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Note: This follows the storyline started in Children of Extinction. Some language and or concepts may be offensive.

The two people embrace in a long kiss; both are young by the standards of the people they work with, and if they knew of each other before this moment they would be sworn enemies, and one of them would now die.

Catching their breaths, they look into each other's eyes remembering things they each have to do that should not wait. Alexis stumbled upon a secret inside the Inquisition; if the problem is not dealt with, it could be the end of his kind. Echo has the worst end, she has been ordered to kill a great healer, and if she doesn't than a plague may be unleashed. Neither knows that the other is here looking for the same man, but for different reasons.

The looks on each other's faces would confuse either one if they didn't know it from their own faces doing the same thing. Alexis takes a deep breath and talks, only his words don't so much as reach his own ears "I have to take care of something, please wait for me." When he's done forcing the words out, he believes that she didn't hear him.

Echo is already walking away when she lets him hear her words as if she was whispering them in his ear. "Thanks for everything... I have to take care of something, wait for me."

She walks through the door hearing the alerts being sent to all security teams on the floor about a possible mutant presence. She smiles to herself for once again defying Archon's will; this time its use of her powers: Not one of the security personal hears any new commands through their radios.

She looks to where Fredrick Doven was to see a couple of the people he was talking to earlier, but no sign of him. She walks around the room looking; while doing that she spots the man from the balcony searching for someone, she assumes that it's for her. She's quick enough to evade his scanning eyes be ducking behind an ornate pillar. However she notices the strange armor on his right hand.

She hears the light hum of video screens and computers coming from one room, based on the number it's more than a home entertainment center. She heads for that room realizing that there are no heart beats coming from it and therefore she'll have perfect access to the security system, from which she'll be able to locate her target with ease.

She glances to both sides of the door and backs her way in pushing it open. Under her shoes she feels the oddly wet floor, and with the amount of death she's been around in recent history, she barely notices the smell of blood.

Alexis was shocked by what happened with his voice, but assumed he was still breathless from the kiss. He accepts that without extra consideration and pushes it out of his mind. His training takes over; he could identify possible mutants from any one of a hundred small muscle details being even slightly off, but now he uses this skill to look for a human based on the same principles.

While most of his mind focuses on the task of running between people looking for one man, a small part of his mind drifts to his first encounter with mutants: He was just a boy then, but he still remembers the savage face of the mutant who murdered his family, and the beauty of the one who pulled him from the fire.

Reason returns to his mind, the fact that he's not looking for a savage animal clicks in causing him to merely walk up to the nearest member of the security team and ask: "I need to find the doctor, it's an emergency."

"Is it hemorrhoids?" The male guard asks in reply.

"No, it's not hemorrhoids!" He grows angry from the stupid question.

"Code accepted, I'll take you to him." The guard leads the way to a smaller room.

Fredrick Doven sits on a chair in the middle of the room looking at a laptop computer mumbling to no one but himself. His six personal guards all stand casually except for one who holds a modified spear gun to deal with tougher mutant problems.

"Alexis Temple, I owe you for rescuing my granddaughter... tell me, what could possibly bring you here in such a hurry? Wasn't it just a few couple minutes ago you were becoming intimate with some red-head on the balcony?" Doven asks without facing him.

He looks to either side seeing a touch of fear go onto the guards' faces from the sight of his sword still attached to his back. "Matthew Newman, how did die?"

"I hope for the sake of your love life that you take the time for foreplay; your file says that you're always to serious. But yes, every so often someone like you hears a bizarre rumor and digs up the name of one dead man or another, and asks me about it."

"He was a hunter like me, he died in the first regeneration chamber, only something went wrong didn't it; he was a mutant who slipped past your screenings: the enzymes probably brought his powers out." Alexis grins from watching Doven stiffen and face him.

"Mister Newman was no fake-blood! He died serving humanity; I watched as it happened. I tried everything. The wounds were just too deep for the mist to heal..." he pauses as if struck by something. "Mortimer, please escort this hero out."

Ignoring the advance of the man with the spear gun, Alexis pulls the frozen containment tube containing two mutated fingers from one of his pockets, and tosses it at Doven watching as the mans mouth drop and the color diminish from the face while he turns.

Doven manages only a whisper of a reply "How did you get this?"

Echo turns to see what little remains of two men who were assigned to monitor the video feeds. They were systematically torn apart and based on several missing body parts they were partially eaten.

