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The Red Queen Chronicles: The Lost Son

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The Red Queen Chronicles: The Lost Son
Chapter 2: Dangerous Games

Pierce Robotics Research Lab – One Week Ago

“Please…give me more.”

“Can’t…stop. Can’t…go on.”

“Don’t know…how much…more I can take.”

Those slurred, muffled words echoed throughout the lab, much to Romulus’ satisfaction. The final test had gone even better than he’d hoped. The synthetic pheromones that he’d spent so much time refining worked perfectly. His plan had evolved a great deal over his long and brutal life, but the ultimate payoff was within his grasp.

“You hear that, Daken?” he said to the younger man standing next to him. “This is thanks largely to you. Your mutant ability to produce pheromones was the final key. Thanks to the late Donald Pierce’s contributions, their true potential can be unlocked!”

Daken Akihiro – the colorful, yet charismatic son of Wolverine – stood stoic and still as he watched the scene before him. Romulus didn’t expect much of a reaction, having maintain a firm control over him since long before his plan took shape. He still hoped a part of him could appreciate the spectacle that had played out in the confined lab.

It wasn’t as elaborate or messy as other experiments involving Weapon X. In a large area once used to test cybernetic implants, there were six clear plexiglass cells that measured only three meters by three meters. Within those confined areas where a collection of random individuals that the Reavers – who Romulus took control of after Pierce’s death – had plucked off the streets. They consisted of prostitutes, runaways, and a few low-level thugs from the Yakuza, none of which would be missed. Their lot in life didn’t matter. Only their role in his plan mattered.

After knocking them out and putting them in the cells, Romulus let them wake up. He’d even given them a good ten minutes or so to yell at him, cuss him out, and beg for their release.

“You sick fuck! Let us out!” said some random run-away.

“You have any idea the kind of people I know?” said a low-level Yakuza enforcer.

“I’ll kill you, I swear!” said an angry female prostitute.

“Please! I’ll do anything you want…anything,” said another prostitute.

Romulus didn’t say a word. He just stood next to the control panel, let them try to escape their confinement in vain, and then flooded their cells with the pheromone. The results were both immediate and impressive.

In an instant, everyone in the cells stopped yelling. They then moaned and groaned, writhing in discomfort as though something had crawled into their brains. Some resisted more than others, but the end result was the same. Once the pheromone took hold, they all played their part.

First, they all stripped naked, tearing their clothes off as if they were on fire. Then, they turned to whoever happened to be in their cell with them and started having sex with them. It wasn’t chaotic or random, either. They went at it as though they were following a script that had been laid out to them. Unlike psychic manipulation or mental conditioning, it was not a case of mind and body subverting one another. It was perfect, unfettered control.

Each subject played their part to perfection. One Yukuza enforcer had been on top of a prostitute for nearly three hours now, still fucking her at the same fervent pace. A young runaway lay on his back, remaining still and prone as another female prostitute kept riding his cock as she’d been riding it for hours. Another enforcer had a runaway woman on her hand and knees while he stood behind her, fucking her ass without a moment’s rest. One of the other cells even had two women who had been giving each other oral sex for hours on end, barely even pausing to breathe.

The pheromones did more than give them the insatiable urge to fuck. They had been targeted in a way to affect them in specific ways. For some, it rendered them submissive and prone. For others, it made them more active and aggressive. In both cases, their minds and bodies were directed towards a singular purpose. While it did cause plenty of strain, as evidenced by the grunts and grimaces on the face of every subject, they still did what Romulus wanted. They were completely under his control.

“You might be thinking they’re just reacting the way your lovers react,” Romulus said to Daken, making sure he never turned away. “I know how you’ve employed your pheromone powers in the past. You see someone you want. You target your pheromones accordingly. You guide them into feeding your desires. It doesn’t matter if they’re men, women, or something else entirely. You use it to get what you want.”

He wasn’t telling Daken anything he didn’t already know. Romulus had seen him recklessly indulge with his power, whether it was in shady bars in Madripoor or on some elaborate mission. He knew how to use his pheromone powers to feed his selfish whims, but even those efforts only went so far. Romulus dared to take it even further.

“You’d still be wrong if you thought that was all I’d done with your talents,” said Romulus. “You may create desire and vulnerability in others, but they still retain control over their bodies and minds. That is the limit of targeted pheromones…at least, until I came in.”

Romulus stood behind Daken and put his hands on the younger man’s shoulders. He felt in his flesh the same strength and power that he’d sensed in Wolverine. He also sensed a burning desire to fight such control. He even noticed Daken’s fist clench, hinting at the burning resentment inside. That didn’t matter, though. It only further proved his point.

“These refined pheromones…the kind that Weapon X failed to develop,” he went on. “They do more than just guide desire. They overwrite it. They tap into the same instincts that no human, mutant, or sentient creature of any kind can resist and mold it to perform a task. For some, that task is mere obedience. For others, it’s more elaborate.”

He had Daken watch more decadence unfold. By now, the strain on all the test subjects was apparent. They all had dazed vacant expressions. Some were even drooling, the line between pain and pleasure having long since disappeared. The pheromone had made it so orgasms and strain came in cycles. It was either one or the other for them with nothing in between. Their bodies were like machines stuck in certain settings and their minds trapped in two states.

“Pain…pleasure…too much,” one of the prostitutes moaned.

“Please…make it stop,” said one of the men.

Romulus just grinned and shook his head. That was the only part of the process he hadn’t perfected. Even though the pheromone induced near-perfect control of mind, body, and desire, some traits remained active. The ability to speak was one of them, but Romulus didn’t mind that. It was a minor inconvenience at best.

“Their bodies are going beyond their limits. Their minds are shackled by their desires,” he continued. “Instinct binds them together, so much so there’s no hope of escaping it. Their thoughts may be desperate, but instinct and desire always win out. And on the off-chance you don’t appreciate the breadth of my control, allow me to make one last demonstration.”

The imposing figure stepped back from Daken, but made sure he was still looking at the test subjects in their cells. As they kept fucking each other in an endless stream of decadence, he made a quick adjustment to the control panels that fed into the pheromone dispensers. Then, with the push of a button, he initiated the last part of the experiment.

A sharp hissing sound briefly filled the lab. At the top of every cell was a special dispenser that had been flooding the cell with pheromones since the test began. Those same dispensers made an ominous noise that sounded like an alarm. It signaled that a different blend of pheromone had just flooded the chamber…one that had a very different effect.

“Hnn…that smell,” one of the women groaned.

“It smells like…” began another.

However, that was all they got out. As soon as the pheromone took hold, each one of the test subjects froze in place. Then, their eyes widened, their faces contorted, and a new instinct took over.


That sounds – the same sound that resembled the berserker rage of Wolverine, the original Weapon X – rang out from within each cell. Romulus’ smile widened as he watched these ordinary people, who had never even been conditioned at the level of Weapon X, erupted into a murderous rage that would’ve made Wolverine cringe.

Now, instead of fucking each other to no end, those in the cell relentlessly attacked, fighting each other like a bunch of wounded animals. Like their sex, it wasn’t chaotic. It was targeted. They attacked each other in a specific way, biting and scratching at each other’s faces. Blood soon gushed from open wounds. Cries of pain mixed with roars of rage.

Finally, once again following a script, they each grabbed one another’s throat and squeezed with all their might. Just as before, they were unable to resist. They followed their murderous desires, even when their bodies and minds urged them not to. Within moments, their cries fell silent. Their eyes rolled into the back of their heads. There were only a few bloody coughs before they all fell limply to the floor.

A deathly silence followed. Romulus lingered in that silence with Daken, even savoring it as they took in the bloody scene. It was so brutal and bloody, but it proved his point beyond any further doubt. It also sent a clear message to Daken.

“I trust I’ve made my point,” Romulus told him, finally breaking the silence.

“Hnn,” was all Daken got out.

“I’ll take that as a yes…not that it matters,” he scoffed. “Now, come with me. There are a few things I need to show you before we proceed. For what I have planned for you and your father…well, let’s just say you’ll need to be equipped.”

Pierce Robotics Corporate Headquarters – Present Time

The ride from the airport to the site of the auction had been uneventful. Mary Jane wasn’t sure if that were a good or bad sign, but she tried not to think in such terms. Having gone into plenty of dangerous situations as a prostitute, she understood better than most that dread was first step vulnerability and whether she was a prostitute or the Red Queen, she could not be vulnerable.

‘I’m almost there,’ Mary Jane said via telepathic link. ‘These are the fancier parts of Osaka’s business district so expect the psychic dampening fields to go up fast.’

‘Yeah, I can already sense it,’ Jean replied. ‘There was even some in your limo. Emma and I are having to combine our efforts just to keep the link open.’

‘Oh, stop complaining, Jean. We’ve seen each other naked and pinched each other’s tits,’ Emma said coyly. ‘This should NOT make you uncomfortable.’

‘Stay focused, Emma. My concerns have less to do with comfort and more to do with timing. We’re keeping our distance as best we can, but we’re really cutting it close here. As soon you see your opening, Mary Jane, you need to take it.’

