Disclaimer: Siryn, Black Tom, Juggernaut, and all related X-Force characters belong to Marvel Comics. I am only using them for entertainment reasons. In Marvel continuity, Siryn's first encounter with X-Force took place in issue #3. I've never actually read that one, so if I diverge from continuity, you know why. Also I am ignoring Siryn's brief tenure at Muir Island.
Note: indicates thoughts This is part three of the series which began with "You Only Live Twice:: On Shaky Ground You Only Live Twice: On Shaky Ground and Juxtaposition" Juxtaposition

EMAIL: karrenia_rune@yahoo.com

"Enter Freely" by Karen

Mayo County, Ireland

Theresa Rourke ran her fingers along the balcony of Cassidy Keep's east wall overlooking the North Sea's pounding surf. No matter how much things changed, the sea appeared deceptively unchanging. She had to admit that the balcony had a magnificent view especially at sunset. The sun dipped below the horizon, sinking down into the ocean waves, painting the sky in streaks of red, gold, and pink, like a giant canvas.
It was very soothing, but she didn't feel like being soothed.

She'd spent her springs and summers here, and the balance of the year in the nearby village of Killer nay. No matter how much she loved the atmosphere and energy of life in town, a secret part of her heart always felt like it belonged here. After her mother, Maeve Rourke Cassidy died in an IRA bombing when she was three her father vanished or dead; her uncle, Thomas Cassidy, had raised her as his own.

Theresa reflected. She threw another empty bottle to the ground, which shattered upon impact. A puddle of the liquid inside seeped into stone cracks in the floor. When she was twelve Tom had sent her away to a boarding school because his criminal deals interfered with his role as her guardian. "Maybe he did because he generally believed it was the best thing for me, or maybe it was because he didnae want me finding out about his arrest for traffickin' in the black market."

Theresa picked up the crate of gin and uncorked another bottle. She knew she shouldn't be drinking so much, but it did help deaden the pain.

"Back then it didn't matter what I wanted or thought about it. Having a kid underfoot was simply an 'inconvenience'. Tom wasnae prepared to deal with me and business at the same time, and business came first. He had his priorities. Of course, only when my mutant powers manifested, then he realized how valuable I could be to him."

Terry shrieked her sonic scream shattered the glass and cracked the stone walls.
She glanced at the banks of roses and ever blooms, whose petals were turning, brown and crinkled at the edges because she hadn't been there to take care of them. Theresa raised a glass in mock salute to the forlorn looking garden.

"Tis a fond welcome back I've received," she said, drinking down the contents of a tumbler of gin.

"At first, I loved the adventure, and the danger and felt closer to Tom than I ever had." Terry sighed, biting back tears. "He didn't know I'd graduated to hard liquor during my time at that Catholic school. Tom always drank after a successful heist, and insisted that I join him. In my heart I had doubts about the criminal life I was leading, and drinking helped silence my conscience. Tom would say that 'this was the life', and I was foolish enough to think that it was...." Terry stared moodily out upon the ocean.

"Come inside, lass," Tom called. "Ye can stare at the ocean some other time. Donnae scream like that, I cannae afford to have the stone masons come again and I donnae know how to plaster."

"Aye. I'm coming," Theresa replied, ignoring the slight jibe about the renovations her uncle had been forced to make to the castle because of the structural damage her sonic scream had on buildings and glass.

Inside, dinner was waiting for her, corn beef and cabbage with fresh baked rolls. He had gone to the trouble to prepare all of her favorites.

"What's the special occasion?" Theresa asked sitting down in the high backed chair her uncle pulled out for her. Knowing Tom as well as she did, she knew that he only spared no expense, made full course meals when he wanted to impress a client.

"Cannae a lovin' uncle provide a special dinner for his only niece? Welcome back, Terry," Tom grinned and made an elaborate sweep of his arms across the spread, indicating the meal, and the lit chandeliers.

"All right, ye've convinced me," Theresa grinned back. It never ceased to amaze her how utterly smooth and charming her uncle could be when he pulled out all the stops.
"I cannae stay mad at him forever and this meal is very good. she thought, as she rolled the cabbage around and her fork and took her first bite. She savored the flavor and washed it all down with white wine from the bottle sitting in the middle of the table.


"Did ye enjoy yuir dinner?" Tom asked, signalling the servants to clear away the table. "I'll wager tis a far sight better than boarding school food."

