The Gray Market (June 2013)

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Post by Conleth on Fri Dec 13, 2019 9:19 pm

The gray market was not like any market Isabella had ever seen in her life. There were the usual things one would think to buy in a market, fruits, vegetables, meat, spices, fabrics, metals and curiosities but also house hold items, luxury items, what looked to be drugs of all kinds. But then there were also all kinds of pets and ofcourse slaves for sale. She had 2 soldiers who accompanied her but one of them was Ain, a Lieutenant who she knew to be very strong and capable. Ain was very beautiful for a soldier and she walked with the confidence of one who had been in battle many times. The hawkers that cried there wares were in all shapes and sizes. Some men, some women. Some young and some old. Slaves were lined up with a group of nicely dressed men and women who were there to purchase them. More than a few were human and one was a younger girl but she didn’t see Steve. Several men perused the slaves and the seller made them show their teeth and he touched them in inappropriate places to show them off to the buyers.

As Isabella looked around something shone brightly in her eyes. As she shielded her eyes she saw someone who shined a small mirror in her face. They were in the shadows and kept out of sight but they were very much trying to get her attention. She caught a glimpse of them as they moved back into the shadows as her guards looked in his direction.

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Post by XslvrstarX on Fri Dec 13, 2019 9:43 pm

Once "Aneksi" was dressed she was joined by several soldiers to accompany her to the Gray Market. She knew there would be no arguing that she didn't need them. She would need to be extremely careful. The Gray Market was a loud, busy place with hawkers selling their wares and goods. In addition to the traditional things one might find at a street market, there were slaves. Isabella kept her expression neutral, but she frowned inside. She didn't like seeing beings being bought and sold like meat.

Isabella gazed around the market, trying to find Steve. She knew the man was clever and would not be in plain sight. Suddenly, a bright light was shone into her eyes. She shielded her eyes and looked again. She caught a glimpse of someone hiding in the shadows, but using a small mirror to get her attention. Her mind began to try to think of something that could cause a distraction. However, it turned out that she didn't need to cause the distraction herself. A fight broke out among a buyer and seller that turned physical. Her guards quickly rushed over to help, leaving Isabella alone. She took that opportunity to walk over to where Steve was. They both stood in the shadows and she looked at him.

"Are you alright?" she whispered.

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Post by Conleth on Fri Dec 13, 2019 9:54 pm

Steve almost didn’t recognize Isabella in that headdress, jewelry and clothes. That and how young she looked. She looked like a queen or princess dressed like that. Once she drew close enough he spoke. “Well you appear to be doing well, is there some mystery as to why you look no older than Serena right now?” he asked. “If you’re here talking to me then I can guess you’re not enchanted or being controlled. You would have sicked those guards on me. This place is like a fortress, not easy to get out of. There are soldiers everywhere,” he said. He shifted as if he were uncomfortable and for a moment Isabella saw him. His left side was all bloody. His white tunic was now half red with his blood. He had finally been wounded by one of the guards.

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Post by XslvrstarX on Fri Dec 13, 2019 10:00 pm

Isabella shook her head. "No, I'm not being controlled. Apparently though, I look exactly like the Prince's dead wife, Princess Aneksi. When I was brought on board unconscious they put me into this machine that was able to reverse age me. They have the ability to stay alive forever this way. I've been tying to gain Prince Omari's trust and turn him against his mother, the Queen. In order to do this I've had to pretend that I actually remember being Princess Aneksi. He sent me out here to find out as a test of my loyalty. I just hope the doubts I've planted in his mind about his mother are working."

She then realized that Steve was hurt, but she didn't have anything she could use to help him. "Are you going to be alright?"

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Post by Conleth on Fri Dec 13, 2019 10:16 pm

“One of those soldiers stabbed me with a spear,” he said as he felt at his side. There was a makeshift bandage under his tunic and he had lost alot of blood but he appeared to be in fighting spirit to Isabella. “I haven’t seen Peter but I’ve heard about him. He’s somewhere on the West side of the city with a band of slaves. THere are too many soldiers. They will likely stop him eventually. I did the same thing as you did. I tried to get on the Queen’s good side but then I left her. If they catch me I’m pretty sure she’ll either collar me or control me and make me do what she wants,” he said. “Is everyone else safe? Kate?” He asked.

