well with was pain.

Pain had being her companion for as long as she could remember, the pain of training until her body collapsed from exhaustion, the pain of hormone injections, sensory deprivation and mental programming, starvation and beating.

She had foolishly thought she understood what pain was from an early age. Everything she had being through was nothing compared to the pain that had being forced upon her after when her powers had first activated.

The falsity and more importantly Doctor Rice had nothing to hold them back after that day.

The day her claws had first broken through the skin of her feet and hands, she learned the true meaning of pain and she would remember it for the rest of her life and she relived a portion of that pain every time her claws sprang forth.

She had only had her original bone claws, for a few hours before Doctor Rice sanded them down to numbs and with agonising slowness and pressure shaped her regrowing claws into shape while binding molten hot adamantium to them, one by one and all without aesthetic or the blessing of unconscious taking her.

Doctor Rice forced her to stay awake while he cut, sanded and fused metal to her claws. All the while he ranted, raved about is father how, everything he had done and would do was for his father whom she gathered had being killed by weapon X after he had escaped the weapon plus programme that he had being a part of some thirty or forty years to her own conception.

X23 felt hate uncoil like a snake and reared up within her and threaten to strike out. She gritted her teeth and pushed the feeling aside as she pushed her self up against the wall, curved her spine slightly, as vile as these men were they didn't deserve her hate, only a few had sparked that useless emotion within her and they were not here. She brought one booted foot up and dug the metal tip of the claw into the corky concrete. She remained like that for a moment waiting to see if she had being over heard as she slowly crawled up the wall, till she was above the door frame.

"Mate, she'll be right! We'll don't want to be late for our shift change and neither of us are getting payed for over time." Lue grumbled even as his younger comrade pushed through the thick opaque plastic sheets that blocked the entrance way.

X23 watched the two men from above like a hawk as they stepped into the darkened corridor. The younger and smaller of the two pulled out a small flash light out from a leather pouch hocked into his belt and switched it one so he might be able to pierced the gloom.

The larger man, Lue she presumed waved his right hand in front of his masked face several times. "Urge smells like a dump in here!" Lue stated, his voice dripping with disgust

"Some ones definitely being in here!" the younger man stated, pointing his flash light towards the slowly spreading puddle of putrid liquids that had spelt out from the ruin of several dozen broken jars. The beam of his flash light rose upwards past the mess to the pile of wood, illuminating what remained of the beam that had fallen from the stack she had vaulted and drawing the attention of several hundred flying termite elates that swarmed towards the light.

"Umm, no foot tracks" Lue stated dismissively having turned on his own flash light and brought it forward. Unlike his fellow his search was far more methodical. "Wait what's this?" Lue asked rhetorically as he stepped feather into the space. He bent over and examined a spot on the ground and touched it. "Blood, fresh too...might have being a rat, maybe a racoon or something?"

X23 tensed 'some blood from my cut must have still being wet enough to fall on the ground' she thought annoyance filling her chest.

The younger man, walked closer and examine the same spot, for some reason he took off his mask and the harsh light revealed a round freckled face still heavy with baby fat. He had dark brown hair and blue eyes, he was far, far younger than X23 expected, twelve or thirteen at most. Which either meant he was a recent convert or was the child of hydra agents. "A racoon managed to knock that beam of wood from the pile and tip over all this shit?" the young man snorted in half hearted jest "Big Racoon" he added sarcastically.

X23 weighed up her options in quick succession. She could kill these two men without being immediately detected as she had the previous two.

On the plus side it meant fewer soldiers to fight later when the alarm was inevitably sounded and she had to engage in open combat, she had being tasked to kill all the staff on base which was a tall order.

This wasn't the first time she had being tasked with that objective but she was usually furnished with the means and a plan to do so, currently she had neither and her time table being what it was she had doubts about her own ability to achieve that end.

However there were risks as well while the two men she had killed already had yet to be noticed as missing as far as she was aware and more other their bodies had yet to be found. Adding these two men to her tally would decrease the time she had in a literal sense and increase the chances of raising the alarm exponentially as the more people killed before she could silence the alarms and camera systems the more and more likely someone would notice the missing or find the dead.

She shook her head, 'no' she told herself. The men were well into the service corridor and she could easily slip through the door behind them and into the hallway beyond without being seen by them. She began to lower herself from her makeshift perch when the shriek of a siren pierced the silence.

"Attention all hydra agents this is not a drill, we have an infiltrator in the base, the two soldiers that brought in a family of civilians found nearby woods have being found dead. The girl they were reported to be escorting has not being located. She is to be considered armed and dangerous. Report any possible sightings at once, report to your muster stations or watch officers. Base is going into level one lock down, all entry and exits are being closed. Repeat this is not a drill"

Lue unlatched his walkie talky from the holster on his hip and brought it up and just as he was about to flick it on. He saw a shadow detach itself from above the door. It moved so fast he was barely able to register the glint of what looked to be knifes coming out of its hands. "Oh sh...'

XXXX

Jackson thought his day couldn't get stranger or worse and yet it had in spades. First his dad insisted on taking the both of them into the woods for their week end together. While he normally liked camping though, he prefer doing it in the spring and summer months when he and his dad weren't likely to catch their death in the frozen barrens and truth be told he could live without the hunting his dad always insisted on.

He would have much preferred to spend this weekend with his dad any ware else other than the woods but he hadn't fought, his father on it as this would be the last weekend they would have together for a while. His mom was moving both of them to the big city for her new job and her new boy friend.

Jackson silently cursed his timidity. He had known something was wrong with his dad the minute his mom had dropped him off last night but his dad said it was just a cold and there was nothing to worry about. Not wishing to start what was meant to be a... Fun weekend...

'Well that have being a stretch', Jackson admitted to himself, off on the wrong foot he had gone with the flow despite his misgivings.

He had even thought that his dad was right, that all he had was a cold as when they left the camping grounds parking lot and entered the woods proper, his father had being so invigorated and lively that he thought he was merely over reacting.

However as they tracked through the woods, it become increasingly clear that his concerns were well founded as his father started sweating and stumbling around.

He had tried convincing his dad to turn back, that he wasn't well but nothing had worked, his dad was stubborn like that.

He didn't know what he would have done if that strange girl hadn't revealed herself and stabilised his dad long enough for them to be rescued and brought to this weird old military base in the middle of no-ware.

Through upon entering the base and being separated from the girl whom had being taken away by the two soldiers that had rescued them from the woods. He had a suspicion that this base or rather its occupants wasn't what they appeared to be.

For as long as he could recall the base and its occupants had being avoided by the people of his small lumber town like the plague. Rumours of all kinds abounded ranging from the reasonable to the outlandish and differed wildly, though something nearly everyone in town agreed on was that the base had being abandoned for some time before being resettled and another the people that called its place home were to be avoided by any means possible.

Now he was here and he had seen at least some of the inner workings of this place, he suspected that even the worst of the rumours he had had about this place, were truer than he had thought possible.

The medical ward he and his father to had being brought all but confirmed it.

While he didn't have a wealth of experience with hospitals at most his home town had a small chemist and a walk in clinic both of which could have comfortably fit inside this medical ward with room to spare. He got the distinct impression that this place was some kind of laboratory, of the mad science verity and was up to no good when as his dad was roughly seen to one of the dozen matching beds which were all lined up the far north wall.

The south wall was dominated by a single long Cabinet and shelf , save for the door way he and his father had being brought through after they were separated from the strange teenage girl.

The long marble self was home to dozens of microscopes, spinning centrifuges,

bunson burners, computers and other things that wouldn't have being out of place in the science museum his mum had taken to soften the news that she would be moving them to the big city.

The most notable piece of equipment which was an exceedingly complex Rube Goldberg esk set up. Were lit burning boson burners boiled the containers of several different glass jars each if a differently coloured liquid.

The heat turned the strange liquids into vapour which was sucked into a series of inter mixing cables. These, vapour's would mix and then run through a section of piping that ran through some kind of miniature fridge and drip out as a opaque green liquid that was dripping into and slowly filled a glass beaker. A thin paper sticker which had the word 'TRIGGER' printed in capital letters was stuck to the side of the beaker.

Jackson watched the Doctor a tall old and imposing man, amble over to the contraption as he had done nearly a dozen times since he had briefly looked at his dad and asked a few disinterested questions, before injecting him with something and telling him to wait and with machine like procession and timing he took the beaker from its stand, placing a new empty beaker in its place between drops of the green liquid before poring the half full beaker into a dozen thin glass tubes each with their own 'trigger sticker' then corked them and placed them on the counter.

If the doctor's pattern held in a few minutes he would put them in a small refrigerator which was filled with dozens if not hundreds of tubes filled with the suspicious liquids as well as other odd and ends.

It wasn't the doctor's weird contraption or the fluid it produced that was his major concern however it was the other oddities that he could see through the wall length cabinets window's such as specimen jars filled with formaldehyde and things that looked distressingly like deformed human and animal foetus.

Jackson directed his gaze away from the obese sight hoping the Doctor hadn't seen the look of horror in his face and toward to the two other patient's one on either side of his dads bed. Both were sound asleep, the one on his right was a middle-aged man, his face and upper shoulder was heavily bandaged. What he could see of the man's skin around the bandages which truth be told wasn't much, was red and flaky. 'He must have been in a fire or something' Jackson assumed silently. He had seen plenty of similar burns on the lumberjacks that made up the bulk of the population of his town.

The patient to his left was a teenage boy maybe a year or two older than himself and had it worse than ether his dad or the burned man, his feet and hands were cuffed. He had a transparent mask over his mouth and nose, which was feed by a machine that seemed to almost breathe. The rest of his face was half hidden under a boxy contraption that sat just above his face. Jackson leaned over and could just make out a faint flicking light emitted by what he presumed to be some kind of screen. Though he couldn't quite see what it was displaying

Jackson swallowed as he felt the general feeling of concern for his and his father's well being turn into something else. As his gaze lingered on the strapped down patient he realised a few things.

Firstly there was something odd about his skin. At first he thought the other teen was merely tanned or had some kind of weird skin condition but as his gaze lingered and he took in more of the other teens features Jackson realised that his skin wasn't tan it was straight up orange and covered in thin scaly growths. The other teens finger nails were also far longer and sharper than normal and shaped more like hooked talons, the lower parts of his legs and feet had a weird shape to them, digitigrades if he recalled his biology class well enough. 'Like a cat or dogs back leg', the thought

"He's a mutant" Jackson concluded with quite certainty, his eyes practically bludged out of his skull and he clamped his hands over his mouth but he was too late. He hadn't being

paying attention to wear the doctor was while he was starring at the mutant teen.

Jackson swallowed as he realised he had drawn the doctor's attention.

The doctor was a tall thin man, his skin pale and drawn like it had being vacuumed wrapped onto his own skeleton. His hair, what little of was left of it was white and wispy. He had small icy blue eyes.

He wore a dark grey lab coat that draped off his penicil thin frame like a caravel tent was hung up on nothing more than a flag pole. He wore a dark green suit and pants with the same yellow trim all the soldiers on this base seemed to favour, his uniform was a fair higher quality than the rank and file soldiers Jackson had seen so far, though the style of the doctor's uniform was far older. 'He looks like he stepped out of a picture from the forty's.' Jackson thought pensively

The mental comparison did nothing to quell the anxiety that was already threatening to burst out of him as the doctor's cold gaze lingered on him. Though as unnerved as he was by both the doctor and the medical ward, the doctors two assistances which flanked him were just, wrong.

