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Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4

Somebody’s Hero - REVIEW THIS STORY

Written by NicoPony
Last updated: 01/02/2007 02:01:11 AM

Chapter 2

Somewhere over the Indian Ocean

En Route to Genosha

Remy dozed, lulled to drowsiness by the sound of the droning engines and his own boredom. The cargo hold of the plane was for the most part empty, save for him, his lone chair, and a half dozen enormous crates. The vastness of the space only served to amplify the sound of the airplane's engines. He was on his way to the island nation of Genosha.

Remy had found the two government agents, Berkley and Marshall, sitting in their car outside of a Burger King. Judging from the greasy smell of the car's interior, the fast food chain was a favorite of the two men. From there, the agents had taken him to a government airfield. There, the details of his mission to Genosha were spelled out to him. Remy had wondered to himself if his father had done just the same years ago. Did he sit in the same stiff office room chair? Watch the images of his mission on the same projection screen?

He was to be secreted into the country. After landing in Genosha, he was to make his way to the capitol of Genosha, Hammer Bay, where he was to break into the magistrate's --- president's --- dictator's --- whatever's..citadel.

Did presidents have citadels? Remy wondered. He was beginning to conclude that the only person to ever declare owning a citadel would be Magneto. No one else would have the balls to have one. But then, `Big Shiny Building' didn't exactly have the same authoritative ring that `citadel' had.

He was thankful for the distraction. Breaking into citadels of a dangerous island nation run by one of humankind's greatest enemies was much better than thinking about..other stuff.

Other stuff like his personal life. While flying off into a dangerous situation and getting killed could definitely put a damper on his dating situation, he didn't regard the mission as personal, it was a job. He was confident in his abilities, assured that he could accomplish anything by trying his hardest. But as far as his personal life was concerned; his personal relationships with friends, family, and lovers, he felt that he was just bumbling through it; blind with hands stretched forward, stumbling over unseen obstacles.

Rogue always seemed to be at the pinnacle of his pyramid of problems. He wanted to rationalize their excruciating relationship by telling himself that Rogue was just plain crazy. Women in general were crazy; he had come to that conclusion long ago. Seemingly, Rogue had patented whole new brand of craziness. But it wasn't as simple as that. It was hard to dismiss the woman he loved as a nutcase. Harder still to admit to being angry with her. He had to be compassionate with her unique situation, try to understand and respect her feelings.

But dammit, sometimes it was all he could do to keep himself from grabbing her by the shoulders, giving her a good, hard shaking, and screaming at her until he was hoarse.

Bella Donna was a different matter completely. Rogue had the tendency to fly off the handle. Belle too had a temper, but rather than running as far and as fast as she could from her problems, she ran straight at them, screaming, with something sharp and pointy in one hand. She would pick at him slowly, instead of taking a more direct approach like Rogue did, until she got what she wanted from him. Belle could usually get what she wanted from Remy. He told himself he was more at ease with her because of their friendship. Realistically, life was much more difficult being her enemy.

Still, he wondered why he found himself missing her so much.

One of the pilots leaned out of the cockpit of the plane. "Mr. LeBeau, we're nearing your destination."

Remy nodded and unfastened his seat belt. They would be flying over a no-fly zone, and he had to work quickly unless they were to be shot down by Genoshan forces. His few belongings had all ready been stowed in one of the large crates. The co-pilot helped Remy into a small padded compartment in the crate. He felt as if this was the biggest egg-drop experiment to ever take place, and he was the unfortunate egg.

Several crates would be dropped over Genosha, under the pretense that they were supplies for Genoshan refugees. According to the plan, the crates would be dropped by the cargo plane along the Genoshan coastline, far from the heavily defended capitol city of Hammer Bay.

"Explain to me again why I have to be crammed into this crate again?" he had asked hours earlier, as Marshall had debriefed him.

Parachuters had been shot on sight, Marshall explained. There were mutant x-factor detectors on the island. The plane they would be riding in would be escorted out of the no-fly zone by the Genoshan armed forces. The pilots flying the plane had made many runs previous to this mission. After many, many flights where relief crates had been dropped, with no intent to infiltrate Genosha, Genoshan authorities had wavered in their suspicion. Remy had wilted beneath the barrage of reasoning. It looked as if he had no choice; into the crate he would go.

