Author: Notmanos
E-mail: notmanos at yahoo dot com
Rating: R
Disclaimer:  The characters of Angel are owned by 20th Century Fox and Mutant Enemy; the
character of Wolverine is also owned by 20th Century Fox and Marvel Comics.  No copyright
infringement intended. I'm not making any money off of this, but if you'd like to be a patron of the
arts, I won't object. ;-)  Oh, and Bob is *my* character - keep your hands off!   


The music was so loud she could hear the bass pounding in her chest like a phantom heartbeat, and  sometimes the crush of sounds and bodies left her breathless.

Goddamn, this was too much fun. She really needed to do this more often.

But Rogue was sweating like a pig, and she hated it. Well, she was wearing too many clothes, but she had to - people were crowded in here like clowns in a car at the circus, and they were forever bumping into her. She hoped they realized how lucky they were that she was mostly covered up.

Bobby was trying to do his chivalrous thing to protect her ( or maybe just the others ), and it was so damn cute she just wanted to kiss him. Except that doing so might kill him, so she didn't.

These clothes were supposed to "breathe", according to the salesgirl at the mall. Fucking liar. The red satin t-shirt clung to her like a damp handkerchief, and her satin elbow length gloves were hardly any better. Her jeans felt unnecessarily tight ( maybe she was just retaining water or something - she had not gained weight ... not really ... ), and the lightweight duster she wore felt like it was made of fleece, not linen. Maybe if this place had ventilation or an air conditioner, it wouldn't be too bad, but someone had turned a loading warehouse into a party spot, and hadn't bothered to do anything but set up a killer stereo system and some multicolored gel lights. At first that had been cool; at first that had been enough.

But there were like, what - a hundred people crammed in here? Most of them dancing, raising the amount of humidity and body heat trapped in this cement and tin ad-hoc club. This drink wasn't helping. The guy handing them out said they were for "cooling down", but one drink of the super sweet but caustic stuff and she was instantly sweating twice as much as before. But it tasted a lot better after the first sip; she couldn't believe she didn't like it for a moment. Maybe she was too hot, but it didn't seem to be bothering her quite as much now.

Bobby finally managed to edge and push his way through the crowd, towards the "bar", which appeared to be nothing more than overturned, piano sized crates stacked in the far corner of the warehouse. "Find the bathroom?" She asked.

He grimaced, shrugging a single shoulder. "Sorta." He looked down warily at the glass of neon blue liquid she pushed towards him across the crate. "What is that?"

"The guy called it a "Breeze"," she said, enjoying another drink of hers. She was really starting to like the burn.

Bobby picked up the cup and sniffed the contents cautiously before having a sip. The second he did, his face contorted in terrifying disgust, and looked away as he managed to choke it down, but he doubled over like he was about to barf. "Oh god," he gasped, before he found the strength to straighten up. He slammed the cup down on the bar like it was suddenly too hot to handle.

"The first drink's a killer, but then it gets good."

"Marie, this shit is like a hundred proof," he exclaimed, his voice sounding inexplicably raspy. His blue eyes widened in horror as he saw the half empty cup in her hand. "How much have you had?"

"Just this much," she said, measuring a small space in the air with her fingers. It struck her as funny, so she laughed as she brought the cup up to her lips.

Bobby suddenly grabbed it and tried to muscle it away from her, but she wasn't letting it go. "Hey, drink your own!"

"This stuff is toxic-you've had enough."

"What, are you Scott now?" She managed to rip it out of his grasp, but the second she did the entire glass turned to ice, inside and out, the acrylic shattering but being held together by the frozen drink inside the cup. "Hey!" She exclaimed angrily, slapping him on the shoulder with her free hand, as she tried to shake the now undrinkable snowball from her other hand. It was so cold it was sticking to the fabric of her glove. "What the hell did you do that for?"

"You've had enough."

"Not nearly." The drink finally dropped from her glove, and hit the cement floor like a stone. "I didn't think alcohol could freeze anyhow."

