New Mutants Unlimited 7

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New Mutants Unlimited #7
Post by Roxanne "Madrock" Madison on Oct 30, 2006, 9:29am

Takes place after Mission 6, before mission 7…

New Mutants Unlimited #7
Family Affair: Part 1

Cover Description: Just Madrock. Smiling. Wide-eyed. Looking off to center of the page. Blank background. Oh, and this picture is shown from the vantage point of a crosshair.

~~~

New York City’s Sewers…

My name is John Sawyers. People call me Salamander. I’m a mutant. More specifically, I’m a Morlock. I have these really long teeth, red skin, and a tail, so I don’t fit in too well on the surface world. Which is fine, really; once you get past the smell, the tunnels are a cool place to live. Free food, free board, nobody asks you to do much. It’s a sweat deal.

Except for right now. Right now I’m running for my life.

“Oh god, oh god…God!” I’ve been running for at least a mile through the sewers; even with my powers I’m starting to get a little winded. Won’t stop. Can’t stop. Because everytime I stop, everytime I think I’ve lost her, I start hearing those plodding footsteps behind me, the sound of splashing and stomping and trudging through these gunked up waters. She’s right behind me. Close.

“You’re not getting away, freak.” Too close.

Night-vision’s one of my perks, so I can see just fine as I race through the darkness, but seeing isn’t the problem. Thing is, I don’t understanding what I see. Me and my bud, Roger, we got sent down here to map out some more of the underground, give us an idea where we can do some expanding. No trouble. Roger doesn’t have any real powers besides being super-furry, but he knows his orienteering; this stuff comes easy. I just tag along in case he runs into an alligator or something. But then this crazy Amazon woman came out of nowhere and punched me in the face. The face! Threw me clear across the room, never took a blow like that. Of course, I’ve got some superstrength. I can take it. Roger just has a hole where his chest used to be.

“I’m closing in.” Way too close.

Have to keep going, keep running; if I turn enough corners and run fast enough, I’ll just come along on something that looks familiar. Then I can just follow the path back to the others, get some reinforcements, anything to get away from this witch. It’s a big sewer, I’ll be fine so long as I don’t run into a… “Dead end.”

The pipes lead up to these bars; thick, blocking the path, built into the walls. They look solid, bigger than anything I’ve ever moved before. Got to try.

Both hands on the bars, gripped tight, pulling hard. It’s a huge strain, my muscles feel ready to pop, but the bricks starts to give waves and the bars start to slide off. Just a little bit more…

“Got you.”

Two hard hands grasp my tail, two hard hands pull back, two hard hands hurl me away, lift me high and whip me down, face first into the floor. I start to stumble up, dizzy, and I turn around just in time to see one of those two hard hands rips away the bars with ease, dropping them down on me. I’m pinned. Flattened. Can’t move, can barely breath. Done.

But she’s not done with me. “Get up.” She tosses off the metal and grabs me around the throat, hoisting me up and choking away what little air I can get. Looking me straight in the eyes. “Playtime’s over, freak. Here’s the deal: I ask some questions, you tell me what I want to know, I maybe let you crawl back to the rest of the roaches. You don’t talk, I’ll break your neck. I’m clear?”

“Crystal.” I smile and I spit in her face. But not just any spit, mind you: Acid. Never could find much use for the stuff, but, hey, there you go. It’ll eat away wood, metal, rock, and it should mess up her face Van Gough style…but it doesn’t. It eats away at her shirt, burns through one of the guns she has strapped to her chest, even starts to seep towards her jeans…but her skin is fine. Doesn’t burn away her any of her blonde her, doesn’t knock her pale skin down a shade. Not even singed.

Yeah, I’m a little out of my league, here. “Well, that wasn’t nice at all.” She squeezes even harder, digging her thumb deep in my throat, almost to the point of piercing. I can hear bones breaks, feel them caving, my whole body starts to twist and jerk. Just one more inch, one more and… “Let’s try this again, okay? Polite now, ‘cause I’m asking real nice.” She giggles and laughs as I gasp and wretch. “I’m looking for a little girl named Roxanne. Seen her?”

~*~

The X-Mansion’s Kitchen…

My name is Roxanne Madison. People call me Madrock. I’m the best there is at what I do.

And what I do is bake cookies. Or, at least, that’s what I’m trying to do.

