THE ARCHETYPE ASSOCIATION
The patio door opened just after eleven-thirty. Ororo
walked in, supporting Will, who was leaning on her shoulder.
"Medical!" she yelled in her command voice.
"It's not that bad, Ororo," Will said.
"Oh, shut up," she ordered in an irritated tone.
Henry ran down the stairs and took Will from Ororo's grasp,
leading him to a chair in the living room. "What happened?"
he asked in the clinical tone he used when his friends became
"It's a long story, Henry," Will told him.
"And I will be the one who tells it," Ororo said
imperiously as the rest of the team gathered in the sitting
room to determine the source of the commotion.
Rogue, who had been awakened from a sound sleep, took one
look at Will and sighed. "What did you do this
"Why does everybody always assume that it's my fault?"
Will asked in a plaintive voice.
"He really didn't do anything, Rogue," Ororo admitted.
"It was just the end to a very unusual night..."
Ororo and Will walked into the gallery, which was a riot
of color and swirling fabric. Ororo cringed at the sight.
"No one dresses like this in Nairobi."
"I see the same thing when I go to an Irish festival,"
Will told her. "People who've never been to the 'old
country' have a tendency to romanticize things and ignore
regional differences. Trust me, most of the people here have
never been outside New York City."
They looked at the statues and masks that were on display.
Ororo enjoyed explaining the significance of various items
to Will. "Was this style a common one in your tribe?"
"There are some variations, but the basic theme is the
same. Many of the people who I grew up with made figures that
looked almost exactly like these."
A low commotion in another room caught their attention. "It
sounds like the artist has arrived," Will observed. "Shall
we meet him?" Ororo nodded in reply, and they joined
the flow of people.
The room which they entered contained several other works
placed on or near the walls, and two tables in the center,
which most of the people were crowded around. Ororo adroitly
made her way through the crowd and approached the table which
did not have refreshments. Will, who wasn't comfortable
with entering the crush of people, chose to look at one of
Ororo had a demeanor which caused people to defer to her,
even unconsciously, and the crowd slowly made way for her.
She soon reached the table, where the artist sat autographing
folios. "Hello, Chinua," she said.
The young man looked up, and his eyes widened in astonishment.
"Ororo! Wind-Rider!" He jumped out of his chair
and embraced her.
Ororo smiled and returned the hug. "You have come far
from our little village, my old friend."
"Yes, thanks to you."
"I decided that if a goddess could leave the safe haven
of home, then there had to be something out there that was
worth seeking out."
"And was there?"
Chinua gestured to a petite woman who was discussing one
of the pieces with some of the audience. "I have been
married to it for three years."
"Where did you meet?"
"In Nairobi. I was working to earn enough money to come
here, and she was the daughter of the owner of the business.
He offered to pay for our move here if I agreed to handle
his business affairs here in the U.S. It pays me a good salary,
and I can work on my art on the weekends."
"Do you live here in New York?"
"No, down in Perth Amboy, actually. It's nice and quiet
down there." Chinua looked around. "Did you come
"No, I was invited by a friend. Come, I will introduce
you." They wove their way among the other guests until
they found Will. "Will, I would like to introduce you
to my old friend, Chinua Moloba. Chinua, this is Will Riley."
Will shook Chinua's hand firmly. "Pleased to meet you,
sir. Congratulations on a successful night. Your work is very
"Thank you. I was worried that it would not be appealing
to an American audience, but I have been getting very favorable
"From what I've seen here tonight, you deserve them."
He gestured at the mask on the wall in front of him. "What's
this one, by the way?"
"It is a spirit mask. Traditionally, they are used to
bring a sense of balance and power to the possessor. Different
masks influence different attributes."
Will nodded. "And what attribute does this one represent?"
"How much time did you spend working on it?"
"A month, on and off."
"And how much are you asking?"
"Three hundred dollars."
"Ridiculous!" Will scoffed. Ororo's jaw dropped,
shocked at his rudeness, but she didn't say anything.
