(AN/ Hey folks it's Garouge/crewefox here with another chapter of The Broken Mirror. Thank you so much for all the amazing reviews, replies, reblogs, comments, faves and follows. Ok we're on the final stretch of the Take A Stand sage, I'll hope you enjoy the upcoming chapters. So without further ado, let's get cracking with this chapter...)
Chapter 43- The Falling Star
The Kestrel's lab had become the meeting place for both The Champions and Team Ceartais. It was a place to formulate plans of action, develop tech to help with mission or somewhere where they could just hang out and chat but right now the hele-frigate's lab felt like a battlefield before the general yelled 'Charge'.
As soon as Ms Marvel had texted Luna about what had happened there had been a flurry of activity and swear words on The Kestrel. Dragoness was personally escorting Ronin from Deadpool's office to the medical wing at the Raft high security prison with an escort of fifty SHIELD agents to make sure the now one-handed killer got there securely. Kodi had used a sling ring portal to get everyone from the Soho office back to the Kestrel, with Kion holding onto the stasis box with Ronin's preserved severed forearm floating within. Olivia requested everyone's presence in the lab, even though she had said this with a low volume there was no hiding the anger she was feeling.
The Champions knew that they would be mediators for the ensuing argument with Clara, Arthur and Jason joining them in this position, all sharing the same sense of awkwardness and dread as they looked at the divided Zootopian heroes. Arthur had purposely brought Jason into the lab in the hope that the mammals would act with some restraint, knowing the heroes wouldn't let things get too heated in front of the child.
Before Olivia could open her mouth, Luna took a few steps towards Alice and nervously spoke "I know I'm your least favourite mammal at the moment and that you're still mad with me, but I need to know; are you ok? You weren't hurt were you?"
Alice still had her sheathed katana in her right paw, she used it to beckon Luna to crouch down which the vixen did without hesitation, Alice then stroked the fur of her wife's cheek before replying with an eerie stillness "I am unharmed, the babies are fine too...I'm sorry for calling them 'My children' last night, that was too far but I'm not going to apologise for what I've done and you're far from being forgiven yet."
"I get that." Luna accepted, taking comfort from the paw on her cheek. She felt angry at Alice but at the same time she wasn't, was it due to relief or had she accepted this as punishment?
"Well I don't get it." Robyn simmered, looking at Kion, Kodi and Alice but her focus rested on Hannah "What the heck were you guys playing at?"
"Working together as a team to bring down Ronin, like it should be." Alice answered, looking up at her sister in law, surprised by how restrained the hybrid was being.
"So that's what this whole thing was? A massive middle finger to Luna?" Robyn accused.
"Partly." Kion confirmed, a lot more at ease than the night previous but his expression was still tipping into scorn "But the main objective was getting Ronin's handprint and DNA."
"But I never intended to slice off Ronin's arm, things just worked out that way." Alice made sure to add, motioning to the stasis box.
Ms Marvel shuddered before mumbling "I'm going to be seeing that moment in my head for weeks."
"I can get wanting to keep Lu out of the loop but what possessed you to put Alice in harm's way and to keep me, Olivia, Clara, Arthur and The Champions out of the loop?" Robyn questioned.
"Alice was never in any danger, she had Kodi's 'Prasedium' belt buckle in her pocket plus he was invisible beside her the entire time." Hannah explained, taking off her domino mask and beginning to unstrap the holsters holding her guns "Kion was there in case Ronin brought in a strike team and I was providing sniper cover."
Kodi then carefully said to Clara "And no offence but you're not an official member of the team and you're still getting used to your powers."
"That's, uh, cool. No problem." Clara awkwardly replied, not wanting to be part of the argument.
"And Arthur is Jason's temporary guardian, we didn't want to put him at risk." Kion nodded at the eurasian wolf.
"Thanks, I guess." Arthur shrugged, the wolf was dressed in his new armoured jacket and had Excalibur fixed onto his back.
"Well what about us?" Riri asked, the engineer looked the most peeved of The Champions "We've been through so much together and now all of a sudden you shut us out?"
