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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 3

Remy had spent much of his spare time studying the files that the two CIA agents, Marshall and Berkley, had given him. There were grainy photographs of the citadel, most of them taken from outside. There was a rough floor plan of the inside of the building. He had thought at first that the many empty areas outlined on the schematic were the fault of guesswork, but he had come to realize that the empty places on the map were actually where the Sentinels were being constructed.

Perhaps the least helpful items in the file were the transcripts recorded from the special agent, Yalena, and her conversations with a nearby American Armed Forces vessel. The record was much like the floor plan of the citadel, full of gaps and blank areas where Yalena's voice had met with interference of some sort. However, it made for an interesting read.

Yalena: The cables go up the walls, contained in pipes. Yes, it's going to be quite a climb without using the lift.

Recorder: What do you think they're transferring through the cables?

Yalena: Don't know. They don't seem to be power cables. Information, data of some kind?

Recorder: So it's being programmed?

From there, Remy had been unable to decipher what "it" was, exactly. Now the cables lay across the floor around him, flowing from the walls in the pipes just as Yalena had described. He finally understood what it was that he was sent to steal. The powerful weapon that Magneto possessed was actually one that had beencreated to stop mutants. Remy wondered how he was going to fit the giant robot into his backpack.

Remy followed the lines of cables up to the ceiling of the silo. From there, they disappeared into holes in the ceiling, probably going up into the watchtower he had seen from the street. An elevator was the only means of entering the upper level. Remy was nervous about this prospect. One way in meant only one way out.

Neglecting the elevator button, he opened elevator doors using a strip of metal he usually reserved for breaking into cars. The elevator car was there and he popped open the emergency panel in the roof of the car. Once on top of the elevator car, he spied a small ladder along the inside wall. Happy he wouldn't have to use the elevator cable, he turned to the ladder and began his long climb upwards.

He was sweating by the time he reached the top of the shaft. He used his jimmy again to open the doors. They whispered open. Beyond was darkness, which was less deep because of the spacious windows that made up the room's exterior walls. Moonlight spilled across an office-like setting. There were long conference tables and rows of cubicles and computers. The tabletops glowed blue from the dim light of dozens of sleeping monitors. Again, he found emptiness.

He wouldn't be able to steal Magneto's secret weapon, but he could sure steal all the specs on the Sentinels, and probably do some technological sabotage while he was here. Remy crept slowly across the carpeted floor, keeping watch for the security cameras. He reached into his carry-bag for his removable hard-drive and cables, to better transfer the information he needed. As he did so, one of the monitors flicked to life. He halted immediately. The computers were touch-sensitive, and some unfelt tremor had caused it to come to life.

He stood in the room, listening to his breathing that sounded suddenly too loud. His eyes scanned the room. A human form slowly stood up in the darkness; a silhouette outlined against the window and the deep blue sky beyond.

"So you finally found me," said a female voice. "I was beginning to wonder when you bastards would catch up to me."

Without further explanation, she raised a pistol and fired. Remy dove to the floor as the bullet zinged overhead and hit the wall behind him. He scrambled across the floor, leaving his backpack behind and dashing towards the cover of the cubicles. He rounded a corner and risked a glance at his aggressor. She was spinning slowly, trying to find him in the darkness. Her gun still poised to fire.

"Come out, shithead," she hissed into the darkness, her voice trembled, obviously scared. She was backing towards him slowly, unaware of his presence.

She was within several feet of him when he leapt up. As she turned, he knocked the gun from her grip and bore her to the ground. He turned her onto her back. Through the tangle of her dark hair, he recognized her pale face.

"Yalena!" Remy exclaimed.

Her brow furrowed and she looked at him, puzzled. She ceased her struggling against him.

"You're alive," he continued.

"Well, fuck," she said with a relieved tone in her voice. "You're a sight for sore eyes. I thought you were one of those Genoshan eggheads."

"I'm Gambit. I was sent by the CIA," Remy said, helping the woman up from the floor.

