by DuAnn Cowart
Standard disclaimers do indeed apply.
The room illuminated as she entered and she binked in mild surprise. Damn motion sensors... Tearing into a hastily prepared ham sandwich, she grabbed a comfortably padded rolling chair and slid over to the communications console. She pushed a small lever hidden under the table and nodded in satisfaction as a bright array of lights and monitors lit up. She took a long swallow of soda and leaned back, a faint smile on her face. This oughta be good- Maybe he's got some juicy gossip.
She leaned forward and activated a sequence of numbers. A large central monitor bearing an X logo lit up, and within seconds a massive figure appeared. "Muir Island Research Facility- how may I help you?"
Domino nodded cooly. "Good Evening, Collossus. This is Domino of X-Force- I need some information. Is Pete Wisdom available right now?" During her years as a merc, Domino had learned how to interpret body language and facial minutia extremely well. Though at first glance the Russian seemed unfazed at the request, closer analysis revealed a tensing of his neck muscles and a tiny, tiny tic in his left eye, quickly blinked away. Though intrigued, she filed the information until it could be put to good use.
Piotyr was polite to the woman, though he had to supress an instinctive shudder at the mention of Wisdom's name. "Certainly...Domino, is it? I will summon him at once."
She waved a negligent hand "Certainly. Thank you." Pasting an expression of bored indifference on her face, she snickered to herself. She knew very well of the old relationship between this entirely too uptight (though admittedly very good-looking) ex-X-man and Pete's new (and from what she understood, very serious) girlfriend. Grinning to herself, she decided a little teasing might just be in order. Pete had certainly done it enough to her- a horrible thought occured to her. Pete didn't know about Milo- and after her ordeal yesterday she didn't think she had the strength to go through it again. Inhaling sharply, she decided she'd just tell him about it later- Pete would understand.
The screen was quiet for several minutes, but she heard a familiar rasping voice in the background. "What the bloody hell do you mean, offical business with me? Nobody I know would call the Muir Island number for 'offical business'. Now leave me alone an' let me get back to me coffee." A deep sigh, then muffled words in a deeper tone. "OH! Well, why th' hell didn't ya tell me? 'Course I'll talk to 'er." She heard a rustling of papers then a very familiar face popped onto the screen. Before he spoke to her, though, he turned his head and scowled. "I've got it, Comrade, thanks very much. I can 'andle it from 'ere." He nodded at the off-screen grumble "Yeah, yeah, I'll log in whatever 'business' she called about...now leave me alone- go paint a bloody masterpiece or beat up a bunch of orphans or somethin-"
Making a rude gesture in the other man's direction, the thin man on the screen faced forward. He grinned crookedly, blue eyes twinkling with genuine pleasure. "Dom! Woman, where've you been? I've been tryin' to find your pale ass for a week now."
Her lips quirked in a grin "Glad to see you, too, Wisdom." She shook her head. "And don't give me that shit, Pete, no, you haven't. You've been too happy playing house to remember your old friends anymore." At his indignant "Hey!" she chuckled magnanimously. "But that's alright. I've come to expect that from a lowlife like yourself." Her eyes gleamed and she lowered her voice conspiratorially "Pete! Tell me something-"
He leaned forward "Yeah?"
"When he answered the line, I couldn't help but notice how good Collossus is lookin'. Who is he going out with? I bet he could just rock somebody's world..." She bit back a grin at his baleful look.
"Yeah, you always did have a thing for big ol' overmuscled tight-assed metal men, didn't ya?" He retorted, and she chuckled. "Touche'."
They chatted on for a few minutes in the manner of old friends everywhere. After discussing their respective teams and their surprise at their alliance with a group as idealistic as the X-men, the conversation turned to more personal topics. Domino smiled, thinking of the gossipy reports she'd gotten from some of her London contacts concerning Pete's love life.
"How's Kitty?" She leered, waggling her elegant eyebrows for effect. He purposefully ignored her hidden meaning, answering the question at face value, the obvious warmth in his voice unfeigned.
"She's bleedin' wonderful, Dom. Best thing that ever happened to me, thanks for askin'." He peered closer into the screen and frowned disaprovingly, voice rough with concern. "Shit, Dom, you look like hell. Anything wrong?" 'Not that she'd tell me if there was,' he growled to himself. He changed tactics, teasing "Nate slappin' you around again?"
Rasing an eyebrow at the absurdity of the remark, she masked her irritation with a sarcastic snort. "Hardly. I'd kick his technorganic ass in a heartbeat. Nah, Pete, I'm fine. Just haven't been sleeping that well lately." She shrugged nonchalantly, but he recognized the telltale shadows under her eyes. Been there, luv,' he commiserated silently. 'If I didn't have Pryde to keep them demons away from me at nights, I'd... he refused to complete the thought. Speakin' o' which, I guess it's time to get down to business.
He looked surepticiously over his left shoulder, then skillfully faked a coughing fit, expertly staggering the pattern of the sounds. He was gratified to see her head perk up immediately, expression suddenly studiously neutral. The years both spent in intelligence had definately paid off. Good girl...recognized the code. Even better, she recognized that the channel wasn't secure and to keep quiet. I'm glad at least some of these friggin' X-types have operated in the real world. Makes this a whole lot easier. Hell, I shoulda known Dom would catch on...she's the one that taught me about this bleedin' code in the first place. He read her expression accurately- she understood the message perfectly, and he could stop hacking like a friggin' hyena any minute now.
Her hooded eyes disguised any emotion at what he'd just told her- a serious threat had resurfaced and they needed to meet so he could safely deliver more details. Apparantly there was also the possiblity that either Excalibur or the X-Men's communications security ws compromised. "Are you OK?" she played along, fingers steepled thoughtfully.
He 'regained' his breath. "Yeah, I'm fine. I gotta get back to work, Dom, but tell me somethin' first. Me an' Kitty was in London an' I saw this card that she thought you'd like. She mailed if off the other day- did you get it?"
Her eyes widened imperceptibly, but she nodded. London it was- and since it was Pete, probably the Crown. If not, she'd find him when she got there. "Yeah, I got it," she lied "It was nice- tell Kitty thanks and I'll talk to her later. And," she grinned affectionately "Take care of yourself, runt. I'll see you later."
He grinned "Later, Dom." Leaning forward she turned the array off. She crumpled the empty can and tossed it into an empty trash can and stood to find Nathan. Like it or not, it looked like they were going to London.
To Be Continued...
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. -John 14:27
Back to Archive