00066. A slight road block.
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How is everyone? Hope you are doing good, if not, I hope this chapter makes your feel better.

Mikhail laid on the floor of his cell as he thought about the past few months. He had gone from a respected Major in the Russian military to a prisoner forced to fight for his life. He chuckled to himself a little, besides his rank and status, nothing really changed. His entire life had been about fighting to live, to survive.

Back before he was dishonorably discharged, his life was pretty much the same. Fighting for his life on what amounted to pretty much suicide missions with his small team of outcasts. A team forged through fire that considered itself more of a family then anything else. His superior never considered any mission he sent them on as suicide missions though. They were in his words, 'Missions that only freaks like you can survive.'

Mikhail's thoughts became dark as he thought about what happened and he reached up and fingered the collar around his neck. Before he knew it his hand had slipped underneath the collar as a thought of just ripping the collar off and ending it all passed through his head. He stayed that way as the minutes ticked by as his mind played with the idea and his eyes teared up slightly as his thoughts became darker. It would be so easy all he had to do was pull at it and everything would be over.

As he laid there with his dark thoughts one memory burst forth in his mind and his hand tightened just a bit. But as the memory replayed in his head his grip finally relaxed and he shook his head, clearing it of his dark thoughts. No matter how much he would love to just end it all he couldn’t, he needed to avenge his friends first. 

But first he needed to escape, he had already wasted a month being a prisoner and fighter for these assholes. He needed to figure out a way to remove his collar without losing his head. As for escaping, that would be easy. He paused as his thoughts wandered again. What would he do if he could escape, go back to his cabin to drink his sorrows away again like last time, instead of seeking vengeance for his friends?

Mikhail was deep in thought when he heard some people yelling before gunshots rang out. At first he thought one of the fighters was trying to escape again, it had happened a few times since he was brought here. But afterwards it sounded like a bomb went off as the ground shook for a moment. As Mikhail jumped up from the ground it shook again as the sound of metal being loudly ripped apart sounded from above, before another explosion was heard. Mikhail wasn’t completely sure what happened, but prepared to take advantage of the situation. That was until he saw the people with red and white masks as they passed his cage.

Each person flickered past faster than a normal human should be able to move. He only noticed because of his enhanced visual prowess. Mikhail grinned, hopefully this was his ticket out of this place. Mikhail touched the collar around his neck for a brief moment, hopefully these people were here to free him and the others.

After ten minutes passed some men in red and white masks walked back into the room. They walked up to each cage and the people in each cage collapsed onto the ground. Most of the other prisoners started to yell in a multitude of languages as they watched people collapsing to the ground for no reason.  Mikhail and a few others were quiet as they watched the masked people work. One of the men in a wolf mask arrived in front of Mikhail's cage and opened it as he said, “Follow me, someone wants to talk with you.”

Mikhail glanced at all of the prisoners on the ground then decided to follow the man in the wolf mask. As they walked to the upper level of the warehouse they passed piles of people collapsed on the ground. Some of them looked fine, but some of them had pools of blood spreading out from their bodies. As they walked up the last flight of stairs, Mikhail first noticed the stars and the roof of the building missing. Then he saw the man who hovered in the air above the building and paused for just a moment. It was hard to tell in the night sky, but Mikhail knew who was floating up there, Magneto.

Mikhail smiled to himself, if Magneto was here then he should have his freedom. He resumed walking up the stairs till they reached the ground floor, Where Mikhail could see all of the spectators slumped in the grandstands where they were seated.

Near the bar area of the grandstands stood two people and a man in a wheelchair. Mikhail paused his steps again for a brief moment because the two people he had seen earlier were here. The people who caused a commotion just before his match for the night started. Once he was next to them, the man who was dressed like the people in red and white masks said, “The collar is disarmed, you can remove it.”

Mikhail hesitated for a moment before he transformed into his more preferred form. As his body grew the collar around his neck snapped and he removed the remnants from around his neck. He now stood over eight feet in height, while his upper body was almost double in size and covered in thick brown fur. His face had warped into that of a bear and while thick hair now covered most of his body, it stopped around his hands which didn’t change much besides how big they were now.

Mikhail grinned down at the people before him as he said in his thick Russian accent, “I owe you a debt, comrades.”

The man with black eyes and black hair who was standing smiled as he said, “Don’t mention it. We honestly came here originally to find you in the first place. I have a job offer for you.”

Mikhail nodded his head slightly as he said, “I owe you a debt. If you allow me to take care of some unfinished business I have, I will gladly work for you.”

