Shatterstar: Warrior Born

Part One- Homeworld Bound

by Leary


-- I am required to inform you that I am NOT a professional writer and have no affiliation to Marvel Comics whatsoever. The characters Shatterstar/Gaveedra Seven/Benjamin Russell, Rictor/Julio Richter, Skids/Sally Blevins, Windsong, Longshot, Dazzler, Spiral, Adam-X the X-Treme, Charles Xavier, Cable, Beast, MojoV, Major Domo, etc. are the intellectual property of Marvel Comics. The newly created characters Delphi, Charblade, Bloodbath, Moonscar, Razorwing, Wildwind, and Medic are mine exclusively.


<<The Xavier Institute for Higher Learning>>

--My name is Shatterstar. I am not of this world. . . Or so I thought. I have just recently been told that my entire life. . . and everything that I have ever fought for, may be a lie. Xavier, founder of the X-Men and owner of my new base of operations, has just informed me that I was born Benjamin Russell of Boston, Massachusetts. When I first heard this news less than a week ago, I was doubtful. How could *I* have a police report on Earth if I cannot remember ever being here before in my life? But however improbable, this information was confirmed when my troopmate and field leader Siryn infiltrated the Weisman Institute. It seems that I was once a patient there. I don't remember any of this.....

In his anger Shatterstar kicks open the doors of Xavier's Study, no longer able to listen to the masked accusations presented to him by Xavier, Cable and Beast. Cable tries to go after him.

"SHATTERSTAR!! Wait!" Nathan yells at his young recruit, but Xavier floats in front of him, putting a hand to Cable's arm.

"No Nathan, we have confronted Shatterstar with the information about his past. It is up to him to solve this on his own."

"This isn't your decision, Xavier. He's a member of X-Force and that makes him *my* responsibility, not yours!" Cable brushes his hand off angrily, the frustration evident in his voice.

"As I have seen with Wolverine, this is a vulnerable time for him; his past is something that we cannot help him with unless he wants us to... and apparently he does not."

"Don't hand me that bullshit, you brought this to my attention because you thought you couldn't trust him, that he might betray yours and mine. There's something you aren't telling me. You've never given him a second thought before, why start now? What's your stake in all this?"

"My reasons are my own Cable, you of all people should know the value of that. Trust me, it is better for all of us if you allow the boy to settle this matter on his own."

"I don't think so Xavier. I'm not about to let you or your agenda stand in the way of helping one of my soldiers. I'm going to let him calm down for now, talk to him later tonight after dinner, try and help him figure it all out. I might even try and get Rictor back, at least for awhile. Shatterstar needs someone he can trust right now." And with that, Cable walks out of the study's now broken doors. He turns his head to look over his shoulder one last time, giving Professor Xavier one last icy glance. "He's not going to face this alone, you can count on that."

<In The Hallway>

Shatterstar runs away blindly, trying to control the confused rage he feels inside. Distracted by his sudden feelings of despair, loneliness and doubt he quickly rounds a corner, but fails to notice Skids, the newest resident of the mansion, and collides solidly into her.

"Hey! Watch it!" She screams. Shatterstar helps her up and begins to walk away. But she stops him. She has recognized the look on his face. It is a look she has seen in mirror every morning for the past three weeks. It is the face of someone who feels terribly, terribly alone.

"What's wrong?" She asks quizzically holding his arm firmly. Already knowing the answer.

"You would not understand." He says and yanks his arm free. He starts walking away again.

"Try me." She says persistently.

Shatterstar spins around angrily. "How am I supposed to tell you what is wrong if I can't even tell myself!"

"Then let me do it for you. You feel as if someone's ripped your heart out, and then all that's left is a cold emptiness. You feel there is nothing you can do about the pain so you run.... you run until you can't run anymore."

"How. . . How do you know this?" He replies as he looks up and begins to show signs of wonder, pain and... relief.

"I've been through it many times before 'Star. When Rusty and me were kidnapped and then brainwashed by Stryfe, when we were on Avalon.... and finally when Holocaust.... killed Rusty." Skids looks away with tears in her eyes at the memory of him.