Until that point Jackson had done his level best to avoid looking at them but has they now flanked the doctors left and right side respectably, he had no choice but to look at them.

Their skin was white to the point of being translucent, their black veins were visible even from a distance under their pallid flesh, feather more their skin was completely smooth and had an almost glossy sheen like plastic or wax.

They had hair of a sort through he doubted it was real or hair at all, it was the colour of cobber wires. It was pulled into a small wispy bun so tight it looked as if their waxy scalps were being pulled back giving their faces a ghoulish almost skull like expression. They stared at him with glassy doll like eyes.

They were dressed in matching lithe light green body suits that hugged their figures like a vacuum sealed gloves. Their uniforms would have left even less to the imagination than the strange girl he had met in the woods if they were not almost completely androgynous. Their fingers, hands arms and legs looked like they had all being stretched and were far too thin.

"Quite perceptive boy" the doctor said with dry humourless cackle as he walked over to the scaly mutant strapped to the table and read over the chart that was attached the foot of the mutant's bed. "This one has, as you can see has very subtle mutations." The doctor said more to himself than he did his newest patient. His accent was weathered but unmistakably European

Jackson did his best to maintain a neutral expression in the hopes that the doctor would once again lose interest in him but as the old man's humourless glaze locked on to him with all the singer focus of a magnifying glass, he knew in that moment that he and his father were at the mercy of the old man and since the doctor seemed to have all the warmth of a polar bear he doubted the doctor even knew the meaning of mercy.

He swallowed as unbidden his mind flooded with pictures from his history books detailing the bazaar and obscene experiments preformed by the 'doctor's' that staffed the death camps operated by the axis powers during ww2. Despite his best efforts to keep his expression neutral he knew fear had flicked over his face like a heat haze and the doctor had clearly seen it.

A slight predatory smirk creaked across the old doctor's face as he watched the weakling boy's realisation of the predicament he was in. Some of his fellows had accused him of being needlessly theatrical in relishing these small moments when those that were to become his new canvas realised the predicament they were in. Perhaps he was but at his age he had nothing that brought him pleasure quite like watching someone wriggle on his hook like a fish.

These new mongrel's that called themselves hydra just didn't understand the simple pleasure complete control over one or two soul's could grant, there was no poetry in the suffering any more.

Not like there were in the good old days, oh how he missed the camps and the wailing at night. He did his level best to ignored the japes and jibes of his 'fellows' he would enjoy his time with the boy as he would his father and any other that were put under his knife.

First however he needed his sport he needed to give the boy hope before he snatched it away, 'just play with him a little' he thought a wry smirk threaten to make his lips curl upwards.

The doctor smiled with all the sincerity of a crocodile "Initially when it was brought in, I didn't want to waste time and valuable resources augmenting and conditioning it. Unlike

other's of its kind, this one wasn't granted with any particularly note worthy powers, though the commandant felt that it could be of use." The doctor sight at length

"It is ever the burden of those whom dedicated themselves to science to bow before the whims of those who have dedicated themselves to power." The old doctor turned to face the boy whom had risen slowly from his chair besides the sleeping form of his father. "Good, Boy your sharp, scanning the room for a means of escape...you could you know!" he said with a cracked leathery grin "I'm such an old man and there are no guards near my lab, they get so squeamish when my patient's start screaming."

"Stay away from us you ghoul!" Jackson shouted, picking up the flimsy chair he had being sitting on and swung it like a club at the doctor. The old doctor's assistants sprain forth like a jack's in the box. Any illusions he had entertained about the two being nothing more than sedated zombiesk slaves were dashed to splitters in a second. One pulled the doctor fully out of the reach of his desperate swing. The other not only took the full force of his swing, using it thin wiry arms to block the strike but in a single motion managed to wretch the chair from out of his grasp.

Jackson staggered back as he was sent off balance, it was all he could to do to stay standing. He blinked his eyes in disbelief, 'how was that possible' his mind raged at the injustice and unreality of his situation. While He might not be the biggest guy around, he was no slouch, that blow should have being enough to send a creature as slim and petite as the doctors assistants to the floor at the very least.

Yet the creature stood unmoved and as he stood and stared in awe. Were one of the chair legs had made contact with the things wax like skin, it had broken through the thin membrane. Were there should have being blood there was a thick oozing black substance and machinery, pistons and wires along with lifeless alabaster write tissue. The sight struck him as oddly familiar, Jackson realised that the flesh under the wax like skin of these creatures was not unlike the flesh of the animals preserved in formaldehyde filled jars in his schools ancient lab.

He felt his breath catch in his throat "Who the hell are you people?" Jackson asked as he backed away feather from the doctor and his cyborg assistances, he knew it was pointless, his father was still unconscious and he couldn't leave him to these freaks, even if he could, even if he fled. We're could he go? He was in the middle of a base filled that tolerated and worked alongside this man, if everyone else in this base was even half as evil, he would never make it out alive let alone get his dad out of here in the state he was in. "Just let me and my dad go and we won't tell anyone what you're up to here" he offered desperately trying to keep break down.

The doctor shook his head a look of mocking disappointment filled his face. He held up his hand to and waved it dismissively. "Oh my boy don't go start disappointing me now, I had such high hopes for you. If you and your father never leave then you can tell know one anything and besides who would could you tell that would believe you? A town full of hicks, your weakling government?" The doctor chuckled "Even if I was to let you go and you decide to blab the damage you could do to the good work we are doing here would be trivial. Though I must say I am little surprised that you didn't extended the offer to your sister?"

Jackson swallowed, in his panic to protect himself and his father combined with the realisation he was trapped in the lion's den he had completely forgotten about the strange girl that had accompanied them. He had being grateful enough not to out her as a complete stranger as they entered the base as he felt he owed her and she had played the part of the distraught sister and daughter so well it had almost had him convinced she felt as worried about his dad as he was though it was clear to him given her affect and strange outfit when they had talked briefly in the woods, that she was up to no good.

Before it dawned on him on how creepy this place was he hoped at most she was a spy or something here to grab some info and get out without hurting anyone. His town had long known of the base hidden up in the wildest and how it had originally being a base build during the cold war before being abandoned and then in more recent years resettled. Rumours abounded like they always did, some thought the government was trying to make use of their investment once more, others at worst thought it was a group of survivalists but as they had kept themselves to themselves, no one had thought to make contact to check with anyone.

"But no matter, no matter" the doctor waved away the boys slip of the tongue. "We both know you can't escape and even if you could. You wouldn't leave your father so let's end this foolishness eh?" the doctor suggested as he made a motion with his hands which relaxed his assistants.

He dropped his cold and cruel affect it had served its purpose now as it always had. His manner and actions had illustrated that there was no escape, no hope of rescue or reprieve, fear and self preservation would normally be enough to cow the boy into submission.

Yet the boy despite being alone surrounded by enemies he had shown a great deal of bravery and intelligence. Hydra always had use for brave souls and for new minds to bring into the fold, in time the doctor knew the boy could be turned, he was young and like a lot of young people he was lightly dissatisfied or at the very least starting to question why the world was the way it was.

He could be shown the truth of it, hydras truth. The world was weak, corrupted by greed and notions of freedom that did more to cage people than any slave master or dictators had ever done. There were so many young people all over the world, young minds ready to be put on the correct path.

"Show me how smart you are, and I know that you are smart. We can offer you a chance to be a part of something greater than your wasteful doomed society. We can offer you and your father a place in the world to come..." The doctor offered his hand.

Jackson looked at the weathered hand then to the doctor, for a moment a second he was tempted. 'If I agree, I would buy time for me and dad to work out an escape' he thought. It would be so easy to take the old mad man's hand, so very easy. It wouldn't mean anything, he would be buying time that was all, buying time. Then he looked to the assistants, their unnatural waxy skin, the mutant child strapped into some kind of strange machine that was doing god knows what to him. He couldn't have a part of that could he? "No, I'll never join you!"

The doctor sighed genuinely disappointed "A pity you could have saved yourself so much pain but do you think you ever really had a choice? Girl's if..." He trailed of as an alarm started sounding "What the devil is it now?"

Jayson wasted no time as he bum rushed the nearest of the two cyborg assistants. While he wasn't the biggest in his age group in his town, his fit life style and love of sports and the wilderness had granted him a toned if not overly bulky physique and while his mad dash had knocked the cyborg to the ground like he had hoped, the creature was too heavy for that. He was able to push it into a curtain divider that separated his dads alcove from the burnt mans alcove.

He dashed over to the long bench and picked up a large heavy meat cleaver which looked like it belonged more to a butcher than a place of healing, though he was quick to remind himself that this place seemed to have more in common with the former rather than the later.

"Enough of this stupidity" The doctor roared to be heard over the alarm and the message being played over the intercom. "Get him... bring him to me alive" the doctor commanded

Jackson ducked as the one he had knocked into the curtain divider cut its way through the its restrains and tried to bound at him in a single leap but its legs were still tired up in the now ruined tatters of the curtain tripping it to the floor.

The other one, the one he had hit with the chair a few minutes before had no such impediment and rushed towards him with jerky unpredictable movements. The skin along its fingers split apart like an insect escaping a cocoon or former skin and a myriad of small thin knifes, scalpels and needles with both thread and filled with some clear liquid sprang forth and spray of waxy flesh an oily blood.

It was all he could do to side step the first blow which narrowly missed him through it did imbed itself into a jar filled with some kind of caustic foul smelling liquid that made Jackson gag and wrench as he scrambled away. The jars foul contents splattered all over the assistant, the strange liquid quickly started hissing as it crewed small holes in the assistant exposed flesh and strange uniform.

Jackson managed to scramble away and get back onto his feet in short order, not wishing to waste an opportunity his quick foot work had granted him, he swung the hatchet he had retrieved aiming for the things thin neck.

His blow was intersected by the second assistant that had managed to free itself from the last of its restraints and caught the outer edge of the hatchets bladed edge in the bottom half of its left for arm, its right hand lashed out and slashed upwards nicking bisect of the of his arm, making him drop the hatchet and scream in pain. He backed away as quickly as he could looking around for any other means to defend himself when he saw a few corked vials of the green liquid on the long bench, the same liquid the bed ridded mutant was being exposed to. 'I hope this stuff is dangerous'

The doctor felt his old heart skip a beat when he saw the boy, snatch up a hand full of vial's of trigger sent. His weathered face filled with fear as his watery eyes opened fully as he absorbed the danger he was in. "No...stop" he gasped out like a drowning man desperate for air, his cry all but lost under the continual blare of the base alarm which rang out without end. While the shrill bell worked fine, the message the alarm was trying to convey was filled and garbled that part of the medical wards alarm must have being worn out or malfunctioning.

He reached into his a small holster hidden in his lab coat and pulled out a thin long thin pistol. He aimed and fired the pistol once at the intercom that was built into the ceiling of his medical ward, blowing the thing into chunks of smoking scrap metal and charred hissing wires. The intercom let out a long drawn out garbled squawk as it died. While the alarm and reputing message still immerged from the intercoms sprinkled throughout the hallways beyond still blared. The thick walls of the medical ward dulled the sound to a quite muffle. "Enough, everyone stop" The doctor ordered in his most commanding voice.