Chinua looked flustered for a moment, but he recovered quickly.
"I am sure that I can accept a lower offer."
"Lower? Oh, you misunderstand me, Mister Moloba.
I meant that you are asking far too little. Three hundred
dollars for a month's work? Ten dollars per day? Totally unacceptable.
Am I correct in guessing that the wood was shipped from Kenya?"
"Er, yes, it was," Chinua responded.
"So you paid shipping fees, which I would guess were
quite high. Add to that the cost of paints and stains, and
then the price for advertising for this show, and I would
put the price at about..." He pulled out his checkbook
and wrote for a few seconds. "This seems about right
to me," he said as he tore out the check and handed it
The young man took the check and looked at it. His eyes bulged
and his jaw dropped. "Sir... I-I don't..."
"Don't worry," Will promised him, "the check's
good." He leaned in close. "Mister Moloba, I made
that much before noon today. I'm not going to miss the money.
But, once I start spreading word to this crowd about how much
I paid, they're going to start a bidding war that will not
only enhance your reputation in the art world, but will also
give you a nest egg to draw from if there's ever an emergency...
or a blessed event." He looked meaningfully at Chinuba's
Chinua blushed. "Would you like to take it home now?"
Will shook his head. "I have a better idea. Make a little
tag that says 'Sold' and put it on the mask. I'm going to
mingle for a while, and both Ororo and I are going to be raving
about your work. Since most of the other people here wouldn't
know a dream mask from a hockey mask, they're going to look
on your works as investments, and snap them right up. Within
a few months, you'll be the Next Big Thing, and you may be
able to hire someone to assist you in the business. Just give
me a little while to work the crowd." He shook Chinuba's
hand again and continued to make his way among the exhibits.
Ororo promised Chinuba that they would talk again later that
evening, then joined Will on his rounds through the gallery.
"That was a very nice thing you did," she told him.
"I like to help my friends," he shrugged, "and
the friends of my friends. Besides, it is a nice mask,
and he doesn't seem to have any idea of just how good his
work is. I can spare the money."
"How much did you pay?"
"You paid ten times what he asked!?"
"It was part of my strategy to enhance his reputation.
By the way, was there anything here that you liked?"
"I don't think I could justify spending the money,"
"I'll pay for it. I've been looking for a reason to
spend some money, anyway."
"You don't strike me as a spendthrift."
"I'm not, but at my income level, I have to find ways
to spend my money and keep my name circulating in the social
register, and I'm not the type for yachts and sports cars.
Art's a good alternative, and if I ever get bored with it,
I can always donate it to a museum. So go ahead, pick something
"Well, if I had to choose something, I think
that I would like that wall hanging." She pointed to
a woven tapestry which portrayed a gazelle drinking from a
"It's yours. When was this showing scheduled to end?"
"Ten o'clock, I believe."
"Find out if Mister Moloba and his wife have plans for
tonight. You can catch up on old times over coffee."
That would be wonderful."
Chinua and his wife, Nana, which she pronounced with a long
'a' in the first syllable, welcomed the opportunity to sit
and rest after the showing, and joined Will and Ororo at a
small café. They sipped their drinks as Chinuba and Ororo
caught up on old times. Nana was very quiet, choosing to listen,
as did Will. After about twenty minutes, Ororo realized that
Will had been silent, and looked at him. "You have not
"Why interrupt your fun?"
"Well, you are paying," Chinua said, "and
my wife and I owe you a great deal. We sold everything we
had on display, and I now have four commissions. The gallery's
owner even said that we may be scheduled for another showing
in a few months. I don't know how to thank you."
"You don't have to. You've been working hard enough
to deserve a few breaks. Besides, I'd rather support a couple
who only want to make beautiful art than some egotistical
twit just out of college who thinks that people should be
willing to pay ten thousand dollars for a four foot tall bronze
"You do not approve of modern art?" Nana asked.
