About this commission

Once upon a day I came across a really cool picture in Kachima’s DeviantArt gallery of a female character looking like a major badass. I got an idea for a picture of Laura and Chris leaning up against a wall after a battle, looking at the viewer and looking similarly badass. An image with a sort of us-against-the-world vibe. This is the result and I really like it.

I was inspired to write a little story to go along with the pic and then my writer friend RobertoCasas was similarly inspired to expand on that little story to turn it into a larger story. You can read it below, the section in italics was my original text.

Same friend also commented that the pic looked like a real comic book cover, so I added some graphics to make it look like an issue from vol. 3 of X-23’s solo series that was cancelled after 21 issues. It’s included above.

Artist: Kachima [ DeviantArt | Patreon ]

The rain fell heavy in San Francisco that cold autumn night and a pair of shadows stomped along, splashing the contents of puddles onto each others’ footwear as they went. They were almost out of an alleyway when the smaller one put her arm out in front of its partner. It pulled off its baseball cap revealing Wingbat’s current face.

“Cameras.” She said as she took off her baseball cap and polyester jacket, revealing a corset and fishnet sleeves, much more characteristic for X-23.

Wingbat’s eyes lingered over her for a second as his hands went into his leather jacket’s inner pocket and pulled out the first device they’d needed, one of Forge’s brilliant tricks, disguised like (or incorporated into) a common cellphone. “Primed. This should give us… 15 seconds?”

“Fifteen.” She agreed, folding the two baseball caps inside her jacket and stuffing the ball of fabric into the tight space between the wall and a dumpster.

“On three. Maneuver 5. 1, 2-”

She started running to the chain-link fence and Wingbat aimed the device at their target and pressed the button. “Three!”

X-23 reached the fence and stopped, turned around and bent low with her fingers intertwined in front of her. Wingbat was just behind her. He stomped into her palms and between his momentum and her strength they pushed him up to the top of the 9-foot fence. Throwing one leg over he elongated one arm ever so slightly and X-23 clasped his hand. He pulled her up and the two hopped off.

They were in, but they weren’t clear. Five seconds to go and X-23 was ahead again. She ran straight into the wall and triangle-jumped up for height. Then the claws came out, one on each foot and two on each hand. She dug in deep, the adamantium in her claws punching effortlessly into the concrete.

Behind her they beneath her, two palms grabbed onto her thighs. Wingbat hoisted himself up, using X-23’s body as a ladder, until one arm was over her shoulder, the other across her chest and both his legs were wrapped around her waist. He stopped moving and she felt him getting lighter. It wasn’t acclimation, Wingbat was using his mutant power to shift his size to make the climb easier on her. She appreciated his thoughtfullness: thirty stories was going to take a while…

—-

Spending a half-hour climbing up a sheer building like the world’s cheapest do-it-yourself rock wall was as good a time as any to go over data and objectives. The target was pretty simple: The building was a Damage Control subsidiary. Put simply, they made their pay by cleaning up the fall-out from superhuman brawls. With the superhuman registration act and the ensuing ‘Civil War’ business had been booming.

But for some people it wasn’t enough.

A psychopath called Nitro killed 600 people in Connecticut. He was juiced on MGH (Mutant Growth Hormone, you’re human it gives you powers. You got powers already, it boosts them – Recap Raph). Wolverine traced the MGH to a source within Damage Control itself.

Even a superhuman civil war could draw war profiteers.

So Logan decided to cut into Damage Control, and since time mattered and he didn’t have the mutant power to be in two places at one he asked Laura if she’d mind doing him a favor while she was half the country away in San Francisco.

Oh, and he added: “Take your boyfriend with you if you’d like.”

—-

They reached the roof and Wingbat disengaged as quickly as he could, shaking his limbs. He’d been a human-backpack for way too long and despite knowing X-23’s abilities all too well he still felt guilty about it. She stretched her arms out and scanned about, focusing on the details of the helipad in particular before turning to Wingbat. She held up a finger to her lips for ‘silence’ and he responded with his index for ‘one second’.

He pulled the scanner from his jacket pocket again and looked for electronics. He found a few basic systems and put the device in his teeth, signalling ‘ok’ and then ‘15’ for the second time.

