Rated: R for violence, language, and adult content.
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Hybrid sleeps on a hospital bed; four doctors operate on her carefully knowing that if she dies so do they. All of them actually realize there efforts are almost entirely useless, her only chance of survival is her mutations, and those are so extensive that nothing is in the right place. Still they sweat over her, trying to look busy while other patients die.
Archon waits outside the room looking in, the worst thing about what he's doing isn't the deaths it causes, it's that it's his general attitude towards human life.
A ten-year-old boy walks up to him, the messy blond hair on him would actually turn brown with a little bit of time; or in his case it's aging backwards that turned it blond. Archon glances at the lad than points his eyes back into the hospital room.
"Let the doctors go," says the child without the slightest mistake in his vocal usage. "A veterinarian would be better suited to help her; you do remember that her biology was never mistakable for that of a humans?"
"Genesis; I see you still haven't gotten control of your aging. Shall we skip the chit chat?"
"Business as usual eh Archon?" he pauses and closes his eyes, "She's dying: Half of her spinal column needs to be replaced; she's lost too much blood to live the night, half her brain's shut down from the pain... The only benefit she has is that the poisonous spikes that will grow from her back in a few months haven't developed to the point where they could infect her with their venom."
"Name the price."
"It's that simple to you isn't it? That's why your wife left you; because every time you messed up you looked for a solution instead of just admitting to mistakes."
Archon breathes impatiently not wanting to risk saying the wrong thing, or becoming even more tempted to snap the boy's neck.
"Effort is what gets things done, it's what causes us to evolve into what we are today... Full genetic samples of your current team, plus a mission. That is the price of effort since you refuse to just beg..."
Water splashes on Reaver's face; he opens his eyes to find a maniacal man standing over him intend on inflicting pain and death.
"I guess you can't really see me," says a familiar voice, "I'm Native-American by birth, my people used to be proud so long ago. The English destroyed everything we valued! My father was a mutant, he registered like a fool, they took him away from the rest of the tribe and later we got word that he 'died from sickness', the truth was they experimented on him and when he died one of them sold his frozen spinal-fluids to a drug-cartel. They came for me before my powers even came out...if it wasn't for Archon I would have died the way my father did. I was somehow imbued with the strength of my family; every part of me is at least twice as good as that of a regular human. You on the other hand don't deserve the D.N.A. you were born with!" Tracker picks Reaver up and holds him over the edge of the building while growing even angrier.
"Put him down!" Succubus yells from the fire escape.
"I am loyal to Archon, this bastard dying will be for the best." Tracker's grip loosens a little as he prepares to drop Reaver.
"Let Archon decide that. We have to leave before the area is completely sealed by U.N. forces, otherwise you'll have failed your father."
"W-watch...." Reaver starts to say, "out."
The other two people become confused for a second until a voice they both know very well speaks from just behind them.
"Hey guys, what's with the fighting? Can't we all just be friends?" says the man.
"Skyler, Archon said that you died!" Succubus says while stepping away from him.
Tracker drops Reaver onto the roof instead of over it.
"I had a heart attack, I woke up in a hospital an hour ago. Who killed Cabal anyways?" Skyler asks with a smooth smile on his perfectly shaven face.
Tracker Answers "Probably Archon."
"And where is he now?"
"We don't know; Echo and Hybrid probably got injured in the fight."
"That's a pity, I wanted him to be here for this."
"Look out!" Reaver yells, but neither of them reacts in time.
Skyler pulls two pistols out from under his coat, he fires both into Tracker, each shot is made of the same red energy that maimed Hybrid earlier. Succubus falls the ground feeling her windpipe being slowly crushed. Reaver gets to his feet only to find himself trapped once there, he's unable to move an inch and it hurts to breath. Skyler walks up to him and talks.
"Not much of a telepath are you. I know you're new here, and I just wanted to let you know that this is nothing personal; my planet's sun is dying, your planet has a good one. It's better this way; you won't have to suffer during the invasion."
With that said Skyler puts his helmet on and takes his coat off, at this point Reaver can only see Cabal's hatred clinging to the armor. Skyler raises one-pistol and fires five shots into Reaver; each digs all the way through, and each is almost as painful as the last.
Echo arrives watches as some kind of triangle-shaped airplane flies slowly over the city. She heard the fight, but she didn't dare join in for fear of dying. She runs to the rooftop and finds Tracker and Reaver dead on the ground, Reaver's hand around Tracker's arm. She turns from them noticing a small metallic cube on the ground making the faintest of noises. If she looked closely at the corpses, she would see a small bit of mist flowing from one into the other.
Five U.N. enforcers arrive sometime later and surround Echo; she doesn't even pay attention to them, or to what they say. She just kneels on the ground with her helmet next to her and her crimson hair hanging down onto the ground looking remarkably similar to the pool of blood around Tracker and Reaver.