From his landing point, (or would that be crash site?) he would make his way to the city, into Magneto's citadel, and locate the item he was to steal. Afterwards, he would contact the crew that would retrieve him. He had outlined all the details on the map.

The map.

It was in his duffel bag, wasn't it? Remy rummaged through his belongings in the darkness of the sealed crate. The map was gone.

"Hey!" he said, banging on the side of the crate. "You guys!"

There was a thunk and the sound of the cargo bay door opening. The crate began to slide backwards.

"Oh. Crap."

He was in a free fall, plummeting to the earth in a crate. Remy wasn't sure how many times the crate had turned over in the sky, but his stomach was telling him it had been one time too many. According to the plan, a parachute on the top of the crate would be deployed and he would glide to the ground. According to the plan, he wouldn't end up a splatter on the geography below. Unless of course, this was all an elaborate government conspiracy to get rid of Remy LeBeau once and for all. It seemed unlikely, but he would have been honored if they went to such extremes just to dispose of little `ole him. After a few thousand feet, he was almost certain this was going to be the case. Hadn't he fallen far enough? Shouldn't the parachute have opened by now?

The parachute opened with a snap that spun the crate abruptly right side up. He knew it was just his imagination, but the crate didn't seem to be falling any slower. He wasn't positive, but he was pretty certain that this was the worst moment of his life. No, wait. Antarctica, that had been worse. But only marginally.

The crate stopped falling with a painful crack. There was a sound, or rather, a sudden lack of sound. Remy realized that the air around him was now devoid of the sound of him screaming. He risked a breath. The crate suddenly plummeted, but only a few feet. Slightly embarrassed, he realized his scream lasted longer than the fall itself.

Moving slowly, he righted himself and put his heel to the door. He had expected to have to blow the lid from the crate, but the splintered wood gave way easily. Remy found, much to his surprise, that he had a few more feet to fall. He hit the ground with a heavy thud. Moaning, he rolled over onto his back. The crate dangled from a tree above, its parachute entangled in the branches. Remy's belongings tumbled out of the crate, raining down on him. The heavy duffel bag landed on his abdomen. He crumpled into fetal position with a gasp of pain. A metal canteen dislodged itself from the crate and went "boing" as it dinged off of Remy's head. He switched from cradling his stomach to clutching his head.

"Oh, ow. Ow. Ow. Ow."

The tree above creaked. He risked a glance upwards. Remy scrambled to his feet, grabbing his duffel bag as an afterthought and leapt. The crate tumbled from the tree and shattered.

Remy stood, somewhat shakily, and turned slowly, surveying his environment. Trees surrounded him. Just beyond the forest, he could spy the white sand of a beach and the green of the ocean beyond. Not far to his left were the remnants of another crate. He would have to leave quickly. No doubt, people would be coming to inspect what the U.S government had deposited on their beach. Probably, they would have guns.

Disoriented and map-less, Remy stumbled away from the crash site. He needed to find a road and a ride to Hammer Bay.

The black and white photograph fluttered in his hand, teased by the passing wind as the pick-up truck ambled down the road. He was sitting in the bed of the truck, his legs dangling off the back. The tires kicked up the dust from the cracked asphalt road. He shared the bed of the truck with a young blonde girl with sharp elbows and knobby knees. She kept her hair cropped close to her head. The girl wiped her arm across her forehead, leaving a clean streak of sweat through the grime on her face. She had a scar on her forehead, the blotchy remains of a tattoo that she had attempted to have removed.

"That's a nasty bruise you've got," she said suddenly, turning to Remy and pointing at her head, just above her temple.

Remy's fingers went to his forehead. "Yah," he said, wincing slightly. "It's those damn giant beavers again."

The girl gave him a strange look and grinned. "If you say so," she said, laughter in her voice. "Remember what they tell you, when you're thrown you've just get back up in that saddle and ride." She was seated leaning against the side of the truck-bed, facing the direction that the truck was heading. The girl leaned forward and tapped on the glass that separated them from the driver. The driver slid back a glass panel.

"How much further?" she asked.

"Coupla miles," the man replied and snapped the window shut.

"Friendly guy," Remy said.

