Continued from previous post...
A chime and the elevators doors opened onto a two station hangar on the top floor of the tower. Above, the ceiling was outfitted with an iris of retracting titanium plates. Directly under the iris was an X-Jet, a modified Blackbird jet fitted from passengers and vertical takeoff and landing.
Rictor ran straight to the entrance stairs and into the cockpit. He pulled a manual for underneath the control board, looking up the pre-flight checklist.
“You don’t know how to fly this thing?”
“M does. I just need to be her co-pilot.” M took her place as the controls. Rictor started hitting switches as fast as he could understand what they meant and eventually the iris in the ceiling began to open. “Sweet. We are outta here!” Rictor put a finger to his earpiece, “Hear that, Rankin? We’re out!”
Not waiting for a reply, M started takeoff, the thrusters underneath the wings and body pushing the jet up and out of the tower. As the rear thruster started up, a crimson blast of concussive force burst from the side of the building creating a wrecking ball sized hole in the tower. Mimic flew out heading towards the X-Jet.
“Jesus, did he have to blow another frickin’ hole in the wall? Buckethead’s hole was still open.”
“Nova, ass-clown, unless you want Mimic to catch you on the way down.”
“Boy, boys. Shut up. Except you, Nova. It’s time you tell us why we were almost killed.”
Nova brushed past Rictor’s shoulder and inserted a cord into his helmet and then into a data port on the X-Jet’s control board. Automatically, a monitor opened. “Sweet. Last night, I was on a camping trip with my brother when I heard a report about a wildfire picked up by my helmet. After I took care of it (pretty easy, I don’t mind saying) when the helmet intercepted an encrypted transmission from a spot where nothing should be.” As he spoke, a transfer began of four gigabytes of data from the helmet.
“Your helmet has a hard drive?”
“An alien hard drive, with a two terabytes of data, or something like that. It’s been adapted for human technology, but you never know with aliens. I was telling a story, wasn’t I? Can I finish?”
“Go ‘head, ass.”
A thud was heard throughout the cabin and M, who was doing very well blocking out the two men arguing next to her, piped up, “Mimic’s on the roof. He wants in.”
Rictor got out the co-pilot seat and went to the back. “Just tell M the rest.”
Nova sat, one leg on the armrest. “Anyway, the helmet was able to decode the encryption (not that easily, either) and traced to the signal to an A.I.M. lab in the mountains. I crashed the lab, used the helmet to hack the lab’s files and broke free, with that goon squad on my back. I never heard of A.I.M. attacking in numbers like that, though. They usually have some guys to hold guys like us at bay while the rest run.”
“Truly a mystery.” The computer chimed as the transfer completed, and M activated the autopilot, on a course for the area Nova found the lab. She opened the folder and it opened up to folder after folder all based around a project labeled ‘MODOA’. “Can’t be good,” Nova offered, pointing at the acronym.
“I’ve sent out an alert to the X-Men, Avengers and anyone in the area. I’ll see update with the coordinates for the A.I.M. lab. What can we expect?”
Just then, Rictor and Mimic walked into the cockpit. “They had an arsenal in there, lots of stuff I think they created themselves. They were geared up for a serious assault or to ward off one,” Nova replied. “And I think I saw a few tanks or something like it.”
“They’re going to know we’re coming,” Mimic offered. “They will have the base barricaded and whatever their plan is, it will be put in motion very soon.”
“That’s your criminal intuition talking?”
Mimic turned to Nova. “I have the collected powers of the original X-Men and everyone in this jet, he said eyes glowing. “Do not start something you can’t possibly win.”
“Enough bickering, children! We have to think of what to do, we’re here.” M landed the jet a half mile outside of the target area. “The jet can’t be picked up by radar or most detection systems. But with A.I.M., you never know.” The four disembarked and circled each other. Rictor had a portable computer with a holographic heads-up display, designed by Henry McCoy.
“Nova and Mimic, you two circle around from the flanks. Try to keep low, and alert the rest of us if you run into any trouble. Me and M will move pretty much straight in, through the forest.”
“They will see us coming and be on us like cousins on a will.”
“Of course. We’re the bait.”
A.I.M. Base Echo-Omega 5
“There are two people approaching from the south. Scans show they are mutants, designated as M and Rictor of the X-Men.”
“Nova must be with them, but hiding. Who knows who else they brought? Superheroes pop up faster than Starbucks. Activate the remaining troopers and the droids. Have a team stay back for defense but I want teams sweeping the woods for any intruders. Prepare the video feed. Time to start the plan.”
Scores of A.I.M. specially recruited from the military and mercenary outposts marched to the armory, where each were equipped with energy weapons or high-caliber machine guns (depending on specialty). From there, they separated into groups of foot soldiers or assault vehicle teams. They moved out, separating into different directions. A few squads stayed in a defensive formation around the entrances.