‘No need to add to the pressure, Jean. I know my role. Just tell me my cover is still intact,’ said Mary Jane.

‘If it weren’t, you wouldn’t have gotten two blocks from the airport,’ Emma said. ‘Those favors we called in are working. Officially, you’re a designated liaison of holding company that took over Shaw Industries after Sebastian’s untimely passing.’

‘I’m not sure I want to know how you pulled THAT off, but I’d be lying if I said I weren’t curious.’

‘I’ll share all the shady, but legal business tactics with you later. All you need to know is that you’ve got the authority, credit history, and connections to rub elbows with this sinister crowd…among other things. That disguise we provided you will ensure you’re not recognize on the wholly possible chance you’ve slept with one of these men at some point.’

Mary Jane wanted to roll her eyes at the White Queen’s remark, but she made a valid point. During her days as a prostitute and a stripper at the Hellfire Club, she served more than a few dangerous figures. Given her skill and effort, she made quite an impression on her clients. That was good for her business as a sex worker, but it might work against her for this mission.

That was why, before she evens stepped off the plane, Emma and Jean fitted her with a special necklace that had been disguised as an overpriced piece of jewelry. It contained an image inducer, courtesy of Beast from the X-men. In fact, the one she used belonged to Nightcrawler, but had been modified to project a very particular image.

Looking at her reflection in the window of the opulent limousine, she saw a face that wasn’t hers and wouldn’t be recognized, even by someone she’d slept with. Her skin complexion, eyes, cheek bones, and hair style had all been changed. She now resembled a young brunette woman with short hair, dark lipstick, and dark eyes. While her body and attire remained unchanged, she looked less like the Red Queen and more like someone’s big-breasted secretary.

“I can make this look work,” Mary Jane said to her reflection.

Her appearance was the easy part, though. There were other parts of the plan that required more than just tact.

‘They’ll probably test you for mutant abilities, weapons, and a wire at the gate,’ Jean continued.

‘Will that involve stuff with a rubber glove? Because that might step up the time tables.’

‘Sorry to disappoint, but they’ll probably have something more high tech than that,’ said Emma.

‘Once you’re inside, the clock starts,’ Jean continued. ‘The first thing you’ll need to do is confirm Logan is there. Our sources have given us plenty of hints, but we need confirmation. As soon as we have that, we’ll act.’

‘You really think they’ll be that transparent?’ asked Mary Jane.

‘They’ll have to be,’ said Emma. ‘For shady auctions like this, they need the goods to be on-site and verifiable. Otherwise, nobody would bid a penny.’

‘And we can’t let the bidding start,’ said Jean. ‘If we let it get to that point, it’ll already be too late. That’s why you’ve got to make your move before that. You need to find a way to short out the security system so…’

Unfortunately, that was as far as Jean got. Shortly after the limousine turned off the main road and onto a private street, the telepathic link faded like a phone losing service. Mary Jane briefly tried to re-establish contact, clutching her temple and trying to refocus her thoughts. It was no use, though. Outside, the limo had already pulled into the shadow of Pierce Robotics’ corporate headquarters.

“Are you all right back there, ma’am?” asked the limo driver, who bore a uniform that identified him as one of Pierce’s old Reaver.

“I’m fine,” Mary Jane said, maintaining her cover. “I’m just a little jet-lagged. My associates were very anxious to partake in this meeting. They did not give me much time to prepare.”

“I promise there’s a reason for that…one you don’t need to know,” the driver said. “If your associates are as well-connected as I’ve been told, then I think you’ll find our hospitality is worth the lag.”

“It damn well better be.”

She tried to sound menacing and not in a seductive way, for once. It silenced the driver so she must have done enough. She’d learned more from Emma Frost than she realized. Hopefully, that was the only trait she’d to do her part.

Gazing outside, the Red Queen watched as the limousine drove past a secure gate, which was guarded by more Reavers. Unlike the driver, their cybernetic arms were clear for anyone to see. Whoever was behind the auction wasn’t taking any chances. He probably had an army of Reavers guarding every floor, ready to strike on a moment’s notice. The danger could only escalate from here on out.

Mary Jane remained calm, pretending to be an overpaid consultant who just flew halfway around the world on behalf of nefarious people with too much money and time on their hands. After passing through the secure gate, the limousine entered an underground parking garage. However, it looked less like a garage and more like a hanger for a military operation.

She saw more Reavers walking around, manning advanced combat vehicles and security positions. Near as she could tell, there was enough firepower to take over Osaka by the end of the night. It might have just been a way to let all the bidders know that they were in a secure area and any effort to undermine that would not be tolerated, but Mary Jane assumed that showing off so much firepower was meant to send a subtler message.

‘Looks like Jean and Emma have their work cut out for them. Then again, if I do my part well, it won’t be any harder than it has to be.’

The Red Queen maintained her poise as she took in more of her surroundings. As the limousine pulled up to a loading area, she noticed that a few other representatives had already arrived. She saw people bearing the insignias of Hydra, AIM, the Humanity Coalition, the Serpent Society, the Kingpin, the Hand, and several other organizations she didn’t recognize, but had probably clashed with Spider-Man at some point. She might have to resist the urge to deck some of them in the jaw.

“There better not be anyone from Oscorp,” she muttered under her breath.

She waited for the limousine to come to a complete stop. Then, the driver got out and opened the door for her. Mary Jane, checking her disguise in the mirror one last time, gathered a purse and a tablet computer that Emma had provided. Upon stepping out, she quickly found herself surrounded by representatives of some of the most sinister organizations on the planet. Even for the Red Queen, it was a daunting moment.

“Please make your way through the lobby,” the driver told her. “The auction will begin in a half-hour. Our benefactor has prepared accommodations and refreshments in the main ballroom.”

“How generous of him,” said Mary Jane, doing her best Emma Frost impression. “I’m tempted to ask his name, but I presume I’m better off not knowing.”

“And you’d be correct,” said the driver. “There will be no names exchanged or spoken at any point during the process. Only the product and the means of payment matter here.”

“As it should be,” said Mary Jane. “The people I work for are very results-oriented. I intend to deliver and look good doing it. That’s what they pay me for.”

The driver cracked a smile. She even sensed him looking down her blouse, which Mary Jane purposefully left unbuttoned to show some of her cleavage. That was an encouraging sign. It showed that, despite being cybernetically enhanced, the Reavers retained some of their biological vulnerabilities.

‘They’re cyborgs, ninjas, and terrorists…but they’re still men. I can work with that. I just need an opportunity. It’s like Peter once told me. Good heroes make the most of their luck, but responsible heroes make their own.’

Pierce Robotics Main Lab

“Is he ready?” asked an impatient, but eager Romulus.

“Just a few more minutes, sir,” said an anxious female doctor.

“You have 60 second. Make them count.”

Those harsh words got the woman working faster. The time was almost upon them. Romulus’ extensive efforts were about to bear fruit. Wolverine had done plenty to delay it, having undermined his plans on more than one occasion. However, it was only a matter of time before he succumbed. He thought he could escape the web of lies that Romulus had carefully laid out for him. He thought wrong.

The extent of his foolishness was apparent as he stood in the center of a metal platform, still as a statue and utterly obedient. He was fully conscious, albeit to a point. He’d been so heavily dosed with the pheromone that he might as well have been lobotomized. The man that had gone by so many names – Logan, James Howlett, Patch, and Wolverine – had been effectively locked in the mental equivalent of an adamantium cage. In his place was a creature of raw instinct and perfect obedience.

“Weapon X…the Wolverine…kuzuri…the wild man,” Romulus said to the stoic figure, “no matter what you called yourself, you could never escape your fate. You were always a part of someone else’s plan. Fight it all you want. Become a loner, a hero, or a brute. You were always going to end up like this.”

Logan’s blank expression twitched, hinting at some lingering resistance within. Romulus imagined he was practically raging within, a caged animal fighting desperately to get out. That animal might have escaped in time to slay the likes of Weapon X. It would not succeed against him.

Romulus glared at the doctor and her various support staff as they fitted several IVs into Logan’s arms, legs, neck, and torso. They worked quickly, operating the various medical equipment within the lab to pump his prized subject with a concentrated dose of pheromone that would render him completely obedient. From here on out, it wouldn’t matter how much he raged or resented his captivity. His baser instincts would keep him in check. That made him the most valuable asset in his arsenal, one that many would pay handsomely to possess.

Given how Logan had undermined his efforts before, it was both fitting and overdue. He needed to recoup some of the cost that went into conditioning him. If the pheromones proved effective, then the payoff would be immense and not just in terms of money.

As Romulus contemplated that payoff, he turned towards Daken, who had been standing obediently by his side since Logan first arrived. It was disappointing that he had to exercise such harsh control over Daken. He’d hoped to avoid that, even going through the trouble of convincing him that Logan was responsible for his mother’s death. That proved ineffective and potentially damaging, but Romulus still intended to get some use out of Logan’s bastard.