See, I can’t really read all that well. I couldn’t read at all when I first came here, and Rogue’s been helping me; teaching me every night since that thing with the Rhino. I’ve got my numbers down, the alphabet’s down pat; consonants I’ve got, vowels I’ve got, too. It’s just putting it all together that’s the problem.

Take this cookbook I’m looking into, here. “Okay, so, let’s see here. Two large eggs…” I open the fridge with a pair of rock hands I brought in for help, placing the carton on the counter. “Check. One cup of butter or…mar…marga…margarine?” No clue what that is, so I just go for the first one and take out a stick of butter, ripping off the peeling and putting it in a cup. A coffee cup. Figure that’s as good as any. Now, I just need some…some… “Flo…ur? What the heck is ‘flour’?”

“You say it like ‘flower’, honey.” I glance behind me and see Rogue standing there, looking over my shoulder. Sneaking up on me. Again. Got to be the hovering.

“Flower?” Another addition to my now-humungous list of ‘Things That Make No Sense to Me’. “Okay, so, I just add this and the marg…Rogue, what’s this word?”

“Margarine.”

“Margarine, butter, right.” I take the cup in one hand and the butter/margarine in the other. “So I just put the stick in the cup, right?”

“Well, no.” She takes them both out of my hands, sets them both on the counter. “What you trying to make here, anyway?”

“Cookies.”

“What kind?”

“Oh, uh, they’re like…” I check the recipe’s title, trying to understand more than the word ‘Cookies’ this time. “Nea…Neap…Nea, nea, neapol…poli…”

“Neapolitan.” Rogue takes a peek and fills in the blank before my tongue can pass out. “Say it.”

Just like the reading exercises she runs me through. I scratch my head; clear my throat. “Neapolitan. Neapolitan. Neapolitan. Got it.” Well, not totally. “What’s a ‘Neapolitan’?”

“Probably got something to do with that French midget on the horse. If it don’t, I don’t know.” She stands besides me, looks over the recipe and her eyes get wide. Real wide. A little too wide for comfort. “Tell you what, sweetey.” She flips back to the Table of Contents and starts scanning through, her finger coming to rest about halfway down. “Ah yeah, Apple Pie, that looks about right.” She licks her lips and glances my way, smiling. “You ever had Apple Pie?”

“Nope. Heard of it.” Haven’t had any real sweets since I came to the mansion, now that I think about it. Starting to think Professor X has this anti-candy thing going on.

“Well, I’ll make some, okay?” I step back and Rogue takes my place, hovering up a few feet so she can reach the plates on the cabinet’s top shelf. “Make a nice little plate for the both of us.”

That’s nice. Real nice, actually. I’m standing there, looking up at Rogue as she gets all the stuff she needs, and it just hits me how nice she’s been to me ever since Current died. When I needed someone to talked to, she talked to me. When I’m in danger, she helps me out. She teaches me how to read with the books, she teaches me how to fight with the Danger Room; she’s always there, always close, always watching. It’s a little weird. But it’s a little cool, too. “Rogue?”

“Uh-huh?”

“You know how Professor X is always saying how the X-Men are a family and we’re close and stuff?”

“Yeah.” She doesn’t turn around, just keeps to her work. “Get that speech about once a week, I figure.”

“I was thinking: If we’re a family, then Gerald and Wreck and Dillan and all the others, they’re sort of like my brothers, right?”

“That’s one way to look at it, I suppose.”

“So would that make you sort of my mother?” Rogue stops rummaging, she stops messing around with the ingredients, she stops reading through the cookbook and she turns around with even wider eyes than before. “Geez, sorry. I didn’t freak you out or anything, did I?”

“No, no, I’m fine.” She turns back around, but I think I see a little smile before her face goes out of view. “Just took me by surprise, is all. Not really the mother-type.”