"Excellent, as always. Aye, there's no comparison. Ye should have yuir own cooking show,"
Theresa joked.

"Ah, the problem with that, is I'd have to go on network television, and they're never profitable," Tom said, as he wagged a negating finger at her in mock severity.

"Aye, profit comes first, so ye've always taught me," Theresa replied.

"Always. That's why the three of us twill be takin' a trip Stateside tomorrow morning," Tom announced, as he poured himself another goblet of wine.

"Cain's going?" Theresa asked, referring to Tom's partner and on-again, off-again friend, who went by the name Juggernaut. Theresa just thought of him as 'yuir typical, over-sized, muscle bound, blowhard.' Not that she couldn't get along with him. It wasn't like Cain didn't treat her with a modicum of respect, during the occasional heists she'd accompanied them on. There was just something about Cain Marko that rubbed her the wrong way.

"Aye, if he can manage to be on nigh on time." Tom got up and strode around the dining room table to her chair.

"Any place special?" Theresa asked, a spark of interest flaring in her intense green eyes.

"Aye, how does the World Trade Towers sound?" Tom whispered conspiratorially.

"Wonderful," Theresa laughed, as Tom ruffled her red hair,

X-Force HQ Evening

Cable deactivated the red light on the monitor that indicated an incoming message.

"Cable here."

"Cable," Charles Xavier greeted.

"What do you want?" Cable responded gruffly.

"I'm sorry to call so late, but I need your help."

Charles Xavier was the last person he expected to hear from. Although the majority of X-Force were former students at Xavier's School for
Gifted Youngsters, both men well aware that each had made their own decision to leave the X-Mansion and join X-Force.

"Xavier, I know you object to how I operate X-Force, because it's different from the way you would handled things if the kids had taken a different path and chose to stay at the X-Mansion," Cable began.

"Although, we don't often see eye to eye on many issues, Cable, I trust we both recognize that we're both fighting for the 'Dream' of mutant coexistence, and...."Xavier said.

"I know that, Xavier, You know that, I don't see why we have to rehash. it. You didn't call to clear the air between us. Mind cutting to the chase?" Cable asked.

"Impatient as ever. Very well, a band of terrorists have targeted the World Trade Center. Cerbero has pinpointed at least two unidentified mutants whose powers are unknown at the present time. Also, the Juggernaut is also with them. I'd send the X-Men, however they're currently away on another mission," Xavier explained.

"Why not send X-Factor," Cable said reasonably. After all stopping terrorists would be more in their modus operandi, being 'a government sponsored team. You know as well as I do that Valerie Cooper, and others consider X-Force 'clandestine," Cable finished.

"I've already contacted Valerie Cooper. X-Factor is unavailable. Forge is in the process of negotiating with the Senate Committee for Mutant Affairs, and it's a tricky situation, which needs to be handled carefully.

"In other words they can't afford to be connected with in any fashion with 'mutant terrorists because it would jeopardize their status as a 'government sponsored mutant team. I guess I understand where Coopers' coming from, but why send us?"

"Cable, I wouldn't ask you unless it was important."

"I understand, Xavier, it's just that it's not like we're the farm league for the X-Men that you can call in to bat cleanup whenever it's convenient. We'll do what you're asking, but you have to understand that it's not exactly our usual style. X-Force isn't the New Mutants, even though you might still think so."

"Of course, I never meant to imply that you were, to use your baseball metaphor, the 'farm league for the X-Men', I appreciate your willingness to hear me out."

Xavier was a decent sort, dedicated and sworn to his goal and his X-Men. Cable respected the man, but he had his reasons for the rift in their relationship mostly due to how his modus operandni differed. But that was in the past, and this was now. The man was asking for his help, and he'd give it to him.

"Okay, okay. We'll go," Cable agreed.

"Thank you, Nathan. Be careful," Xavier said, before hanging up.

"Sure, no problem," Cable replied, committed now, then hung up the phone.

Meanwhile, Domino walked into the conference room, having just come from going over the personnel records. Knowing that Cable would be up late, she wanted to discuss the schedule training sessions for the following morning, but it could it wait. Not wanting to interrupt his phone conversation, she straddled the chair next to him and rested her elbows on the conference table.

As soon as Cable clicked the phone off, Domino wryly remarked, "One doesn't have to be a telepath to tell that something's wrong."

"We've got another mission, this time at Xavier's request. It's a terrorist situation at the World Trade Towers in New York."

