Chapter One: Infinite Cruelty.
Life had always been simple for the Infinities.
They were activated. They worked. They died. And there wasn’t much else.
The programming used to bring life to them was beautifully simple, yet powerfully complex. After all, Infinities needed to be independent minded enough to work in the field on their own, but they also couldn’t be allowed dissatisfaction with their mutant masters. They had to be fearless, for they were often thrown into battle or left on guard duty, and were often attacked by rebels and terrorists. But they also had to be brave enough to get the job done anyway. They had just enough personality to be individual and unique, but not enough to question their own existence. They couldn’t wonder why they worked for masters as cruel as the mutants to oppress so sad a people as humanity.
They were not programmed for kindness or compassion or generosity or sacrifice. An Infinity got the job done.
Life was pretty simple.
Not that the Infinity who is currently in charge of Tower 83 would agree to that. Several hours ago, the High Lord ordered the Seawall Towers to lift their struts and attack what remained of Europe. For the most part, the invasion is going well. The Towers are scattered throughout Eastern Europe, most of them congregating in London, Madrid, and what little remains of Paris. Kill counts are high across the board, but so are losses – Sentinels had destroyed nearly a dozen of the Towers and something had been moving through London, destroying three of the floating fortresses in the past hour. Commander 83 was doing its best to keep up with the news flow, but being on the offensive was new for the commander. After all, Towers didn’t normally go anywhere.
Reports from the twenty-four other Infinities who make up the Command Center come from all directions below the commander and range in topics. Things like the troop readiness status – “Ground troops are still awaiting deployment and balrogs have been prepared for launch, sir, whenever you’re ready.”
Or incoming potential threats – “Two 10-unit squads of Sentinels have just arrived from the north and are launching attacks on all Towers in the area. Three that were defending the High Council’s base of operations have been eliminated sir.”
And there’s also the continued successes of 83’s Tower – “ – has just blasted three more humans sir, bringing our tally up to 206 confirmed kills!”
As well as the Tower’s status reports. “ – are reporting that damage is still under 10% sir. Our fuel reserves are at 87%, meaning we can stay in theater for another four hours before needing to return to our original position.”
There was an upside though. The most pleasing news of all: the failures of 83’s fellows. “I have visuals on Tower 32 and it is sinking sir!”
Another Infinity speaks. “I have an aircraft entering local airspace. No records on match. Trajectory puts it on course for Tower 32 sir,” This Infinity suddenly stands as its console lights up red. “I have x-gene confirmation! That ship has mutants sir!”
“I read the same here,” The Infinity with news of Tower 32 says. “X-gene confirmed on Tower 32. These must be the mutants who have been destroying towers left and right. We have rebels in theater!”
If 83 had a mouth, it would smile. “Inform the gunner that that ship is now our top priority. Recon, I want target locks on anything with an x-gene – on ship or off. Once you have confirmed locations, inform ground troops and deploy. Gunners, you are welcome to start firing as soon as you see something worth shooting. Remember men,” The commander stands and takes in the glowing red orbs that turn to stare at him. “We were deployed with one objective: Destroy everything. Let’s make the High Lord proud!”
Every Tower is equipped with thirty-six stationary plasma cannons. Each cannon is spaced evenly apart in overlapping patterns between floors, allowing for crisscrossing fire. Seated in each cannon is an Infinity, its head plugged into the control systems. The interface is synced to the Infinity’s head movements, allowing it to control the cannon as easily as it moves its own head.
Another two Infinity stand to the left and front of the cannon seat. One is prepared to pull the used plasma battery upon depletion while the other stands ready to replace it. A large crate of replacement batteries rests by it’s feet; an empty one rests by it’s compatriot. The gunner groans at the announcement and clicks over to the gunner’s private frequency. “Boys, you hear that?”
“You better believe I did,” says the gunner to his right. “Like shooting humans from this high up is easy; now we gotta shoot rebels? I’ve only got one optic sensor!”
The Infinity on the left responds. “Just means we need to shoot first and shoot fast. And hey,” Its voice takes on a slightly playful tone. “I don’t remember any orders about friendly fire being off-limits.”
The other gunner laughs. “They don’t call us Infinities for nothing!”
Bright blue plasma streaks through the cold night air.
Chapter Two: Burning Questions.
“Alright then. Now. I want some Goddamn answers.”
Before any one of the gathered mutants can answer the Man, blue-hot streaks of plasma suddenly crash to the ground. The energy bolts splash upon impact, leaving two foot wide craters in the ground, their edges smoking with splashed excess and steam. Everyone scatters, save for Sabretooth, who has the unfortunate luck of being the biggest target in the area. A plasma bolt catches him in the back and he falls to the ground, his guttural scream transforming into a roar of pain and outrage. Underneath him, Blink’s eyes suddenly burst open and she takes in her surroundings.
Creed forces a smile, sweat and tears rolling down his face. “Don’t worry pup, I’ll be alright.” Then he gathers her up with his left arm – his right arm useless thanks to already-healing plasma damage – forces himself to his feet, and starts running. Plasma continues to rain down around them and Creed catches a dose of splash on his right side. His massive legs keep moving though and finally he runs through the shattered doorway of a nearby building, slamming into the nearest wall. His mind is spinning with pain as he crumples to the ground, Blink practically rolling from his arms.
Blink rights herself and takes in their surroundings, mentally going over herself as she does. Her whole body feels sore, fatigue and hunger wearing on her physically. The plasma burn along the side of her head feels stiff and stings, probably in need of cleaning. “What’d I miss?” she asks, moving to examine Creed’s wounds as plasma splashes against the outer wall. The brick melts quickly.
Creed growls, swiping at her as she prods his already-knitting wounds. “You weren’t out long,” He looks at her over his shoulder then quietly asks. “You okay pup?”
Blink pulls back, glaring at him. “I’m fine. Now what’s going on? We were inside a Tower and then I – ”
Creed works his shoulder as the flesh finishes healing. “You passed out. Nightcrawler and his ma showed up and Kurt got us out. Some stranger knocked out Gambit’s kid and took her hostage. Then we got spotted, the hot rain started falling and,” He spreads his arms wide, indicating the space they are in. “Here we are.”
“Why would someone attack Jubilee? Other than all the good reasons,” Blink mutters. Before the assault on A-Island, Clarice had heard the bad news about the next generation of X-Men. She had not been able to help them, but she was here. She was now. She couldn’t let something happen to Jubilee, not if there was any way she could help it.
“Does it matter?” Creed asks, standing. “We’ve got plasma falling from the sky and there’ll be Infinities soon after that. We gotta find Kurt’s ship and get the hell out of here.”
“We find Jubilee first,” Blink says. “Then I can get us back here and we can take the ship home.”
“Pup, we ain’t got time – ”
Blink cuts him off. “If it was me, you would never leave.”
“But it ain’t you, it’s a loud-mouth little brat that I don’t care about. She’s Gambit’s responsibility Clarice, go have him look for her.”
Blink lets out a snide laugh as she starts to move towards the back of the building – where the fire hopefully won’t be.. “Scared of some Infinities, Mr. Creed?”
“I ain’t frightened of Holocaust’s tin men,” Creed says, dashing forward to grab the young girl by the arm. “But we’ve been cutting it too close. We all thought that push on A-Island would be the final one, so we pushed hard. But it wasn’t final. We’re still here. An’ I don’t know who else might be out there, but I know I got you kid. I ain’t gonna lose you.”
Clarice rests a small hand on Creed’s. She turns and looks up at him, smiling. “If we’re all that’s left Mr. Creed, then we can’t lose anyone.”