I introduce an OC here, called Catalyst. She’s a mutant with a bit part to continue the story, don’t worry. I’m not sure if there’s a Marvel Comics mutant who could have been substituted, I’m only familiar with the movies. You are welcome to use her in your fics if you ask first. I will admit that in Hitchcock-style she is a bit of a self-insertion for the author, but if you read on you’ll see she’s only mentioned once or twice in the story to advance the plot. I needed someone with the Brotherhood who had an understanding of science and that’s how she found her way into the story.
Chapter Eight: BMW Z3
Magneto knew it was only a matter of time till he met face-to-face with his favorite blue shape-shifter, but he had expected it would be in the middle of a pitched battle with her hands around his neck, not on his island fortress’s security cameras asking permission to dock her launch. He’d granted it of course, knowing that if Mystique had wished him harm she never would have shown up as herself, but as Pyro, Spike, or one of the other mutants.
Without hesitation, he had waved the door open for her to enter his study, and waited patiently to see her to enter, knowing she would come to speak to him immediately. If Erik admitted it to himself, he had never thought he would see Mystique again. After she had been hit with the cure and her azure scales had faded away to reveal a fragile human woman, he had dumped her like yesterday’s trash, a heroic sacrifice for the cause of mutant supremacy.
Later as he gathered his forces for the assault on Worthington Labs, he found out that she had begun leaking information to the authorities and he hadn’t been surprised. He’d assumed she would and took measures to prevent any harm coming from it. After that he had forgotten about Mystique until he wound up lying on the asphalt of the Golden Gate Bridge with four syringes sticking out of his chest. He knew in that moment he had gotten his just deserts. Once his powers began to return he knew for certain that Mystiques’ would have as well and Magneto found himself watching the eyes of strangers closely, waiting for the yellow gleam to signal his former lover’s imminent revenge.
Yet here she was sauntering into his study her scales as beautiful and blue as ever, her red hair slicked back against her head, and her yellow eyes starring at him with a blank expression that revealed no emotion.
“I see you’re healing well.” She shifted on her legs. “I heard that the X-Men got you good at Alcatraz. Four shots was it?”
“How much of your powers are back?” Magneto felt no reason to lie to Mystique. She had been his second-in-command and was no dummy. She was only asking if she already knew the answer.
“I can lift this desk chair, but not easily, and I can only affect within a ten meter radius.” In the last few weeks he had progressed to metal objects weighing between thirty and forty lbs. but it was still a far cry from former glory. He had posted a newspaper clipping of the stranded Golden Gate Bridge on the wall facing his desk as a reminder to himself what he was working towards.
“If you’re planning on attacking me I won’t put up much of a fight. I think you have the upper hand now, Raven.” He turned in his chair to stare out his window at the wine-dark Atlantic Ocean crashing in white foam sheets against the rocks of his fortress.
“I’m not here to kill you Erik.”
“Oh, is mild torture sufficient for you then?” She laughed at that recognizing his peculiar sense of humor.
“I’m here to continue my work for the Brotherhood.” She said straight-faced and looking Magneto directly in his eyes; however he still wondered how seriously he should take that.
“You’re not angry with me? I would be in a murderous rage if I had been left naked on the floor of an armored truck after risking my life for you. But that is just me.”
“I was angry. I won’t sugarcoat it; I hate you Erik. But the cause is still important to me.” Her yellow eyes flashed at him when she had mentioned her anger and Magneto didn’t doubt that he had made a formidable enemy in the blue woman before him.
“No thoughts of offing me and taking over yourself?”
“I considered it, but the cause needs you. Mutants look to you for guidance and I don’t have the crowd appeal you do. For now the cause of Mutant Liberation still needs you.”
“For now?” Magneto hadn’t let her slip pass by unnoticed.
“For now.” She met his gaze half way and they knew were they stood. “I’m here to do what is needed by the Brotherhood, but don’t expect me to share your bed ever again Erik.”
“I respect you too much to ask that Mystique.” She stayed a moment, watching his expression which was softer than she remembered it, before she moved towards the door. Before she could open it Magneto spoke.
“I’m sorry.” Mystique turned back to look at him, questions in her eyes, but left without another word. She had not been expecting an apology from him, Magneto knew that, nor had he expected himself to give one. There was no place in the Brotherhood of Mutants for humans, even humans who had previously been mutants. And if he had to do it over again he would have done the same. But his battle against the cure had softened him and he knew what it meant to be made low.
He waited till Mystique settled into her old quarters before engaging her on the Brotherhood’s latest work.
“Mystique, meet Catalyst.” He introduced the blue woman to a small blond girl who looked like a teenager wearing a lab coat. Catalyst had a round, smiling face and green eyes. She shook Mystique’s hand after taking off her green nitrile lab gloves and removing her plastic goggles. “Catalyst can change the rates of reaction between substances.”
“What does that do exactly?” Mystique asked.
“She can speed up or slow down a reaction at will.” Magneto offered.
