Jubilee opened her mouth in a silent scream. She had ceased giving voice to her pain moments ago, although she didn・t know it.
Bastion smiled. The guard controlling the flow of electricity into the conductors attached to her hands twisted a knob and increased the voltage slightly. Bastion allowed himself to take a bit of pleasure in watching the young girl・s back arch with agony as the current flooded her system. This was certainly more fun than just digging through her memories, and it was definitely a hell of a lot more satisfying.
Behind him, the door leading to the outside hall cracked open. Daria peeped through, yanking herself back as soon as she witnessed the scene within. She closed the door and wandered down the hall, chewing on her bottom lip. While she had kept her continued alliance with Jubilee a secret, it didn・t change the fact that she was the one who had taken charge of their depleted forces and led them to Australia. Admittedly, she had only been following orders. She was new to this concept of free will, and she still found it difficult to refuse an order.
During the time spent rebuilding the old tunnels and replacing the burned-out computers, she had kept herself from remembering her betrayal. Then, she had been investigating an unused portion of the facilities and had barely had time to jump back as Jubilee and a young brunette woman she didn・t know had walked past her. She had followed for a time, long enough to find out that they were here temporarily, to hide from the green women who showed up an hour later. Satisfied, she had returned to her robot charges, still trying to steel her mind into accepting the fact that no matter what friendship had started to blossom before, her alliance with Bastion would forever be a block between them. She allowed herself to believe that she didn・t care, that she didn・t need a friend; but now, as she thought of her role in recapturing Jubilee, she allowed herself to weep.
After all, who would be friends with a betrayer?
* * * * *
Monet flew headlong towards the Sentinel she had targeted. She felt a moment・s worry over whether her powers would turn off again, but her thoughts were cut off as the Sentinel she was focused on banked in the air, shimmered, and vanished.
"Damn." She tapped her comm. "It looks like these can go invisible. Any ideas on how we can track them?" She kept turning around in midair, wary of an unseen attacker.
Jean tapped at the controls. "Well, they・re showing up on radar, but I can・t pinpoint their location in relation to you. Can you see them at all? Maybe a slight wavelength distortion, or..."
Monet looked around her. She could still see about half of the enemy forces, but the other h- the next thing she knew, something punched her from behind, sending her careening through the air. She recovered as fast as she could, but still could see nothing. "Storm! Could you call up something that would bounce off of them? Rain, or hail, maybe? It・ll be a nuisance, but it might give away their location."
"Hail, then. Rain would cause slipperiness." Storm raised a hand from where she hovered above one of the jet・s wings. They were still out over the ocean, and couldn・t risk the plane being brought down. Dark clouds formed overhead, quickly gaining in size and strength until pea-sized chunks of hail began falling.
"Ow!" Monet muttered as a larger chunk bonked her on the head. It was working, though- here and there, she could see hailstones bouncing off invisible barriers. More importantly, she saw hailstones bouncing off an invisible barrier that was heading straight towards her. She dodged to her right and felt the Sentinel go past her in a rush of wind. Reaching out a hand, she grabbed a hold of a cold metal leg. She whirled the Sentinel around her head twice before releasing it to fly into the ocean. There was a sizable splash and abruptly the Sentinel became visible again. Monet didn・t see this, though, as she was already heading towards the next one. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Storm and Jean doing the same. Bobby was assisting by freezing all the bouncy-hail he could spot. She smiled. Looks like this wouldn・t be as hard as they・d thought.
* * * * *
"Now then." Bastion leaned over Jubilee, who had collapsed onto her side as soon as she was released from her bonds. "Are you going to tell me what I want to know?"
She stared at him noncommittally.
He crouched next to her, folding his hands and resting them on his knees. "What is the new security code to access the main computer banks of your mutant-tracking system?"
Jubilee closed her eyes and rested her head on the floor. When she opened her eyes again, they were filled with resignation.
* * * * *
Daria crept up to Jubilee・s bunk. She had traded assignments with the guard on duty in order to get in. She was too wary of actually asking Bastion to let her see Jubilee; she had no doubt that he would be too suspicious of her still to allow that.
"Jubilee? Can you hear me?" She reached out and touched the other girl・s shoulder.
"Ugh," Jubilee groaned. "Y・know, it・s kinda funny, but my back doesn・t hurt so bad anymore."
Daria was taken aback. "Huh?"
"Nothin・. Ferget it." She covered her face with her hands. "I told."
"I know." Daria fidgeted nervously.
An uncomfortable silence reigned for a few seconds more before Jubilee rolled over and sat up. She looked over at her companion. "So, long time no see. Does Bastion know you・re here?"
Daria looked down. "Um, no, actually." She looked up and saw that Jubilee was smiling at her. Relieved, Daria relaxed a bit. "I had to sneak in in order to see you. He doesn・t trust me." She rolled her eyes at the ceiling and did her best to look innocent. "Although I really don・t know why."
Jubilee laughed a little. "Well, why wouldn・t he? Just ・cause you・re a traitor with a history of setting me free and all, I mean, really, who would hold that against ya?"
Daria blushed and looked down. "Yeah, I was meaning to ask...are you mad at me? I mean, I did kinda help to bring you in this time."
Jubilee rested her chin on her hand and assumed a thoughtful expression. "Well, that all depends. Are ya gonna help me get out again?"
Daria finally allowed herself a full smile. "I was thinking about it."
"Well, then. Let・s figure out how we・re gonna blow this place. You know of anything that could help us?"
"The X-Men are on their way. They should be here in an hour or so."
Jubilee raised an eyebrow. "They are? That・s handy. How did they know where I was?" She paused. "Where am I?"
"In Australia." She saw the look of understanding that crossed Jubilee・s face. "Right. Anyway, somehow they must have found out where we are. I was thinking, maybe we should just wait until they get here-"
"No." Jubilee stood up. She looked at her hands. They were streaked with a bright red that stretched from each fingertip nearly to the middle of her arms. It was fading now, looking more pink than the crimson that it had been when they first brought her back to her cell. "We・ll take care of everything. Let the X-Men take care of the getaway. Are ya with me?" She met Daria・s eyes and held them there.
"Are ya sure?"
Daria rolled her eyes exasperatedly. "No. In fact, I arranged for Bastion and several guards to be waiting outside the door for us."
Jubilee turned and peered at her before reaching out a finger and poking her in the nose. "When did you get so damn sarcastic?"
Daria swiped her hand away. "When I realized how much fun it can be. Now, what・s the plan, already?"
*to be continued*