She listens for any sign of what ever did this but sees none. She glances at the video cameras hoping to find her target. On one of the cameras she sees him, he's not alone, guards are stationed on the inside of the room, one of them is aiming what looks like a spear-gun at the man she kissed a few minutes ago. She watches without being able to listen, as the man seems to yell at Doven. In a sudden burst of movement, everyone pulls weapons and turns to just beyond the camera's line of sight firing.

Moments ago a guard waited outside the room pacing back and forth trying to strive off boredom. He wondered if the man he let in really knew the password or if he just responded instinctively to a gross question. His pondering was cut off abruptly when two right arms attacked from behind, one braced against his upper back and the other went around his head and pulled back sharply breaking his neck.

Now: After eating much of the corpse the monster steps into the room grinning at the sensation of a second heart coming into place already pumping adrenaline. His thinning hair hangs partially over his face, but fails to hide the line that remains from where Alexis cut him. It actually smiles at the sight of them regardless of the weapons they draw.

While they open fire the monster reacts with both speed and intelligence, it leaps at the nearest one and throws that man at the man with the spear gun just as he fires. The spear hits the screaming man in mid-air and an electric charge knock him out, however the remaining momentum is enough to take down the man who used the weapon, and just after the impact both men stop moving as the electrical current continues.

The monster hisses with satisfaction just before a hundred bullets begin ripping into his flesh and shattering bones. Each impact knocks it back no matter how hard it tries to push onwards at them; for a second it realizes that they're using a half circle formation to avoid shooting through it and hitting each other. The rain of bullets cuts through him like he was nothing; flesh and blood travel out of him dragged by the bullets and yet there is no great result, the internal organs rip apart time and again but the monster refuses to die.

The monster lets out a pulsing gurgling sound, then the unmistakable clicks from the guns running out of ammunition fills the room, and with that the gurgling turns into a laugh. The monster seems thinner than before the shooting started, and its two right arms lay on the ground clawing at everything blindly as if they were thinking independently after being shot off. The monster itself has no bullet holes showing through, just jagged bones coming out as if rearranged to serve a new use after being destroyed.

Even as the empty clips collide with the polished wood floor, the monster moves towards the nearest guard, the man pops the new clip in and fires at point blank range to no avail, it's torso splits open and it uses the jagged bones as teeth. Its entire torso seems to open to intake the victim; and it does, every bit of his mass is added to itself in a matter of seconds. It's original head twists around to see behind itself, and a new one emerges above the natural heart. The remaining men glance at each other for ideas; but Doven's mouth hangs open with amazement, "Hello Matt, I had no idea you'd grown so strong."

Matthew stands in a mass of moving flesh and bone; the new limbs find homes for themselves where there was none before. One of the legs is already sticking out the bottom for added stability for the new weight. The new head speaks through the pain "Doctor, you promised you'd fix me; but look at what I've become! Do you have any idea how much this hurts?" it takes a step towards Doven while the talking head extends outwards from the central mass, its suspended on a couple feet of tight muscle and cartridge. The head is still bleeding from having been bite moments before.

Alexis plays the hero, he pulls the same sword he hurt the monster with before and dives forward severing the extra head with one good swing. What's left of the torso opens to blindly intake him. Alexis slashes his sword once through it's new leg and while it starts to loose balance he brings his sword up only to swing it down into the huge mouth cutting half way to the ground; but his luck fails as the sword gets stuck in the hip bones.

Alexis barely has time to register the panic before two deformed, over sized hands that have jagged bones sticking out punch him across the chest. He falls back like a rag doll; his own blood splashes into his eyes blinding him

Echo enters the room just on time to see someone be punched very hard by a massive thing of interchanging living tissue. A katana comes out above it attached to a leg. It lowers towards the man on the ground; she's not sure who it is, but she's already seen enough to guess that it's been adding its food to itself in the literal sense.

Sound-blades form from her fists. She runs at the creature having heard Doven's words while she was on rout; she knows that Doven had something to do with its creation, and Archon didn't send it, therefore she understands a good reason why Doven should die. Instead of holding her ground against it, she leaps over its head pointing her hands down towards it to allow the sound-blades to do their task. She lands on the other side above Alexis; behind her, the monster staggers unsure of how to adapt. She spins around cutting through it twice more causing the creature to divide into several large pieces.

She glances down at Alexis, he's trying to kick away from the monster. Blood covers his eyes, and oddly his heartbeat and breathing don't tell even one sign of fear, yet his wounds are so deep she can see bone.

"Freeze mutant scum!" several men yell simultaneously. She looks up to see the remaining men aiming their freshly reloaded guns at her, and no sign of Doven. She looks to the monster to see that the four pieces are ripping each other apart trying to gain dominance over the whole.