"Everything freezes when it drops to sub-zero," he said, turning aside to cough. He didn't barf, although she thought he might.

She was still really annoyed him, but hey, he was overprotective sometimes-it was kind of cute, in spots. She put her hand on his back  before he turned back, and she felt him tense slightly. What, did he think she took her glove off? Did he think she'd zap him? She wasn't that mad at him. As he turned back, relaxing a bit, he groaned, "Scott is gonna kill us."

"Why? He gave us the okay to go out on my birthday. I know Storm had to talk him into it, so he can get pissed at her."

"You're drunk, and not from running into someone either. He's gonna kill us. We'll be grounded until we're twenty three."

"I am not! And I dare him to! Who does he think he is anyways?"

"The guy who can make our life hell. Oh man, look how late it is." He held up his wrist so she could see his watch, just in case she missed it. "We were supposed to go out to a movie and be back by eleven."

"We did go to a movie. Even though the couple in front of us were more interestin' than that piece of crap of on screen."

He shrugged. "It had a couple of good explosions."

"Too little too late. And what the hell kinda birthday is dinner and a movie anyways? Scott musta had a really sad childhood."

"Umm, Marie - "

"I mean, just 'cause his life sucked doesn't mean the rest of us have to pay for it - "

"Come on, let's get out of here," he insisted, touching her arm.

She looked up at him and grinned, suddenly getting a wicked idea. "Wanna make my birthday real special?"

He raised his eyebrows, and looked at her like she was scaring the shit out of him. It was so cute it made her giggle. "Marie, we should really get back - "

She attempted a seductive look, and grabbed him by the collar of his shirt, getting so close to him he jerked his head back to avoid any accidental contact. "Haven't you ever wanted to be with me?"

He chuckled humorlessly. "I'm a teenage boy. What do you think?"

She grinned. He was so cute when he was flustered. "Well, if you wore a condom, it wouldn't be like you were actually touching me ... "

"Oh god," he exclaimed, as if she had just suggested they murder someone, and lurched backwards, out of her grip. "Marie, you're drunk, and I really think we need to go."

"Oh, come on-"

"Please, I'm at the limits of my willpower as it is," he said, almost pleading, giving her puppy dog eyes. "Let's just get home."

She frowned, wondering why he had to be so gutless at times. Logan wouldn't be ... not that she could talk him into sleeping with her... could she? It wasn't like he was ever around very long. Jean seemed to think he was old - like really old; Professor old - but she probably only said that so she could keep him for herself. "Fuck home! They can wait."

"Can we?" Scott said, suddenly appearing behind Bobby.

Bobby jumped about a foot and spun around so fast she was surprised he didn't do a complete three sixty. Scott scowled at them both, turning various color due to the strobing gel lights. "I thought you agreed to be home over an hour ago. I also thought you agreed no clubs."

"Well, this isn't a club exactly," Bobby pointed out, with a tiny, nervous laugh. "It's just an impromptu party."

"In other words, an illegal club."

"Well ... "

"Look, we just wanted to have a good time," Rogue said, wondering what his problem was. "What's a birthday without a party?"

The look on his face got stranger, and he sniffed like Logan trying to find a clue. "Do I smell alcohol?"

"Uh, yeah, some guys walked past with some-I froze one," Bobby said, gesturing to the broken cup on the floor. It was so frozen solid it hadn't even started to melt yet. "Maybe we should get goin' huh?"

If a jaw could be said to clench skeptically, Scott's did. "You've been drinking." It wasn't a question.

"No," Bobby instantly exclaimed.

"He hasn't, nah," she said. "But why can't I have a drink? It's my birthday."

Scott sighed heavily, and shook his head. "Bobby, you said - "

"He's not my warden!" She snapped, elbowing Bobby aside and getting right in Scott's face. "I'm not a child-stop treatin' me like one!"

Scott crossed his arms over his chest, and in spite of his visor, she knew he was glowering at her. "Yeah, you're drunk," he said disdainfully, turning away. "It's time to go."