She nodded as if she had known all along. She was thin, much thinner than her picture had shown him. And her clothing was worn and dirty. "I guess you're here to finish the job I didn't do."

Remy returned to his fallen backpack. "Something like that," he responded. He began to fit his equipment to a computer server. "Funny," he said suddenly. "With a name like `Yalena,' I was expecting you to have an accent."

"I lived in Michigan my whole life. It probably goes against all the rules, but I don't have a goofy Russian-spy accent," she glanced over at the elevator. "We'd better go, they are bound to have noticed that gunshot."

Remy nodded absently, his focus on the computer before him. "Right, just one second."

As if on cue, the elevator car began to move. "C'mon, c'mon," Remy hissed at the computer.

Yalena grabbed her gun from where it had fallen and made a dash for a panel on the far wall. She beckoned to him frantically. Remy fumbled with a disk and threw everything into his backpack and followed after her. The pair squeezed themselves into a tiny crawlspace, another air duct. The door to the elevator opened. From the darkness of the duct, Remy was unable to see how many had arrived, or who they were. The lights in the office beyond flickered to life.

Two men were engaged in heated conversation. Chairs and tables were overturned as others searched the office for the intruders. Someone exclaimed when the hole left from the gunshot was found.

A shadow fell over the grate to the air duct. "According to the cameras, there were two of them," a man was saying. "Alert the rest of the guards, have the entire citadel searched."

Yalena grasped the sleeve of Remy's jacket to get his attention. "Follow me," she whispered. Remy crawled after her.

They came to a junction in the air duct. The duct continued to both the right and left, but also led upwards and downwards.

"Where do we go from here?" Remy asked.

"Can't go down, it leads down the silo to the front of the building. We'd be spotted from there."

"Up, then," Remy responded. "I'll go first and drop you a line." He slipped past her and pressed his back to one side of the duct and his feet to the opposite wall. Pushing hard with his legs, he was able to keep his back hard against the wall as he walked slowly upwards. Through the duct, the voices of the searching guards echoed around him. At the top of the duct, a cool breeze greeted him. He opened the duct and found himself on the roof of the citadel. Hooking his grappling hook to the side of the grate, he lowered a line down to Yalena. The rope went taught and he waited as she climbed up.

The moon had disappeared as the light of dawn softened the deep night sky. The roof of the building was vacant and flat save for the top of the elevator shaft. Yalena's head cleared the opening and Remy helped her from the duct. "What now?" she asked.

Remy approached the edge of the roof and peered down at the short courtyard below. It was a dizzying height. In the center of the yard was the Genoshan flag. People milled about on the streets. "I'm going to call a cab," Remy said, reaching into his jacket.

"What?" Yalena asked as he pulled out an intercom-like device. "What is that?"

"Our ticket out of here," Remy replied. "In the debriefing, they gave me this thing to contact the nearest Armed Forces vessel."

"No!" the woman shouted abruptly and almost smacked the small device out of Remy's hand and over the side of the building.

"Are you nuts!" Remy exclaimed. He did not have the opportunity to demand an explanation because at that moment, a great tremor from below shook them to their hands and knees. "What was that?"

There was a loud clang, and a seam appeared along the side of the silo. There was a loud whirring noise and the seam parted. The silos were splitting open to reveal the giant Sentinel robots inside.

"This is not good," Yalena said.

"We need a way down," Remy said, searching frantically about. His eyes locked on to the flagpole in the front yard. He quickly located his grappling hook's firing device in his pack and pulled out the line manually. He swung the device over his head and let it fly. The heavy end of the hook flew out into emptiness and whipped around the flagpole.

"We need a running start," he said. The silo below them was almost fully opened. The whole building hummed beneath their feet. "We'll jump at the same time, and you hold on to me."

She nodded and they both backpedaled several yards. "Ready?" he called to her over the sound of the opening doors. "We'll go one three. One..two..three!"