"What about X-Factor? They would be the most logical team to send to handle that situation."

"They're busy," Cable replied.

"I see." Domino crossed her arms, the slight crease in her forehead that appeared whenever she was worried or angry.
"So, how do you want to handle this one? I assume we're going."

"Yeah, we're going," Cable answered "Call the team in for a briefing, Dom."

"So we're damage control or demolition?" Domino asked she pressed the panel for the public address system, "Briefing in ten minutes, get in here.

"Wonderful. So half the team runs interference, ensures the safety of any civilian bystanders, while the other half of the team brings down the house?" Domino said.


"Demolition?" Boomer echoed, having heard the tail end of the conversation. "That's my department, so were are we going?'leading the pack as the members of X-Force arrived for the briefing in various states of dress, having been rousted from their beds when Dom's call came through the public address system.

"What' up y'all?"" Cannonball asked, as he straddled a chair at the oval conference table.

"Fekt! I for one would appreciate engaging in live combat as opposed to these mock combat sessions. Even scrimmages against my own troop mates, aren't as satisfying a replacement as the real thing." Shatterstar shrugged, then leaned up against the door frame.

"Don't sweat it, Star," Warpath said, as he squeezed past Shatterstar to take
a seat opposite Cannonball.

"Yeah, amigo," It's almost midnight, and I was having such a pleasant dream, especially after all the drills you ran us through today, Cable," Rictor said, breathing a tad shallowly after trying to keep up with Shatterstar.

Cable glared at Rictor out of the corner of his eye, but decided to let the comment slide for now.

"Sorry to wake everyone up, but this is urgent," Domino said.

"Okay, people, here's the situation, we're headed to the World Trade Towers in New York, where a band of terrorists comprised of at least two unknown mutants and the Juggernaut are staging a bomb threat," Cable explained.

"Ah, Sir. Isn't that a little outta our field. It ain't exactly our kinda crowd." Cannonball asked, a little puzzled.

"I understand your concern, Sam. But in this instance, it's us or nothing."
As I mentioned before, Xavier called and asked that we put out the fires, so to speak. So I agreed to go through with it." Cable finished.

"How did Xavier know about it?"

"Through the grapevine, maybe monitoring local police bands, we didn't go into details into how he found out about it. It doesn't really matter at this point. I suspect he didn't want to gush about how uncomfortable the Juggernaut makes him feel. The X-Men don't exactly have a high win/loss record against him."

"We've gone over this during the Rogue's gallery scenario, you insisted we participate in, Sir. We're familiar with the Juggernaut's specs.

"If I recall correctly, "Warpath began, isn't he supposed to be invulnerable to anything except telepathic attacks?"

"Yeah, but we'll cover that enroute to New York," Cable replied. "As for rest of the opposition, they're supposed to be pretty light-weight, but don't think you can let your guard down and get cocky. It's always best to prepare for the worst when facing unknowns," Domino added.

"And no grand-standing, you got that, Star?" Cable growled, staring at Shatterstar.

Shatterstar didn't reply, just nodded his head at the reprimand and in acknowledgement of his orders.

"Okay, folks. Gather up any gear you'll need. We'll move out in 20 minutes," Cable finished, then watched as they left the conference room to suit up.

"Yeah, yeah, we read ya, big guy, But it woulda have been nice to have gotten cleaned up first, ya know?" Boomer yawned.

"I'll make it up to when we come back, Boomer, and I promise to save the hot water," Domino laughed, striding along beside her to the weapons locker.

New York, Next Morning

The elevator doors opened with a slight shudder since they hadn't been serviced for several months. A tall man, wearing dark clothing, entered. He wrapped his cloak snugly around his body, then clenched his fist around a narrow cylinder hidden underneath. It was a shiloh, an Irish equivalent of a quarter staff. Most quarterstaffs weren't seen much outside of dojos and maybe some university of military training grounds. However, this was no ordinary staff. The man who owned it was a mutant whose ability was to channel bio-energy through it. He pushed the button for the observation deck, then grinned. It would just be nigh on time... Ah, tis harder and harder to find good help these days. Black Tom thought as the elevator doors slid shut, carrying him upwards.


Upon reaching the penthouse, the man called Black Tom Cassidy, although not a short man was suddenly dwarfed by a massive shadow as another figure emerged from the shadows of a support pillar.

"Cain," Tom greeted.