Reaver lays there trapped in his nightmares, then he feels like he's somewhere else trapped, but there's no screams, no sound at all until a memory comes to him; "You shall be known as Reaver, you shall take the life of the innocent and feed it to me. What ever you want shall be yours, be it women, money, or even this drug I've gotten you hooked on; never fail me or else I'll take your life."
He snaps up out of the sleep, his hands lift and even while the enforcers aim at him they die in under a second, the mist that is their life-force flows into Reaver's eyes and he falls back down while his wounds close; only then does his mind awaken.
Echo doesn't say a word; she just looks at the telepath letting a tear roll from relief roll down her face. She moves over to him happy that she was responsible for one less death than she thought.
Archon appears between them seeming very tired. He first looks at Echo unaware of what's transpired, he than looks over at Reaver seeing the holes in the armor and freshly formed scars under them, next to him Tracker's dead and rotten body; it's accelerated decomposition comes from Reaver draining every reserve bit of life in it's veins.
Archon stumbles to find the words, but then a holographic image is projected out from the metallic cube that was forgotten about. The armored figure of Cabal stands before them only slightly transparent, Skyler's voice speaks through it.
"Archon, it's been a long time. You killed the last survivor, he was to be my next host after this one; but I guess that little black bitch you've been screwing will do. Than I'm going to..." It's then that Archon grabs Echo and Reaver and teleports them out. Cabal's message ends shortly after that when a missile hits the cube from above; the top three floors of the building are destroyed. Oddly, the explosion doesn't go outwards the way it normally would.
They appear inside a house somewhere, while the walls open automatically to reveal computer screens and digital maps Archon goes close to a grid seeming to ignore everything, they can't see his front, but he keeps moving one of his hands over his face as if to wipe tears away.
"What do we do now?" Reaver asks, while feeling his newly grown beard that he intends to shave as soon as possible.
"It doesn't matter," replies Archon, "I can't get there, and the stress of trying vould probably rip my energy form apart." Archon sits down on that note, but without a chair, he just falls over slamming into the floor.
Echo takes note of a flashing bit of light on the screen he was in front of; it's on a map of Canada. She notices that another map is focused on part of the Australian outback, there's a flashing bit of light on it, and when she looks closely, she sees the word 'echo' next to it.
"What's happening?" Reaver asks, "You're both distressed in different ways because of something on the wall." They both turn to face him.
"Ve've lost, "Archon begins, "Skyler's beacon seems to have been ignored by the nano's, but he's in Canada. The only option left is high jacking a nuclear-silo." He lets out a painful laugh that makes them both unsure of his intensions.
"When I saw him up close it was the strangest thing, he seemed to be having an inner struggle until after the fighting was over. Then he was pure, he tried to kill me without it affecting him the slightest bit. Eighty-seven people died at that club, just stop him alright?" With that said Reaver puts his hands around Archon's head and life force flows out his own mouth and into Archon's eyes, when it's over Reaver falls to the ground bleeding again where he was shot.
Archon stands up as every muscle on his body crackles with power. He opens his mouth to say something, and while it's open energy flows from the top to bottom inside it, but he fails the find any words important enough to waste more time. He turns into energy and hovers for a half second before shooting into the floor like lightening, and when he does this every light bulb bursts, monitors explode, and other pieces of equipment connected into the wiring system just melt.
The feeling that fills Archon is indescribable, the entire planet's energy-field is before him, and he understands that every bit of energy is all one, it's all the same, and even he is just a small part of it. He flies through miles of rock and lava before coming to his destination. The entire Toronto power grid goes out as Archon emerges from the ground, what looks like a beam of lightening connects him to the C.N. Tower and he finds himself on the top floor, all of the lights burst with his arrival.
The triangular airship belonging to Cabal hovers outside, even it becomes affected by Archon's arrival. The anti-gravity balancers begin acting up as the pilot inside tries to regain control the ship, but it's torn away from the tower in which Cabal was dragging Succubus to the window to board.
Archon sees Cabal turning to him while releasing Succubus. The corpses lining the floor are barely noted by any of the still living.
Skyler's voice screams at him while raising a rifle and firing a series of energy flares at him. Archon turns into energy letting the shots pass right through him as he walks forward. He turns back to his human form and feels an odd mixture of burns and bruises where the energy-flares went through, all of which are to minor to effect him. He rolls to the side as Skyler kicks a table at him lining it with red energy; it ends up going another twenty feet past him and through a window as if the red energy was a visual side-effect of the kinetic-energy being affected unnaturally.
Outside the airship partially stabilizes while it lines with red energy causing it to glow, it all seems to spread from inside. The pilot looks out the open hatch to concentrate on the fight while preparing a small weapon for his own use.
Succubus nearly laughs to herself about such a feared and technologically advanced enemy using a simple rope to restrain her; it was only a simple matter to find a piece a stake-knife from one of the tables.
Archon disappears for a split second only to reform beside Skyler, yet his eyes don't seem to fully come back from the energy form, energy keeps leaking out of them as if they were made of it. Skyler tries to aim at Archon, but Archon rams a knife into the power supply used by the gun and elbows Skyler in the mouth sending enough electricity with it to crack the front of the helmet.
