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Posted: Apr 16 2018, 06:03 AM
Living Person or Living Weapon?
Thread is set several days after the Battle of the Institute…
Chicago had been hard for the being known as X-23, hard but enlightening. It had been, in a very real way, a turning point for Laura as she had been forced to come face to face with her past, with her family and with the Weapon X project. Who she was when she had left New York was not who she was now, at least not where it counted. Reuniting with her aunt Deborah and her Cousin Megan had awakened something in her that had not been present since the death of her mother. She had found peace in knowing her family was safe and a desire to make sure no one could ever hurt them again. She had also come to terms with the fact that she was far more than just a construct made from the genetic material of another being, that she had a soul, she was a real person. These realizations had also awakened in her the desire to know more about herself, to discover the meaning behind her existence and maybe forge a future from whatever she did discover.
The first place to look Laura realized would be the man who was ultimately the base of her very being, Logan, more notoriously known as the Wolverine…
Tracking the Wolverine would have been hard enough under normal circumstances for he had decades worth of knowledge and experience in not only battle but in covering his tracks. She was intimately familiar with his profile and exploits thanks to the program for she had been designed to be his replacement yes but they were well aware of the fact that at some point she might come into contact with him and have to deal with her progenitor once and for all. Unfortunately, not only for her but perhaps for all of their kind, the events that had transpired while she and Jamie Madrox aka the Multiple Man had been in Chicago trying to find and rescue her family may have forever changed the landscape of what it would mean to be mutant. Together they had been far too busy with her personal mission to keep up to date of current events but the day they were to return to New York the news was awash with reports of a battle between military personnel and various noted meta-mutant groups including the X-Men and the Avengers on the grounds of the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning. Side by side Laura and Jamie had watched in silent shock as images of a near totally destroyed mansion and grounds were shown on television. They both had a connection to the Institute, Jamie had practically been raised there at least in part and Laura had been brought there by Spider-Man while living on the streets not too long ago. Of course the place had very little meaning to her over all but she had come to know many of the students and faculty in her brief stay, she had come to understand the importance of the school and the dream the X-Men were working towards and she knew that the destruction of the school by sanctioned military forces would have a huge impact on the world of super-humans.
Upon returning to New York Jamie had offered her a place to stay within the apartment that made up his investigation headquarters. She had accepted seeing no point now in returning back to the streets but she also made it clear she had things she needed to deal with before she could rest. Leaving her few belongings with him she immediately set out on her own to investigate what she could of the incident at the school and perhaps with luck pick up a trail that would lead to Logan.
It took her practically no time and very little effort to slip into the grounds of the Xavier Institute where surprisingly a reconstruction effort was already underway. Keeping abreast of the news now as it concerned the incident she was aware that the government had taken a major back step in the SRA movement and with the bad pressed garnered by such a drastically violent step taking against a school they had offered to rebuild the grounds and institute and reinstate its operations under government oversight. Laura had found that amusing in its absurdity. The government who had already proven to be utterly corrupt when it came to the treatment of meta’s and mutants would no doubt use the school as a culling field, an easy area in which they could control and watch for mutants and metas that would suit their future purposes. The very idea of the school reopening under such oversight was laughable and if the staff of the school actually fell for the offer then they didn’t deserve the job of overseeing the young and impressionable lives that would be in the balance.
Laura moved through the shadows of the destroyed grounds, slipping between rubble and construction equipment with a perfect ease and silence bred into her as a living weapon. Most of the machines were shut off and construction crews were gone for the day but security around the grounds and a few overnight workers were still roaming about making this a stealth oriented mission. Knowing that dropping bodies would be yet another blow to mutant/meta reputations she made the decision even before slipping into the grounds to use only non-lethal tactics if she were at all compromised. Sneaking in had been all too simple enough by coming in through a quartered off back wall that had been blown out then tracking her way across the rubble strewn lawns to make her way to what remained of the main building. Using her claws to scale a partially ruined wall along the west side of the institute then moving from room to room her main goal was at this moment trying to pick up various scents and assess the damage done.