His assistant's stopped at once and the boy, Jackson locked eyes with him having recovered and rallied from the loud crack of his pistol far faster than he would have thought possible not to mention managing being able keep a hold on the vile filled with the trigger scent. They boy was clearly stronger than he estimated; he would make an excellent recruit for hydra once this foolishness was done with. As much as he admired the boy's strength and cunning, enough was well and truly enough! He pointed his gun at the boy's father, "That is enough boy, another wrong move and your father dies"

Jackson grit his teeth but didn't dare to do anything else, the vile in his hand started to feel unnaturally heavy as the loss of blood from the wound in his other arm started to zap his straight.

The doctor smiled, "There now, isn't that better? Now let's all be reasonable adults, put the vile down and we can forget all this mess and you can have a fresh start." He offered keeping his voice low and even, he reached out his hand.

He weakly shook his head, Jackson knew there was no way out for him or his dad but he would be dammed before he submitted to whatever perversions the doctor had in store for him. "Fuck you, creep" Jackson shouted his defiance readying his throwing arm. He had no idea what was in the vile, maybe some kind of drug, mind control agent or a virus? Whatever it was the doctor was clearly terrified of it.

The doctor cocked his gun and shot the young man a death glare. "Last warning boy, you and your father are not getting out of here. Make it easy on..." The doctor trailed off as he gaze was drawn away from the defiant boy to a flicker of movement near the door frame no more than a flitting shadow

His eye sight might not have being what it once was but it was still remarkably sharp given his age, he knew he had seen something. "You there by the door, come in where I can see you or else." He cocked the gun again aiming his pistol at the silhouette that he could see more clearly through the thin plastic curtain's that served currently as the only barrier between the medical ward and the hallway beyond.

The doctor grinned slightly when a unmasked hydra trooper a man maybe a year or two older than Jackson poked his head through the opaque currants, his grin vanished however when he noticed how pale the man was. His eyes drank in more details, like the fact that the troopers eyes were glassy and unfocused and how he didn't seem to be breathing, the body shifted slightly forward and he could see the front of the troopers uniform was not mealy covered but drenched in blood.

XXXX

Acting on instinct The Doctor fired his pistol again, firing two more bullets. The body of the young man dropped forward as a teenage girl perhaps no older than fourteen if not younger jumped through the door way, she sped towards him with all the deadly practised pose of a predator her lithe frame jerking this way and that as she seemed to anticipate his ever shot, until his gun clicked empty.

The doctor swore under his breath, the world seemed to slow for a moment as he clumsily ejected the spent magazine and fumbled while he struggled to load in another clip.

The Doctor was taken aback slightly as he sighted down his pistol and focused his attention on X23's head and shoulders. In that split second their eyes somehow locked despite the blood that caked her face and had mattered her ebon black hair which fanned out behind her like the wake of a fishing boat plying its trade in the midst of a night kissed ocean.

Jackson didn't truly understand what he was witnessing, the strange girl had arrived and had seemingly sprinted across half the length of the medical ward far faster than any human should have being able to all the while dodging the doctor's hail of bullets with all the grace of a dancer. Seeing a chance to perhaps distract or even injure the Doctor and give the girl a chance to save both he and his father, Jackson threw the vile of green liquid as hard as he could, it went end over end as it sailed through the air until finally it hit the doctor square in the chest bounced off and fell, smashing on the hard tiled floor at the doctor's feet, the green liquid splattered all over his shoes.

"Assistants! Forget the boy, stop X23" the man shouted as the girl, stiffened for a moment all the practiced almost graceful pose she had demonstrated but a moment ago disappeared in an instant, replaced by something all together more feral as she sniffed the air like a blood hound and her once green eyes turned blood red.

She began sprinting like a mad woman at him at a speed that beggared belief. The veins in her face and neck engorged becoming noticeable even from a distance. The doctor wet himself as he realised what charged at him now with all the silence of the grave could not be reasoned with, it was no longer a girl human or otherwise. It was death, death itself and finality caught up with him and there would be no escape. He had read enough files that their cell's little insider within that ridiculous weapon plus programme to know that.

He knew that for all intensive purposes, her conscious mind had being subsumed utterly by a killing instinct purer than any found in man, mutant or animal. Only hydra's own robotic dreadnoughts and other automatons were as singly focused as she was in that moment and even then they could not hope to measure up to what the clone could unleash.

He levelled his gun and fired another three shots in quick succession the first narrowly missed her shoulder. Somehow even in her addled state anticipated the shot and moved out of the way at the last second. The second grazed the left side of her throat managing to tear skin but little else. The third round hit her in the upper shoulder. The meat of her neck quickly knitted shut and the tissue of her shoulder closed around the bullet before pushed it out. The small shard of deformed metal clattered to the floor even as she heedless of the damage she had taken ponced toward the doctor, the claws in her hands and feet claws out stretched.

One of the cyborg Assistant's the one that had being burned by the chemical jar Jackson had tricked it into, jumped and crashed into X23 just before she was about to bury her claws into the doctor at the last moment, pushing her master down to the floor. He swore loudly as he hit the tiled floor hard, splattering himself with more of the green liquid at his feet as he feel into its lingering puddle. The doctor cursed as he started scrambling away on hands and knees.

The mutant boy that had being unconscious until the vile broke open, was now thrashing wildly trying to break free of his restraints. He was rocking back and forward with such fervour that he managed to tip his bed onto its left side and the resulting crash split one of his hand restraints open. He scrabbled and clawed at the other restraints that still held him, mewing and spiting like a feral beast as he tried to pull himself free of his restraints, ignorant and uncaring of the blood that was pouring from the many cuts his now twisted bed frame and restraints had gorged into him.

Meanwhile the burned Assistant tackled X23 to the floor using its cybernetic enhanced straight and weight of the implants that made up the majority of its body's to pin both of the mutant's arms all the while its augmented fingers tore and bit into her exposed flank. The young mutant assassin, kneed the cyborg in the lower torso were its stomach would have being hard enough to crack her own knee cap, her foot claw cut though the cyborg's uniform pant leg and then sliced though uniform and false skin alike.

Her claw must have cut something important as it dug into the Assistant groin area, foul inky liquid that smelt like a mix of sour milk and rancid cooking oil gushed out of the wound. The thing lost some enough strength, for X23 to kick higher this time burring her foot claw into the cyborg's flat stomach. She then pushed with all her strength springing free of the cyborgs vice like grip and kicked the cyborg back. The wound in the things gut and groin split open, reals of wires and lumps of fatty preserved meat and organs started to spill out of the wound.

The cyborg wobbled on its feet as more and more of its foul innards poured out making the floor slick with whatever passed for blood in its misshapen form. Amazingly the thing had strength enough to not only stand but lurch forward towards the cloned mutant but did so in a much more sluggish manor.

X23 kicked off the ground and swung in mid air like some kind of horrific mix of human shaped blender and spinning top. Her booted right foot, with claw fully extended smashed into the half dead things skull with a loud wet thump. The thing fell to the floor but somehow continued to pitifully claw and paw at X23's lithe frame. The fact most of what ever passed for a brain inside it skull having being skewed hadn't put the thing out of its misery. She retracted her claw and put the dying cyborg form her mind, the reminder of its life was measured in seconds. Her predatory focus once again fell to the doctor whom had gotten to his feet.

The seconded cyborg nurse interposed itself between her and her target.

This one had in as much as it was able, learned from its fellow's mistakes and stayed back and entering a defensive stance, its needle like fingers augmentations dripped with caustic liquids and powerful sedatives, bladed scalpel fingers glinted in under the over head lighting. It placed itself in-between the doctor whom was recovering his wits and X23 whom was still recovering from her last brawl. The wound in her side had not healed as fast as it normally would and if she was conscious of things, such as pain in her current state. It would have filled her mind and body full to bursting.

X23 regarded the cyborg and the elderly doctor though blood red eyes for a single before springing forward, her blood covered claws glinting under the overhead lights, her ever cell and mussel burning with murderous energy. Even Addled as she was in this state, her mind was sharp enough to recognise the cyborg for the threat it possessed and knew she had to end it quickly so she could destroy her target, nothing else mattered. She covered the few meter's that separated her from her targets in but a span of a few heart beats.

To the cyborg's credit it braced to meet her seemingly blind charge with its hands out stretched ready to skewer her on its bladed appendages and would have done so had the cloned mutant, not dove down to the floor at the last moment, ducking well under the cyborgs reach. The blood that had drenched her borrowed clothing as well as the smooth tiled floor, allowed her to slide forward and between the cyborgs spread legs.

Her claws cut into the creatures Achilles tendons, making it warble and tilted like a cup of jelly as it turned to face her, one of its legs gave out under it as it started to lose all sense of balance. She dug her claws into the tiled floor, pushed upwards into a handstand and kicked the abused cyborg with the back of her boot. The cyborg having lost all strength in its legs, fell backwards, landing on the floor.

X23, let her booted foot fall like a meteor as she pushed off the ground with her arms at the same time flipping herself forward onto the things chest. She gave it no time to react or regain its bearings as she burying both her clawed hands under its rib cage and pushed upwards no doubt piercing whatever it had in place of a heart and lungs. Black ooze gushed from its mouth. X23 pulled her hands three for a moment before stabbing into wound she had made with her first strike, each time her claws dug deeper and deeper into the rancid meat of its chest. Until reached into its ruined chest cavity and pulled out something foul that may have once being a heart. The cyborg let out a long agonised whimper as its tortured form finally became still.

Her head and gaze snapped away from the grisly sight of the now dead cyborg as she heard the distant sound of foot falls. Her eyes narrowed and focused solely on the elderly doctor whom despite his advanced age had nearly made it to the curtained door frame. She was only dully aware of his presence in her current malaise she noticed that Jackson had intercepted the doctor. The young man had picked up and hefted a tall metal stool and was using it as a club swinging it wildly keeping the doctor from escaping.

Her lib curled, her blood was well and truly up there was nothing between her and her target. The target was all that mattered now, no more distractions. She broke into a mad dash her face a picture of utter fury but she was not the only one with in the room whom had being conditioned to seek out and destroy anyone marked by the trigger scent.

Over looked by all the occupants in the room, the scaly mutant patient had managed to free himself from the restraints of his bed while she wrestled with the two cyborg nurses, ran past her screaming like a banshee.

The mutant boy, jumped onto the doctor's back and started bighting and clawing, his sharp talon like claws and razor shape teeth quickly drawing blood. The mutant boy seemed to be completely oblivious to the wounds he had caused himself as he was bleeding profusely from deep gashes in his wrists, arms and legs were he had ripped free of the intervenes tubing that had being plumbing goodness knew what into his body.

"Get... off me you freak" The doctor swore as he managed to punch the mutant boy in the face. The sharp pain and impact was all that was needed to free himself from the emaciated mutant's clutches. What little strength the mutant boy had after weeks of surgery failed him as the mutant let go with a pained howl and pawed pitifully at the doctor's feet.

The doctor glared at the mutant, his face a mask of utter contempt. "Weakling!" he spat as he held aimed his pistol and fired into the mutant three times. Splattering his brains over the floor, he turned to aim the gun at Jackson and cocked the hammer. "You had your..." The doctor never got the chance to finish his sentence as X23 stabbed him in the back as he turned to face Jackson, her hand claws piercing his black heart.

