Anyone who's read lj-user kielle's stuff will know which story inspired this (No Way Up for the rest of you Philistines)
The Marauders are a Marvel team. The personal hunter-killer death squad of a certain Summers-obsessed geneticist, their main talent seems to be dying at the hands of X-Men. For some reason, Nathaniel Essex persists in decanting clones of these incompetents and throwing them into the fray once more.
"But sir, sir! Does this mean they are grim'n'gritty 80s creations whose sole purpose was to let the X-Men kill without conscience?"
I'm so glad you asked chillun' because of course they are.
Their shining moment was in the Mutant Massacre, where they slew Morlocks, had Sabertooth as a team member(automatic +3 of Coolness) and Harpoon pinned Angel to a sewer wall by his wings. Since then, they and their ridiculous custumes have fallen off the map.
So why the hell am I bothering with them if they're so crap?
Because like some wanker once said, even lemons can be used to make lemonade. Because some other wanker said there's no such thing as a bad idea. Because they have potential. Because I'm an idiot who should be writing his own stuff instead of filtering copyrighted characters through his personal memeome.
"Marauders, please report to my lab." One by one, the assassins trooped in to meet their maker. Prism, light manipulator, as fragile in body as he is mean at heart; Vertigo, fragile in entirely different ways, the team whipping-girl, does exactly what her name says; Arclight, muscle-obsessed shockwave rider; Blockbuster, just plain muscle; Harpoon(i think) hunter-killer extraordinaire, specialized energy-projector; Riptide, speedster-dervish and bloodthirsty blade artist; Scrambler, disruptor of mutant powers and, last but not least, Scalphunter, tactician supreme, armed-combat specialist and super-gunsmith.
The floor squelches beneath their feet. The boss had taken his cyclical biotech kick a littletoo far this time, growing the entire lab out of the repurposed flesh of an unfortunately-abled Albanian girl. Only Scalphunter remains impassive and why not? He fired the killshot after all.
Incidentally, the color scheme sucks.
In the lab, the pale man waits. Red gem glowing in his forehead, he looks on with the eye of a lepidopterist. Skin utterly unlined, white as death. For one as bloodless as he, even wrath is a thing of calm, a frozen morass foaming with steam .
Sinister, Nathaniel Essex PhD, is not pleased.
Lowered eyes, scuffing feet and not a word to say. The Maruaders are past masters in the reading of Sinister winds. This is something new.
"All of you, gifted, deadly, even powerful ... and all idiots." His gloved fingers tap repeatedly on top of the desk, formed of the same ... material as the rest of the lab.
"Vertigo, you are an idiot, too stupid to even K-select. Granted, with this crowd you are hardly spoiled for choice but ..." He stopped, the closest the geneticist ever got to sighing. "Have you ever wondered what your powers actually do? Has the thought ever crossed your mind?"
She dares say nothing.
tappetytap, tappetytap, tappetyt-
"Neural systems, child. Everyone - excluding myself of course - has them. Circulation, digestion, even the very process of thought is inextricably connected to the functioning of the nervous system. Within you is the potential for somatic feedback loops, psionically-mediated biokinesis, custom agnosias - and what do you do? Precisely?" She couldn't help but continue to stare at his hands, which seemed to move independently of his mouth and eyes. Self-possessed. Possessed.
"You make people dizzy."
Next, he turned his attention to Phillipa Sontag, the mutant also known as Arclight.
"Arclight, you are an idiot. I would call you muscle-brained - but that might actually imply the possibility of cerebral growth. Vibrational transfer has applications far beyond the mindless brute force to which you put it."
The steroid freak cracked her knuckles like walnuts and said nothing.
"Scrambler, not only are you an idiot, you are the idiot. I grant you arguably the most elegant ability ever coaxed from the mutant genepool and you squander it as a glorified candle-snuffer."
The Korean, almost trembling, actually shows the temerity to stutter out a reply: "B-b-b-but boss, uh, that ... is, that is my abil- ah, power. Boss. Uh, sir."
Sinister's fingers cease their staccato beat. Instead, they join their opposite siblings in the classic finger steeple of evil contemplation. Then Sinister speaks again, his voice now liquid nitrogen where it was merely glacial:
"Your power, as you so pedestrianly put it, is the introduction of disorder into complex systems. Begin to consider all possible definitions of that term. I will want examples." Scrambler adopted an expression of deep concentration - at least, as well as one might with sweat sluicing down their face.
The snow-skinned scientist raises his head, almost craning it back in order to address the eight-foot bulk of Blockbuster.
"Blockbuster, you're an idiot." The giant allows himself a wan grin. Nothing new there.
"And that's okay."
Riptide snorted, Arclight sniffs, Vertigo actually sniggers. Scalphunter smirks to himself. That green-haired cooze never learns. Wait till Block gets her alone ...
As usual he himself was untouchable, having died a full seventy percent fewer times than the rest of the team combined and completed missions alone, even after the others had gone down or otherwise screwed the pooch. He made the mistake of letting it reach his lips.
"Grey Crow." Partrician tones from incarnadine lips spoke his true name.
His face went blank: "Sir."
"You are an idiot. With the technologies I leave at your disposal, you could literally have crafted any weapon conceivable by mind. Somehow, this does not stop you from running around with assault rifles sized similarly to rottweilers. So which is it - a lifelong failure of imagination or merely an utter lack of ambition."
The question was rhetorical and Scalphunter knew it. He also knew that preserving his alpha male status on the team was the only way he wouldn't get shredded in an orgy of blades, ripped limb-from-limb or otherwise maimed by his near-feral subordinates.
"Neither, sir. I'd just rather not be construed as a threat until I'm good and ready to be one."
Pupilless eyes meet his, separated a desk of flesh and the gulf of bleak centuries. Scalphunter swallowed, slow enough that no one saw. Then he turned his eyes to the right, inspecting his team, the height of professionalism.
Suddenly, Riptide, Prism and Harpoon vanished. Everyone else clutched their temples and screamed in agony. Arclight's back arched and she roared like King Kong in a reverb chamber. Blockbuster fell to one knee, rumbling deep in his throat. Scalphunter merely staggered, retaining his footing with sheer will.
Vertigo by far caught the worst of it. Her attack was so overwhelming she couldn't even scream, fetal and floored, mewling pathetically with the occasional hitch.
With every sound, Sinister relaxed in his throne, the King of Hell.
"As I'm sure you already know, that horrific pain you're experiencing is the focused totality of every memory you or your long-dead clones ever had - including their deaths. Those of you still in this room, I just caused all your back-up bodies - everywhere - to suffer terminal metabolic cessations - you're experiencing that too, by the way. You are now the most complete, last and only iterations of yourselves in existence."
For the first time in decades, Sinister smiled.
"Make the most of it."
Focused totality? Yep, Claremont reference.