----------------------

Prince Omari visited his mother, th queen. She was getting dressed, well, slaves were dressing her. “Mother, I need to speak to you,” he said. Khepari saw him approach in the mirror and smiled. “Omari, I was hoping you’d come to see me,” she said. “I wanted to talk to you about what happened with Aneksi,” The Prince said. “She is remembering...certain things and seems afraid of you. I don’t understand why she would be, you had nothing to do with what happened,” Omari said and was watching her closely.

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Post by XslvrstarX on Sat Dec 14, 2019 7:12 am

Isabella sighed and shook her head when Steve asked about the others. "I don't know," she told him honestly. "I've only heard about you and Peter." She glanced back and saw that the fight was still going on, but she knew that they were going to get it under control eventually. "What should we do Steve?"

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Khepari smiled when she saw her son walk into her room. She had been hoping to talk to him about what was happening and get his assurance that he was going to find Captain America. The man was potentially a threat to their plan. However, before she could ask him about it, Omari brought up Aneksi. What he said worried her and she didn't realize it, but she winced slightly before trying to cover it up with a smile. "Of course I didn't have anything to do with what happened. Why would you believe her over me?"

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Post by Conleth on Sat Dec 14, 2019 8:56 am

Prince Omari frowned. Was this how it was before? He remembered being here like this before. It was different certainly but also all too familiar. “So is that what this is going to be...again, you and Aneksi, at odds...again? I love her mother and I will make certain she knows her place. You’ve raised me to be a leader. Now let me lead and allow me this one, shred of happiness,” he said as he went down to one knee before her. “Please?” He said with a few tears in his eyes.

---------------------------

“I don’t know Isabella. I had her, right there. I could have...I could have ended this,” he said looking distraught. “I can’t see an evil in them, only a wrong way of thinking. It felt wrong to kill her. I’m not like Natalya or Logan,” he said and in this particular moment he had wished that he could do what needed to be done. But his mind didn’t work that way. “If we could...somehow show them what being a slave was like...show them the horror of that, maybe they’d change,” he said but they had lived this way for centuries. Millenia most likely with their technology.

--------------------------

Gambit and Serena tried to follow Logan and Natalya but as the space between them opened up more and more people flooded the area they were in. It was like rush hour in New York where hundreds, thousands of people were headed home or to work or elsewhere. And one soldier resembled the next for the most part. Logan looked back to find he had lost sight of Serena. “Damn, I lost them,” he said angrily. He felt Natalya stop but he shook his head.

‘No, their on their own, we need to find the queen,” he said and that would be difficult if they could not speak to anyone. “These people need some way to talk to all of these slaves,” he said as they watched a group of slaves, each were of a different alien race, pass by them. “Unless...we already can?” He asked. He noticed that he could understand what a soldier near them said. “Keep moving,” he growled at the last slave in the line. The large, thick-necked looking creature turned to regard him and picked up his step. Logan smiled.

“Its these uniforms, something in them does this already,” he said appreciatively as he looked himself over. And then saw her. A woman, a human with a collar on. She had blonde hair but her face was unmistakable. Logan didn’t recognize her but Natalya did. It was Sue Richards. Her left cheek was swollen and she looked as if her will had been completely broken. Her blue eyes never even looked up from the floor. She had one of those collars on and she was in a gold smock and sandals, like the other slaves. “Natalya?” Logan asked when she appeared to stop and look at the woman.

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Post by XslvrstarX on Sat Dec 14, 2019 1:57 pm

Khepari sighed and looked at her son as her frustration and anger began to grow. "You were never supposed to marry her! She was beneath you Omari. Her family was nothing! Yet, you fell in love with her and married her and then gave all of your attention to her, instead of to me. You brought this upon her and yourself Omari. You have no one to blame but yourself."

---------------------------------

"Well, I need to keep Prince Omari's trust," Isabella told Steve. "I believe he is the key to stopping all of this. He loves Aneski unconditionally and is being manipulated by his mother. If we can turn him against his mother then perhaps we can end this."

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Natalya became upset when Logan informed her that Gambit and Serena were no longer behind them, however, they needed to complete their mission. They needed to find the queen. She hoped that Serena and Gambit would be alright. As they walked, Natalya couldn't help but notice all of the slaves that were everywhere. They appeared to be of all different types of alien races. However, there was one slave that stood out to Natalya. She had blonde hair and blue eyes. It was unmistakably Sue Richards...the Invisible Woman.