I step back, giving Rogue a little more space as she gets back to work. “It’s just that I’m happy here. Really happy. Not that I was unhappy with Analee and the other Morlocks, but I never felt there like I do here. I feel at home here. Like I fit. And you, well, you’re a part of that fitting, and I wonder if this is what it’s like to have a mom.” Another step back and my voice drops, like half of me doesn’t even want her to hear the next part. “But, at the same time, I kind of worry that I don’t deserve any of it. Because, I mean, I can control my power better, but I still mess up and do things I don’t mean to.” I think back to how I near crushed everyone back in LA, how I did crush Wreck back with the Bearbot, how I was stupid enough to let that dark thing inside of me out. “The way my power works, I could hurt them on accident. Real bad. And I don’t want-“

Rogue places her hand on top of my head, runs her fingers through it, bends down and gives me a peck on the forehead. Just a little kiss. “Don’t you worry none, alright? You ask me, we need people like you with the X-Men. Everybody’s got some darkness with them, somehow; maybe they don’t got as much gunk in their heads as Wolverine, but it’s there. But you, Marisol, Nadia, y’all are pure. And whether you know it or not, the guys probably see it, too.” She turns me around and gives me a push on the back, shoving me out of the kitchen. “Go for a walk, take a breather. Come back in twenty and we’ll talk it out.”

~*~

A graveyard in New Jersey…

I want it to rain. It should be raining.

I’m standing here, under a tree with the sun peaking through and a cool breeze running through. Three graves in front of me; my mother’s, my father’s, my brother’s. She was loved, he loved her, he loved them both. Sad as this is, sad as I know I should find it, I’m not crying. Maybe because I’ve come here so many times.

“This should be the last time I come to see you all.” I pick up the old, dried out roses on each grave and replace them with fresh ones, making sure to give them just the right space. Right down the center. “It took a while, but I found her. I finally found her. With the X-Men, if you’d believe it.”

I can almost hear my brother laughing, my mother scratching her head, my dad just sighing and reading the newspaper. Probably the Funnies.

“Yeah, I know, the damn X-Men. Shouldn’t be too surprised, though; I hear they let killers hang with them all the time.” I wipe my nose, hiding my own little smile. “Don’t worry, though. All I have to do is wait for her to get away from them for a second. Just a moment. All I need.”

Mom and dad both worry, but my brother keeps quiet and plays it cool. Never did want to let on that he liked me.

“I can handle her, chill. I didn’t get these powers for nothing.” I do a little flex, tap my biceps. Harder than steel. “I’m a tank. Can take whatever she’s got to throw at me.” I would have to. Six years I’d been preparing for this. The training, the expirements, learning and waiting and anticipating the day when I’d finally get the chance to meet that black-eyed demon. No one’s going to get my justice, no one’s going to do this for me. Just me. It has to be me. “I’ll end it. I swear, I’ll end it.”

~*~

Meanwhile, in the X-Mansion’s surrounding forest…

Something about nature. Can’t put a finger on it, but there’s just something about being out here with the trees, the water and the air that makes me feel alive. Maybe some of it has to do with my powers working so well out here; I don’t have to worry about a metal floor getting in my way or wood or anything that’s not earth; if I want to use my powers, I just use my powers.

But I don’t think that’s all there is to it. I remember back when we were at Master Mold’s place, after we busted up those robots, I…well, it wasn’t really me, it was that woman inside me, but still…she could sense the metal underneath that fake X-Mansion. And I notice that when Golem gets shocked or something weird happens to him, I can feel it in my head, sort of. So I thought on it, and I experimented, and I found out that I can ‘sense’ rocks. Somehow.

Take this stream I’m standing beside right now. I close my eyes, I concentrate, and I can feel the water running over every pebble. I can feel the rocks moving, the dirt wearing away and blending in with the current.

Or the trees in this forest. The roots that run through the ground, stemming out, the feel of a fallen tree digging into the earth, even the gentle taps of leaves as they land.

Even the earth itself. Especially the earth. Worms digging around. A bird lands, digs her feet into the ground, plucks a meal straight out of the dirt. The winds blows, knocks up a little dust, a snake curls into his home as night starts to come in, and footsteps…

Footsteps? Heavy footsteps. Heavy, fast footsteps. Close.

I open my eyes and turn around as a flock of birds takes flight, startled by whoever’s approaching. Rogue, probably; can’t tell since I don’t have a watch, but chances are it’s been more than an hour. Tend to lose myself out here. “Hey, Rogue!” No answer. “Gerald?” He comes out here every once in a while, takes his walks. But…still, no answer. I hear crunching leaves, know someone’s out there. “Anybody? Hello?”

I don’t get an answer, not a voice, just this light tapping noise as something comes rolling out of the forest. Evening’s setting in, so I can’t see the object until it rolls into the light before me, but even when I do it takes a moment to set in: It’s a grenade. Without a pin.

