"Remember me?" (Part 2)
By Dave Cousens
"I assume you’ve found the information that I need?" Logan asked whilst removing a cigar from his leather jacket.
Wisdom leaned back and rested his hands on the back of his head, giving a cocky grin.
Logan became somber. "So. How much is this gonna cost me?"
Wisdom lowered his hand and once again picked up his cigarette. Smoke slowly wafted across the table, filtering its way into the cold air. He took a long drag on the cigarette and held still for a moment, savouring the nicotine. Then, the Englishman slowly exhaled the smoke from his mouth and started to shake his head.
"Look mate, I know Pryde probably didn’t speak too highly of me..."
"Hmmf." Logan laughed to himself.
Wisdom’s eyes narrowed.
"But I’m not stupid." Wisdom continued. "You don’t see the things I’ve seen and stay alive by being naïve."
Logan remained motionless in his seat, refusing to show his sudden discomfort. His eyes fixed on Wisdom’s, waiting to see how this played out.
"You didn’t really come all the way to sunny England to find out what we know about these TransFormers, now did you?" Wisdom rested his cigarette on the ashtray.
"Alien robots? Sure. Bloody big things too. Nasty energy source that turns everyone into potential Magneto’s. Two factions by all accounts. Classic ‘goodies and baddies’. It’s all fascinating stuff."
Wisdom leaned forward and stared directly into Wolverines cold eyes.
"Only thing is, you know all this stuff." Wisdom said sternly. "Even if you didn’t, you have resources to get them. If you didn’t want to go through Xavier and the moral brigade to get this stuff, you live with the worlds greatest thief, for cryin’ out loud!"
Logan unconsciously shifted in his seat and instantaneously cursed himself for it. He was not used to being rattled by anyone.
Wisdom picked up his cigarette with his right hand and pointed directly at Wolverine.
"Let me tell you what I think you want. I think that you’ve suddenly realized we have a new threat in our little universe of Marvels, something that has transformed the balance of power. Something that takes you out of the game!"
Wolverine lip formed a snarl. His eyes began to glare like fire.
"It makes sense really." Wisdom raised his palm openly. "Cyclops, Gambit, Iceman? They’ve all got showy powers that can affect the iron giants from a good range. Freeze ‘em into place then blow ‘em up. Sound tactic really." Wisdom’s expression changed to exaggerated consideration.
"Rogue can take the fight to them. Phoenix could drop a building on them, Beast could understand them and probably come up with a way to immobilize ‘em. All still valuable members of the team. That just leaves you. It’s doubtful that bone claws will make a sodding bit of difference to something that’s twenty feet tall and made of metal. And what’ll that lovely healing factor do? Prolong your suffering as one of the monsters starts to squash the life out of you?"
Logan’s arms moved faster than Wisdom could follow. Suddenly Pete found himself being choked by his shirt collar staring directly into the eyes of a madman, with the view of a bone claw just being visible in his periphery. One of the bar staff looked up at the sound of the wooden table being suddenly shifted. Wisdom looked directly into Wolverines eyes and smirked just slightly.
"Wouldn’t do that mate. Otherwise who’s going to get you your shiny mettle back?"
Logan felt his pulse rapidly beating through his forehead. His breathing slowed slightly as he turned to face the concerned bartender. He opened his hands and Wisdom slumped back into his seat. The bartender looked at Wolverine for another moment and then turned away to serve a customer. Logan sat back down.
Wisdom straightened his shirt and smiled at Logan.
"Now then, if you’re sitting comfortably, let me tell you about a man named ‘Dark’...
"--And the lady, naturally." The Beast smiled awkwardly. "I appreciate how patiently you’ve all been waiting as I have been expertly fashioning the marvelous device that shall..."
Hank looked around, noticing that everyone was rather bored and just wanted to proceed.
"Um." He cleared his throat. "Heh, yes. Anyway as I was saying, time to see if this works!"
"If?" Gambit frowned.
The Beast turned around to face his completed invention, an oversized collection of spare parts and dials that had been gathering in the basement for the past six months that were assembled much like something from a Saturday morning cartoon. He took a deep breath, closed his eyes and pushed the starting button.
Beast opened his right eye, his left still closed as if to prepare for an explosion.
Scott walked forward from the group of spectating X-Men towards the blue scientist.
The Beast furrowed his brow. "Hmmm. In my calculations we should now be experiencing an illuminating pyrotechnic display of –
An enormous surge of energy erupted in the sky, pushing the Beast and Cyclops to the floor. The other X-Men shielded their eyes and squinted to see a pink haze rippling in the air in front of them.
"Gambit?" Cyclops shouted back over the wind this phenomenon was generating.
"Dat’s it Cyke!" Gambit yelled back in confirmation.
A vague humanoid figure was forming in the midst of the storm.
Banshee looked up and his heart skipped a beat. "Clarice?!?"
Adrenaline began to surge through the Irishman! "Jesus Christ! It’s Clarice!"
Cecelia looked at Bobby. "Who’s Clarice?" She shouted across the maelstrom.
"I think she was one of the kids who the Phalanx went after! We thought that she’d sacrificed herself in order to save the others!"