The doctor looked down at the metal claws that poked through his chest, covered in his own blood, red spread out from the wound. He coughed once before going limb as soon as X23 retracted her claws, he fell lifelessly to the floor.

X23 swayed for a moment as the rage and pain bled from her body, her gaze cleared of the haze that had come over her. She looked impassively down at the doctor.

Jackson blinked and dropped the tall metal stool he had being holding which clattered to the floor. He couldn't believe what he had seen. It had happened all so fast he hadn't really had a chance to process the killing ground the medical ward had become. Behind him at the lip of the door frame a teen not much older than himself dressed in the same green and yellow uniform of the soldiers of this place seemed to favour lay dead, blood slowly pooled under him. In front and to the left of where he stood the mutant boy he had seen hooked up to machinery lay dead in a heap, faint wofts of smoke rose from his bullet wounds. To his right the doctor lay, equally lifeless as the strange girl riffled through his pockets looking for god knew what.

Feather into the medical ward he could make out the doctor's two cyborg assistants or rather what was left of them? One had being all but disembowelled a oozing coiling mess of metal and rancid meat innards were laid in heaps on the lower half of its body. He gagged as the rancid acidic taste of bile threatened to push up from his stomach and escape through his mouth. The Other assistant all things considered was far more intact through its inky black blood pooled under its now still form.

He managed to keep the contents of his stomach down as his eyes flicked to his dad whom was still asleep, his gaze briefly flicked to the other man whom was likewise unconscious. Jackson took a slow calming breath and cupped his face trying desperately not to scream. "Fucking Christ" He swore under his breath as he breathed out. His attention and gaze flicked back to the doctor's corpse, the girl had clearly finished her business of ransacking his body having turned the pockets of his uniform and lab coat inside out but still lingered over him like a vulture. She reached into his mouth and felt around for a moment before pulling on something, her bloody hand emerged seconds later holding a small chunk of bone and meat.

Jackson gagged "Is that a tooth?" he asked

X23 looked up from her grisly work and stared at him impassively for a moment before standing up to her full height. "The clothing I gave you. Where is it?" she asked her voice clipped and offered no illusion to were her priority's lay, her tone brooked no argument. While she had being trained at least sparingly in diplomacy she had little time to imply a gentler touch. While she had sprinted as fast as she could from the storage corridor to here and her fight with the cyborg nurses had lasted only a few minutes, hydra was surely aware of where she was and was even now sending forces and if they were at all competent they would be setting up choke points and blocking of means of escape.

Ever moment she lingered brought her closer to failure. She pushed that thought to the side. "Time is off the essence Jackson. Were, are my clothes?" she asked again, her voice slightly softer this time.

Jackson blinked and pointed towards a duffle bag that had being placed on a chair on the other side of his father's bed. To his surprise the bag had remained un touched by the carnage of the last few minutes. "What the hell is going on, who are these people? Who the fuck, are you? Why did you wig out when that green stuff hit the doctor?" He asked exasperated as the horror of everything he had witnessed set in as he carefully walked around the cooling dead bodies and pools of blood as he walked over to his father

X23 put herself between him and his father standing stock still, she noticed what remained small puddle of greenish liquid and smashed glass. A slight frown pulled at her pail blood streaked lips. "Trigger" she murmured quietly almost fearfully. "Touch it and I will kill you" she pointed to the puddle and then to the contraption on the wall long counter top that was still slowly producing the green substance and the finally to the dead bodies.

Jackson steeped back, "Is that a threat?" he asked his voice trembling.

X23 shook her head as she stepped around the puddle and opened up the duffle bag with one hand while with the other popped a single hand claw and started to slice off her clothing.

"Again seriously!" Jackson asked as he turned struggling not to flush bright red as she started to strip again though given the fact she was covered in blood. It was far easier to avoid the temptation of not looking at her near naked body than it had being in the woods. "Didn't your parents ever teach you about privacy?"

XXXXX

"Alright, you have want you wanted" Jackson said after he sure it was safe to look at the girl again after she had spent the last minute or so getting dressed back in her form fitting black uniform. "Can you tell me what the hell is going on? When your team or whoever is in charge of you is coming to rescue me and my dad and shut this hell hole down?"

X23 regarded Jackson for a moment as she pulled a portable a small hard drive out of one the small pouches strapped to her belt and plugged it onto the large computer bank that took up most far side of the lab while placing the false tooth she took form the hydra doctor put it into a small plastic zip lock bag and put it into the same pouch.

Not only was the tooth proof that she had killed the doctor but the tooth itself was a compact data storage device in its own right which undoubtedly would have information the facility would find intriguing. The hard drive had an automatic aggressive search, retrieve and destroy virus installed within it. "There is no rescue coming for you or your father. You were not a part of my mission's parameters." She stated matter of fact as she look through the draws and cabinets of the medical ward for anything she could find that would be useful as she waited for the hard drive to finish downloading.

"You can't be serious?... I saw your claws, your moves. You must be a super hero right..." Jackson felt the colour drain from his face as the strange girl continued to ransack the medical ward seemingly oblivious to his mounting distress. His eyes flicked to the dead bodies. "You're not a hero are you?" he asked tears starting to roll down his face and he started to weep openly for the first time since he was a little kid.

She spared the young man a long side long glance until her attention was drawn back to the hard drive and the computer bank she hooked it into started beeping. She walked over to the hard drive and pulled it from machine which was already starting to smoke.

Jackson cupped his face in his hand's "Oh god! Oh Christ! You're going to kill me and my dad aren't you?"

X23 tilted her head "You are not part of my mission parameters" she told him her voice soft. Again like in the woods when she chose to reveal herself to Jackson and his father she felt a weight on her chest that she had rarely felt before.

He looked up at her "So you can't save me and you won't kill me..." Jackson half laughed half wept all the grief and rage he felt at the unfairness of today's events filled his voice with bitter venom.

Her gaze flicked to her mission timer and to the curtained off door frame. She had lingered to long as it was but a part of her felt, wrong for abandoning Jackson and his father to their fate. "I cannot abandon my mission. I cannot stop you and your father from escaping." She told him matter her fact.

"What...that doesn't even make sense?" Jackson sniffed and looked up to, where he expected the strange girl to be only to find that she was gone. He looked around the medical ward but there was no sign of her. Other than the mess she had left in her wake, anger and a feeling of betrayal flushed hot and red in his chest until he noticed something on the floor near the bank of now smoking computers. He walked over to have a closer look. There were three pistols, about a dozen or so clips of ammo, a map smeared with blood and a few other odds and ends he took to be items the girl had taken from men she had killed before reaching the medical ward.

He leaned over and picked up the map, it was smeared in blood and other liquids but still readable. There were a number of hastily drawn lines that started at the medical ward that highlighted paths to throughout the base, some to exits or places he and his father could hide

A soft groan caught drew his attention away from the map and the small stash the girl had left him. His dad was starting to wake up and look around. "Dad...there's no time to explain we got to get out of here as NOW!" Jackson said roughly scooping up the pile of stuff the girl left him and running over to his father, while he looked around for a wheel chair or something as he doubted his dad would be strong enough to walk.

XXXXX

Blood splattered across a multitude of television and computer screens that took up the majority of the back wall of the security station as its last defender fell backward into a large cushioned chair.

X23 retracted her claws and roughly pushed both man and chair out of her way as she darted towards the large console, man and chair fell on top of the bloody bodies of the man's two fellows. She grimaced slightly as her body expelled small chucks of steaming lead. One of the defenders of this security station had evidently used hallow point bullets in his gun which her healing factor had difficulty expelling.

She was tempted to use one of the remaining three doses of re-gen she had as a part of her standard equipment which super charged her healing factor for a short time and would also dull the pain of the wounds she had suffered. Whatever the cyborg nurses she had fought, had injecte her with during their battle was clearly severely retarding her healing factor and increasing the pain she felt and was as a result slowing her down, so the idea had

X23 pushed pains of her ravaged body from her mind for a moment as she observed several view screens at once as she plugged in her destructive hard drive. Not that she thought this security station would have any information the facility may mind interesting or useful but deigning it to hydra could only help her on her mission.

She had being irritated slightly that the medical wards computer systems had being on an isolated server, which prevented the mal ware she cared from doing damage beyond the destroying the doctors notes, there was however a greater chance that a Security station, even a redundant one like this could allow the mal into the internal systems of the base proper. She was pleased to see several security doors of this station and several other doors both major and minor open and other measures such as Security screens and grates open all over the base.

She let out a small brief of relief, she wouldn't have to crawl around the air ducts just to get around the base any more.

Her lips pursed slightly as she viewed a screen that was fed by a camera outside outside the medical ward. It must have being very well hidden as she hadn't seen it on her entry or exit.

She saw a squad of heavily armed hydra agents enter into the medical ward, 'odd it has taken them this long' she thought as she wished she had laid some form of trap there but hadn't had the means or the inclination to endanger Jackson and his father any more than she had already.

While conceived herself there was a practical, even pragmatic element that played into her decision to spare them as they could sever once more as a distraction and deverson, she knew that was not the whole truth. Her heart bet rapidly as she watched the screen.

She expected to see the tell tale flash of gun fire. To her surprise the camera shook as was a single large flash of filled the screen, the screen cut out for a second before the feed re-established itself. Two hydra soldiers tumbled out of the curtained off door, flames licking their green uniforms, thick black smoke and flames billowed out of the medical ward. Jackson or his father must have set a trap likely creating an improvised bomb with the labs various flammable gas's and liquids

She spared a moment to scan the other camera feeds as the malware with in her hard drive continued its work. Alarms all over the base died feather locked doors and elevators opened and closed seemingly at random even the lights began to flicker in places. Finally she spotted Jackson pock his head around the coroner of a thankful empty hallway that was near to one of the exits she had marked out. Once he looked left and right checking the closet was clear, disappeared behind the obscuring wall for a second and then entered the view of the camera proper, pushing his father whom was sitting in a wheel chair into view. He was and his fathers were dressed in bloody uniforms, Jackson must have stripped one of the dead soldiers she had left in her wake. She felt the weight on her chest lift slightly to see the pair still alive as the screen she watched died.

X23 pulled the hard drive free of the now useless machine and reached down to her belt and touched one of the two remaining grenades she had scavenged from hydra soldiers she had slain and contemplated using it to lay a trap for anyone foolish enough to retake this security station but thought better of it.

She knew from hard learned experience that her enemies would only fall for the same trick twice and she could not grantee that any trap she laid here would aid her in the mission. Besides she could use the grenade in other more practical ways.

Jackson and his father, nor the medical wards were far from the only things she had noted on the camera feeds. Hydra had brought in the pair of dreadnoughts she had seen at the front of the base before encountering Jackson and his father. She would need to take them out, which was no easy feat but they, had for reasons she could only guess at had split up. One heading towards her final destination the top of the base were undoubtable the commander of this place had rallied the majority of their forces. According to some of the information she had managed to gather from the doctors notes, hydra's attempts to create their own super powered agents like herself were between the dreadnoughts and the top of the base.