A lot could be garnered just by looking and taking in the destruction around her and much like a crime scene there were clues everywhere as to how the battle went down. The attack as far as she could tell had been sudden, the military arriving out of the blue but likely giving the school a chance to surrender itself to them and submit to registration. The people inside had enough time to evacuate a number of the students as defined by how many of the living quarters showed signs of abrupt but not forced departures. There were no clear signs of violence or death in these rooms but she could smell blood in the air, old and dried but very much there even if it might have been visibly cleaned up. Moving down into the main hall which had been the first thing visitors would see when entering the building she could see signs of a great battle, walls crumbling, the roof practically gone and nothing left of the pretty old fashioned furniture. The battle had been fought mostly outside on the grounds but it had started with an assault. Here, because of the light pouring down from the moon above and a pair of guards moving about with high powered flash lights Laura moved quietly from shadow to shadow, inching close to the pair that impeded her. The two were talking to one another intermingled with sporadic confirmations of the area being clear over their walkie-talkies to the main security building near the now leveled gates. This was a clear indication to X-23 that if she took them out her time on the grounds would be cut much shorter when their transmissions ceased. Skirting around the mostly sunken part of the upper level that looked down into the foiya she crouched low to watch the pair, listen to their conversation.
“Muties put up a good fight… Too bad they mostly got away.”
“Don’t call’em that their people just like anyone else…”
“Aww man why did they have to stick me with the bleeding heart liberal rookie. Look man those people are dangerous and their living among us in secret. You need to get your head outta your ass and see the world for what it is kid.”
“Look my cousin is a mutant and she is harmless, she can make plants grow and she works in a flower nursery. She supplies the best wedding arrangements in Las Vegas.”
“Yeah? And what happens when she decides to make plants that can eat people? How about flowers that put people to sleep? Shit man it’s like ya never seen a movie or a comic. These things’re real now.”
Laura sighed softly watching the two argue and seeing that no matter the situation very little ever really changed. There were those that would defend the different, the anomalous and those that would forever shun and fear them just because they were not part of their definition of normal. She had to move this much she knew, she could not sit up in this shadowed little croft forever waiting and hoping for the two to move on. For all she knew they may have had orders to remain in this area for the full night but there was more of the grounds she needed to survey before moving on. Leaping down as quietly as possible she skirted around the edge of the room until she had fully circled to their backs.
“I say kill all the freaks and let god sort them out…”
She resisted the urge to growl, to pop her claws and gut the clearly racist security guard. Instead she let the two alone and allowed their argument to continue. People like him would get their come-upons one day she knew that much for though she was a product of science she had come to clearly believe surprisingly enough that fate and karma were real enough. The thought that she was indeed growing, coming to believe in things beyond just her physical reality was a bit of a surprise to her as she realized it, clearly she was evolving and that was yet another sign that what she had learned on her most recent adventure was true, she was becoming a real person.
Slipping back outside she moved with quick, silent sprints across the front lawn, moving from one area to another to investigate the clearly pock marked battlefield. She kept her senses alert, watching, listening and smelling for any sign of more security personnel and avoiding the occasional light from construction towers that moved with mechanical precision across the grounds. She needed to know what happened here, she needed to be sure that the people she cared for were not… that Kurt and Abbey were… She breathed deep trying to supress the emotions boiling inside. Now was not the time to let what she was starting to feel get the better of her. Though as young as she and not nearly as seasoned or trained Kurt and Abbey were none the less X-Men in their own right or would be and she had faith that they were ok. It was however ducking into a crater the size of a small car that she found something that would help her… something that would move her forward in her quest… in the dust at her feet, torn and burnt, the mask of the Wolverine lay where it had fallen during the battle. Kneeling down she dusted it off as gently as an archeologist might some sacred ancient relic and picked it with a tender, slow gesture to hold it before her face. Laura stared into the empty eye sockets of the mask, examining it carefully and breathing deep the scent that remained on it. For the first time she could smell her progenitor, could mark his scent and all of its complexities. With this as a key she could now perhaps open the door on herself for the first time in her short and bitter existence.
Posted: Apr 17 2018, 07:56 AM