"I know you two were -- close. I have often wondered what it feels like to have someone like that. To have someone who you could trust intimately. Someone to love. I have not seen my wife, Windsong, ever since I volunteered to take the hazardous trans-dimensional jump. We never had that sort of intimacy." Locking away his own emotional unrest in a maneuver honed over many years, Shatterstar faces the situation at hand calmly and seriously.

"You're married!?!" She looks into his face, surprised by the revelation.

"In a manner of speaking, yes. As I have explained before, the meaning on my homew.... on Mojoworld.... is quite different than it is here. The greatest warriors of both sexes were chosen by the Producers to be joined at the time of reproduction as so to create the most genetically fit offspring. Romance was never a part of the program."

"So, there's no such thing as love on your world?" Her expression is curious, brows furrowing as she tries to understand the idea.

"No, there is love on my world, but it is also different in certain ways, but the same in others."


"On my world, there is no such thing as 'dating'. When a warrior actually has the opportunity to 'choose' his or her Destined, which was only possible beyond the Arena, it is a spiritual connection as much as a physical one, if not moreso. I do not believe that a word exists in your language to accurately express the type of connection that exists between a husband and wife on my world. The bond goes beyond feelings of mutual affection and attraction. It truly feels as if you are a part of the other, that there is nothing that could separate you. At least, that is what I have been told, since I have not yet experienced such feelings myself."

"It sounds just like the same type of love we have here. Rusty and I... felt that way about each other. I know Scott and Jean do as well. I also know that we aren't the only ones."

"While I have no reason to contradict what you say, I have seen too many examples on this world of supposed marriages disrupting prematurely. This leads me to believe that what this world calls love is not as strong as the version that exists on my world. It has been my perception at least, and I do tend to mispercieve many habits of this world."

"Can't argue with that, there are a lot of people on this little mudball that mistake lust for love, but we have it all the same. But I do have one other question, what happens to the kids on your world?"

"In and of itself, natural childbirth is a rare occasion since the Cadre could not easily spare a warrior for the three month pregnacy period and the Arena would not waste 3 months of airtime to allow a female gladiator the 'maternity leave', as humans call it."

"3 months? You gotta be kidding me. Like, that's impossible."

"My race's physiology is different than that of humans in many ways, though similar. The gestation period is enhanced by the greater metabolism that my race possesses, enabling our children to be born at rates faster than a normal human's."

"Hmmph? Well, good luck 'Star, I hope everything works out. And thanks for the little lesson, your world's a strange place." She then turns and leaves steadily.

Skids exits the room leaving Shatterstar alone to his thoughts once more, calmed by the impromptu explanation of his planet's culture. It has served to remind him of who he is, and no matter what anyone may say, he is still Shatterstar, First Gladiator of the Cadre. His pain eased by this knowledge, Shatterstar does not dwell on the despair and utter loss he has felt tonight, putting his doubts aside for the time being, he reminds himself of the promise of an old friend.

<The War Room's communications section>


"Rictor, this is Shatterstar, I need your help."

"Star!?!. . .What's the problem?"

"I cannot talk about it over the phone, please come as soon as you can."

"Twenty-Four Seven, Star. I'll be there."

"Thank you."

As Shatterstar hangs up the telephone connection, an urgent message comes in on the secured Shi'ar channel.

--Perhaps this is Lilandra once again needing the X-men to defend her empire, or maybe even the Starjammers on a carrier signal.--

Surprise, Surprise!

"Adam, what are doing using the Shi'ar frequency?"

"Because I AM Shi'ar you idiot!" Adam grumbles under his breath "I did not travel halfway across the cosmos to argue with you, Shatterstar. I have important information about your homeworld."

"What have you found, Adam?" He says clenching his fists. References to his "homeworld" are not taken pleasantly anymore... if they ever were.

"Perhaps it's better if she told you." X-Treme steps to the side and reveals Windsong.

"Shatterstar! The Cadre Alliance needs you to lead us once again!"


The Cadre Alliance is almost gone. After nearly one hundred years of conflict, the sole force of resistance and freedom is dying on Mojoworld. The despotic rulers of their time, Mojo V, along with his Master Programmer Major Domo; have increased their raids on Cadre outposts in an all-out strike on the Alliance. Their reasons are unknown to the Cadre, and even the few Spineless POW's they've been able to capture. If the Cadre is going to survive the coming months, Shatterstar must return to lead them once again.