The other was not far from her current position but unlike its twin it was not alone, it had some thirty or forty soldiers around it, clearing rooms and searching for threats. X23 hesitated for a moment, she knew she would not have time nor the means to kill both especially with the one closest to her being as well supported as it was.

If she went after the one heading towards the top of the base, she would be all that much closer to completing what she deemed to be her primary objectives after that she had ransacked the medical ward. Killing the weapon plus grade agents hydra had created before they could be deployed or the information of their creation shared with other cells and killing the commander of this place were her highest priorities, she had discarded the notion of killing everyone in the base as impossible given her ever stinking window of time.

While attacking and destroying the lone dreadnought and making her way to the holding cells and command staff in turn may have seemed at first blush to be the correct and more efficiently choice considering the scope of her remaining objectives. She doubted slaying hydra's experiments would be easy, mutants, more cyborgs and others would be a challenge in and of itself.

The commander and his staff would also be heavily defended, while denying them one dreadnought was a considerable blow to be certain. Denying them a dreadnought and some forth plus men was even more of one.

She grimaced slightly as she weighed the options of her internal dilemma as she checked her mission timer, in the end that was the deciding factor. She had little over an hour to complete her primary objectives and in all honestly even that was being generous. She had to destroy hydra's experiments and commanders, there was enough time for anything else.

While she was loathed to leave herself exposed to the possibility of being out flanked, taking the lone dreadnought and hitting the holding cells which it would soon be passing through on its way to the top most part of the base was in reality the best out of a lot of bad options'.

X23 took with what she could from the trio of dead hydra soldiers in the security station and left at speed. It was now or never.

XXXXX

Heavy metal foot falls echoed through a single long broad corridor making the three flicking over head lamps that even in the best of times offered substandard lighting, swing.

The gently swinging light, illuminated more than a hundred thick metal doors, each one with a single splattered glass window and small slot near at the bottom for food trays. Scuttling insects skittered here and there, flies buzzed in the cool fetid air. The hallway reeked utterly with a stench so pervasive and foul it turned even X23's iron clad consultation.

Her heighten sense of smell normally extremely useful, now proved an extreme detriment as she was able to picked up on ever element within the foul mix of smells that threaten to make her gag, faeces, urine, rotting food, vomit, blood and other bodily fluids both of human and distinctly none human origin.

The things in the cells had undoubtedly had being disturbed by the alarms as they had being quite restless when she had entered this area of the base that had being converted into a makeshift prison. Those that were capable, pressed what passed for ears or eyes to the strained glass, searching for any sigh of passer bys. others, scratched at the doors or walls of their cells some even managed to squeeze malformed limbs through the thin food slots at the bottom of their respective doors.

A part of her had wondered if any of them were aware of her, hiding in the shadows. If they were they did not attempt to raze the alarm, though inwardly she doubted any had the mental capacity to do so, from what she had gleamed from the doctor's notes intelligence was 'unwanted' in these assets and even if still some were capable or even more unlikely willing to summon their jailers the damage the malware she had introduced into the bass's systems was far greater than she had anticipated.

As the heavy metal foot falls of the slowly approaching dreadnought drew closer, those trapped within the squished interior of their cells grew more and more agitated. Some crackled and whooped like a pack of scared hyenas others growled or hissed a few even spluttered out what sounded like pleas for help but their words were utterly unintelligible. Their minds having long since being broken by the insurmountable deprivations they had being forced to endure

X23 eyed the security locks that kept each door closed warily, they were electronic but thankfully they didn't seem to be affected by the same malfunctions she had inflicted on the rest of the bases systems. They were either connected to a computer that had yet to be compromised by the virus or were a closed system. Inwardly she hoped for the latter, she would prefer not to face the assets in open combat if it could be avoided, she would prefer to find some other method of granting these creatures as swift and merciful death as she could. She thought back to the cleaning room she had being taken to by the two hydra soldiers that wished to copulate with her, there were plenty of chemicals within that she could mix to create a gas that would render them unconscious and would eventually suffocate them.

The creatures within their cells started to howl and bray like rutting animals, many of their number were now openly attacking the heavy metal doors of their cells as final the dreadnought stood at the lip of the entrance to the make shift prison hallway.

It was massive, easily twice as tall and wide as a full grown man. Like most of its kind its face and head were made in the likeness of a leering human skull complete with sharpened teeth and glowing red eyes that seemed to shine with active and purposeful malevolence.

The head emerged from a small alcove built into the machines overly large barrow torso which shaped in such a way to resemble exposed ribs. The machine warrior had a spine of shorts lined with thick reverted metal spikes that went down all the way to its lower back, resembling a curved human spine.

The left arm of the dreadnought was largely humanoid in shape and design, oversized clawed hand notwithstanding. The right arm was a monstrously oversized shot gun was fed by an large ammo box, she could make out at least three other ammo box's strapped to the machine's left side within easy reach of its clawed hand. Like all other dreadnought's she had faced before it had a pair of thick humanoid legs, even its feet had a near human design, through the toes of its feet were sharpened to points.

Bundles of thick interwoven pipes and wires ran up and down the body. Some connected to the body via the use of massive greasy plugs, others corded around joints and pistons that made up the arms and legs acting like mussels and veins. A few hung from the torso like exposed intestines. The riveted metal the machines were made off was dark green.

X23 knew despite the skeletal motif the dreadnought favoured in its design was mostly for show. She had faced many power armoured and completely robotic combatants in her time, each had their strengths and weaknesses. Amongst their varied ranks dreadnoughts were even by other robots standards, immensely strong and resistant to all but the most catastrophic damage. However they were typical slow and clumsy and were so signally minded they often boarded on stupid, as far as that term could be used on machines.

"Scanning for hostile's" the dreadnought, stated in a flat mechanical tone, a thin beam of red light shot out from its small eyes and paned slowly up and down the hall way

X23 slowed her heart and breathing to such an extent that to outsight observers she appeared to not breath for several seconds as she made herself as small as possible as she hide above the dangling lamp. Hoping the heat of the lamb would throw out the dreadnought's sensors. The dreadnought's scanner panned over her hiding space before final cutting off.

"No hostile's detected, proceeding on rout" the dim machine said as it stepped into the holding cells hallway proper.

By the time it was her hiding spot. Her lungs were just starting to burn with the need to fill with oxygen. It was now time to strike. The dreadnought stood directly below her, steadying herself as much as she could having to fight the involuntary shaking of her body as she fought to not breathe.

She gripped the top of a small plastic bottle, no bigger than a water bottle with her teeth and twisted the top until there was a soft, crack as the child proof seal was broken. She had to stop herself from gagging as her taste buds far more sensitive than that of a normal human picked up on the headily mix of caustic chemicals she had filled the bottle with, methylated spirits, formaldehyde and a half dozen other extremely flammable liquids she had taken from the medical ward.

She tensed her burning mussels readying herself as she knew that as soon as she started pouring the bottles contents onto the robot beneath her, she would have seconds to react. The sticking liquids poured out of the bottle and slicked down over the left side of the dreadnought's curved metal ribcage and back until the wave of flammable liquids rushed over the spare ammo box's strapped to the machines side, right where she wanted it to be.

The dreadnought halted, having detected the liquids slick down its side. It craned its arched back up as far as it was able, lacking any kind of functional neck that would allow its head to look up with

She slashed the electrical cords, holding the lamb she had hid above showering the machine in a rain of yellow sparks. A few managed to spark smouldering embers on the dreadnought's now slick metal skin but those embers quickly died.

Growling her frustration she marshalled all of her straight and griped the now sparking power cord in two hands, retracting her feet claws which were all that how tethered her to the ceiling and kicked off. She fell like a vengeful comet just as the dreadnought clumsily swiped at with its clawed hand smashing the ceiling and showering them both an brick dust. She drove the sparking electrical cord into a particularly wet patch of the robot.

She howled in pain as electricity ran through both her and the machine, it took everything she had to not let go as the her skin pealed and burned and her mussels twitched and spasmed, she couldn't think, she couldn't breathe, it felt like her heart was about to explode. She was barely aware as her synapses fired randomly that her gambit payed off.

The fluid she had drenched the robot in caught lit, flames quickly started licking down the dreadnought's steel hull. She let go of the sparking cable and robot and she fell to the dirty floor, her body smoking.

As much as she wanted to just lie there and give her body time to heal, she couldn't. While her attack with the cable had stunned the towering machine it was recovering and far faster than she was, the dreadnought was already lowering its over sized shot gun to aim at her while it freed its clawed hand from where it had dug into the brick ceiling.

She unsteady got or feet and went to slash at the spare ammo box's strapped to the machines waste area with her right arm but the limb was still to damaged to function, her left arm on the other hand had not taken as much damage, barely. She leapt forward digging her claws up to the knuckles and flicked the sealed lid up, just as the robot freed its clawed and slammed the point of its jointed elbow near top of her back breaking her right shoulder and several ribs but thankful missed her spine.

She howled in pain as she slumped to the floor, the dreadnought reached down with its clawed hand to try and grab her by the scuff of the neck. Evidently she was to close for it to get a proper bead on her with its shot gun so it could only use its hand to try and kill her, or it had being programmed to capture intruders rather than kill, if given the chance.

Whichever was the case she would not allow it to touch her again if she could help it and as she spotted the flames she had lit down its side lick ever closer to the now exposed ammo box. Bitting her lib hard enough split it, flooding her mouth with a small trickle of her own blood she rolled out of the way of the robots grasping claw and through the gap between its thick legs. Once on the over side of its lumbering form she stagged to her feet and broke into a limping run.

Pain racked her body, her cooked flesh and cracked bones all screamed at her to stop just for a moment so they could began the process of reknitting but she didn't stop couldn't. She needed to get as far from the explosion as possible. She began to pick up speed as she ran for the end of the hallway not even bothering to zig zag. She as nearly to the exit of the hall way, which according to the map she had memorised would lead her to the top most portion of this accursed base.

There was a loud crack, than another then a loud boom that shoot the corroder and a feeling of heat on her back, X23 jumped forward with all the strength left in her body as her world turned to fire and darkness.

XXXX

Pain...that should have being what filled her as she floated in darkness, her bones broken, her body ruined but she didn't all she felt was a warm calming sensation that robbed her of strength and made her recent pain a distant thing.

She wanted to do nothing more than turn the handle of that mental door the numb, senseless the ocean fill every part of her.

She wanted to dissolve, break apart and scatter to the winds

She wanted to do just let go

Final be free and just rest, finally just not wake up, just once. 'Would that really be so bad?' a part of her that was the pain asked in a soft caring voice. 'Just drift away like sea foam.'

Her mind conjured an image of her cell back in the boles of the falsity, she was leaning on Doctor Kinney should as she read a book, the little mermaid.

This wasn't the first time she had faced the ocean of nothings waited for her, it wasn't the first time she had felt death reach out for her. It was tempting, so tempting to be like the little mermaid in the book her female progenitor had read to her but in such moments she always remembered.

She never much liked that story.

XXXX

Bloody vomit fountainhead, from her mouth for a few moments leavening her breathless until fountain became a stream and the stream a trickle. Air finally filled her lungs, she coughed and wheezed.

She gasped, her lungs inflated as if she had surfaced from a deep dive. She grasped onto the pain that had being moments, moments away from leaving her and she grasped and let it fill her. Darkness flicked at the edges of her vision, she may have lost consciousness for a second time she couldn't tell.