"There was no time to clue you in, by the time the plan was devised it was already 4am and you were all asleep either in your bunker or homes, we had to act fast. Criminals like Ronin act recklessly and more impulsive in the first twenty four hours of a significant event. I knew she would seek revenge against Luna and I was the means to that end." Alice listed pragmatically "It was never my intention to hurt you through exclusion, it was merely due to time constraints."
"What about US?" Robyn pressed, spreading her arms to motion to herself, Luna and Olivia who was stood on the out-stretched palms of Snowguard.
"It was clear you sided with Luna last night, you would've agreed with her and never let Alice be part of the plan." Kodi answered with a sigh, he felt bad about the decision but it was the right one in his opinion.
"What a crock of sh-poop!" Robyn began to curse back but then spotted Jason and reworded.
"So let me get this straight. You went behind your team leader's and the second in command plus Robyn because we didn't get mad at Luna last night?" Olivia asked, despite her size her tone and stance intimidated everyone else in the lab.
"We had no time for a debate, Alice told us the plan and we went for it. We couldn't trust your judgement on this." Kion replied truthfully.
Olivia took a brief inhale before looking at Arthur and advising "Cover that wee lad's ears."
Arthur covered Jason's ears with his paws to which the caracal did not protest, Olivia then looked at the guilty party and yelled "You two-faced, hypocritical, conniving shower of shites! For fuck's sake, you undermine me just to get back at Luna then act high and bloody mighty but you're really a bunch of childish pricks!" The mouse looked like she was going to jump from Snowguard's hand and onto Hannah's face, so the magic user held her fingers around the raging rodent.
"Wind your neck in Olivia, we did what was needed." Hannah replied sternly.
"But why would you keep this from me!?" Robyn shouted at her wife.
"Princess, don't make this harder than it already is. What's done is done, let's just carry on with the mission." Hannah implored, hating the fact that she had deceived her beloved.
"No, no way!" Olivia cut in before Robyn could reply "We are not letting this slide! You're a pack of hypocrites, harping on about Luna putting herself in danger when you served up preggo-bunno here on a silver bloody platter!"
"She was never in any danger, we've told you this." Kodi reminded.
"Well that's bollocks, because what about that?" Olivia snapped, pointing at the stasis box on the desk with Ronin's severed arm floating within "Ms Marvel, how did that happen?"
Ms Marvel didn't expect to be called upon, she squirmed a little before replying honestly "When Deadpool had Ronin pinned, she broke free and reached for one of her shuriken that's when Alice cut off her arm."
"So what you're saying is that Alice could've still been hurt, even after Ronin was restrained?" Luna asked, sounding shocked.
"...Yeah." Ms Marvel reluctantly answered.
"So you WERE in danger!" Robyn shouted at Alice.
"Oh please, I saw the move coming a mile off, I took her arm before she could act." Alice played down.
"That's not the point, you were still at risk. You threw Lu out of your room last night for putting herself in the firing line and then you do the same damn thing today." Robyn barbed before looking at her sullen looking sister "Why aren't you more mad about this?"
"I, uh, well..." Luna began but she had no answer.
"Because she knows how she did things was wrong and how I did things was right." Alice responded.
"That's a load of crap, you should've come to me." Olivia growled at the doe "...if we were back home I'd put you all on suspension."
Alice then infuriated the mouse even more by shrugging and commenting "Honestly? Totally worth it."
"Why you-" Olivia began to shout but Alice held up her paw to silence her.
"Olivia I respect you, I love you as a friend but I couldn't risk you going against me on this. I need to get mine and Luna's kits home safely." Alice stated "Besides I'm already on maternity leave, you won't see me in my Yurei outfit for at least a year now, if you want to add a suspension on top of that go on ahead but it was worth it to get the rift key."
"We came to this dimension to rescue the kidnapped mammals and I want to complete my mission." Kodi then added, stepping forward "We've rescued three so far but we need to get everyone back to Zootopia, but if you want to suspend me, fine by me, I know I did the right thing."
"Oh to hell with all of you!" Olivia bellowed "You went behind our backs, put Alice in danger and she nearly got a shuriken stabbed into her. You're the fuck ups here, not us...christ, do you guys even know what a team is? Maybe you don't belong on it."