<Shatterstar is in a Blackbird headed towards Quadlahara, Mexico, having just been briefed on the situation.>

--Why has MojoV begun attacking us... them... more than before? What purpose would he have to do this? Does he seek to be rid of us permanently? No. He would never cancel his highest rated program. Unless of course there was something greater to be gained. Someone must be coercing him to increase the raids and there is only one person I know who has that much power. . .

. . .Spiral.--


In the tower that is home to none other than the Twister of Souls, the shadowed figure rests quietly upon her throne watching the happenings on Earth and Mojoworld both like a player watches the pieces of a chessboard. Grinning as schemes she hatched long ago are finally upon her.

"Here, there and back again. What was then has now begun, the return of my prodigal son."

<Shatterstar quickly comes across the airport where Rictor should be to return to New York. After convincing the tower to permit him to, he lands the plane on the runway and hurries towards Rictor's plane.>

--If Spiral is involved in this, then I will need aide in this battle. Rictor, my sole friend on this planet, is the only one who can help me now. I would not ask this of anyone else, even X-Force. Adam and Windsong should be arriving soon and if I still know anything about my homewor.... about Mojoworld.... then I know that they will be followed. I must make sure that I find Rictor before they arrive.--

Interlude: Somewhere over Arizona

"Adam! The flagship is closing in on us. If we do not stand our ground, we will not live long enough to find The Shatterstar!"

"I have a better idea. I'm betting their ships aren't as maneuverable ours. If I can get to that narrow canyon I might be able to lose some of them." He then speeds down into the ravine and in doing so one of the Warhawks crashes.

"You would run from an opponent in battle!?!"

"Not run. . . but set them up. . . for ambush!!" X-Treme appears behind the squadron destroying many of their ships, but one survives. "I've flown a Talgard Feather Transport through the caves of Hem'flesch II, dodging a couple of overweight star fighters in a planetary atmosphere is easier than trying to say something nice about you."

"Dare not mock me fool, such actions are worthy of a coward!"

"If you didn't notice, I just saved our lives! Now let's find Shatterstar before it's too late."



<<They engage the Shi'ar engines and pilot towards Quadlahara. Shatterstar has already landed and cloaked the Blackbird.>>

"Rictor!!" He yells from across the landing strip, running quickly towards his long-lost friend.

"Shatterstar?!?, I thought I was supposed to meet you in New York."

"Change of plans. There is too much for me to explain here. Come, I will explain this to you in private." They hurry away from the plane to talk inside the airport terminal.

"All right 'Star, I want you to tell me exactly what's going on here."

"I. . . I have missed you so much, Julio."

"I understand Shatterstar, but I need to know what's happened!"

"Very well then. I wanted to talk to you because I was just recently told by Beast and Cable that I. . . that I may not be from Mojoworld."

"What are you talking about? Of course you're from Mojoworld! Um. . . where do they think you're from anyway?"

"Recently Siryn went on a solo mission to infiltrate the Weisman Institute for the Criminally Insane..."

"I've heard of that place, a friend I know used to work there. He said the "doctor" there is abusive and. . ."

"Let me finish. While she was there she obtained records of all the patients kept there past and present. It was found on those records that I was once a patient there, under the name of Benjamin Russell. And what is worse, I have also come across a police report detailing my arrest, with the same name."

"That's crazy! If that's true, then howcum you've got a healing factor and hollow bones and all that."

"No, I am not making myself clear. I am certain that I am from Mojoworld in some respect, but now I do not know if I was. . . born. . . there. I had always suspected that I wasn't bred from the same material as most other Arena Warriors because of the fact I have five fingers instead of four, my blood has a quality unseen in an Arena Warrior before and my healing factor functions slower than most. If Beast's bio-scans and what Siryn found are true, then I have parents, REAL parents, not simply a genetic bonding machine."

Rictor blinks a few times. Thinking about what he has just heard.

"If you've got parents, then you've gotta find 'em. Who knows, maybe you've got a brother or sister."