“I suppose it’s both fitting and tragic that your son will endure a similar fate,” Romulus went on, “but don’t worry. Daken will still fit into my plan…just not in as much as I’d hoped.”

As the doctor finished injecting Logan, Romulus retrieved another vial of the pheromone from a nearby synthesizer. His gaze then narrowed on Daken, who’d been staring at his father for much of the process.

He couldn’t help but wonder how such a colorful, yet damaged man viewed his father now. At one point, he hated him with such a passion. Romulus tried to exploit that hatred, but it only went so far. His feelings for his father might very well be more complicated, but it still didn’t matter. He still had a purpose to serve.

“I know you’d rather see your father get auctioned off, like the meat puppet he was meant to be,” said Romulus, “but I need you to be on guard. Despite all the precautions I’ve taken – including, but not limited to the complete take-over of Donald Pierce’s Reavers – I’m not so foolish to think that’ll be enough. Someone will be foolish enough to try and stop this. Of that, I’m certain. That’s why I need you to be my wild card, Daken.”

Romulus then opened the vial of pheromones and waved it under Daken’s nose. The effects were almost immediate. The rebellious, but misguided young man clenched his fists, drawing the unique set of claws that so reflected his heritage to Logan. His face also tensed with a mix of rage and resentment.

“Errr!” Daken growled with a fervor that would’ve made his father proud.

“I know you hate it, but trust me. Resisting only makes it worse,” said Romulus. “I need you to patrol the perimeter. Monitor everything and everyone in the building. If anyone or anything dares interrupt…well, I trust you’ll instinctively know what to do.”

With a snarl and a growl, Daken stormed out of the lab like an angry dog that had been let go. Romulus just watched and grinned, confident that even if someone were foolish enough to attack, they wouldn’t get far. His plan was too complete and his control too strong. Anyone who undermined that would face a wrath like no other.

“Sir…he’s ready,” said the anxious doctor, having injected the last of the pheromone into Logan.

“Excellent!” said Romulus as he signaled the Reavers to assist him. “Now go! Tell the rest of the staff to maintain the perimeter while I escort our prize to the auction. I wouldn’t want my prospective buyers to get restless, after all.”

Pierce Robotics – Main Ballroom

“I don’t know about you guys, but I’m getting bored,” said Mary Jane Watson as she sat casually at the open bar.

“We’ve only been here for fifteen minutes,” said a representative of AIM. “How can you possibly be this impatient?”

“Patience may be a virtue for you science types, but for my people…not so much,” she quipped.

So far, Mary Jane had played her part well. Nobody had uncovered her identity. Nobody had tried to kill her either. In a room surrounded by Hydra agents, AIM representatives, Hand ninjas, the Serpent Society, Kingpin henchmen, and representatives from any number of known terror organizations, it counted as an accomplishment. She was still playing a dangerous game and working against the clock.

Just getting to the main ballroom had been a test of nerves. After entering through the underground parking garage, she’d stood behind an accountant from Hydra and in front of someone claiming to be an officer from the Serpent Society as they went through multiple layers of security. It was both nerve-racking and painfully thorough.

Every weapon had to be surrendered at the gate and every electronic device had to be scanned. That didn’t bother Mary Jane, but it certainly upset representatives from the Hand that they couldn’t bring their katanas into the auction. Beyond that, there were several gates, each guarded by a contingent of Reavers and a series of scanners, each looking for various threats. Mary Jane had to regulate her heart rate and hide her nervousness with every scan, trusting that Emma and Jean’s counter-measures were effective.

Just as Emma suspected, Donald Pierce had invested quite a bit in screening everyone who entered the building. That included X-rays, full-body scans, X-gene detection systems, and nullifier fields for anyone attempting to smuggle in energy weapons. Through that arduous process, she made it to the ball room in one piece where she immediately went to the open bar to get a drink. From there, it was a matter of waiting for the right moment and making the right move.

‘Emma and Jean are probably getting pretty anxious. I haven’t even confirmed Logan is here. I’ve either got to buy time or get lucky…and I hate relying on luck.’

Mary Jane took another sip of her martini, which was being served by a Reaver with multiple arms behind a fancy bar. Looking around, the Red Queen scrutinized her surroundings in search of an opportunity.

The ballroom of Pierce Robotics’ corporate headquarters was better than most, but still not the fanciest Mary Jane had ever seen. It was pretty spacious, built with professionalism and comfort in mind. It had the bar in the back, a series of fancy tables scattered throughout the area, some music from a speaker system, and a buffet line on the east wing. At the front of the room was a large stage area lined with tables and computer equipment. It reminded Mary Jane of some of the award ceremonies that big companies threw. She knew because she’d acted as dates for some deep-pocket executives during her time as a prostitute.

The difference between those gatherings and this was the mood. There was nothing festive or celebratory among the crowd. Everyone seemed to be suspiciously eyeing one another, questioning the value of the auction in the first place.

“This better not be a waste of time,” said a well-dressed representative from the Kingpin to one of his associates. “These dark auctions are really hit-or-miss and the boss hates missing.”

“Yeah, especially lately,” said his associate. “Heroes, mutants, and vigilantes are really cutting into profits. Hell, even Hydra is feeling it.”

“I heard that!” said a nearby Hydra representative. “I assure you, we are as strong as ever…especially compared to petty criminals.”

“Says you,” scoffed someone from the Humanity Coalition. “You see what happened to the Purifiers recently? They thought they were pretty strong too.”

“And you think you can take their place?” teased a green-skinned figure from the Serpent Society.

“We’re trying,” he said, “just like I’m sure your folks are trying to take Roxxon’s place. How’s that going, by the way?”

The Serpent Society figure hissed at the man, as only a snake-man could. Mary Jane bit her tongue to keep herself from commenting. She knew about some of those details, having helped contribute to both the fall of Roxxon and the Purifiers. Jean had warned her that the Humanity Coalition was trying to fill the void with their Predator X program, but they were a shell of what the Purifiers had been. Based on mood, pretty much every organization felt the same.

‘They’re all really anxious and desperate. That must mean my work with the Hellfire Club is making a dent. All the more reason to NOT get caught here. At least now, I know why they’re taking a chance with an auction like this.’

The tension was palpable. Mary Jane finished her drink quickly, which helped calm her nerves. That put her at an advantage, but it wouldn’t do her much good if she didn’t make a move soon.

As she twirled her empty glass in hand, she turned back towards the bartender to request another drink. She then noticed him step back for a moment and activate a wrist-mounted communicator. He was talking under his breath due to the music, but Mary Jane was close enough to listen in.

“Yeah, they’re all here, but speed it up! They’re getting restless and skeptical,” the bartender said. “Better get the merchandise out on stage fast. Once they see the legendary Wolverine all quiet and obedient, they’ll get with the program.”

Mary Jane’s hid a subtle gasp. That officially completed the first part of her mission. She confirmed that Wolverine was in the building. Emma and Jean had worried that Logan might have been hidden somewhere far away so that the auction could be held remotely. That might have even been the initial plan, but no evil organization – especially not a desperate one – would’ve placed a bid if they couldn’t confirm it was real.

It came as both a relief and a telling sign. Logan being on-site meant that the mission involved more than just infiltration. It was also a rescue mission. That raised the stakes and stepped up the time tables.

“How much longer? Really? Another ten minutes?” the bartender groaned. “Tell boss he better hurry. The food, drinks, and music aren’t helping. I don’t care if he guts you on the spot, we need to get the party going here!”

Whoever was behind the auction sounded pretty ruthless. The bartender, despite having cybernetic enhancements, sounded terrified at the prospect of upsetting him or the guests. Looking back at some of the nefarious guests, she sensed everyone’s patience wearing thin.

“These cyber men are so clumsy,” said a female representative of the Hand, who sat a few seats down from her. “I swear they’ve all been tripping over their gears since the fall of Donald Pierce.”

“On top of that, their choice in hard liquor is awful,” added Mary Jane.

“Don’t get me started. If they’re this cheap with their drinks, then it’s no wonder they’re having an auction,” the woman said.

“Everybody needs funding, I guess,” said an AIM scientist who was working on his third drink. “Too bad accommodations are the first thing to go.”

“I’d stab someone if my people weren’t so intent on new resources!”

The two angry figures glared at the bartender, who was still arguing with someone over his communicator. Mary Jane saw some sweat forming on his forehead. He was nervous and the impatient crowd of super-villains wasn’t helping. It was the first time the Red Queen felt that she actually had an advantage.

At that moment, an idea came to her. The bartender mentioned that the merchandise – which she now knew was Logan – wouldn’t be out for another ten minutes. Jean and Emma told her that if she let the auction began, then it was too late. She had to pull out and they had to find another way to save their friend.

However, ten minutes was a lot of time for her, a former prostitute and self-proclaimed party girl. Seeing so much tension and desperation in the room, she saw an opportunity to exploit it and she took it.

“You’re both right. This is unacceptable,” said Mary Jane, pretending to be appalled as she slammed down her empty glass. “If our gracious host won’t accommodate us, then I guess we’ll have to take matters into our own hands.”

