The Marvel universe and all recognisable characters are property of Marvel entertainment.
All original characters are my intellectual property.
This is a work of fan-fiction, and can not be sold or distributed for profit.
This work can not be archived or reproduced without the authors written consent.
This story is a political satire aimed at more than one target, but is not intended to cause offence.
But it probably will...

The Commonwealth
Chapter One: Better The Devils You Know...

Crossmoor Prison
Day one of the Skrull invasion

Alarms were sounding across the complex, informing those who hadn't been alerted by the explosions and gunfire that the prison was under attack. The question of just who would want to attack Crossmoor was normally not one that the staff felt like asking, but the unexpected appearance of a Skrull Battlecruiser above the prison was more than enough to answer any inquiries. The ships opening bombardment destroyed the main defences and shattered part of the outer wall, allowing for a company of Skrull commandos to get in. They fanned out through the prison, killing anything they came across.

"Three years of therapy and more antidepressants than I care to remember, and this is what I get?" Dr Kay Guptah banged her head back against the wall of her office as she took cover from the assault, "Three years of controlling myself, of forcing myself not to look too deeply at anyone. Three years of self-imposed celibacy! And now this? The universe is mocking me."

"Doctor?" One of the orderlies looked at her, a worried expression on his face, "What do we do?"

"You, you find somewhere to hide." Guptah took a deep breath, and a shard of glowing blue light formed in her hand as a lightning-bolt shaped scare appeared over her left eye, "While I do something I promised myself I'd never do again."

Stepping out into the corridor, she let the darkens inside her mind take control. Looking at the rampaging Skrull, she could see every crime they had committed, every life they had taken. Their guilt radiated off of them, and it became pure instinct. She flung the shard as hard as she could, and it left a blur in her vision as it rocketed down the corridor, cutting three of the aliens neatly in two with the precision of a surgical laser. One Skrull was able to dive into the cover of an empty cell, and returned fire with his rifle, only to have the laser blast blocked by a plate of glowing blue energy.

"You think this planet is heaven, a gift to you from your god?" Guptah asked, her voice cold and hard, and somehow not quiet human, "You were misinformed." A fresh shard appeared in her hand, "Welcome to hell!"

There was a flash of light, and the top of the Skull's head fell to the floor.

"So much for the bloody Hippocratic Oath." The psychiatrist muttered to herself as she looked round at the devastation, "I'm going to need help with this."


Several floors down, the lights flickered and died as the emergency batteries shorted out, taking the power-dampeners with them. The prisoners started to shout and bang their fists against their cell doors, trying to get out. Silence rolled down the corridor like a wave, and the inmates found themselves unable to make any noise what so ever. It held for a second, then a wall of pure sound struck one of the cell doors like a battering ram, sending it flying across the corridor and into the cell opposite, crushing the inmate.

"Well, that's better out then in." Paul Spencer stretched his arms above his head as he stepped out into the corridor, "Eighteen months in this hell-hole's enough to drive a man crazy. Bastards wouldn't let me keep my guitar."

"Hey, you!" A voice called from another cell, "Let me out and I'll make it worth your wild!"

"Thanks but no thanks." Spencer shook his head as he started to follow the exit signs, "I'm strictly a solo-act; don't need anyone slowing me down."

Making his way to the nearest stairwell, Spencer started up, but found his way blocked by debris that had fallen from above. Cursing, he went back the way he'd came, looking for another exit. He was half way across the sprawling maze that made up the underground potion of Crossmoor when he first ran into the Skrull. They were as surprised to see him as he was them, but he recovered faster, and hit them with a sonic blast that sent them flying down the corridor. Grabbing a gun that one of them had dropped, he pointed it at the nearest Skrull and pulled the trigger. A burst of golden energy vaporised the body, and Spencer fired again, eliminating the others.

"You know something?" He looked at the weapon, "This would have come in so handy two years ago..."

"I think not!" Guptah appeared before him, arcs of blue energy snaking off of her body and grounding themselves in the floor, walls and celling, "I can see you, everything you've ever done; down to the last white lie. I see you and it makes me BURN!" she roared, the scar on her head glowing brightly for a moment, "Another time, another place, I would see justice done: but right now I need your help. The Skrull are attacking, invading, and neither you nor I can stop them."

"So, it's ya basic 'put-your-head-between-your-legs-and-kiss-your-ass-goodbye' scenario?" The prisoner asked, "God's sake, a man shouldn't have to deal with this kind of shit while sober."

"There is one way." Guptah sank down to the floor, the halo of energy surrounding her fading away to almost nothing, "There's an Omega-class holding facility in the lowest levels of the prison: if we can get there, we may be able to turn the tide against the Skrull's."

"Are you crazy, or is it just me?" Spencer asked, "I may not be the sharpest tool in the shed, but even I know that Omega-class refers to something or someone dangerous. So if you're keeping one locket up in the basement, then there's a high-probability that they're not there for shoplifting." He cocked his head to the side, "Unless they actually picked up a shop, that is."

"He's here because they didn't know where else to put him." Guptah explained, running through her breathing exercises to try and calm herself down, "As for being Omega-class; we don't know what he is, but he isn't like any mutant I've ever seen or heard of, except maybe the Phoenix."

