Hurt & Comfort

Book 10: Elusive Comfort

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Chapter 21 - The Beneath

"Uh oh. That's not good." Andrew said as he continued to stare sightlessly.

"What is it?" Scott asked anxiously at the ominous words as he kept his gaze fixed on the parking lot monitor.

"It looks to me like the Sentinel has decided that Clark and the others aren't worth its time. It appears to be focusing entirely on Matt." Andrew said gravely.

"Can you port Matt out of there?" Scott asked cautiously.

"Probably, yeah..." Andrew began to say, but was interrupted.

//It is likely that you will only be able to use your portal ability once, maybe twice before the Sentinel finds a way to nullify it. I would prefer to save your portal until we really need it, if at all possible.// Professor Xavier somberly recommended.

"I think Matt's figured out that it's not going to let him go without a fight." Willow announced.

After a moment of watching, Scott finally said, "Axes and swords may not work against those things, but it appears that Matt's claws do a decent enough job."

"It's barely a scratch, not even a flesh wound..." Warren began to say but was stopped by the sudden action on the monitor.

"Ouch! He gonna feel dat in da mornin." Remy said with a sympathetic cringe.

After a moment, Scott quietly said, "He's not healing."

"What?" Warren asked with surprise as he inched even closer to the monitor.

"That ray or whatever the robot used on him, it must have been able to stop his ability to heal somehow." Scott said anxiously.

"Get up!" Willow said urgently to the monitor.

"I can port him out if you need me to. It's your call." Andrew hesitantly offered.

"Remy, you said that these things were here to capture mutants, not kill them, right?" Scott reluctantly asked.

"Dat be de plan dat Remy see, but dese tings ain't smart. Remy don't tink dey understand what bein 'alive' mean." Remy said frankly.

"Good point." Warren quietly added.

"Even so, we need to see what this thing's going to do next, if we're going to have any hope of forming a strategy to fight them." Scott said regretfully.

"I can still port him out." Andrew offered.

"Stand ready. Just try to hold it until the last possible moment. The more we can discover here and now, the more information we'll have to help our people later." Scott said decisively.

Andrew waited a moment, then suddenly announced, "He's getting up."

* * * * *

"Wretched beast! Surrender immediately or incur my wrath!" Groo bellowed.

"I'd listen to him if I were you." Angel said toward the Sentinel, as he stood off to the side.

A slight crowd was beginning to gather to watch the spectacle.

"Have at ye, vile abomination!" Groo called before approaching the Sentinel and beginning to chop at it with his sword.

"Why are you talking like that?" Angel asked curiously.

"Certain things are to be done a certain way. This is the proper behavior when one is tasked to slay a beast such as this." Groo said confidently.

"Are you sure?" Angel cautiously asked.

"It is the responsibility of a sovereign ruler to be aware of such things." Groo said confidently.

Angel considered for a moment, then said, "I guess, if this is how it's done."

With a beautifully executed hit, Groo was able to cut a satisfying trench into the side of the huge robot's head.

"Verily I say, have at thee!" Angel proclaimed as he lunged to stab the metal beast in the gut, using the vampiric strength of a centuries old master.

* * * * *

Although Matt was accustomed to being injured in battle, he had also come to depend on his healing factor immediately working to ameliorate the injury, no matter how severe. Knowing that he was healing allowed him to continue the fight without concern for long term consequences.

The moment of realization wasn't outwardly noticeable to those observing, but felt like the difference between night and day to Matt.

He had gone into the battle feeling like his usual self and all of a sudden, he was on the same level as any average non-mutant.

As suddenly as the realization had come over him, it unexpectedly left.

Matt sprang to his feet and dove into battle with the enormous monster.

With blood freely flowing down his arms from where the claws had pierced his skin to emerge, Matt directed his attack at the torso of the metallic beast.

While the head might seem to be a more reasonable target, it also appeared to be surprisingly well defended.

Based solely on his previous attack, Matt had decided that he would be able to do substantial damage to the midsection of the Sentinel before it could formulate a defense or counterattack.