"FEKT! I had not thought of siblings." He drops his head into his hands and sighs. "But there is more Julio."

"What do you mean more?"

"The reason why I have come here is...." And then from out of nowhere a Shi'ar craft followed by a lone pair of Warhawks comes blazing out of the sky. It crash lands in the field just beyond the airport. "....quite obvious."

They see two figures rising out of the debris. It is Windsong carrying the unconscious Adam-X. The two Warhawks land and the Protectorate dog soldiers come rushing towards them.

"Come Rictor, we must help them!" They run to Windsong's side and square off against the Dogs.

"Come at us and face cold death cowards!" Windsong proclaims loudly for an audience that is not there.

An eager and adrenaline rushed battle quickly ensues. Adam-X remains unconscious, unaware of the battle at hand. Outnumbered, the warriors fight their way through the Protectorate. Shatterstar fights several of them while continuing to protect Adam to the best of his ability. Rictor takes on a significantly smaller amount with his powerful vibro waves cutting a swath through the men before him. Momentarily distracted by the other soldiers, Rictor fails to notice a cowardly one creeping up behind him. The soldier shoots Rictor in the back, piercing a lung and then moves in to finish him off, but before he can he is cut down by Windsong. After quickly cursing the man's cowardly actions, she moves on to other opponents. Soon the fight is ended with the remaining Dogs fleeing to their ships.

"Quickly Windsong, grab Adam and let's follow them through the gate they left open before it closes. I have Rictor."

"They are not our kind, this is none of their business!"

"I don't have time to argue, just follow my orders! Go to the Blackbird now!"

". . ."

"Put them in the onboard medi-units, we will pilot the ship through the wormhole."

"Shatterstar, the hole is closing, we will not make it!"

"I have never known you to give in so quickly, Windsong. Do not start now."

The tension in the small craft begins to mount as the gate starts to close in front of them. There is only a small sliver of the portal left open as the Blackbird turns on its side to a vertical line, barely making it through to the other end. Ripping out of the portal into the alternate dimension, the travelers wipe the sweat from their brows. The shock of the dimensional shift wakes both Adam and Rictor from their brief sleep. Shatterstar turns around and begins to help them.

"Are you two all right, dimensional crossing can be very. . . disorienting the first time through."

"Shatterstar..." radios Windsong from the cockpit.

"We're fine 'Star, just a little shaken up." Rictor sits up and shakes his head.

"Shatterstar. . . ." Windsong radios again, this time a little louder.

"Rictor, this is your first trip across time and space, you must rest and regain your strength. The medical terminal on board is keeping you alive for now, but not for long. We must..."

"SHATTERSTAR!!!" The volume of the radio call startles Shatterstar and he turns to the front slightly disgusted with her.

"WHAT WINDSONG?! WHAT!!" Before she can reply, Shatterstar sees the fleet of the Imperial Armada looming in front of them. A brief wave of fear sweeps over the dwarfed craft as the passengers gasp at the Armada's size.

"Shatterstar. . . You better not be thinking what I think you're thinking." Adam asks with a degree of fear in his voice.

"Assuming that you think I will try to kill them all, in a word Adam. . . No. This ship has an excellent cloaking device that even our sensors should not register and a battle of this magnitude would not be wise. We will avoid confrontation for now. The salvation of Mojoworld is far more important than a glorious death."

"We have nothing to fear from them Shatterstar! I would rather die than run from the Protectorate."

"I am not running Windsong, I am avoiding the inevitable death that engaging the Armada would most certainly entail."

<<He engages the cloaking device and slips past the imposing Armada.>>

"Shatterstar, have you forgotten that the Cadre outpost is the other way?" Windsong exclaims.

"No, I have not, but it would appear that they have not either, or at least the general area, which is why I launched a probe to be hit by their strafing fire. Watch." The entire armada turns aiming across the expected flight path towards the outpost. Their fire quickly comes into contact with the cloaked probe, obliterating it and believing the Blackbird destroyed, the fleet disengages.

"I knew the fleet would try to hit us with blindfire, which is why I flew opposite the expected route. With the fleet now thinking us all dead, we may proceed unmolested. Fortunately, this craft has been better equipped for space travel after the X-Men's last incident with Magneto on Avalon."

