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|Property of Uncanny X-Factor|
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|The Fire Rages|
|Volume 1, Issue 1|
|Date of Release||5/16/15|
|Written by||Cartoon44, Uncanny X-Factor|
|Illustrated by||Uncanny X-Factor|
|Synopsis||The world is introduced, in all its (Project) Broken goodness.|
- Avengers' Base
- Xavier Institute
- Baxter Building
- Times Square
- Unknown HYDRA Base
- Unknown restaurant
- Unknown underground SHIELD headquarters
Fury: Sometimes in the darkest of moments, I question myself. I question if what I do is for good, and then sometimes I ask myself if I'm doing enough. You want to know the answer? No. We're not. When I formed the Avengers, I saw earth's mightiest heroes standing together in a society of peace and protection. But now I look outside my window and see nothing but a dark abyss, streets once clean being walked on by corruption and filth. And so my ever so appropriate response strikes again: No. No more. Not anymore. Not ever again... and it'll stay that way- but only after a rude awakening.
(In the sky, several Quinjets are seen dropping in altitude as they soar towards the X-Mansion.)
SHIELD Pilot #1: Waiting on your command.
(Wolverine exits the X-Mansion, looking up at the sky as he spots the fleet directing to the mansion.)
Wolverine: SHIELD? The hell?!
(Nick Fury stands by the helicarrier, 65,000 feet above the mansion as he watches from above.)
Nick Fury: Initiate protocol: Broken.
(Wolverine runs back in, finding the nearest person in sight - Jean Grey.)
Wolverine: Jean... I need a shield. A big one.
Jean Grey: Why?
Wolverine: We gotta get everyone out of here. There's no time.
Jean Grey: What's going on?
Wolverine: STOP BLABBERING! I NEED A FORCE FIELD, WE NEED EVERYONE OUT SAFELY!
(A missile strikes the mansion, as a wall crumbles to the floor. Hundreds scream as they head out of the building. Havok runs down the main staircase, watching as rubble is close to falling on an innocent. He blasts the rocks away, saving the civilian.)
Mutant: Thank you...
Havok: Don't worry about it, get out of here!
(Another missile strikes. Rocks pummel Jean Grey as the ceiling collapses.)
(Wolverine shoves the rocks aside as he finds Jean Grey unconscious. Unconscious - but alive.)
Wolverine: Dammit, can't even use your own powers to save yourself...
(Wolverine picks Jean Grey up carrying her on his shoulder as he runs out the mansion. Hundreds are out safely, but some didn't make it out in time. Henry McCoy smashes through a window in a ball as he brings a civilian to safety.)
Beast: You alright?
Civilian: Fine... thank you.
(Wolverine walks over to Beast in hurry, counting off all the people he recognizes.)
Beast: Logan, what the hell is going on here?
Wolverine: SHIELD is kicking our asses.
Beast: Is everyone OK?
Wolverine: So far at least 3 quarters has escaped. Hundred or more of casualties...
Beast: All this... and for what?
Wolverine: We're going get our act together and then get some answers.
Beast: Have you seen Charles?
Wolverine: Xavier? Wait... oh god no. Please, NO!
(Wolverine runs ahead to the main entrance until Beast pulls him back.)
Beast: Wait, what the hell are you doing? You can't go back in there!
Wolverine: Healing factor, dammit! Let me through!
(Wolverine runs inside, dodging burning logs as fire and destruction surrounds him. He makes his way up carefully as he heads to Charles' office. He sees him from a distance, locked and trapped between a fire pit of rubble. He's heavily injured and on the floor, blood leaking from his lip. Wolverine kicks open the door.)
Wolverine: XAVIER! CAN YOU HEAR ME? XAVIER? XAVIER DAMMIT ANSWER ME!
Professor X, through telepathy: Get yourself out of here. Now. The place is about to fall down to it's ashes.
Wolverine: I'm not leaving without you, after all that you have done for me. Let me help you!
Professor X, through telepathy: Walk an inch closer and this room will collapse. You have to go now.
Wolverine: Not without you. I'm getting you out of this pit.
Professor X, through telepathy: That was not a choice.
(Wolverine groans as he is forced out of the room. The door closes in front of him as he watches bricks and mortal fall to the floor. Wolverine screams in agony.)
(Pitch black. Silence. When the scene returns, firemen are at the scene as they clean up ashes and rubble from what used to be the X-Mansion.)
Meanwhile, on the large television at Avengers Mansion, word of the bombing is all over the news. The Avengers are standing around, watching the screen, motionless. Iron Man waves his hand and the screen shuts off.
Black Panther: God be with us.
Falcon: What the hell are you shutting it off for? We need to know the rest.
Captain America: There's nothing else we need to know.
Hawkeye: Cap, what are you...
