Here it is, the preview for the next installment in this series that I feel should have a name but doesn't. This story is called "That Which Will Survive", which is another one of Onslaught's monikers. The full chapter will be up by the end of the weekend, probably sometime Sunday night, so keep on the lookout.
"It is rather chilly, isn't it Mr. Jones?"
Jones almost tipped over the trashcan next to him. The smell of rotten eggs permeated the air.
"No need to be frightened. It's only me after all," the man continued. As usual, Andrew couldn't see the man's face, but he was positive his contact was smiling and not in a kind way.
"You just startled me is all," Jones defended as he straightened his coat. "You don't make a sound when you approach. You should be a spy."
"Who's to say I'm not?"
Jones had no idea whether the man was kidding. He choked out an uncomfortable laugh.
"You have information for me?"
"Yeah," the scientist said before clearing his throat and shifting into what he thought of as his professional mode. "Yes. Colonel Stryker is well on his way to finishing his project. He's still not telling any of us what he intends to do with it, but he let slip where the parts are being sent as we finish them."
"And where would that be?"
"Some place in Canada called Alkali Lake."
"Excellent. That's very helpful, Andrew."
Jones frowned. He always felt like the man was talking down to him, even though he was the one with the information. It gave him an odd desire to tell the man more. To prove his worth. "There's something else."
"Oh? Well, speak then. We don't have all night."
"Stryker wants to meet with some geneticist. I think his name is Charles Xavier? He's apparently been on the news talking about mutants."
The pause that followed was dangerous.
"And why would he want to do that?" his contact inquired, sounding every bit as dangerous as the preceding pause.
"I- I don't know."
"And I suppose it would be odd for you to ask without looking too curious."
"Probably. He called him today. He was still grumbling about having to leave a message when he came for my progress report."
"Not you," the man said airily.
Andrew heard a strange sort of popping sound. "What was that?"
"Nothing to concern yourself with. You really have no idea why he's trying to contact Xavier?"
"No…I mean, well, he's run into some difficulties procuring some of the supplies. Maybe he thinks Xavier can help him?"
"No," his contact replied absently, "that wouldn't make sense. Stryker hasn't directly contacted Charles in nearly two years. Even then, it wasn't…amiable. If Stryker is contacting him now, he has something up his sleeve. You're sure of this?"
"What supplies is he having trouble procuring?"
"Some types of metals I think and a few other parts for the user interface. The blueprints and results are all based off one test subject and the scale was so much smaller then. That's why we've been having difficulty figuring out how exactly to work the interface. Stryker has had us contacting doctors and scientists who specialize in brain scanning technology. I'm not quite the expert the first scientist who worked on this project was."
"Yes, Hank has quite the brilliant mind."
Jones' spine shot straighter, his eyes honing in on the shadow the voice was hidden in. "How did you know about McCoy? I've never said anything about- never mind, do you know where he is? Is he okay? What about Maddicks?"
His contact chuckled.
"This is serious!" Andrew shouted in frustration.
"Yes, yes, of course," the man replied, though the chuckling didn't quite leave his voice. "Hank is fine. I can't say the same for Dr. Maddicks, but we each make our own choices and we must live with their consequences."
"What the hell does that mean?"
"If you don't already know, it's too late to educate you now. It's getting late and I'm required elsewhere. To sum up, Stryker's pet project is nearing completion with the exception of shortages in needed supplies and he intends to contact Charles Xavier to set up a face-to-face meeting."
"Any other information he gives you would probably be minimal, then, if you've done your part of the project design and he's going after Xavier."
"Probably," Andrew admitted grudgingly.
They were interrupted by the popping sound again, followed by a heavy voice Andrew didn't recognize.
"It is as he says. A message was left at Westchester by Stryker."
"Who the hell is that?" Andrew asked in a panic. "How did he get here?"
"You've been most helpful, Mr. Jones," his contact said in answer. "Unfortunately, you have reached the end of your usefulness and I can't have any loose ends floating around. You have my sincerest thanks."
The scientist didn't even have time to wipe the slack-jawed surprise from his face before the world disappeared.
So there you have it...a taste of what's to come. Like I said, I'll try to have the full chapter posted by Sunday night. If you're interested, look for That Which Will Survive to pop up. Hope to see you then!