All characters owned by Marvel. No profit to be had by me. Written as part of the 2007 Livewire World writing competition and to settle in my mind how Lockheed might end up as the mole in Joss Whedon's "Astonishing X-men"
The Adventures of Lockheed
Lockheed has been a part of the X-men family for years. Discovered on the homeworld of the evil Brood, he saved the life of a young Kitty Pryde from death and worse by the vicious species. He escaped the destruction of the planet with them, stowing away on the starship Starjammer as they returned to Earth from their long ordeal, and hiding in the depths of Xavier's mansion. Later, when Kitty was threatened by hatchlings of the deadly alien bounty hunter Sidri, he revealed himself, again saving her life. In light of that, Professor Xavier allowed him to remain with them. As time passed, Lockheed proved himself more than a mere pet, but rather an invaluable ally to his friend and the team. When Kitty was injured fighting against the Marauders, he came with her to Muir Island, and remained by her side as she joined the English hero team, Excalibur. There, he shocked Kitty's then-boyfriend Pete Wisdom by exhibiting the ability to speak English, although only to say how much he despised the ex-British agent.
At one point he was separated from Kitty and was approached by SWORD, the Sentient World Observation and Response Department, a division of SHIELD. For unknown reasons, he chose to become their agent, spying on the X-men for Agent Abigail Brand and company. This was revealed to Kitty and the X-men while they were on a mission to stop the aliens of the planet called the Breakworld from destroying the Earth.
This is his story.
Flashback: the Broodworld.
A meteorite streaks across the sky, crashing near the Brood queen's citadel, built on the decaying body of one of the Acanti, the creatures they used as living starships. The meteorite cracks open, and large wings unfold to reveal a blue-green dragon. She makes her way into the catacombs below the throne city, where she prepares her nest. Weeks go by, she preys upon the Brood, in furtherance of some grand design, even as her clutch of eggs matures. She doesn't live long enough to see them hatch, but the price she exacts upon the creatures that claim this world as their own is terrible. Inside the nest, there is a resounding crack as a tiny beak pokes through the shell. It hatches, and out crawls adorable, purple baby dragon.
My first thoughts are jumbled upon breaking through my shell. I act on instinct, seeking sustenance among the creatures around me. I know I have a purpose here, but the rumbling in my belly takes precedence. I devour some of the local fauna. My nest mates have not hatched; I cannot wait for them. I am driven by impulses I cannot explain. In my heart, in my very bones, I know that should even one of us survive, we must follow the sacred mission. I soon make my way to the crystal cavern – the seat of the Prophetsinger's soul.
It is not much later, as I slay another of the foul bug-like creatures that dominate this world, when I hear frantic noises coming from another part of the caves. I feel the young humanoid's terror even before I see her. Her essence is so bright, so vulnerable; I cannot help but provide aid.
I know that my brethren and I were meant to release the soul, but these strangers have done it for me. The humanoids are purged of the shadows that marred their inner light, the infection destroyed by the soul as it ascended to the heavens above.
Present day – The Xavier Institute for Higher Learning, Salem Center, New York
Lockheed is leading an awkward existence. Lockheed hovers outside of Kitty's window, gazing in at her and Colossus sharing a tender moment. Things are strained between him and the X-men, especially with Kitty. He knows he should have told her when his mind had developed enough to communicate verbally, but he had worried so much that it would have destroyed the easy rapport that had grown between them.
Flashback – Deep in the bowels of Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters
Lockheed is rummaging for food in the basement when he catches a whiff of something more than the rats and insects he'd been subsisting on.
The bright one is here, and alone for once. I'd been trying to approach her for days, but she is always around the others, and I do not trust them. There are other things, skittering in the darkness. The bright soul is walking towards them, unawares. I release a tiny burst of flame, brightening the corridor, getting her attention. Perhaps a bit too bright, as she is taken by surprise.
She is happy to see me, her joy radiating like my own internal flame. She cradles me, and I feel secure. But movement in front of us – three creatures are approaching. She fights bravely, even though she is injured in the fight. I dispatch one; she gets another. I hear the hatching off to the left – more of the creatures. I leave the last to her, as I cannot allow us to be overrun. I must admit that my empty stomach makes it an easier choice, as the eggs are quite delectable.
She calls me Lockheed. It feels wrong, but right at the same time. Her name is Kitty. The image is of a four-legged mammal that exists on this planet. In many ways, it fits her.