The pair ran across the roof. Remy made no hesitation before leaping out into the void. After leaping, he felt Yalena's weight hit him in the back. The line in his hands went taught as they began to swing around the flagpole, like a schoolyard tetherball. Theystarted out in a long, sweeping arc, but as the line shortened as it wrapped the pole, their speed increased. The line began to slip from Remy's hands and he strained against Yalena's added weight. They were several yards above the ground when he was forced to let go. They both sailed out across the lawn, rolling roughly onto the grass.

Remy looked up to see guards all ready rushing towards them. "Let's go, go, go!" Yalena was screaming, and they broke into a dead run away from the guards.

A Jeep was barreling towards them on the street. "Run the other way!" Remy cried, aiming himself towards an alleyway.

"Hey! Hey!" someone was shouting. Coming in the opposite direction than the Jeep was a rusted out pickup truck. A blond-haired woman was at the wheel. Recognition dawned on Remy when he realized it was the scavenger girl he had met the previous day.

"Over here!" Remy called to Yalena as the truck slowed marginally. He leapt into the truck bed with Yalena hot on his heels. They whipped past the Jeep which was still driving in the opposite direction. Its tires squealed as it turned sharply to pursue the truck.

Remy leaned towards the open back window. "I owe you one, cherie!" he called to the driver.

"You bet your sweet ass you do!" the girl retorted. "Just get me off this fucking island!"

"How did you find me?" Remy asked.

"I saw you looking at the citadel when we came into the city. When the guards showed up at my apartment, I knew you were up to something, so I hung around to wait for you to show up again," she said. "I sort of borrowed the truck from our friendly driver..He said that whatever it was you gave him the other day was enough to buy him a new car!"

She took a wild, winding path through the city streets with the Jeep full of armed guards slowly gaining on them. Remy spun several charged cards at their pursuers. The small bombs detonated upon hitting the Jeep's front right tire. The vehicle flipped, spilling men across the street.

"There's more!" Yalena cried, as two other Jeeps sped out from side streets.

"That's not our only problem," Remy said darkly. Over the tops of the buildings loomed an enormous figure, which blocked out the light from the morning sun. One of the giant Sentinels stepped out into the street.

"Oh, shit!" the girl at the wheel exclaimed, looking in her rear view mirror. She turned in her seat to look at the ominous sight.

"Watch the road! The road!" Remy cried as the truck momentarily lost control.

The robot was missing one full arm and half of asecond. Most of its finishing coverings had not yet been attached and its wiring was exposed, giving it the appearance of an amputated figure missing much of its flesh. It moved ponderously towards them.

Up ahead on the road was the exit to the city, marked by a checkpoint booth. A guard was shouting into a hand held intercom and gesturing wildly. Beyond was the jungle.

"Watch yourselves!" shouted the driver, and Remy and Yalena ducked. The truck crashed through the checkpoint gates. Debris and a bewildered gate guard lay in their wake.

The long strides of the Sentinel allowed it to gain on them further. Yalena and Remy watched the robot approach with mounting dread. Its dark shadow fell over them.

"Give me something heavy to throw!" Remy cried.

Yalena scrambled in the bed of the truck and handed Remy a tire iron. Remy braced himself with one hand, holding on to the side of the truck bed and swung his other arm back. Charging the metal rod as fast and as hard as he could, he took aim at one of the Sentinel's unfinished legs. He sent the tire iron spinning towards the encroaching robot. The weapon connected and exploded. The robot faltered and stumbled as its leg detached from its body. The great monster fell towards them.

"Hold on!" Yalena screamed.

The truck pulled sharply to the left, narrowly avoiding the shoulder of the Sentinel as it crashed to the earth on their right. The earth shook when the robot fell and the driver lost control of the vehicle. Remy and Yalena were thrown from the truck bed and tumbled into the long grass. The truck turned over onto its roof and skidded to a halt.

