- Title: X-men 2
- Author: Ted Conner
- Released: 2003-03-01
- Pages: 0
- ISBN: 0613727118
- ISBN13: 978-0613727112
- ASIN: 0613727118
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved. Chapter One
The White House
“ ‘We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection.’ ” The young woman smiled at the camera-toting tour group as she led them through the carpeted halls of the White House that were open to the public. She stopped in front of a portrait of Abraham Lincoln. “Lincoln said that in his inaugural address as our nation’s sixteenth president.” She smiled more broadly. “It’s one of my favorites.”
As the tour group admired the portrait, the young woman began leading them to a security checkpoint. Armed Secret Service agents were watching closely as they approached. Metal detectors crammed the small space, and cameras trained down on it from above.
“If you’ll please have your tickets ready, we’ll begin the tour,” the guide said, gesturing to the metal detectors. The tourists filed through obediently—everyone except a nondescript man in a baseball cap and a long trench coat. As the others went through the checkpoint, he stepped to the side and turned the corner. A janitor’s closet was there, just out of sight of the security officers. The closet door was open slightly.
He darted inside. Moments later, bamf! a flash of light beamed out from under the closet door. Smoke seeped through the doorjamb. The door cracked open and he stepped outside.
He wasn’t an ordinary man.
He was Nightcrawler.
As he headed down the hall, away from the tour group, a hand grabbed his shoulder. He turned, careful to keep his head bent down.
“I’m sorry, sir,” said one of the security officers. “Are you lost?”
Nightcrawler nodded, staying shielded. He was there to do something, but what it was danced around his mind, never letting him fully grasp it. A beat went by and then he looked up, revealing his face. The face of a demon. Yellow, dilated eyes surrounded by skin so blue it appeared black bore into the security officer. His teeth and the whites of his eyes glinted.
“What—” Gasping, the security officer reached for his pistol. But he was too slow. From behind the agent’s head, Nightcrawler’s forked tail reached up and whish! wrapped around the gun, throwing it to the ground. He flipped the officer over. Then, fingers curled and teeth bared like an animal, he ran down the White House corridor at full speed.
Something bad was going down. Something very bad. Agent Fabrizio pressed his earpiece closer, his heart racing. “Perimeter breach at visitors’ checkpoint!” screeched the White House Secret Service agent on the other end.
Agent Soltis ran up to him. “Multiple subjects!” he cried, his eyes ricocheting left and right. “I just went to shoot it—and there was another one!”
Agent Fabrizio motioned for him to follow and the two men raced into the Oval Office.
“Mr. President, security breach.” Fabrizio waved away President McKenna’s bewildered assistant, Jackie, and grabbed the president. “Let’s get him out to the car!” he yelled to Soltis.
Before they could reach the exit, three more agents swarmed into the room, surrounding them. “The exit’s not clear!” shouted a rookie, Agent Morris. “We don’t know how many there are!”
More Secret Service agents crowded into the room and formed a circle around President McKenna. All of them had their guns drawn, pointing toward the several doorways into the room.
Alarms blared. Radios broadcast loud, unintelligible static. And then shots rang out directly outside the Oval Office. Women shrieked. Men screamed.
“There’s something in the corridor!” a panicked agent said.
“Shelter!” barked Fabrizio.
The agents rushed President McKenna toward an adjoining room. But the room’s door burst open before they reached it, and agents outfitted in SWAT gear spilled into the Oval Office.
“Negative!” one of the SWAT agents shouted at Fabrizio. “Not clear.”
Agent Fabrizio had to look only once at the terrified president. “Lock this place down!” he commanded, adrenaline surging into his bloodstream. Agents began closing all the doors in the room. Fabrizio knew that agents would be in place outside the doors as well.
Fear enveloped him as gunfire erupted in the White House corridor. Bamf! Bamf! Bamf! There was a deafening, sickening slap of something making contact with human flesh. Fabrizio raised his gun, watching the door.
Then he heard a noise from above him. Footsteps. Were they an agent’s? Or an enemy’s?
Wham! The west door burst open, slamming an agent to the ground. Thick smoke began filling the room. Agents stumbled in, coughing and wiping their tearing eyes.
Then Agent Morris came in—but not on his feet. He was wrapped in the clutches of a giant, slimy tail.
Bamf! The reptile mutant attacker was on the ceiling. His tail unfurled and Agent Morris dropped to the ground.
“My God,” said President McKenna, the blood draining from his face.
Agent Fabrizio was frozen as the mutant practically flew around the room. A whirling tail knocked one of the agents in the face. Fabrizio could barely make out glazed yellow eyes and blue lips as the mutant destroyed agent after agent with a flick of its tail.
Bamf! Bamf! Bamf! He held on to his gun, trying to focus, and waited for the cold scaly skin to slap hard into his body and send him hurtling across the room.
With a flick of his tail, Nightcrawler pulled a knife from his boot and flipped it into his clawed hand. Earlier he had tied a long red ribbon to its hilt. He couldn’t remember why.
The man pinned underneath him on the mahogany desk looked up at him, panic washing across his seasoned features. His shirt was torn, and his watch hung broken from his wrist. Papers had scattered to the floor. The acrid smell of smoke filled the air. Sirens wailed.
Nightcrawler raised the knife. BANG! A bullet ripped though his shoulder.
“Aarghhhh!” he screamed, clutching himself in pain as the agent who had shot him lowered his gun. Suddenly his eyes dilated, then snapped back to normal. He shook himself. The pain stirred something inside of him. The hazy feeling was gone. He knew where he was now. And why he was there.
The man underneath him was the president of the United States. And he, Kurt Wagner, aka Nightcrawler, had nearly killed him.
Bamf! With one final flick of his tail and a shower of smoke, he fled the Oval Office.
“What the hell was that?” he heard President McKenna say in a shaky voice.
His answer was there in front of him, on the knife that Nightcrawler had stabbed straight into the center of the president’s desk.
A knife with a ribbon that had these words inscribed in black letters:
MUTANT FREEDOM NOW --This text refers to the edition. pdf