Greek Infiltration: Part 2

March 20, 2016:

Storm, Scarlet Witch, and Shift blow the lid off the Section's Greek operation.

Section training camp, Volos, Greece

Characters

NPCs: Cigar Grim and his mercenaries, the augments.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: 21st Century Schizoid Man by We Hunt Buffalo


Fade In…

Its been four days. Four days in which Ororo, Wanda and Kwabena have been put through hell. There had been something of an unspoken agreement between them; to go through Grim's 'initiation' phase, which essentially equates to torture, without resorting to the use of their mutant powers. This, so that they might come to truly discover the Section's dark secrets.

For Shift, it's been difficult. His X-Gene manifestation tends to activate when he's facing physical injury. To hold it at bay, to let blows hit, takes a great deal of focus.

On the morning of the fourth day, he's the first to be drug from his cell. Wearing nothing but his underwear, the soldiers drag him out, wrists and ankles shackled. He'd been clever enough to leave behind his suit of unstable molecules, anticipating that it would have been confiscated. There are bruises all over his body, and he seems ragged, though there is fight in him. Much of it, even though he's keeping it from his eyes. His eyes, still masked by brown contact lenses, seem weary and worn.

The soldiers drag him along into a large chamber, one that the trio have yet to come across, but it's the one Wanda had telepathically sensed on their first day. There, they shove him to the ground, where he's left to wait for the others.

*

Ororo's been putting on her brave face. It's not necessarily the rorture that's been getting to her. It's certainly not very nice, but a woman with the willpower to change a Nor'easter's direction of travel can take a little bamboo under the fingernails. No, it's the tight spaces. Being kept in a cell does not suit the goddess. She's been bunking with Wanda, and maybe Wanda can sense it — the unease, the… jitteriness about her surroundings.

Ororo does not care for being underground. Still — she puts on her brave face. She doesn't dare tell anyone that she's edging closer and closer to some kind of low-grade panic attack.

White stubble has grown on Ororo's head a bit, since she hasn't had time to do the daily upkeep on her mohawk. She's pushed in after Shift, in manacles of her own. She, too, is beaten but unbowed, and she's actually been gagged — blood is dripping down her chin. One of the soldiers bringing her in is clutching his bleeding ear, and when she's thrown to the ground, he kicks her in the belly so hard Shift and Wanda probably feel it. The soldier's repaying her because now he's going to have to hear Evander Holyfield jokes the rest of his life.

*

Wanda doesn't have the training or experience that Shift has. A bit of torture back in the old country but she didn't have to hide her powers - they wanted to see them. And weren't they sorry they did. But here it is much, much harder. Her mind drifts. Finds a place where it can be safe and happy and disconnected from the pain. To outside eyes it looks like she has gone into a trance - obviously just a technique but it does mean they hit her a bit harder to get a reaction.

And now could be the final day. As she is dragged from their barrack room her gaze starts to go blank in anticipation…at least until she is being dragged somewhere new. Wanda makes out Shift, even manages a nod…unless it was exhausted head just flopping forward…as she is flung to her knees. Her mind recognizes the man from before. A horrible man. A man whose brain she wants to pop but she isn't sure he has one.

Wanda's pale skin is bruised and battered - some nice shades of purple she has developing - and she winces as she is pushed down. She is clad in white cotton underwear, very unsexy, though it is more off-white now from the mud, dirt and blood that has been spattered on it over the last few days.

*

Grim, the man from before, soon joins them. It seems he's always got one of those damned cigars in his mouth. He stops to stare at the trio for a long moment, occasionally sparing glances to the soldiers who brought them in. At long last, he speaks up.

"Well. You fuckers are stronger than we expected. So, we're gonna see if you can handle the augments. If they don't kill you? You'll be next in line for augmentation yourselves. So, do me a favor. And I don't say this often." He sneers. "Don't die."

From the shadows, three men appear. Normal men, mercenary soldiers like all of the others here, only they're dressed in more sophisticated body armor. Less bulky, able to provide much more fluid movement. They step forward as one, facing themselves off against the three would be heroes. Glowing red tracers begin to appear beneath the skin on all three, and moments later, a force field envelops each. The one facing Wanda appears as a large hawk with vicious talons. The one facing Ororo bears the resemblance of an oversized viper, and the one facing Shift? A tiger.