She allows her sound-blades to dissipate. "I just saved your ass's!" none of them listens to reason. One of them fires a dart into her neck; "My kind didn't start this did w-" the rest of her sentence is lost as a toxin puts her to sleep.

Some time later: "You'll need a trip to a healing chamber, but otherwise you'll be fine." The medic tells him after applying bandages and using their normal disinfectants in his wounds. A short distance away, a flamethrower team destroys what remains of the monster and all the blood in the room. Alexis is surprised when one of them walks over to him carrying a smoking sword across his upheld palms. Alexis retrieves his weapon and bows to the man before sliding it back into the sheaf on his back.

He walks through the rooms ignoring questions everyone seems to have; he's somewhat surprised by them mentioning something about a redhead, but he accepts that they are probably just trying to cheer him up by mentioning the woman from the balcony.

He finds a locked door and opens it with one firm kick. Doven is in the room sitting on a chair being debriefed by two high-judges, he knows them as members a special group within the Inquisition that has never made an official action, and based on their lack of weapons they wouldnít last against any threat. "Wait your turn boy." One of them calls out with a hoarse voice.

Doven stands up looking worried. "Be smart about this, think of the children who grow up crippled thanks to mutants; itís just a matter of time until we can help them all. They won't have to grow up the way you did!" At that Alexis knocks him to the ground with a quick punch. One of the judges moves forward at him, but in a quick motion he draws his sword and applies it to the man's throat. The judge inhales the smell of burnt flesh and steps back letting his eyes show his discontent, but he doesnít voice it.

Alexis passes the sword to his right hand, and locks Dovenís hands behind his back with steel chuffs. Satisfied with the intimidation he puts the sword away and pulls Doven up to his feet. He forces the man through one room after another. "You were impressed!" he yells while kicking Doven through a set of glass doors and into the main hall.

"They would just cover this up to keep the secret under wraps, but you want me to pay, you want the world to know what the this war is really like." replies Doven while staggering to his feet bleeding. "I never intended to turn Matthew into that, but he was dying and the prototype healing chamber couldn't save him. I did what I had to do to preserve life; I dunked him in to the chemical-enzyme mixture used in the steam. When he started struggling, I knew it had worked; but it worked too well, none of his cells would die! When he realized I couldn't change him back he kidnapped my grandchild, I would have stopped him if I knew where he was."

"I'm going to see to it that you can't 'preserve' anymore life, where you're going there won't be enough time; that I promise." He gives Doven another push to speed the walk.

"I'm so proud of you. I'll promote you myself when I get out of prison..." he pauses. "Why did we just pass the elevators?" He struggles with his aged muscles to look back.

Alexis doesn't talk, he just pushes while all the people watch in horror as he leads the doctor out to the balcony. "I know that if I let you go to prison it'd just bring public attention to how much potential the technology has, and with the one bad case you'd come out and claim to have refined it so that can't ever happen again. He still had bits of his armor on, including the tracer! You could have found him at any time! But instead you did nothing! Do you have any idea what he did to your granddaughter?"

Doven slams to the ground on the balcony and looks up at Alexis focusing bandaged wounds. "Please, how could I end a life? I couldn't even tell them youíre infected-" Alexis grabs hold and lefts the man up by the handcuffs before throwing him over the railing. He looks down at the falling man while he screams, "If you want to stay human you need me!" the image fades but the scream remains until he impacts on the pavement.

Krista Dover wakes up in a hospital bed glad to see light again. Her parents are discussing something with a doctor, but she doesn't care, she just wants to tell them about the horrible dream she had about a monster and a knight.

The doctor speaks in his professional tones. "The toxin has completely dissipated from her system, and I should be getting the latest set of x-rays anytime now, I believe we've set her bones correctly, but we can't be too careful. It may be best for her recovery if you don't ask her any questions for awhile, at least until she's more adapted to her injury." He's pulled away by an assistant with the x-rays for him to look at.

"Mo', da', why am I in a hospital?" the girl asks, and is surprised when her parents look over at her both confused and hopeful. "Who was the doc talking about, and why are you both lookin' at me like that?" they approach her nearly crying from the miracle. The doctor begins to complain about getting the wrong x-rays until he looks up to see the little girl who lost her tongue now talking while her parents weep with joy.

An hour later a group of mutant hunters raids the hospital looking for the new mutant they were tipped about, however the family is on an airplane leaving the country not knowing the full extend of what happened, and foolishly believing the ordeal is over.

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The following comments are for "Hunters and Monsters (three of three)"
by Ragath

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