"It depends on the intention. If the artist is saying
'I made this because I thought it would awaken a response
in the viewer,' or even 'I made this because I thought it
would look nice,' then I can accept it. But if the artist
is saying 'This is what my work means, and you're an
ignorant lout if you can't see that, and by the way, that'll
be six thousand bucks,' then I think they should look into
Chinua nodded. "I know a few of the second type. They
are annoying, aren't they?" He looked around to
make sure that there was no one else within earshot, then
turned to Ororo. "So how is life as an X-Man?" he
asked her casually.
"Quite fine, thank you..." Ororo said before her
voice trailed off. She and Will exchanged astonished looks,
then looked back at Chinua.
"You should not be so surprised, Wind-Rider," he
said with a bland smile. "I did grow up with you, after
all. It was hardly difficult to recognize you on television."
"You always were highly perceptive," Ororo admitted.
"This is going to stay between the four of us,
right?" Will asked nervously.
"Do not worry," Nana replied. "We have known
for years, and this is the first time it has escaped our lips.
We may have moved out of Kenya, but we are still our people's
children. We remain loyal to our kin."
"We thank you for that," Will said.
Chinua looked at his watch. "We should be going. We
still have to clean up. Ororo, I would like to invite you
to our home for dinner one night. May I have your telephone
"Of course." They exchanged numbers, and Ororo
hugged both Chinua and Nana tightly, kissing them both on
the cheek. Will shook Chinua's hand, but was visibly surprised
when Nana embraced and kissed him as well.
As the couple left, Ororo noticed that Will's face was reddening.
"Rogue is right," she observed. "You do
look cute when you blush."
Thanks," Will said dryly. "Do you want to head
"Would you mind if we walked for a while? I still feel
a bit too excited to settle down for the night."
"So do I. Do you have anywhere particular in mind?"
"Not really. We can just wander."
"Sounds harmless enough," Bobby commented.
"And it was, up to that point," Ororo confirmed.
"It was after we started our walk that the trouble began..."
"So you have been to Africa during your travels?"
To certain parts of it. Egypt, Mali, Morocco. I spent a very
entertaining week in Casablanca."
"Oh, intrigue, knives in the dark, men in black, that
sort of thing."
"I was a bit more driven back then."
"Yes, you are much more laid-back now," she said
with a straight face.
"I'm glad you noticed."
Ororo laughed as they continued down the street. They eventually
entered an area where some of the street lamps were broken.
As they passed by the space between two buildings, they heard
footsteps coming up behind them. "Keep walking,"
Will told her without moving his lips.
Before they had taken another ten steps, two men wearing
sunglasses and sports jerseys stepped in front of them. They
each held Beretta 92 F-M pistols in their hands. "Don't
move, sister. You're too fine to blow away, but if you don't
have some cash, you're screwed."
Will quickly stepped in front of Ororo, keeping her out of
the line of fire. "All right," he said, "it's
yours. I'm reaching for my wallet." He slowly moved his
hand back towards his back pocket.
The man to their right fired at Will without warning. He
didn't even change expression.
The shot hit Will in the abdomen, and he slowly crumpled
to the ground, collapsing against the wall of the nearby building.
Ororo automatically went into a defensive posture, her awareness
of the elements seeking out sufficient electrical potential
from the air to create a lightning bolt. She slowly backed
away from the assailants, who kept pace with her.
"Sorry, sister," the second man said, "but
we can't have nobody talkin' to no cops."
"I don't know, man," the shooter said, "I
think I wanna have some fun first."
"If you touch me," Ororo warned, "You will
be in pain for a very long time."
"Yeah, yeah," the one in the cap replied, "but
not near as much as you."
They were all distracted by a low, scraping sound back in
the alley, which was soon joined by a dry hiss. "He's
still kickin'," the shooter said to his companion. "Finish
"Right." The man in the cap turned around and walked
back towards the alley. As he started to turn the corner,
something flashed in the darkness, knocking his gun out of
his hand. "What the..." He didn't finish the sentence
before being knocked to the ground by a punch to the face.