She nodded back and held up three fingers before pointing to the roof access door. He took the device out of his mouth and into his hand again, finger hovering over the button, and held out his other hand to her. Three fingers.

Two.

One.

He clicked and X-23 rushed with him right behind her, drawing a single claw and swiping the entirety of the doorframe. The heavy door swung effortlessly and its metal latches fell to the ground. X-23 took point and Wingbat swept the metal debris out into the rain with his foot before falling into place behind her. Quietly they went down the stairs to the 27th floor. Wingbat quietly twisted the doorknob, feeling the weight of an unlocked door. The two exchanged a glance and nodded.

He pulled the door open, keeping behind it like they’d trained so many times and X moved in.

Everything was lit up and the room exploded with the sound of gunfire. Wingbat was temporarily deaf and X-23 was moving.

Wingbat didn’t know what to make of the situation, he only knew a ton of blood had sprayed out in his general direction as soon as he’d opened the door. With a curse he grit his teeth and pulled out the second device he’d needed for such an occasion: Laura’s compact. He flipped the mirror open and held it up in front of him as he looked into the door.

Things were bad.

The reflection didn’t show him much but as far as he could tell X-23 had barged into a firing squad at the end of a very long hallway. He had to do something. Taking a second look it was apparent she’d gutted maybe two or three of them while the rest of the squad kept stepping back, firing all the way. Filling her with lead as they increased the distance between them.

He cursed and gave a second sweep when he saw there was a rifle on the ground. Focused on X he didn’t think the squad would notice him. It was worth the risk.

He ran in, crossed the five steps it took to reach the rifle and pulled it before retreating out the way he came. A hail of gunfire followed him and he caught his breath, hopeful that he’d at least taken a bit of the heat off Laura. he checked the rifle and his heart sank: Laura had cut the front half off.

Sitting there with a useless rifle and an X-Man under heavy fire Wingbat’s struggled as he formed a rainwater puddle. He looked around and an idea struck him. “Well. Wolverine said he wouldn’t shed any tears if we ended up bringing the whole building down.”

He ejected the rifle’s magazine and started pulling out bullets. Once that was done he tossed off his jacket, his shirt, his shoes and his socks. He wrung the water off his threads, wincing every time he heard grunting, yelling and another sporadic increase in the frequency of gunfire. Everything told him this was a bad idea.

On the other hand, leaving Laura in danger would be infinitely worse.

He pulled out the cellphone, swiped the charger and plugged it into the wall and gave a good look at the outlet and the magazine full of rainwater in his hand. “Three… two…”

—-

The outlet sparked and smoked. Somewhere in the building a fuse went out. The electric lighting in the stairway went out leaving him in total darkness. He clicked his cellphone; the light went on. His charger had shorted out but the device was intact. A small blessing. He crawled along the floor to the door and held his mass against it, keeping it closed. He pressed his ear.

He could hear the sounds of gunfire again, this time wilder, for longer periods of time. There was something else he could hear too. It was screaming, and they were panicked.

He nodded to himself, keeping his weight on the door and waited. Soon enough he heard it. “Wingbat, all clear!”

—-

The security guard moved forward slowly. The noises he had heard had sounded like…well, what they had sounded like was too fucked up to contemplate. Suffice to say, he was scared. His eyes were slowly adjusting to the darkness after he had switched off his flashlight, worried that signaling his position was a bad idea given he had no idea who – or what – had made those noises.

As he turned the corner, he noticed a small light up ahead that seemed to illuminate a figure. Just as he realized it was the glow from a handheld screen, most likely a phone, he heard a female voice call out.

“Who are you?”

He froze. It was phrased like a question but sounded like a threat. She couldn’t be talking to him, could she? He was cloaked in darkness and had made damn sure not to make a sound. But the figure holding the phone looked up and was now staring in his direction.

“I can smell you. You do not smell like the others. You should leave.”