Everything hurt, everything felt broken but not just broken, jumbled, as she came back to herself. It was like she was a jig saw puzzle but they were all messed up and she needed to put them back together to complete the picture.

Darkness took her again and when she woke her sensors had returned

First was smell.

She smelt her own blood, her own sick. If she had anything left in her stomach it may have turned. There were other smells that filled her senses, the small of burnt metal, smouldering flesh. She breathed in a waft of rank animal musk that sat so heavy in the air it made her head spin.

Hearing was next which was good as she needed to know weather or she was in danger or could, linger a while longer as her body pieced itself back together.

What she herd didn't help make what cause she could take, any clearer. She could hear heavy breathing coming from something nearby though she couldn't truly tell how close it was or where the breathing was coming from only that it was fast and labored like an animal in heat panting.

Finally touch and sight returned to her, though in the latter's cases only half her sight, she brought up her hand to the eye that was not functioning correctly and found a chuck of still warm metal poking out for the organ. She, grit her teeth and pulled it out.

Pain seared across her whole being like she had being hit by a bolt of electricity but thankfully the metal was not in particularly deep and her healing factor slowly returned sight to the damaged eye.

Her vision cleared enough to make out her immediate surroundings.

She was still in the prison hallway or rather what was left of it. Chunks of metal, broken brick, mortar and other debris littered the corridor, most if not all of the metal doors that kept hydras experiments contained had either being blown off their hinges, caved in or damaged enough to allow their occupants to escape. Though it was clear by the pools of blood that spread out from the cells closest to the centre of the calamity she had unleased not all had escaped.

The dreadnought had being nearly blown in half by the explosion she had engineered. Oil and other more caustic felids leaked out of its shattered form. The explosion had apparently being strong enough to blast it into the concrete wall of the prison block with enough force to course some of the ceiling to collapse. The wall dreadnought's also most utterly shattered lay against was cracked and splinted like it had being hit by a cannon ball.

While the machine was clearly no longer a threat, the fact that it had being some time since she had engineered its demise concerned her, though not as much as the other life form she shared the debris filled hallway with.

There was a creature crouched a few meters away from her, chewing on something. It was tall, lanky and emaciated to the point it looked like a desiccated skeleton. It was utterly hairless and appeared to have no gender, or its reproductive organs had being removed. Savage festering scars kriss, crossed its whole body like a mad man's road map. It was largely humanoid after a fashion, through its legs and arms were far too thin and long.

It turned from its feast to regard her, it had skeletal canine esk face, it beared its teeth which seemed to chatter endlessly. A thing membrane of skin covered where its eyes should have being. It chattered at her as if in waring before returning to its meal.

She looked around and noticed there were perhaps half dozen or more dead hydra soldiers littering floor of the hall way alongside the remains of the downed dreadnought and one or two mangled creatures.

The bodies of the hydra soldiers have being torn apart so viscously by formerly caged experiments, it was difficult to say were one started and the other ended.

As her sensors returned to her in full and she read the scene that lay around her like the pages of a book, it was clear her that pitched battle had being faught as she driften in and out of consciousness. As ceiling and walls shock with a subtle vibration of a distant but powerful explosion and she could hear the tell tale rattle of automatic gun fire it was equal clear, the battle she missed had spilled out throughout the base.

The creatures and soldiers that had fought around her as she desperately clung to life had evidently ignored her, perhaps thinking she was dead or had not seen her through the debris she was partly buried under.

Whichever the case was, she had being unconscious for longer than she thought. Gingerly she brought her arms closer to her face and flicked open her mission timer watch. It was broken as was the back up and her other time recording devices were damaged beyond use or were malfunctioning.

She had no way of knowing how long she had being unconscious for and wasn't willing to linger longer than she needed to. She reached into one of the utility pouches strapped to her belt and pulled out a small bandoleer of syringes. Above each of the six syringes that made up the contents of the bandoleer were white cloth tags stitched into the hem line. Three of the tags read RE-GEN, two others read truth serum and the last simply read knock out.

She had used one of the RE-GEN stims already on Jacksons father to stabilise and provide him with some minor heath befits. While the drug hadn't being designed with base line humans in mind, rather meant to boost for her, own healing factor. She knew from experience that the drug could be used on humans relatively safely at least once. She, herself could only use it a total of three times within a twenty four hour period.

Even so she only used it in the direst of circumstances as not only was her healing factor generally more than cable of rapidly repairing any damage she suffered both subtle and severe even during the most gruelling of missions. The drug itself was addictive and just one more means of control but she didn't have a choice.

She pulled the syringe out of its leather sheaf, tapped it and pushed down the stopper shooting a small jet of the opaque orange liquid out before injecting the contacts into her neck. She dropped the syringe as she felt the rush full her to the brim. Her heart hammered in her chest and she felt her pupils dilate as within moments all over her body. The many scrapes, burses, broken bones and other injures she had suffered throughout the day, healed. A heady rush filled her full to bursting as the pain that racked her body faded to a dull and descent ache.

She gasped as new strength surged through her mussels and she scratched at the ground like an animal in heat. With her ne found strength she pushed the ceiling tiles and other derbies that had fallen on top of her off and stood up.

Her movements had not gone unnoticed as the skinny dog faced thing, turned its skeletal face to regard her again and reared up on its back legs, baring its fangs it hissed at her, flecks of spit flew from its mouth. It sniffed and snarled at her.

X23 stood her ground, her head filling with an animalistic desire to answer its challenge, it was one of the reasons she disliked using Re-Gen as much as she did. It made certain impulses harder to control. As removed as both modern humans and mutants alike were from their more animalistic ancestors, the animal they evolved from still existed deep down.

It didn't help matters that she and her male sire before her were, due their mutation were closer to their animal ancestors than most. She pushed down the desire to tear this creature apart.

She had other priorities, with the experiments having likely escaped and scattered throughout the base to exact their vengeance on their abusers. Whether or not the creature and its abused kin managed to kill all the bass's staff and soldiery or were killed themselves one they were no longer her concern, either objective would could now be completed without her weighing in.

The only objectives that remained now was to hind and kill the commander of this base whom she could only hope remained on the premise despite the plague of monsters she had unintentionally released and escape from the base and as she had no, means to tell how much time she had lost while unconscious she wouldn't waste any the creature. 'Perhaps should forget about the commander and just escape' she thought.

She shook her head dissuading herself of the notion before it could take root, besides the fastest and possible only means of exfiltration now was the air field located at the top of the base and if the commander of this base was still within her grasp he would be there.

She started to turn egger to be on her way when the creature let out a tortured howl that echoed through the hallway and sprinted forward, its unnaturally long and thing legs and arms allowing it to cover the distance between the two of them so quickly that if she wasn't gifted with her heightened sensors, she may have being caught unawares.

X23 ducked jumped backwards away from the creature's first stake its claws, swiping down from right to left. The creature pressed its attack and lunged forward on all forwards and snapping at her heels as she spun away reading the creatures movements as easily as letters on a page and in short order she could see in her mind's eye this creature's whole sad life story. She saw the pain it was in even now, the pain that would never end until its own life was spent.

Her ability to read the movement of her foes however had never being flawless. Even more so now, much of her own straight and speed spent by the days actions and Re-Gen made her more reckless than she normal was, combined with the creature speed and ireach made avoiding strikes difficult. More suppressing its movements were smoother than she first thought, almost practiced, unlike other similar creatures she had fraught in the past it was used to its body. Its skill, speed and elongated reach would have made it a deadly foe to face for even a seasoned human solider.

To its credit it had nicked her more than once as she darted, spun and played a defensive game. Something her male progenitor had never being all that skilled in, he had always trusted too much in his physical straight and shear endurance to win any fight and in all honestly that worked for weapon X if it had not than the facility would not being as obsessed as they were in creating him. X23 on the other hand had being crafted to be a much more subtle creature, to be sure she could brawl in the same manner as her processor but she had learned from an early age that she was better served in a different appocations of violence.

She spun to the side of a down slash from the creatures left arm and saw her target, a cluster of poorly healed scars half way down the ribs, where its bony elbow had being a moment ago. She kicked into the cluster of scars with her knee and there was a snickining cutch as her powerful leg made impact with the creatures fragile form.

It yelled in pain, bloody spittle spraying from its mouth as it turned around faster than she protected it could and the claws of its right hand slashed across her nearly bear mid drift, cutting away the few tatted remnants of her uniform that remained there after the blast of the dreadnought's distinctive end had robbed her of consciousness and cut into the now exposed skin, drawing blood.

She gritted her teeth and hissed, her eyes narrowing as the animal instant that had being stirred by her use of RE-GEN tighten its grip and compiled her to flinch away from the wound in her stomach. Instead she sensed the creatures clawed arm by its thin wrist with her right and savagely tore it up and away from her exposed mid drift, racking more of her flesh in the process by the wounds were minor and closed quickly.

The creature's bones were evidently far weaker than a human's, even more so in its arms and legs likely due to their unnaturally length and defiance's in calcium and vitamin D more over the creates lack in muscle mass offered little protection. The creature was clearly built for speed not for straight. Even she while far fitter than any human female in her age group would naturally be, X23 lacked the raw physical straight to break the creatures arm out right.

The creature must have realised this as well, after the initial shock of its arm being violently reached to one side with considerable force, it began to struggle to free itself from X23's grasp.

X23 had no intention of allowing the creature to free itself, yanking and turning the arm she was holding forward and upright she brought down the elbow of her free arm and slamed it full force into the creature's inner elbow. The blow had succeeded were arm wrenching had failed in braking the creatures thin arm, the creature threw back its head and screamed in pain exposing its neck.

With a wet snick the skin between two of the knuckles of her righ hand split open as her metal claws sprang forth, she lashed up wards and to the right the keen edge's of her hand claws cut though the scared tissue of the creatures neck as at the same time she pulled it forward to maximise the effect of her strike. The creature vomited blood all over her as her claws tore through its wind pile, neck veins and throat. She let go of the creature's broken arm and kicked it away. The creature all but flew backwards until it stumbled on a piece of debris and fell to the filthy floor of the prison ward letting out horrible gasping, wheezing breaths as it slowly expired.

She turned her back and started sprinting towards her final destination, while in another circumstance she would have preferred to ease the creatures passing by killing it swiftly rather than allow it to either bleed out or suffocate to death. Thanks to the episode of unconscious and the time she had lost which she had no means to track due to the braking of her mission timers she could ill afford any such mercy.

XXXX

The hall way resounded with the sound of muffled gun fire and the occasional roar or scream of things both inhuman and all too human. Dust fell from the ceiling and the walls creaked with the vibration of distant explosions.

Thick coiling smoke filled the rubble strewn hall way as three hydra soldiers and a hydra officer whom was dressed in similar garb to his men save for his tall wide brimmed hat and slightly thicker and better fitting body armour.

All the soldiers and the officer were injured in way or another and were struggling to breath due to the thick black and grey smoke, most of which poured from a fire that had consumed an officers mess hall and was started to spread to outwards. Though thanks to the mostly concrete and stone walls and lack of places for the fire to go, its spared was slowed, however thanks to the very same marital the hallway became unbearable hot.

One of the hydra soldiers a far younger than his companions was all but being carried in-between his fellows, each of whom had an arm around the small of his back as they helped him limb along.