Cap: Clint, enough. They were Americans, and they were innocent. This is an act of racism. So long as I wear this suit, that's never going to happen without consequences. Avengers Assemble. (he pulls the mask over his face)
Hundreds of mutants stand together before the destruction of their once fine institute. Ambulance trucks are driving left and right, to and fro as they take care of the injured. Wolverine exits the building solemnly as the crowd watches him down the front staircase - his expressions the darkest they've ever been.
(Havok walks before Wolverine, in deep sympathy for what he has seen.)
Havok: You alright, Logan?
(Wolverine passes by Havok, ignoring him as he remains silent. Walking through the crowd slowly, he stops as he listens in to a rumble in the distance. The crowd turns dead silence as they all turn to face the fleet. He turns around to see an army of Sentinels flying down nearby. They march over to the mutants, as they all gasp in panic for a second assault. Wolverine, filled with anger, puts his claws out as he prepares for another fight.)
Sentinel #1: MUTANTS. STAND DOWN BEFORE THE REGISTRATION AND PREPARE FOR EXECUTION IN RESULT OF VIOLATION OF THE ACT.
(The institute stands to watch, as their guard is down from the attack only moments ago. Even if they give it their all, they still don't stand a chance. Wolverine steps in front of the crowd, for a final word regarding all the X-Men and loss they bare.)
Wolverine: LISTEN UP YOU NO-BRAINED MURDERING ANDROIDS, I HAVE A WORD FOR SHIELD. YOU HAVE JUST MURDERED A HUNDRED PEOPLE IN COLD BLOOD, INCLUDING A GREAT MAN WHO CHANGED MY LIFE... WHO CHANGED THE WORLD. WHO GAVE PEOPLE WITH SPECIAL ABILITIES CHANCES TO USE THEM TO THEIR ADVANTAGE. WHATEVER THIS ACT IS, WHATEVER NEW ORDER YOU'RE TRYING TO FULFILL, IT'S BROKEN. I DON'T KNOW WHY YOU WANT TO SEEK US OUT, TO SEEK THE PEOPLE WHO HELP PROTECT THE LIVES OF MILLIONS, IN ORDER TO PROTECT THE REST OF THE WORLD. BUT KNOW THIS - WE WILL FIGHT BACK!
(A sentinel raises his hand in the air, aiming a blast at the crowd when suddenly Captain America appears with his shield up, directing the blast straight back at the android. It collapses to the ground sending few behind it tumbling down as well.)
Wolverine: Rogers? What the hell are you doing here?! You and your squad blow up the mansion and now you're saving us from sentinels?
Captain America: These aren't ours... and you can blame Fury for this. That was an attack ordered by SHIELD and a few of our own that betrayed us.
Wolverine: They betrayed all of us... and now they're going to pay. Are you all that's left?
Captain America: No. I brought my friends.
(Iron Patriot, Spider-Man, Hawkeye and a few others arrive via aircraft and drop to the ground. Steve turns to Wolverine.)
Captain America: On your call.
(Wolverine turns over to the crowd behind him.)
Wolverine: MUTANTS! ATTACK!
(The mutants and the insurgency charge at the sentinels as a dramatic battle begin over the ashes of the institute. Spider-Man forms a sling shot between two nearby trees and flings on to the face of a Sentinel. He creates a web over its' eyes, blinding and distracting as he flips out of the way.)
Spider-Man: Hawkeye! Clear shot!
(Hawkeye shoots an arrow right in the Sentinel's forehead, as a timer goes off leading to an explosion. The Sentinel gets knocked to the ground, falling into several others. As Captain America slams another android down to the ground with his shield, he looks over to see Iron Patriot figuring with his arm device.)
Captain America: What exactly might you be doing over there, Rhodes?
Iron Patriot: ...And done.
(Iron Patriot closes a hatch to the device on his arm.)
Iron Patriot: You might want to take cover in a few seconds... and cover your ears.
Captain America: Why would I-
(Several large missiles launch at the sentinels, creating huge explosions through the air. One by one, the androids are destroyed as they're taken down by the heavy impact of the rockets. As a cloud of smoke fills the scene, silence fills in the event until several sentinels suddenly march through the smoke.)
Black Panther: It's never that easy, is it?
(The people continue their battle against the sentinels, becoming tired - more and more appear in an endless march of destruction.)
Wolverine: KEEP AT IT MUTANTS, THEY'RE DYING DOWN! WE WILL NOT LET THEM--
(Suddenly, all the Sentinels are ordered to stand down and they collapse.)
(In the sky, a man is seen flying with a jetpack. As he lands on the ground, it is revealed to be Nick Fury, the director of SHIELD.)
Iron Man: Geezus, Fury, you took long enough. We've been wailing on Sentinels for almost an hour!
