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Short Story: Ember and X-Men


This is a short I did in which our hero is training in his team's equivalent of the X-Men's Danger Room. He is, in fact, training with holographic duplicates of the X-Men.

 

"I don’ think so, mon ami," said Gambit, and hurled half a dozen charged cards at Ford. The projectiles exploded almost before they’d left his hands, sending the Cajun flying.

"Gee, bet that hurt, Remy. Too bad for you even explosive playing cards can be ignited," snickered Ember, as he leaped over the downed X-Man towards his target. A compact disk, containing information vital to Ford’s survival. Suddenly he sensed an intense light pattern forming behind him, and he instinctively increased the density of his armor just as a blast of optically discharged energy drove him flying four feet into the wall. Shaken, but not stirred, Ford melted the wall around him, and flew up through it. At this temperature he swam through the molten steel like a fish through water. Cyclops eyed the wall for a sign of movement, but found none. Edging closer, he noticed a fine layer of condensation on the majority of the wall, leaving a perfectly marked trail. Scott carefully took aim and fired at the end of the path.

"C’Mon, Slim, the history books say you were smarter than that!" said Ford, as he dropped from the ceiling above Scott. He let go of the illusion he had constructed over the wall, and drove his foot into Scott’s jaw. "It’s a shame Storm’s not around, she’d have saved both you and the Caj-" he was cut short by a roar from behind him. Though Ford could potentially sense the whereabouts of every living being in a ten mile radius, he usually conserved his strength for actual combat. More the fool he. Though Ford turned with almost inhuman speed, adamantium claws tore through his super-dense costume with ease, leaving a nasty gash in his abdomen.

"Ya oughta pay less attention to knockin’ yer elders, bub, and more to watchin’ yer back," said the Canadian beserker called Wolverine. He looked at Ford strangely a second, and then said "Ya should be bleedin’, rookie." He sniffed the air, "Or maybe you shouldn’t. Scent’s off. Ya smell more like a charcoal briquette than a human."

"Yeah, I don’t do the ‘bleed’ thing, Wolvster, it’s just not me."

"Maybe…" growled Logan, leaping at the young man, "…ya just never been cut deep enough!!!" Ford formed a blade in his hand and blocked the shot. "I’ve been wonderin’ somethin’, kid. How come yer training with a hologram when you’ve got a half dozen real live people out there who need a workout as much as you?" Wolverine swung around, landing a kick to Ford’s stomach. Ember let loose a burst of flame, scathing Logan’s shoulder. "You think yer too good for ‘em, bub?"

"Perhaps. Or perhaps I find it preferable to engage in mock pugilism in a controlled environment. We’ve got limits on the amount of damage a hologram can do in here, but it’s hard to do the same to some of the guys on this team…" Ford hurled his blade at Wolverine. Logan deflected it with a claw, and countered with a shot at the head.

"No, you don’t think yer better’n them," he said, his blow skipping over a protective field of flame. "I’ve seen you. You never take the offensive, you never act without bein’ acted upon first. Like with the Cajun, you waited till he chucked half a deck at ya before taking him down." Ford hurled a handful of flaming shurikens at Logan, cutting deep into his stomach. He generated a large blue mallet and approached the wounded man. On his knees, Logan coughed and spluttered as his flesh began to knit together.

"Maybe I hate to see even Gambit embarrassed too badly, man" Ford commented, and swung down the mallet. Wolverine put up an arm to block, and swept Ford’s feet out from under him.

"And right now, too. You knew you coulda had me just then, I was down, and you don’t need to fight in close quarters." He kicked Ford across the face, "One good blast of yer pyro woulda finished me, but you didn’t really want to win. Yer stickin’ to hand to hand, even though you know it’s dumb." Logan tore another gash in the boy’s side. "You don’t fight to win, and ya don’t like to fight. No confidence," He pounced on Ember, extending two claws around his neck. "You don’t think yer too good for yer teammates. Ya think they’re too goo good fer y-" Wolverine stopped short, and broke into a scream as he suddenly found himself flying across the room at two hundred miles per hour, every hair on his body aflame.

"If psychology is "What you do", Wolvy, you sure as hell ain’t the best," said Ford. He extended his costume’s arm a few feet and grabbed the disk. The obsidian material engulfed it, and Ford’s distended appendage returned to normal. "See you later, Logan, I’ll be long gone by the time you heal THAT. Toodles." He took to the air and flew full tilt to the computer console. The CD appeared in his hand, and he put it in. "Ahhhh…" he said "Metallica…."


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