INTERLUDE: Spiral's Tower

"My dear Benjamin, that was a mighty clever ploy. It is a trait that seems to run in your cursed family like a weed. I had thought this would be an easy game to win. But it never is as simple as that between us."

"Empress Spiral, Major Domo is here to you with urgent news about Shatterstar and the Cadre Alliance."

"See him in my dear."

"Yes, milady." The slave then limps to the door and let's Major Domo in.

"Your majesty I bring you good news. We have succeeded in destroying the rebel Shatterstar and his wife Windsong along with two mutant off-worlders."

"The Terran and the Birdman ascendant. Yes, I know."

"How. . . how could you know already?"

"Because my eyes are everywhere you fool! I watched your Deathbringer Armada destroy a machine hiding in a man's cloth. What you destroyed was nothing more than a mere PROBE!"

"Y... Your Majesty, what do you mean?"

"Stop playing the fool Domo, Shatterstar outsmarted you! He knew what path you would strafe, so he waited until after you left before he even began heading to the Cadre outpost. Fix this situation immediately or YOUR fate will be most dire!" She folds her three pairs of hands together and grins at him menacingly, relishing in the fear her mere words cause in him. Oh how the tables have turned since she was subservient to him and the original Mojo all those decades ago. A 300 year lifespan certainly leaves a lot of time for revenge.

"Yes your Majesty, as you wish!"

"And by the way, why did you have your precious armada destroy what is was only supposed to capture."

"Our pilot's were overzealous fools you Majesty, I shall have them all killed immediately."

"Do no such thing, simply kill the commander who gave the order to fire and be done with it. Time is of the essence, Domo."

"Yes, your Majesty."

He cowers away to the command center and orders the fleet to refuel and relaunch immediately. The floor manager tells him it will take at least an hour before the fleet will be ready to launch again.


Rictor awakens to find himself laying on a cold slab in a crowded room. He recognizes no one. He tries to get up and feels a red hot searing pain go through his chest. This gets the Medic's attention.

"Your injuries have been healed, but you will still feel pain in your lung for some time. You lost a lot a blood from that gunshot and since we do not have human blood here we had to improvise." Not once does the Medic lift his eyes from the fileboard.

"What do you mean. . . improvise!?!" Rictor says scowling.

"I mean we had to give you a synthesized batch of our blood type that would properly adjust to your body chemistry." Again, staring at the fileboard.

"There won't be any side affects will there, doc?" He asks with worry plastered on his face.

"I do not know this "doc", but the answer to your inquiry is that there will be only negligible side effects." Still staring.

"Like what?" Rictor asks.

"You worry too much." <Rictor glares at him> <sigh> "You will temporarily be given regenerative cells and enhanced reflexes. Such is the design of our blood type." He finally looks up from the fileboard. Showing his tattooed face.

"You mean I got a healing factor?" he asks puzzled.

"That is what I said if I'm not mistaken, but the effect is only temporary. Here, let us get you to the conference room where The Shatterstar and your troopmates are."

They leave the medi-tent and walk out into the future of Mojoworld. The sky is blood red and giant blimps dot the horizon. The city around them is in ruins. Bodies line the streets. And all of a sudden Rictor doesn't find his youth all that horrific anymore. They reach the planning room and walk inside.

"Shatterstar. . . I had no idea this is what your home was really like."

"Have I not told you on several occasions, Julio?"

"Yeah, well.... I kinda thought you were exaggerating a little... but you never do, do you?"

"Hmmph -- come and sit over here, we are formulating a plan of attack against Mojo V and Major Domo. But first let me introduce you to the other members of the Cadre Alliance. You know Adam-X already. The one with the blue military beret is Windsong, my genetic mate. The one with the silvery winged hair is Wildwind. He can transport himself and others via the mist he can become. The fiery one is called Charblade." Charblade glares at Rictor. "Don't worry, he hates everyone. The ancient in the corner there is our prophet, Delphi. He is highly revered by our society and gives us the advantage we need to survive against Major Domo's incessant raids. These are the elite leaders of the Cadre Alliance."