His companion spun around, and nearly dropped his gun. Will
was walking out of the alley, his sword in hand. His eyes
were glowing brightly, and he seemed to be cloaked in the
shadows of the alley. His shirt and jacket were covered in
blood. His eyes met those of the remaining gunman, and his
lips curled up into a diabolical smile.
He raised his sword into an attack position and looked at
both of the men. He took a deep breath, and yelled five words
to them in a deep bass voice which had shades of his echoing
"There can be only one!"
The two men screamed with one voice and ran like hell down
the street, turning the corner a few seconds later.
Will waited a few seconds, then burst into laughter, leaning
against the building to keep from collapsing. He slowly slid
down into a sitting position, continuing to laugh. He looked
up at Ororo, tears streaming down his face. He managed to
choke out one sentence before collapsing back into a new wave
"I've wanted to do that for years."
Bobby looked at Will after Ororo was done telling the story.
"You are crazy," he told him, shaking his
Will grinned. "I just couldn't resist."
"Well, it looks like you're all right," Henry said.
"The bullet went straight through, and didn't hit anything
vital. There's a small scar, but I think that will be gone
by morning, given the way you heal."
"I told you that it wasn't that bad, Ororo," he
said as he stood up with a grunt and made his way towards
the stairs. "There wasn't any reason to get everybody
up. I'm just going to wash off the blood and go to bed."
Will stayed under the shower for quite a long time, letting
the heat penetrate his aching muscles, then toweled himself
off and walked out of his bathroom.
"You feeling okay?" Rogue asked from the chair
by his desk.
Will was too tired to even do a double take. "I'm fine.
Just need a little sleep, that's all. You should be in bed
"I won't be able to sleep again for another hour or
so, thanks to you."
"Waking everybody up wasn't my idea. Neither was getting
shot, for that matter."
"Nice solution, though."
"Never let it be said that I don't have a sense of humor,
warped though it may be." He combed his hair back and
climbed into bed as Rogue politely looked away.
"I wanted to ask if you felt back up to full strength,"
she asked as she turned back around.
"I think so. I healed from that shot quickly enough,
and I really don't feel that drained. I'm definitely ready
to go back on duty."
"Me too. We'll have a team session in the Danger Room
"In that case, I'd better get to sleep."
"Okay. See you in the morning."
"It's twelve fifteen," he pointed out. "It
is the morning."
"Good night, Will," she said firmly as she closed
the door behind her.
Nine hours later, Will and Rogue joined Ororo, Bobby, Logan,
Betsy, and Henry in the Danger Room. Xavier, Jean and Scott
manned the controls. "This'll be a combat scenario,"
Jean said through the speaker. "The objective is to
defeat the attackers as quickly as possible."
"And who are the attackers?" Henry asked.
"It's a surprise."
"Yippee," Bobby muttered.
"Beginning in three... two... one."
Six panels opened in various parts of the walls, and their
opponents stepped out.
"Lovely," Henry groaned. "The Acolytes."
"Will," Ororo ordered, "you take Voght; Bobby,
Unuscoine; Betsy, Milan; Henry, Javitz, Rogue, Frenzy. Logan,
you and I have the Kleinstocks." Everyone nodded, moving
Bobby had encountered Unuscoine on several occasions, and
as a result had spent many solo hours in the Danger Room developing
strategies to use against her. He quickly iced up and froze
the moisture in the air around her, encasing her in a cocoon
of ice. He kept her face exposed, but made sure that the rest
of her head was immobilized, preventing her from seeing her
teammates and possibly shouting warnings.