"That's Sue Richards," she whispered to Logan. "She's apart of the Fantastic Four. She has the ability to make herself and objects around her invisible. We need to free her somehow."

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Post by Conleth on Sat Dec 14, 2019 3:32 pm

“We need to free them all, somehow,” Logan said. ‘I could get the collar off but not before we’re spotted by at least 50 soldiers. He held Natalya’s arm. “Come, lets do what we came to do,” He said but he didn’t pull her. THeir relationship was based on trust, understanding and love. If she felt it was important enough for them to rescue Sue right here, right now, Logan would help her and help themselves get out of whatever mess it caused.

--------------------------------

Serena and Gambit quickly learned that they were able to understand everyone and they were able to understand them. The trouble was that they had to obscure the movements of their mouth as they spoke in English and though the device translated everything in their own voice, those they spoke to could notice that they were not Egyptians. They did find out that the engineering quarter was to the south and on the lower levels of the city. They quickly learned how to salute, how to bow and had thus far not been challenged much at all as they moved through the massive city. It had to be a hundred blocks in size in each direction. They did have trams that moved along the axis of the city but the lines for those were long. Gambit decided that they should just get in line and take one anyway and so they did. While in line they watched the people that moved around them. Alien slaves were everywhere and they were all extremely different. An officer, a lieutenant noticed them and stepped up to them. He was male so that took something away from his authority but as a male, he had reached the highest rank he could reach. He was older, so not so decorated to have gained the queen’s favor. He had only lived one lifetime.

“And where do you think YOUR going!?” The officer asked as he stepped up to them.

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Ever since Peter had removed his collar and retrieved an Overseers command device he had been tinkering with it. He knew how it worked but he lacked the tools and the parts to modify it. His goal was to modify it to send out a signal that would unlatch all collars within the signals broadcast radius. He had over a dozen aliens now that moved with him and they had made it into the market square. The Avani had gotten smarter and tried to bottle them up. He lost half of the aliens with him in that fight to get clear of the blockade. These soldiers were used to obedience and the over the top aggression had surprised them. He located a tech dealer but the man did not want to sell his wares to ‘slaves’. He was forced to steal from the man and that brought more soldiers down upon them.

As Isabella and Steve spoke blasts of energy and shouts rang out over the din of the market. A stray shot hit near where they stood and the soldiers she had come with were looking around for her as the fighting drew closer to them.

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Post by XslvrstarX on Sat Dec 14, 2019 3:50 pm

Natalya heard Logan, but she hesitated. She knew that helping Sue would ultimately help them in the long run. They needed her...her power of invisibility. She looked back at Logan and in that split second a decision was reached. They would rescue Sue. She hoped it would be a smart decision, but only time would tell. She gave Logan a little nod and he nodded back to her.

------------------------------------

Serena and Gambit had to be careful. Even though they had devices that allowed them to understand and speak all languages, they were supposed to be Egyptian and so they couldn't give away that they didn't actually know how to speak the language. She and Gambit didn't know where they were going. They had to guess, but thankfully they hadn't been challenged by anyone yet. Their disguises were working. Gambit decided that they should try one of the trams and they got in line. As they were waiting a male soldier approached them and demanded to know where they were going. He was older and Serena knew that women held the power in this city. She decided to test that out but she felt Gambit shift beside her slightly and was prepared to attack.

"How dare you speak to me in such a way! Our business is ours alone."

-----------------------------------------------

Isabella suddenly heard energy blasts and shouts. A stray shot hit near where they were standing and she looked over and suddenly saw Peter. "Steve...it's Peter!" Out of the corner of her eye she saw the soldiers she had come with looking for her, but she stayed in the dark shadows.

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Post by Conleth on Sat Dec 14, 2019 5:54 pm

Omari squeezed his eyes shut and clenched his jaw. Was he really hearing this? His own mother, murdered his beloved wife? “This isn’t happening...it just isn’t,” he said in disbelief. How could she have done this? He had given everything to be the son she needed. And it hadn’t been enough. He doubted anything would be enough. His face took on a dangerous look right then.

“Aneksi is my wife, mother. She was pregnant with my son...how DARE you!” He growled. “You will not harm her again! Do you understand!?” He said with eyes of dark fire.