Remy lay on his back, facing the sky, stunned. A shadow fell over him, and he was momentarily filled with dread. But it wasn't the giant robot. Yalena leaned over him, grabbing his arm to pull him to his feet. She was speaking, but her voice seemed to come from a long way off. "The Sentinel fell across the road," she was saying. "It will give us some time. We need to make it to the jungle."

Remy nodded breathlessly, and searched the grass for his backpack. He then made his way to the crashed truck. The girl was inside, looking at him through the shattered glass. Yalena and Remy both had to struggle with the door to pull it open. Leaning inside, Remy unbuckled the girl from her seatbelt and pulled her free from the wreckage. Blood ran freely from her lip and a deep wound in her head. He tried to pull her to her feet. "C'mon," he said to her. "We're gonna make it."

The girl smiled weakly, and shook her head.

"Gambit, we have to go now!" Yalena said.

Remy started after the other woman, pulling the blond girl with him. They were almost to the edge of the jungle when gunfire peppered the leaves overhead. Remy stumbled and he and the girl fell to the grass.

"Get out of here," the girl said, choking on blood.

"I won't just leave you," Remy said. "You saved us both and I don't even know your name!"

She smiled at him. "You can't be everybody's hero," she said. Her eyes closed.

"Gambit!" Yalena called, but more gently this time. Remy left the girl lying lifeless in the grass. Heat rose to his face and the familiar sting of guilt filled his heart. He stumbled miserably after Yalena's retreating figure.

They dashed through the forest, dodging through the thick undergrowth. Their pursuers had to abandon their vehicles at the forest's edge and were now seeking them out on foot. Every once in awhile, shots were fired and both Remy and Yalena would fall to the dirt.

In their flight, they suddenly broke free of the forest and found themselves standing on the edge of a cliff face. They both looked out over the ocean with dismay.

"That's it," Remy said. "I'm sending the signal!" he pulled the com-link from his coat and hit the button before Yalena could protest.

"You can't!" she said. "You don't know what you're doing!"

"What's wrong with you!" he snapped back. "Do you want to die here!"

"Once you give that info to the government, they're going to nuke this stupid island!" Yalena declared.

Remy opened his mouth to retort, but couldn't find any response. "What?"

"All they want is the weapon!" she said. "Once they have it, what use is letting this nation exist! If you give them those disks, everyone here is going to die like your little friend back there!"

Remy shook his head in disbelief. The US government didn't know what the weapon was. They had sent Yalena to find out. When she disappeared, Remy was to take her place. "Did you keep the info on the Sentinels from them?" he asked.

"I destroyed most of my communication equipment slowly. It made it look as though I was encountering interference. Eventually, I stopped talking to them."

Remy was holding the intercom device loosely in his hand. It was blinking on and off, letting him know that it had been activated. Over the sound of the pounding surf came the thumping sound of helicopter blades.

"We'll tell them we were caught," Remy said, diggingout the disks. "We'll tell them the weapon was destroyed when we were discovered. They'll believe that. I have a record of breaking big expensive things."

He was about to cast the disks into the ocean when Yalena stopped him. "Here," she said. "Give them to me."

He had no time to argue. The helicopter was on top of them, and the soldiers behind were almost upon them. The chopper hovered and turned slowly. An eagle was emblazoned on the craft's exterior. It was a SHIELD chopper. The pilot waved to them through the open door. Yalena leapt aboard. Gunfire suddenly ricocheted off of the rocks on which Remy stood. The helicopter was swept back by an errant ocean gust just as Remy leapt.

He found himself swinging out over the ocean, gripping the landing gear of the chopper. His backpack plummeted down into the ocean below. Yalena was shouting to him and reaching forward to grip his arms. After several panicked moments, Remy was pulled into the helicopter. The pilot looked very relieved. Her face was white. The Genoshan guards broke free of the jungle and streamed to the cliff just as the helicopter turned from the island.

Remy realized he recognized the pilot.

"Belle!" he exclaimed.

"Don't you ever pull a stunt like this again, Remy!" she scolded. "You don't know what I've been through trying to find your stupid butt!"

"How did you find me?" he questioned.

