The convoy drove through the night headed north.
In the back of the truck two girls had been captured and subdued, both with drugs pumping into IVs to keep them sedated. X-23 was further chained down so there would be no more... accidents. Velocity
meanwhile was across the van from her, lured by Maverick
with the promise of cookies.
The base they approached was situated underground on the edge of Lake Ontario. The above ground structure was merely an abandoned looking cabin with a garage. They backed the van into it. Waiting for them was one of Weapon X's alumni Kimura, arms crossed and a smile on her face as her long lost charge was returned along with a bonus mutant child. She had specifically been left behind for the carnage they had worried she would wreck when they went to get a hostage; Colcord had no desire to have an army of well armed and trained mutants on his trail just yet. No one would mount much of a search for one child and a wayward weapon. Of course now that the facility was tagged they could return at any time to take more mutant children, preferably young ones like the speedster. They were so much easier to break.
"Bring her in," Kimura said, jerking her thumb at the hidden doors that slid open to reveal a brightly lit, white paneled hallway.
The party moved through the labyrinth of twists and turns. The compound could have been any industrial or military facility, although many areas were still darkened. It was clear that this particular operation had been abandoned and only recently revived.
The room they took X-23 to was an almost exact replica of the one she had been raised in with the exception of one glass window to the cell next door. Bulletproof, shatterproof, and mutantproof, the glass served one purpose only: to give her a clear view of Velocity's cell where the speedster was promptly tied down.
A team of doctors descended on both girls, metallic devices in hand. Both girls received a tracking chip and a new invention that would block telepaths and other interfering psychics, Velocity in her arm and X-23 at the base of her skull. Further was the small chip the researchers had dubbed the kill switch. X-23 was deemed too valuable to waste it on they had gone to far much trouble to get her and so it was inserted in the little girl who had been taken with her.
"I think it would be better in her," Kimura muttered.
"Patience. The girl is disposable. X-23 is not." Malcolm Colcord crossed his arms as his teams worked. "At least not yet." When he created a new clone from her he wouldn't need this defunct model. Rice had been onto something with his backups, only Colcord wouldn't be such a fool as to sell them to the highest bidder. Giving just anyone the opportunity to inflict such carnage and fear was... ill advised. There also would be no bleeding heart around to make his models think they had any kind of humanity. Of course the fact that he could manipulate this weapon and her high empathy scores only proved that Rice and Sutter had been fools.
No matter. That was why they were dead and the project was more careful of who they entrusted such delicate matters to now.
"Take care of those injuries," he told the team, voice booming into the cell. "It's of no use to me half dead." If only he could have gotten his hands on the original Weapon X, but he was so much more careful than this girl and his memory was too damaged to reprogram as they had Agent Zero's.
He glanced at Maverick. "Excellent. Even if you went overboard. We will have questions about where the girl came from, how many more there were, and I want to know how you find the new powers." They were highly experimental, this was the first run in the real world and with such a strong healing factor. If this was how X-23 reacted than it was a wild success.
Below the team moved on to gather genetic samples from both mutants. X-23 was the main objective, but Colcord hadn't become the best by looking a gift mutant in the mouth. Imagine an assassin with the child's speed, Weapon X's deadliness, and Agent Zero's malleable mind. The possibilities were intoxicating.
March 6, 2017; 1500
Laura snapped awake to find her arms chained above her head and her ankles cuffed to the wall. She twisted in the bonds, eyes darting around the room. No. She had blown this room sky high. There was no way she was back in it now.
She tugged on the cuffs, falling straight into fight or flight mode, panic drowning out the sure knowledge that there would be no escape. Not from these cuffs. Not from this place. They would never let her go twice. It had been a freak accident that she had gotten away before, the last nine months an impossible dream: a fairy tale.
Because there was only one place that would send Maverick to track her down, who would know exactly how to dose her to keep her sedated, and who would recreate this specific room to hang her in.
The Facility had found her.