“It’s actually really useful for a lot of things. I can cook food in seconds, make seeds grow into plants in minutes, and I can slow the aging process to a rate where it is barely detectable.” She cupped her hand over mouth in a mock stage whisper to Mystique, “I’m actually 45 years old.” At that Mystique’s eyes flashed with interest.
“Catalyst is one of the most successful chemists of our time. If there wasn’t so much prejudice against mutants in the sciences she would have won a Nobel prize for her work in Organo-metallic Heck reactions.” Catalyst blushed at the compliment.
“I was just continuing the work of other chemists. It’s not a noteworthy as Erik makes it out to be.”
“Catalyst show Mystique around the lab.” Magneto watched as Catalyst pointed out the various expensive apparatus that had been acquired to produce the first rate laboratory. Catalyst pointed out her favorite items: the Krugelrohr they had had to make themselves and the NMR that Magneto had helped to charge with over 7 Telsa of magnetic fields.
“This is Magneto’s favorite product so far.” Catalyst held up a jar containing what looked like 30 grams of white snow.
“What does it do?” Mystique tried her best to remain interested in the science though her specialty lay elsewhere in espionage and intelligence.
“It takes the smoky smell out of Pyro’s clothes.” Mystique broke out in laughter.
“You really are a genius.”
“Here we have our flagship project. This is the Cure.” Catalyst held up a small green vial and Magneto watched as the shape-shifter moved away from the tiny vessel.
“And here we have the vaccine for the Cure. One shot and the Cure can never disable your mutation again. It’s stable and safe for use. But we’re still working on a way to make it water soluble for consumption through the water table.” Mystique looked at Magneto.
“We’re not going to be caught with our pants down again. Every mutant on the planet is going to get to this.” Mystique smiled as Magneto said that and stuck out her arm for Catalyst to immunize her.
“We enter here and you’ll begin the pre-flight checks at o-seven hundred.” Magneto pointed to a crew entrance to the Albany International Airport. “There should be no more than seven in your flight crew, you’ll need to disable them in whatever way you see fit, and slide their bodies down the inflatable stairs; no hostages should be taken.”
“Will your powers be returned enough by then to open the hanger doors?” It was a legitimate question, why then did it feel so insulting to Magneto. He had to restrain himself from snapping at his Lieutenant.
“They will be.” He referred to the map again. “Pyro will be stationed here to take care of any security that tries to interfere with the plane’s take off.” The Brotherhood’s next campaign required air transport and although Magneto was rich, he was not in any shape to legitimately buy a Bowing 747. So they would procure one by other means.
The jet fighters had been easier to get. Russia has sold them four MIG class fighter jets for about the price of a used BMW Z3 each. The pilots were even cheaper. Their services were bought for roughly $60,000 in American currency; which in Russia translated to a little over 1.6 million in spending power. God bless Russia’s collapsed ruble.
“How long should the whole operation take?” Mystique asked him.
“No more than thirty minutes in and out if we can coordinate the flight schedules to leave us a clear opening.” Thirty minutes was cutting it very close in his mind and he wasn’t happy with the prospect of that being their best estimate. There was more security surrounding airports than anywhere else in America today and it would take an exemplary performance by every team member for the plan to go off without a hitch.
Mystique had to fly a plane she was mostly unfamiliar with despite spending the last few weeks training on Microsoft’s Flight Simulator using what looked to be an eerily accurate mock-up. Pyro had to hold off what was bound to be a fleet of emergency vehicles looking to block the plane’s path for the most part on his own. And Erik would have to use his mastery of magnetism to open the forty-foot high hanger doors, when he could just lift a six-foot drainage pipe at the nearby construction site.
Still, Magneto was looking forward to the day of the mission. He wanted to get it done with, even if it fell through and they weren’t able to capture the jumbo jet. He was itching to do something physical to help the mutant cause. And he wouldn’t feel like he was truly his old-self again till he was mentioned by Brian Williams on the 6:30pm Nightly News right next to Osama Bin Laden and Fidel Castro.
Notes: Two years of chem lab experience went into the making of this chapter. I actually worked with cyanide during one step of my reaction. Not fun. All the chemistry mentioned in this chapter is true. There are Heck reactions and you can make a Krugelrohr at home out of a vacuum, a coffee maker, and a drill. Seriously, I worked in a university lab with that exact set up.
So obviously, it would cost more than a BMW Z3 to buy a Russian MIG, or at least I hope so. However, this is a story and well that little detail fit well I think. Also, Osama Bin Laden and Fidel Castro are terrible criminals and I think Magneto would be loathe to relate himself to them, however I believe he does want to be seen as threat to national security again. Remember it weighs hard on him that his powers are greatly diminished.
Next chap we get to see just how differently Xavier’s school for Gifted Youngsters and the X-Men are without the Professor to supervise them. And Rogue finally gets fed up wearing the X-Men suit and takes a hard look at her future at the mansion. Go to Chapter 9