------------------------

Logan had begun slicing off collars on every slave he saw. His claws cut through them easily and in a few moments slaves ran amok everywhere and some fought with soldiers and other Avani. As soon as Sue saw Natalya her eyes perked up. Logan had cut her collar off first and in a moment the three of them were invisible. No one knew what was happening with the collars until the slaves were loose. Some of them, were dangerous mutants or aliens and were doing serious damage to the soldiers who tried to subdue them.

------------------------

“Just give me a few minutes!” Peter asked and the large, hulking beast nodded. “Very well Peter Parker, a few minutes it shall be!” He said and then ran head first into the soldiers that came toward them. He bowled them over like bowling pins as other armed aliens fought. Peter hunkered down between a few of the merchant stalls and used the tools to open up the Overseer control wand. He began to modify it as the fighting intensified. Former alien slaves were dying but they were making the Avani soldiers pay for their deaths. They fought brutally and desperately against the soldiers. Isabella’s guards ran over to her from the street. They saw Steve but couldn’t see him clearly in the shadows. Steve noticed that one of them carried a round, golden shield. He smiled and ran at them out of the darkness. Before Isabella could hardly blink the two soldiers were down and Steve took up the shield and spear.

“I think its time you got back to the Prince. I’m going to help Peter,” Steve said and then ran out to help them, his shield held high.

-------------------------

The Lieutenant blinked at the sudden onslaught. He hadn’t expected this from a soldier. Being a man in a womans world was a slippery slope. Still he had come far for being a man. However this soldier could be of nobility. It was not unheard of, he had several in his own company. These 2 were not in his company but he had thought Joavie’s company had been completely destroyed. They were the honored first to engage the people of this world.

“Is Lieutenant Joavie alive then? Where is she?, I thought all of her men had died,” He asked. Obviously these outfits had something about them that gave away what company they were attached to but it was likely something subtle, something that they had missed?

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Post by XslvrstarX on Sat Dec 14, 2019 6:14 pm

Isabella nodded and quickly left the chaos of the Market. She headed back into the palace and as she quickly walked down the hallways she soon heard the sounds of two voices yelling. One was most definitely Omari's. She didn't recognize the other, but she could only assume it was the Queen. The door was partially open and she started to peek in, but then she suddenly felt someone grab her and yank her inside the room and then put a dagger to her throat.

Khepari was standing near the door when she suddenly detected some movement. When she saw it was Aneksi she moved like a snake and grabbed her and yanked her inside and got an arm around her. She held a dagger to her throat and glared at Omari.

"You have to choose right now! Me...your mother...the woman who gave birth to you and raised you. Or, this woman from a poor, lowly family. Who do you choose?!"

Isabella was frightened and she looked at Omari with pleading eyes. He was her only hope at this point. Khepari's grip on her was tight and she was unarmed.

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Natalya used what weapons she could get her hands on to start killing soldiers while Logan freed the slaves. Being invisible created chaos in the Market, but it was working. Suddenly, Natalya spotted Steve and Peter and she smiled. "They're alive!"

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Serena kept her expression neutral, if not a little firm. She needed to behave like she knew what was going on, even if she was figuring it out in the moment. "We are the only two who survived. We are going to get our new orders and you are delaying us."

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Post by Conleth on Sat Dec 14, 2019 7:36 pm

Steve bashed a soldier with his shield and narrowly avoided a spear thrust that would have certainly skewered him. The spear tip scored along his arm and fresh red blood ran down to his wrist. Aliens, formerly slaves fought with hands, feet, claws, maws, spears and shields. Soldiers in golden armor had numbers and fighting experience but not desperation spawned by years of captivity. These people had been tortured, used and abused. Debased to the point of madness and they fought as if they were mad. Peter, frantically worked on the control rod. He glanced up and saw Steve Rogers. Captain America himself fighting alongside his band of aliens. His eyes bulged but his attention went quickly back to what he was doing.

“Tony Stark would have had this done already,” He muttered to himself. “And It would make an espresso too!” He growled as he tried to fit the tiny wire into the energy module that would power the signal. “God I need someone with smaller hands!” He grumbled as sweat poured down his forehead. The fighting was fierce and Steve now faced 3 soldiers all by himself. More aliens were down and he could feel it more than see that the tide was turning against them.