"You were expecting the Colossus of Rhodes," Cain greeted.

"You're on time, that makes an eighth wonder of the world,"

'There are so many, not that it makes any difference if you've lost track, Oh, by the way, the explosives are a time delayed mechanism, all we
have to do is get, grab the loot and get out. Piece of cake."

"Ah, staging a terrorist attack/bomb-threat, to make off with a fortune in precious stones," Black Tom sighed, already calculating the fortune. He could have sworn he heard an invisible cash register go 'caching!" as the numbers added up. "I love Tiffany Jewelry conventions, especially when they're so obligingly displaying everything in plain sight."

"Yeah, Just make sure that Red does her part," Juggernaut replied ignoring his partner's rambling monologue about the calculated worth of precious stones.

"You don't know her as well as I do. Have no fear, Terry'll come through," Tom said, momentarily distractedly Cain's worries, although he couldn't help thinking to himself that Terry had been a little out of sorts after her last visit home from boarding school.


X-Force arrived at the top floor of the sky reaching ivory tower. of the World Trade Towers. Landing the Pacrat, a modified version of the X-Men's own SR71 ship, the Blackbird, was relatively easy. Rictor brought it down for a smooth landing, and deployed the ramp and everyone disembarked from the transport.

"All right, kiddies, I want this done by the numbers. Take them down player by player," Domino yelled, jumping down on top of the Plexiglas, skylight roof, as she sprayed it with fire from her double-barreled guns.

Cable followed; jumping through the hole that Domino had made large enough for everyone to follow her through to observation deck below.

Cable hefted his own oversized energy rifle over his broad shoulders.

He landed with a thud on the floor startling the crowd and sending them scattering in different directions, while the rest of the team followed.
Shatterstar alighted on the floor below with the grace of a cat, pulling his twin bladed swords from their sheath strapped to his back, and gave the area a 360 degree inspection. Rictor hit the ground running, almost stumbling over his own feet, as Warpath reached out a hand to steady him.

"Watch your step, Ric,' Warpath said."

"Uh, thanks,' Rictor replied.

"Do you hear that?" Warpath asked, tilting his head upwards as a high pitched whining sound grew steadily louder.

"You were saying, Jimmy?" Rictor commented.

"Star', check it out," Cable ordered, as his words were cut off by an explosion that knocked everybody off their feet, glass and masonry flying around like so much shrapnel.

Shatterstar pulled his swords out and glided over to where he thought the source of the sound was located.

Cannonball ignited his blast field, and launched himself into the air. "Ah'm makin' a circuit of the area. So, where are they? Ah thought this was going' to be tough." Cannonball flew towards the Juggernaut, having finished his circuit of the room, and not finding any trace of the opposition.

"Cannonball, see to the civilians," Cable ordered, taking a few seconds to ascertain
the positions of the others. Cannonball reversed direction and landed. He frantically tried to stem the flood of people fleeing the observation deck.

"Don't panic, folks!" He yelled. "Just pretend it's a fire drill! Form a single file line and head for the nearest exit!" Cannonball shouted.

Thankfully, they listened, responding to a recognizable voice of authority in the midst of panic as the crowd trickle toward the stairs and elevators.
Cannonball heaved a sigh a relief as he'd been successful in getting the crowd out of harm's way.

While Shatterstar went to investigate the source of the explosion, Boomer, still recovering from the blast, looked up, and pointed to a seven foot behemoth emerging from the shadows of bank of elevators. "Can of spam, dead ahead," she announced, as she prepared an energy sphere.

"As corny as it sounds, babe. The name's the Juggernaut, don't wear it out," the Juggernaut replied as he pummeled the floor with a gigantic fist causing the floor to buckle.

From her position near the jewellery display cases, Boomer kept up a steady stream of time bombs. Boomer brought her hands together, cupping a sphere of plasma energy and pitched them overhand towards the Juggernaut. Her aim was right on track, and each one exploded on impact.
harmlessly, unfortunately. The Juggernaut simply laughed them off, which made Boomer furious.

Domino and Cable took pot shots and Rictor brought up the green energy from his hands and poured it in the general direction of the Juggernaut. .

Shatterstar, responding to instincts learned in the combat arena of Mojoworld, literally threw himself into the fray, leaving the others to set up covering fire in in the vanguard while he took a frontal assault on the armor-plated behemoth. He leapt into the air, swords raised, executing a double flip in mid air, as he easily evaded the Juggernaut's flailing limbs as he tried to latch on to him

Cable growled, gritting his teeth in frustration, "What the flonq does he think he's doing? I thought I told him there's no room for grandstanding!"

