Most Likely to Succeed
Disclaimer: I don't own these characters. Since Marvel apparently thinks a New Mutants reunion is a good thing, I thought I'd do one for the team they forgot. R/R.
Jonothon Starsmore studied the front entrance to the warehouse with the practiced concentration of someone who had spent too much time in law-enforcement. This fact was especially ironic considering his current team affiliation and their desire to break a law in order to help uphold the law. Such irony wasn't lost on Decibel and, with nothing else to do, he spent a few moments analyzing it. As the gears turned in his head, Jono's ears twitched in response to the irritating clicking noises that filled the car, noises that were interrupting the smooth flow of those mental gears.
"Quit with that rubbish," ordered Decibel as he looked to the passenger seat and watched Jubilation Lee attempt to type semi-coherent thoughts with her thumbs on a keypad so small it bordered on microscopic.
"Can't help it," explained Jubilee sheepishly as she grinned at something on the screen and then began clicking again after a moment's pause, "This thing is addictive." Decibel rolled his eyes as Jubilee continued playing with the Blackberry. He was under the impression that the lower profile the New Warriors kept the better they served their cause. Posting cryptic messages on their message boards didn't exactly constitute off-the-radar behavior even though Grace assured the whole team that any communication with the devices were heavily encrypted to avoid detection by SHIELD.
"How bloody long do we 'afta wait?" asked Decibel.
"Drop's supposed to be happening tonight," replied Jubilee without looking up from her screen, "That's all Thrash would tell us."
"Thought ya two weren't much on chatting these days," said Decibel.
"Meh," responded Jubilee, "I still don't trust him very much."
"You just like playing with his toys," commented Decibel.
"Like you don't," retorted Jubilee as she finally turned off the device and playfully punched him in the shoulder, "We know it's going down tonight. Just be patient about it."
"Not so much fer that, Jube," reminded Decibel as he turned his attention back to the warehouse, "Hang a tick, I think that's our bloke." Jubilee craned her neck to see past her partner and verify that their target was entering the building. Someone was funneling money into The Hood's criminal network. Rumor had it that it was coming from inside SHIELD so the New Warriors decided to do some digging. Any chance they had to pin a crime on Tony Stark and his people wasn't something any of them would pass up.
"Yeah, that's him," confirmed Jubilee as she quietly opened the car's door, "C'mon, we need to get in there."
Monet St. Croix studied her meticulously manicured nails with a level of diligence she never gave anything else currently in her life. She ground the file against them delicately and then studied the results. A flicker of movement caught her eye and diverted her attention to the ground below her. The object of her attention had just entered the warehouse. She had been following the man ever since she returned to New York City. With the O.N.E. studying X-Factor's movements extremely closely, Monet didn't want to be anywhere near her old haunts. Unfortunately, this client was paying X-Factor a lot of money to locate the man in question and Monet had an undying love of money.
"Other interested parties," decided Monet aloud as she saw two other shadows move through the night, "Competition is overrated." She put her file away and zipped over to the roof of the warehouse. M checked the skylight for any external alarms before simply crashing through it with little thought as to what would await her below. What awaited her below was an apparently empty warehouse. It only took her a second to realize her previous assessment was false. A fist connected with her jaw and, to her surprise, it hurt.
"You working with SHIELD too?" asked a faintly familiar voice.
"As if I would stoop," retorted Monet as she rubbed her jaw, "I don't know who you are but no one rearranges my face without me returning the favor with interest." Monet attempted to punch her attacker but her fist hit some sort of energy wall.
"Not enough bloody light in 'ere ta see but I know tha snark anywhere," assured Decibel, "That you, M?"
"Jonothon Starsmore," realized M as the wall of sound Decibel had created disappeared, "You look a little less . . . 'sunny' than you used to."
"No more powers, luv," explained Decibel, "Got a new face though fer all tha wonder it does."
"I can't say it's any improvement," said Monet as she looked to Decibel's companion, "I see you finally got rid of that yellow coat and those idiotic sunglasses, Lee. Good call."
"What are you doing here?" asked Jubilee.