“And just how are you going to do that?” asked the female Hand representative skeptically.

“Watch me!”

With the confidence and bravado of the Red Queen, Mary Jane stormed across the room and towards the stage. Along the way, she passed by a Reaver who had been playing the music and guarding the rear exits. As she approached, she undid another button to her blouse, showing more of her cleavage. She then leaned over and made a request.

“Do me a favor, Mr. Cyber Stud,” she said in a seductive tone. “Play something louder and faster…something that’ll make it more fun to get out of these itchy, overpriced clothes.”

The Reaver, who had mechanical legs, but plenty of male hormones, just looked at her dumbfounded and nodded. The fact her breasts were just a few inches from his face when she made that request probably influenced him too.

“Uh…yes, ma’am,” the Reaver said.

She flashed him a coy grin before casually jumping up on the stage, grabbing a half-empty water bottle that had been left there by another Reaver. There was also a microphone near a podium on the stage. She grabbed that, tapped on it to get the attention of everyone in the ballroom, and made her move.

“Hey! I don’t know about you guys, but I’m tired of waiting for the goods,” Mary Jane shouted to a confused, but curious audience. “I say if our gracious host is going to test our patience, then we should at least make the most of our time.”

At first, there was confusion and some annoyance from some of the more uptight individuals, especially from Hydra and the Hand. Mary Jane, having an uncanny talent for affecting those types of people, channeled her stripping talents from her days at the Hellfire Club.

As soon as the Reaver she flirted with earlier started some music – specifically, music that actually had a rhythm and a base to it – Mary Jane took the bottle of water and poured it over her blouse. Almost immediately, the thin fabric clung to the outline of her breasts. It also revealed to anyone nearby that she wasn’t wearing a bra underneath. That drew intrigue from even the uptight figures in the crowd.

“What the hell is she doing?” said the woman from the Hand.

“I don’t know, but I like it!” said a Hydra representative.

As the music started playing, Mary Jane began dancing. She swayed her body to the hard, face-paced rhythm of the music, setting a very sensual tone and drawing more attention. At one point, she turned around and bent over, giving everyone nearby a quick peak up her skirt, revealing that she wore a very revealing thong. That elicited the first round of cheers.

“That ass,” said a thug from the Kingpin, “where do I bid on that?”

“I bet the Kingpin would pay top dollar for that too,” said one of his associates, who shoved his friend aside to get a better view.

“Now this is my kind of hospitality!” said a male Hand enforcer.

“I’m curious,” said a man from the Serpent Society. “Is this part of the auction?”

“Don’t know. Don’t care. Now, step aside!” said an AIM scientist. “ This is something worth studying.”

Before long, sizable crowd formed around the stage. Hydra, AIM, the Hand, the Humanity Coalition, the Kingpin’s thugs, and any number of devious individuals stood together in a surprising display of unity to admire Mary Jane’s sexy show. Even some of the Reavers who were supposed to be guarding the scene moved closer to get a better look.

It was kind of amazing, seeing even admitted criminals unite after being so hostile. It almost worked too well, but the Red Queen didn’t hesitate to use that to her advantage.

“What say you, my fellow deviants?” she called out while unbuttoning her blouse. “Does being so bad make you feel good?”

“Yeah!” they cheered loudly.

“Then, let’s get really bad tonight!”

In a move that generated an even louder cheer, Mary Jane tore off her blouse, not bothering to unbutton the last part so that her breasts hung free under the bright light of the stage. Still dancing to the music, she got down on her knees and leaned over so that her audience of evil henchmen could get a closer look. Some even reached up to touch them. Only a lucky few got a hand on her cleavage, but that was fine with her. It just made them hungry for more.

Some even got into it. A few of the female representatives of Hydra and the Hand looked up at her with that devious, but competitive gaze. They saw the attention and cheers she got. They wanted some of that too. A few women from Hydra began loosening the top parts of their uniforms. The female representative from the Hand did the same, already trying to make her way to the stage.

“Lady, if you think you’re going to steal the show from the Hand, you’ve got another thing coming!” the woman said.

Mary Jane cast her and the women from Hydra a confident sneer, goading them even more. They responded just as she’d hoped, getting up on stage with her and doing their own little striptease to elicit cheers. They had some catching up to do, though.

The Red Queen remained the star of the show, swaying her torso and fondling her breasts. More cheers followed. Some even threw water and alcohol up onto the stage, splattering onto her face and breasts. She took advantage of that too, sensually licking it up and raising the stakes. Before she knew it, all eyes were on her and her tits.

‘Now’s my chance! I honestly can’t believe it was this easy.’

Now, certain that everyone in the ballroom was sufficiently distracted, she made the move that would give her fellow queens the opportunity she needed. Reaching behind her, she pressed a small button in the heels of her heeled boots. Emma said they were the same boots she’d once used to infiltrate the old Inner Circle before the X-men took them down. They had a special device inside the heel that disrupted anti-mutant countermeasures, including telepathic shielding.

Just activating them inside the building wasn’t enough, though. She had to get them near a power source so that they could short-circuit the systems throughout the building. Mary Jane might not have been an expert hacker, but she understood how electrical systems worked. With the device in her boots activated, she sensually unzipped the boots and threw them up over the audience as hard as she could, hitting and breaking some overhead lighting in the process.

“Oops!” she said teasingly. “Guess I’m that bad of a girl!”

“Fuck, I’ll pay for that out of my paycheck if I can see that ass again!” said one of the Reavers.

“Ooh! Sounds like a good deal to me!”

Nobody seemed to be too concerned about what just happened. A couple overhead lights were broken and still sparking. She even saw her boots land on top of a table, breaking some plates and glasses in the process. If the tiny light in the sole were any indication, then the device inside had been activated. That meant the rest of the mission was on Jean and Emma.

‘There’s your window, my fellow queens. Make it count! All I can do from here on out is keep these assholes distracted and horny. Lucky for me, that’s my specialty!’

Meanwhile – Several Blocks Away

Jean Grey-Summers had been pacing restlessly for what felt like hours, but it had barely been twenty minutes. She and Emma were enduring the worst part of her plan, waiting for Mary Jane to disable the anti-mutant security measures at Pierce Robotics. There was no guarantee that she would succeed. For all she knew, they had just sent their fellow queen on an impossible mission.

“I hate this,” Jean groaned, hugging her shoulders anxiously. “I hate this with every fiber of my being.”

“In case you’ve forgotten, this is your plan, darling,” Emma reminded as she leaned back on a nearby wall.

“Don’t remind me. I’m just…not used to making plans that require this much stress. Now I know how Scott must feel whenever he has to rely on Logan or Gambit in a mission.”

Emma just rolled her eyes, showing much more confidence in Mary Jane. She still sensed some amount of concern as they waited and watched from the rooftop of a mid-sized office building. Jean would’ve preferred to be closer, but Pierce’s systems were too advanced.

If she walked across the street, then the building would’ve pick up on her presence. Both telepaths and mutants were high priorities in that system. Emma claimed Pierce had made it with the intention of picking up on Sebastian Shaw, his spies, or anyone else that tried to undermine his activities. Having already lost telepathic contact with Mary Jane, she could already sense how robust those systems were. The longer they stayed online, the more worried she got.

“She’ll be okay, Jean,” said Emma. “Mary Jane can take care of herself. Trust me, she’s tougher than she looks.”

“Guess she’d have to be after stripping at the Hellfire Club,” muttered Jean, “but I just can’t fight this sinking feeling.”

“What? That she’ll screw up? That they’ll pick up on those little counter-measures I built into those tacky boots of hers?”

“All that and then some,” said Jean. “I just have this feeling that there’s something else at work here…something we can’t plan around, even if Mary Jane does her part perfectly.”

“Spoken like someone who has been married to Cyclops too long,” quipped Emma.

“I know. I hate assuming the worst, like this. I’m usually the one trying to be hopeful in situations like this. But when the situation involves Logan and relying on someone who isn’t trained for these sorts of missions, I just find it so hard to…”

Jean stopped herself in mid-sentence. She’d just sensed something that stopped her train of thought, as well as her restless pacing. Emma sensed it too, immediately becoming more alert and placing her hand on her temple. Like a sudden alarm going off in the distance, they sensed something in the direction of Pierce’s headquarters.

“Oh my God, she fucking did it,” said Jean in astonishment.

“And you had the audacity to doubt her,” teased Emma.

“Shut up, Emma! Work with me so we can triangulate the…”

The Black Queen had to stop herself again as she concentrated on the task before her. It was like large stereo had suddenly been unmuted, filling the area with surge of telepathic activity. With Emma’s help, she sifted through the psionic noise of telepathic thoughts. It didn’t take long for them to make out some familiar minds.

‘Jean…Emma…if you can hear this, Logan is here. That means you’re up!’ said Mary Jane.

‘I hear you,’ Jean replied, ‘and I can sense him to…kind of.’

‘Kind of…never a good sign with Logan,’ noted Emma.

‘I’ll take it over nothing,’ said Jean. ‘He’s there. That’s all I need to know!’

