Sabretooth: Overdrive – Chapter 3 – To Kill the Dead

I see nothing in your eyes
and the more I see the less I like
Is it over yet, in my head?
I know nothing of your kind
and I won’t reveal your evil mind
Is it over yet? I can’t win

So sacrifice yourself
and let me have what’s left
I know that I can find the fire in your eyes
I’m going all the way, get away, please

You take the breath right out of me
You left a hole where my heart should be
You got to fight just to make it through
‘cause I will be the death of you

This will be all over soon
Pour salt into the open wound
Is it over yet? Let me in

So sacrifice yourself
and let me have what’s left
I know that I can find the fire in your eyes
I’m going all the way, get away, please

You take the breath right out of me
You left a hole where my heart should be
You got to fight just to make it through
‘cause I will be the death of you

I’m waiting, I’m praying, realize, start hating

You take the breath right out of me
You left a hole where my heart should be
You got to fight just to make it through
‘cause I will be the death of you

~ Breath (Breaking Benjamin)

*****************************************************************

Far too keyed up to rest, Bonnie hadn’t been able to resist exploring Victor’s suite. She’d been afraid to move or pick up the weird masks on display stands on the mantel over the fireplace, but she’d touched each of them and discovered they were carved wood. They seemed old, like museum pieces, and she suspected they weren’t reproductions. Every one of them was exotic, either from Africa or some Pacific island.

Mom would know, she thought, and sighed.

Two posters were framed on different walls. One was of the movie Oceans 11 in English and Japanese, and the other she didn’t recognize, showing a large profile of a Native American chief. There were no overhead lights, just small desk lamps dotted all over, and a surprising amount of candles. A trio of them was sitting on a cloth on the heavy coffee table between the brown leather couch and some stylish armchairs and ottomans. All the furniture looked antique and expensive – a world away in style from the brownstone apartment. She’d found clean sheets and remade the bed, finally noticing that the carved antique headboard was decorated with some kind of songbird.

Going by the bedding and décor in both places, he likes blue, red, purple, and earth tones.

Victor’s suite was one long rectangle, and since it had two very different fireplaces, she assumed it used to be two rooms. A huge pricey television on a stand sat in a corner in front of a large armchair, on the side with the smaller fireplace in a brick accent wall.

The wooden floor was covered by area rugs where the furniture was grouped into specific spaces. It had a private balcony – the way Victor had left, for some reason – but it was too cold to look around out there. She had noticed a chair and table, and a large crystal ashtray. She hadn’t seen him smoke, but the leather jacket he’d abandoned at the brownstone had smelled like cigarettes.

Bonnie smiled. Mom and Dad would freak over me bringing home a smoker. Maybe they wouldn’t even notice the fangs?

After browsing through shelves of very eclectic books and a scattering of odds and ends that rivalled her own knick-knack collection back home, she headed back into the closet that was almost larger than her apartment in New York. Drawers, shelves, and hangers held both casual clothes and some suits that probably cost more than her rent. Ignoring it all, she was drawn to take a closer look at the odd items on top of one dresser and hanging on the wall over it.

Wow. Those are kinky sex toys and … whips… She wasn’t sure what some of the items were for, but the whips gave her a shiver. Are they for the girl, or … for him?

Another mask hung with the whips, but this one was red leather and obviously intended to be worn by someone. She carefully picked up the shorter red leather whip with many lashes hanging from the handle and ran her fingers through them while she held it.

A cordless phone on another dresser rang and made her jump. She hurriedly hung the whip back up and answered it. “Hello?”

Victor’s voice answered, speaking her name with relief. “Bonnie.”

“Victor! Where are you?”

“Central Park, but that don’t matter, listen – are ya… Are ya feelin’ awright? Do ya feel okay? How’re ya feelin’?”

“Do I feel okay?” She left the closet and wandered out into the main room.

“Yeah, do ya – did Ruth, uh … did ya ever eat anythin’?”

“Did I eat –? Look, physically I’m fine, but … I’ve, I’ve had some time here…”

“Yeah?”

