Fantastic Force #9

Sue’s cell phone rang. It was an unknown number.

“Hello?” she said.

“Hi. Sue?” said the breathless voice on the other end. “It’s Longshot.”

“How did you get my number?” said Sue.

“Lucky guess,” said Longshot. “I think the others are in trouble.”

“The others?” said Sue.

“Doom, Rocket, Jen, Jim, and Emma,” said Longshot. “I saw through Doom’s eyes again and they were all chained up, including Doom.”

“Why did you call me?” said Sue. “Aren’t you pals with the X-Men?”

“They… kinda stopped returning my calls,” said Longshot. “Asked them to help me get cats out of trees one too many times. Besides, we’re a team!”

“No we’re not,” said Sue. “Doom enlisted us for one mission.”

“But we bonded!” said Longshot. “Anyway, I need your help to figure out where they’ve been taken. I think if I can get an actual communication through to Doom, he can tell us where they are.”

“Alright,” said Sue. “Come to the Baxter Building. See you soon.”

Approximately a minute and a half later, Longshot burst out of the elevator into the laboratory, where he saw Reed and Sue.

“That was quick,” said Sue.

“I was outside the building when we were talking,” said Longshot.

Sue sighed. “Reed, can you help Longshot open up his telepathic connection with Doom? We need to get messages through instead of just sharing sight.”

“It might be a while,” said Reed, “but I can figure something out. But are you sure you want to rescue Doom?”

“It’s not about him,” said Sue. “Four superheroes are captured with him, including Jennifer Walters and Jim Hammond.”

“Okay,” said Reed. “Longshot, let’s run some tests.”

***

Doom from 2099 strolled up and down, surveying his captives. “What a collection I’ve accrued,” he said. “An outmoded curiosity of artificial intelligence, a furry mistake of cybernetics, a gamma freak, and the white queen of the mutants. And then there’s you, Doom. Your own armor turned into your prison. Armor you have become unfit to wear.”

Present Doom struggled against his suit, but did so in vain. He could not even move his jaw to speak.

“What do you want with Doom, anyhow?” said Emma.

“He has become a threat to the timeline I know,” said Doom 2099. “I have arrived to abort his half-baked attempt at heroism and set history back on its course.”

“How do you figure you’ll go about that?” asked Jim, his words glitching from his damaged circuitry.

“It is simple,” said Doom 2099. “I will take his place, keeping him alive until he is ready to live out his future.”

“Fat chance of that working,” said Rocket, laughing. “Your plan with the SHIELD agents? Amateur hour! No creativity! Say what you will about Doom, but he’s got flair, and you ain’t got any.”

“Remind me why we don’t kill them?” said Xandra, the warrior who had kidnapped Doom and Jim.

“I desire Susan Storm’s presence,” said Doom 2099. “She will not come without heroes to rescue. That said… I don’t believe she has any particular attachment to the rodent.”

Xandra drew her sword and pointed it at Rocket. Present Doom thought one word, Now!

Xandra attempted to stab Rocket, but her laser sword was thwarted by a force field. Xandra looked around with surprise, and saw Sue and Longshot become visible next to Jen. Longshot threw a glowing blue energy blade, which cut through Jen, Jim, Rocket, and Emma’s shackles.

“Tell your husband I said thanks for the new knives,” said Longshot.

“Come on, everyone, let’s get out of here!” said Sue, trapping Doom 2099 and Xandra behind a force field. Rocket, Emma, Jen, and Jim scampered out.

“Wait,” said Longshot. “We can’t leave Doom here. This guy has a plan for him.”

Sue rolled her eyes, and attempted to grab the immobilized Present Doom.

“He’s too heavy in that armor!” said Sue. “Dammit, why did Jen have to leave so fast?” Sue, struggling to maintain the force field Doom 2099 was wailing on, then had an idea. Giving all her willpower, she made dozens of tiny force bubbles in Present Doom’s armor, causing it to shatter on the floor and expose Present Doom’s scarred face and underwear-clad body.

“Go go go!” said Sue.  She, Present Doom, and Longshot ran out, Longshot throwing another energy knife at Doom 2099’s face.

The seven regrouped in a storage closet, fighting off brainwashed SHIELD agents on their way.

“What do we do now, Doom?” said Longshot.

“What—why do you assume he’s always in charge?” said Sue. “In case you’ve forgotten, a different version of this guy is the one who kidnapped everyone!”

“That buffoon is an impostor,” said Doom. “He is clearly no match for the real Doom.”

“Really? Because it looks like he’s winning so far,” said Rocket.

“Let’s backtrack,” said Jen. “Does anyone have a plan? We’re outgunned and outnumbered in hostile territory.”

“I tried contacting SHIELD,” said Jim, “but it looks like they have a radio jammer going.”

“So we’re going to stay outnumbered,” said Jen. “How do we stop being outgunned?”

“I have an idea,” said Rocket with a devilish grin.

“You don’t mean—“ said Jim.

“Bend over, pretty boy,” said Rocket. “Time to get inside you.”

“Um,” said Jen. Rocket ignored her and began rewiring Jim. After about two minutes, Rocket handed makeshift guns made from Jim’s circuits and “solar cells” to everyone.

“Sue, make us invisible,” said Jen. “Let’s boogie.”

The seven burst out of the storage closet with giant flames coming out of their guns. They used them to scare off brainwashed agents, running toward the border of the camp.

“If we can get out of range of their jammer, I can call in a Latverian transport,” said Present Doom. “From there, I can repair Hammond, don a backup suit of armor, and formulate a new plan of assault.” The seven neared the end of the camp, but encountered five of Doom 2099’s minions, including the two who kidnapped them. The five surrounded the invisible team, and pointed energy guns in their direction. They all fired on their unseen targets, but their shots bounced back at them, hitting a force column that had arisen and lifted the seven into the air.

“Let’s move,” said Sue. She extended the force column into a path for them to run along, ending in a slide that took them out of the camp. Present Doom pulled a small device out of his mouth and pressed a button, instantly summoning a Latverian plane. The seven climbed into the aircraft, which took to the sky and flew toward Latveria.

“Well, that was fun,” said Emma sarcastically.

“Everyone’s together again!” said Longshot.