"So where you from?" the girl asked. "What camp?"

"It would be the one with the giant beavers."

"I see," the girl looked sad and sat back down.

"Er," Remy said, judging her sudden unhappiness was caused by his unwillingness to chat. "I'm not from a

camp, I'm not from the island."

"Really now?" she said, running her hands through her short blonde hair. "You mean you're not from the Cajun part of Genosha?"

It was Remy's turn to give her a grin.

"Is that your girlfriend?" the girl asked.

"Hm?" Remy said, then looked down at the photo in his

hands. "Oh, her? No."

"She didn't look like your type."

Remy examined the face in the picture. Yalena's statement was severe, but her face was attractive. There was something familiar in her features, something he couldn't put his finger on.

He turned away from the photo. "Where are you headin'?" he asked.

"Hammer Bay," she replied. "S'where I live."

"Oh, yah? I'd be nervous, me, livin' there."

"Really? Why?"

"Dunno, guess bein' so close t'the big cheese would give me the creeps."

"Y'mean Magneto?"

Remy shrugged.

"It's not so bad," she said. "Livin' here, I mean."

Remy looked at the landscape around them. The road was cracked. The buildings, while newer styles of architecture, had a worn corroded look. A few windows were cracked, some broken out. A few dusty palm trees were planted along the street. They waved meekly in the heated breeze. Everywhere people were walking. Unlike New York, or any of the other cities Remy had been in, the inhabitants didn't seem to be going anywhere in any kind of hurry. The bright sun overhead seemed to bore into the surroundings mercilessly. And everywhere was the haze of dust. Remy removed his sunglasses and wiped some of the fine yellow powder from the lenses.

"Mm, a regular paradise," Remy said, rubbing his glasses on the front of his shirt. "What exactly has de benevolent Magneto done for you lately?"

"What? Other than give us freedom?" the girl said, her tone suddenly angry.

Remy looked at her. "If your definition of freedom is bein' stuck on some crummy island in the middle o' nowhere, I guess all must be fine and dandy. What were you doin' so far from Hammer Bay anyways?"

The girl suddenly gripped her worn army-green bag closer to her side. Remy raised his eyebrows in expectation of an answer, but none was forthcoming. Remy sighed and put his sunglasses back on. "Look, I'm sorry if I insulted you or somethin'."

The truck rolled on down the road. The two passengers rode in silence.

"Sometimes I'm scared living here," the girl admitted quietly.

Remy looked at her with sad eyes. "Sorry t'hear that. Mus' be tough, wit' no way off this chunk of rock."

She smiled weakly, "I was hoping you'd say something more reassuring."

"Which I could."

The truck came to a halt along one of the busier streets in Hammer Bay, signaling that the hitched ride was over. Celeste hopped off the truck-bed, burning the backs of her exposed thighs on the hot metal of the bumper. She risked a glance back at the man she had traveled with; hoping that she wouldn't catch his eye. As it was, he was chatting with the driver. Something exchanged between them, an object that glinted in the light of the hot afternoon sun. The driver gave the other man a nod, and a grunt of appreciation.

Celeste hiked her bag over her shoulder and hurried away. She rubbed her forehead self-consciously. Better not to talk to the off-islander. Could spell trouble. Better not to look into those strangely beautiful eyes again. That not only spelled trouble, but also printed a pamphlet on the subject and handed it to people who were stupid enough to answer the doorbell.

When she reached her building, she hurried up several flights of steps to her apartment, avoiding eye contact with the other building's inhabitants. She reached her small flat with a sigh and flung her bag down on the kitchen counter. A can of unidentifiable soup rolled out and trundled across the counter until it plummeted off the edge and hit the floor with a thud. Celeste ignored it and tugged open her refrigerator door. She was greeted with a soft, cold blast of air. She paused there, drinking in the cool clean air, happily wasting some electricity. After all, it seemed to be the only thing that was affordable on this damned island.

There came a knock at her door. The sound jarred Celeste's nerves. No one had ever knocked at her door before.

She slid over to the door. Maybe its him, she thought, that red-eyed man. Heat crept to her face. Celeste

cracked open the door. She was severely disappointed.

"Can we bother you for a moment of your time, miss?" said a man in official uniform.

