OOC:Previously: Rachel Summers, dean of the Summers Academy, formerly known as the Xavier Institute for Gifted Children, is looking through the files of graduating students, looking for safe placements for them. Kate Pryde joins her.
Outside, a couple of the girls are talking, ignoring the chaos of the game. It is old hat to them.
"You really want to do it? What will your mom say?"
"She'll say no, of course. That's why we're not telling her."
"She's gonna have a cow when she finds out."
"What part of 'not telling her' didn't you understand?"
"She's a ninja. Sneaking around is part of what she does. The other parts are beating people up and walking through walls. She's gonna find out."
"Does this mean you're not in?"
"Heck no! I wish we were born thirty years ago, when there was still an 'X' over the gate! Back when Dad hung out here. None of that over-protective stuff then. Professor Xavier knew how to run a recruitment operation."
"Mom says he was a jerk."
"Well, yeah. Maybe. Who else were you thinking of? Two is an awful small team"
"Well, you for enhanced senses, healing, and combat. Me for the Brute Squad and more combat. I want a psychic, a mage, and a brain, at least. And we could use someone with a ranged attack and someone who can provide transportation. I've read the files; airplanes blow up too much.."
"Game's coming to a close. We'll scout for talent, and meet back next week?"
And Petra Rasputin-Pryde and Laura Kinney went their separate ways.
Nat frowned. She'd been doing that a lot lately. Her old Avengers buddies had convinced her to take on this job, but she didn't have to like it. And now, waiting for her first recruit, she had to remind herself that she was here to prevent a potentially catastrophic escalation. If she hadn't known who had been airlifted off the Raft last week, and what their likely destination had been, she would have been back in her apartment writing about kyriarchy and hegemony in the digital age like a shot.
"Добрый день, Наталья Алианова", said a voice right behind her.
She wheeled round, and came face to face with herself. Or rather, the person she was disguised as. Where her own hairdo was a carefully chosen black wig, the woman facing her had a visible hairline. But the facial features were the same. Nat gritted her teeth and replied in English:
"Who are you?"
As she waited for an answer, she ran through a mental checklist of ways she could disable a possible clone of herself. While shooting someone in a shopping mall was a bad idea, she was fairly confident that she could strike first, claim to have been mugged, and if need be poison the other woman in the aftermath. The prospect did not appeal, though.
"Your new student," she replied. "My name's Zaxxa Klynin, but you can call me Sasha."
"I am not expecting anyone who looks like you," Nat replied guardedly.
"OK, probably not," said Sasha, and her face shimmered and changed, to that of a mixed-race woman with short curly hair, about 20 years old.
Nat relaxed, but not completely. "All right. Now you look like your photo. They didn't tell me you were a Skrull."
"I wanted to show you my talent. I noticed you'd chosen a meeting point out of the line of security cameras, so it seemed like a good idea. I hope I didn't startle you too much."
"No, you haven't startled me. It takes a lot more than one young Skrull to do that." You've annoyed me, she wanted to say, but she reminded herself that this young woman was a potentially excellent secret agent, and not some pimpled fool from Iowa who hadn't seen the semester's reading list.
"All right," Nat went on, "Come with me. You need to understand what's going on."
* * *
Zaxxa Klynin (OC) is a Skrull refugee with many aliases, who was identified by another former Avenger as a possible secret agent.
Rocket had brought the Kludge back to the SHIELD base while he let his search find him another pilot.
Ramona had gone right to one of the fighters, stared at it for almost a minute, then asked, “Can anything his big really be a fighter? I mean, it's bigger than a 747, bigger than a B-1, bigger than a Galaxy.”
“It’s a fighter,” Rocket told her.
Nearby Miki was also looking at the craft, but she likely saw it differently than Ramona. Technopaths, he thought.
“So,” Ramona looked back at him, “are all space fighters this big.”
“No, these are what you could call an anomaly in the world of space superiority fighters.”
“How do I get in?”
“There,” Miki said, pointing as a hatch opened.
“Gonna have to improve the firewalls and AI security,” Rocket said.
“It is all good,” Miki said. “I’m just…”
“Do you think you are the only technopath in the galaxy? I mean, you’re not even the only one on earth.”
“I’ve never met one.”
Ramona had already disappeared into the fighter.
“Yeah?” Rocket looked at her. “You ever look for one.”
Miki did not answer.
“Thought as much.”
She swore at him in Japanese.
“Universal translator sweetheart and you’re right, I’m an ass.”
“I want to go back to Japan,” Miki told him.
He looked at her, sneered. “Really? So you can continue to run away from the Hand. Steal from bad people? Try not to let people think you are your sister’s sister?”
Miki was silent again.
“Cause if you want to run, the other side of the Galaxy is pretty far. And if you want to steal from bad people, I can’t point you at the badest. And almost no one has heard of your sister beyond this planet.”
“Almost no one?” Miki asked after a few seconds.
“She hung around with the X-Men. The X-Men got around the galaxy a bit. Some of them liked to talk, but the odds of running into anyone who has heard of Yukio is pretty slim.”
“And what would I do in space? Fly fighters?”
“More or less. I mean, you’d just think a fighter through what it needed to do, and it would do it.”
Miki looked at the fighters line up in a row. If anyone could tell how deadly they were at a glance, it would be her.
“Tell me a little more about what we would be doing?”
Later.... Very Far Away
As soon as an enemy was detected by the Fighter Miki knew it.
She knew everything there was not know about the enemy vehicle.
Eight Kree Pha-Tel fighters, short-range warp skippers, teleporters. Hard to get a lock on.
They jumped in and out, did not try to get line of sight on their enemy. Just launched fire and forget missiles before micro jumping away.
It was a good strategy. Solid really.
Except the Pha-Tels kept a running link to their missiles, just to be sure they did not accidentally jump in front of one. Miki supposed that at one time that safety feature had not been standard. And she could guess what happened.
She co-opted those missiles as soon as they launched, swung them around, and dropped several right on top of the Pah-Tels as they jumped back into normal space.
Eight kills in a matter of seconds.
The rest of the missiles she locked on other enemies, then, feeling she had done her part, she swung her fighter in close to the vast assault carrier, close enough to reach through its firewall and into its computer banks.
“You got the information yet?” Rocket asked her.
“I’m working on it you Tanuki ass.”
“Well work faster, that thing is launching fighters so fast I almost think they must got a factory on board to make them.”