Logan and Ororo quickly teamed up against the Kleinstock
brothers. Ororo threw them off balance with a gust of wind
to their chests while Logan took the direct approach and kicked
their legs out from underneath them. Once the fell to the
ground, he gave them a sharp blow across their windpipes,
Betsy found that the best way to deal with Milan was a combination
of physical and mental attack. She kept up a steady psychic
barrage to his shields, while delivering a series of blows
to his vital areas which addled him. After about thirty seconds
of such treatment, he collapsed to the floor in a heap.
Henry and Rogue worked together to take down Frenzy and Javitz.
Rogue kept her attention on Frenzy, since her invulnerability
gave her a greater edge than Henry would have. They quickly
brought the pair down.
Once everyone was certain that their targets were down for
the count, they turned their attention to Will. He hadn't
moved from his starting position, but had his gaze fixed on
Voght, who was trying desperately to transmute away from him.
He was not having an easy time of it, and his gasping from
"Will, are you all right?" Xavier asked.
"This isn't working, Xavier," Will choked in reply.
"Just turn it off."
"Shutting down." The illusions vanished,
and Will weakly slumped to the floor.
Rogue knelt next to him. "Are you all right?"
Will held up one hand, signaling her to wait. He looked up
at Xavier. "What... what did you do to simulate Voght's
"We set up a compact spatial distortion field."
"That's a neat trick," he mused. "The local
pull must be strong enough to throw me off. It's distorting
space-time," he clarified when he saw the confused expressions
on everyone's faces. "It felt like I was swimming against
a strong current. If you hadn't shut the program down, the
spatial backwash would have done a number on my mind."
"You're okay now?" Jean asked.
He nodded. "Does the real Voght's power act anything
like the simulation?"
"No," Xavier answered. "She may
be a case where you'll have to learn by experience."
"Oh, no, not another learning experience!"
Will and Bobby whined simultaneously.
"We have got to keep those two separated,"
"Can we do this again?" Will asked as he stood
up. "I'd like to try a different strategy."
"Sure you're up to it?" Scott inquired.
"I'm fine. Ororo, would you be insulted if I asked you
to take my lead?"
"Go right ahead."
"All right then, everybody takes their cue from me.
Stick with your original targets." Everybody nodded and
got into position.
"Restarting sequence," Xavier announced.
The androids vanished, reappearing a few seconds later. Will
immediately became a blur of motion, sweeping his arms back
up above his head and snapping them back down. Voght was hurled
against the wall a moment later, screaming in pain as she
was pinned by the two daggers which skewered her. A heartbeat
later, Will knocked her out with a glancing blow to the nerve
cluster on her chin.
As the others, both X-Men and Acolytes, watched him in stupefied
shock, Will dropped to the floor and glared at them. "Take
them down!" he roared in a voice which commanded
The X-Men stood stock still for a moment, then exploded into
action, dispatching their opponents with the same efficiency
that they had displayed in the earlier exercise.
"End sequence," Scott ordered angrily. "What
the hell did you think you were doing!?" he demanded
"I dealt with the primary threat as quickly as possible,"
"Bobby's power allows him enough range and creativity
to keep him out of Unuscoine's grip. The Kleinstocks, Frenzy,
and Javitz all have limited range, so they aren't a threat
as long as you maintain your distance and keep an eye on them.
That leaves Milan and Voght. A telepath can take down Milan
without extreme difficulty, as long as he's not near a computer.
"Voght is the primary threat, because her power leaves
you vulnerable once you finish the transit, even if you only
do it once, unlike the multiple teleports that my power
would require. My problems are compounded by the fact that
because my psychic abilities disrupt our androids, and they
don't have any connection to the Chorus, I can use any attacks
that would be effective against a real person. That means
that my attack has to be physical, and it has to be
severe enough to keep her out of commission.
"So I have two choices: do I 'kill' Voght, or 'hurt'
her? Either way, I have to do it quickly enough to keep her
from attacking me or anyone else. Pinning her not only did
that, but it also immobilized her, so we don't have to worry
about her dropping on one of us, or of tripping over her later
in the battle. My attack sent her right into shock, but didn't
cause any life-threatening injuries, so we can treat her after
we have everyone else in custody. Since she is in shock,
she won't be able to focus enough to use her powers against
us. Lastly, the sudden, unexpected nature of my attack distracted
the other Acolytes long enough to give the rest of our team
a tactical edge.