She peeked around the corner of the doorjamb. Another man stood just out of her range of vision.

"What do you want?" she asked, with a demanding tone in her voice.

"If we could speak to you in private," the man said. "Inside."

"Here is fine," Celeste responded. People in uniform, people with any kind of authority at all, in fact, bothered her to no end. It made holding a job pretty difficult.

The man sighed. "Ma'am," he began. "You were spotted entering the city this morning. It seems that you come and go quite often."

Celeste was suddenly filled with indignation. They were keeping tabs on her! She was outraged, and moved to say so.

The man raised a placating hand. "There is no cause to be defensive, ma'am. We are familiar with many of the scavengers."

"You say that as if we're a cult," Celeste snapped.

"Well, were you or were you not scavenging the dropped crates this morning?"

Celeste glowered at the man. "What if I was? I didn't take anything but what I needed. There's still medical supplies and stuff out there. I don't fence it! I'm not like those other---"

Again the officer raised his hand. "Ma'am, our only concern is the possibility of something dangerous being secreted into one of those emergency crates."

Celeste's eyes flew to the can of unlabeled soup lying on the linoleum of her kitchen floor. It suddenly appeared very suspicious indeed.

"The man that you entered the city with this morning...?" the officer implied.

"Hunh?" Celeste said, tearing her attention away from the offending soup can. "What?"

"You were seen in the company of two men entering the city. The driver and another passenger."

"Oh," Celeste said, her heart suddenly pounding. "Oh him. What about him?"

The officer shifted his weight to his other foot. "Are you familiar with this man? Where did you happen upon him?"

Celeste arrived at a decision. "Oh, that's just Jack," she said with a laugh.

"Jack?" the man queried.

"Yah, I see him every once in awhile, out there," she said. "Ya know, scavenging and stuff."

The officer nodded. "I see. Do you know where we might be able to find Jack?"

Celeste paused, "I'm not really sure. He mentioned something about beavers, though."


"Is there an echo in here?" Celeste asked. "Yah, beavers. He was always saying `dam this,' and `dam that.'"

"Ha ha," the officer said mildly. "Well, thank you for your time." The pair turned to leave.

"Hey," she said, stopping them in their tracks. "This `dangerous something' that yer lookin' for? Wouldn't come in a can with a white label an' black letters on it, right? Sez "S-O-U-P" on the side?"

The officer risked a smile. "No, ma'am. We're thinking it's something a little larger than twelve fluid ounces."

"Right, then," she said, giving the men a wave. "Thanks."

Celeste closed the door with a shaking hand and leaned back against it. Maybe there was something dangerous

in the debris of the wrecked relief-supply crates. Most likely, it stood about six-foot, had long brown hair, a crooked smile, and burning red and black eyes.

At least she knew the soup was safe.

Washington, D.C

The Pentagon

Colonel Nick Fury was sitting at a desk. Not "his" desk, just a desk, because Colonel Nick Fury would never work a job that required him to have a desk. In fact, Nick wouldn't even classify the piece of furniture before him as a desk. It was merely a surface for him to sit behind and intimidate any who would enter the office (also not "his" office). It was a table for him to rest his elbows on while he ate a 12-inch sub sandwich. At this moment, for example, it was a place for him to fill out paperwork. In fact, the paperwork which he filled out now was, in actuality, a work of art, in which battle tanks and jets and battalions of soldiers shot guns, dropped bombs, and blew up stuff. If one listened carefully, one might be able to hear the faint sounds of battle emanating from Colonel Fury's mouth.

"Ack-Ack-Ack! Fwoooosch...Ka-Blammo!"

The intercom on the desk crackled to life. Nick Fury compulsively crumpled up the doodle and stashed it in the bottom drawer. The voice of his secretary, (not "his" secretary), Mrs. Pierce, echoed through the intercom.

"Colonel Fury," she began slowly. "Am I interrupting anything important?" She had learned from earlier experience not to interrupt him during his "Secret-Battle-Planning-Time."

"Eh, no. No, Mrs. Pierce," Nick cleared his throat. "What is it?"

"Ms. Valerie Cooper is here to see you."