Fury: Yeah, about that, these are my men.
Thor: What say you now?
(The Sentinels' chest panels hinge up, and several SHIELD agents emerge.)
Fury: Avengers, you have tampered with the dealings of a SHIELD-sanctioned mission. (He sighs.) You are all under arrest.
Hawkeye: Like hell!
Fury: I'm sorry, Barton.
Hawkeye: You son of a b*tch...
(He tries to tackle Fury, but he knocks him back with a backhand. Clint falls to the ground and spits blood.)
Fury: Now, are you going to come quietly, or should I cuff you? Before you make your choice, we have Mandroids. (Several armored Mandroids appear and cross their arms in front of the Avengers.)
Captain America: (whispering) Avengers, fall back.
Spider-Man: Cap, you can't be serious...
Captain America: FALL BACK! That is an order, Spider-Man.
Spider-Man: (muttering) What the hell, Cap? Why did I ever look up to you?
(The Avengers are marched off onto the SHIELD Helicarrier, which has just landed. But Steve noticed something the others do not. Quicksilver is not in SHIELD custody, nor anywhere else.)
(The book cuts to Times Square, where the advertisements buzz, and then reveal the blurry face of Nick Fury. He begins an announcement.)
Nick Fury: Ladies and gentlemen. My name is Nicholas Fury, and I am the director of S.H.I.E.L.D. As you all certainly remember, a few years back, we attempted to pass the Superhero Registration Act, which ultimately ended in failure.
(The New Warriors appear on a rooftop to watch the transmission continue.)
Nick Fury: This act has been recently reviewed, and this time, it was passed as a Constitutional amendment. From now on, any superheroes not registered with the government will be captured or terminated.
(Cuts to the Fantastic Four viewing the transmission in the Baxter Building.)
Thing: Aw God no, not again...
Mr. Fantastic: We'll figure it out, Ben, don't worry. We're a family.
(Cuts to the Avengers in a SHIELD cell)
Nick Fury: Just hours ago, the first casualties of the act came: the Avengers intervened in a SHIELD-sanctioned mission. They are the first in our prisons.
Captain America: No, dammit!
Black Panther: What is it, Captain?
Hawkeye: (now with a black eye) They're slandering us!
Captain America: I know what's going to happen. And I know where Tony is.
(cuts to the screen on the Blackbird)
Nick Fury: If you are a normal citizen, you have nothing to worry about. This will not affect you, aside from the benefit of stronger protectors. If you are a "hero", sign up before this gets any worse.
Cyclops: First the Professor, now this? Beast, floor it.
(The jet speeds up to 300MPH across the Atlantic.)
Captain America: Some say history repeats itself. Back before what we call the modern age, during the terrible age of HYDRA's rule, I was part of a team once known as the Howling Commandos. We gave hope to the people, made them believe that eventually everything was going to be alright. We were winning, Schmidt and his army were near defeat. And then I fell asleep, to a world where the war was over. I was told we won... and that's what I believed. I was one of earth's mightiest heroes, I gave hope to the people. We gave hope to the people. Until I fell asleep - and I woke up where I started.
(Captain America wakes up, slowly, moaning with pain. He has suffered several injuries including a broken rib and a fractured knee. He's sitting in a dark prison cell, dimly lit by the room upstairs.)
Captain America: Where - SHIELD... must've been drugged. Where's the others?
(Captain America looks around his cell, to see Hawkeye unconscious on the ground. He looks over across the room, glancing in the darkness, to see Spider-Man and Iron Patriot in the other cell.)
Spider-Man: So... you're awake...
Captain America: Where the hell are we?
Spider-Man: I don't know. We enter the Helicarrier, are taken into containment cells, I fall asleep for a few minutes and now we're here...
Captain America: Wherever this is, I've been here before... I know it... during the war before I was frozen, prisoners of war were taken here by HYDRA. My team and I came here before and freed almost a dozen people. This is HYDRA headquarters...
Iron Patriot: HYDRA? Weren't all the bases cleared after the invasion?
Captain America: A lot of things have changed.
Nick Fury: Indeed they have.
(Nick Fury appears between the two cells as nothing can be seen but a dark silhouette.)
Captain America: You've been a busy man, Fury.
Nick Fury: You weren't supposed to intervene, Rogers... none of you were. New laws have passed, and what you did is considered an act of crime... and betrayal. As such, we have no choice but to treat you as criminals.
Iron Patriot: Who's we?
Nick Fury: HYDRA has aligned their goals with SHIELD for the time-being and to accomplish the goals that we so desperately want to achieve, both organizations have agreed that to form an alliance.
(Hawkeye appears out of the dark corner in the cell to the steel bars, next to Steve.)