To his credit, Matt did manage to penetrate the outer hull of the massive robot. If that had been flesh instead of an inert covering of Kevlar and metal, it might have counted as being serious damage.

However, the Sentinel was not made of flesh and blood and the damage inflicted by Matt was negligible by anyone's measure.

While it seemed to take a moment for the Sentinel to register the situation, when it did, it took decisive action. It quickly turned itself away, to prevent further damage, then followed through with the movement, hitting Matt full force with the back of its hand and arm.

In one horrifying moment, Matt went flying over the tops of cars, farther and farther into the parking lot.

* * * * *

"Well, I can't drown it, you can't crush it with air pressure and that little spark of lightning we came up with wasn't enough to do much of anything. Have you got any ideas?" Dawn asked with frustration.

"Anything I can think of would be more likely to hurt the people in the mall than the Sentinel." Tara said honestly.

"It's not like the thing even knows that we're here. All it's doing is looking for mutants to capture." Buffy said angrily as she slashed at the giant robot with her scythe.

"At least you're able to do some kind of damage to it." Dawn said simply.

"If I can kill it, it'll be a death by a thousand cuts. Who has time for that?" Buffy complained.

"Do you have another option that you're not telling me about?" Dawn asked cautiously.

"I'm thinking that we may have to depend on the natives to come up with their own solution to this problem. It's looking more and more like brute force isn't going to be up to the job." Buffy said frankly.

"So does that mean that we're changing our strategy from trying to defeat these things to trying to stall them until the X-Men can figure out how to take them down?" Dawn asked curiously.

"Sounds like a way to go." Buffy said simply.

"Count me in. I prefer to take on jobs where there's a chance of succeeding." Riley interjected into the conversation.

"And yet you dated Buffy." Dawn said teasingly.

"It was totally worth it." Riley said with an affectionate grin at Buffy, then continued, "I can't think of a better place for a man to learn the true meaning of the word 'futility'."

"I'm standing right here." Buffy said indignantly.

"You know that I love you Buffy, you're definitely in my top fifty favorite people." Riley said toward her warmly.

"Fifty?" Buffy parroted disbelievingly.

"Am I in your top fifty?" Riley asked with a knowing grin.

"Yes!" Buffy immediately declared.

At Riley's incredulous stare, Buffy reluctantly added, "...Probably."

Dawn, Tara, and Riley continued to wait, none of them giving an inch.

"I know a lot of people." Buffy said defensively, then hurriedly added, "And some of them aren't even 'people' people."

"It's okay, Buffy. I'm not accusing you or blaming you for anything. I'm just saying that I accept who and what you are and the realities that go along with it. There isn't a place for me in a full-time capacity in your life. I get that. I'll take what you have to offer right here and now, and I'll be ready to step back when life starts coming at you full-force again." Riley said seriously.

"What kind of future can we have doing something like that?" Buffy quietly asked.

"Probably better than the alternative. At least this way we aren't angry and bitter because we continue to want what we can't have." Riley said frankly.

"It's good that the Sentinel is ignoring us." Dawn said to Tara quietly.

"Do you want to try summoning a waterspout inside the thing?" Tara asked uncertainly.

"Yeah. Who knows? We might get lucky and short out something important in there. Either way, I don't think it'll hurt anything to try." Dawn said as she took firm hold of Tara's hand.

* * * * *

"Be quiet. Hold still for a minute. You're safe." A voice said soothingly.

"Who are you?" Matt asked blearily as he fought against the swimmy sensation to open his eyes.

"My name is Brian. You hit the ground pretty hard. I think you may have a concussion." The boy said with concern evident in his voice.

"I was under attack!" Matt said suddenly as his eyes flew open.

"You don't have to worry about that now. You're safe. The Sentinel lost its lock on you and can't see where you are now. You've got a minute to catch your breath before you have to worry about anything else." Brian said frankly.

Matt looked around and recognized that they were hunkered down between two parked cars and not in the direct line of sight of the Sentinel that he had been fighting.

He looked at the bespectacled boy appraisingly for a moment. He appeared to be of South Asian descent and didn't seem to have any outward manifestation of mutation.