Arthur then lifted his paws off Jason's ears and quickly stepped between the split team before saying "You're more than a team, you're a family, hell four of you are actually related. You can't let one mistake ruin everything."
"Look Knight, I know you mean well but you know nothing about us or what we've been through." Robyn said, taking steady breaths to remain calm.
"You're right I don't know what you've been through but I know you're closer than friends, you're a family and that's a lot more than I ever had growing up. Now stop this talk about kicking mammals off the team and focus on the mission." Arthur implored "Families fight but they forgive each other."
"You've clearly never heard of divorce." Kion groaned "And if we're talking about consequences why the hell aren't Luna and Wasp being made to answer for what they did?"
Brawn put a hand on Kion's shoulder, hoping to calm the lion down, he then answered "We talked about it and voted, Wasp is staying on the team but she's no longer a senior member of the team, she won't have any voting privileges for the next six months."
"And I will be monitoring her for any untoward activity." Viv added, looking rather sad about this.
"It's ok, I've accepted this. I have to pay for what I did." Wasp spoke, her eyes bloodshot from crying earlier, Spiderman couldn't bear to see his friend look so glum and opened his arms, the heroine immediately accepting the hug.
"Ok but what about Luna?" Hannah asked Olivia "Were you even going to punish her?"
"I...I hadn't thought about it yet." Olivia tried to dodge.
"And yet you're ready to kick us off the team?" Hannah accused.
Luna could see the argument descending into toxic territory so she made an offer "I'm the reason this all came about, I wanted revenge and it cost us capturing Ronin, betraying your trust and nearly getting myself killed. My actions forced Alice's hand and she did what she thought was right, I'm the catalyst for this entire situation. If it will save the team, I'll resign."
"Mon Amour." Alice gasped, not expecting Luna's words.
"Lu, you can't quit, you're one of the founding members, you're second in command." Robyn rambled, pulling at her ears in a fretful manner.
"It isn't like I haven't quit before and besides maybe this is for the best." Luna said, feeling a lump grow in her throat and her eyes beginning to sting with tears.
"No." Kion said with force.
"Huh?" Luna sounded, everyone was looking at the lion.
"No, I don't accept your resignation. You don't deserve the option to quit." Kion expanded "You said you wanted to be a better version of Marian, well then prove it. Or are you going to quit right after proving you're just like her without fixing your mistakes?"
"Weren't you against her five seconds ago?" Robyn scoffed.
"I still am. It's going to take me a long time to forgive her but she owes us, she needs to make amends for what she's done." Kion explained "Besides she loves being a heroine too much, if she quit the team, she'd just go solo without the team acting as her conscience."
"...He's right, she'd never lay down her bow." Alice sighed, knowing that she could never put down her sword in the same way.
"But there has be some consequence for what she's done." Hannah said, crossing her arms.
"And what you lot did to." Olivia reminded bitterly.
Luna thought for a moment and looked at her teammates, knowing they were right. Her amber eyes then settled on Kodi before saying "You've grown so much since that night you were brought to the bunker, everyone else had a super powered advantage but not you and despite all that you became a fearless hero. You're no longer that player teenage wolf, you've become a responsible adult, you sacrificed a year of your life to learn magic just so you could save Clara. You always do the right thing and put the needs of the team above your own. I am proud of you, Kodi."
Kodi was caught off guard by the words and replied "Umm ok? Why are you saying this?"
"I want you to take my place as second in command." Luna offered "I don't deserve it, but you do."
"I..." Kodi gawped.
"Whoa, hold the phone. They still need to be punished for what they did." Olivia butted in.
"If your pride is worth so much to you Olivia, then fire me." Kion said bluntly.
"What?!" Olivia exclaimed "Look I love you guys but you betrayed my trust, this is not about pride."
"Well you see there's a difference between me and the others, they want to be superheroes, I don't." Kion replied stoically.
"Big guy, don't do this." Kodi implored.
"It's a win-win this way, you take Luna's spot, Olivia gets her justice and I get my ticket off the team." Kion said, being strangely pragmatic.
"I don't want you to quit Kion! I was angry, I didn't mean it when I said you guys didn't belong on the team." Olivia said, gone from furious to panicked in a few seconds.