"Do you want to be the one to tell him he's in the line of fire? Domino shrugged.

"I don't think that's gonna be necessary, Dom," Rictor said. "I mean, Star's an arena combat warrior, evading fire is like, uh, second nature to him."

"Maybe so, Rictor, but he's still part of this team, and his actions right now are jeopardizing the team, " Cable replied.

Warpath followed up Shatterstar's lead as he rushed forward like a linebacker in full blitz and sucker punched the Juggernaut around his middle ribcage. All he got for his efforts was a throbbing fist as the room spun in his vision. Warpath staggered backwards and nearly toppled over. He back-pedaled almost colliding with Domino and throwing her aim off, then blacked out when she absently shoved him behind her, confirming that Warpath was unconscious but otherwise unhurt. Both continued to keep up a steady barrage of fire at the Juggernaut.

The Juggernaut simply laughed everything they threw at him off, complaining that it tickled.

Cannonball figured that since his blast field would protect him from getting hurt when they collided, "Ah just hope till be enough to knock him offa his feet. Wonder if ah can get that blasted helmet offa him, too?"

A level below the observation deck, Theresa used her sonic scream to carry herself up through the air. She emerged through the hole in the room's floor caused by the explosives the Juggernaut had set before meeting Black Tom.

In the back of her mind, she wondered f her mythological counterparts, the Sirens had ever ambushed Irish sailors in this way.

Tom's countin' on me

She noted several costumed folks tackling the Juggernaut. Bracing herself on the edge of the gaping hole in the floor, Theresa let out a deafening sonic scream. She noted a man with hair almost as red as her own, worn in a ponytail. He didn't acknowledge her presence, his entire concentration given over to his fight with the Juggernaut.
SWORDS?" Theresa griped to herself. She let out a high-pitched scream.

The scream caught everyone off guard, forcing them to cover their ears to prevent from going deaf. Shatterstar, caught in mid leap, felt a convulsive shudder pass through his entire body like an epileptic spasm and his instincts took over, as he quite literally rolled with the punches, and collided with Cannonball. Caught off balance, he slammed into the windows.

"Sam!" Boomer gasped. At the start of the fight she'd been standing on top the jewelry displays, pitching plasma energy spheres overhead, growing increasingly frustrated as the Juggernaut just shrugged off the energy explosions like they were soap bubbles.

The piercing wailing echoed over and over again like they were trapped inside a deep canyon,

Boomer jumped down from the tables and ran over to him. "You okay?" Boomer asked, bending over him, and shaking him, totally zoning
out the fight.

"Hiya, Boomer, Ah guess we've pegged our mutant, huh?" Cannonball gasped.

"Sounds that way, don't it?" Boomer replied.

Rictor, who'd been standing next to her, shook his head in fond irritation, seeing Tabitha rush to Sam's aid. He then focused his concentration on
adjusting the frequency his vibratory waves just like Cable'd drilled into him during the team's last training session figuring that maybe it'd trigger a hairline crack in the Juggernaut's armor. "Like this will work," Rictor thought, shaking his head in disgust

"This wasn't supposed to be like this," Cable muttered over his shoulder to Domino. "What the flonq do we do now?"

`"Huh? What did you say?" Domino replied, tapping her ears, her hearing not fully
back to normal.

Black Tom, sulking around in the shadows throughout the fight, using it as cover he steadily worked his way toward the display cases holding the jewelry.

"Ach, where did these bonnie lads and lasses come from? They'll ruin everything. Still,... Perhaps it's best that I cut my losses, ulp..." he trailed off, when he felt a sharp blade at his throat. "What say we cut a deal?" Tom offered.

"Coward! Any warrior worth his mettle would not stand back in the shadows. He would face me in honorable combat!' Shatterstar growled, having recovered quickly from the sonic decibel levels.

"Too bad, I'm not a 'honorable warrior." Black Tom used his quarterstaff to strike a blow at Shatterstar's middle ribcage, and moved on, knocking the wind out of him.

Quickly recovering Shatterstar decided to ignore Black Tom, despite the idignity of having a job half done, Shatterstar didn't consider it worth pursuing a foe that would sink to such dishonorable tactics. He'd concentrate on the more immediate threat, the Juggernaut. He executed a double flip easily crossing the room in matter of seconds.

