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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


Written by Karen Bruce
Last updated: 01/02/2007 02:01:11 AM

Chapter 13

As she felt Nick’s pulse still to nothing, Rogue stood and walked to the sink to wash her hands clean. They were warm and sticky with the murdered man’s blood. The redness of them disturbed her, and she did not know why. It wasn’t like she hadn’t killed in the past when it had been necessary. She had killed Magneto only a few days ago, shot him at point-blank range with a plastic gun, and it didn’t cause her any sleepless nights. She had barely given him a second thought after she had disposed of the body in the deeps. For their plans to succeed, he had had to be removed and she had done it.

In the same way, she could not have left Nick Fury alive after she had used her mutant powers on him to get the password to Valhalla. Oh, she could have lied to him and told him he had drunk too much or had some sort of fit, but odds were that he would have seen through it. He had been the lead agent on the Miss Marvel case, and he would have recognised her signature powers. In the early stages of their plan, it had added extra piquancy to her infiltration of his agency. She was not surprised he had not recognised her - people always were blind to the unexpected, and the odds of a wanted terrorist sauntering into a government agency with nothing more than a dye-job, a pair of contacts and a brogue to disguise her were almost none. Nick Fury had probably dismissed Yvonne’s resemblance to Rogue as coincidence, if he had noticed it at all. He could have hardly expected a woman he had been hunting for months to have the brass balls to go into his office, smile at him and shake his hand. However, with their goal so close at hand, she could not chance him exposing her or alerting his government to any danger to national security. Letting him live would have been an unacceptable risk, so why did she feel so bad about killing him? Was it because he was a good person, an American hero, just as Carol Danvers had been?

With an annoyed sound, she turned on the tap and the blood quickly washed away under the force of the water. Before long, the overspill of water from her hands was clear and clean again. Pinkish fluid swirled away down the drain, vanishing along with any qualms she might have had.

Nick Fury might have been a good man, but he had been a weak one. He had not had the courage to do what was necessary. From his memories, Rogue knew he had been aware of his government’s policy towards mutants and had disapproved of it. Plans for Project Wideawake, Operation Zero Tolerance and other similar operations with such codenames as the military used to euphemise genocide had passed across his desk. He had made recommendations against all of them, he had written letters about them being political disasters waiting to happen, but he had known his superiors would conveniently forget about his comments. They would be tucked away in a filing cabinet, while the politicians were told exactly what they wanted to hear and were given the go-ahead to do exactly what they wanted to do. He had known beyond any doubt that the government would carry on rolling out its mission to ‘make America safe for its human citizens’ at the expense of their mutant compatriots, and that his letters would not make a single shred of difference. He had hated it, but he had never had the courage to enact the one solution that would be both permanent and effective: an overthrow of the bigoted, speciesist government.

But she did.

She dried her hands against her skirt, and turned away from the sink. There was the small problem of disposing of Nick Fury’s corpse. It was lying bonelessly on the floor beneath a long, smear of blood on the white wall. The easiest way to do so would be to dump him in the ocean as she had done with Magneto’s corpse. Even if he did wash up on shore a few days later, she would have gained control of Valhalla by that time. His corpse would be too late to tell any tales. Besides, the body would probably be beyond identification. The deeps were merciless on anything thrown into them. Dental records were only useful if the coroner had some inkling of whom the corpse was, and she intended to give them no reason to believe that Nick Fury was dead.

She pursed her lips thoughtfully, as she looked at the dead man. She would have to return later under cover of darkness to remove the body, especially as it meant flying over the ocean and dropping him into it. Doing it in broad daylight would arouse too many suspicions. The last thing she needed was some ‘concerned citizen’ spoiling it for her by a word dropped in the wrong ear. She was almost beyond the point where it mattered, but not quite.

Nudging his body with a foot as a final precaution, she stooped to pick up the phone from where it had fallen out of his pocket onto the floor. It had rung twice since she had killed Fury, and she had let it ring itself out both times. From the memories she had absorbed, she knew the caller would not find that strange. He was - had been - a notorious technophobe who would have been happy if communication technology had never progressed beyond ham radio. He had only used his cellphone for ordering pizza and calling his secretary. She intended to do the latter now.

Tapping out the number that she pulled from his mind, she held the phone to her ear and waited for the woman to pick up on the other end.

“Good afternoon. Nick Fury’s office. How many I help you?” a brisk, efficient voice said down the line. She recognised it as that of Stella Tyrell, Nick’s secretary, and smiled to herself.

“Stella, this is Nick,” she replied. With his mind in her body, mimicking his voice was no problem. It was as natural as speaking in her drawl, and as convincing as if it had been the man himself. Even his own mother, had she been living, would have been fooled by it. “Something’s come up, and I’m afraid I’m not going to be in the office for a while....”

“Shit,” Remy swore, punching the button to disconnect the call and sinking back into his chair. He had been trying to reach Nick Fury for over an hour now without any success. Nick’s phone had simply rung most of the time, apart from one time when it had been engaged. That had annoyed Remy more than all the unanswered calls combined. Nick Fury clearly had his phone on him, but was not receiving calls on it. In the end, he had resorted to phoning Stella Tyrell, Nick’s secretary, who had informed him in her usual, courteous fashion that Nick was busy on a mission and would be incommunicado for a while. That cut off Remy’s entire line to SHIELD, because none of the other agents there would believe that a thief or a ‘member of mutant terrorist organisation’ would have the security of their country as a goal. He drummed his fingers against the armrests in annoyance, and swore again for good measure.

“Please, cher, not in front of de children,” Mercy quipped, patting her distended stomach.

He smiled weakly at her, grateful for her efforts to lighten the mood. She knew the gravity of the situation and its potential outcome as well as he did. If Rogue got control of Valhalla and America’s entire nuclear arsenal with it, the best-case scenario was one that gave her absolute power over the country and the world. The worst . . . The worst was one which made Hiroshima and Nagasaki look like a weapon’s test.

He stood, “I have t’get back t’New York an’ let de X-Men know what’s happening. I’ll phone dem on de way t’de airport, give dem some advance warning. Can you give me a lift dere?”

“I’ll go one better. Jean-Luc’s 16-seater isn’t bein’ used at de moment. I’ ll fetch Thierry, our pilot, an’ he can fly ya back t’Westchester,” she replied, “Ya’ll need all de time ya can get, an’ ya really don’t want t’be sittin’ in an airport lounge while de clock ticks down on Rogue’s plans.”

While Gershwin standards played through her earphones, Rogue leaned back in her chair and watched the dawn sky rushing past her. She could have used Carol Danvers’ powers to fly across the ocean to France, she knew, but that would have attracted unwanted attention and she wanted to remain as inconspicuous as possible until the last moment. Besides, as close to victory as she was, she felt she had a right to rest a moment and enjoy it. Her flight would land near Mont St Francis that evening, and the scheme that she and Mystique had been planning for so long would finally come to fruition. When that happened, she would be too busy rebuilding the world to savour their success.

The hardest parts of the plan were over, she thought with a sigh. She had removed Magneto from the equation, mindwiped the thief whose help in infiltrating Valhalla she had foolishly tried to elicit, and obtained the password to the defence network by herself. Now, she would be able to enter through the front door of the system without any problems - even the archaic technology at Mont St Francis could manage a straightforward uplink to a network. Once inside it, she could change the passwords, then go through the subsystems and seal up any back doors that the programmers had undoubtedly built into the network in case of an emergency like this.

Tired, she shut her eyes and tried to get some sleep. She had a long night of painstaking work ahead of her, but it would be worth it when a new world rose with the morning sun. . . .


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