(Note this takes place 90 minutes after http://www.comicvine.com/forums/fan-fic/8/marvel-iron-age-the-beginning-part-3/650645/#7)
The Greater Colorado Iron Hall
General Derek Manawatu was the highest ranking Maori in the Iron Army. He was also the only Maori to rise this high up the ranks. He had fought his way to the top with hard work, ferocity and diligence. He'd received two Medals of Valor during combat tours in Indakistan and Novo Brazilia. None of that mattered right now. He stood silently in his ceremonial uniform of the hangar of the Greater Colorado Iron Hall before Iron Claw, the Supreme Commander’s personal killing machine. Due to the fact that Iron Claw was here, he knew his career and most likely his life was coming to a rapid end
Iron Claw stood silently, his unblinking mechanical eye staring at the trembling man who stood before him. A smirk rippled across his lips as he slowly, deliberately extended his right hand, his adamantium claws shining in the neon lights. He ungripped his hand in front of the general’s face to reveal a small black box in his palm, an ancient intercom system. A cord ran from the box, up Iron Claw’s arm and into a jack in his jugular
“The Supreme Commander is waiting General Manawatu” snarled Iron Claw in his echoey metallic voice
Even though he was not present, General Manawatu could feel the Commander’s presence. He shook visibly and held back tears. Sweat poured from under his arms. He could barely life his head to look at the black box as he was terrified beyond anything he had ever felt in his life! He took a deep breath and wiped his eyes. His head shot up and he delivered a near perfect salute
“The blame for the escape is mine and mine alone Commander” said Manawatu in the bravest voice he could muster “He escaped whilst under my jurisdiction, my command and my watch. I accept all the consequences for it”
“And?” the voice from the box caused the General to begin weeping. Iron Claw broke into a full blown metal toothed smile as the decorated officer wet his pants
“I...I shall take...a...a platoon of”
“No!” It stopped his stammering dead. The general whimpered like a kicked puppy unsure of whether to run or curl up in a ball
“Understood” said Iron Claw as he unplugged the cord from his neck and put the box into his belt pouch
General Derek Manawatu’s mind raced through all the stories, trivia, rumours and alerts he’d heard about Iron Claw. That the Supreme Commander had found him as a boy in the Chechyen DMZ living off the bodies of the dead, that he shoved both his hands into a threshing machine to prove his loyalty to the cause, that he’d skinned the President of Peruvador’s infant son and force fed the skin to his wife when the President looked down his nose at him, that he allowed Ferrum Tech scientists to implant a supercomputer in his brain so he may serve better, that the Supreme Commander had used all the remaining adamantium to coat Iron Claw’s bones
“Please” cried the General
“You are a disgrace to the Iron Army!” snapped Iron Claw as his hands began rotating like helicopter blades “You have allowed a dangerous enemy of the regime loose due to negligence and incompetence! General Derek Manawatu...you are dismissed!”
For the next five hours the General screamed. He died sometime later when Iron Claw threw him, skinless, from the troop transport over Nebraska when he grew tired and headed back to Washington.
Exodus appeared over the mountains, his eyes streaming with tears. His screams rocked the air. The sky responding to his anguish with a violent storm
"WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?!?"
He felt drawn to the area where he'd previously spent centuries incarcerated but during that time he was asleep, unaware. This time he'd been awake. He'd be beaten, tortured, humiliated and powerless. Each day was some new kind of hell, especially to one who did not age.
Something had happened, something with Apocalypse. A resonating tone had shot across the psychic plane and even though the inhibitor had effectively blinded him to his sixth sense, the call was there. He could feel Apocalypse's prescence in the air...somewhere. It wasn't strong but it was there on the periphery. Exodus clawed at his neck, the sense memory of the inhibitor still there though the device was not. He scanned the heavens waiting for a sign. The rain pelted his reddish skin for the first time in years. Exodus pushed his fingers into his forehead, trying to alleviate the throbbing of his brain
"What?" he yelled as he whirled around to find nothing but dark sky and raindrops. He scrapped his fingers through his hair pulling out chunks. His face spasmed. He floated back into the sign of the cross and opened up his returning senses. His mind flooded with images, experiences, sounds, sights and emotions. He gasped like a fish out of water. A bolt of lightning shot from the clouds and smashed into his chest. Exodus screamed as the energy coursed through his body
"I SHALL! I SHALL BRING IT TO YOU MASTER!"