“Did you find out what’s going on? Who those men were, why they wanted to kill me? I know you’ve only been gone a couple of hours, but it – it feels a lot longer.” She could hear someone coming up the stairs. It was probably Ruth bringing the coffee she’d offered to make.

Victor sounded rushed and … worried. Worried for her? “Listen, ya just… Ya just stay where ya are, okay? Stay safe.”

Bonnie glanced behind her and saw Ruth come in with a steaming mug. Turning back to look at his wooden masks, she held the phone in both hands and lowered her voice. “Victor, I’m – I… Can’t we just leave? Just go somewhere, forget about all this?”

“Ya want t’… Ya want … t’ go away … with me?”

“Isn’t… Isn’t that … what you want…?” Her stomach flipped, afraid she’d gone too far.

His silence was broken in a rush. “I told ya before – an’ I meant it. I’ll keep ya with me, Bonnie. I’ll keep ya saf –” With a click, he was cut off.

“Victor? Hello? Hello?” She held the phone out and turned to look at Ruth. “What happened?” She tried to hit redial, but it did nothing. “Damn it! Why isn’t this working, Ruth?”

“I’m sorry, sweetie … call return is blocked on all the lines here.”

“Damn it.” She reluctantly traded the phone for the mug of coffee.

“You should try to rest. He could be hours yet. Feel free to keep exploring, though.” She gave Bonnie a wink and smiled.

“Will he be mad about that?”

“He wouldn’t have left you in here alone if he was worried about it.”

“Can I ask, um… What’s with the whips? Does he like to whip girls?”

Ruth chuckled. “Most of that is for the girls to use on him. Does that bother you?”

“No…?”

“All right, then.” Smiling again, she turned to go. “Let me know if you need anything, or come downstairs if you want company. I’m staying up until he gets back.”

“Okay. I might find something to read…”

When Ruth left and closed the door, Bonnie returned to the bookshelves. She was drawn to a ledger-type notebook bound in leather and opened it to find it full of handwriting. Carrying it with the coffee to the couch in front of the blazing fire, she settled in.

It didn’t seem to be a diary, or she would have put it back. It was notes, lists, and snippets of quotes from things like movies or classic books. The handwriting was a mess of sharp angles and large letters that slanted every which way. The words had been put down with such pressure that many of the end points had pierced the paper. Near the center, she found a list of odd words: Wolvie, Storm, Rogue, Cyclops, Beast, Angel, Phoenix, Cueball…

Sighing, she laid the ledger down open to the list as a feeling of restlessness crept over her. I know you had to go, but I need you to hurry back… She glanced at the neat bed and felt her face flush. I don’t care how strange this all is. I’ve never known a man like you, and I … want you.

*****************************************************************

He’d pulled the hood of his black raincoat up and put on sunglasses to keep the pouring rain out of his eyes. Since he’d left his phone locked up in his room, he had headed to the nearest working pay phone in Central Park to call Bonnie.

She had stunned him silent when she asked if they could go away together. He had tracked the approach of a large human male and his motorcycle, reeking of gasoline, steel, and sweat. The machine was turned off over on the main road and the man approached without fear.

Swallowing the growl to avoid scaring Bonnie, he was shocked when the man reached around him and pressed the toggle down to hang up on her while he was still speaking into the receiver.

“Okay, pal, that’s long enough, get off the damn – uh…” He backed away with one hand up to ward him off, the acrid stench of fear bursting from his soaking wet heavy body as Victor turned on him, glaring and growling.

Rough biker type, probly happy t’ donate ‘is motorcycle – after he learns some manners. He was fast, actually getting a punch in that broke Victor’s sunglasses before he knocked the bearded idiot to the wet walking path.

Frustration and anger sparked into a murderous ferocity with lightning speed as he used the man’s death to regain his chilly calm. Brute strength tore and rended far more than claws cut, and he dismembered the body almost before the man could finish dying. He let the rain dilute the blood and stuffed the parts he didn’t eat into a metal trash bin. Chuckling at the ‘put it here’ sign bolted to it, he bent down and picked up the fool’s keys.