I work on instinct; know enough about grenades to know that running won’t do me much good at this range, so I make a wall and block the explosion. My ears ring and I fall from the shock, but my wall holds. Barely. And it completely crumbles when a bunch of bullets slam into it, shots firing from the forest.

“Golem!” He forms behind me just in time to take the shots as the wall crumbles, keeping me covered as we run across the stream. Can’t tell what’s going on and I don’t care; all I know is that someone’s trying to kill me and doing a real good job. I reach out with my mind, trying to call Gerald or the Professor or Jean or anybody.

Nothing. I get nothing.

The shooting stops and we stop running, daring to look back and see if we’re being followed. “Don’t see anything, do you?” Golem shakes what little of a head he has, but we don’t have the time to dwell on it; a tree come crashing down on us. Golem smacks it aside, smacks another tree, and another and another and another; they keep falling and he keeps saving me from them. I can see the figure outline in the pale daylight, can see him as he keeps knocking over the trees, and I hurl a few rocks his way…but he’s so fast. He’s like a blur. Not a single hit.

He stops knocking over the trees and throws something, and I don’t wait until it gets close to see what it is this time; I take flight, soaring on a boulder as the grenade explodes below, obliterating Golem. That’s the way, just keep flying, get as high I can and make my way back to the mansion.

“Going nowhere, bitch.” A woman’s voice. From behind.

Before I can figure out why she’s trying to kill me, before I can figure out how she got so high, before I can even turn around and look her face to face, her arms wrap around my throat and she pulls me off the rock. We go tumbling down, down, down and she lands, lands from a hundred plus feet with me still in her arms. Squeezing tight. “Let…let go!”

“Remember me?” She screams in my ear, whipping me around ragdoll-style; my feet dangling and my hands trying to pry her arm off. She’s strong, too strong, so strong it feels like there’s iron around my neck. “Remember my voice?” She lets go, but only so she can grab hold of my hair and fling me away, sending my head crashing into the nearest tree.

Can’t move. Can’t speak. Can barely even think. There’s just this haze, this almost-pleasant haze that comes over me. Questions. All these questions in my head, and they spill out as mumbles. I’m vaguely aware of being kicked over on my back, hardly feel her boot pin down my chest, scarcely see the gun pointing down on me, right between the horns. My whole brain doesn’t register any of those things. It’s just focused on one question. “Why?”

“Because you’re a monster, and the world already has too many of those. Good night, Roxanne.”

She fires.


Re: New Mutants Unlimited #7
Post by Amelia "Heaven" Chow on Oct 30, 2006, 9:56am

What the…

Nooooooooo! </Luke Skywalker>

Interested to see where this goes. Really well written. Gerald is probably going to be even more traumatized than he already is, what with having sworn to himself that he would protect Roxy way back when. Feel free to use him, if he makes sense to the story, since I think you have as good of a grasp on him as I do (if not better).


Re: New Mutants Unlimited #7
Post by Roxanne "Madrock" Madison on Oct 30, 2006, 10:39am

Aw, thanks.

Appreciate the offer, but a big point of this is having Madrock on her own, no backup. Don't worry, she'll be fine. ^_^

More or less…


Re: New Mutants Unlimited #7
Post by Amelia "Heaven" Chow on Oct 30, 2006, 11:09am

Oh no, I completely understand that. I was just making the offer that if you do want to use him anytime in the future, I'm kosher.

By the way, finally finished my completely slow effort at a Stryker story. Sorry to advertise, but check it out!


Re: New Mutants Unlimited #7
Post by K'lar on Oct 31, 2006, 11:50am

Nice work, lasthero. Unfortunately, I can't find a profile for Salamander, so we are going to have to go without. E-mail me, so we can coordinate a few things.


Re: New Mutants Unlimited #7
Post by Roxanne "Madrock" Madison on Oct 31, 2006, 3:46pm

\I made Salamander up. Was tempted to use Marrow, but I'm not sure where she is and didn't care enough to ask. >_>; I wasn't aware of their being an actual guy named Salamander.


Re: New Mutants Unlimited #7
Post by K'lar on Oct 31, 2006, 5:30pm

I thought there was a Morlock called Salamder, though I could have him mixed up with someone else. Explains why I couldn't find him


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