The man shook his head as he said, “You should probably find out about the job before you accept it.”

The bear man shrugged his shoulders as he walked around behind the bar. As he picked up a bottle of vodka he said, “Does it really matter? I most likely would have died here if you didn’t show up.”

Mikhail ripped the pour spout off the bottle before he started to pour the bottle into his mouth. When he finished the whole bottle, he tossed it to the side and grabbed another bottle of vodka as Ezekiel said, “I would much rather have you join for the right reason than from a sense of debt you owe.” 

Mikhail paused for a moment before he asked, “Fine, what’s the job you have for me?” He then started to empty the next bottle of vodka into his mouth.

“We can talk about it more after we leave here. For now you can enjoy the bar while we finish up.”

Mikhail finished the other bottle and tossed it to the side as he said, “Pitty, they don’t have much vodka here.” Before he picked up another bottle and ripped off the top of it.

Ezekiel shook his head as he watched Mikhail go through another six bottles before he ran out. His bear face looked disappointed before he pulled out a bottle of brandy and started to drink that instead. While Mikhail was drinking, Ezekiel’s clones had gone through and cuffed everyone with disposable zip tie cuffs. They also moved everyone to the ground floor including the prisoners, as they worked sirens could be heard in the distance as police and emergency vehicles approached the scene.

The prisoners were set to one side while the meta-humans were grouped together next to Xavier as a handful of bodies were placed in the arena. Once everything was finished, Ezekiel typed on his tablet before a ringing was heard from it. After a moment a gruff man was heard as he asked, “What is it?”

“We are done on our end, where are you at?”

The man sounded frustrated as he said, “We are close, but we are being held back by the WSC and Pierce. We need to wait for them to grant us access.”

Ezekiel typed away on his tablet for a few moments before he said, “Oh, I see why. A few of the people here are government officials for different countries or big time CEOs for companies. They must be stalling for time to get these people out.”

“I was thinking the same thing, it would be harder to pin this on them if they weren’t there in the first place.”

Ezekiel smirked as he said, “Well what if we took these people with us and then brought them back once you arrived?”

“No, they could say they were planted and weren’t actually part of it.”

Tao spoke up as she said, “I could place a spell on them to hold them in place until you or Coulson release them.”

“That's a better idea, but that might also raise some flags.”

Mikhail finished another bottle of brandy and as he tossed it aside he said, “Just bring a news crew in to film it all.”

Ezekiel paused for a moment before Fury said, “Normally I would say no, but that might be the best option.”

Ezekiel typed on his tablet for about a minute before he said, “Sounds good to me, I am finding some reporters right now and we will do a live broadcast so it can’t be stopped. I will talk to you later.”

Ezekiel didn’t wait for a reply as he disconnected the call and looked up to White Fang as he said, “Quickly line up everyone in the grandstands and remove everyone’s masks.”

The man nodded his head as he yelled, “You heard him, remove everyone's masks.”

Ezekiel’s clones quickly moved around the area to remove the mask of every person there. As they worked Ezekiel looked at Tao and said, “Send Xavier and the other meta’s back. Then I want you to pull us into the mirror dimension when the others are finished, only Magneto, should greet the reporters.”

Tao nodded her head and opened a portal for them as Ezekiel worked away on his tablet for a few moments. He looked up to Magneto as he said, “Have any questions?”

“No.”

Ezekiel then looked around at his clones that just finished as he said, “Alright let’s go.”

Tao moved her arms and pulled Ezekiel, his clones and Mikhail into the mirror dimension as five portals opened up. Each portal was twice as big as normal and were opened up to different news rooms that were currently broadcasting a special live show that just started. It only took a moment for each news crew and reporter to cautiously exit the portal.

They all looked around in shock for a few moments before a voice above them said, “You have half an hour, make it count.”

The reporters all glanced up at Magneto before they started talking to their cameramen and moved into the grandstands, not wasting any time. A few minutes after they started working Ezekiel’s tablet beeped twice before he answered it as he said, “Joe’s pizza, is this for pickup or delivery?”

“Cut the shit Ezekiel, I just got the go ahead from the WSC to head in. They want me to stop the broadcasts and detain everyone. They wanted me to cut the live feeds, but my teams aren't having any luck so they want me to move in and stop it. I’ll be there in ten minutes.”

“We will be gone in nine.” As Ezekiel cut the call he asked, “Did you get that Magneto?”

“Yes, I will take care of it.”

I currently have 21 draft chapters up on patreon.

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