Her X-men training took over from there. Using her telekinetic skills, as well as a touch of Phoenix Force, Jean levitated her and Emma into the air and flew them over the Osaka skyline towards Pierce Robotics. The hardest part of her plan was officially over. From here on out, their tactics were more direct.

“I’ll drop you in low,” Jean told Emma. “You know the outline of this place better than I do. Make your way to the ballroom, meet up with Mary Jane, and attack as many minds as you can along the way.”

“Sure, send me in through the front door,” said Emma. “Make me responsible for a psychic onslaught that’s supposed to disrupt an entire contingent of Reavers.”

“I’m also sending you into the arms of Donald Pierce’s people…the same Donald Pierce who sent multiple Reaver contingents at you the day you left the Inner Circle. You’re welcome.”

Emma cast her a half-grin. Jean made it seem so appealing. Being the vindictive woman she was, the White Queen was sure to enjoy it more than she should have, especially for a rescue mission. Jean expected her fellow queen to be extra ruthless with Pierce’s people. That promised to make her job that much easier.

The building was already in view. From the outside, it looked pretty secure. Inside, however, she sensed many hostile minds, some more dangerous than others. Logan was among them. She was certain of that.

However, something had happened. Someone had done something to him. They needed to free him. That someone would learn the hard way that trying to control Wolverine and hurting the people she cared about never ended well.

“I’m going to break in through the executive suites on the 16th floor,” said Jean. “I’m going to find Logan and get him out of here before things get too heavy. If his mind is as damaged as I sensed, I may have to knock him out.”

“I’m sure he’ll get over it, darling. He’s seen you naked. He’ll forgive you for damn near anything,” Emma teased.

“I’m more concerned about whoever did this to him,” said Jean as she prepared to launch her attack. “We don’t know who we’re dealing with here so be careful! Chances are they already know something’s up. There’s no telling what sort of countermeasures we’ll face.”

Pierce Robotics – Rear Staging Area

Control was a precious thing. Romulus often argued that it was, by far, the most valuable resource. No weapon, treasure, or asset was of use to anyone if it couldn’t be controlled to some extent. It was for that reason that any loss of control was akin to losing a small fortune.

“What the hell is going on out there?” asked a deeply annoyed Romulus. “Why am I hearing blaring music and raucous cheering?”

“That’s…not an easy question to answer, sir,” said one of the Reavers guarding the secure staging area.

“Then, simplify it for me!”

The lone Reaver glanced awkwardly at his contingent, which consisted of a ten heavily-armed elites who’d been tasked with subduing Wolverine if he, by some miracle, escaped his control. They were supposed to be the best of Pierce’s cybernetic warriors. Now, they were looking at each other and trying not to laugh like a bunch of immature children.

“Uh…well, those deep-pocketed guests you invited got a little too restless,” he finally said. “One of them decided to pass the time by starting a party. One of them even got up on stage and started stripping.”

“And doing a damn good job of it, from what I hear,” said another Reaver with a grin. “My buddy working security detail says this one girl is a goddamn pro. He even got these girls from Hydra and the Hand to make out while…”

The man finally stopped himself, but only after several of his squad mates signaled him to shut up. It was too late for Romulus, though. He was pissed. He’d expected a certain amount of deviance by inviting so many criminal organizations to the auction, but he hadn’t expected this.

Looking back towards the still, yet conscious Wolverine, Romulus considered his next move. At the moment, a few Pierce technicians were preparing Logan to ensure he remained a docile, appealing package. They had him standing on a special metal platform, which was armed with a shock system that would paralyze him if he so much as twitched awkwardly. They also placed special adamantium around his legs and arms for good measure.

It was all part of a meticulous plan, one that Romulus had laid out to the second. Changing the timetables would’ve thrown everything off. He couldn’t afford to lose that much control. It undermined more than just the auction.

“It seems we’ll have to adjust. The auction must proceed, as planned,” said Romulus, his voice brimming with anger. “Redirect your forces and settle our guests. If they’re not ready in time, I’ll rip off all your limbs and replace them with discarded soda cans. Is that understood?”

“Yes, sir,” said the lead Reaver anxiously, the rest of his squad falling into line as well.

“Good,” said Romulus. “I need a little more time to secure our product. You’d best make use of it before…”

He didn’t get to finish that threat, though. As he stared down the unit leader, the door from the corridor leading to the lab burst open and another Reaver came rushing in. Romulus growled angrily, ready to rip apart anyone who further undermined his control. He stopped just in time to see his panicked expression.

“Lord Romulus, sir! We have a problem,” said the Reaver in an urgent voice.

“For your sake, it better involve more unwarranted revelry,” said Romulus.

“I…I’m afraid not,” he said. “I just got a call from our techs upstairs. They said something shorted out the nullification fields.”

“As in, the same nullification fields preventing mutant and telepathic intrusion to this entire building?”

“The very same, sir. They’re trying to reboot it as we speak, but the software keeps freezing up. They’re saying it’s not just a glitch.”

Romulus went from simmering rage to escalating suspicion. Donald Pierce had constructed this building with the intent of thwarting any attack by mutants, psychics, or something of the sort. For those countermeasures to fail just in time for his auction – one that had already been undermined by rowdy guests, no less – it couldn’t be mere coincidence.

Still fuming, he turned his attention to Logan. If he weren’t still so valuable in his controlled state, then Romulus might have taken out his frustration on him. However, he needed him in one piece to salvage his plan.

“It’s his friends in the X-men. It has to be,” said Romulus while sneering at Logan. “They shouldn’t have been able to find me. I took every precaution. I planned around every hero being preoccupied. I even killed and tortured all the necessary people…Yukio and Daken being the most necessary. And still, they defy me!”

He drew his claws and pointed them at Logan’s face, growling angrily at the disruptions his friends were sure to cause. Logan, still under the influence of the pheromone, didn’t react. He just stood there on the platform, his legs and feet bound. However, Romulus swore his lips twitched a little, as if to grin as the unexpected complication.

In what little remained of Logan’s free mind, he probably trusted that his friends would come to his aid. He might have been biding his time, preparing for that moment. Romulus stopped short of making him regret it, relying on his friends. Disruptions aside, his plan still had plenty of contingencies…more than Logan’s friends could possibly anticipate.

“I hope you weren’t placing too much trust in your friends,” Romulus told the unmoving Logan. “If you thought I hadn’t prepared for the possibility, then you’re gravely mistaken. I’m still in control. I still have all the leverage. The arrival of your friends just means someone will pay a higher price…and not just in terms of dollars or yen.”

He snarled at Logan again, making it clear that nobody would come to his rescue. His friends, whoever they were, had no chance of undermining his plan. They could frustrate him all they wanted, but they couldn’t stop him.

“Sir,” said the Reaver who had delivered the news, still anxious. “How do you want to handle them? We’ve already got reports of psychic disturbances on the ground level. They’re picking up even more up top.”

“They’re attacking from multiple fronts. That’s smart, but predictable,” said Romulus, still glaring at Logan. “For now, redirect our security forces to the ground level. Take out the source of the psychic attacks and get our guests ready for the auction. If they ask, tell them that’s just noise from another party someone started.”

“It’ll be done,” said the Reaver. “What about the attack up top?”

“Don’t worry about that one,” said Romulus with a devious grin. “If these attackers are who I think they are, then I believe that problem will solve itself.”

Pierce Robotics – Executive Suites

‘Hold on, Logan. I’m on my way!’

Jean sent that telepathic message shortly after bursting through the main window of an executive office on the 16th floor. The glass had been bulletproof, but that was hardly enough to stop a determined X-men armed with the power of the Phoenix Force. She had the mind, the firepower, and the necessary motivation to find her missing friend. There wasn’t much that could stop her.

“A big mess and no stealth,” said Jean upon landing, “Logan would be proud…and probably turned on.”

With brimming confidence and focus, the Black Queen entered full X-men mode. She took in her surroundings, finding herself in an empty office covered in boxes and empty desks. Pierce Robotics had seen better days. The loss of their founder had hit hard. Jean hoped this would be the final death blow.

Still surrounded in a Phoenix halo, she levitated off the floor and began navigating the vast building. The various psychic and anti-mutant defenses were still down, just as she and Emma had hoped. If everything went according to plan, then would remain the case. Since X-men rarely relied on assumptions, she had to work quickly.

‘A lot of hostile minds here…some more guarded than others. Most seem to be heading to the ground floor. Guess that means Emma is causing plenty of trouble, as she often does. I need to use that to my advantage.’

Making her way through the winding corridors of the building, Jean followed the gap in psychic signatures. Any Reavers that had been on the 16 th floor were heading towards the elevators or rushing down the stairs, most likely to provide backup down below. She surmised that none were using the freight elevators on the east wing. Emma told her those elevators were her best bet at getting to the ground floor without going through too many obstacles.

As she made her way in that direction, she kept scanning for stray minds. The building’s defenses might have been down, but there were still plenty of countermeasures to hinder a skilled telepath. She kept getting jumbled psychic signatures, not unlike static from a faulty antenna. She tried to focus on finding Logan, but a few select signatures also caught her attention.