"It's my - "

Bobby grabbed her arm, and hissed in her ear, "Please don't get in a fight with him. Let's just go home, okay?"

She yanked her arm away, and was about to cuss him out for being a wimp, when the music and the lights suddenly died. The crowd rumbled unhappily, and the large door slid open, revealing about a half a dozen dark figures with flashlights. "Everyone remain calm," a monotone man's voice announced loudly. "You will not be arrested if you disperse in a calm and orderly manner."

"Oh great," Bobby sighed. "Cops. We're so busted."

"They aren't real cops," Scott said quietly, his voice tight with tension.

"What?" She asked, peering over his shoulder. They were certainly moving-and armed-like cops.

"Something's going on," Scott said, apparently not minding being Mister Obvious. "Stay behind me."

That wasn't a problem; she wasn't going to go up and shake their hands.

As they fanned out, playing flashlight beams across the faces of the stunned and frightened crowd, Rogue whispered in Scott's ear, "Well shoot them already."

"They haven't done anything yet," he whispered back. After a moment, he added, "And I don't have a clear shot."

Suddenly, a girl somewhere in the back exclaimed, with great vehemence, "I'm not going back there, and you can't make me."

As all the flashlights swung around, frantically searching for the source of the voice, the ground started to shake violently, and the tin walls of the warehouse began to bell inward and make a loud noise like stage lightning as they began to quiver and tremble. It was like there was some big ass giant tribe surrounding them and trying to kick in the walls. Her first, instantaneous thought shot adrenaline spiked fear through her heart: Magneto.

But then, in the swooping of flashlight beams as the holders struggled to keep their footing - as well as advance into the now screaming crowd - she could see the floor was now spiderwebbing with cracks. Since when did cement have metal in it?

No, this had to be a genuine earthquake: the ground felt like gelatin beneath their feet, more liquid than solid. She grabbed onto Bobby to keep her balance, and he held her tightly, as if trying to use her to keep his own balance. Scott reached out to grab the bar, but seemed to be riding it out better than most - all that Danger Room shit, probably.

People were falling like bowling pins, and Rogue searched the far side of the crowd, where she was pretty sure she heard the voice.Was there someone standing perfectly still and calm over there? She was pretty sure they were - a mutant? A mutant who could cause earthquakes? So who were these dickheads hunting her and why?

Before she could point her out to Scott, he looked up so suddenly that she did as well.

Just in time to see the roof falling down on their heads.


She must have finally caught on to the smell of acrid pine smoke.

"Oh my god," Maddie exclaimed, sitting up and looking around as if it would help. "Are they lighting a fire out there?"

Logan refused to comment. Lighting a fire? Judging from the noise, the whole back of the house had just gone up. No matter that it was raining hard enough it sounded like it was hailing pebbles, the fire had taken on a life of its own, something that even the rain couldn't quite fight. He suddenly wondered if they were only using gasoline as an ignition fuel. "If I got it right there's only seven of them out there," he finally said, sitting up. He had a head rush so instantaneous and violent he fell back against the wall. He had to wait for the blood to come back to his brain before he could focus and speak again.

"Oh my god," Maddie gasped, looking between him and the floor. In the dimness it was hard to make out, but he could see a black patch on the floor, like spilled oil. But of course it wasn't spilled oil; it was blood. Most likely from his throbbing arm. "You-you should-" she began hesitantly, constantly stopping herself as if unsure what to say. He couldn't blame her."You need a doctor."

"I don't, I'll be fine," he said, but he knew now that that was a lie. He should be fine, but he wasn't; he would swear he'd never bled for this long before. Something was going on, something both far from typical and far from good. But it would have to wait until the danger of armed bloodsuckers and fire were gone. "What I need to know is, are you wearing jewelry or something?"

"Jewelry?" Even in the dark, he could see the disbelieving look on her face. "Jewelry? We're on fire and you're trying to rob me?"