Shatterstar evaded the Juggernaut's flailing limbs as he tried to latch onto him.

"You were lucky, ya pretty-boy, ponytail! I don't know who you are, and I don't care. But you were unlucky enough to really tick me off, so now I'm gonna splatter ya like the bug yaare!" the Juggernaut shouted.

"No doubt, you wil try this bug like crushing, but as your last bolt rusts, the name you will remember as synomous with your termination is Shatterstar!"

"You can say that again, Star!" Rictor yelled enthusiastically as his vibratory waves flowed from his hands, which caused the floor beneath the gigantic man to crack wide open. The law of averages being what they were, something had to give. Under the Juggernaut's weight and being hit a force akin to a wrecking ball and the floor gave way.

Theresa saw Cain go down through the floor and become partially lodged mid floor as his bulk wedged him in place, then sent him plunging downwards.

"We keep this up and the place will look moon craters." She turned around just in time to see Black Tom hunched over trying to sneak around the edges of the fight, to make it to the elevators without being spotted. His excited leer reminded her suddenly of pictures of wizened gnomes she'd seen in her storybooks as a child, a greedy, excited gnome.

Up until now she'd excused his criminal side, she'd gone along with it, thinking that it was just and adventure, that if they just stole things no one got hurt. But seeing that expression on her uncle's face, glancing around the wreckage on the observation deck, in a matter of seconds, something inside her snapped, that if no one else could put a stupid this chaos...

"Then, bloody hell, I'll do it! Sometimes blood isn't thicker than water. I love him, but I haveta put a stop to this madness.".

Theresa stopped hovering in mid-air, landing on the floor. She then let out a deafening scream in Black Tom's direction, ignoring the unsettling feeling his wounded look caused her as he keeled over unconscious. The decibel levels causing temporary damage to his eardrums, but hopefully not permanent deafness.

"Does he think I betrayed him?" she wondered silently. She smiled bitterly, "As for Cain, well, either he'll lurch his way out, or the authorities will have to get a crane to haul him out," she thought absurdly.

"It's over!" Theresa then yelled at the top of her lungs, addressing the room in general.

"Couldn't have said it better myself," Domino said.

Just then, police sirens wailing loudly from outside, signaled the official end of the fight, which meant New York City's finest had arrived on the scene. The authorities ran up the steps, flashing badges and waving flashlights around. "A what the hell happened here, hung in the air like a storm cloud about to unleash a downpour upon their unprotected heads.

"That's our cue, people! We're outta here, NOW!" Cable shouted, as X-Force filed out. Theresa again used her sonic powers to float her way up through the hole in the roof.

X-Force regrouped inside the PACRAT, leaving Cable and the Irish mutant in the forward section of the cockpit, where they'd have some privacy to talk.

Theresa glanced as they kids went about getting the Pacrat ready for takeoff. She'd them in action, and having more than a little previous experience under her belt she knew that they were mutants like her. Eventually, she might even find a place to belong.

"The name's Cable, that's X-Force," Cable began, as he nodded his head towards those she'd seen in action and now prepping the aircraft.

"Theresa Rourke. So what happens now?" she asked.

"The fact is, that when push came to shove, you choose the better part of valor. That will weigh heavily in your favor, Cable said.

"I donnae pretend I like the stunt my uncle, Black Tom, tried to pull off here," Theresa choked, biting back tears of frustration. "Ah want to see him pay for his crimes," Theresa said, standing rigid in front of the big man who glared icy daggers down at her. She hoped her voice didn't shake and that she sounded more determined and persuasive than she felt. Trust was going to be a tricky business, the man emitted suspicion like a fluoresenct lamp shed light. Trust was a two-edge sword, and she wanted to prove to this Cable-fellow that she had what it took.

"Do ye have any openings on yuir team? Without Tom I'm on my own," Theresa remarked.

"I'll give it some consideration enroute back to our base. Just so you know up front, joining up will mean living a bunker in the Arizona desert."

"Ye're not serious, Sir?" Theresa asked, taken slightly off guard.

"I am. Are you still certain you want to go through with this? I'm not trying to force you into making a hasty decision that you'll regret later.
Of course, it doesn't take in consideration the legal repercussions of what happened here," Cable gruffly said.