‘Hmm…this is strange. And that’s rarely a good sign. I can still sense Logan, but there’s another mind in the building…one different from all the others. It feels distressed, yet detached…as though the thoughts are disconnected from the feelings.’

It was the telepathic equivalent of sensing a computer error. It kept popping in and out, so much so she couldn’t get a location. She didn’t let that slow her down, though. She kept moving forward, going out of her way to avoid any lingering Reavers who were rushing to the bottom floors.

“Move faster, damn it! We’re on high alert!” she heard one of them yell. “All Reaver units get down to the base level and secure the entrance. Lock down any and all access points. Kill anything that tries to get in or out until ordered otherwise!”

Jean landed just outside a central lobby area, turning off her Phoenix halo so she could remain stealthy. She peaked around a corner just in time to see the last round of Reavers storm into the elevator while others used the stairs. She bided her time, waiting for just the right moment to make her move. A lifetime of Danger Room training and getting roped into Logan’s personal affairs kept her undetected, allowing her to slip by.

Running full-speed the rest of the way, conserving her mental strength, she ran towards the end of the hall that led to the freight elevators. She didn’t sense a Reaver nearby. In fact, the hallway leading to the elevator wasn’t even lit, another ominous sign of Pierce Robotics’ poor state. Near as she could tell, the elevator still had power and the Reavers were still distracted.

“Almost there,” Jean said under her breath. “Hang in there, Logan!”

She reached out to push the button. Then, to her surprise – a rare feeling for a powerful telepath – the elevator door opened. At that moment, that jumbled mind she sensed earlier re-emerged. This time, however, it had a male figure and face to go with it.

“Jean…Grey,” the man said.

“Who are…” Jean began, but that was all she got out.

Before she could put up a telekinetic shield, the man attacked, letting out a feral snarl that sounded too much like Logan to be a coincidence. Jean’s combat training kicked in, taking a defensive stance and grabbing the man’s arms before he could subdue her. Unfortunately, his reflexes and his strength proved too much. He still ended up pushing her back down the hall, eventually bursting through a half-open door and into what appeared to be an employee lounge.

Not wanting to be cornered, Jean regained enough leverage to push back with a healthy dose of telekinesis. That effectively stopped the attack, throwing him across the room in the process. However, with reflexes that also reminded her of Logan, the man landed on his feet and let out a predatory growl as he took on an aggressive stance. Already, her mind made a few telling connections.

“Your thoughts,” said Jean, “so disjointed and messy. Something happened to you…the same thing that happened to Logan.”

“Errr Logan!” the man growled.

Hearing that name triggered a burst of rage. The man attacked again. This time, Jean managed to shove him out of the way with her telekinesis and avoid it. The man just jumped off the wall with uncanny acrobatics and tried to attack again. Jean stumbled back, deflecting him again. She also tried to scan his chaotic mind.

That proved difficult. It was like someone had shoved layers of concrete barriers into his psyche. In Jean’s experience, that wasn’t natural. Either someone had pumped an unsafe amount of chemicals into his brain or he had conditioned him to operate with a fragmented mind. Given Logan’s history with Weapon X, the implications were disturbing. Within that fragment, though, she was able to glean some information.

“Daken…your name is Daken,” Jean said after deflecting another attack. “Someone is using you and…”

The powerful psychic froze as she picked up a stray thought that most psychics would’ve missed. It had been attached to his name and connected to his identity. Within that portion of his mind, she uncovered a revelation that was sure to shake Logan to his core.

“Oh my god!” Jean gasped. “You’re his son! You’re Logan’s…”

“HRRAAAAHHHHH!” Daken roared before she could finish.

Again, the mention of that name evoked unparalleled rage. There was probably a reason for that, one that went beyond the mission and didn’t have time to investigate. In berserker rage that would’ve made his father proud, he charged at Jean with his claws fully drawn. Rather than deflect him, though, she stopped him just a few feet from where she stood and levitated him in the air. Now holding him in place, she got a better look at Logan’s long-lost son.

It was a shocking revelation, learning that Logan had a son – a son with tattoos, a Mohawk, and a similar disposition for feral rage, no less. He even had claws, albeit the non-metal variety. They still looked deadly and he had clearly used them before. It raised all sorts of questions with Jean, which further sparked her curiosity. However, she hadn’t forgotten that Logan was still in danger.

“I was expecting complications on this mission, but this…even by Logan’s standards, this is pretty astonishing,” said Jean.

“ERRRR!” Daken snarled, fighting her telepathic hold.

“I can sense you’re not entirely in control, Daken,” she continued. “Don’t worry. I’m going to free you and your father. Fight this with me and the X-men can help you!”

The feral mutant kept struggling. Jean wasn’t sure if he’d even heard her. It didn’t matter, though. She intended to keep her word. First, she had to settle him out.

Despite his severe thrashing, Jean took several steps closer, so much so that she was almost within range of his claws. She then reached out to touch his temple, attempting a more thorough psychic probe. Before she could start scanning his thoughts, though, something unexpected happened.

Daken stopped thrashing. He even stopped growling angrily, that berserker rage from earlier disappearing instantly. His gaze now narrowed on Jean, a strange grin formed on his face…one distinctly unlike Logan.

“Took you…long enough,” he said.

For a moment, Jean was confused. The next thing she knew, a strange scent filled the air around her. It had a weak, but distinct smell, resembling a mix of cherry blossoms and incense. Before her senses could process it, an unexpected feeling came over her.

“Hnn…what the hell?” she groaned.

In an instant, all that focus and determination faltered. Stumbling back, Jean clutched her head and hugged her shoulders. Her legs became weak, her thoughts became spacy, and the air around her felt ten degrees hotter. It became especially hot between her legs, as though something had just flipped every switch controlling her basic arousal. As a result, higher thought – the most critical kind for a psychic – gave way to baser instincts.

As she struggled to process surge of feelings, her telekinetic hold on Daken broke. He landed on the floor, his gaze never diverting from her. He didn’t even attack her. He just watched in amusement.

“Pheromones,” Daken said. “Potent, aren’t they?”

That effectively answered one question. It also revealed that Daken had abilities that went beyond his father. There was no way ordinary pheromones could have had such an effect on her. Jean knew that effect well, having experienced it multiple times thanks to the Hellfire Club’s aphrodisiac-laced wine. The idea it could be induced by super-charged pheromones made too much sense.

‘Fuck! Didn’t…prepare for this. Feeling…so hot. Can’t move. Can barely…think straight.’

She could feel her heart pounding in her chest, surge after surge of adrenaline coursing through her system. It overrode her ability to use her powers, fight back, or stand up straight. She ended up stumbling back into a nearby wall next to an old water cooler.

Jean tried to escape the scent, but it just followed her. It seemed to emanate directly from Daken. That must have been his plan from the beginning – get her fighting, make it seem as though she was fighting a younger version of Logan, and wait until he got close enough to strike. She played right into his hands, leaving her to dread what the rest of his tactics entailed.

“Such power…and beauty,” said Daken, his voice somewhat disjointed. “He told me…my father’s friends might come. He even warned me…about how powerful they were.”

Seething with predatory, Daken approached her. With every step he took, the scent fueling Jean’s dazed state intensified. It got so intense that her legs partially buckled and she began fondling her breasts through her shirt. She even began rubbing her thighs together, becoming so horny that even her fear of what he planned to do to her.

Once he got within reaching distance, Jean was so hopelessly aroused that she couldn’t manage an attack, psychic or otherwise. She tried to avoid his penetrating gaze, but he just roughly cupped her chin and forced her to look him in the eyes.

“I am not…like my father,” he told her. “What I am…what he is…couldn’t be more different. I hate him…so much. Our fates…always destined…to clash. Just…not like this.”

Jean could barely make sense of his words, but still understood the sentiment. Daken was angry and full of hate. Some of that hate was towards Logan, but part of him seemed conflicted. The way his face contorted and his gaze faltered hinted that there were other forces at work…forces she was in no condition to process.

“He wanted…me to kill you,” Daken continued. “Told me…my role to play.”

He then pointed his bone claws at her face, the tip less than an inch from her eye. Jean’s fear almost matched her arousal at that moment. She tried to move, but it was no use. Her arousal was just too intense, every sexual instinct in overdrive.

Daken could’ve easily killed her on the spot. However, he didn’t. In fact, Jean sensed him resisting the urge. He didn’t seem to be resisting very hard, though.

“But seeing you here,” he said, “Jean Grey…I can see why my father is so…fond of you. Your beauty…your power…so enticing.”

His tone took on a more lurid undertone. He grabbed both her wrists with one hand and pinned them against the wall above her head. He then trailed the tip of his claw down her face, barely grazing her skin, until he reached the top part of her X-men uniform. Even in her dazed sate, Jean quickly surmised Daken’s intent.

In his eyes, she saw two conflicting instincts clashing with one another. One urged him to kill her, which would’ve been easy and quick. The other urged him to do something more elaborate in her vulnerable state…something that made a better use of Jean’s aroused state.