"Look I'm going to be honest, I've been thinking about this for a while, I was going to leave it a year until Alice was back from maternity leave but this whole situation has brought things to a head. As soon as this mission is over I'm off the team." Kion reasoned.
"Please don't quit the team because of what I did, Zootopia needs you." Luna begged.
"It's too late Luna, my mind's made up. I can't work with someone I don't trust." Kion stated flatly, glaring at the vixen.
Hannah then mumbled in a woeful manner "I don't like it, but maybe's it for the best."
"Hannah." Robyn alerted, the striped hybrid's attention was now on her wife as she asked "I can get you keeping this from Lu and Olivia. But why me?"
"Princess, look I know how it seems but I was angry at Luna and Alice's plan was the right thing to do." Hannah made an excuse, walking over and taking hold of Robyn's paws "I want us to go home, to be with Aaron, for us to be a family."
"We're about to be mothers and you couldn't trust me? How do you think that makes me feel?" Robyn asked, her words tinged with sadness.
"I never meant to hurt you, I love you." Hannah reacted, feeling like the world's worst wife.
"I love you too." Robyn responded, before taking her paws away from Hannah "But love and trust are two separate things, and you didn't trust me." the ginger hybrid then turned around and started to walk out the lab.
"Robyn?" Hannah called after, taking a few steps in chase.
"Don't. I can't be around you right now." Robyn warned with a trembling voice, she then stormed out of the lab.
Hannah went to go after her but was stopped by Luna who cautioned "Leave her be, let her blow off some steam then talk to her."
Robyn had run through the corridors of The Kestrel, weaving between the human crew members and heading to her cabin, she slammed the door to her room and marched over to the sink to splash some water on her face to calm herself down. This situation was so messed up; Alice nearly got killed, Kion was quitting, Luna was giving up her rank but the fact that Hannah had kept her in the dark hurt the most. She was tired of secrets, she was tired of this dimension, she just wanted to go home to Zootopia. Robyn washed her face and screamed her frustrations into the washcloth and tried to think of something that would calm her down, her mind drifted to Aaron but right now she desired comfort, she needed her Dad. Judy was a hugger and would always give both her children hugs for any occasion but Robyn always favoured a hug from Nick when she was stressed out. She set the face cloth down and wasn't surprised to see her 'Mirror' powers had kicked in. In the mirror above the sink she saw Nick Wilde sat at his desk in city hall, typing away at his laptop. "Hey Dad, I really miss you." She said, knowing her voice wouldn't reach him.
But suddenly Nick looked up with alarm, out the window of the Mayor's office "What the?" Robyn mumbled.
Then all of a sudden a purple cloud appeared in the sky above Zootopia, Robyn couldn't hear anything through the mirror but the scene was terrifying, Nick leapt out of his chair and rushed to the window only to see something come through the purple cloud, it was huge and metallic and part of it was on fire but what alarmed Robyn the most was that it was crashing down towards the city. Robyn blinked and the vision was gone "No, no come back. Come on powers, show me Dad! Show me Zootopia!" she yelled but it was in vain. She turned around and charged out of the room towards the lab, the angst and arguments would have to wait. Right now Team Ceartais needed to get back to Zootopia.
Tazerface was beyond bored, his eyes were heavy as he looked out the window at the purple void the Cauldron was floating through. The alien slob had been sat in the pilot's seat for hours, making sure that the prison ship was running at peak performance, he had no idea why he needed to do this, the ship's computer did most of the work but after the prison riot and Doctor Doom's furious borderline murderous mood since his lab was destroyed made Tazerface inclined to follow every order the tyrant gave him.
However his mood rapidly changed when he looked at the monitor showing security camera feeds from across the spacecraft, the feed the criminal was most interested in was showing Doom's throne room, where Doom himself had opened up the hidden wall panel to reveal the rift to his new lab in Zootopia and he was dragging a horse with him through the dimensional rift. Tazerface's expression became smug, he knew the time warp between the dimension was great, so a few minutes in Zootopia could be hours aboard The Cauldron. He knew he could catch at least two hours shut eye before Doom would get back, but he didn't want to risk sleeping anymore, he leaned forward towards the touch screen monitor next to the pilot's chair and began setting an alarm to go off in two hours, but as he leaned closer to the screen he saw his reflection and someone else's "Wha?" he grunted.
