For the Children: Santa Prisca

April 01, 2015:

Cyclops, Mimic and Magneto arriva Santa Prisca and search for the kidnapped mutants. They find a lab complex where inhuman experiments are taking place.

Santa Prisca

The Harbor and a factory complex


NPCs: Mr. Hyde, many minions of General Zahl


Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

The X-Men last act of good-doing has left them with three dozen criminals, three hundred would-be illegal immigrants and ship that likely has drugs and weapons hidden somewhere on top of some other questionable, but perhaps legal cargo. Calling SHIELD is likely got to get some SHIELD agents angry at Scott. But they can file this as an ‘humanitarian emergency’. The not-quite-rescued immigrants do not really want to get back to Santa Prisca, or Honduras for that matter, to lives in squalor they hoped they were leaving behind. Oh, and by the way, many of them have relatives (usually women or children) that have been retained in Santa Prisca to ensure they remain obedient once they get to America. All in all, those thugs were indeed very much like modern pirates and slavers.

It is quite a mess, and they aren’t even in Santa Prisca yet. By the time they return to the Blackbird, Magneto was starting to lose patience.

Scott runs a hand through his hair as he boards the Blackbird; it was sweaty and messed up due to the heat and manual labor of coordinating with those SHIELD had sent. "Gonna be some blowback for that one," he murmurs to Cal, before heading for the cockpit to take the co-pilot's seat once more.

"It was the right thing to do." Cal assures Scott after they've teleported back to the jet. "Most of those people would have ended up little better than slaves." Back at the controls, he makes sure Magneto is settled then continues on to the island.

"No doubt," comments Magneto in a patronizing tone, "now they can safely return to their third world countries to starve safely. Did you know over twenty thousand humans die from starvation every day?" He stands up. Waiting in the Blackbird has not improved his mood, he should have brought an e-book or something.

"You will find many opportunities to engage in humanitarian actions in Santa Prisca. Some of them will bring you into conflict with the local gangs of bandits in charge of what passes as law-enforcement. Commendable and satisfying as… beating all of them up would be, it is also unpractical. We have a task, gentlemen. Mimic, you know who our contact in the port is, right? Cyclops, is this aircraft able to disguise itself? It will draw some attention if we land it in the harbor. Or anywhere, for that matter."

Looking toward Magneto, Cyclops seems nonplussed by the older mutant's restlessness. He opens his mouth, then closes it with a begrudging expression. Headstrong as he is known to be, Scott has learned there are times where it is best not to argue.

"It has defensive capabilities, but nothing to blind it from the naked eye." He glances toward Calvin. "I can do a high fly over the island, then land us in a remote area." From there, they could teleport in, so long as Mimic knows where they're going.

"Yes, I got the information we need from the captain's mind." Mimic says. And other things as well, more than he wanted to. "I passed along to SHIELD the names of his contacts in the US and elsewhere. I might have forgotten to include those in Santa Prisca but I'll be sure to give them a call and fix that error once we're done here." He nods his agreement with Scott. "We can land anywhere and then teleport in. I wonder if Google has any street views of it?" Accessing the computer, he'll soon find out.

Not Google maps except for a few tourists spots. But seeing what Calvin is trying to do, Magneto speaks. "Allow me, I can get you up to date satellite pictures," you can trust Magneto to know the best Unternet sites. It is part of his daily job as a terrorist. After a few minutes or scanning, there are certainly some wild areas near the town they are heading, but Santa Prisca is populated enough the Blackbird is going to be spotted sooner or later. Still, with some luck the airplane won’t be spotted for a day or two.

For the next few moments, Scott gains altitude and approaches the island. He occasionally glances to Calvin and Magneto as they work, having taken over the flying for the moment.

Cal waits for Magneto to do his thing then leans forward to examine the pics. "There." he says, tapping at a spot on the screen. "We can land there. And then we can port in and take care of business. Civvies?" Did Magneto even bring any?

"Certainly," replies the old man, pulling off his helmet. His metal armor reconfigures at his command, transforming into a simple, dark clothes and a coat. "Lets hurry up, the sun is setting and it might be harder to find our quarry if he leaves the harbor area."

Calvin has identified the ‘harbor officer’ as one Fernando Costas. Local scum. He has an office and a few men working for him. The captain assumes he is one of Bane’s men, but he didn’t care enough to pry. The captured mutant kids are loaded up in trucks and he has never seen them again.