That sounded like pretty good advice at that moment. The small light disappeared as the phone’s screen was shut off and the figure disappeared in shadows. Fuck fuck fuck. The guard fumbled with his flashlight for a second before he finally managed to flick the switch. It was pointed downwards and as it turned on it illuminated a body lying crumpled on the ground just a few feet in front of him. It was missing its right hand and it also looked like it had been…eviscerated, as if attacked by some wild animal. The guard raised his free hand to his face, covering his mouth and nose with the back of it. Christ. He swung the flashlight beam up in front of him, pointing it in the direction of the figure he had seen. It swept across several more bodies before finally circling two people leaning up against a wall. A man and a woman. Or, hell, more like a boy and a girl, they looked to still be in their teens. The male was holding a phone, obviously the source of the light he had seen. His other hand was around the shoulder of the girl. They were dressed for a night on the town, but their clothes showed signs of a fight. He could see slashes, rips…and blood spatter. Then he noticed the girl was holding long knives in her hands and the blades were coated in blood. That little thing was responsible for this carnage?! As he watched her, she made a fist with one hand and turned it around, letting the blades flash in the beam of his flashlight. Those weren’t knives, he realized, the blades were coming out of her hand. Shit, she’s a mutant. Just as his brain realized this, his eyes registered that the male was slowly growing menacingly in size.

The guard stood frozen for a moment, then his flashlight turned off again. “This is way above my pay grade,” he muttered as he turned around and started making his way quickly back the way he had come.

—-

“Ok, sitrep.” Wingbat said.

X-23 nodded. “Two dozen soldiers, armed, trained in containment, real professionals. They were trained specifically to protect this site from me.”

“No surprise there. Wolverine’s hit at least five major holdings. Anything else.”

“They smelled foreign.”

“Mercenary companies from out of country. Lovely. And that guy was just a local rent-a-cop. Anything more?”

“Three bodies, that direction. Locals. There is something else there.”

Wingbat pulled out the cellphone and brought up the floor plans. “The main office is that way. Wanna bet they guessed why we’re here and they’re protecting the main objective.”

“Then we hurry. Before they purge what we came here for.”

They ran the rest of the way, side by side this time. X followed the scent and Wingbat had paid attention to the nuances in the floorplan. They reached the first locked door and Wingbat kicked it in. Two bodies in a storeroom turned towards them, large and slow.

The building’s emergency lighting finally kicked in bathing everything in a red glow at the same time ten light sources powered up. Laura and Christian had barged in on a pair of power suits, S.H.I.E.L.D. Mandroid armor. The search lights, three from the torso and two from the eyes apiece, locked onto them.

Wingbat realized there were only two of them. X-23 noticed she smelled something more.

And one of the mandroids cursed when he realized. “Fuck! I can’t move!”

The lights on the power armor died down and a door to the back of the room, the actual office and their real target, swung open revealing a middle-aged Asian woman. She held up a pistol, aiming it squarely at X-23.

“I’d put that down if I were you.” Wingbat warned.

“I don’t think so.” She answered.

X-23 didn’t take her eyes off the woman but told Wingbat “The third scent wasn’t hers and there is someone else in the office with him.”

“I’m coming out.” A man’s voice called out from inside before someone stepped out, arms behind his back in handcuffs, before a semi-balding middle-aged man in an ordinary suit followed. He was very disarming, very pleasant-looking, and X-23 and Wingbat both suspected he’d been the one who called out to them.

He eyed Laura for a second and turned to his partner. “X-23. X-Men. Put it down May.”

The woman put down her gun and Wingbat relaxed.

“Sorry about that. She gets a little on edge when people misuse our stuff and we have to move in and neutralize it.” He held up his hand, revealing a cell phone much like Wingbat’s. “Mandroid armor, one of our projects’ babies, S.H.I.E.L.D. takes that sort of thing personally.”

X-23 sheathed her claws but remained stone-faced, still annoyed because apparently SHIELD had used them as a diversion to get their own agents into the building and retrieve the data that Wolverine wanted. Wingbat felt much the same but at least these people were on the same side, right?

“So SHIELD’s after Damage Control too?”

“Let’s get first things out of the way first.” The agent said, pushing his prisoner to his partner who escorted him out of the room. He offered X-23 his hand and when he saw she didn’t soften held it out to Wingbat instead. “Agent Coulson. Let’s talk.”

Author: RobertoCasas [ Hentai Foundry ]