Domino returned at that instant from below. "The local authorities are mopping up things below. We're done here," she added, nodding encouragingly at Theresa. "They have also put out APB for the Juggernaut's and his partner. What happens to Red here, that's an unknown at this time."

"Good going down there," she added, taking the pilot's seat, and bringing the engines into full gear. "Get us outta here, Dom," Cable ordered.

With that, Cable turned back to Theresa and began again,

"The decision to join is entirely up to you. Don't feel that it's your only option now that that Black Tom is out the picture. Bear in mind, there are always other alternatives and X-Force may not be the best place for you," Cable said.

"I am," I can make me own decisions. And I know what I'm doing when it comes to usin' me powers," Theresa replied. She crossed her arms as if daring him to dispute her claim.

"I can attest that, my ears are still ringing. Be that as it may, I wouldn't want you to feel pressured into making a hasty decision.
You'll have time to think about your decision enroute," Cable finished.

"I've made my decision, I can live with it. If ye've got a problem with dat, ye deal
with it, Cable.' Theresa responded.

"You have yourself a deal. Miss Rourke." Cable extended his head, which she clasped shook firmly.

Theresa sat down in passenger's seat directly behind the pilot's and wondered, not for the first time, what exactly she'd gotten herself into.

"Cable, Jimmy's coming around, medscans onboard list his condition as stable. No permanent damage to his hearing, or any of the others for that matter," Domino offered as she gently brought the Pacrat airborne and turned its nose back towards X-force's base.

"Hmmf," was all Cable made in acknowledgement of her report.


XFORCE HQ Aftermath

Upon their return to their headquarters Cable sent everyone to shower and get cleaned up, he'd also run a more complete medical scans, which turned up negative for any permanent damage to their hearing. Except, Shatterstar's ribs were bruised, and he had a dislocated shoulder. However, as usual, he had preferred to suffer in silence.

An hour later, he gathered everyone in the conference room.

"Team, I'd like you to meet Theresa Rourke. I've given her request to join serious consideration, and I've decided to grant it. As you're already aware, I'm always up for new recruits," Cable announced.

"Whoopee," Boomer yawned. "So, what's she going by?"

"I've decided on Siryn," Theresa replied, folding her arms, the blond girl's casual attitude was grating on her last nerve.

"A little more enthusiasm wouldn't kill you, Boomer,' Domino remarked.

"We'll start with introductions: That's Domino, She's the team's second-in command."
Cable gestured towards an albino woman with a tattooed patch over one eye.

"Nice to meet ye," Theresa said, shaking her hand.

"Likewise," Domino replied, returning the gesture.

"That's Boomer," as you may have picked up already," Cable indicated the blond girl who wore a pair of green sunglasses. She'd lent her one of her shirts when they arrived.

"Yeah, Red," Rictor added. "Boomer here could use the balance, not to mention having a roommate." Rictor grinned, then winced as Boomer elbowed him in the ribs.

"That's Cannonball," Cable said, ignoring the banter. pointing towards a tall blond kid.

The aviator style goggles, he wore, had been pushed far up on his head because they had become entangled in his hair.

"The more the merrier, ah always say," Cannonball added, "After all, we accepted those two, as he pointed towards Rictor and Boomer. "So y'all can't be all bad."

"Aye, I can see that," Siryn replied laughing at the good-natured joke made at Rictor's and Boomer's expense.

"That's Rictor," Cable continued, gesturing towards a brown haired kid.

"And this is Shatterstar," Cable continued, indicating a tall kid with hair almost as red as her own, he wore in a long ponytail. He didn't acknowledge her 'hello' apparently completely absorbed in critically examining the light reflecting off his swords. She'd only seen him in action once, but he rather withdrawn and lonely even among his teammates. Theresa wondered what his back-story might be.

"And last but not least, that's Warpath," Cable concluded the introductions leaning back in his chair and crossing his arms.

"Welcome aboard, "Warpath said, pumping her hand up and down.

"Uh, thanks," Theresa replied unsure of what to make of the muscle bound hunk she'd pegged for a bad attitude much like Cain's when she'd first met Black Tom's partner-in-crime. Theresa found herself making the assumption that he was just another blowhard.

"Welcome to X-Force, Siryn. Hope you survive the experience," Boomer commented, echoing the same phrase that she'd been handed when she, Rictor, and Shatterstar had when they joined the team.

"Meeting adjourned, Welcome aboard, 'Siryn," Cable echoed as he and Domino left the room.