Meanwhile, the other side of the police barricade…

So you’re keeping them off us, right?” called out Lady Mastermind telepathically. Shiro disliked the intrusion into his thoughts, but understood her concerns. She had been tasked with removing any injured civilians out of harms way, and had discovered that she couldn’t get her psychic claws into the minds of the monstrosities that they were currently facing.

We’re trying,” replied Avalanche. “Not so easy when the damn things can turn invisible though.”

Shiro sighed and flicked a switch on his belt buckle. “We have perfectly serviceable communications devices, Regan,” he replied. “I would prefer it if you used those, rather then enter my mind uninvited.”

“Like you’ve got anything I want to see,” she scoffed. “So where the hell are those things anyway? Actually, forget it, I don’t care, just keep them away from me and Rain Man over here and I promise not to punch you in the face when this is over.”

With that, her transmission ended. Shiro sighed in relief as he continued to circle Times Square from above, keeping watch for the smaller creatures that had taken to the sides of the buildings before promptly becoming invisible.

“Avalanche, do you receive?” he asked.

“Do I receive what?” asked the Greek mutant, his voice coming in clear over the communicator.

Shiro gritted his teeth. Was this really the kind of idiotic operation he was now being coerced to work with?

“Do you see any of our targets,” he asked, choosing to ignore his team- mate’s idiocy.

“I make vibrations happen,” he replied. Sunfire could see him scanning the sides of nearby buildings. “I don’t see things that are invisible.”

“I meant, did you happen to see where any of them went?” sighed Shiro, as he began his descent closer to street level. “They didn’t look too formidable, but I’d sooner not get jumped by–”

Shiro caught a sudden movement out of the corner of his eye, and reflexively covered his body in a protective sheath of flame. The smaller creatures resembled lizards, although had eight limbs rather than four, with small bug-like wings jutting out from their scaled backs. The wings seemed to be too small to support them for a long-distance flight, but were strong enough to propel them forwards with extra force. The creature hissed at Shiro as it became visible, mouth wide open displaying three rows of needle-sharp teeth. Shiro thrust his hands forward, almost to the point of shoving them directly down the lizard’s throat, creating a ball of super-charged plasma as he did so. The force of his blow caused the creature to immediately reverse trajectory, heading downwards diagonally for several feet before the top half of the beast exploded in a shower of dirty-yellow viscera.

“I’ve got movement,” reported Avalanche. “And also, I’m assuming I have you to thank for the rain of monster guts?”

“Be stoic,” shot back Shiro, refusing to admit that the attacking foe had come close to injuring him. “Nobody likes a super-hero that moans.”

“Okay, then get down here and give me a hand!” called out Avalanche. “I’ve got three of them pinned down, get here and finish them!”

Shiro swooped down from the sky to Avalanche’s position. Splatters of the blood from the creature Shiro had dispatched had coated the shoulder of Avalanche’s grey costume, as Dominik stood with his hands outstretched, facing a trio of the beasts who were seemingly paralysed by the vibrational blasts that he was channelling towards them.

“They don’t like vibrations,” remarked Dominik. “I turned my powers on these three and they just dropped where they were and started quivering… it’s not even a high-intensity vibration, it’s just–”

“Irrelevant,” said Shiro, interrupting as he released a jet of flame from his hands, incinerating the creatures as they squealed in agony before falling silent. The smell of burned flesh filled the air, causing Avalanche to twist his face in disgust.

“That is NOT pleasant,” he remarked.

“As opposed to whatever they were planning on doing to us?” asked Sunfire.

“Point taken,” grunted Avalanche. “So that’s four… I’m sure I saw six of those things.”

“You did,” chimed in Warden through the communicators. “Six of these creatures, that I’ve designated as ‘Basilisks’, which means you need to find two more invisible lizards to kill.”

“Thanks for the help,” replied Avalanche, before glancing at Shiro and shrugging. “For what it was worth, I guess…”

“More worrying, however,” continued Warden. “From what I can tell from the corpses, there is an area within the creature’s abdominal cavity that appears to be consistent with the egg sacs of several species of reptiles, all of which appear to have been voided recently, implying–”

“Wait, how the hell can you know all of this?” asked Avalanche. “Spy-camera in our belt buckles?”

“Nothing so James Bond,” replied Warden. “Look up and diagonally to your right.”

Avalanche twisted his head and spotted a CCTV camera on the side of a nearby building.

“Smile, Dominick, I’ve got your good side,” said Warden.

“Pretty clever,” said Avalanche.

“Yes, now that we’ve gloried in the relative intelligence of the robot, do you think that perhaps we could consider searching for the other two creatures and then ponder the imminent hatching of the eggs that they’ve laid?” retorted Sunfire.

“You boys need some help?” asked a voice from behind them. The duo turned to find a delicately-featured red-headed woman standing on the street, smiling coyly, an ornate black head-band holding her hair back from her face.

“Is that a Fantastic Four uniform?” asked Avalanche, confused. “I’m pretty sure you’re not the Invisible Woman…”

“How soon they forget,” she sighed. “I was actually Sue’s replacement when she was pregnant with Franklin… Crystal? Of the Inhumans?” she said. She paused for a moment, her eyes flitting between the two mutants before raising an eyebrow in disbelief. “No? Really?”

“I have heard of you,” answered Sunfire. “Your powers are reputedly quite formidable. You may prove adequate in assisting us to find the clutches of eggs that these beasts have lain.”

“Okay, let’s get a few things straight,” she said, taking an almost regal tone. “First off, we’re called the Future Foundation now. Secondly, the polite thing to do would be to ask for my help, rather than telling me that I’ll ‘prove adequate’. And finally, you should ALWAYS watch your back.”

As she finished speaking, she gestured behind Avalanche with a flick of her wrist. One of the knocked over hydrant’s flows redirected itself instantaneously, blasting a lizard creature that had been sneaking up behind Avalanche with a powerful torrent, sending it crashing into the side of a nearby building with enough force to create cracks in the concrete. For a brief moment, the spray around the creature took on a yellowish hue, before Crystal’s control of the water was released, causing the monster to fall to the ground with a wet squelch.

“Now,” she said with a smile. “Shall we?”