Hawkeye: What the hell has happened to you, Nick? You form an alliance with an organization that has murdered people in the shadows over the centuries, bomb a school and now you arrest us for stepping in to save lives? And your excuse is what, to end violence? To protect?
Nick Fury: What has happened is that I woke up, Clint. We live in a world of corruption, violence... with people who can't be controlled. Now we have the opportunity to take control! In order to put out the fire, sometimes you've got to put it out yourself before it gets out of hand. We can start a new. And whenever or wherever the fire starts again, we can simply stomp on it and let it sizzle. The mutants however, didn't co-operate. They were in the way of progress.
Captain America: Where's the mutants?
Nick Fury: They are to be incarcerated as well for the time-being. Each individual will be tried for and their punishment will be decided.
Captain America: And us?
Nick Fury: If you let me finish, I would've told you that I'm giving you this one last chance.
Captain America: How can you?
Nick Fury: How can I what?
Captain America: How can you possibly give us a chance, when the people that you killed TRUSTED you. They GAVE you and SHIELD a chance and you took it from them! We gave you a chance by letting your organization incorporate our actions, help guide us into becoming better. You think this is better? You're out of chances, Nick. Once this mess gets cleared up, I'll see you on the other side.
Nick Fury: I sincerely doubt it. The mess is already over, now order begins. A new world order. And we're not going back.
(Nick Fury walks away, going up a side staircase when he looks back to see his once trusted soldiers. As he turns the corner, Hawkeye yells in anger.)
Hawkeye: WE TRUSTED YOU!!
(Tony stops by a local bar, tired and disoriented. He sits down and orders a beer, having flashbacks of the bombing.)
Waitress: Anything else today sir?
Tony: No, that'll do.
Waitress: Eccentric playboy billionaire Tony Stark stopping by a local bar? Shouldn't you be hanging out a club? Driving a sports car?
Tony: Not today... today, this billionaire needs a drink.
Waitress: Coming right up.
(Tony Stark slouches in his chair as he watches the local television, recapping the event. He turns his head, to see people in shock and terror. He closes his eyes and several flashbacks come to him. When he awakens, his drink has arrived.)
Waitress: Your drink, sir? Sir? Mr. Stark?
Tony: Oh... thanks.
(Tony Stark sips his beer, exhaling as the television changes channels after the end of the report. He drinks his cup all in one gulp, and quickly asks for a refill.)
Tony: Refill please! Make it fast... I'm going to see a friend.
(Soon after, the waitress comes and delivers the check.)
Waitress: Thirty dollars and eighty four cents, please.
(Tony Stark puts his hands in his pockets, searching for loose change but ends up with nothing. He's broke.)
Tony: Nothing's on me, but uh... I own this pub. Bought it last year. I'm making it on the house.
(Tony Stark puts on his jacket as he grins at the waitress. She glares sternly back, cleaning up after him as the front doors close.)
(Later that day at SHIELD headquarters, Tony Stark stops by Nick Fury's office.)
(Tony knocks on the door.)
Nick: We're closed.
Tony: Don't make me blast that damn door down.
Nick: Magic word?
(Nick opens the door as Tony walks in, and plots himself down on a nearby chair.)
Nick: No please, sit down...
(Nick grunts as he heads back to his desk.)
Tony: Nick... I need to ask a question.
Nick: Go ahead...?
Tony: We've got several of our own... beneath HYDRA headquarters. We bombed the X-Mansion, despite our cause, and killed a man. Dozens of children.
Nick: Questions, Tony, questions.
Tony: What if... I don't know, there's some sense of morality we're missing here. The Avengers never hunted, never killed. Why has that changed?
Nick: Because as much as I'd like to change the past, this is a new era. A new era where sometimes people can't be trusted, an era where sometimes you have to focus on the world around you before you can stop the conflict of the world.
Tony: So does that reason for death? If we want to stop conflict, why are we causing it?
Nick: We're setting borders and closing the seal. Anyone who acts against the law is making themselves an enemy to mankind as we work to try to make sure the world is a better place.
Tony: All this time we look to fix the world of corrupt and chaos, to bring order and peace and take down those who stand in our way. Not once did we consider that we could be the ones standing in our own ways.
Nick: That's why we're not afraid of taking down our own. We're closing a border between those who stand a threat and those who obey the law. Yes, we may take a few lives along the way but it's all in the step of preventing the deaths of millions. With this act, we have a clear line between the good and the bad, Tony. For the first time we know who are the heroes.
Tony: You know, Fury... for the first time, I don't know.
(Tony sighs and stands up as he opens the door.)
Nick: You're a smart man, Tony. A man who knows business. I know you'll come to the right terms eventually.
Tony: I'll get back to you on that.
(Tony closes the door as Nick Fury sits alone, at his desk, in silence. The silence of the deaths of hundreds.)