"I'd ask you the same thing except it doesn't matter," replied Monet, "If you must know, I happen to work for X-Factor Investigations although these days we fly under the radar. Our client wanted us to find a Mr. Harold Drake and my search led me here. Obviously, someone crossed their wires because he isn't here."
"We were told Harold Drake works for SHIELD," explained Jubilee, "Word was that he was paying members of The Hood's gang for off-the-books favors. We saw him come in here to make a drop but we find you instead."
"A vast improvement no doubt," quipped Monet, "This little class reunion is cute but I have to get back to work." Monet lifted off the ground and flew towards the skylight she had come through. Unfortunately, at that moment slabs of steel slid over all the windows and the doors in the warehouse. Monet muttered under her breath as she cocked her fist back and slammed it into the metal slab blocking her way. Though her punch dented the metal it didn't break through it.
"This isn't good," realized Jubilee as she turned her suit and gauntlets on before taking her best swing at the metal blocking the door. Her punch did as much damage as Monet's but still didn't bring them closer to freedom.
"When did you learn to do that?" asked Monet in genuine surprise.
"You don't need mutant powers when you have the wonders of technology," replied Jubilee, "Give me a hand with this door."
"I don't recall anyone dying and leaving you in charge," retorted Monet.
"There's no time for this," said Jubilee, "We need to move or else something bad is going to happen."
"Afraid the gel's got a point," cut in Decibel as he motioned from where he knelt in front of an ominous black box, "I'm guessing this isn't a present."
"You think it's a bomb?" asked Jubilee, "Can you disarm it?"
"Maybe, maybe not," admitted Decibel as Jubilee dug her fingers into the top of the box and ripped it open for him to study, "I'd rather tha two o' ya smash tha door down."
"Right," agreed Monet as she flew towards the door and hammered it, "Come on then, Lee. I don't feel like seeing how invulnerable I am tonight." Jubilee nodded and helped Monet work on the door. Meanwhile, Decibel continued analyzing the bomb. He swore he saw Banshee disable a bomb once with his sonic scream but he didn't exactly have as much practice as Cassidy did. Still, desperate times did call for desperate measures.
"Ruddy tech's gotta be good fer somethin'," muttered Decibel as he focused the sonic abilities of his suit and hit the bomb with blasts of subsonic sound. He had no clue what the proper procedure was for this but he could see the timer hiccup whenever he gave the device a blast. Decibel realized he would have to dial up the intensity if he wanted to completely disable it.
"I think we're getting through," assured Jubilee as she looked back to Decibel, "How much time do we have left?"
"Not enough," answered Decibel as he hit the bomb with a loud, continuous pulse. He kept his eyes glued to the timer and prayed his stunt would work. He grinned as he saw the timer suddenly freeze and something in the box's inner workings spark and sputter. The clock went out completely and Decibel breathed a sigh of relief at his success.
"That was rather anticlimactic," decided Monet as the two girls managed to pry a hole in the metal large enough for them to escape.
"Ya weren't the one snippin' the wires, luv," reminded Decibel as he rubbed the sweat from his forehead and then got back to his feet, "Never wanna do that again." Decibel had only seconds to celebrate before some unknown force revived the bomb's timer. Without any further warning, the bomb exploded. Decibel threw up a sonic shield to protect himself but the force of the explosion sent him flying backwards. Monet grabbed him in mid-air and dragged him through the hole as the three of them escaped the building and dove for cover to avoid flying debris.
"Remote detonator's not a bad backup plan," realized Jubilee as they got back to their feet and stared at the flaming wreckage of the warehouse, "I'm betting that guy wasn't in there at all."
"Glad to see all that education paid off," sniped Monet as she dusted herself off, "I'm going to have to have a few words with my client and two of them will be 'more money'."
"I think there are two words that are more important right now," said Decibel.
"No two words are ever more important than 'more money'," assured Monet as she turned around to look at whatever Decibel was staring at.
"How about 'better backup'?" asked Decibel as the group of men in black suits pulled out their firearms and began discharging them at the former members of Generation X.