Scott nods his head and readies the Blackbird for descent. "Run some interference for me?" he asks, indicating both men. Magnetic fields can play havoc with radio waves, radar, and the like; as for Calvin, he's got a unique power set that's likely to draw eyes away from the aircraft's descent.

As soon as they've landed, Scott initiates a series of lockdowns by flipping a dozen switches and keying in some codes. Finally, the hull begins to invert, becoming a mirrored surface. It's not a perfect cloak, and it cannot yet be used in flight, but it's something.

Moments later, he's changed into civilian clothes and is fixing a properly hiccified ball cap low over his visor.

Once they touch down, Cal goes to get changed while Scott locks up. Once they're all ready, he *BLINKS* them into town, having chosen what looked like an alley not too far from the docks. While something about his - or rather Blink's - power keeps them from accidentally ending up in objects, he'd prefer not to be seen. "We make a left at the street and take it to the piers."

Magneto takes care no radar detects the Blackbird descending, but then it is Cal's turn to lead on. The old man follows him quietly, making sure to disable security cameras alone the way. Not that the harbor has many of them operative.

As the trio approaches Costas cabin office, though, they draw the attention of live guards. A couple thugs move to intercept them. "Stop right there, senior Costas' office hours are over. Come back tomorrow." Explains one of the thugs. There is still lighting inside the office, though. Someone is working until late.

Taking up the rear, Scott walks along with his head hunched just so. As the men move to intercept, he reaches up to touch the control on his visor, though he holds his fire. Let's see what Calvin is able to pull first; his power is particularly destructive.

Really, it just looks like he's scratching his ear.

As they pause, Cal takes a step forward to put him ahead of Cyclops and Magneto. "We are here to… 'hire' some menials." he says with a heavy Russian accent. "Two women. And a boy." he adds, flicking a quick look toward Scott. "The ship captain, Collins, should have mentioned my name to Costas. We can pay in gems."

The thugs seem bored by Calvin words until he mentions gems. "Collins is an asshole," grunts one of them. The other nods. But his greed-sense is tingling. As far as he knows neither Collins or Costas deal with single ‘workers’, but he doesn’t know everything, and ‘gems’ sounds like a serious money.

Of course Costas is still in his office. Plenty of important business happens at night. So he actually works from noon to almost midnight. “You wait here,” states the thug, leaving to talk with his boss in the cabin. At least he has AC inside.

Calvin's glance is met with the slightest glint of metal from beneath the bill of a ball cap. For the moment, Scott is satisfied standing back, arms folded, letting the thugs wonder just what his deal is. Intimidation can be a critical factor, and silence enhances intimidation.

Cal nods and crosses his arms as the guard goes inside. As soon as the door closes behind him, the second guard disappears in a flash of pinkish energy. On the other side of the island, about a hundred meters offshore, he splashes into the ocean. Hopefully he can swim. And that there are no sharks. "Gentlemen, shall we?" Without waiting for an answer, he heads for the door.

"But of course." Magneto puts his helmet back on, then he disables the cellphones several hundred yards around them. A cursory glance allows him to identify the half a dozen armed men in the immediate area. Those guns won’t work either.

The door is open, the thug and a fat, mustached man in his fifties are talking in hushed tones. The fat man sits behind a desk glares angrily at Cal. "Get this Russian filth out of my office," he orders. The thug stands up and tries to grab Cal and push him out.

This is precisely when a surgical blast of red, concussive energy lashes out, striking the thug's wrist and knocking it fiercely away. "Hands off," he warns, raising his head to reveal the ruby-red visor beneath the bill of his cap, hand upon the trigger. He turns his head toward the fat man next, frowning. "Back down."

"You've got a problem with Russians?" Cal asks, losing the accent completely as the desk Costa is sitting at slams forward into him and shoves him back against the wall, pinning him there. "So here's how it's going to work. Unless you want to swim with the fishes, and frankly, you don't look like you could get back to shore from five feet out let alone five miles, you're going to tell us where the mutant children are." He walks forward to put his hands flat on the desk and lean forward. "So where are you keeping the mutants? All of them, sold or unsold."

Outside, some more thugs come to try to help. There is a cracking sound, a flash of light, and some muffled screams. The whiff of ozone coming from outside hints no thugs are coming anymore, and that they are lucky if they are still alive.