"Um. . . whatever." He shrugs.

In a corner of the planning room, Adam-X sits in shadows as Shatterstar briefs Rictor on their plans. As time rolls on his attention wanders. Soon his bored gaze falls on Windsong. Unconsciously, Adam stares at her for some time before he realizes it and scolds himself.

--What am I doing? She's the most obnoxious, vicious, arrogant, alien warrior from a cross-dimensional planet I've ever met! Then again, she's also the most beautiful obnoxious, vicious, arrogant, alien warrior from a cross-dimensional planet I've ever met....--

Rictor too, sits off from the rest thinking about what has happened to him today.

-- I can't believe that gunshot wound has healed already. It should take at least a week or two for it to get this good again.-- He gently touches the wound and winces as the pressure is applied to the it. --Well, I'm healing fine, but I can't help but wonder how long it's gonna take for Shatterstar to heal from all the stuff that's happened to him in the last 24 hours.-- He glances over to Shatterstar who is fervently discussing the plan of attack with his fellow commanders. --I can see it in his eyes, he's going through his own personal hell, the kind I went through when Cable took over the New Mutants. I thought I was being trained by the man who murdered my father. I still have nightmares about it. About Cable actually being him, the murderer, sometimes. I know it was Stryfe, and not Cable, but still. . . the nightmares. <sigh> But one thing is for sure, he's going to need help to get through it all, and I'll be there for him. He can count on it.--

INTERLUDE: <<At the palace of Mojo V>>

Major Domo steps sheepishly into Mojo V's private viewing station.

"Major Domo, what news do you bring me?" A large yellow figure turns towards him. On the screen in front of him is a large battle between the Imperial Protectorate and a battalion of the Cadre Alliance in the deteriorating Arena."

"Greetings your Immensity, Shatterstar and his rebel friends have returned."

"Have you destroyed them yet?"

"We almost had them, but. . ."

"Almost isn't good enough!!" He smashes the television in front of him.

"I am sorry my most plentiful Master Programmer. We shall deal with the dissidents soon enough. I contract to you, they will not live past tomorrow."

"Either they won't. . . or you won't."

"<GULP> Yes, Mojo V." His finger is pulling at his collar. This job of his is becoming increasingly.... uncomfortable.


<<Outside the Cadre Alliance Headquarters>>

A small band of men and women are crawling through the ruins of Mojoworld. They evade the airships that circle the skies at all times looking for any amount of activity in ways they've learned since they were pups in the new Mojoworld. Soon they come to the cliff that sits across the lake from Spiral's Tower. The blood boils at the mere sight of it. By the plans he made earlier, Shatterstar splits them up into two groups.

"Rictor, you Wildwind and Android will follow me to Spiral's secret chamber. Adam-X, you and Windsong will lead the Cadre Alliance with Charblade into the heart of the Tower and destroy the power generators beneath. Without power to fuel his broadcasts, MojoV will not last long."

Shatterstar and his group floats up to the balcony after being transmuted into mist by Wildwind at the same time Windsong's squad creeps into the swamplands. Back on the balcony, 'Droid begins to lay down the explosives to get into the tower when a shadowed man leaps from the precipice above them. He fires two rounds into Wildwind's chest throwing him from the balcony and stabs 'Droid in the neck temporarily frying its circuitry. The assassin then grabs Rictor from behind and around the neck. All this takes place in less than second. Only an assassin of the highest order could pull off a stunt like that. That is why Spiral "hired" him to protect her. It is none other than Deadpool, the Merc with a Mouth.

"Pop-Quiz hotshot! A professional assassin has just killed your teammates and is holding a knife to your best friend's throat. What do you do? What. Do. You. Do?"

Shatterstar does not say another word. He doesn't have to. As always, Shatterstar lets his actions speak for him. He smiles only sly grin and in less than a mere eyeblink, Shatterstar draws a small blade from his helmet and flings it at Deadpool's head, aimed at his eye. Deadpool, shocked at Shatterstar's reaction jumps out of the way instinctively after slashing Rictor's neck.

