Title: Red Steel #3: Showdown! Part 6
Rating: T - For strong violence
Summary: Now that Colossus has discovered the true motives of his new friend Jerome, he will soon be in an epic battle that will determine the fate of Earth as Nigel's plans come to light and an alien invasion is threatening the world!
Notes: Please be gentle with the criticisms! :D
Chapter 6: A Brand New Life
“Hello ladies and gentlemen! This is Sharon Whittner, once again reporting live from the Morning News! It seems that all is right in New York City as the terror of the alien attacks had come to an end! After the devastating effects of the attempted alien invasion two days ago, it seemed as if New York City would never fully recover from that nightmarish day again. However, the buildings and streets in New York City are currently being rebuild after that travesty, as many of the citizens are helping out in making New York a beautiful city once again! As for who saved New York City from the alien invasion, we have both the Avengers and the X-Men to thank for that! Without the combined efforts of these superhero teams, New York City would had faced a bigger devastation then it ever had before! We also would like to point out that despite the many casualties that was caused by the unexpected alien invasion; there were no reported deaths among the citizens during the invasion as an anonymous person made sure that the citizens made it to the safety of their homes before the invasion started. “
Sharon Whittner then paused briefly as a tall man suddenly came to her and gave her more reports. Sharon Whittner then nodded and began reporting again:
“This just in. It appears that there were two deaths during the alien invasion! The bodies that were identified during this invasion were none other than the alien leader who arranged the whole invasion and Representative of the Natural Resources Division, Nigel Faust! Authorities stated that judging by the knife wounds on both bodies, both Nigel and the alien leader were stabbed to death during the invasion. According to the evidence that the authorities had discovered, it appeared that Nigel Faust stabbed the alien leader when the leader’s back was turned. As to whom stabbed Nigel Faust, the supposed knife that stabbed him in the throat had disappeared from Nigel’s throat before it was looked over by authorities. Without the evidence of the knife to ensure who had committed the murder of Nigel Faust, authorities decided that mysterious circumstances had caused the downfall of Nigel Faust. On a related note, Red Steel was also shown among the X-Men and the Avengers, fighting alongside them during the alien invasion. Who is this mysterious red masked savior of New York City and what is his true identity? The world will probably never know. This is Sharon Whittner, reporting from the Morning News.”
In the streets of New York City, the citizens are busy cleaning up the mess caused by the alien invasion days ago. Among the citizens, Piotr Rasputin and Jerome Brown are also helping rebuild the buildings, as not only do they want to make sure that the citizens feel safe once more, but it is also apart of their new “duties” to the city.
“Man, the aliens really did a number on this city during the invasion!” exclaimed Jerome.
“Da, I know! There is so much to do around this city,” commented Piotr.
“Well, it could have been worse. We could have been in jail by now if the Avengers hadn’t convinced the police to lay off the punishments,” said Jerome.
“I am still shocked about how the Avengers were willing to let everything we did in the past go by unnoticed. Although, I could now understand their reasons,” said Piotr.
Two days ago…
“Not quite. There are still some things we have to take care of,” said Captain America looking at Red Steel.
Everyone then looked at Red Steel, including Jerome, and Red Steel just looked at Captain America and said, “Yes, I suppose we do have some things that must be taken care of.”
Captain America then faced Red Steel and said, “You are aware that there is an arrest warrant on you from what happened with the Phoenix Force situation?”
Red Steel briefly looked down and said, “Yes, I am aware of what happened and I am terribly sorry for the horrible things I had done, even though I was controlled by the Phoenix Force at the time.”
“Do you have anything to say in your defense?” asked Captain America.
Red Steel then looked at Captain America and said, “I knew the risks I took when I became Red Steel since the police would had arrested me if they had discovered my true identity. But, I wanted more than anything to redeem myself for my actions while under the influence of the Phoenix Force, even though I was not in full control when it had happened. In my heart, I will always be an X-Man, saving the world no matter what happens and even though I had done some terrible things during my life, I will still protect this world the best way I can,” said Red Steel.
The other X-Men were amazed at Red Steel’s touching speech and when they turned to look Red Steel, they smiled broadly at him. Even though Piotr had changed so much over the years due to bizarre circumstances, he was still the same kind-hearted man they had known and loved ever since they first met him.
The Avengers looked at Red Steel, briefly nodded their heads and then they turned towards Jerome, who was slowly getting up after Hank finished attending to his wounds. Captain America then spoke, “Jerome Brown, we had heard reports from the police that you were responsible for the deaths of many civilians many years ago. Is that correct?”