"...help..." the girls voice murmured from the anomaly.
Banshee moved faster than he had ever moved before.
When the Phalanx attacked, they came for the children who would be the next generation of mutants, Generation X. Sean Cassidy took it upon himself to save these children with the help of Emma Frost and the sociopathic Sabretooth. All of the children survived, except for one.
Clarice Fergusson was named Blink for her ability to create teleportation portals. Deciding that the Phalanx entity known as Harvest was inevitably going to win the battle she sacrificed herself by pulling him into a portal with her and then distorting the portal sending Harvest into oblivion. Unfortunately Clarice was only a novice with her power. Her lack of experience meant that she couldn’t focus enough to break free from the very trap that she had created. Banshee tried to pull her out, but the force was too great. He had to watch as she slipped through his fingers and vanished completely. Her death broke his heart.
Sean had vowed to never let anything like that happen to the kids again. Now, he had the chance to change fate itself.
The ripples of energy had become violent waves. Each X-Man was being slowly forced further back against their will. The mighty Beast strained his enormous musculature to try to head towards the glowing girl, his hand grasped towards her.
An aggressive surge of energy lashed the mutants arm backwards, it’s momentum flinging the blue furred scientist with it.
The Iceman was hurtling himself against the waves directly, trying in vain to break past the immense force, only finding himself at a dead standstill.
Sean Cassidy felt an unparalleled surge of adrenaline flow through him.
Banshee stood feet firm on the floor, opened his mouth and produced a yell that could be heard for miles.
With a speed that defied description Sean rose into the air, instantly being knocked back by the force of the torrent. Sean’s body flew like a rag doll backwards through the shockwaves until he had passed all of his comrades. He had never felt anything that intense before.
"Behind me!" Cecilia yelled, extending her natural force field to protect the X-Men from the onslaught of inter-dimensional energy.
Banshee looked on as each of the X-Men fell back, unable to counteract the excessive power created by Blink’s own void.
He looked into the epicenter of the phenomenon. He looked at the poor young girl, he strained his eyes to make out her face. Even beyond the blinding aura that was surrounding the girl he could make out her face. He promised himself that he would memorise it forever, never allowing her to be forgotten. Never allowing her sacrifice to be in vain.
"It’s hopeless." McCoy shouted over the cacophony. "There’s nothing we can do."
Then as the final X-Man was thrown back from the shockwaves, Banshee somehow saw a solitary tear fall down the cheek of the young girl.
For Banshee, that was it.
He rose up like an angel. He had tapped into power that he had never felt before. Banshee started to glow, his new aura began to deflect the storm. With a yell that would bring down a mountain the Banshee had re-entered the storm like lightning. He went face first into the unforgiving force that had proved impenetrable. Through sheer force of will Banshee actually started to gain distance against it. Sparks flew off of his body. Every muscle felt like it was going to explode. He could feel his bones weakening...
Suddenly, Sean deftly changed his direction and rapidly continued to do so. Banshee was ducking and diving in-between the split second gaps in the current.
His pulse was pounding. The pain was excruciating.
Sean reached out with his right hand.
His eyes were forced closed through impossible pressure.
He felt his skin start to give.
He held his hand out towards Clarice as he could feel a line of blood flow across his cheek.
He could feel the tendons in his hand start to unweave.
He reached closer.
He felt a compressing pain on his skull.
He could feel his life about to end.
He could feel...a hand!
From some reserve of energy that shouldn’t exist, Banshee grabbed on to this hand with everything he had.
Without warning there was an explosion of light and energy. Sean could remember himself hurtling across the field amidst the chaotic energy and losing his grip on Clarice’s hand before being knocked unconscious by the erratic blast.
Everything went dark.
Sean wasn’t sure where he was. His eyes wouldn’t fully adjust. He tried to push himself off of the floor, but his arms wouldn’t comply. He could feel the tall grass flowing softly against his skin. He suddenly felt how battered his body was.
Sean felt like he was about to die.
"Clarice!" He shouted, bolting up to his feet.
A pain that Sean had hoped never to experience again welled in the pit of his stomach.
"Oh God darlin. I’ll never forget ya." His lip trembled. "I pr--"
A faint murmur of a girl’s voice came from the tall grass a few metres in front of him.
Sean ran forward, almost falling over himself. He parted the grass to see the young girls light pink body resting on the floor. Sean leaned down and caressed a strand of hair from her face.
Clarice’s eyelids struggled to open for a moment. Then they opened like a newborn child’s. Her beautiful emerald green eyes looked up at her saviour, who had tears of pure joy welling up.
"Yes lass?" Sean gulped with emotion.
"Am I safe now?"
"Yeah." Sean’s lip twisted, then began to tremble. "And I promise..." Banshee sniffed "I will never lose you again."
Clarice threw her arms around Sean and gasped him as tightly as she could.
Banshee closed his eyes. No longer could he feel the physical torment that he’d endured. All he could fell was the warmth of the sun, saltwater running down his cheeks and the heartbeat of a young girl who had given him hope again.
"No lass..." Sean smiled tears streaming silently down his face.
"People forget how fast you did a job - but they remember how well you did it. "