Bonnie’s words still hung in his thoughts – confusing and exciting at once. He picked up the phone receiver and almost dialed the house again. Growling, he hung it up.

Those dead freaks won’t stop, so it’s up t’ me t’ stop ‘em. No point in chasin’ my tail or moonin’ ‘bout ‘til I can make ‘em gimme an antidote fer tha girl. Bullshit they didn’t make one – nobody smart ‘nuff t’ do what they’ve done is dumb ‘nuff t’ skip that step.

Leaving the biker’s parts in the bin, he walked off in the rain until he found the red and chrome Harley Davidson Softail. Snorting at the ridiculous flames painted on the tank, he threw a leg over and started it up. Bonnie had given him the address of the lab where she worked as they’d driven out of the city, and with a ride acquired, it wouldn’t take long to get there.

By the time he reached it, lots of him was soaked despite the raincoat, but his duffel bag was lined and the supplies were just fine inside it. He left the motorcycle just inside the treeline and hoisted the bag back over his shoulder.

Slipping a ring that looked like a golden flat disk onto his finger, he stood at the edge of the woods and watched the full moon settle over the complex.

Hidden between woods and a collection of landfills, the Infectious Diseases Research Center was dark except for security lights and the only multi-story building present. Every floor of that building was well-lit, but Bonnie had told him most of the staff left at sundown.

He had a lot of work to do before the real fun could begin, but if it all went according to plan, he’d be back with Bonnie and armed with a cure – unless Leonid had lied.

Don’t matter none if he did – they still need t’ die. Gonna be a pleasure showin’ ‘em they can.

He studied the complex and buildings with all senses open. Lifting his chin, he scented the air deeply, taking in all that the place could tell him. Folding his arms and giving a snort at their pathetic fortifications, he narrowed his eyes under the raincoat hood and glared.

“Knock, knock.”

*****************************************************************

Piotr and Aleksander patrolled the halls of the research center close to the empty front lobby. As they passed their comrades, all of them bristling with automatic rifles, they nodded to them.

“See, Creed’s got stealth written all over him,” Piotr said.

“Guy that big? You serious?”

“Bet your ass. Used to be Special Forces – now he’s a professional assassin. Plus, you know, he’s got the whole mutant thing.”

“But let me tell you, this place is wired,” Aleksander boasted. “Motion detectors, infrared, pressure plates … everything. We got it covered. Steathly or not, the second anybody tries to come through this door, we’ll know it.”

They turned to face the lobby doors and screamed when a massive fireball blew them inward and sent them flying.

*****************************************************************

The fireball knocked his two least favorite zombie boys to the floor, unconscious – but likely not for long. Tossing his hood back, Victor smirked as he picked up one of their assault rifles. Pleased when they came to and started struggling to rise, he opened fire on them both from a few feet away to keep them down a little longer. He tossed the rifle down as he reached behind him under his long coat to grasp the weapons hanging from his belt.

“Ya can have yer gun back.” Lifting a heavy steel wedge axe in each hand, he grinned down at them. “I brought my own toys.”

*****************************************************************

Cyril cocked his pistol behind Kalashnikov’s seat in the lab. The monitor before them showed the carnage happening in the lobby.

“Couldn’t have asked for better.”

Kalashnikov frowned at the monitor. “He won’t make it this far.”

“Sure he will – when I drag him in here by his head. Scientific acumen or not, ‘Kalashnikov’, you’re about to be very glad you brought me on board.”

*****************************************************************

Victor grinned at Aleksander as he watched the thing struggle up first with knife and pistol in hand.

Brandishing the blade, he yelled, “I’ll carve your damn eyes out, freak!”

“Shut up.” Victor threw both axes with all of his strength. One hacked off a wrist and the other lodged in the neck as the undead soldier’s weapons fell. He set both hands to the shaft of the axe and crunched it through to sever the head.

Piotr shot at him with a pistol and only hit Victor once, his aim wild. Grabbing up both axes, Victor leapt on him, hacking at his neck on either side. Kicking his fallen enemy over onto his belly, he set one axe against the back of Piotr’s neck and pulled the other one over his shoulder with the blade reversed to use it as a hammer.

