They’re not so much worried about people breaking in, as other things getting out
Max’s clawed fingers jittered anxiously at her sides as Scott peered through a pair of high powered binoculars. She was trying hard to hold the shift in as he quickly assessed the facility before them, but parts of her were slipping from her control.
The complex was small. At first glance, the main building looked fairly rundown; as if it had fallen into disrepair over many years of neglect. There were a few lights, but they only illuminated the main east entrance and a side entrance on the south wall of the building.
“There are four men on the roof with what look like MP5’s, but that’s about it. I’m guessing they don’t get many visitors out here.”
Scott turned back to face Max.
“Jean’s going to try to take down as many as she can from here. We want to be as unobtrusive as possible, but if things get out of control I’ll start knocking them out. We’ll cover you, then move in to follow,” he explained as Jean smiled over at him. She had that proud ‘that’s my man’ expression that usually lit up her face when Scott started giving orders.
“Let me do a test run first.” She murmured, “I don’t know how effective my telepathy is going to be from this distance. The professor’s much stronger with it than I am.”
Max watched as one of the sentries on the roof walked the length of his post, then crumpled to the ground.
“Good. How long’s he going to stay out?” Scott asked.
“I inserted the idea in his head that he was exhausted, and that he needed to sleep for about an hour. I’ve never tried this before, so I don’t know if the mental command will last the entire hour, but he’s out for the moment.”
Another slumped to the ground and Max’s muscles tightened in anticipation.
“Now?” she asked, barely holding it together.
Two more went down, then Scott nodded.
Max quickly disrobed, then shifted into four legged fur and ran at top speed to the corner of the building, giving the splashes of light a wide, cautious berth. Once there, she took a quick look around, scenting the night air. She smelled guns, sweat and the light hint of fear, but no Logan. She slowly made her way to a side entrance. Now that she was actually taking action, the wolf was starting to calm down a little, becoming a little more co-operative.
Max peeked inside, spotting a bored looking guard positioned behind a desk; his face illuminated with the dull glow from something he was watching.
She shifted back, shivering now. It was beyond freezing outside and her hands trembled as she knocked on the glass. The guard looked up, his eyes immediately going wide. She let out a puff of breath, watching as the small cloud of mist drifted slowly away from her on the night breeze. Jesus, it was cold.
She had to admit that this possibly wasn’t one of her brighter ideas. Would he let her in before parts of her started getting frostbite?
The guard bolted out of his chair and walked quickly over to the door, his brow furrowed in consternation. Max pulled her arms tighter around herself, giving him a pleading look. The man picked up his radio and said something into it.
Fuck. Why the hell isn’t he opening the goddamned door?
She looked up and peered up into the camera pointed at her. She gave it her best ‘damsel in distress’ face and the man finally moved to open the door, letting her in and pulling a coat off a nearby rack. He wrapped her up in it, then quickly stepped away from her. He opened his mouth to say something before his expression went blank. Max frowned back at him, cocking her head and waving her hand in front of his face.
~ I’ve got him, Max. Just go find Logan. And watch out for cameras! ~
Max shook her head, still not liking the feeling of somebody else in her head. Even a friend.
She looked around, finding another camera pointing down at the lobby entranceway. Max took a step towards the guard and sniffed him, irritated that everything smelled so sterile.
Another guard walked around the corner, saying, “Hey Kessler, shift it. It’s your turn to walk the…”
Max watched the man’s jaw drop as she stepped out from behind the man who’d let her in. She dropped the coat to the floor, and watched his eyes grow wide. She smiled and curled her finger, beckoning him over and the man took several hesitant steps forward before stopping, his expression going slack.
~ That’s it for this section. I’m thinking that they’re not so much worried about people breaking in, as other things getting out. I’ll keep light contact with you so that we can know how you’re doing while you’re in there. ~
Ok, this is weird.
Max began walking back towards the hallway, checking the monitor feeds behind the guard’s desk. They displayed empty rooms, but nothing really useful. She frowned, then shifted into wolf form and began padding down the hall, her claws clicking on the cement as she tried to pick up a scent that she could use to track Logan down.
There was something – just underneath the fresh chemicals used to clean the floors, but she couldn’t tell what it was. She followed the odd scent to a grey metal door with a lock that had six metal buttons above it.
She snuffled underneath the door and the odd scent became a little stronger. She heard footsteps in the hallway behind her and turned to find Scott walking towards her.
“I knocked out the cameras, and Jean got one of the guards to let us in.” He turned to look back down the hallway as Jean came around the corner with one of the guards. She walked the man up to the door, watching him key in a code as he turned the doorhandle and opened the door, his eyes empty as he moved to stare straight ahead. Max looked back at her with wary eyes.