Nick glanced over at his calendar. It was the twelfth. But there were no appointments scheduled for the day, just a really cool drawing of a battle tank with a smiling stick figure standing on the roof holding an American flag. The stick figure had an eye-patch over one eye.

"Uh, right. Send her in Mrs. Pierce."

The door to the office opened to allow Valerie to enter. Mrs. Pierce was staring at her with a peculiar statement on her face. Valerie somewhat forcefully closed the door in the secretary's face.

"Val," Nick began standing up from behind his...the desk. There was something strange about the woman, Nick thought, but he was never good at noticing girl-type things. It looked like the same old Val to him, her blonde hair tucked back behind a Jackie O-like scarf. Her eyes were hidden behind dark sunglasses. Her lips painted the same bright red. Maybe she lost weight. Maybe that was it, he thought. Even if he was wrong, chances are, Val would probably be flattered if he mentioned it.

"Did you lose some weight?" Nick asked. "You don't look as fat as you used to."

Apparently, this was the wrong thing to say. The woman's brows dipped down and her lips scowled. She dashed forward, planted one of her stylish heels down on the center of the desk and launched herself at him. Before he could cry out, she had clamped her hand over his mouth and they both fell to the ground.

Nick was pinned with his stomach to the floor and the woman, (who come to think of it, didn't really look

too much like Val after all), on his back. She had one of his arms bent back, and her knee strategically

placed somewhere between his thighs.

The intercom crackled. "Colonel Fury?" said Mrs. Pierce. "Are-are you all right?"

"Tell her you're fine," hissed the blond woman. Her hand moved from his mouth, and she pressed the heel of her hand against his cheek.

"Fine!" he called. "I'm fine, Mrs. Pierce."

"Very good," said the blond woman. The scarf that had been covering her hair slipped back, revealing the short locks that framed her angular face. She momentarily took her hand from his cheek and whipped off her dark glasses. Her eyes were violet in color.

"What do you want?" Nick slurred from his uncomfortable position on the floor.

"I guess I do owe you an explanation," she said, a soft southern tinge to her voice. "Do you know that they won't let just anyone into the Pentagon?" she quipped. "That they won't even let a person talk to you during your "Secret-Battle-Planning-Time"?"

Nick glared at her with his one good eye.

"I don't mean to hurt you, I'll let you know," she continued. "But I do have twenty-seven different weapons hidden on my person, and it would be embarrassing for you to have to see me remove them from where they are hidden."

"As to why I am here, I need your help. Or rather, someone you know needs your help." She placed a black and white photograph in front of his nose.

He recognized the people in the photo immediately. His friend Jean-Luc and the man's son. "Where did you get that?" he demanded.

"My husband," she hissed back.

"Husband?" Nick asked. "Jean-Luc's?" Cradle Robber, he thought to himself, followed by the thought: Lucky Stiff!

"No, dummy!" she replied. "Him!" and she pointed at Remy.

"Remy? But he's not--" he began. He wanted to finish with "old enough to have a wife." After all, the last time he'd seen the little squirt he was only so-high. Just a little kid. Every year for Christmas, Nick still sent him a plastic robot that could change into another plastic robot.

The woman stood up, snatching back the photo and relieving the pressure from Nick's back. Nick climbed to his feet, keeping a wary distance from the woman.

"Remy needs your help," the woman said. "And you were the only person I thought could help."

"He's in trouble?" Nick asked.

"The CIA shipped him off to Genosha on an assignment. Sounds like trouble to me."

Genosha? he thought. It sent an uncomfortable chill through him. The kid was a mutant to boot. Nick squinted at her, then nodded slowly. "How do I know I can trust you?"

"You don't," she replied. "But if you and Jean-Luc were friends, could you really live with the chance that you left his son is in serious danger?"

He rubbed his chin thoughtfully, rasping his hand across the stubble on his face. "All right," he said. He opened the drawer of the desk and un-crumpled his drawing. Pointing at one of the doodles he asked: "Do you think one of these will help?"

Hammer Bay, Genosha

So this is a citadel, Remy said to himself. It was big and shiny and roundish on the outside. It stood like a glowing beacon in the center of the city, strong and reassuring as it towered over the city inhabitants. Things went on in there, important things, surely, protecting the future of the island nation of Genosha.