“Now hold still…” With a satisfying thunk and crack, the head popped off and rolled, landing on the cheek that still bore Victor’s scratches from before.

Growling, he heard others coming. Their leader’s voice rang down the hall as they approached to investigate the explosion.

“The first team had this guy beaten, no problem. It’s just a matter of … of … my God…” They froze and stared.

Victor gripped the corpse of Aleksander by the jacket collar and lifted to pile him over Piotr’s body. He held up one of the axes in his other hand and showed it to them. “So – who’s next?”

*****************************************************************

Bonnie stared at the cordless phone receiver in her hand after she sat on the couch again next to Victor’s open ledger. Taking a deep breath, she dialed home.

Her father answered, and his voice made her loneliness worse. “Hello?”

“Dad?” She crossed her legs and held her ankle – a habit she’d had on the phone since she was little.

“Hi! Hang on, let me get your mother. Bev! It’s Bonnie on the phone! She’s going to the one in the bedroom, hon, hold on.”

The phone clicked and then her mother’s bright voice spoke. “Hey there! How are you?”

“Hi Mom. I’m good – just wanted to call … say hi.”

“Well, now, you don’t sound so good; I can hear it in your voice. What’s wrong? You’re not having trouble with your job, I hope? That what’s-his-name, Bedford? He’s not hitting on you, is he?”

She brushed her hair behind her shoulder and settled in. “No, no, Mom – everything’s, uh … everything’s fine. I don’t mean to sound down or anything. I just felt like talking a little… I miss you both. So how are things there? How’s your back, Dad?”

“Ah, it went out on me while I was gardening last week. Your mother told me not to do that – ”

“I told him not to do that.”

“– but I went to see Dr. Winters, and he got a good adjustment on it. Oh, by the way, I saw Jessica down at the pharmacy, and she told me to remind you about the five year reunion.”

“Oh – oh yeah. Yeah, I got the letter.” Feeling awkward, she started toying with her curls.

Her mother’s voice beamed in a sing-song through the phone, “I bet Jason Flemming’ll be there!”

“Mom…” Just the thought of Jason made her cringe after every amazing thing she and Victor had done.

“I know, I know, he’s not your ‘type’, but Bonnie, for the life of me … I’d like to see some grandbabies someday, you know.”

Thoughts of Victor’s gorgeous body pushed away her old annoyance with that line. “I’ll do my best, Mom. Who knows, maybe I’ve already met the right guy and I just don’t realize it yet.”

Her father swooped in with a welcome subject change. “Mrs. Robins misses you at the flower shop, did I already tell you that?”

“No, Dad. She does?”

“Said nobody could do arrangements like you. We miss you too, honey. Are you sure you’re all right?”

“Yeah, I’m fine. I just miss both of you and I wanted to say – wanted to say hi. I’ve gotta go, okay?”

“Okay, sweetie,” her Mom said. “We love you!”

“I love you too, Mom. I love both of you… I’ll try and come home soon, okay? Bye.”

After she hung up and set the phone on the ledger, she put her feet on the edge of the coffee table and leaned forward with her arms wrapped around her thighs. Her hair fell back over one shoulder again as she sat, trying not to feel the emptiness and fear.

This mess isn’t a game; those men really want to kill me. I don’t want them to hurt Victor again… She tried to think about home. Her parents, Jessica, and Mrs. Robins might be the only people she would miss if she could go away with Victor. What would they say if I asked him to go there with me, to meet them? Would he do that? What would they think if they knew I killed one of those men? Self-defense, but… Victor’s job is no game, either – how does a girl date a hired assassin? I don’t even know if he … cares – beyond sex.

Bonnie thought about everything he’d said, everything they had done. Her body was still a little sore but it also tingled at the memories.

He was a different person between the brownstone apartment and this … house. Telling me it’s okay to be the way I am and sharing that with me, I never knew I’d find a man like that. He’s no small-town ‘boy next door’ that’s for sure, and I don’t know anything about mutants except that they get discriminated against a lot. I guess I just have to find out who he is – if he’ll give me half a chance to do that.