The three are left shackled, the soldiers turning to run away. Grim follows suit, disappearing with the soldiers into a heavy blast door. A few moments later, he arrives in an observation deck, overlooking the chamber below.

"«Storm. Wanda.»" Speaking French, Shift addresses the two. "«I think it's time we showed them what we're capable of.»"

*

Ororo is breathing heavily through her nose. (Her mouth is gagged — where else is she going to breathe through?) In fact, the breath is coming faster and faster. She looks up at the enemy glaring down at her, and then over at Shift when he speaks to them.

Unfortunately, with a gag in, Ororo can't translate for Wanda. She can only… well, it looks like she's starting to hyperventilate. Her body is spasming like she's going into convulsions. Her eyes have rolled back in her head — or have they just turned totally snow white of their own accord? Either way, there's a tingle in the air starting to build.

*

The French is only partially understood by Wanda but Ororo's reaction is much easier to understand. She ignores the hawk in front of her as her fingers start to twitch and she mumbles softly under her breath. Thank goodness she wasn't gagged; most of the guards probably think she's mute with how much she had to say since she has been here.

Scarlet energy builds and builds, seeping into the force field as reality warps and contorts around her. The energy that holds the force field together starts to repulse instead of bond. Her prison expanding and melting away as her chaos magic consumes it.

*

Meanwhile, Shift is bearing down, focusing on his inner anger. There is much of it. His body begins to harden, the skin transforming into a rocky material of matte obsidian. The shackles bend, squeal, and pop off. Then, with a roar, he leaps forward and throws himself at the tiger facing him.

His first strike is deflected, but that's all well and good. He's got a greater power to reveal, but for the time being, he's giving the others time to charge and prepare their own powers.

"Shit," one of the guards in the observation deck curses. "Their powered!"

"Don't worry," says Grim. "They're no match for us."

*

Ororo seems helpless in front of her attacker. She's squirming, but not struggling, not trying to lunge for the first move or strategic ground.

Then the room trembles a bit. Above ground, soldiers scramble for safety as a wind storm kicks up dirt and dust, and out of a clear blue day, people for miles around can see a baby tornado form out of… well, thin air.

When the room shakes the way it did, that's when Ororo moves, rolling out of the path of the viper-augment's strike with a second to spare. She's hopefully kept any backup from arriving, but now she has to deal with the first line of attack, in an underground room with no weather to channel.

*

Damn…that hawk is more real than Wanda thought. It screeches, lifting into the air to slash at her with those talons. A flick of her wrist as her magic becomes a shield, knocking the augment away with the power of its own attack.

The witch rolls backwards, each bruise hurting, before she comes up in a crouching stance, projecting her glowing hands before her. "No more hiding?" she asks the other two as she seeks out the power of the augment facing her. She has never tried to hurt Jericho before but she does have experience being around such energy. And all energy dissipates.

*

The augment facing Shift pauses. He looks from one African to the other, and the augmented programming is quick to recognize each. The names 'Storm' and 'Shift' are cycled up to the observation room, and this changes, well, everything.

"Son of a bitch," growls Grim. "It's them! We've been compromised!"

"What do we do?" asks the soldier.

"Evacuate the compound, and set for self destruct."

In this precious hesitation, Kwabena takes advantage. "No more hiding," he tells Wanda, before throwing himself into the creature's force field, transforming into smoke as he goes. The force field excites his biomolecular material - the transformation to plasma is quick. What clothing he had left is instantly incinerated, and when he lands on the floor, the rock beneath him begins to melt.

"Dis ends here!" growls an electric voice. "Ororo!" Shift throws an arm of burning white plasma toward her; for what else is made of plasma, but lightning itself.

*

The way Ororo sees the world is strange, really. When Shift converts to his plasma form, she sees him the same way she sees aurora borealis — not just the light, but the strings pulling it, the web connecting everything. Shift goes from a man, discrete from the elements, to part of the strange math through which Ororo processes the world. When he reaches out with his plasma hand, she lunges towards him (avoiding another swipe from the viper), and holds her manacles to his hand, burning through their chain.

Ororo yanks her gag down and yells to Wanda, hoarsely: "Protect yourself!" The ionized charge of Shift's plasma form is one piece of the puzzle. The moisture in the air, what can be harvested, is another. The charge in the air around Shift, yet another… and this is all a Rubik's cube to Ororo, whose eyes glow white again as she pushes herself, hard, to move these pieces into just the right place — and turn Shift into a lightning bomb, using his plasma body's charge to make the air around him conducive. The room is blinding white for a moment, but there's no clap of thunder, just a sudden, sharp buzz.