Costa holds his breath, waiting for help to arrive. The thug pulls a gun on Scott with his good remaining hand, but it falls to pieces before he can aim the man.

Both men seem rather paler, and as the thug retreats to towards the back door of the office. Costas shakes his head. "N-no… I don't know anything. This is some kind of mistake… but I can pay you. Nothing against Russians either. Or Americans. I love America." His thoughts betray him, though. Mutant kids pass through his warehouses, and are given to the soldiers of a crimelord called 'General Zahl'. Taken to a chemical plant just outside the town.

Scott's no Pietro, but he's fast. Damned fast. He darts across the room, throwing his shoulder into the thug's chest, before switching without missing pace into a duck and plant, hands upon the floor while legs sweep to knock the thug's footing right out from beneath him. This one's not gonna get away if he can help it.

"We know you know." Cal tells Costa patiently. "We know Collins makes regular deliveries to you. We even know who you sell them to. If you continue to lie, you'll see what my friend's energy does to people. So I'll ask again, where are they? And what does he want with them? Do you sell any of them to him or do some go to others too?"

"No, wait… I am just a middle-man," protests Costas. "Merely a government worker trying to survive in a pretty rotten place." That is almost true. For Santa Prisca standards. He gets paid to keep off records the human trafficking and dozens of other illegal business. Only a small part of his time is used to deal with normal harbor operations, and he has minions for those.

Meanwhile the thug gets tackled and crashes on the floor with a pained grunt. There is not much more resistance from the man afterwards. At least as long as Scott keeps an eye on him he won’t try to escape either.

That's one thing Scott Summers is extremely good at. The visor has shown its capability. He stands up and looks down at the thug, turning his head just slightly so that his opponent can see him turning the control dial. Click, click, click, click, click. "Just below lethal level," he advises, "but I can't tell you how many bones it will shatter." A brief pause. "Don't… fucking… move."

Now over his shoulder he calls, "Comrade, you better get that fat piece of shit talking, my finger's getting twitchy!"

He's not really a mean guy, but he can't help but admit… putting the hurt on these bastards is mighty tempting. The vulgarity, the mean voice, it's all for show. Or is it?

Cal continues to listen for the answers he wants during his questions. He's not actually digging so it's not really unethical. He can't help it if no one's taught the man to shield. "So you don't know then." he says as he takes a step back. "We'll need to ask General Zahl directly then. I'm sure he'll be pleased to hear that you gave him up so easily. And I'm sure he'll believe you completely when you swear that you told us nothing. He's a very reasonable and forgiving man, I hear." Looking at the others, he says "We're done here."

The fat man goes paler, shaking his head in disbelief. "Y-you knew already, but… why…" He stammers. He knows little of Zahl, they say he is very old and maybe German. Reasonable and forgiving? Not so much.

"Someone mentioned Zahl?" Magneto steps into the office, glancing at the fat man, the thug, Scott, then Cal. "That is a name I hadn’t heard in decades. Lets… go talk with the old ‘general’, shall we?"

For a moment, Scott hesitates. He'd been made to bear the guilt of losing the children for far too long, and the temptation to blast that thug remains… until he catches himself. Lips part just so, and he releases his grip on the proverbial trigger. "Don't try to warn him," he tells the thug. "Your electronics are already fried."

With that, he turns to look at Calvin and Magneto, nodding his agreement.

Time to go and confront this General Zahl.

"We needed to know how much you knew." Cal tells Costa. "For the official charges and violating international law. You'll probably be in jail for the rest of your life but you might not get the death penalty." And on that cheery thought, heads for the door. "See you at your trial."

"Now we need to hurry, world will reach the local authorities soon enough," comments Magneto. "If you insist in leaving those ‘fine’ exemplars of human life still alive, could you teleport to some place where they can't bother us for a few hours?" Electrocution is always available, of course.

"I hear Guantanamo Bay's nice this time of year," is Scott's dry quip. Still, he looks to Calvin as they make for the road, and nods his approval. Send them where you will, buddy.

Cal looks over his shoulder and Costa BLINKs out. Then the thug. As he steps outside, each thug he sees follows. One by one, they all join their friend on the other side of the island, falling into the ocean from about ten feet up. "Let's go find those kids."

With Mimic providing directions taken from Costa's mind and an old map borrowed from the man's office, getting to the chemical plant is a 45 minutes ride. Or ten minutes inside a magnetic forcefield bubble.