Glancing around at the dim private suite he kept in a brothel, she shivered. She couldn’t imagine what his life was like, but it seemed … lonely.

Why would he be here enough to have a private room? The way he was in the apartment, as if he expected me to be afraid of him and tried to twist what I said when I called him beautiful – maybe he’s used to being treated badly, or called a freak? Is that why he has to come to a place like this? He sounded … surprised … when I suggested we go away together – like maybe he isn’t used to having anyone special. Just like me…

Men always wanted her, but after trying twice and hearing the same dismissive crap from both of them, she had started to believe they were right and stopped trying. There had been a time when she’d dreamed of many things, but her big plan to move to New York hadn’t been anything like she expected.

Small-town Jason Flemming or Big Apple Mark Bedford, I was the freak – until Victor came along…

The suite was quiet except for the crackle of the fire near her. She missed his voice … and she missed feeling safe in his arms.

“Victor … come back. None of this makes sense without you here with me…”

*****************************************************************

Victor left the piled corpses of two units of undead soldiers in the blackened lobby and began to hunt the rest through the dimly lit halls of the complex. His axes barely looked messy, but not one of those men had gotten up again.

Somewhere in this hive is a queen bee zombie, somebody with more’n orders an’ braggin’ skills in ‘is head. Going deeper into the maze of hallways, he sniffed again and finally caught the scent of a lone hunter like himself. Maybe I can get this one t’ take me t’ ‘is leader? Might be worth throwin’ tha fight t’ take out queenie. Holding both axes up, he called, “Awright – come on out.”

A shape leapt out of the dark and kicked him in the throat, knocking him back a few feet. Growling, he dodged the next kick, but missed in his attempt to cut the leg with an axe. He twisted to bring the other weapon up and his newest enemy chopped the axe head from the wooden handle like an undead Bruce Lee, punching him in the teeth at the same time and whipping his head back.

The attack that followed was a blur. The heel of a hand smashed into his chin, while a kick to the gut made him double over and drop the remaining axe. He gathered himself to jump and caught a boot in his crotch. Snarling when he hit the floor, he was shocked when he was lifted in a wrestling move and another Bruce Lee blow kneed him in the side of his neck. It hit a cluster of nerves and he shouted out in pain.

By the time he fell into a room off of the hallway and crashed into some sort of cart, his enemy moved to haul him up with an arm trying to crush his throat. The move was half special ops and half martial arts. The free hand grasped his wrist and clamped down on a pressure point before Victor could use his claws. Growling and seething, he was held still.

At his ear, the man spoke, barely out of breath. “The rest of these geezers thought they had it made – muscle memory and residual instincts, figured that was all they’d need. Picked their cute little Russian names for their new Spetsnaz bodies. Cowboys and Indians! Not me, my friend.”

The body behind him, almost as tall, but not as heavy, shifted his hold and lightened his grip. The moment Victor tried to use that, his weight was used against him again and the enemy pulled and twisted, bringing him down onto his belly and forearms. One arm shoved into his upper back, the strong body pinning him down.

“All my life, I studied. Wound down from the lab every day at the dojo – then took it into the field. I was carving up dogs like you before Khrushchev ever banged his shoe on the table.”

His other arm moved and Victor growled as he heard one of those heavy knives ring out of its sheath. It was lifted over the back of his neck.

Behind them, another scent entered the torn up room – a man with a pistol. “Let’s not be hasty. Drag him inside, would you?”

Victor’s first good look at his opponent was when he was dragged up and held by the throat in front of him. The fingers of the big hand were digging into other pressure points under his heavy jaw. He knew his claws wouldn’t cut the creature. Ears pinned and snarling through clenched teeth, he gripped the wrist.

“Why?” the soldier answered the man with the gun. “Why not kill him?”

“Because he killed some of us, and he’s still alive. That wasn’t supposed to happen.”

