The Beat of a Drum
Standard disclaimers apply.
Warning: Violent content
"All right, Feral, the exercise is simple. Survive until the timer goes off." Cables deep voice bounced of the cold metallic walls of the Danger Room as he spoke through the microphone in the control room. His bionic eye flared a soft yellow as he scrutinized the young woman in the middle of the floor from above. Well, perhaps "woman" wasn't the right word... Feral was a mutant who resembled nothing more then a giant cat. She had the whole nine yards: soft beige fur, tail , claws and heightened senses. A dangerous opponent, her fighting skills were savage and untamed. She showed mercy for no one.
Cable couldn't have asked for a better solider in her or the displaced warrior Shatterstar... they would not question the brutality that was sometimes necessary, and follow through without hesitation . Out of all the members on X-Force, those two were true soldiers. However, Shatterstar had discipline. Feral lacked anything of the sort. Too easily did she give into her predatory instincts, a berserker fury and bloodlust she seemed to revel in, and that was all that seemed to really matter to her. Even now, as Cable watched her lazily crouched on the floor, tail flicking back and forth behind her as she preened and cleaned her claws. She was not at all concerned about the exercise... she would survive. It was what she had been doing all her life. That's what she was first and foremost: a survivor.
Shaking his head he tapped a couple of keys on the control board before stepping closer to the window, arms crossed over his massive chest as he watched.
The metal walls slowly disappeared and seemed to melt away as the scene changed around her. Feral was not at all surprised and continued inspecting her claws, waiting for it to stop. Gone was the placid, dull silver walls of the Danger Room... now she was in the middle of a forest. It was dark out, and the cloudless sky was pitch black with stars glittering in a soft velvet blanket of the sky. A yellow moon hung full just over the shadowed mountain ridges like a giant, unblinking eye. So complete was the illusion of the forest that Feral could not only hear the rustlings of the night creatures or the far off song of the owl, she could also smell them. Digging her claws into the moist earth, she lifted her head, ears perked forward as she caught the scents riding the wind and sounds which followed. It was a symphony to her that assaulted the senses. One of the hunter, one that called all too often.
One sound in particular she knew well, and a tingle of excitement ran through her body at the faint beating sound in her ears. Hardly noticeable at the moment, the cat woman's green eyes glittered with anticipation as she went slinking into the bush. The game was about to begin.
Above in the control room, Cable mulled over what he was about to do. He had not told Feral about this part of the simulation, because he knew she would probably be unwilling. This exercise wasn't just to hone her skills... it was for Cable to learn, and maybe even find out what made the young woman enjoy bloodshed so much.
Narrowing his eyes, a decision was made and he reached out with his own mutant gifts. The powers of his mind reached out unknown to Feral, a gentle caress of the shields he had helped her build. He would know how to slip through his own teachings and drifting for the merest of seconds, he settled down in a far back corner of her mind and let himself be open to what she'd experience. Eyes closed and his head bowed as he remained standing, he was nevertheless rigid, for Cable wasn't in the control room anymore. He was below in the forest, moving through the shrubbery with a deadly, silent grace.
Faint, the musty and sweet odor of decay tickled her nose. The scent was cloying and pleasant causing a soft purr to start in her throat. Her feet made not a sound as she moved throughout the forest, in tune with her very environment, though it might have not been real. Crickets here song a soft lullaby, and there, the soft rustle of leaves.
This was her place. This was where she belonged. Yes, away from the confines of the house and from those weaklings which were her teammates, the stupid pigs. They were all meat, useless in her mind.
Nostrils flaring slightly, the barest scent in the air wasn't lost to her, and a low growl came from her throat as soft footfalls registered on the earth. Finally, it was time.
"Damn muties, runnin' 'round this forest... Kill 'em all, I say," the holographic image of a Genoshan soldier grumbled aloud as he clomped through the forest, rifle gripped tightly in his hands.
Feral saw red, her eyes glittering as she crouched in the brush with one thought running through her mind.
Leaping with one fluid movement, graceful in her own right, her claws were extended and ready for blood.
"Holy sh--!" the rest of the soldier's yell was cut off and not one shot was fired.
The pounding sound in her head grew louder, the blood pulsing in her temples as she mercilessly tore away Kevlar armor and began raking at the soft flesh underneath. The crimson liquid ran between her fingers, warm and slick. Her heart rushed as the metallic tang of blood hit her nostrils and sang along her nerves.
Savoring the moment for maybe a bit too long had given the other patrolling soldiers -- five -- to surround her and their now fallen comrade. Each had a rifle trained on her crouched form as she hissed, baring her teeth, agitated but unafraid as she dug her claws into the corpse.
"Whatcha milksops waitin' fer? Got the mutie in your sites... scared?!" Her voice was thick with venom and loathing as she tensed once more, her instincts urging her on.
"Shut your filthy face! Your time is up, friggin' mutie trash... Fire!" one of the men shouted, rallying his comrades to. He was about to open fire when something was thrown right smack into his face. Startled, he stumbled, bringing back his hand to wipe the... blood from his face..? He looked back down and saw the hand of the dead solider at his feet.
She'd thrown it at him... oh, God... he wasn't ready for this. The last thing he saw before his lifeless body hit the ground was the gleaming white teeth of killer. The others had been momentarily stunned by such blatant ferocity and that was what cost them.
No longer could a coherent thought be picked from her mind as her instincts flooded her thoughts and body, tearing with unbridled anger into the things she only knew as prey. The throbbing in her head grew in intensity. Overwhelming like some primal call she was lost to the world for the moment. She existed within the waves of tingling pleasure rippling through her body and ending at the bottom of her spine. Red was the only color she saw, everything blurred in its film. She growled and snarled, no longer conscious of her actions.
She had fallen at the sound of the buzzer. It tore through the red haze and ripped her away from the frenzy. Feral crouched on the floor, breathing heavily as the room worked its magic once more the scene faded, resulting again in the sterile, cold metallic walls. The dull sound in the back of her mind was no longer pleasant but irritating, and with a growl she voiced her displeasure.
Cable himself had fallen to the floor and was panting like a dog. He had seen and felt many things, but this was something different. A pounding in his head reminded him that he was now in the real world and it was no more the rhythmic pulse that made his blood feel alive, like a fire coursing through ones veins. Sitting up slowly, wincing despite his inclinations, Cable pulled himself up to look down at the room below.
"Very good, Feral. Your exercise has ended."
"Hmmm... not even a nice pat on the head for the kitty cat? Jou ain't fun anymore, bossman."
Smirking, the cat woman slinked out of the room. Cable watched her go, eyes slightly narrowed as he sat down in the console chair. It was no wonder why she loved to lose control. The feeling was exhilarating, the ultimate high. Who would want more?
The dull ache head in his head beckoned and he felt himself craving more. It was such a wild feeling, total abandon, and the sound, the pulse that sent such a flutter through his stomach was like that of a drum. Brooding silently, he finally found no other way to describe it other than as the beat of a drum.
What a dangerous thing it was... could Feral ever be cured? It was rather impossible to say. Cable's brows furrowed. She was a good soldier... why teach the cat new tricks? As long as she was on their side, that's all that mattered, and if she did turn, then extreme measures would be taken.
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