"In closing," he said as if giving a business presentation,
"I feel that my actions were warranted, and gave the
X-Men a strategic advantage over a force which had the potential
to rival them." He paused. "Any other questions
from the floor?"
Everyone looked at one another for a few seconds, then shook
their heads. "I'm satisfied," Logan said. "What
would you have done if this was the real deal?"
"Depends. If no lives were in immediate danger, I'd
try to teleport Voght, like I did the first time, and see
if it worked. If it did, I'd use rapid-fire transits until
she passed out."
"And if you couldn't?" Xavier pressed.
"I wouldn't have changed a thing."
"You could have killed her!" Scott exclaimed.
"If I'd wanted her dead, she'd be dead," Will snapped
back in reply. "I could have aimed for her heart or head,
and my blades would have gone through her just as easily.
I had the goal of immobilizing and neutralizing her, and that's
exactly what I did. Should we be deliberately handicapping
ourselves, when we know the brutality that the Acolytes and
some of our other opponents are capable of?"
"We do not use methods like that!"
"Well, you'd better start thinking about it. Either
that, or be prepared to bury more of our own, because in case
you haven't noticed, our opponents have been getting steadily
more pathological over the years. We're not dealing with bank
robbers anymore. Now we've got psychopaths who have unlimited
bank accounts and weaponry that can take down Third World
countries. Most of the time, they've racked up a body count
before we've even heard of them. So I have no problem with
dispensing a little pain when it comes time to deal with them."
"Eye for an eye?" Bobby asked.
"Stripe for stripe," Will confirmed.
"What if you're dealing with a person who's trying to
make amends for what they've done?" Rogue asked. The
question was an important one to her, given her history prior
to joining the X-Men.
"I wait to see how sincere they were. I'd observe them,
and see how they acted. If I decided that their change of
heart was genuine, I'd set up a new identity for them, then
relocate them and get them a real job. Once they were settled
in, I'd make sure that they did something that would help
people - disaster relief, environmental restoration, that
sort of thing. I'd make sure that they would be low-profile
and isolated enough not to bother or be bothered by others."
"No prison?" Jean asked.
"You can't pay off a debt to society if you're cut off
from it, and the only thing that a prison does today is make
a criminal a more efficient criminal. And if the person we're
dealing with is so far gone that they have no desire to atone
for their crimes - Sabretooth, say - then they're an animal
that needs to be put down."
"Damn straight," Logan muttered. Will had just
described a philosophy that closely mirrored his own.
"I think that's enough discussion for now,"
Xavier announced. "Why don't you all hit the showers
and relax until lunch?"
As the team filed out of the Danger Room and headed towards
the elevator, Xavier switched off the intercom and turned
to Scott and Jean. "As much as I hate to admit it, his
strategy probably was the best one available to him."
"He didn't do it out of malice," Jean agreed. "He
was cold as ice."
"But it was complete overkill," Scott protested.
"No more so than clawing her, or electrocuting her with
lightning, or clobbering her with an optic beam, or throwing
a car at her..."
"Okay, okay, point taken. And I have to admit, he is
right about the opposition getting more unstable as time goes
by. God help me, some days I wish for the days when we were
fighting the Wizard and Factor Three."
"Ah, to be young again," Jean reminisced.
Warren had created a light lunch of soup and salad, which
everyone quickly decimated. Bobby and Logan took security
duty for the afternoon, and Bishop started his surveillance
of the grounds. Bishop had taken some advice from Will, and
now wore a casual shirt with a vest and jeans, rather than
his usual uniform. Will had helped him design a vest that
hid a shoulder holster, containing a pistol-sized version
of his plasma rifle. Bishop's boots each held a knife, one
of which was the Damascus that Will had given him, and a pouch
on his belt held a taser, which was intended to give Bishop
a source of energy to absorb.