Exodus raised his arms in triumph and willed himself to the picture in his mind
Distain hid behind his shields. The seemingly endless rain of high caliber bullets chipped away as the HUD clicked down. 20%. 17%. 14%. He was pinned like an animal. If he dropped the shields he would be riddled with bullets. He couldn't power the jet boots without diverting power or dropping the shields. It was beyond a rock and a hard place. The roof of the Smoke Stack came away as the Iron Sentinel tore it off. 9%
Distain dropped the left shield and crouched in a ball behind the right. 7%. He clicked the override on the HUD for self destruct. A small mountain of flattened bullets lay at the base of his diminishing shield. 4%. The Sentinel cleared the remaining obstructions, The HUD issued a command across his eye "Speak final destruct sequence slowly and carefully"
Distain grimaced behind his shield wondering if detonating himself as a one megaton nuclear device would hurt. 2% "Foxtrot! Unicorn! Commander! Kilraven! Two thous..."
Distain's words were cut short as the Sentinel's head smashed down in front of him with a thunderous KABOOM! He dived backwards from impact, barely avoiding being squashed. Masonry dust and timber shards filled the air. He caught a glimpse of the trio of Iron Soldiers turning their weapons skyward. He had no idea what was happening but was grateful for the reprieve. He spotted an exposed electrical cable. He grabbed it and jammed it into his forearm port
"External power input accept?" asked the HUD
"Final destruction sequence interrupted. Continue?"
The foot of the Iron Sentinel raised up and came down heavily upon the soldiers smashing them into paste. It lifted up and did it again for good measure. The smoke and dust had partially cleared and Distain spotted a man hovering in the sky. His arms waved like he was conducting an invisible orchestra. The foot slammed down again. Distane froze in place, quietly taking in juice. The headless Sentinel was the flung into the air like a child roughly abandoning a toy. He focused directly on Distain and pointed at him. An invisble force grabbed him and shot him into the sky to the red man
"You have the cable" laughed the man "But you are not the cable"
"Let..me..go" wheezed Distain as the unseen grip tightened
"You have the cable virus in your technology" he quizzed "Technology beyond your capabilities. Something humans don't deserve"
"I built..this ar...armour...myself"
"LIAR!" The words rattled inside the armour and inside his skull "This beyond a mere flatscan! Beyond your primordial intelligence"
"Th-this...is your last chance...to let...me go" huffed Distain as the vice got tighter
"YOU DARE ORDER EXODUS?! I HAVE SPENT ONE HUNDRED YEARS TAKING ORDERS FROM GENETIC TRASH LIKE YOU!" roared Exodus. he reached out with his telepathy and drove into Darius' mind "YOU, DARIUS STANE. THE LAST OF A LINE OF GENETIC FILTH! I SHALL LEECH THIS TECHNOLOGY FROM YOUR PORES AND RETURN IT TO MY MASTER! HE IS COMING BACK!"
The HUD ready 64%. Darius could feel the mutant ransacking his mind like a burglar tossing a house. The Supremis Techno-Organic Armour was squealing in his cells as Exodus tried to pry it from his body on a cellular level.
"YOU ARE UNWORTHY! YOU ARE ALL UNWORTHY!"
Darius fired his jets and shot forward smashing his helmet into Exodus' nose. The sudden impact and shock halted both of Exodus' attacks
"You hit me" the statement was childlike
Darius took a breath and spat blood into his helmet "You tried to crush me and steal my armour"
"YOU HIT ME?!? YOU TOUCHED ME!" Exodus lashed out with his fist but the punch was wide
Darius had no idea what he was facing and decided to cut and run. He got about twelve feet before Exodus telekinetically roped him and started "pulling" him back
"I'm going to turn you inside out" growled Exodus as he dragged Distain closer in a tug-o-war of machine vs mind "I am going to pull you apart and see how many ways you go back together" Distain's jet boots whined as the went up a gear but still he was going backwards "I am going to present your armour to my master and then I am going to make you the first example of what happens WHEN YOU TOUCH A MESSENGER OF GOD!" The boots went white hot, the sound of the engines deafening "I HAVE A GIFT FOR YOU MY MASTER"
Distain locked every weapon he had on Exodus' chin "Take mine!" he said as he let rip. Repulsor cannon, repulsor beam, omnibeam, two napalm projectors and his jet boots fired in unison. The resulting explosion sent a shockwave that broke every window within a mile. Exodus backflipped in one direction, Distain rocketed away in the other at a speed somewhere in the vicinity of Mach 15!
Exodus took several seconds to recover and once he had could only barely see a glimpse of his opponent hurtling away. Exodus burst into tears and sent out a telekinetic spike, punching a hole into the ground
"You shall not touch!" scowled Exodus in a crazed mantra, the words turning to foam on his lips as he repeated it over and over as he vanished into thin air