"I heard about Victor Zahl in 1960. He had been an influential member of the Nazi party and successful U-boat commander. Because of his political connections, he was given experimental craft to command and special weapons. He used them to sink scores of Allied ships, most of the merchants, and never left survivors, civilian or military. Quite the war criminal," explains Magneto. "He used one of those prototype submarines later for the Organisation der Ehemaligen SS-Angehorigen, the infamous ODESSA network. He became very wealthy charging huge sums of money to his former party friends, and he used those founds to create a criminal empire in Central America. Nazi hunters tried to capture him, but he always managed to elude us. Later on, he ran afoul of old Zemo's Hydra, and dropped out of radar. He is well over one hundred, and last I heard he was looking into cybernetics and exotic drugs as means to prolong his worthless life. If we find him, he is mine."

"Fair enough," answers Scott. They hadn't come this far only to fight what sounds to be a losing battle in that regard. "Keep your wits about you," he advises both. "None of us want to come home with chemical burns or worse." He glances toward Magneto, asking, "Do we know much about what defenses he has in place?" A glance given next to Calvin.

"Having him stand trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity would be good." Mimic notes, not really disagreeing with Magneto's suggestion. "If you could disable whatever cybernetics he's using, we could turn him over to the Simon Wiesenthal center to deliver to justice. It would be all over the news and a reminder that this brand of evil still exists. Vengeance, justice and a lesson all wrapped neatly together." he points out then shakes his head at Cyclops' question. "Costa was telling the truth about being a middleman. He'd never been here."

The chemical plant is part of a large walled complex in what passes as the industrial area of the city. Surprisingly there are several factories, some showing the logos of famous multinational corporations, including some American ones. Roxxon, the Brand Corporation, a few others. Magneto lands the bubble a few yards from a wall, which is crowned by barbed wire.

"Electrified, I can take care of it. I have no idea we can find, but I am quite sure I spotted some barracks just east of the factory. Mimic?" There was little about this place in Costa’s memories, he had never been here. Just heard some horror stories. There should be a lab inside the factory with the captured mutants. The barracks house much of General Zhal’s militia, maybe the old man himself lives there.

"A war trial and a reminder… good point. Perhaps," admits Magneto.

"I'll see what I can find." Once Scott's feet hit the ground, he reaches for the controls on his tactical visor, switching to enhanced scanning. Heat signatures may be difficult around all of the industry, but there is a little trick up his sleeve not yet revealed.

A comm line is opened. "Professor? Yes, we're ready. Link my visor to Cerebro and give me a display."

From there, Scott will make a strategic guess based on where the bodies are located, hoping to zero in on their missing students.

"I'll see if I can pinpoint them too." Mimic says. He's not Jean or the Professor but now that they're close and he knows where to look, he can send his mind out searching for the children. Being prisoners, they should have a different 'flavor' to their thoughts that the workers or soldiers. Fear, for instance. Or resignation, pain, that kind of thing. Or if they're shielded, the place he can't probe mentally is just as telling. There's the thoughts of the guards too that would stand out from the crowd. Between hima nd Cerebro, they should have it covered.

There are some faint mutant readings in the visor. Interferences. Cerebro had been unable to locate the missing students before, so it makes sense the place is shielded somehow. Calvin obtains better results. There many minds in the complex, hundreds, but most are in the area Magneto identified as barracks. The factory has far less. Almost none in the upper floors, which makes sense since it is quite late in the evening, so factory workers would be out.

Plenty of minds in what must be just under floor level. Many of them are in pain or distress. But it is hard to reach them. There are interferences, some kind of psychic static.

"Cal," he says, sounding slightly distracted. "You seeing what I'm seeing?" He pans the visor back and forth, so that Calvin can get a fresh look.

Theres the root of a plan already forming in his mind. Magneto has the power to handle the barracks alone. That would serve as a mighty fine distraction for he and Calvin to slip in, undetected, and search for the children. He chews on his lip for a moment, feeling an impending sense that he's about to prompt some deaths. Still… they wouldn't exactly be unwarranted.

"Can you manage the barracks on your own?" he asks Magneto.

"Can you tear off some sheets of metal and seal all the doors and windows of the barracks?" Mimic asks Magneto, having a similar thought to Cyclops. Of course he can. It's just a polite way of telling him to do it. "They're underground." he then says. "I'm wary about trying to port in with whatever shielding they're using. I don't know if it would throw me off but better to be safe than sorry. You could just blast through the floor above."