"Fuck you! I just wanna know what the Dragon's Eye might be! Or maybe what we can con them with."

"Con them with?" She repeated, eying him dubiously. "Will they fall for that?"

""Probably not, but if we can distract some of them even for a moment it'd be good." Truth be told, he just wanted to see if she had the damn thing - the vamps had to know what they were looking for; it was doubtful they could be bluffed.

He wished his arm would stop hurting. It was harder to move now, as if the muscles were locking up, and his brain still felt as if it was wrapped in a cushioning layer of helium. If it wasn't for the arm, it wouldn't have been so bad a sensation.

Maddie took something out from underneath her yellow "Coffee-Allows You To Do Stupid Things Twice As Fast" t-shirt, and held it out towards him. "Well, I got this, but do you think they'll buy it?"

It was a small pendant on a slender silver chain around her neck. It was a circle about the size of a dime, and looked like a black pearl. "What is it?" Black pearl ... pearls were generally considered Asian in origin ... so were dragons. Dragon's Eye. Holy shit, could could it be that simple?

"It's just a necklace my grandmother gave me. She used to say she was a pearl diver and this one was the last she ever harvested, but I think it's actually plastic - " She ended her sentence with a cough; the smoke was starting to get pretty thick in here, and you could see the glow of the fire bleeding under the door.

He elbowed the wall behind him with his left arm, until the wood splintered and cracked. The pain was negligible, but briefly distracted him from the burning agony of his right arm. "Keep it hidden under your shirt; they might think it's the real thing."

"What would vampires want with a black pearl?" She asked, but she did as she said, putting it back beneath her shirt.

"What do vamps want with anything? Why don't they just hit  blood banks and leave us walkin' around Humans be?" He broke off a good sized piece of jagged wood paneling,  and held it out so she could see it. "Now I want you to hang back inside here as long as you safely can, out of grabbing distance. Hopefully by the time you get out I'd have killed all the bastards, but if not you need to jab any stiff that reaches for you right through the heart with this. And jam it hard-you gotta bust the ribs."

"Eww." She reached for the impromptu stake, paused, and asked, "Where's the heart, exactly?"

He positioned the jagged point of the impromptu stake over his own heart, and said, "Right here.Even if you catch just the edge of it, that seems to be enough. Got it?"

"Yeah, I think so." As she reluctantly took the stake, she asked, "Why wood, exactly?"

He snorted humorously. "Fuck if I know, darlin'. All I know is it makes 'em do that exploding thing."

"Like that one guy, Rod?" He nodded, even though he couldn't remember the guy identifying himself by name. Or was that her nickname for him? Why on Earth would she call him "Rod"? After a moment, she added, "Why do they do that exploding thing?"

"I ain't the person to ask." He attempted to stand up, using the intact part of the wall for support, and somehow he made it, but he caused another head rush that narrowed his vision and almost made him fall flat on his face. How in the hell was he going to fight like this?

Goddamn it, he was gonna have to find a way. He was not going to sit here and roast to death, nor was he going to let seven bloodsuckers get the best of him. It was just not going to happen.

He curled his left hand into a fist, and punched himself in his right arm.

Even though he thought he had braced for it, the explosion of pain that burst through his entire body made him scream, and Maddie let out a strangled cry of fear as she scuttled away from him, nearly hitting the far wall in her desperate need to get away from him. "What the fuck did you do that for?!" She exclaimed, equal parts amazed, angry, and scared. "Are you insane?!"

"I'd have to be to fight seven vampires," he snarled, keeping his eyes tightly closed so the tears wouldn't escape. He supposed he could always blame it on smoke.

The pain and adrenaline racing through his system made his claws pop, almost of their own volition, the claws ripping through the thin skin of his knuckles adding to the symphony of pain sharpening his clouded mind, and he heard her gasp. "You got those things in both hands," she said, awed.