"What the HELL is wrong with you!?! You're not supposed to do that! None of you hero types would ever dare to risk some poor sap's life. Especially when it's one of your own guys! Did you forget to read that part in the Superhero Guide to Beating Up Badguys or sumthin'? I think it was chapter 22."

"I am not a 'hero type', Deadpool! I am a Cadre Alliance Warrior and this is MY world! I operate by MY rules here!"

"Oooh, I'm soooo scared of a guy with a ponytail! Geez, if these are your rules, then no wonder you forgot chapter 22! How silly of me! Hey, is there a Superhero Guidebook for your rules, too? I might need ta pick that up."

Wade charges, but Shatterstar reacts with a back spinkick to the stomach and a sword-filled fist in the face, sending Deadpool reeling backwards.

"Ow. That smarted. Ya know, I think this could be kinda fun. I'm always in the mood for a little hack n' slash kung fu fighting... and a little moolah on the side don't hurt none either."

He pulls his swords out of their sheaths and dashes at Shatterstar once again. Shatterstar draws his other blade and deflects the blows almost effortlessly. He then slashes Wade across the chest.

"@#%^$&%#!!! Do you know hard it is to get blood stains outta double-layered kevlar? Al hates that, 'specially when she's gotta knit it back together. I'll send you the bill, what's your address? And by the way, exactly when did you learn to fight back? Last time we went mano y alieno, I wiped the floor with you and the songbird. A day I'm sure Terry'll make me live to regret... hopefully."

"Come at me again Assassin and I shall show you exactly how much I have changed."

Ignoring all of Wade's juvenile prattle, Shatterstar flies against Deadpool in an adrenaline rage, no quarter asked and less given. Deadpool thrusts and Shatterstar parries. Shatterstar slices at Wade's head, but he ducks fast. Wade kicks Shatterstar in the knee, but he hardly even slows. Shatterstar cuts Deadpool's arm, so Wade returns the favor and leaps at him. He blocks Wade's thrust and elbows him in the jaw. This goes on for hours until they are both tired and exhausted... at least a little.

"Why do you continue to fight me, Assassin? What does Spiral really hold against you?"

"She has money. I want money. She give me money. I make you dead. It's a merc's job. Live with it... for at least next coupla seconds."

"I am familiar with how Spiral manipulates her prey, she has something more important to you than money. What does she hold, Assassin?"

"Let's just say I got a little problem with my handy-dandy healin' factor. It's killin' me. Trust me, that's a bad thing. She says she'll fix me up and I'm so damn freakin' desperate right now I'd dress up in a bikini and dance the marcerana with Newt Gingrich if it was a chance at stoppin' the cancer... ghhhh, bad mental picture, bad."

"Spiral is the Twister of Souls and the Queen of Lies, any promises she has made you will not be fulfilled. At least not in the way you expect. Pitiful. You would rather damn your honor by serving that dishonorable witch than sacrifice your own life! I once considered you a great warrior of honor, for an assassin, with a true courage in your heart. You have made a liar out of me."

"And people have the nerve to call me arrogant? Sheesh, I could take lessons from this guy!"

Deadpool leaps at Shatterstar, his anger clearly showing through his humorous facade, but 'Star quickly sidesteps and stabs him in the spine, taking him out completely. He then orders 'Droid to take Deadpool back to camp and have him restrained and healed until either Rictor or himself returns. 'Droid sets the charges and then takes Deadpool down to the base camp. Shatterstar walks over to Rictor after the blast rouses him. Rictor sits up and groans heavily. He holds his head in his hands. He has a headache the size of Cincinnati.

"Great. My throat feels like it's on fire. What'd I do, eat a bag of Chinese peppers?"

"If you can feel pain, then you are alive."

"<sigh> Look 'Star, I know you saved my skin an' all, but what the @%#$ were you thinking!?!" He quickly regrets the loud noise.

"I had knowledge that he did not. I knew that your newfound-yet-limited regenerative abilities would save you from any harm he would inflict. And I also knew that he would question my honor as a warrior and not expect my response."

"Well I didn't expect it either..."

"If I had let him take us, we would be dead by now."

"But. . . ahh. . . forget it." Rictor just slaps his hand on his forehead and flops back, unconscious.

To be continued in... Things Best Left Unsaid

Part 2

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