“I know…what I have to do…what I need to do,” Daken said, struggling with every word. “Your life…is mine to take. I’d rather…take something else.”

Letting out another feral growl – one very different from earlier when he first attacked – his demeanor shifted as one base instinct won out over the other. No longer a predatory animal preparing to kill his prey, he took the poise of a powerful male who had just secured a submissive female…a very horny female, no less.

As he gazed upon her with less bloodlust and more ordinary lust, he used his claw to cut through the top part of Jean’s uniform. Before even getting all the way to the hem, he grabbed it by the front and ripped it off, along with her bra. Now naked from the waist up, her beasts exposed and so close to his grasp, she watched as Daken descended into a state of primal lust.

“Your breasts…mine to taste,” he seethed.

Diving deeper into that state, Daken eagerly buried his face in Jean’s breasts, embracing that state even more. He hungrily licked and suckled on her nipples, even biting around the sensitive flesh. It was rough and raw, but still sent shivers coursing through Jean’s body…sensations that further intensified her arousal.

He kept her arms pinned above her head, rendering her unable to resist his actions. Due to her arousal, though, she didn’t even feel inclined to try. She sensed the extent of his lust in the way he smothered her breasts. She didn’t need telepathy or all her mental faculties either. Daken’s plans for her were now abundantly clear.

‘He’s going to fuck me. He’s going to take me in every way he wants. And there’s nothing I can do to stop him.’

As that realization sank in, Daken gave her nipple one last lick, sensing a round of sensations that made her instinctively moan. Upon hearing that, he pulled his face away and narrowed his gaze on hers again. At the same time, Jean noticed a bulge forming in the tight-fitting black pants he’d been wearing. She didn’t get the sense that he was going to take her time with her.

“Turn around,” he said intently.

He barely gave her any time to comply. As soon as he let go of her wrists, he grabbed her by the waist and turned her around so that she was up against the wall, her hands and breasts now pressed against the cold surface. Whether out of fear or arousal, Jean offered little resistance. She just leaned up against the wall for leverage, bracing for Daken’s next move.

“Pants…off,” he said with another growl.

Just as he had done with her shirt, the feral man used his claw to tear through the fabric. He then used surprising strength to rip it off, along with her panties. He made sure she had nothing to hide her flesh from his, even ripping through her boots. It all worked to render her completely naked.

It would’ve been terrifying if her pussy weren’t dripping wet with arousal. The pheromones Daken had employed worked shockingly well, leaving he folds so moist. Her entire body, now exposed to the hot air around her, ached for sex. Her mind urged her to fight it, but it was no use. The desire was too intense and Daken’s hold on her was too strong.

Jean could already feel his gaze narrowing on her pussy and ass. She could hear his intense breathing, like a hungry animal waiting to gorge.

“Your pussy…so wet,” seethed Daken. “You need this…as much as I do.”

“Daken…” was all Jean could get out.

Still pressed against the wall, she turned her head just in time to see Daken shedding his pants, freeing his fully-erect penis from its confines. He hadn’t been wearing a shirt when he attacked, most likely to maximize the effect of his pheromones. Despite having such a different appearance from that of his father, he still bore a very fit and muscular body, which included a very sizable endowment.

After kicking his pants aside, he positioned himself behind her and firmly grabbed her by the waist. He then guided the tip of his rigid cock to her wet entrance. Without warning or care of any kind, the feral man let out another predatory snarl as he eagerly thrust his hips forward, driving his cock into her pussy.

“Oohhh!” Jean moaned.

“Yes!” grunted Daken. “Moan, Jean Grey! Moan…like a horny bitch!”

Jean’s face contorted to the intense feeling that followed. Her moist folds parted as his flesh penetrated hers, setting her lower body ablaze with hot sensations. In her dazed, overly-aroused state of mind, the basic pleasures of sex further obscured her senses as she succumbed to the primal desires of the flesh. It was really happening. Daken was fucking her and all she could do was moan louder.

Jean’s dazed cries filled the room as Daken pumped his dick into her pussy, grunting and snarling with each thrust. It wasn’t a playful, friendly kind of sex either. He fucked her hard and fast, his pelvis rhythmically smacking against her butt. He made no effort to ensure she enjoyed the sex, focusing entirely on extracting pleasure from her flesh. Any pleasure she felt was an afterthought at best. If anything, it was just his way of tightening his hold on her.

“Take it, Jean! Take it!” growled Daken. “Your body…likes it!”

Jean felt him lean in and nibble on her ear-lobe, which evoked even louder moans. The scent from his pheromones got even thicker, sending her body deeper into a state of pure arousal. Every touch, every motion, and every sexual gesture – no matter how rough or selfish – it still triggered the sexual sensations that Jean had come to love since joining the Hellfire Club. There was no meaning behind it. Her body had been reduced to that of a simple sexual machine.

That didn’t make those sensations any less intense, though. Jean felt her pussy throb around Daken’s cock every time he thrust it into her depths. Her body didn’t care about the source of the sex, so long as the feeling was real Daken pressed her up against the wall harder pressed her up against the wall, her nails raking down the wall and her hips shifting to the rhythm. More and more of that raw, unfiltered sensation shot up through her body, driving her deeper into her daze.

The feral man continued nibbling on her air, licking down her neck as he fucked her. He even stepped up the pace, giving her ass a hard slap in the process. That sudden surge of pain to mix with the pleasure overwhelmed her senses once more. Whether it was due to the pheromones or the extent of her arousal, it sent her to the brink of orgasm.

“Ohhh fuck!” Jean cried out.

“Yes! Come, Jean! Come, you horny bitch!” Daken roared.

It shouldn’t have been possible, her climaxing for a man who fucked her so callously. Her body betrayed her, though. So much stimulation on top of so much arousal, even if it had been induced rather than earned, led to an inevitable reaction.

It was as basic as everything else about their sex. Jean arched her back, bucked her hips, and threw her head back as the surge of sensations shot through her. It was as simple as an orgasm could be, not much different from one she got through masturbation. She still let out her loudest moan yet, which only seemed to encourage Daken.

“Yeah! That’s it,” he grunted. “You love it! You…love…to fuck!”

As she moaned, Daken grabbed her hair and pulled her head back even farther. She winced at the momentary discomfort, but that prompted him to fuck her even harder. She sensed him nearing a climax as well. He even gave her ass more slaps, further flooding her body with sensations.

“My turn!” he grunted. “Gonna…fill you…up!”

Jean let out more moans, leaning against the wall even harder as her legs remained weak from her orgasm. Her body remained at the mercy of its orgasmic state, her pussy continuing to throb as Daken pumped into her. He only finally slowed his motions when he crossed that special threshold, letting out a deep, feral growl as he climaxed.

“Hrrrrr yes!” Daken exclaimed.

“Hnn…Daken,” was all Jean could get out.

Even in her daze, she felt his cock throbbing inside her folds, shooting a hot stream of cum into her pussy. She also felt his grip on her waist intensifying, his nails raking along her flesh in a way that was sure to leave marks. It further blurred that line between pain and pleasure, making it even harder to collect her thoughts.

That was her main priority now. If her body wasn’t going to help, then she needed to get her mind working again. The pheromones, the arousal, the pain, and the pleasure had all converged to render her dazed. She had to regain some semblance of control if she was to escape Daken’s grasp.

‘Need to…get a hold of myself. Can’t…lose sight of the mission.’

As the feral man was dazed by his orgasm, Jean tried to catch her breath, hoping such vigorous fucking would render Daken distracted for a moment. Unfortunately, that moment passed quicker than she’d hoped.

“You want more,” he said breathlessly, “so do I.”

With another predatory growl, Daken swiftly withdrew his cock from her pussy, grabbed her by the shoulders, and turned her around. He then pushed her down to the floor so that she was on her knees, facing his dick, which was still fully erect. Like his father, he had a healing factor and that extended to his refractory period. In fact, his might have been even faster than Logan’s.

“Still hungry for cock?” he said. “Here…have more!”

He gave her no chance to respond or prepare herself. He just grabbed her by the side of the head, aligned it with his dick, and shoved it into her mouth. Jean, still dazed and aroused, instinctively opened her mouth and took in his length.

“Umf!” she grunted, gagging as his thick length stretched her jaw muscles.

Then, before she even had time to adjust, Daken began fucking her face. He tightened his old on her head, weaving his fingers through her hair as he worked his cock into her mouth, fucking it almost as hard as he’d fucked her pussy.

As good as Jean was at oral sex, especially since joining the Hellfire Club, she struggled to keep up with Daken’s lusts. She ended up clinging to his thighs, trying to maintain some semblance of leverage as he forced her head along the length of his dick. It tested her gag reflex, causing her to choke and cough a few times. That didn’t dissuade Daken, though. He just kept face-fucking her with abandon.

“Suck it…lick it…taste my dick,” he commanded.

He spoke with the tone of a man whose only concern was getting more pleasure from her. The longer it took for him to get it, the longer it would go on. Between her aroused daze and the lingering effects of her orgasm, Jean reverted to more instinct. It was literally the only option she could contemplate.