"Symmetry," he said, and almost laughed, but he didn't know why. He knew this focus and this drive to keep moving wouldn't last long, so he made himself walk across the floor, towards the far wall.

"What are you doing?" She asked, still sounding frightened of him. He couldn't blame her really-he was prepared to claw himself in the wound if it kept him going. He was very clearly a madman.

"Remember what I said," was his only reply, as he paused, closed his eyes, and tried to mentally gather his forces. Pain almost wasn't enough anymore; soon, he was going to fall on his face, and he'd be unable to get back up again. He had to finish this fight before that time came, or he'd end up in some vamp's digestive system.

Holding his claws out in front of him, he launched himself at the outside wall. Well, the vamps would be expecting them to come out the front door.

The rotting wood was no match for a three hundred pound man full of at least one hundred pounds of metal, and as he exploded through it, he managed to launch himself on a vamp who must have been one of the perimeter guards. Even though he let out a startled yelp before they even hit the ground, he didn't have time to do anything else, as Logan drove his claw straight into his throat and severed his head from his neck.

He'd barely exploded into dust when he heard some of his vampire buddies making "What the fuck?" kinds of exclamations, and then a dark blur was on him as he rolled to his feet, personally startled that his reaction time was so slow. He knew he was usually much better than this; fucking injury.

The new vamp - a woman this time,Hispanic and apparently embracing the dominatrix look - kicked him in the face before he could fully get to his feet, and as he stumbled back in a bid to keep his balance, she spun into a roundhouse kick that caught him on the side of the head, right above his ears. If that hadn't rang his bells so much, he would have admitted it was an impressively good shot. "I think he's one of those fucking mutants!" She shouted back to the boss, as two other vamps came at him from behind.

"Take him out goddamn it! The Rhedoc's already poisoned his blood anyways!" Steve shouted back. "I want the girl! Maddie! Maddie, where the fuck are you?!"

"Fuck you, Lestat!" Maddie shouted back, but it sounded like she was still in the house. As far as he could tell.

Logan kicked the Hispanic vamp in the stomach, throwing her back as the two guys grabbed him by the arms from behind. He dropped instantly to his knees, making both vamps - who were not expecting that - lose their balance, and since Vampira had just recovered and spun into another kick, she accidentally nailed the guy who had his left arm square in the face. Although the pain was horrendous, he threw the vamp who had his right arm to the ground, and drove his left claw straight into his neck and ripped across the flesh. He had just exploded into dust when Vampira nailed him with another kick to the head that sent him sprawling. He realized suddenly that he was under the impression that female vampires were far more deadly than the male ones - why he didn't know, unless he'd never encountered a truly impressive male vampire - and he instantly regretted letting that one go at the bar.

What bar? When?

The dominatrix look wasn't just for show. Logan was aware that the woman had raised her boot high, and he was looking up at a stiletto heel that really was a stiletto when it started plunging straight down towards his face.

Luckily, some reflexes were inborn, no matter how bad off he was.

His left claw slashed up, and he met very little resistance as he swatted her foot aside like an annoying fly.

Vampira fell back hard on her ass, and looked stunned at the stump where her right foot had been a moment before. "My foot!" She cried in horror and indigence. "The pendejo cut off my fucking foot!"

"Stick somethin' in my face, and you pull back a bloody stump," he said. climbing to his feet. He knew it shouldn't be taking him this long. "Consider it a lesson."

"Wanna burn to death, Maddie?!" Steve was shouting at the house. "I'll get the Dragon's Eye either way, you stupid bitch!"

"Eat me!" She shouted in reply.

"I was planning to!" He shot back.

"Consider this a lesson," a vampire with a Canadian accent ( he knew he was still near the border ) snapped, as he swung a gun butt straight into his head. It shattered on the back of his skull like it was made from glass, and the vamp shouted out the now ubiquitous,"What the fuck?" but Logan could hardly capitalize on the moment, as the blow had honestly stunned him, flooding his vision with black motes and dropping him to knees even though he had just regained his feet.