"You left me your map, silly!"

"Oh, yeah, right. I forgot," he said.

"I paid a visit to your Uncle Nick," she began. "He loaned me this chopper. Sorta, kinda."

"Uncle Nick?" Remy said. "You mean, Nick Fury?" he exclaimed.

She turned and smiled at him. "Yes, and I found the signal you sent. I hijacked it from the Navy carrier that's nearby."

"Belle," Remy said as he lay back on the floor of the helicopter, "baby, you're the greatest!"

She preened. "I know."

A voice abruptly came over the radio in the cockpit. "This is the Naval Vessel Montgomery hailing the SHIELD chopper. Do you read me, SHIELD chopper?"

Bella Donna picked up the intercom. "This is Belle..on the, uh..chopper," she said haltingly.

"Ma'am," the voice at the other end said, "I'm going to ask you to change your direction and land here on the Montgomery."

"I'm returning to the SHIELD carrier," Belle responded. "Nick said to have it back by nine and that it had better have a full tank."

"Listen to me, lady," the voice said, clearly annoyed. "It is in your own best interest that you change your direction."

A pair of helicopters dropped down into their view. "I've sent a couple of my men to escort you," the radio continued. "If you refuse to comply, you will be shot down, do you understand?"

The trio in the cockpit fell silent.

"Well, this sucks," Remy said.

"How well can you handle this thing?" Yalena asked Belle, indicating the helicopter.

"Not so well," she admitted. "I only learned, like..today."

"Give me the stick," Yalena said. Belle looked as if she were about to protest, but Remy stopped her. The two women traded places.

"SHIELD chopper, do you read?" the voice on the radio said.

"Loud and clear," Yalena said. "Now you read this!" and she blew a raspberry into the intercom. She pulled hard on the stick and sent the chopper flying upwards. The two pursuing choppers momentarily disappeared from view.

"Hold on!" she said as she pulled ahead of the two Navy choppers. One of the Navy helicopters abruptly fired off their right side.

"That was a warning shot," the man on the radio declared. "The next won't miss!"

"We've just got to make it to the SHIELD carrier," Belle said frantically.

Yalena nodded and abruptly swung the chopper, nearly sideswiping a pursuing helicopter.

"You're nuts, lady!" Belle exclaimed.

"So I've been told," she replied.

Their helicopter suddenly shuddered, the force of the blow sending Remy and Belle to the floor. "We've been hit!" Yalena said.

"Can you control the chopper?" Remy asked.

"Not for much longer," she replied. "You've got to bail! I'll hold her closer to the water so you two can jump!"

"And me without my swim trunks!" Remy said.

Belle and Remy pulled the sliding door back open. "Grab the life-vests," Belle said.

The helicopter lost control momentarily and dropped swiftly before Yalena was able to muscle it back into stability. "You have to go now!" she cried. Again, Remy was momentarily struck with the strange familiarness of Yalena's face. It seemed to have changed somehow.

Remy risked a glance at Belle and nodded. At the same time, they leapt out over the ocean. The fall seemed to last for an eternity. He hit the water hard, and sank swiftly. Remy fought his way to the surface. When he broke surface, he risked a quick gasp for air, but was pushed back under by a wave. He felt a rush of salt-water flow into his lungs and spasmodically coughed. The surface found him again and he fought for air.

"Belle!" he shouted between gasps for air. "Belle!"

Remy found her bobbing nearby. Unable to swim, he toed off his boots before paddling over to her. One lone orange life preserver floated nearby. He retrieved it and pulled it under Belle's arms to keep her afloat. He heard the helicopters roar overhead and glanced upwards. He saw the wounded SHIELD chopper, stuck in a downward spiral. Smoke billowed from the blade rotor. The body of the chopper hit the water. The blades chopped the water's surface once, twice, and a third time before the rotor exploded. The two Navy helicopters flew past once before circling back to their carrier.

Remy and Bella Donna bobbed helplessly on the ocean waves.


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