"Come ...On" One a taller skinny man said coughing as he spoke "Just...hang on a little longer the stare way is close, isn't that right sir?"

The officer nodded as he pointed to a large rectangle shape, little more than a silhouette thanks to the thick smoke that emerged from the wall. "Try to keep quiet" the officer stated struggling to not cough himself as the small group drew closer to the shape the clearer it became until a shape resolved itself into a thick steel door which had being deep bloody claw gouges cut into it but remained solid and un open. "Rest him up against this wall and help me get this door open." The officer said as he pulled on the handle by door had been warped slightly by whatever had clawed at it making it difficult to open. "Keep an eye out solider there might be more of those freaks prowling around here"

The wounded soldier weakly nodded his head as he slowly slid down the wall, leaving a streak of blood as he did so. He wasn't sure how much help he could possibly be. He had been servery hurt in his squad's fire fight, when they had encountered one of the experiments that he could only describe as a snake, sloth. The thing had climbed out of an air duck and nearly slashed him in two before he knew what was happing

The wounds solider found he could breathe a little easier now that he was closer to the ground. He took a moment to look at the wound the sloth snake had left him with as he slowly pealed his bloody hands away from his stomach. He wished he hadn't as he saw the ragged wound leak vital blood. He was just about to put pressure back on the wound when he saw something movie in the thick smoke.

"Ther...there is another one!" A young and badly wounded hydra solider stated trying his best not to cough up his lounges as he pointed weekly at a slight shadow that flicked through the thick smoke that choked the hall way. The shadow disappeared as soon as he pointed at its faint outline.

"What that?" one of the soldiers asked with a exhausted grunt, as the bent door he and his fellows have being trying to prying open. The solider dropping the bent metal beam he had being using as a make shift crow bar which clattered to the ground, he stepped away from the door to just enough for a humanoid shadow to larch out of the rolling smoke.

The figure moved so fast the wounded soldier and the one who had dropped his make shift crow bar barely knew what was happing.

For X23 time seemed to slow as she pouched, sweeping one of the clumsy man's feet from under him and wrapped her thighs around his neck and then twisted savagely snapping his neck.

The remaining solider by the door and officer away of her presence turned as their injured felly fumbled at pistol strapped to his hip.

"Fire you, if you value your lives fire!" a hydra officer bellowed firing his antique pistol at her.

The officer's shorts went with but the relatively healthy remaining solider unsung the shot gun he strapped to his back and managed to get of a single round of buck shot. As swift as and as close to the ground she was she could not escape the full spread of pellets and her uniform was so torn and shredded that it offered virtually no protection, allowing several metal pellets tore through her back.

Every never in her back flared like super nova's, mussels and tends shredded by the balls of lead. Pain flooded her mind making her grow and hiss as she felt the beast that dwelled strain at the mental cage with in her mind. It was so much harder to keep that part of herself contained with the RE-Gen coursing through her veins, the beast raged within its cage begging for realise to give herself over to the rage that had being stooked with in her since as long as she could remember. It wanted her to vet the rage, the hate and the pain on the men that had shot her. It wanted her to rip them apart piece by bloody peace, the displace with any notion of giving these men swift and mercifully death. Spitting blood and bile like a cobra spat venom, she bit into her bottom lib hard enough to spilt it open and she once again suit ignored the beast that strained for realise with in her.

These men for as wicked and corrupt as they were did not devise her full fury, perhaps only five people on the entire planet deserved that. 'No' she told herself she was under no illusion as to her nature, she was no hero, no avenger of wrongs. She was a killer, it was her one and only existence she knew, she could be nothing else, could she? She shook the thought from her mind as she rushed forward, she would give them whatever mercy she could afford.

The mercy of a switch death, the solider with the shot gun, screamed as she darted in low and under his reach. Punching upwards with her clawed hands with as much force as she could muster, her claws pierced his uniform, skin, mussel and then lungs with contemplate ease. He spasmed and coughed up a fountain of blood as she slowly lifted him off his legs, her mussels already taxed by the long day and the damage she had taken during the mission, burned and screamed as she hefted the man from his feet. She saw herself reflected in the red opaque lenses built into his skull like face.

While his goggles were not match for even the cheapest mirror, they were reflective enough to show her bloody snarling face filled with rage. The irises of her eyes had diluted so much that her normally green eyes had nearly turned completely black. Her face was smeared in blood, her hair caked and matted in filth, her normal aloof expression was replaced by a bloody wide mouthed snarl that would have been more at home on a rapid tiger than on a human face.

The man's head lured to onside as the man died, it was by no means a clean or quick death his last moments would have been agonising and terrifying in equal masseur as his lungs filled with blood and he choked to death.

X23 retracted her claws and let the man's now lifeless corpse fall to the ground, while she usually disliked to use fire arms despite being an excellent if unimaginative marksmen. She would have taken the man's shot gun as it fell from his nerveless fingers and used it on the hydra officer without second though. If the shot gun in question was a single barrowed breach loader and she had neither the time nor incarnation to load the thing as the officer, now having a clear shot himself fired his antique pistol as fast as he was able.

Two bullets struck the thin yet study metrical that made up her severely damaged uniform, which in its current state, slowed down the bullets rather than stopping them outright as she jumped over the corpse of the man she had just killed, twisting her body in mid-air as she did and kicking him with the full sole of her thick combat boot.

As the man stumbled backwards a half dozen step, letting go of his pistol as he pin-wheeled, his backward fall was halted by the guard rail of the star case landing. She narrowed her eyes and gritted her teeth as the main feel wheezing to the floor and she entered the star way proper. He looked up, and tore off the mask of his face reviling a lightly tanned man in his like thirties with dark blonde hair and baby blue eyes. A small trickle of blood dripped down from his lips. He held up one hand as if to surrender and reached towards something she couldn't quite see strapped to his belt. "Please, I surrender just don't kill me!" he begged.

Her eyes narrowed as she read the expositions and micro expressions like pages of a book, he was terrified that much was clear but he hated her, well maybe not her exactly but what she was even more than the officer feared for his life. In the end it didn't matter if he was sincerely surrendering or had final act of defiance up his sleeve, she had her orders and he had gotten in her way.

Wordless she lunged forward and cut through the fine rusted and now bent hand railing the man was leaning against and gravity did the rest. His eyes went wide as with a groan the rail gave way and he fell backwards into the smoky void of the stair way disappearing from sight, his scream pieced the thick rolling air as she started to ascend the staircase. She spared the wounded soldier a passing thought but elected to not go back and finish him off though she wished she could ease his suffering but she had tallied to long, judging by the wounds she had seen he had sported without medical aid he wouldn't last long at any rate.

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X23 crouched on a rickety gantry that over looked the span of the top most part of the hydra base, which in predictable hydra fashion was where they had built both their command centre and air strip, both of which were a complete shamble.

Smoke boiled of fires that had bloomed across the space like vibrate but invasive flowers, which grew and spread even as she observed the scene though a pair of binoculars. Here and there she could make out shapes that moved through the thick smoke their silhouette lit but spreading flame. Some of those shapes were human or at least looked human enough from a distance but they were few and grew fewer by the moment, other inhuman forms also darted about but they too were also few and far between.

Clearly the experiments had paid a heavy price to exact their vengeance on their tormentors, a small part of her envied them in the moment but she pushed the thought aside as she re-focused mind.

While the worst effects of the Re-Gen had faded and the animal it stirred into activity within her, once again slept with in its mental cage. She knew in her heart of hearts that the Re-Gen like the trigger only exposed the worst aspects of her being to the bright light of day, all the pain and suffering, anger and hate that had been both her birthright and had been reinforced and cultivated within her for as long as she could remember were as much part of her as her claws and blood. In truth the darkness that now slept with in her went deeper than mere blood and marrow, it was the truth of her existence or a least that was what she had being told.

Since before she could remember she had been thought one thing over all, she was a weapon. It was why she had been created be used as her masters so fit, with no more agency than a knife or gun, she was tool and nothing more.

Yet she knew a deep and perhaps a far darker truth, more than any other she had been told or thought. There was something within her that railed against all she knew and understood, unlike a knife or a gun she could chose her own fate.

She had made choices few and far between though they had been, less than a year ago she had completed a mission not unlike the one she was currently on. Doctor Rice had over seen in and had in the last moments betrayed had left her die despite her reaching the rendezvous on time.

She very nearly had dead but she had managed to escape, she could have been free. It had been tempting to simply disappeared into the wilds but she had returned not to the facility though, it was the only home she had ever known. She had returned to Doctor Kinney, she didn't even fully understand why she had it wasn't logical but since then her understanding grew, especially after observing Doctor Kinney's interactions with her sister and niece, the latter of whom she had rescued only a two days ago.

She was brought back to the here and now by the rattle of weapons fire which rose above the roar of the raging infernos.

Even with her keen eye sight, heightened sensors and the aid of her binoculars it was difficult in the extreme to make out much of anything amidst the rolling clouds of smoke and fire, let along the source of the sporadic gun fire.

If she was inclined to believe in such things as luck say may have believed that her luck had finally turned as a strong wind blew into the massive artificial cavern and thinned the smoke considerable tough at the same time the influx of air currents feed the raging fires helping them spread.

The smoke had cleared enough to allow her to make out the command centre and the air field and the defences that had once filled the cavern, half a dozen gun nests made from prefabricated Martials, sniper towers built into the towering support pillars, sand bags and bolt holes all of which encircled with rings of barbed wire.

She had been impressed by the external defacers she had spotted when she had observed the base from afar but these defences here would have, when they were still intact enough to matter put them to shame. Combined with the labyrinth like design of the lower levels of the base and the bazaar amount of internal security would have made this base a hard nut to crake, any conventional military assault would have bleed hundreds of men, even shield would suffer consolable causalities, which would require a response form so called super heroes.

'Perhaps that had being the plan?' She though. Hydra would lure a team of super heroes into the base and then trapped such the responding team within the confines of the base and worn them down by throwing their experiments at any invader that made it past the outer defences.

However, with no heroes to fight and only their tormentors to hand, the experimented had run amok and had overcome the defenders of this place. She could make out a few scattered and bloody hydra squads still fighting with the gaggles of the monstrosities she had unintentional unleased but it was clear they were losing ground by the second, though the creatures had also paid a high tally for their revenge.

The ground she could see though the smoke which was slowly returning to its original thickness as the wind that blew in from outside died down, was littered with bodies both human and not.

Either the cells she had come across were packed to the gills with experiments or hydra had cell complexes that were neither on the map she had retrieved nor within the files of the medical ward, had found and skimmed through while copying them to her hard drive.

She wouldn't be surprised in the least if both was true, it was far from unusual for hydra's higher command staff to both compartmentalise vital information and just out right back stab each other, either in literal sense's or peruse and then hide projects they could use to out shine their rivals and gain whatever promotion or reward they sought.

Suddenly the easily overcome internal network made a great deal more sense, it wouldn't surprise her to learn if an ambitions' hydra officer had used her own inflation to make a rival or his superiors look incompetent.

Perhaps this entire mission had being a false flag to one degree or another, the weapons plus program or her falsity in particular having being lured into doing the dirty work of an ambitious hydra officer under the guess of keeping their edge over the living weapons arms race.