Before the outlaw could make out the figure in the reflection her felt a shock of pain across his left eye, he felt a set of claws tears across the flesh and the soft jelly of his eyeball bursting it "AARGH!" Tazerface screamed in pain. He went to strike at the figure who had wounded him but was halted by the feel of cold metal against his temple, he forced himself not to react to his pain and turned his head slightly to see who had a gun pointed at his head, only to see it was his own pistol and that Rocket Raccoon was pressing against his skull.
"Hey shit head." Rocket grinned menacingly, pressing the pistol he swiped from Tazerface's holster harder into his head.
Tazerface hated himself for simultaneously feeling liking he was going to throw up or defecate himself with fear but despite his self loathing he let out a nervous fart and whispered "You said you would bring me in alive."
"Oh I will, I will enjoy watching you rot for years before the Nova corps hangs your old ass from a freakin' noose." Rocket hissed, savouring his nemesis' terror. "But first, you're going to get these people, mammals, whatever they call themselves back home to Zootropolis."
"Zootopia!" Esso corrected, the lynx at the ship's computer console trying to find the security overrides.
"Zootopia, whatever." Rocket huffed "Now I know you know the code to stop these bracelets, so give the kitty cat the passcode before I use your nose as target practice."
"Fantastic!" Tazerface spoke loudly without hesitation.
"Fantastic?" Esso asked from the monitor, taking a questionable look at the alien.
"After the Fantastic Four! Doom's greatest foes!" Tazerface desperately explained.
"Fantastic four? Seriously? Ok." Esso griped before typing the password in, as soon as she hit the return key the Hornet prison bracelet fell off her and Rocket's wrists.
"Holy shit, you really are a coward." Rocket chuckled, still keeping the requisitioned gun to Tazerface's head "Now, get us to Zootropolis or Zootopia or whatever they call it!"
"You think I know how to operate the rift controls?" Tazerface half laughed "Only saved destinations on the computer can help you."
"Hey Cat! Can you-" Rocket started to ask.
"Yes Rocket I have basic IT skills," Esso snarled while typing "and there we go, Savannah Central, just got to punch in the command."
Rocket took the makeshift radio from his belt and spoke into it "Hey Bat, you got Nightcrawler ready?"
"Kurt is ready for what is about to occur, but please remember; he's still a person, this will hurt him." Zoe relayed, the flying fox's voice sounding torn.
"Tell the ol' blue dude I owe him a beer," Rocket brushed off "Esso, Zoe, Hit it!"
"Ok the computer has taken in the commands...and the Doombots are on their way." Esso began her words smiling then ended grimacing.
The prison ship began to shake and shudder as it jumped through the multiverse but Rocket kept his composure "How many 'Bots are comin'?" his snapped.
"Five headed to the bridge." Esso relayed, before clearing her throat, prepared to use her scream powers.
"Don't give those buckets of bolts an inch or th-" Rocket started to encourage but was stopped by a swift elbow to the face, he dropped one of his pistols which was grabbed by the perpetrator Tazerface which the panicked murderer began recklessly firing all across The Cauldron's bridge, Rocket weaved and leapt from the line of fire but the resulting shots hit numerous consoles, destroying most of them and setting off alarms before Esso screamed in Tazerface's direction, bursting both ear drums and sending him crashing to the floor in unconsciousness.
Esso felt the sensation of victory for only a second before the ship juddered with interdimensional turbulence and the ship's AI announced over the blaring alarms "Lower three decks on fire."
"Uh...Rocket what do we do?" Esso asked, her hope fading, looking at the bridge door and feeling nauseas.
Rocket's hope was evaporating to, he knew Doombots were heading to kill him but he still managed to smile "Fucked if I know."
Regina wasn't resisting, she was too scared. The firm grip of Doctor Doom's armoured hand on the mare's shoulder was a constant reminder that she was a prisoner and at any moment her captor could lash out. The horse was shocked when she saw the purple cloud rift in the throne room but her fear kept her from talking or trying to struggle free as Doom lead her through the rift, in the blink of an eye Doom and Regina were stood in what looked to be a huge metal bowl with wires coming from it leading to computers.