Victor’s roar was cut off when the hand was traded out for another brutal choke hold. He couldn’t breathe. Both hands gripped the forearm against his throat and tried to pull, but he couldn’t get a grip and the flesh wouldn’t cut under his claws. Flashes popped in his head as he fought to breathe. As an encroaching blackness began to take over his vision, he tried to stab his claws in.

The man with the gun wore a suit with a long lab coat and didn’t look like military as all the others had. His hair wasn’t as short and the fancy goatee was carefully trimmed. Gotta be tha boss – hiya, Queenie, he thought. He tried and failed to growl as the man continued to argue.

“Imagine what we could learn from this chap.”

The voice at his ear burst into the growing darkness. “Good point. Where do you want him?”

He was released and fell hard on his face, gasping for breath as he fought passing out.

“Um … nail him to the wall.”

~ ~ ~

The first thing Victor noticed when sharp pain helped him shake off the dark, was that he’d been tacked to the wall with surgical scalpels. Like most of Catholicism before them, they’d gotten the crucifixion bit all wrong – the shiny tools holding his arms out were piercing his hands, not hammered through his Adamantium-coated wrist bones. That suited him just fine.

Crouching on the balls of his booted feet with one hand on the seat of a chair was his assailant. He wore a black tank shirt, shaggy short hair, and the uniform pants and boots of the others. He was holding one of Victor’s axes, and had probably used its hammer end to attach him to the wall. Lab Coat still held his little pistol and stood in front of him looking menacing.

It’s cute, really. Casually setting one boot sole up on the wall behind him, Victor smirked. “So … I think I got this pieced t’gether now.”

Lab Coat looked smug. “Oh?”

“Ya rat turds are a bunch o’ scientists – old farts – an’ ya figured out how t’ put yer brains in young, strong, tough bodies. ‘Piotr’. ‘Aleksander’. Ya got yer hands on some Russian Special Forces troops, an’ ya cored ‘em. Did this t’ ‘em. Made yerselves int’ yer very own Frankenstein’s monsters.”

Sneering, Lab Coat stepped closer and got in his face. “And I was told your intellect was limited.”

Victor ignored the insult and smiled, continuing as if he hadn’t been interrupted at all. Smart fuckers hate that. “It makes sense – design yer own product, control tha distribution, answer t’ nobody. Be yer own enforcers, cut out tha middle-man. An’ runnin’ ‘round in those skins – that’s just gotta be some big fun, don’t it? Make ya feel like stud-bulls again? How long’s it been since ya could get it up, Doc?”

Frowning, he turned his back on Victor. “You know, Mr. Creed, I had intended to study you. Vivisect you. Record every bit of data concerning this ‘healing factor’ of yours…”

Been there, done that. “An’ this virus yer other boy told me ‘bout – tha one Bonnie’s ‘sposed t’ be carryin’. Ya do gotta antidote fer it, don’t ya? Yer not that stupid.”

Lab Coat set the pistol down and picked up a canister. He advanced and gripped Victor’s chin, holding the can with the little nozzle close to his nose. “…But instead, I think I’ll just give you a dose of this nerve gas. It’s lethal inside of three seconds. I don’t think you can quite compensate for that.”

“In fact,” Victor continued, blowing the threat off, “I bet ya tha antidote is in this lab with us. Maybe even in that locker over there.” Both o’ ‘em glanced at it, lookin’ spooked. Yep.

“So, you don’t even listen, while I tell you how I’m going to kill you?”

“Lease some space in a nice legitimate buildin’ under a dummy company’s name … quite tha setup. I don’t really need t’ listen, Doc.” Letting a smile show off sharp teeth, Victor pinned him with a predatory stare. “Why do ya think no outside alarms tripped when I blew tha first charge? I was in tha buildin’ fer half an hour before I knocked on yer door.”

He moved the ring finger and thumb of his hand and touched the gold ring with an Adamantium claw. A metallic ‘tik’ noise was all the warning they got before the lab exploded in another fireball through its back wall. In the distance, all of his randomly placed charges blew other parts of the building to bits.