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Prince Omari reached for his belt knife but his eyes had a haunted caste to them. Isabella saw the pure, unbridled love in his eyes. Love for her when she had done nothing to deserve it. She was who he said she was, perhaps, but she also wasn’t. Fate had brought them together once more but it looked like that fate was about to come to an unpleasant end. “Mother...if you kill her I will step away…” He began as Khepari smiled. A trickle of blood ran down Isbaella’s neck and the Prince put out his hand.

“Mother....Don’t!” Please!” He pleaded and two soldiers came into the chamber and bowed.

“My queen, I beg your forgiveness but there is a situation in the market square. This...Captain America is fighting us. He is with a band of aliens and many of your soldiers are slain,” he said. The disturbance was just what Omari needed. As Khepari drew the knife away from Isabella’s neck Omari pulled his knife and threw it. It struck the Queen in the shoulder and the knife she held fell to the floor.

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Peter snapped back on the golden housing to the control rod and it surprisingly, it lit up with a bright, yellow light.

Every collar in range of the market square, suddenly unclicked and powered down. As slaves reached up to touch them, they fell off and clinked to the floor.

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Post by XslvrstarX on Sat Dec 14, 2019 8:12 pm

Isabella felt the blood begin to trickle down her neck as the Queen pierced her flesh. She looked at Omari and her eyes met his. In that moment Isabella knew that Omari was not a killer. He was only doing as he had been taught and commanded. He had a good heart and he had loved Aneski deeply. She felt terrible lying to him as she had, but she had done what she needed to do in order to try and save those she loved and innocent citizens of the world. She hoped he would understand that.

Suddenly, two soldiers came into the room and distracted the Queen just long enough for her to draw the knife away from her neck. Isabella moved out of the way just as Omari threw his knife and struck his mother in the shoulder. Isabella quickly picked up the knife and then moved over to where Omari stood.

Khepari looked up at her son in disbelief as she realized he had done this. Her eyes narrowed dangerously at them both. "Kill them!" she ordered the soldiers.

However, before the soldiers could move they were both suddenly attacked, seemingly by nothing but air and then both fell to the floor.

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Serena and Gambit had managed to get away from the old Lieutenant and headed towards the Gray Market. They reached the area just as Peter freed all of the slaves. Gambit and Serena were dressed in Avani military clothing and everyone seemed to turn their attention towards them. However, just before the former slaves attacked them, Serena saw Peter.

"Peter Parker!" she shouted across the market. She hoped he would recognize her voice and call off the impending attack.

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Post by Conleth on Sun Dec 15, 2019 9:56 am

Natalya shot the soldier on the left in the back of the head just as Logan slashed at the one on the right with his claws. They both fell to their knees and then fell forward dead. In a split second Natalya saw Isabella and two other Avani. One looked like the queen but from the back the other looked like an officer. She shot him before Isabella could say anything. Omari’s eyes bulged as he felt the bullet go into his back. He blinked in surprise that he felt no pain. His knees suddenly felt weak and fell down onto one. He looked up at Isabella, his eyes still filled with love and worry for her.

The queen had fallen back and her right hand went to the knife in her shoulder. She winced in pain but could not pull it out.

“No!” She cried as she saw her only son fall to his knees. Logan and Natalya both moved forward out of the field of invisibility that Sue has put them in.

————————

Peter and his band of alien slaves with help from Steve directed the newly freed slaves. “Take up arms! You are free! Fight, fight for your lives and your freedom!” Steve said in that booming commanding tone of his. And the slaves did so and began to so after any soldier they saw. They rushed the line of trained soldiers and the first wave of them were taken down but the second punched through the soldiers line and pushed them back. Now the market was a chaotic battlefield with groups of aliens fighting groups of Avani soldiers. Several aliens saw Serena and Gambit and were prepared to charge them until Serena spoke.

Peter had never killed so many people before in his life. He had never been a soldier and he felt a part of him, that little innocent boy part of him slowly die inside. It had to be. He could not do what he was doing and still be that same man. He was still Peter but he had had to kill to survive. He left his family, and children for Serena. He had left everything behind for her and he had to survive...for her. She was the greatest love of his life and he would not lose her again! And so he killed these soldiers any way he could.