She took stock in what she had to work with. The wounds Maverick had inflicted on her seemed to have been healed, but if she came up against him again she would have to kill him quickly before he got a shot in. That had been her mistake, she knew better than to trust anyone. The cuffs and chains smelled like adamantium, there wouldn't be any breaking them by any means she could think of. There wasn't anything else in the room she could use as a weapon, they had even taken her Talon suit, replacing it with a pale pink hospital gown.
She didn't even have someone else in the cell to plot with, it seemed they had thought of everything even more than Sinister had. At least the others weren't there. No Julian. No Liv. Nobody was going to get hurt because of her. If they wanted her to tell them where she had been she wouldn't. They could have her, she had told Julian that the other day: No one would really miss her, but they couldn't have the rest of them and if she had her way they wouldn't have her for long. If an escape attempt failed there was always a more permanent solution. A dead body couldn't kill for them.
As she came to that conclusion the doors hissed open and Kimura strode inside smirking. "Look who's awake, Sleeping Beauty."
Laura stiffened and didn't reply.
"Not going to talk X? That's okay, I'll do the talking for you. And right now before you get any ideas look over there."
Laura followed the women's finger to the window that she had thus far not really paid attention to and clamped her jaw shut to keep any noise from escaping. She wasn't so alone after all. Somehow they had taken Neena too. 'My fault.'
They had Liv's little sister.
"That's right. One wrong move and the little munchkin gets a shock." Kimura pulled a remote with several buttons out of her pocket. "You keep misbehaving and I dial this all the way up.She doesn't have a healing factor does she sweetie? She won't survive your insubordination."
Which might be better for her than being stuck in this place, but now any escape plan was complicated by rescuing a six year old and she couldn't very well get herself killed and leave Neena alone here.
The X-Men wouldn't leave Neena. They would come looking for her and Logan would know better than to let the New Mutants come looking for the speedster even if they wanted to. He would only bring the best.
"But you aren't going to misbehave, are you?" Kimura prowled closer and put her fingers under Laura's chin, laughing when Laura glared at her. "I still owe you for when you left."
Laura had seen that glint in Kimura's eyes before, the one that appeared right before she got hurt.
March 6, 2017; 1835
"You didn't need to beat her into unconsciousness," Colcord said, annoyance coloring his voice.
If Kimura ruined this experiment she would be the next one on the table and not one of his recent experiments had survived; not those who volunteered and not the mutant children he had taken off the streets of various cities to bring X-23 back to him.
"She did run away," Kimura said.
"There's no where to run now. I want her functioning for the operation. Agent Zero will need competent backup."
"You can't trust her."
"I'll be the judge of that."
Colcord strode into the room to where X-23 was still shackled to the wall, feigning unconsciousness. As if they didn't have all the data on her healing factor. They were well versed in exactly how far they could take a punishment.
The animal ought to know that about them.
A history of having obedience ingrained into her meant when the commanding voice gave the order, Laura opened her eyes, glowering balefully at the man in the white coat who was looking at her like a science fair project. His face was a mess of scars. Apparently one of his little experiments hadn't agreed with him, but whoever it was should have finished the job and taken his sorry head off completely.
"You made quite the mess of Dr. Rice's project. We won't have that problem again, will we?"
They were taunting her, trying to get her to react, well she wouldn't give them what they wanted.
"I don't think we need to leave her up there Kimura. She knows what will happen if she tries anything."
He was very smug and it took all of Laura's self control not to immediately jump at him when Kimura let her down. But she couldn't. Not if it meant Neena would suffer for it. Not yet. Not just for revenge.
"Very good. I am Dr. Colcord,." "Another alum of Evil Scientists R Us?"
"Very amusing." His glasses flashed as Kimura delivered another punishing blow, shattering her ribs on the right side. "The outside world obviously agreed too much with this
He had no idea.
"But you're back where you belong now. Did you think you were a person X-23? A real girl? Let me remind you: you're nothing more than a weapon. An animal. A very expensive animal, but an animal nonetheless. Don't forget it again."
She wouldn't forget it. But they must not have ever seen a rabid dog turn on its masters.
for the mentions]