Magneto nods to Cyclops, "I was going to suggest that, although the second I announce my presence there will be a general alarm all over the complex." Possibly the whole city, but if they are quick they should be gone by the time the locals get involved. "I can blanket the factory with an ECM pulse if warranted. However, some installations can be hardened against those, and in my experience clever high-tech criminals often shield their labs and military installations."

"Not so subtle, is it?" asks Cyclops. He still smirks a little. His power is not subtle, but it is fast and it is effective.

As the plan comes together, Cyclops nods to Magneto. "Calvin, teleport us as close as you feel is safe. I'll alert you when we're in position. Soon as the alarm goes off, we'll blast our way in."

Scott turns away and takes a moment to crack his neck. Heavy optic blasting always did tend to make his neck sore.

Calvin Rankin turns to consider the layout of the factory. Blasting in from above right on top of the kids could hurt them. Hurting whatever guards might be there is acceptable, all things considered. Bonus if they destroy any equipment being used to restrain the prisoners. "Sounds like a plan." Nodding to Magneto, he puts a hand on Cyclops' shoulder and the both *BLINK* out, reappearing above the target area. "Straight down over there." he points.

Magneto takes off the moment the X-Men blink out. A few seconds later he is descending on the barracks, giving his best megalomaniac super-villain impression and demanding Zahl to come up. Which is not much of an act. Mags can be subtle, but when he isn’t subtle he /is/ a megalomaniac super-villain.

Meanwhile Cyclops blasts a hole in the factory’s wall, in a descending angle, so it also shatters the floor into the not-to-secret sublevel. Alarms are sounding all over the place.

The moment Cyclops has blasted into the floor, he calls out, "Cal, lift!" He doesn't want the flooring to fall in below. A hand goes to the comm. "Magneto, we're in."

Scott goes rushing in, diving through the opening and landing on the floor below with a life-saving tumble. Spread upon the floor in a three point stance, he pans about to get a lay of the land before deciding how to act.

The rubble from the optic blast lifts and scatters on the ground opposite where the X-Men are standing. Mimic hops down through the hole, shifting to metal between heartbeats and coming to a light TK assisted landing that was angled to put him in front of Scott. Someone is bullet proof, someone is not.

"Good. Taking out the complex communications," there is a burst of static. "Done." The cell towers in the area are also busted. There are sounds of gunfire coming from the barracks, also sounds of large pieces of metal being torn like cardboard.

Once Cyclops and Mimic are down, the sounds fade. They are in a storage area for lab equipment, poorly lit, much cooler than outside. The alarm sounds for a few more seconds and then stops. But shouts in Spanish can be heard from some place not far ahead, past a hallway, stairs going down. Looks like the lab they were looking for.

"That way?" Scott's normal senses tell him yes, but Calvin's senses are of another nature entirely. Even as he moves out, he says, "If we find what's hampering psionics, destroy it." That sort of technology doesn't need to stick around.

A setting is altered on the visor, enhancing the visuals. He heads for those stairs, constantly scanning for trouble and ready to fire at a moment's notice.

"Count on it." Mimic agrees. "Only reason for it here is to keep the prisoners under control. And it feels… crude. Not very effective but probably good enough to for the kids who don't have a lot of training." If any. He follows Scott but concentrates on listening and scenting for anyone up ahead.

Plenty of scents ahead, and most are unpleasant. Weird chemicals, drugs, unwashed bodies, and fear. Downstairs there is a large chamber, a lab straight from a horror movie. Several men in stained white lab coats work among stalls of high-tech, but worn machines. A dozen young me and women, most of them in their teens, some showing obvious physical mutations, are strapped into machines with tubes going in and out their bodies. Some are unconscious, but others writhe in obvious pain. Scott can recognize an emaciated Tabitha O'Connor as one of them.

In a corner a few dead kids, some missing body parts, float in glass tanks of greenish fluid. At the back of the room there are cells, and behind the bars more mutants are imprisoned. There are armed guards there.

At the sides of the room there are doors with names like 'Toxicology' and 'Surgery'. A screams comes out from one of those, but no one is paying attention. Screams are commonplace here.

"Alto! Quien va!?" The X-Men have been seen. A man in a paramilitary outfit runs to them, pulling a gun from a hip holster.