"Not even close," stated Monet as the bullets bounced off her skin while she flew towards the group of men. She grabbed one man's gun and snapped off the barrel of it without a second thought.
"These guys really should've done their homework," decided Jubilee as she and Decibel engaged the rest of the goons, "That says a lot coming from me."
"Your attitude is annoying as ever," said Monet as she hit the man in the jaw, "Just what exactly did you think you could accomplish with your little toys there?"
"We thought we'd get you close enough to do this," replied the man as he took Monet's punch in stride and then clamped his hand around the top of her head. Monet felt something sharp scrape against the skin of her forehead and surprisingly draw a tiny trickle of blood. Whatever intentions the man had, she didn't plan on letting him continue actually hurting her. Monet quickly slammed her fist into the man's chest and launched him across the street. The thug landed on his feet and licked the blood from his palm.
"These guys aren't human," said Jubilee as Decibel let out a sonic blast that blew most of them away before they had the chance to attack them, "It almost reminds me of . . ."
"Marius," finished Monet with disdain evident in her voice as she wiped her forehead, "I thought he was still trapped in whatever hell he came from."
"Guess not," said Decibel as the vampiric thugs surrounded the trio and leapt towards them for the kill like a pack of wolves. Jubilee caught one by the throat and slammed him to the concrete. Monet hit one with an uppercut that sent the man hurling into the air. Decibel blasted more of them away with but the men were relentless in their assault.
"We're not making any headway," said Jubilee as Decibel let out another large burst to blow all the men away, "Hitting them isn't going to do any good. Jono, you have to give them a bigger blast to keep them down."
"Hitting them is constructive for me," assured Monet as she took out her apparent frustration on another helpless thug by almost taking his head off with a punch. Decibel wasn't going to argue with Jubilee. Instead, he cranked up the power of his suit and let out a sonic blast that leveled all the goons and kept them down this time. However, it seemed one of them was tougher than the rest of his companions as he staggered back to his feet. Monet instantly recognized him as the one who had attempted to turn her head into a snack moments earlier. It was obvious that he was the leader of the group and therefore he would be the one to answer any questions she had concerning his condition and its relationship to her older brother.
"I see him," assured Jubilee as she slammed the man against the wall of a building, making sure to keep her exposed skin out of reach.
"You bear an unfortunate resemblance to my brother," said Monet, "Why?"
"I would think that's obvious," replied the man as he struggled against Jubilee's grip, "Let me go and I'll give you a more up-close-and-personal look at my condition."
"Pass," assured Jubilee, "You know anything about Harold Drake and his connections?"
"Harold Drake is a myth," stated the man as he smirked at his momentary captors, "Harold Drake doesn't exist except as a means to lure young, innocent flies into a tangled web."
"Poetry's overrated," said Decibel as he put his hand against the man's skull, "I can do pretty tricks with me hands too. Talk or I'll split yer skull wide open."
"He doesn't have to," realized Jubilee as she reached into the man's coat pocket and pulled out what looked like a photograph. Jubilee studied the picture and felt a sharp pain in her heart at what she saw. It was a class picture; taken probably only days after all of them had first walked through the doors of the Massachusetts Academy.
"What is it?" asked Decibel.
"Us," replied Jubilee as she held up the picture without turning her attention away from the man, "Is that Emplate's plan? He wants to try and take us out again?"
"Looks that way," answered the thug with a sly grin, "You can catch interesting flies if you know what web to create." Jubilee didn't wait to hear anymore from the man as she drove her fist into his face and knocked him out cold.
"Why would my brother wait this long to have his supposed revenge?" wondered Monet aloud.
"Don't know, don't care," said Jubilee as she held up the picture, "We have his hit-list, that's good enough."
"Most of us are already dead," reminded Monet, "Everett, Angelo, Sean Cassidy."
"Frost is too high-profile," declared Jubilee, "That just leaves the three of us."
"And Paige," added Decibel solemnly. It only took a second for the three of them to realize the same thing. Emplate or whoever was behind this had the means and resources to track the three of them down and lure them into a trap. It stood to reason that Paige was in the same danger and if they didn't get to her in time there would be another name to cross off the list.