*

Defend herself? Wanda will do more than that. As the hawk rises up into the air again, scarlet energy consumes it, altering reality. The flow of some f the energy is reversed. The conflicting polarities start to consume each other. She may not be as spectacular as her compatriots but decay has its own beauty. The hawk slashes at her but the talon jerks uncontrollably. A wing sags and the augment thuds into the ground.

Wanda stands, wincing at the sudden bright light before blinking down at the disintegrating augment as she walks slowly towards it. "They are going to destroy the base" she states nonchalantly as her mind seeks out more voices.

*

The feeling is almost euphoric, the way Kwabena's bioplasma construct is utilized. A flood of power and influence swarms his mind, and it catches him off guard, a buzz in his modified body akin to a very distinct, narcotic high.

The plasma bomb bears a destructive effect. Electronics short out, frying the computers in the complex and busting lights. The blast doors trapping them inside blow open, and the glass separating those in the observation deck from the arena is blown in, peppering the soldiers and Grim with razor sharp glass.

The augment facing Wanda is down. The others, for a moment, are taken by surprise. Their force fields short out, leaving them vulnerable yet still powerful. There's likely to be a reboot cycle, but the force fields aren't their only weapon. They draw swords, backing together to face the trio without fear.

"Den we have to track dem when dey run," he tells Wanda, his voice buzzing as he remains in plasma form. "Let's handle dese fucks first."

Ororo's move has him supercharged. He raises his arms to defend the incoming blow, leaving the sword melted to the hilt. With a spin, he throws a kick, which burns right through the augment's body armor, burning a hole through his shoulder and separating that arm from the body.

*

Ororo lets Shift go to town, but her fight is more practical. When a sword comes at her from her opponent, she uses fighting skill honed from years as an X-Man to parry it with her manacle — and then throw a forearm with her other arm, smashing the heavy manacle right into the augment's eyes.

Ororo might not be super-strong or super-durable, but she's more than super-resilient, and brave enough to fight one of these goons hand to hand. She manages an aikido takedown with surprisingly striking grace for someone in their underwear, and her thief's instincts kick in — suddenly, the sword is her hand, pointed down at the augment's face.

"I will give you but one chance to yield," Ororo says, speaking with the righteous fury of a goddess, her cerulean cat's-eyes flashing with demand. "Count yourself lucky that I am more innately merciful than my comrades."

*

It seems her companions have things in hand so Wanda concentrates on the room around them. There is the door - thick steel in a concrete shell. She mumbles to herself once more, fingers twitching and spasming as her arms bend and flow as if they had lost all their bones. Chaos assaults the door. Atoms change and reform. The thick, impenetrable steel turning into fairy floss. Much easier to get through. Wanda rushes for the door, pushing her way through the sticky sugary goodness and then peering down the corridors outside. "We have to be quick" she urges the others.

*

The white plasma dissipates,leaving Shift back in his human state, and absolutely naked. One well placed headbutt later, and his enemy is out cold. Wasting no time, he moves after Wanda, bare feet padding along with quick steps. "We'll take de elevatah shaft," he agrees with Wanda, allowing her to lead the way.

*

Ororo watches Shift go after Wanda. To her credit, she's unfazed by his nudity. She leaves her augmented opponent on the ground, blinded from the attack to his optics, and follows her allies. If the augment chooses to chase them? She still has his sword.

Having summoned the tornado earlier, topside is likely chaos anyway — but when Ororo senses fresh air, she'll be able to hasten their escape. For now, she's silent. The elevator shaft. She has to work hard to steel her mind. Even a goddess has her limits.

*

Wanda turns to see more of Shift than she was expecting and quickly turns away again, glowing red. "Yes…elevator…" she mumbles before running down the corridor in the direction of what she hopes are the elevators. Her scarlet energy in the form of crackling spheres around her hands. "This way!" she decides as she turns to the left. Thankfully she is lucky when she needs to be and sure enough there are lifts ahead. "Won't they lock them down?" she asks the others…eyes looking at the ceiling. Alarms can be heard from the floors above.

