Okay, we’re in a place called Cedar Rapids, which by the way doesn’t have a single tree! And I think they've hidden the rapids, under a tonne of swerage and garbage! This place is bleak. Blackbird is bringing us into to land on some old building, maybe an ancient prison or…
“A high school” said Blackbird “The building was a high school built in 1998, the only…”
“Do you mind?” asked Cam looking around at the ship and feeling a bit silly talking to, well the ship.
“I was trying to educate you Mr Evans,” laughed the sentient ship “Not intentionally spying on your diary, but electronic transmissions emanating from inside me tickle so I looked at what was going on. Pardon my intrusion”
“How do you know who I am?”
“I know who all four of you are since I can and have tapped into the Iron Army chatter. Now please take a seat or hold on as I bring us into land”
Drake was almost gushing “For a group of nutcage starkbags, having a talking ship is pretty cool!”
The Upstarts and X-Faction walked down the bomb bay doors, each on opposite sides and still wary of the other. A muscled man wearing strange red armour flanked by four men in white, holding really old machine guns.
“Welcome!” he said with a broad smile “My name is Scott Summers”
“We know who you are” said Razor snidely, Izzy stifling a laugh before Scylla silenced them with a stern glare.
“Nice to meet you” said Alyssa
“They have an injured member Scott” said Blackbird “I stabilised him during the flight but he’s going to need a proper doctor”
Scott nodded and the four white men raced up to Tank who was being helped by Shocker and Ghost. Ghost waved his hands like he was flailing away a swarm of bees “Back off! Scat!”
“They mean you no harm” said Scott “Please allow us to help you”
Ghost and Shocker looked at each other, then Zephyr and then Tank. Well do we? asked Ghost to them telepathically First they wanna fight, now they’re trying to help…this feels like a trap
Alyssa nodded and Cam reluctantly let the men take over.
“Isn’t Scott Summers a fairy tale?” asked Cam “My mother use to tell stories about him”
“You mean Cyclops, yes he’s dead, very dead” said Scott “I am not THE Scott Summers, I am A Scott Summers but we are related. But we can discuss this over dinner. Welcome to Xavier’s”
Holo-diary entry: Hot. Shower. I haven’t had an uninterrupted hot shower in my whole life. Amazi…
“Got room in there for one more?” Alyssa stepped into the shower, dropping her towel behind her.
The Upstarts, joined by three other members, along with X-Faction sat on chairs looking a massive holo-screen as Scott stood and held court in the room “…as his father even though they were the same age. Do you get me?”
“Ummm no” Drake blurted out “But if it works for you”
Alyssa elbowed him in the side “Be polite”
“Bit hard when his boring story had his great grand dad throw his grandfather into the future who came back to the past, older than his dad to save everything but didn’t actually fix anything” seethed Drake through his teeth “Seriously time travel!”
“I can see how my story would confuse someone,” said Scott eyeballing Drake “But in the end I am descended from one of the original X-Men. You know most of the Upstarts; Crank, Razor, Icicle, Scylla and Blackbird. The others are Credence, Shatterbox and Flatfoot. We are the Upstarts. We do what you’ve been doing; sabotaging Ferrum sites, hitting army outposts, teaming up with SHIELD at times if a jobs too big”
Cam was puzzled “SHIELD?”
“A network trying to bring down the Iron Army like we are. They’re better organised and larger”
“So Credence,” joked Drake “Any particular reason you look like them fuzzy Creed’s that run about the place and eat people?”
“Credence was rescued from a Ferrum habitat that grows Creeds.” said Scott “He was allowed to age naturally, chemical free, without their inhibitor chips and programming”
“Oh-kay” Drake looked at Cam Seriously, these guys are creeping me out. Cam shook his head THEY HAVE A CREED, CAM! A CREED!
“Got a problem with that?” growled Credence
“Not at all!” protested Drake
“By day I consult with the Iron Army about their Hunter suits, by night I run them ragged with the Upstarts”
Alyssa furrowed her brow “Say what? You WORK for the Iron Army?”
“Yes” Scott stated
“And we’re all okay with this?” said Drake standing up
“I am not proud of what I have to do, to remain alive” said Scott.
“You make weapons that kill mutants?’ said Cam angrily “How do you sleep at night?”
Scott massaged his jaw “I walk a delicate rope”
“Tank thinks you’re a hypocrite!” Tank stormed into the room, several white men trying to help him “And Tank wants these fools to stop touching him!”
Scott smiled “Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Now, let me show you what we recovered from St Louis”
The Upstarts got up and filed out of the room, X-Faction went into a quick huddle.
“You okay Tank?” asked Drake
“Tank’s been better” he replied, draping his large arm over Drake’s shoulders.
“They work for the Iron Army!” hissed Alyssa “This is starked! I feel like a horde of tin men is going to smash through the walls”
Just so it looks like we’re hugging, I’ll tell you what I think telepathically. We need to leave! We should’ve stayed in St Louis and we nearly got killed in St Louis!
Cam thought about it “Okay, we’ll leave. Let’s see what he got then we’re gone. I don’t trust him either”
X-Faction followed them to a large room. In the centre of the room was a glass cylinder filled with a purply green liquid, a shadow of a body inside.
“Today we have struck a blow, a decisive blow against the Supreme Commander. Against him personally! He kept hidden in St Louis a secret that now has been revealed!”
What is this nutcage talking about?
“Tank don’t like people talking in his head!” seethed Tank through his teeth
“Ssh” said Cam as he watched Scott continue to rant.
“For years, centuries even, this man has held the planet over a barrel. Tonight we strike a blow deep into his cold, black heart” Scott pushed a button on the side of the tube and the goopy liquid flushed out onto the hardwood floor “We have captured the Supreme Commander’s daughter!”
Alyssa looked at Cam, her hand clasping his tightly. Out of the tube spilled a little girl, no older than nine. Her whitey silver hair was stuck across her face and back, her big eyes blinked as she looked at her unfamiliar surroundings.
“Oh no!” said Cam, lightning crackled across his fingers.
“They wouldn’t?” asked Drake Would they?
“Nearly two hundred years ago, the Iron Army slaughtered a school full of mutants!” roared Scott “Today we reap some revenge! We will teach the Supreme Commander a lesson in loss!”
The Upstarts surrounded the scared little girl, who cowered from fear and cold on the floor. Izzy’s hand’s turned blue, the blades on Razor’s skin popped out, Shatterbox opened her mouth which hummed ominously and Scylla drew a nasty looking gun. The eye slots on Scott’s helmet slid up to reveal piercing electric blue eyes that pulsed.
“Tonight we execute, his daughter!”
They would! Cam?
“Tank thinks you should say the word”
Cam pulled his mask over his face “X-Faction, take’em down!”