Jerome lowered his head and said, “Yeah, it’s true. I was responsible for the deaths of many people years ago. So, I guess you could arrest me now, but there is one thing I want to point out before you do.” Jerome took a deep breath and said, “Even though I had committed a terrible crime, I tried to wash the blood off my hands by trying to protect the people everyday of my life. I’m ashamed for what I did even though I was in pain when it had happened, but like Red Steel here, I wanted to redeem myself and prove that I can still save lives to make up for the lives that I took away years ago.”
Captain America looked at both Red Steel and Jerome and said, “Well, it seems that you two have defended yourselves so well. And because of that, I’ll convince the police to lower your punishment.”
“WHAT!?” said Red Steel and Jerome both surprised.
Captain America just smiled and said, “Colossus, your friends told us about what happened to your friend Jean Grey when the Phoenix Force took over her body years ago. I know what it’s like to lose someone you care about and for the Phoenix Force to turn the person you care about into a destructive force; it would be hard to deal with such a situation.”
“Wow Cap, I didn’t know you were a softie,” commented Iron Man.
Captain America just glared softly at Iron Man, until Black Widow spoke up, “And not only that, but the fact that you two had redeemed yourselves for what had happened makes your efforts truly heroic. You should give yourselves some credit over that.”
Colossus and Jerome just looked at each other and then said to the Avengers, “Thank you.”
“And thank you all for helping us stop the alien invasion. However, since you two had committed crimes in the past, the law won’t exactly let this go unnoticed. But, with your help, we might be able to convince the police that in helping us stop the alien invasion; your punishment should be lowered. Until next time,” Captain America said and he and the Avengers walked away from the X-Men to go to the police station.
After the Avengers left, the X-Men then ran up to Colossus and started hugging him.
“Oh Peter! We’re so glad that you didn’t get arrested!” said Kitty happily.
“You…you are?” asked Piotr.
“Of course we are, buddy! We thought that we were going to lose our resident strong guy,” said Bobby.
Piotr looked down on the ground and said quietly, “Thank you. Thank you all.”
“So, you coming back to the X-Men or not?” asked Logan.
Piotr took off his red mask, looked up at the sky and said, “Well, now that I am no longer in danger of going to prison, I think I will come back. Besides, I have always wanted to be an art teacher!”
The other X-Men cheered and started congratulating Piotr. Jerome meanwhile, was still standing nearby, checking out the scene. He saw the love that the X-Men were giving Piotr, despite the fact that Piotr was one of the hosts of the Phoenix Force that caused destruction around the world. Jerome decided that he should leave them alone for awhile and said quietly to himself, “Well, I guess I’ll be going then.”
As Jerome was about to leave, Piotr saw him and he called out, “Jerome! Why not come and join us?”
Jerome looked back at the group and said, “Join you?”
“Hey, why not! You helped out Piotr when he really needed it,” said Kitty brightly.
“And your powers are quite useful. It would be a great honor if you joined the X-Men,” said Ororo.
Jerome just stood there, looking shocked and he said, “I…I don’t know what to say. I guess I’ll have to think about this.”
“Take all the time you need,” said Hank kindly.
“Losing loved ones is very difficult indeed. So much has happened over the years that I almost forgot about the day that Jean Grey sacrificed herself to save the world from the influence of the Dark Phoenix. It had truly affected us all since Jean Grey was a dear friend to us,” Piotr said with tears in his eyes.
Jerome looked at Piotr and said, “I understand perfectly how that feels. Remember, I lost my parents when I was very young and it hurt me so much that I took the lives of many people to show that loss.”
Piotr wiped away the tears from his eyes and then said, “Da, I am sorry for your loss. So, are you thinking about accepting the offer to become apart of the X-Men?”
“Well, I’ve been alone for so many years ever since the incident with my parents’ deaths. It would be nice to be around people again. I guess that qualifies as a ‘yes’ in my book, once I tell them my answer myself,” said Jerome happily.
Piotr then went up to Jerome and hugged him and said, “Well, let me be the first among the X-Men to welcome you into the group!”
“Umm…Peter? I can’t breathe here,” said Jerome gasping.
Piotr quickly released Jerome and said, “Oh, I am sorry! Sometimes I keep forgetting my own strength!”
“I know. So, how long do you think that we will be doing community service?” asked Jerome.
“Well, judging by the massive damage that was done by the alien invasion, I think that we will be doing community service for two weeks or more,” said Piotr sadly.
“Great! Just great,” said Jerome exasperated.