*

To his credit, Kwabena isn't embarrassed either. His mind is on the mission. He had to deal with this up until he acquired the suit he usually wears, and frankly? The man has nothing to be ashamed of.

"Won't be a problem," he tells Wanda. Sure enough, the elevators are locked down. Kwabena, however, goes super solid again. The doors are pried open, and once inside, he vaults skyward and quite literally bashes through the roof, leaving a gaping hole for the others to climb through. He offers a hand if needed.

"Can you help us with a quick ascent?" he asks Wanda. He can fly if need be, but he's not terribly fast, and he's not sure if Ororo yet has enough access to the surface to utilize the air to their advantage.

*

Ororo is sweating. She was sweating before, actually, from the fight, but it's actually more noticeable now than it was then. She's chasing after her allies, but definitely bringing up the rear of the group. Her breathing is probably less even than it should be at the moment. When Shift busts through the roof of the elevator car and asks Wanda for a hand, Ororo looks up — and for a second, the look on her face is as if she's preparing to walk across Hell barefoot.

/Elevator shaft./

*

Wanda nods to Shift's request before her energy is pushing her upwards through the hole in the lift roof. It is akin to flying but rather wobbly. She looks up into the dark shaft, the top almost invisible with the limited light. "I cannot help anyone fly. I can barely fly myself. But, maybe…" She moves over to a wall and places her hand upon it, caressing the cold concrete. "I can make this more sticky…umm…like Spider-Man and the hooks, da? You will be able to climb up it easy." Pressing both hands against the wall she does her best to subvert reality once more. This is tough work for the witch normally never mind after having been beaten and tortured for days. Sweat pours down her face and adds another hue of muck to her clothing. "Go!" she gasps.

*

While Kwabena is listening to Wanda, his silver eyes are watching Ororo. "Twe nan, poona may t'nane," he tells her, the Dangme dialect firm yet encouraging. He waits there at the bottom, taking Ororo by the arm and guiding her toward the sticky wall. She'll have to follow Wanda; Shift intends to bring up the rear.

*

Ororo turns to Shift so sharply that he might as well have snuck up behind her and yelled 'BOO!' instead. She hisses out a breath, gives him a silent nod, and still clearly agitated, reaches out to the wall — her hand hesitates for just a second — and then she climbs. When she climbs, she follows Wanda, but quickly. Whatever is driving her now, it's making her scramble like some kind of wild animal to get to the top of the shaft.

*

Wanda takes adeep breath before starting to clamber upwards - she has to rely on her own magic? Her subconscious hexes will be working overtime to keep them in luck. It's a long way up and Wanda is only a normal human when it comes to physical efforts. And now, to go with the alarm, there is a countdown. Oh great, it's going to blow up soon. "What do you need to blow the roof off?" she asks anyone behind her. At least it's quicker than using the ladder.

*

From below, there comes a rumbling sound. It's unclear at first whether the underground compound was destabilized by Ororo's 'Shift Blast', or whether it's part of the self destruct protocol.

"No need," he answers Wanda. "We get up dere, it's a quick dash to de entrance." If they recall, the elevator will drop them off on the ground level of that would be abandoned warehouse.

The timer hits zero when they are still ten meters below the top door of the shaft, when an explosion rumbles from below. The building shutters, and fire bursts into the elevator shaft from eight levels down.

*

Ororo is climbing, climbing. She's almost manic — refusing to look down, and breathing in ragged, juddering gulps of air. When the explosion sets off… she freaks. Just totally freaks.

Ororo lets go of the wall. That's the alarming part. She actually kicks herself free of its sticky grip. The good part is this: Ororo flies more easily when riding wind currents, but she's still able to fly. And the rush of hot air from the explosion…

Ororo grabs Wanda by her dirty undershirt and Shift under his armpit and, with a primal, soul-shearing scream, launches herself up the remaining thirty feet to the top door. She's going on pure adrenaline, and unless one of her comrades acts, she might just try to smash through the elevator door with her forehead.

*

Wanda squeals in surprise as she is grabbed but at least it frees her hands to project a shield below them to stop the flames. She is a witch after all and burns far too easily. As the roof comes closer and closer she swallows nervously. "Storm…are you sure about this?"

*

"She's not," Kwabena breathes. So, he acts. He bends bends himself until he's in front of, or essentially above them, and his body super hardens. A moment later, the three of them are blasting through the rooftop and into the midday sky.

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