"Hello." The little dragon turns his head at the sound of the voice. It is Emma Frost, the one that Kitty hates. "It's difficult, being the outsider. Especially when you've hurt the one you love, making them cast you aside."
Lockheed lowers his head to his paws dejectedly.
"She'll probably forgive you, eventually. But – and I know that it isn't something you want to do, that it's very embarrassing – you need to talk to her. You can't go back to being the silent companion, not when she knows that you can speak. If nothing else, the 'I told you so's' from Pete Wisdom are just making her more upset."
He makes a little coughing sound, "It'z 'ard to talk. M' jaw'z not made for thiz."
"I'm merely making a suggestion. After this I wash my hands of the whole thing. I will say this, however – I know she misses you just as much as you miss her."
Flashback – Muir Island, Scotland
Lockheed is being chased by Pete Wisdom, who is yelling at him to give back his cigarettes.
The smelly one is after me. But I'm too quick, and I absolutely refuse to let him keep those foul sticks around my Kitty. She'll get sick, she will.
Life has been strange since Dr. Doom wounded me. In the fever dream as I hovered between life and death, I thought I was on trial for abandoning my kind. A horrible nightmare it was, but it unlocked many of the secrets in my brain. I knew who – and what – I was, now, and in a sense, I had abandoned my kind. My people – draconis astrum – were friends with the Acanti, serving as warriors to defend the peaceful space-faring species. We'd failed when it came to the Brood, and had turned towards vengeance against those evil, despicable creatures. I was separated from the Collective, but had little choice. Had I not come back with Kitty and her friends, I would have perished with my nest mates. Maybe that would have been the honorable thing to do, but I was a hatchling, and I was drawn to Kitty's bright soul.
My near death experience has allowed me better command of my language abilities. My species is quite adept, with our quasi-telepathic and empathic prowess making acquisition and retention quite easy. I practice on Wisdom, partly because I know it infuriates him because Kitty doesn't believe him. It amuses me, and hopefully if she thinks his mind is diseased, she won't bond with him. He's no good for her.
He makes his way through the halls toward her room, flying above the gaping student's heads. He'd used to fantasize about dive-bombing them, scattering them to and fro. But that wouldn't work now. No one would mistake it for the playful antics of an animal, but rather the calculated mischief of a sentient being. He sighed as he reached her door. He scratched at the wood with a talon.
"Kit'ee," he croaked.
The door opens. Kitty Pryde has a very angry look on her face. "Go away, dragon. You may have decided that pretending not to talk isn't funny anymore, but I'm sure as hell ready to speak with you."
"Someone does want to speak with you, Lockheed." Cyclops said, approaching them. "It's Agent Brand."
"Go on," said Kitty, her eyes hard. "Go talk to your friends at SWORD. In fact, why don't you just fly off and join that green-haired b-"
Flashback – The Island of Genosha
Lockheed, alone among the ruins of Magda Square, is approached by Abigail Brand.
She approaches me. She knows who I am, where I'm from. She's been in contact with my people – they are not pleased. They need me to continue the battle against the Brood, they feel I am wasting my time with Kitty and the X-men. Never mind that the X-men have done as much or more to fight those Sleazoids, as Kitty calls them, than our entire species. They have asked Agent Brand to extradite me back to the Collective.
She makes me a deal. She'll keep them off me if I will do her a little favor. Little, hah. She wants me to betray Kitty, to report to her. She promises it's only for their own safety, that she has evidence of a extraplanetary threat that centers around them, and that she only needs to know about anything beyond their normal fight. I don't believe her, but I am afraid of going back. I don't want to lose Kitty, to never again be in the presence of her bright soul.
I make the deal, knowing it will haunt me forever.
"Lockheed, I know I'm not your favorite person right now, especially since I used you against your friends." The green haired woman actually managed to put some sympathy in her voice. "Well, you're about to like me a lot less. Your people need you."
He stared up at the video screen, tendrils of smoke escaping his nostrils.
"The Brood are concentrating an attack on your home world, dragon. They've called in your marker, and I can't protect you anymore. For what it's worth, I'm sorry. We've got a ship waiting for you. And anyone else who chooses to come."
The dragon turned to look at the seemingly hostile faces of the X-men. "Kit'ee. Pee-tir. Eckz Men. I know I made miztakez. But my people need you." He choked a little, struggling with the words. "I need you. Will you 'elp uz?"