"Don't...just don't, okay?" Spencer shook his head, "Even I've heard of the bloody thing, and every time it rears its head, us mutants get the blame. I mean, do I look like an X-Man? Do you see me running around the world in a plane that looks like something from Star Wars? No, you don't. Because I'm not that bloody stupid, that's why. All I ever wanted was to be a musician; to play my guitar and sing. But no, I had to be born a mutant, and that groups me in with everyone else. Do you know that there's not a record label in the country who'll take a mutant artist since Dazzler went back to being a super-hero? That's prejudice, that is!"

"You are getting on my nerves, and I don't have many left." Guptah snapped, "You think you're life is bad? I was quite happy until one day there's this blinding white flash and a voice in my head tells me to stay calm, but everything changing, including me. I wasn't born with these powers; they were thrust upon me with no warning and no instruction on how to use them. You want to know what I see when I look at someone? Every bad thing they've ever done, every crime they've ever committed. And I have a voice in the back of my heat, screaming at me that they deserve to die!"

"You know, I may be the one who's in prison, but I'm thinking you're the one with all the problems." Spencer took a step back, gripping the Skrull pistol in his hand, trying to reassure himself, "You sure you're not an inmate?"

"Believe I or not, I'm a highly respected psychiatrist and physiotherapist, specialising in criminal rehabilitation." Guptah couldn't help but smile, "I guess the universe does have a sense of humour, giving someone in my position the ability to look into a person's mind and see every sin they've ever committed and a sometimes overwhelming desire to punish them."

"Are you REALLY sure you're not an inmate?" Spencer stopped to prise a plasma rifle from the hands of a dead Skrull, and tucked the pistol into his belt, "I mean, I've only been here for a few weeks and all, but you sound crazier than any of the other inmates I've met."

"Believe me: I'm sane to a worrying degree." Guptah stopped before a massively reinforced blast-door and placed her hand on a fingerprint scanner, "Dr Kaywinnit Guptah. Authorisation code: Bluebell."

"Primary authorisation confirmed." An electronic voice responded, "Secondary security protocol in effect. Please stand by for full biometric scan."

"Sodding Skrull's." She rolled her eyes, "As soon as the system detects shape-shifters, it goes all paranoid..."

"Biometric scan complete: identity confirmed." The computer reported as the numerous locks started to disengage, "Access granted." The door swung open slowly, revealing a set of secondary, inner doors that also slid apart to show an ordinary looking corridor beyond.

"Well, that was a little anti-climatic." Spencer shrugged, "I was half-expecting to see King-bloody-Kong waiting for us."

"This is a maximum security prison; not Disneyland." Guptah led the way down the corridor, past vacant rooms and abandoned guards posts; the full security detachment had been called out to deal with the Skrull attack.

Finally they reached the one occupied room, deep below the complex. Spencer was somewhat surprised to find that it looked like a normal hospital room, complete with monitors wired up to the man laying in the bed. He was just under 6' 6", with short, black hair that had been kept short so that the sensors on his head could maintain a good contact. The plane white t-shirt and shorts he was dressed in showed he had a muscular but not overly built frame, but a number of tubes and drips were attached to his body. Guptah pulled them out unceremoniously, the monitors bleeping loudly until she silenced them with a glowing shard than sliced them neatly in two.

The man's eyes flicked open, and looked round, unfocused.

"Where am I?" He asked, his voice little more than a croak, "Who am I?"

"Your name is Nathan Drake; you were a Corporal in 40 Commando, Royal Marines, serving in Afghanistan." Guptah pulled the semi-comatose man into a seated position and flashed a pen-light in his eyes to check his responses, "I don't know what happened, my security clearance doesn't go that high. I all do know is that you were part of a patrol that was ambushed by HYDRA. But then something happened, elsewhere, something we call M-Day."

"Don't remind me." Spencer grunted from the doorway, "Turned us mutants into an endangered species."

"There was a brilliant white light, and in your case, a devastating explosion that killed the HYDRA cell but left and your unit alive." The doctor continued, ignoring the interruption, "You were, changed, altered, by something that happened. Does the phrase Paradigm Shift mean anything to you?"

Drake sat bolt upright, his eye open wide, a glowing star-shaped scar appearing on his right shoulder.

"I remember..." He looked at his hands, "There was a voice in my head, telling me to keep calm."

"I heard it too." Guptah brushed her hair aside to reveal the lightning bolt on her forehead, "We're alike, you and I; we were chosen by, something. For what, I don't know, but I believe that there are others out there, who went through the same experience."

"We can play This Is Your Life another time!" Spencer pointed his gun down the corridor and snapped off a shot at team of Skrull commandos who had followed them, "Because right now we've got company."

"This is why I woke you." Guptah explained as she helped the still groggy Drake to his feat, "You have Omega-class powers, and we need that right now."

"I'm not sure..." Drake lent against the bed, his mind still filled with the mental equivalent of cottonwood, an aftermath of the cocktail of drugs that had been used to keep him comatose.

Spencer dived out of the way as a blast engulfed the door, vaporising it. The sound of Skrull's issuing orders in their own language could be heard from outside as Guptah flipped the bed over on its side, even thought it would offer no more protection then the door had.

"We've got a full-scale Skrull invasion on our hands, Corporal." She snapped at the former patient, "Are you just going to stand there, or are you going to show them what a Royal Marine can do?"

Drake looked at her for a moment, then something changed in his eyes; they became focused, harder. Stepping out into the corridor, he ignored the storm of fire the Skrull's levelled at him, an invisible forcefield stopping any attack before it reached him. Turning his head to look down the corridor, Drake's eyes narrowed. He raised his hand, fingers outstretched, and unleashed the raw power that filled his mind, body and soul.

Everything went white.

To Be Continued...