Still, he jabbed his left claw back, and stabbed the guy straight through the leg. He let out a cry of pain, and as Logan tore the claw out, he heard the guy fall on his ass behind him. Hard to keep your balance with either a missing foot or a bifurcated kneecap.

Two dead, two down and out of the fight; only three to go.

He wondered if he'd remain conscious long enough to kill them first.


Scott had just been about to grab Rogue and try and protect her with his body as best he could ( with an entire roof caving in, he'd hardly be any protection at all ), when a pillar suddenly materialized within two feet of them, ice so thick he could feel the waves of cold air coming off of it, like someone had left the freezer door open.

Part of it cracked and shattered like spun sugar as the roof hit it, but Bobby was throwing out ice like his life depended on it ( it probably did ), and finally, as thick as any Ionic column on a stoa, the roof balanced and held on a thick pillar of semi-translucent ice, barely eight feet from the ground.

"Bobby," Rogue said proudly, and Scott knew he had probably won her undying admiration for that.

"I'm - I don't feel well," Bobby said in a strangely frail voice, and Scott turned in time to see the boy pitch forward to the floor. He caught him before he could hit the cracked cement face first.

"Oh my god!" Rogue exclaimed, seeming amazingly sober now. Intense fear could smack all the drunk out of a person in no time flat. "Is he okay?"

Scott hefted him up over his shoulder, equally glad the earthquake was down to little, distant trembles now, and that Bobby was a rather slight boy. "I think he pushed himself too hard, but he'll be okay once we get him back to the mansion." And although he still intended to ream him out for lying to them, breaking his agreement, and drinking, he also had to give him credit for saving everyone's life. He'd really done well, as far as that was concerned - he was proud of him. And he hated being mad at someone and impressed by them ( especially a student) all at once. It didn't really happen that often.

He looked up front and, setting his visor on a wide beam, blasted the front wall. Just like he expected, the tin wall tore away from the welds where it met the rest of the structure and went flying out into the night like the world's most ungainly kite. This elicited more screams from the terrified crowd, but as soon as they realized what he had done - opened up a much wider, faster exit - the crowd seemed to scramble to their feet en masse and make a break for it.

It looked like there were more of the pseudo-cops out if the parking lot, although that had been made into a sinkhole by the intense, well focused earthquake, and those that hadn't fallen in were sprawled all over the remainder of the lot like casually discarded toys. They tried to struggle to their feet to meet the sudden oncoming horde, but much of the crowd was in such a panic - cops and mutants in the same place at the same time - that if they tried to get in the way they were simply bowled over. As soon as he had a clear shot, Scott added to the confusion by blasting one of the fake police SUV's and sending it flying straight into another one, causing the violently fused metal hulks to roll into the street, making a couple of "officers" scramble out of its path.

They were Organization, weren't they? He bet they were. And the hate that welled up in him was so overwhelming and so sudden he was barely aware he was even picking them off, blasting any fake cop that fell into his line of sight. It was like taking down targets in a shooting gallery. He felt not a single iota of remorse for knocking these men way into next week. After all, he had to protect Rogue and Bobby, didn't he?

"The quake," Rogue said, apparently not caring that he was blasting all these men. "It wasn't natural. I think a girl in the club - "

"I know; I heard her too," he said, leading her out into the shattered parking lot. Either the remaining cops had scattered, or the sinkhole had swallowed quite a few of them. They must have thought they were ready for her, and clearly fell short; they probably weren't expecting other mutants to be on the scene as well.

"We should find her!" Rogue insisted. "Obviously she's in trouble! She must have gone out the back - "

"The Professor can find her with Cerebro," he assured her, feeling a sort of cold satisfaction settle in him as he realized he probably had gotten all the fake cops that earthquake girl hadn't managed to nail. But it was just the satisfaction of a job well done - protecting Rogue and Bobby. Nothing more than that. He wasn't Logan - he didn't take any pleasure in hurting other people, no matter what they may have done to him. "We have to get Bobby back, have Jean check him out." He didn't bother to add he had to get her back to the mansion as well; she'd been so argumentative and pointlessly rebellious lately. He wasn't sure if he should blame hormones, Bob, Logan, or all of the above for her new and combative attitude. "And do you really want to stick around and meet their back up?" If they were Organization, there'd be twice as many twice as armed, and four times as vicious.