Will had dish duty, so Rogue waited for him to finish cleaning
up after himself, then joined him in the parlor. "You
feeling okay?" she asked.
"Just a little frazzled. Nothing worth worrying about.
How about you?"
"I feel fine. You want to do anything today?"
"I had enough entertainment last night. I think I'll
just stay in. Did you have anything in mind?"
"Not really. Feel like renting some movies again?"
"That's a possibility. Maybe something new came..."
He was interrupted by the ringing of the phone in the hallway.
"I'll get that." He teleported to the hallway and
picked up the phone before it had finished its second ring.
"Xavier Institute for Higher Learning. How can I help
you? Of course, she'll be on in one moment." He covered
the mouthpiece with one hand. "It's for you, Rogue,"
he said, raising his voice slightly.
Rogue quickly flew from the parlor to the hallway, taking
the phone from Will. "Hello? Hi, Momma! Oh, I'm doing
fine. How did you hear about... oh, Val blabbed, huh? No,
everybody's okay. Will got us out of there without much fuss...
Will Riley, Momma. Yes, that's right, that was him
on the line before. Yeah, I'd say I know him pretty well,
he's been my boyfriend for a while now... Hello? Momma? Hello?"
She looked at the receiver for a moment, then placed it back
on its cradle. "She hung up."
"That's odd. Any idea why?"
"Not a clue. Maybe she was running long distance charges
on Val's home phone again. She'll call back later. Let's get
those movies now, before things get crazy."
"All right." He opened a Door, and they walked
Two hours later, Bishop had finished his second lap around
the grounds, and was planning to come back inside so that
he could watch the Law & Order episode that he
had taped earlier, when his communicator beeped. "Bishop
here," he said, activating it.
"We've got a bogey coming in fast, Bish,"
Logan's voice said, "Heading for the southeast yard.
It's broadcasting one of our recognition codes. Be there ten
seconds ago to see who it is."
"Right." Bishop broke into a run, taking the main
road to the front entrance to the mansion, entering it and
going out the back door.
The aircraft - a supersonic hovercraft from the looks of
it - was landing just beyond the pool. Bishop waited for it
to settle to earth, then drew his sidearm and aimed at it.
"Exit the craft slowly, with your hands up!" he
The windshield of the cockpit popped open with a pneumatic
hiss and lifted up and back. A single figure stepped out and
jumped to the ground.
Bishop sighed softly and slumped his shoulders. "What
are you doing here?"
"Personal business," the newcomer snapped. "Let
Bishop pondered his choices. We don't kill unarmed people,
he reminded himself.
Still, it's so damned tempting...
"All right," he decided. "Come on."
Will and Rogue walked in through the front door. "You
were the last person I expected to be a Denis Leary fan,"
she told him.
"Well, let's see... Irish, cynical, smartass... what
could there be for me to relate to?"
She laughed. "Let me get some snacks," she told
him as she handed him the videotapes. "We can watch them
in my room."
"I'll be right here."
Rogue entered the kitchen, where she found Bishop, Logan,
and Xavier deep in a conversation. "Hi, guys!" she
said brightly as she grabbed a two liter Pepsi and a bag of
Tootsie Roll assorted miniatures.
The three men looked at her oddly. "What's wrong?"
she asked. "Is there a note pinned on my back or something?"
"You didn't see her when you came in?" Logan asked.
Logan didn't say anything, but looked at Xavier and Bishop,
then back at her. "Where's Will?"
"In the front hall, why?"
"We've got a visitor."
Will smiled and leaned against the door jamb, relaxing. It
looks like it's actually going to be a quiet afternoon.
An arm shot out from behind him, placing a knife to his neck.
"You're gonna die, you manipulative bastard!"
Continued in Chapter
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