A rapid series of punch's starts between them, it's Skyler that tries to pull a kick first, but Archon catches it in one hand and hits the kneecap with the other; the reassuring crunch of bones breaking is heard even through the energy-proof armor.
Skyler spins a whip out from behind himself, as he flails it around at Archon it lines with red-energy obviously meant to increase the attack, but Archon turns into energy and slides several foot backwards before reappearing.
Skyler takes the weight off his injured leg as much as possible while pulling a small pistol from his side and shooting part of the sprinkler system causing the rain to start. Even Archon notes how cleaver of a move it is; with the lowered mobility the water will be a useful tool to prevent teleports; it's then that he remembers the way Remnant's know what their host does, and with it Skyler knows every move Archon is going to make out of all the ones he's seen.
The stand off is broken when Skyler notices Succubus in the corner of his eye and shoots at her missing badly. Wit the opening made Archon runs forward not caring that his boost is all but gone, he knows the opening, he remembers training Skyler in how to fake such a thing to make someone attack prematurely. Skyler does what's expected, he uses to whip aiming it for Archon center of mass, but what happens is Archon grabs it with his left arm giving no care to the bones fracturing, he pushes through the pain and just after Skyler sends an energy-flare through his shoulder kicks the gun out of his hand.
Succubus sees the weapon on the floor and goes for it while Archon and Skyler fight in close again. Skyler hits with the force of sludge-hammers thanks to the force not going back into him the way it should. And Archon uses his energy powers with every hit not caring that the water is absorbing much of it, the hits are each more powerful because when they land they have perfect conductors. A thin blade extends out of the armor on Archon's wrist, he pulls it back than forward to stab through the armor knowing that he just needs one good opening in it, but instead Skyler swings an arm upwards braking the blade in half. Before Archon can calculate another move Skyler pulls back just long enough to lunge forward kicking with his full weight knocking Archon all the way across the room and nearly out the window.
The sprinkler system finally ends its cycle with a small drizzle of water. In addition to that, outside the pilot lowers his weapon feeling too weak to use it, but he is just as glad either way because he knows the only thing left is for Archon to retreat or die.
Skyler laughs as he walks forward at Archon, looking down at the mutant while closing in to just a few feet he can't help but notice that the mutant isn't even getting up, he's just lying on his back. He reaches for his sidearm only to find that he lost the pistol earlier in the fight, before any thought as to where it's gone can cross his mind the answer shoots through him from behind in the form of his own red-energy-flare.
He looks down at the hole and turns to see Succubus aiming again, only higher this time, he steps closer to her reaching a hand out as if that would stop the next flare from going through right in the center severing his spine; not at all unlike what was done to Hybrid. Succubus aims for the head and tries to fire again but no more energy is left.
Skyler wonders why he can't crush her neck using the force of her breathing, he tries to but nothing happens, but he knows he can do it; he's seen Cabal do it before.
Archon gets to his feet, almost enjoying the pain every movement causes; in fact, he uses it to push through. His walking turns to running and even before Skyler can fall Archon jumps at him while turning into energy. Every bit of energy contained in Archon's body overloads Skyler to the point where energy shoots out ripping past the armor on the inside. Archon lands on his knees in human form in front of his lost friend.
Skyler's final movement is tipping over as if from the breeze. His insides are charred so badly that more than half of him completely crumbles upon hitting the ground. Archon takes a deep breath not bothering to look back at his work, the energy leaking out his eyes has stopped, and sometime between the power boost and the final blow, he's aged almost twenty years.
In light of the victory looks down at himself and searches a spare pocket for a pack of cigarettes, once the pack is found he pulls it out only the find he charred like so many other things. He feels a gentle hand touch his shoulder, he only half way manages to start smiling when the hand starts shaking uncontrollably as Succubus lets out a scream. He rolls to the side breaking the connection far to late for her, all he can do is watch in terror as her knees give out from under her while a light smoke comes off her beautiful skin.
Inside the airship, the pilot looks through a pair of binoculars and smiles even as his skin bubbles from heat that very recently overtook him. He hears a female voice in his head "Well Cabal, it appears you are at anything other than full strength, and now you've damaged your internal systems with too much heat. Accept that you've failed and flee well you still can; there are after all, others you have interest in."
"My honor demands that I get some atonement for what they did to me!" he screams.
"You've forgotten your place, Archon and his horde are not to be killed by you, at least not yet. Someone else will finish them after they've regrouped. You are needed to open the rift, and for that you need to hibernate." With nothing else left the say the link ends.
Cabal aims a rifle at Archon, he images how easy it would be to pull the trigger and give the anomaly a quick end, but then he realizes that the orders said nothing about inflicting pain, and pain is what revenge is about. Family and friends are where all people derive joy from, and there is no orders protecting them. Cabal can't help but smile at the thought.