Rogue harrumphed loudly, and Scott was willing to bet money she was now pouting, but she listened, maybe because it was Bobby who was hurt. He led her to his car, parked on a side street to avoid the clogged parking lot. It had been a fortuitous choice, since there was a crater where the lot was, and the street only had a few wide but negotiable cracks in it. If the car Bobby and Rogue "borrowed" for tonight still existed in one piece and above ground, they could come and get it tomorrow.

He laid Bobby out in the back seat, realizing for the first time that not only was he as white as snow, but there were crystals of frost glistening in his eyelashes. Had he not only over-extended himself, but briefly lost control of his freezing abilities? He had a good pulse, was breathing okay, and didn't seem to be any colder than a normal person, so Scott assumed he had exhausted himself before his powers could really rebound on him in a serious way. Lucky for him, and probably everyone else in the "club".

As he got behind the wheel, he suddenly wondered if Organization activity so close to the Xavier School was really just a coincidence.


Jack had just tucked into his lunch when he noticed the security cameras on the outer perimeter were all dead.

It wasn't a great loss - from north, south, east, and west, you saw the same thing: sand. Bloody sand as far as the eye could see. Broken Hill wasn't so much a town as it was a place where your car broke down, and you ended up stuck, trying to scratch up enough money to get the fuck out of here and go anyplace else. Except  Canberra, which - he knew from experience - was just as stultifying, only it had more plants and facades of civilizations. It was hard to fake things in Broken Hill - it was hard to do anything in Broken Hill. That's why they set up base around here.

Sometimes when the wind kicked up, sand got in the cameras and broke them. No matter how they tried to seal them up, sand seemed to get in. Sand seemed to be fucking everywhere, like it was a curse.

He put down his sandwich, wiped the mustard on his fingers off on his pantleg, and duly noted the time and
date of the failure, and added, where it said location of the camera, "Everywhere". Well, it wasn't the first time such a thing had happened. And then there was that time that stupid gecko shorted out half the building.

He went back for his sandwich when he noticed someone coming into the building through the internal security cameras. He just walked right in, like he belonged here, but it was clear he didn't. For one thing, he didn't have a security badge on. For another, who wore layers of clothing and leather in Broken flaming Hill anyways? The guy had to be roasting. And what the hell had happened to his hair?

He activated an internal com, and said, "Jules, you may wanna come see this."

It didn't take him long to respond. Within a minute he was there, his pinched, patrician face betraying more annoyance than usual. "What's the problem?" He asked, his tone suggesting that, whatever it was, it was his fault.

"Look what just waltzed in," he said, pointing out the guy having the bad hair day. How could Jules have missed him?

Jules stared for a moment, and Jack slowly realized his jaw had unhinged, and he looked a lot more pale than usual. His eyes were so wide he was surprised they hadn't fallen out onto the control panel and rolled around like marbles. "What? Who is this yobbo?"

"It's Wolverine," Jules breathed, using the same tone of voice he would have for, "It's the tax man."

The name was sort of familiar, but not enough for him to actually recall it. "And that's bad?"

Jules looked at him now, ferrety little eyes narrowing with hate. "Of course that's bad, you moron! How were we not notified he was in Australia? Shit - order a level five evac now, self-destruct protocol."

"What?" He thought level fives were mythical; something you had but never used, like a nuclear weapon. "He's just one guy with bad hair!"

"He's a flaming killing machine, which you would know if you ever read your goddamn memos! Order beta team to intercept him - at least slow him down before he can get to the rest of us."

"If he's just a mutant, why don't we - " But Jules didn't let him finish.