"Welcome home, Miss Lowell." Doom finally said, letting go of Regina's shoulder and stepping out of the bowl and away from the rift.
"What?" Regina replied, her mouth dry and voice shaky.
"You're back in Zootopia." Doom answered, beckoning the mare to follow him out of the bowl which she hastily did.
"This...this is Zootopia?" Regina asked with the smallest hint of hope in her voice, following Doom as he walked to a simple wooden door and opened it up to what looked like a normal apartment complex hallway.
"Indeed, Doom promised you and your fellow mammals would be returned home." Doom answered, stomping down the hallway with the horse closely behind.
"After you've taken our powers." Regina remembered, the hope now gone and the fear was back.
Doom stopped at another apartment's door and turned back to look at Regina before saying "Yes but after this, Doom will release you."
"Clara told me it was dangerous, that it could kill me." Regina replied, her hooves trembling as Doom opened the door to the other apartment.
"Doom won't lie to you, you could die but you don't have a choice." Doom said with just enough malice to make Regina start sweating, he took hold of Regina's shoulder again and led the mare into the apartment "Beast, your first patient has arrived."
Regina let out a gasp of terror upon looking at the blue furred mutant, she felt her knees buckling but was kept upright by Doctor Doom's grip. Beast's expression was a mix of guilt and sympathy as he said "I'm so sorry, ma'am. I will do my upmost to keep you alive."
Doom forced Regina to sit on one of the chairs in the makeshift lab before removing the mare's hornet prison bracelet with him warning "If you attempt to use your powers, Doom will break your legs and make sure you don't survive the procedure."
"I w-won't." Regina uttered, tears were rolling down her face while she tried to think about Harper, hoping thoughts of the stag would bring her comfort but she couldn't envision him, she was terrified of the situation she found herself in.
"Good horsey." Doom mocked before walking over to Beast and inquiring "Is everything ready?"
"Yes, the gene separator is complete." Beast informed reluctantly.
"Good but remember this Beast, if you try anything Doom will punish the horse for your deeds." Doom reminded "Now prep the test subject for the proce-."
BANG! The pop of rifle fire and the shattering of glass came in quick succession but was followed by the ping of a ricochet, a bullet had hit Doom in the head but had hit his helm, the tyrant didn't even flinch. As Doom turned to face the window with bullet hole in another shot came, hitting him in the chest but caused no damage. He looked across at the other building and could see a group of mammals aiming sniper rifles and other weapons at him. Doom identified the leader of these mammals with ease, it wasn't the anyone with a weapon, Doctor Doom's vision settled on a striped buck rabbit holding a pair of binoculars with a now terrified look on his face "Filthy creatures." Doom simmered before charging at the window and bursting in through it, more shots came as he flew through the air with speed and crashing through the partly open window where his attackers were nested. An aardvark Camelot soldier attempted to shoot at Doom again but the dictator just picked him up and tossed him at his fellow soldiers before marching over to Jack Savage, who was scrambling for his pistol and picking him up by both his ears.
Jack screamed in agony as he was lifted up by his long ears, feeling like they were going to be torn off at any second but he still managed to grab his gun which Doom snatched away before ordering "Tell your men to stand down, rabbit!"
Jack Savage was scared and in pain but he wasn't about to give up "Shoot this tin can!" he bellowed.
Doom then turned to the soldiers and MCB agents in the room and threatened "You ingrates pull the trigger and Doom will pull this rabbit's head off."
Lylla, Aleks, Ray and Kiara all had their weapons drawn, ready to shoot but were held back by the threat and Doom could see they weren't going to shoot. They thought they had the villain in their crosshairs but now Doom was in control.
(AN/ DUN DUN DUN! Jack is literally in Doom's grasp?! The Cauldron is on fire?! Can Ceartais get home in time!? PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE Review, Next time on TBM; Rocket struggles to keep The Cauldron in his control, Esso makes a dangerous choice and Team Ceartias and The Champions race to Zootopia! Please Review and C YA SOON!)