Closing her eyes, still trying to streamline her thoughts, Jean began licking and sucking as Daken’s cock slithered between her lips. She managed to temper her gagging, focusing on getting him off as quickly as possible, if only to minimize the strain.

That ended up taking less time than she’d thought. Before long, she felt Daken’s cock tense inside her mouth in anticipation for another release. He also stepped up the pace of his thrusting, really grasping her hair to the point of causing her pain. That didn’t seem to bother him, though. Only getting another release mattered.

“Gonna…come again,” Daken grunted. “Taste it! Taste my cum!”

Jean held back a few more gags, clinging to the feral man’s thigh harder as he took himself beyond the brink. Upon reaching his peak, he ceased his movements and let out another blissful howl as he released another load. He kept a firm hold on her head, making sure his cock was still in her mouth so that she had to taste every last drop of semen.

“Hngh!” was all Jean could get out.

It was a larger load than she’d expected, even for someone with a healing factor. Most of it went right down her throat with only some drippling down her chin. When Daken finally pulled his cock out of her mouth, she coughed and gasped for air. She tried to get up, but her legs failed her, the effect of the pheromones keeping her hopelessly aroused.

Jean’s head was still spinning. Arousal, lust, and instinct still overrode her capacity to refocus her thoughts. Her mind kept fighting, but her body would not. It seemed like a hopeless struggle.

‘Need to…regain control. With THAT kind of healing…there’s no telling how far he’ll take it. I just need one chance…to make my move.’

As Jean struggled, she looked up at Daken, who still stood over her with domineering authority. His face was still contorting from the pleasure of having face-fucked her to orgasm. His skin now glistened with sweat, his musk mixing with the pheromones. He still had a look of raw lust in his eyes, as though that were the only instinct he could exercise. It hinted that his ravaging of her was far from over.

However, in seeing such lust on his face, Jean noticed something in that brief moment when she was allowed to catch her breath. It wasn’t something she sensed with her telepathy, which remained muted in her aroused state. It was a sign, one written into his expression. It wasn’t a sign he tried to hide either. Daken was trying to tell her something. She was sure of it.

“Daken…I see it, now,” said Jean, still breathless.

“Hrrrrrrr more!” Daken exclaimed, strain echoing in his voice.

While still making the connections, the feral figure grabbed her by the shoulders again and pulled her back up her feet. She was still fully aroused, her pussy dripping with a mix of her juices and his cum. This time, however, she offered little resistance as he bent her over a nearby table so that her ass was pointed towards him.

“Your ass,” Daken said, “gonna fuck…your ass now.”

Jean instinctively gripped the edges of the table and braced herself, hoping his dick was still slick enough from her oral sex to limit the discomfort. Again, she didn’t resist as Daken positioned himself behind her, putting one hand on her hip while using the other to guide his still-erect cock to her tight hole.

“Do it,” Jean said. “Do…what you need to do.”

He responded with a deep, yet revealing growl. It was different from the ones she’d heard earlier. She couldn’t glean subtext from it, but it sent the necessary message and he seemed to get it.

‘Good thing I’ve gotten so good with anal. This is going to test those skills.’

Closing her eyes again, Jean braced herself for the coming lustful onslaught. Daken didn’t waste a moment. As soon as the tip of cock rubbed up against her asshole, he thrust his hips forward and drove his cock into her ass. Just as before, as soon as her tight flesh surrounded his, he began fucking her with reckless vigor.

Jean groaned as sharp stinging sensations shot up through her core. The lack of lubricant ensured the discomfort overshadowed the pleasure. It helped that she had so much experience with anal sex, allowing her rectal muscles to stretch and adjust to Daken’s length. There was plenty of strain, but Jean knew she could endure it. She even had a reason to endure it.

“Your ass…so tight,” Daken grunted. “Gonna fuck it…so hard!”

“I…can take it,” Jean replied.

Her words seemed to remove any bit of restraint Daken might have had. With both hands now firmly on her hips, he fucked her ass hard and fast, rapidly pumping his cock into her and rocking her body with every movement. Jean just clung to the table harder, her breasts pressed up against the dusty surface as she took in the steady onslaught of sensations. Some of it was pain. Some of it was pleasure. Neither feeling was the goal, though.

‘Need to focus, here. Daken has the easy part. I need to do the hard part…for both of us.’

Her body kept rocking and so did the table, so much so that the legs squeaked loudly with every movement. Jean, still dazed from the pheromones, did her best to steady her breathing so that she could focus her thoughts. She didn’t need much for what she planned to do. She just needed enough.

As Daken kept fucking her, his pelvis rhythmically slapping against her ass, she felt his sweat dripping down onto her lower back. That was exactly what she’d hoped for. If Daken was as cunning as his father, then he shared that hope.

“Harder!” Jean urged him. “Fuck my ass harder!”

He responded with another feral moan, his most desperate so far. His fucking went into overdrive. There was no focus or technique to it anymore. He just kept rapidly thrusting his hips, raking his nails over her flesh as he worked his cock into her ass. It put plenty of strain on Jean’s body, even after her inner muscles had adjusted to Daken’s cock. However, it helped him work up more of a sweat and that was the key.

‘My ass is going to be so sore. But it’s working! I can already feel it. The pheromones…they’re fading.’

The air around their naked bodies was thick with sweat and sex, but that was the point. That thick musk began mixing with the pheromones that had rendered her so dazed. The more Jean smelled that sweaty musk from Daken, the less she felt the effects of the pheromones.

Those overwhelming instincts began to taper. Her thoughts became more coherent again. She still couldn’t employ the full force of her powers, but she didn’t have to. If she was to save herself and Daken, for that matter, she had to be very targeted and that meant waiting for just the right moment.

That moment approached fast. Like their previous two sex acts, Daken neared his peak fairly quickly. That was still his primary focus. That was the major instinct at work. He kept pumping his cock within her ass, working his way to another release. Jean just kept biding her time, absorbing the sensations of pain and pleasure that kept coming, preparing to make a move that might determine whether the mission was still salvageable.

“Soon!” Daken said, more desperate creeping into his voice. “Gonna…cum in…your ass…soon!”

“I’m…ready,” Jean told him.

She held onto the table, enduring the last onslaught of hard fucking. She had to time it just right. She had to make it worth the extra soreness.

That moment finally came, along with Daken. As soon as he passed the orgasmic threshold, he let out another euphoric howl. Jean felt his dick throbbing inside her ass, releasing another load of come and all the pleasure that came with it. That was when Jean made her move.

“Now!” Jean shouted.

In that moment – Daken being so dazed by the pleasure, neither fucking her nor attacking her in any capacity – Jean unleashed a wave of telekinesis that didn’t just knock Daken across the room and away from her body. It also cleared the air around her, blowing away the pheromones that had rendered her so vulnerable.

It was like blowing up a barrier that had kept certain parts of her brain from working together. Instincts finally balanced out with higher thought. Parts of her body remained sore, especially between her legs. However, she regained control and was finally able to collect herself.

“That…is a move you can’t learn in the Danger Room,” she said, taking deep breaths and regaining a sense of balance.

Still leaning on the table, she turned around to see that Daken had landed pretty hard. He flew across the room with such force that he made a sizable dent in the opposing wall. He’d also hit his head on an exposed pipe, causing a gaping wound in his head right next to his mohawk-style hair. He was still conscious, but in a great deal of discomfort. Unfortunately, that too had been necessary.

“I’m sorry, Daken…kind of,” said Jean. “I know what you were doing. I understand your situation. You either had to kill me or fuck me. Only one of those gave me a fighting chance. I wish it hadn’t come to this, but…”

Daken let out a light grown and a growl, the wound on his head already healing. Jean sensed it wouldn’t be long before he recovered completely. His healing factor was already at work. Before he healed too much, though, she used her telepathy to fully knock him out.

“Hnn…Jean,” Daken muttered as he settled. “Find…my father.”

“Don’t worry. I will,” Jean assured him.

When he passed out, she made sure he was out cold. He was still under the influence of whatever had been done to control him. She wasn’t sure if it involved only pheromones or some form of mind control, but it at least confirmed part of what she suspected. Someone had picked up where Weapon X left off in turning mutants into weapons. That didn’t bode well for Logan’s condition, but her being able to free Daken revealed that the control could be broken.

With that important knowledge in mind, Jean didn’t take too long to gather herself. She was still sore and her legs were somewhat weak. However, her mind and body were ready for battle, once more. The mission had encountered an unexpected and strenuous complication, but she’d gotten through. Jean Grey, the X-men might have struggled, but Jean Grey, the Black Queen, found a way.

Despite being sweaty, naked, and still reeking of sex, Jean stormed out of the room and towards the freight elevator. She still had a friend to rescue. On top of that, she had a promise to keep.

‘I’ve lost too much time. I need to get to Logan. I also need to let Emma and Mary Jane know about the pheromones. And at some point, I need to find some clothes. But if I have to do the rest of this mission naked, so be it!’

Up next: Carnal and Cunning