The undead humans turned and dropped, protecting their heads. Victor yanked the holes in his hands off of the scalpel handles, grabbed the burning locker, and bolted out of the lab with it.

*****************************************************************

Cyril helped Kalashnikov to his feet as the man coughed in the aftermath. The lab was engulfed by smoke and still burning. The clean room had been utterly destroyed and the wall behind it was nothing but a jagged hole full of smoke. It would have to be abandoned and the project moved.

Kalashnikov sank onto the nearest bench in the hall outside of the lab, leaning on one forearm as he wheezed and continued to cough.

“Damn it. Damn it! Where is he? Where’d he go?” Cyril looked around them, angry and ready to fight.

Staring back at the burning lab, Kalashnikov muttered, “It doesn’t matter. We’ve got the girl.”

“Someone called it in?”

“Just before, yes.”

“He took the locker with the antidote. The research, records, and virus samples – it’s all destroyed!” Cyril cursed. “You told them to blow the place up when she was found. She’s our last sample of the virus, and he’s bringing her the damn antidote… We’ll have to start from scratch now.”

“We won’t, and that dumb animal is in for a surprise or two. Go back in there and get my radio. It seems we’ll need to play one more game of Cowboys and Indians after all.”

*****************************************************************

Driven downstairs by the quiet, Bonnie sat on a red armchair in a comfortable sitting room. Her head was starting to pound. She tried to massage her temple. Ruth had joined her and brought her another mug of coffee. There were windows everywhere, but she was tired of looking out of windows.

“You okay, sweetie?”

“Yeah, just a little headache – I’ll be fine.”

*****************************************************************

The trooper perched in a large tree and stared through the window into the house where two women were talking. The blonde was Hale, as the phone tappers had promised. He had reported to Kalashnikov when they reached the house, and now that they had proof, it was time to move his men into action and carry out orders. He picked up his radio.

“Target acquired. Begin setting the charges.”

 

*****************************************************************

Author’s Note: For my fellow history buffs, I’ll present a bit of trivia on Cyril’s boasts in this chapter. If you don’t care about such details, feel free to skip the following paragraph:

Khrushchev was a Russian politician who led the Soviet Union during part of the Cold War (he was replaced in 1964). His alleged shoe-banging incident, as cited by Wikipedia, occurred during the 902nd Plenary Meeting of the United Nations General Assembly in New York in 1960. Some sources tell of Khrushchev pounding his shoe on his delegate-desk over a speech by delegate Sumulong from the Phillippines on October 12th. Other sources say it was Britain’s Prime Minister Macmillian who set him off at the end of September. Sumulong basically accused the Soviet Union of “swallowing up” the rights of “the peoples of Eastern Europe and elsewhere”. Khrushchev rushed to the rostrum and denounced Sumulong as “a stooge” for the USA. Boland, the Irish delegate and Assembly President, sent Khrushchev back to his seat and allowed Sumulong to continue if he didn’t wander off-topic. Allegedly, Khrushchev pounded his fists, and then his shoe, on his desk as Sumulong continued to speak. Some accounts say this started a verbal row among members of the Eastern Bloc and Boland declared the meeting adjourned and slammed his gavel down hard enough to break it and sent the head of it flying.

Cyril was probably not a soldier in WWII, since he mentioned working in a lab and spending “his life” after work learning martial arts prior to the 1960 shoe-banging incident. He could have operated in the Cold War field in some hit man manner in the late 1950s at least, honing the skills he’d picked up in the dojo and the field and eventually using them to fight and technically beat Sabretooth. Personally, I think Sabey more or less was pulling his punches, so to speak, in a classic “trying to get captured to learn more info” manner. He’d already killed some of these zombie guys, and he regularly fights and often beats Wolverine, so Cyril simply isn’t the guy to beat him under normal circumstances, and later on, of course, Victor hands him his ass.

As for the non-PC “Cowboys and Indians” references I retained from the comics, these are bad guys who don’t care about being politically correct. Thanks for reading, and if you slogged through my history trivia, extra thanks for that. – AnonGrimm (@MET_Fic)

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