1963-10-17 - End of the Line
Summary: Weapon X is crashing, and so it offers its sacrificial lamb…
Related: Missing Pieces Plotline
Theme Song: None

Late Monday, and the offices of the Weapon X project, located deep within a government facility in New York, are abuzz of activity. The sun set some time ago, but the hallways are, rather unusually, abuzz with activity. The situation had reached a crisis point some weeks ago with publications around the important work being carried out in facilities much like this one. Today, however, the crisis boiled over thanks to articles in the New York Bulletin and the Bugle.

Within the centre block, Director Colcord sits at his executive desk with his fingers steepled. Three papers lay across the front. One featuring a large picture of a Weapon X agent and a former would be asset. Another an editorial written by a man, who around here, has become known as THE REPORTER, and a third discussing a Mutant Showdown.

Grimly, he sets a glass of fluid in front of Stryker, and his lips twist into a serpentine smile. "William," his voice bellows. "The situation has now, officially, boiled over." His eyebrows lift and he assumes his seat before tucking into a matching glass opposite Stryker.


"She failed." Stryker seems dumbfounded and enraged at once. Numb. "She should have finished him, we could have cleaned up. We can fix this, cut her loose." Stryker tosses back the drink, pushes to his feet. It's rare to see the big man unnerved. He paces Colcord's office like a bear in a cage that's too small. "I didn't realize… I should have realized he'd have friends. They're organizing. These free-range freaks."


Unlike Stryker, Malcolm Colcord swirls his drink twice, allowing the fluid to shift around the crystal glass. Thoughtfully he smells the liquor. And then, finally, as per his ritual, he takes a slow, careful taste. "Mmmm," he hums quietly. "Perfection." If he intends to engage with Stryker's nerves, he's doing an unusual job.

"Oyama isn't the problem," he offers towards his Scotch. His fingers tighten further around the glass. "Failing policies are." His eyebrows lift. "As I'd said before, we needed to change our tactics some time ago." He taps on the paper featuring the large picture of Deathstrike and Shadowcat duking it out. "You see it now, don't you?"

His gaze shifts, and that serpentine smile he's known for pulls at each of his features, "They're going to paint her a hero." His eyebrows lift nonchalantly. "And a compelling one at that, if they get her story." His fingers drum on his desk, "You should've pulled the project after she'd escaped. You'd have had far less mess."


"Pulled the project? We were so close. She — we almost had her. The others out there, I can show you how close we are. All I have to do is set them off," Stryker says. He's walking under a storm cloud, his expression fierce. "She won't be a hero after she loses control in the middle of a supermarket. The reporter? We will get him. We deport him. We throw suspicion on him — there are rumors about him, we can do this." His mind is working overtime.

"Going after the reporter was a mistake. I will admit that. But it was the execution. Trusting Oyama. I know you wanted him brought in but is power is unevolved, basic, and he's not the kind of man you can break easily." Stryker pauses, staring blankly at the wall. "There are already reports of other mutants losing control of their power, something else is going on. If we push harder, in the right direction, people will start to ask us to keep Weapon X running. Mutants will start volunteering to be trained, to have safety, to have direction. It is possible."


The smile subdues as Malcolm seems to consider Stryker's proposition. He leans back in his chair, and his eyes narrow substantially. His throat clears, and, after a few beats, he presses himself back up to a stand. "It's good you recognize your mistakes." His chin lifts and the smile returns. "Of course, hindsight is always twenty-twenty. I wanted Allercyde brought in to get him on side. To spin the story. Of course, your people botched that as well." He waves his hand. "No matter."

Slowly he strolls over to the window and stares out it at the world beneath. Matter of factly, he points his finger, "You do, indeed, raise good points. Important points. Something is shifting. Even that mutant in Sweden — the activist — attacked a bank. People will call for our intervention in short order." He pauses and twists to face Stryker. "Of course, that is assuming they believe the clean up of this mess." His lips edge upwards, "You're done, William. Your services are no longer needed here."

At that moment, as if on cue, three officers in military uniforms march in; one bearing a pair of handcuffs. "This is, as they say, the end of the line."

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