~ You know what I am, Blondie. You also know that I’m not comfortable with doing this, but it’s for a good cause. ~
Max chuffed at her with a quick nod, then stepped through the door. The scent was definitely stronger here, but still really diminished.
She moved through the hallway, not bothering to look up now that Scott and Jean were behind her. She kept her nose to the ground as they made their way down the hall, following it to the left. As she came around the corner, the door at the end of the hallway opened and a man stepped into the corridor. Max stopped in her tracks and the man’s eyes grew huge. He moved to close the door, then stopped, standing in place.
Max ran up to him, taking in his scent. The scent of Logan was strong on the leather of the man’s boots, but the rest of his uniform didn’t have any distinct, helpful smells. Jean walked up to the man, frowning. She cocked her head and the man winced, then stepped aside.
“This way.” She murmured, moving through the doorway.
Max darted through the doorway, frustrated that she wasn’t picking anything helpful up. Jean seemed to know where to go now, though.
A high pitched sound rang off the walls of the corridor.
Scott muttered, “Damn. Facility alarm’s been triggered. So much for stealth at this point.”
A bright red beam of energy burst forth from the slot in his visor and knocked the door at the end of the corridor back through the hallway.
“Jean – where are we going?” he called over his shoulder as they began running.
Jean led the way, her red hair flaring out behind her as they followed her through the halls.
“That door.” She pointed, and another beam slammed it open.
Now she could smell it. Pain and exhaustion licked at the edges of his scent, as well as a strange smell that Max could only assume were chemicals as they stepped into a medical procedure room. A large steel table sat in the middle of the room, but everything had been cleaned and meticulously put away. They’d had him in here recently.
Max wanted to sprint off in the direction of the scent, but she didn’t want to leave her friends behind. At this point, they were in as much danger as she was. She found it odd that she was still rationalizing at this point, now that she had actually verified that he was here.
They ran through a number of rooms before starting to hear the voices of people up ahead. Max could smell cordite and gun oil, her nose wrinkling as she kept pace with Jean and Scott. The sounds of premature gunfire further down the hallway as it curved to the right brought them to a full stop. Max’s ears were now ringing painfully and she shifted back to pink skin, clapping her hands over them. She had forgotten how loud gunfire could be in an enclosed space.
Should’ve brought earplugs, she thought angrily to herself. Loud noises always irritated her and made her jumpy. The wailing of the alarm siren had been bad enough.
She kept her hands over her ears as they advanced towards the sounds.
Max could barely hear the clatter of weapons as they hit the floor, but her eardrums were recovering quickly. She could go completely deaf and her hearing would still be restored within minutes. Handy – but still painful as all hell. She looked back at Jean who was now sweating, her expression slightly strained.
“How many are there?” Scott asked, frowning back at her.
“Not many, but there’s something…one of them has something in his head that he’s trying to keep me from seeing.” she growled.
She blinked for a moment, then said, “Oh.”
It almost looked like she’d just remembered where her keys were after searching for them for the last fifteen minutes. Then her expression clouded and she looked truly scared.
“Oh shit! We need to get to him now! This way!”
They began running, easily hurdling the bodies in the hallway that had slumped where they stood. They were through two more doors when an echoing voice rang through the hallway.
“Terminate the subject and evacuate the facility.”
The cold, clinical tone in the man’s voice sent a chill down Max’s spine. It sounded offhandedly irritated as it floated out of the speaker above her head. A muffled explosion followed by a rapid burst of machine gun fire in another part of the building set all her internal alarms off and the wolf took control, forcing her into dire form as she roared and pounded off in the direction of the noise.
“MAX!” Scott yelled, growling, “DAMMIT!” as he and Jean quickly made to follow.
Everything shifted into the singular determination of the wolf as Max felt her own consciousness slip away.
MARVEL owns the copyright on their own characters, but I’ve fussed with and taken liberties with canon, and Max is my own creation.
Chapter 1 :: Chapter 2 :: Chapter 3 :: Chapter 4 :: Chapter 5 :: Chapter 6 :: Chapter 7 :: Chapter 8 :: Chapter 9 :: Chapter 10 :: Chapter 11 :: Chapter 12 :: Chapter 13 :: Chapter 14 :: Chapter 15 :: Chapter 16 :: Chapter 17 :: Chapter 18 :: Chapter 19 :: Chapter 20 :: Chapter 21 :: Chapter 22 :: Chapter 23 :: Chapter 24 :: Chapter 25