Outside, Remy had encountered many guards. They swarmed the place. Remy wondered how the city-folk didn't seem to notice this. They didn't seem to notice anything, in fact. But the plethora of guards surrounding the building set warning bells off in Remy's head. Something was definitely up.

Night fell on Genosha, the cloudless dark sky sucking up the heat of the day. The citadel posed a challenge to the mutant thief. The building's sides were slick and windowless. There appeared to be no underground entryways through sewer and drainage. There was just one obvious entryway, a big door, but no one seemed to go in or out. The top of the building was flat, possibly a landing place for helicopters. It seemed to be a sort of watch tower, or a penthouse suite, but Remy doubted the latter. The building was no creation of modern construction. Magneto himself had shaped it like a potter would throw a pot on a wheel. Start from the base and pull, stretching smooth sides up and up, seamlessly. Only Magneto didn't use clay, he used metal.

Remy circled the building several times, watching from the bustling street. The citadel was actually composed of three silo-like towers. On the back tower he spotted an opening, several stories above the ground. It was some sort of air duct, and judging from its angular shape, which stood in sharp contrast to the curvature of the building, he guessed that it had been added after the building was finished.

He had watched the guards passing all day. Although they seemed to randomly walk by, he began to see a patterning to their ambling strolls around the citadel. Maybe they weren't too concerned about anyone breaking in. But then, who would be stupid enough to try to break into the Master of Magnetism's base? Remy watched as two guards rounded the far side of the building. When they passed, he would have several short minutes to make his way up to the building and fire his grappling hook up at the duct opening. He would have to move quickly, because there were also guards roving the street in Jeeps, rounding up loiterers and escorting them away. After all, it was after curfew. All good mutants would be in bed by now.

The guards disappeared around the curvature of the building. Double-checking his surroundings for any of the curfew-enforcers, he darted across the street and across the short lawn that surrounded the citadel. Remy aimed a handheld device at the duct and pressed a trigger. The device fired a grappling hook and line. It spiraled upward and hooked into the grate.

He felt extremely conspicuous climbing up the side of the metal building. If he were spotted, he would know soon enough. All of the guards had hefty guns that would put his X-Men teammate, Bishop, to shame. At long last, he reached the grate opening. He was shocked to find two of the four bolts holding to grate to the air duct were missing. The remaining two had been all that was supporting his weight on the climb up. Why would such a powerful building that was so heavily guarded be so shoddily maintained? With a small charge, courtesy of his mutant ability, he blew up one of the remaining bolts. Sliding it back on the remaining bolt, he slid into the duct and replaced the grate behind him. He tightened the last bolt with a wrench, so that the grate wouldn't swing free.

There was very little dust in the air duct. Being a connoisseur of tight crawling places, he found this to be deluxe accommodations. There was only the acrid hot smell of welded metal. Remy crawled forward on his elbows, his heavy pack of tools dragging behind him. He had packed heavy for this occasion, since he had not known quite what to expect.

When he reached the end of the vent, he peered out of the slits in the grating. There was nothing to see. Beyond was complete darkness. There was no sound save for an eerie mechanical hum.

Remy let himself out of the duct. From the opening, he had to grapple down to a walkway below. The walk ran along the circumference of the tower. The rest was empty. The tower was much like an empty grain silo. He heard himself sigh. He was hoping for a giant sign, maybe reading "Steal Me." No such luck.

Using his trusty grappling line, he lowered himself down the silo, down into the emptiness. He hung on the end of the line, spinning slowly in the darkness, like a spider on a silken thread. He was trying to make out exactly what he was looking at. He showed his tiny flashlight into the space before him. He was staring at a huge metal wall of some kind, which was placed in the center of the silo. The wall was not flat, but had a strange curvature to it. Down below, the wall tapered downwards. Remy lowered himself, slowly letting out the line. The wall divided into two trunk-like forms. He found himself lowered to the floor, staring down at the thick cables that ran like enormous black snakes across the silo floor. He tore his gaze away from the black cables and glanced back up. His jaw dropped slowly, as recognition dawned on him. The trunk-like forms were, in fact, legs. The wall he had been facing was an enormous torso. He shortened the line. Not far from the torso, hanging on traction, was an arm.

He was looking at a Sentinel.


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