At first sight, the look on Cyclops' face is virtually indescribable. An open mouth, awestruck, becomes a red-faced expression of unbridled malice. The first paramil to come their way receives a full blast in the torso, heavy enough to shatter ribs and crush internal organs.

"Don't let those labcoats escape," he growls to Calvin; they may be their only shot at getting those being tested on out alive.

Taking a knee behind an empty container, Scott begins sending beams of optic energy down the hall, proving his expert marksmanship by targeting the armed guards, one after the other.

Mimic's hands clench into fists at the screams. *SNIKT* Trusting Cyclops to take care of things here, he stalks over to the door the screams are coming from. Even at half the power of Cyclops', his optic beams blast the door into splinters as he walks in without a pause in his step. A moment later, someone flies out through the doorway to crash into the far wall with enough force to shatter bones.

The first soldier is dead before he hits the floor, and all hell breaks loose. The labcoats drop everything they are doing and most try to hide or find a way out. Some pull handguns, though. Cyclops' shots take out half the guards before they can react, but a few manage to raise their weapons, assault rifles, and open fire.

Calvin finds a couple labcoats doing tests to an odd-looking armored mutant, using drills and lasers on his carapace. One gets tossed out violently, the other runs away through a door, screaming, "Doctor Zabo, Doctor! Help!"

A gasp is let loose. Cyclops blasts a wall, lower setting, enough to add some shrapnel into the mix, before darting from his cover toward a spot that puts him out of enemy fire for the moment. "Taking fire," he reports over the comm, before crouching by an unused test tube. He waits for a few moments, watching as the soldiers advance by the way their reflection is cast upon the curved glass. His eyes glance here and there, making a few mental calculations.

Just when the soldiers come into view, he sends a conical shaped blast into the test tube. The glass shatters, bouncing off his uniform but cutting his exposed face in a couple of places, but the optic blast bends by the impact and zaps in an oval shape toward the soldiers.

Mimic's claws cut through whatever restraints are holding the mutant down as he heads for the second door. Again, his optic blasts precede him, this time targetting the walls on either side so he can see exactly what's beyond and take out anyone who happens to have been there. Over the comm he growls an acknowledgement that he heard. 'Taking fire' isn't a request for assistance and he's on the hunt for 'Doctor Zabo'.

Cyclops maneuver takes out all the guards firing from the back. But a couple labcoats are still shooting, probably another guard or two sneaked forward too. Still, he has eliminated about 75% of the opposition in fifteen seconds. "Busy," crackles Magneto in the com, "they have chemicals able to bestow temporary superhuman abilities. Be cautious."

Bit too late for that warning, because one of the labcoats suddenly jumps forward, his skin turned red and his mouth glowing red. A second later he spits a fireball and the cover Cyclops was using explodes in flames.

Meanwhile Mimic blows up a wall and meets Doctor Zabo.

Alias Mr. Hyde. He is 8 feet tall and Hulk-like in build. "You gnat! You are wrecking my lab!" He snarls, then charges at surprising speed, aiming a Thor-strength punch at Mimic's armored form.

Moments after hearing Magneto over the comm, Cyclops's eyes go wide. "Holy sh—"

Diving away, he can feel the heat and flame searing behind him. He scrambles through the fall, splayed out on the floor long enough for a couple of bullets to pelt into the floor next to his head.

Rolling the other way, he goes off memory, and carves a beam in an arc through the flooring. The intended goal is to kick up a bunch of dust and debris, a temporarily distraction as he rolls again, hoping that the labcoat's next fireball heads toward where he just lay.

Hey look. There's fireball mouth. Too close for comfort! A solid left hook comes up and bashes into the doctor's face, sending his next fireball off toward a wall.

When Cal mimics someone, he gets the entire package and outside of the Danger Room, it's rare for him to really cut loose. But given where they are, what he just interrupted, and the size of the one facing him… His grin is purely feral as the part of Wolverine's mutation he normally keeps in check is let loose. Ducking under the arm, he goes in for a strike of his own, claws aiming for the man's torso at the same time ruby energy blasts from his eyes. Unlike Cyclops, he wears no visor and simply 'turns it on'.