Serena’s voice was like an alarm in his head. Her voice was unmistakeable. He knew it as much as he knew his own. “Serena! Those two, they are with us!” Peter shouted from across the market. There were soldiers and aliens fighting between them but the aliens stopped their charge and moved to attacks other soldiers. In an instant Gambit joined in the fighting and tossed cards at unengaged groups of soldiers. They exploded with great force and soldiers died where ever his cards hit. Peter waded into the fray picking up a soldier and throwing him bodily into a market stall. “Serena!” He cried as he tried to get to her.

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Post by XslvrstarX on Sun Dec 15, 2019 10:15 am

Isabella's eyes widened as she realized Omari had been shot in the back. Their eyes met for a brief moment and she saw his love and worry for Aneksi. She rushed forward when she saw his knees buckle under him and she grabbed him before he could collapse onto the floor. She looked over and suddenly saw Logan, Natalya, and Sue Richards. She could not blame them for what they had done. They didn't know that Omari was not their enemy. However, the Queen was still alive and she saw her grab a weapon from one of the downed soldiers and then rush towards her with the spear...

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Serena quickly made her way through the crowd of soldiers and slaves who were engaged in an epic battle. She needed to get to Peter. She fired energy blasts at any soldier she came across and out of the corner of her eye she saw Gambit fighting as well. She could see Peter also fighting his way towards her. Finally, they were face to face and they stood there for a moment before embracing each other tightly. They shared a rather passionate kiss, before she pulled back and looked up into his eyes as a few tears filled hers. "I was so worried about you."

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Post by Conleth on Sun Dec 15, 2019 4:34 pm

Peter was a mass of dried blood, scrapes, cuts and bruises. His hair and face were filthy but his lips felt no different. And she felt his eagerness as he kissed her back. His eyes though, those had changed. They were still blue but with a haunted, tired look to them. Still peter but yet, someone else as well. There was a hardness to him even though his eye welled up with unshed tears.

“I tried to escape, I did but I couldn’t leave all of these people,” he said in a desperate voice that was on the verge of cracking. Peter thought that he would die here and without telling Serena goodbye either. He would die amongst aliens he did not know. There were far more aliens than soldiers and soon the soldiers were forced to flee or be overwhelmed. Steve and Gambit grew closer and closer to them until they were right next to them and the fighting drew further and further away.

“I know Isabella is here,” Steve said. “I saw her and think I know how to get back there. “Well, we have to find the engine or device that allows this city to travel like it does,” Gambit said.

------------------------------

Natalya shot the queen’s arm and the spear she held clanged to the floor. She stood there and cradled her arm as blood seeped from a wound on her hand. And her shoulder bled as well. Khepari was in a fury and outraged that this had happened. Her son, her only son, her flesh and blood was dying before her and she looked at Natalya with fury in her eyes.

“Do you KNOW who I AM WOMAN!?” She said in an angry growl. Then she tilted her head as she looked at Logan. Logan who was right next to Natalya and Sue suddenly swiped his claws at Natalya. Luckily she managed to dance back but then he came for Sue. Sue made herself invisible again and then encased Logan in one of her invisible fields. “I...wanted you to remember...to...have my children...to raise them together…” Omari said as he looked up into Isabella’s eyes. His eyes seemed to say that he was sorry he would not be there with her for that.

“I will...always love you Aneksi...al...way...sss,” he said as she felt him suddenly go limp in her arms. His eyes already glossing over in death.

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Post by XslvrstarX on Sun Dec 15, 2019 6:58 pm

Serena rested her forehead against Peter's and gently caressed his cheeks. She could tell that what had happened here...what he had done had changed him somehow and would likely haunt him forever. No matter what happened, she would still love him. In situations like this, you did what you needed to in order to survive. They shared a quiet moment together before Steve and Gambit approached them and she gently pulled away from Peter and looked at the others.

"I think we will need to split up. Steve and I can go look for my mother. Peter, you go with Gambit to find the engine room."

-------------------------------------

Isabella cradled Omari's head as he looked up at her and drew his dying breaths. She felt a few tears come to her eyes for him. He had been a good man...just misled by his mother. She gently closed his eyes and placed him on the floor. She then looked up at the Queen and a wave of anger came over her. She suddenly stood up and grabbed the spear that was on the ground and rammed it through her stomach. Then, she fell to the floor unconscious.

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