Four hours later…
At the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning, everything was peaceful as the students went to their classes, eager to learn something new. Piotr Rasputin was among the students as he walked towards his classroom. After the events of the alien invasion, the X-Men wanted him to come back to the school since they needed an art teacher. Piotr easily accepted their offer, since it had been a long time when he last dealt with art. Piotr had always loved art and he remembered enjoying painting pictures of beautiful landscapes during his personal time. But when House of M happened, things had changed so drastically that he never had the time to paint to his heart’s desire. Now, he could pursue his interest in art; only now, he is teaching his passion to the students, which is something he always wanted to do in life. As Piotr neared his classroom, he saw Kitty Pryde at the end of the hallway, standing by herself. Piotr then stopped abruptly, unsure of how he would approach her, not after what happened before, even though he barely had control of the Phoenix Force’s actions. Kitty might not have shown her true feelings after the Avengers told them that Piotr’s punishment was lowered, but he could tell that his actions as the host of the Phoenix Force had hurt her deeply.
For awhile, Piotr just stood there, but then he started to remember his adventures as Red Steel and how he had become a changed man during those days. It was then that Piotr realized that he can no longer run away from his problems and he must face them head on, no matter what the consequences will be. So, Piotr went up to Kitty and said, “Hello…Katya.”
Kitty looked up from where she was standing and saw Piotr towering over her. Even though she had known Piotr for many years, she still looked in awe at Piotr’s massive height. She said quietly, “Hello…Peter.”
Piotr put his back towards the wall and crossed his arms across his chest. For a few minutes, Kitty and Piotr didn’t say anything to each other. Then, they both said at the same time, “I just want to…” and then they both stopped abruptly and looked down at the ground.
Piotr then looked up and said, “I know that you are still upset with me. I am aware that it was the Phoenix Force that made me say all those horrible things to you, however, that is no excuse to treat you that way. So, I understand if you do not want to see me ever again.”
Kitty then went up to Piotr and whacked him on the back of his head.
“Ow! Why did you do that?” asked Piotr rubbing the back of his head.
“Peter Rasputin! Of course I knew that the Phoenix Force was controlling you when we last talked with each other! Why would I not want to see you again?” asked Kitty annoyed.
Piotr looked at Kitty and then said, “Well, after everything that has happened, I thought that it would have been difficult for us to be in the same room together since everything keeps going wrong between us,” said Piotr sadly.
Kitty just looked at Piotr and said softly, “Piotr, just because things weren’t going well between us doesn’t mean that I would be shallow enough to blame you for something that you had no control over. I was actually worried about you after what happened with the Phoenix Force.”
Piotr looked down briefly and said, “Thank you Katya, for caring. It is just that things had been…difficult lately, what with the divide among our team. I want everyone to be friends again like old times, but it might be hard to accomplish that with the way things are.”
“Oh Peter. Things might be difficult now, but we can get through this! We just have to do everything in our power to make sure that another divide won’t happen to this team and that pursuing Professor Xavier’s dream of peace for mutant kind is still important.”
“The Professor…I still cannot believe that he is gone,” said Piotr sadly.
“I know,” said Kitty sadly.
Kitty and Piotr stood there for a few moments in silence and then Piotr said, “So, now that we have…broken up for the time being, do you think we should be friends for now?”
Kitty looked up and said, “Yeah, I think being friends would work out for the best for now, at least until we get this all sorted out.”
Piotr smiled and then said, “I agree. Friends then?”
Kitty smiled and stuck her hand out while saying, “Friends.”
The two X-Men then shook hands and they both started walking down the hallway together.
“So, Miss Headmistress, what is it like running this school?” asked Piotr jokily.
“Oh no, first Logan calls me that and now you? Well, I guess that can’t be helped. Anyway, things are actually going pretty well! The students are surprisingly behaving, despite the fact that we have random aliens coming to attack the school,” said Kitty.
“Aliens?” asked Piotr surprised.
“Yeah, things get weird here,” said Kitty.
Piotr laughed deeply and while he was still talking to Kitty, he thought about how everything had changed so much over the years. Yes, it was stressful and despite the past crimes he had done as the host of the Phoenix Force and as the Avatar of the Cyttorak, he learned that he should always use his powers for good, not for bad and that he must be wiser in not letting anyone tell him how to use his powers. Becoming Red Steel had allowed Piotr to use his powers for good, even if all odds were against him and that was an experience that he will never forget.
Piotr thought about becoming Red Steel again since he really enjoyed being the masked crusader.
Will he become Red Steel again? Maybe, if any threat comes to harm the Planet Earth again! But for now, he is just happy being a teacher and being with his friends again.