Regardless of what the truth was, her mission was still clear and she did not have time to ponder on whether or not she was being used as a pawn, well more than usual at any rate.

The issue was she currently had no idea what the status of this bases command staff was, were they still alive? How many were injured? Had any escaped? She began weighing up her options as she scanned the scene for any sigh of the status of the command staff. Considering the raging fires that were even now consuming the prefab buildings built into the far side of the hanger which she took to be the command centre and it's a joining building as well truly suicidal to linger within.

Considering the crumbling disorganised nature of the spattering of hold outs that yet remained, the largest of which could not be more than a few men strong, she doubted any of the hydra command staff, if any remand would have risked their own lives on what was a doomed course.

'No' she thought, if any remained, they would be looking for an escape.

Her gaze went to the run way which was unlike the rest of the craven relatively free any defensive structures though it had not been spared its fair share of devastation. The burning carcases of what she took to be some kind of fighter craft or gunship laid sprawled across two lanes of the wide run way. The fires had spared from the downed aircraft and now threatened the vehicle bay it had likely emerged from.

Her eyes widened and felt a spark of fear raced down her spine and settle in her gut as she saw sighs denoting fuel and ammo storage canisters. She knew from experience that once the fire reached the jet fuel and ammunition that had being stored near or within the vehicle bay, the resulting explosion would be massive. Likely strong enough to destroy this section of the base in its entity and perhaps great enough to cause cave-ins or at the very least damage the catacombs below.

She hoped Jackson and his fathers had either escaped or were well on their way of making their way back to safety but she doubted if she would ever know what fate had met her unwilling accomplishers.

X23 twisted one of the nobs on the side of the binoculars and 'zoomed' on a group of bedraggled men prepping a helicopter which had been pushed a dozen meters in front of the smashed gunship. Her eyes focused on one man particular, not only was his uniform was among the most ornate she had ever seen. He had a full cape, which blew in the wind that was whipping through the desolate. The manner in which he held himself and issued orders to his immediate underlings all of whom were far worse states than he himself and the little care of consideration he exposed him as what he truly was.

Her last target but he also provided her a means of escape

X23 jumped from the cat walk and ran

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Sweet would have poured from her body as she neared the helicopter which was now beginning to spin up its propellers but the heat from the nearby fires dried it faster than it could form.

Even though her lungs burned from breathing in the heavy thick smoke that grew thicker now that the wind that blew into the craven had receded, ever steep and foot fall sent jagged arcs of pain through her limbs and she could feel her skin redden and blister, from the heat of nearby fires that grew with ever seconded that passed. She dared not slow at best she had mere moments before those fires reached the fuel and ammo stores held within the vehicle bay once that happened, she doubted even her male progenitor could have survived the resulting explosion.

Thankfully she had being able to avoid any undue attention as the smoke had masked her as she speed towards the helicopter, speed was all that mattered now that the helicopter was in sight. She gritted her teeth as she pushed her body harder to make up for the fact, she was buffered by the winds generated by the helicopters top and tail propeller.

She heard more than saw the tell-tale sound of ammo cooking off, it would be seconds now until the fuel barrows and dumb would be compromised by the fire.

One of the beleaguered soldiers must have seen her as a bullet whizzed past her left ear, didn't bother to dough there was no time. The first round missed as did the second and third, though the last one was close enough to graze some of the skin that had being exposed along her left side. The helicopter now hovered a few feet in the air and was starting to move forward with increasing speed.

Growing she jumped forward and up, the world seemed to slow for a moment as she hung seemingly weightless in air for a few heart pounding moments. She just managed to grip one on the thin metal sleds that serviced as both the stand for the helicopter and a step for the men. It was a tenuous grip, she was exhausted, almost her entire body but especially her hands were caked in dried blood and sweet and the aircrafts shaking nearly made her lose her grip but she held firm and pulled up enough for her to kick up with her right foot which dangled the bottom of the fuselage and speared into the metal underbelly with her foot claw. The man that had shot at her continued to fire long after she had disappeared from sight which meant she may have not being the intended target at all but she pushed such concerns out of her mind.

Now with one claw anchoring her, she was able to straighten her grip and get both hands around the sled she had managed to grape which was good thing as the helicopter was picking up speed and was heading at speed towards the end of the run way which suck out of the open mouth of artificial cavern like a tung made of steel and granite and into the open sky beyond.

There was little point to attacking the helicopter's crew and passengers and risk an error that may see them plummet to their deaths, she had being stretched so thin during this mission she doubted even she could survive that great a fall.

Now with her hold as secure as she could make it and having nothing better to do until they were in the open air, save prepare herself for her next move, X23 allowed herself to wondered what the solider was firing at if no her. She saw his true target a hoard of creatures was running towards the helicopter.

Inwardly she chided herself for directing her focus on the helicopter to the point she had blinded herself from the fact that she had being fallowed.

There were six of the creatures that resembled skinny dog faced thing she had had to fight in the prison ward. There were a two dozen creatures dressing in the rags of hydra soldiers their skin were as white as snow, their heads elongated and melon shaped, their fingers clawed talons, their legs were digitigrades. There were three creatures that she could only call man-bats, their faces and torsos were remarkable human however their arms and to a greater extent the fingers of their hands had being elongated to an unnatural degree, thin opaque midbrains of sing stretched between the tips of their elongated fingers to join with their wastes. There was a creature that looked like it had being being a human torso surggaivly attached to a the back half of a metal spider, its crawled forward with a dozen razer edged metal limbs.

There were a few more human looking creatures with slimier cybernetic attachments such as metal crab claws, wings or dragged over sized sloth like claws

Yet all these creatures and the others she had seen throughout the day palled in compassion to what could only be the pack leader of these twisted beings.

It was tall, easily nine foot tall and nearly as broad as a dreadnought. The creature seemed to be almost made up of different body parts each taken from a different animal. Its left leg looked that of a deer or elk of some kind, its right leg was more feline. Its left arm was short and stubby but thick with mussel and ended in a bear like paw, its right arm seemed almost human by compassion if covered in thick fur. It carried what looked like a metal pipe in its human hand, the end of which had been bashed into a rough jagged point

The creatures had a thick bushy tail, its face and head a mix between canine, deer and human features. Its eyes were remarkable human and even form a distance she could see the intelligence and awareness within. Two massive stag like horns jutted from its head. While most of its body was covered in patches of thick fur, though no two patches seemed were the same.

Unlike most of its pack save for the twisted hydra soldiers it wore cloths, ragged filth-stained cloths but cloths none the less. The creature pointed with its bear like paw at the escaping helicopter. "No..gerg..tway...No escape" it tried to speak, its voice deep and full of rage and pain but even as it tried to speak its words devolved into hoots, barks and inhuman bellowing.

She may not have been able to understand the creatures' words but she was more than able to catch its meaning as its pack surged forward with renewed vigour seeming unafraid of the rain of bullets that poured from the opened door which slew three of their number. The pack leader drew back its spear and then threw it like a gavelling.

The makeshift spear sailed through the air with surprising speed but it was too little too late, the helicopter had reached the end of the run way and rose fully into the air and out past the last stench of the runway, the spear sailed past missing the vehicle by mere centimetres.

Even now free of the vestiges of the base and holding onto the bottom of the helicopter, X23 felt a deep rumble in the air coming from the vertical bay. Fire jetted up wards and the ground itself started to shake and crake.

The pack leader must have had enough intelligence to understand it and its cohorts were in immediate danger, it bellowed and being running towards the only escape it and its fellows could hope to reach before they were consumed by the base's death throws. The opening in the cavern that the helicopter had just flew though.

The entire structure of the artificial cavern shock as all at once the fuel, ammunition and entire vertical bay exploded, the light emitted from the initial explosion was so intense that for a moment X23 had to advert her gaze and the helicopter was buffeted by a shockwave realised by the explosion rang out over the wilderness like a crack of a hundred claps of thunder.

A massive ball of fire fallowed the bright flash and roared out of the opening in the mountain like the breath of an angry dragon. Two of the bat, like creatures managed to fly out with them but one had been slightly to slow and its left side caught ablaze. It screamed as the fire ate the fleshy wing and it plummeted to the ground. The other was shot by own of the hydra soldiers that sat in the hold of the aircraft, it joined its kin's fate.

The large pack leader beast and its un-winged followers were not as lucky. They had been a hairs breath away from escaping the onrush of roaring fire but had been knocked to off their, paws, claws and feet by the shockwave. She saw few flaming bodies were blown out over the lip of the run way and entrance that fall to snowy earth below, the pack leader was among their number, it was still alive as he fell to the earth below.

Its bellows of rage and pain reached her ears as she and the helicopter climbed upwards and flew over the other shell of the base.

However, the destruction she had unleased was not done yet, there was a secondary explosion and a third, each somehow bigger than the last. The abuse was too much, the scaffolding that had being built to support the part of the runway that stretched out of the base like a tong, collapsed and gave way. Massive cracks raced accurse the length and breath of the protruding runway and the entire thing began to break apart and fell on top of the base below.

The carven itself collapsed sending another shockwave through the Vally, the stone and rock that state above the structure slid down like and being falling on top of the base below, some of which was on fire itself but had fared better than the top most section.

Her keen eyes could just make out the vague outline of what she presumed to be fleeing hydra staff. Very few if any would, escape the avalanche that was even now barrowing upon them like a tidal wave made up of earth and snow.

Against all odds she had completed had nearly completed her objectives to the best of her all that remained now was the final task, her claws slid from her hands and feet and slowly and carefully using her claws as anchors she clambered over to the other side of the helicopter and learned up and over the lip of the bottom of the helicopter as far as she dared.

There was a bleary eyed and distracted hydra solider slouching forward in his seat, his uniform was torn and bloody. The bandages that had being applied to his wounds were stained red. He seemed to be trying to talk or perhaps moan in pain but the consent whooping of the helicopter's rotary blades and the howl of the wind that whipped past her, prevented any sound form reaching even her heighten hearing.

X23 glanced over her shoulder, directing her tired wind stung eyes back towards the hydra base, it was barely recognisable. While in the scheme of such things, the avalanche she had unintentionally caroused was small it was more than enough to cover and bury most of the in tones of dirty snow and turned earth

Despite her training, her exhausted mind drifted back to Jackson and his father , a part of her hoped they had escaped after all. She wondered why she kept on dwelling on the fate of two people she had callously put in harm's way and used to her own ends. They were hardly the first people unwittingly drawn into a mission, more often than not such none targets were at best ignored, wilfully left alive when a message needed to be sent, collateral damage or at worst witnesses that needed silencing.

She had being ordered during her briefing that morning to leave no witnesses, yet she had spared them in when she found them in the medical room after the effects of the trigger scent had faded. This not the first time she had willing left saviours, regardless of the punishments she reserved after the facility learned of them yet she rarely dwelt on the others as she did these two.

Her brow knotted and stomach turned as uncertain anxieties chased themselves around her head. Try as she might to turn her mind away completely form the two people she had saved and spared.

The uncertainly as to why she felt the way she did would linger long after she climbed over the helicopter's foot rail and into the cabin and soon took control of the machine and few it away from the devastation she hand unleased.

The colossal ruin faded from view, swallowed into insignificancy by the vast snowy land scape that stretched far away

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Next chapter Ozmandias chapter three, King of kings

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