Fortunately for Cyclops, the fire-breathing guy is not a soldier and barely knows how to use the powers he got a few seconds away. He went too close to the X-Man, and solid hook to his face and he goes down, coughing small puffs of fire and maybe a tooth or two. But before Scott can give himself a pat on his back, another enemy appears, and he is still mutating! A second pair of arms, ending in crab-like claws, tears his shirt and he charges while firing a handgun and screaming like a lunatic.

Meanwhile Mimic is up against a drugged-up Hyde. The claws draw some swallow cuts on the giant’s flesh, making him bleed and roar in rage. The optic blast hits Hyde squarely on the chest, and it is enough to send him flying against the wall, but apparently not enough to even stun him. “Rarrrrrrgh… now you DIEEEE!” He screams so loud even Scott can hear him. Then he tears a chunk of the wall and throws it to Cal.

"Gah!" Scott winced when a bullet rips through his waist; a graze, but enough to draw blood and sting like hell. Three surgical beams lash out; the first knocks the gun out of crabby's hands, the next strikes a claw, and the third hits the chest.

When he hears the rip from the wall nearby, he frowns. "Cal!" Scott takes off running, spitting a beam of red here and there whenever he spies one of the bastards moving.

Mimic's optic blast should pulverize the piece of wall coming for him as easily as it did the entire wall a moment ago. He leaps for Hyde's neck, aiming to snag it with one arm and swing around to his back where he can thrust his claws in.

Cyclops' blasts take out crab-man, a casual blast while passing takes out a guy that was fumbling around with his body changing shapes quickly, uncontrolledly. A bullet flies over his head, reminding him there must still be one or two armed men willing to fight in the lab. He can also spy a few labcoats running away through what must be a side exit.

Meanwhile Mimic pulverizes the wall chunk, and he jumps on Hyde, but the giant turns around quickly and grabs him, trying to slam the metallic hero against the floor. The shockwaves make lab equipment topple and lights flicker. The claws cut him, but it is like scratching high quality steel, not deep enough to cause serious harm, and the madman fists come hammering relentlessly.

Skidding to a halt, Cyclops takes a precious moment to watch as the creature makes to pulverize Calvin. He's not standing idly by; he's calculating. And calculating. And…

"Screw it." The visor is dialed UP, and a full force beam of red lashes out to strike the hulkbeast. A tilt of the head upward, and should the beast be caught, it should throw him up and through the ceiling.

Mimic grunts as he's slammed into the ground and the fists come crashing down. While it doesn't seem to hurt him, it is effective so again he uses his optic blasts right at Hyde's face at the same time Cyclops fire his own.

The full power of Cyclops’ blasts, combined with Mimic’s copy, hit Hyde with enough force to bring down a large building. Hyde is pulled off Calvin and goes flying back and up. This time the wall barely slows him down. Indeed, he crashes through half a dozen walls and ends up landing outside the factory, badly bruised.

And everything goes quiet in the lab, except for the moans and whimpers of the prisoners and some injured guards. Those lying on the floor, bones broken by force blasts.

After a pregnant pause, Scott inhales sharply. "You alright?" He offers a hand. "Structural integrity's gonna be an issue. We gotta clear these kids out, now." Turning away, he comms Magneto to provide a status update, while heading back to the lab to take stock of the situation in greater detail.

Mimic climbs back to his feet and looks around for something else to fight but after a moment, the claws retract. "I'm good." he tells Scott. Any damage is already healing. Heading back to the lab, he starts destroying equipment till the psychic interference disappears. Once that's done, things'll be a lot easier.

There is no more real resistance. Hyde must be unconscious or too hurt to keep fighting, because the huge brute is not returning. Scott and Cal manage to rescue about 40 imprisoned mutants, all between ten and twenty years old. Some of them are badly injured, even maimed. Later on they will tell tales of shocking horror in that underground facility.

But not all the missing students are there. The lab has been operating over a year, and more than a hundred mutants (and some suspected mutants) have been imprisoned here. Half of them are dead and the remains buried in swallow graves in the backyard of the factory.

Magneto still needed a few minutes to finish with the barracks. Unfortunately, Zahl was not there. Apparently the old monster has a posh manor somewhere else in the island. As for Magneto, he seems coldly angry about the experiments with the mutant kids, but not surprised at all. It is not the first time, and it won’t be the last.

The experiments were not out of raw sadism, though. The idea was to find a way to bestow mutant superpowers to regular humans. Partial success has been achieved in the form of a drug they call the Mutant Growth Hormone, MGH. No doubt the X-Men are going to hear about it again.

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