"Who are you, kid? Do I know you from somewhere?" Matt quietly asked.

Brian broke into an ironic smile, then said, "I don't even know how many times I've been asked that question, but this time I can honestly say, no. You don't know me from somewhere and we haven't met before."

Before Matt could ask what Brian meant by the strange statement, Brian continued, "But if everything ends up going right today, then someday, many years from now, we might be able to say that I'm an old friend of yours."

After a long uncertain moment, Matt cautiously asked, "Are you talking about time travel?"

"Only one minute at a time, going forward." Brian said with a grin.

"I think I'm ready. Where are we going?" Matt asked as his world was beginning to come back into focus.

"You're going to meet up with your friends in the RV over that way." Brian said as he pointed, then he continued, "I've got my own thing in the works that I have to get back to."

"If you're sure." Matt said as he looked at Brian uncertainly.

"Trust me, I've got it all worked out." Brian reassured him.

"Alright then, I suppose we'd better get going." Matt said as he shifted to a kneeling position, readying himself to crab-walk between the parked cars.

"I'll follow you until we're away from that robot, then I'll be going my own way." Brian said as he mirrored Matt's pose.

"Okay. Thanks for helping me when I was down and out, I won't forget it." Matt said before dashing away.

"Yes you will." Brian said regretfully as he followed, extending his ability, his forget-ability, to cover Matt until they were well away from the Sentinel.

* * * * *

"I'm surprised that you didn't want to stay with Clark to help him." Xander cautiously stated.

"Of course I did. However, I need to scan multiple Sentinel units to gather trustworthy data." Trey said frankly.

"Well, there it is. Go ahead and do what you need to do while Rona and I stand guard." Xander said unenthusiastically.

"In addition to gathering data, I am interested to see if I am able to disrupt the unit's function via electronic means." Trey said frankly.

{Jimmy, stay down!} Xander harshly whispered.

"If this thing was interested in me, it would have attacked me by now." Jimmy said frankly.

"Excuse me. Jimmy, would you focus your video surveillance on the Sentinel's head? I am going to attempt to bombard it with a series of electromagnetic frequencies to ascertain if it is susceptible to any of them." Trey said carefully.

"What do you want me to watch for?" Jimmy asked curiously.

"A reaction, perhaps." Trey said simply.

"Although the protrusion on top of the device is made to look like a head, I can see no reason to believe that it will have any of the functions of the head of a biological being." Jimmy said reasonably.

"Those who created these devices did so with a particular mindset. They modeled them after themselves, bipedal mammals. It would stand to reason that they would localize functions such as sight and sound receptors where eyes and ears would typically be." Trey explained.

"Okay. Yeah. I guess." Jimmy reluctantly agreed.

"Please just tell me if you witness anything that might indicate that something I am doing is affecting the robot in any way." Trey asked hopefully.

"I will do so. Proceed." Jimmy assured him.

* * * * *

"What are they doing?" Robin asked distractedly as he hacked and slashed at the giant robot that had stopped directly in front of the multiplex movie theater.

"Helping us, I think." Faith said uncertainly as she struggled to inflict any significant damage on the machine in front of her.

"Why?" Robin asked as he spared a glance around him at the ten or so people ineffectively hitting and kicking the giant robot.

"I guess that after an action movie, this might seem to be the next logical step for them." Faith said dubiously.

"Well, good... I guess. I hope it turns out to be therapeutic for them." Robin said uncertainly.

* * * * *

"Matt's back!" Andrew said quickly as his gold eyes returned to normal and he ran for the door.

"Back from where? Where was he?" Scott asked quickly as Warren followed Andrew out the door.

A moment later, Warren and Andrew half dragged, half carried Matt into the mobile command center.

"What happened to you Matt? Where were you?" Scott asked quickly.

"He's not healing. Do you have any bandages or first-aid stuff?" Andrew asked quickly.

"Yeah. That cabinet, right there." Scott said as he pointed.

"Let me get him patched up while you keep an eye on our people. As soon as we have some answers, I'll tell you." Andrew said assertively.

"Don't you want to keep watch outside?" Scott cautiously asked.

"The Sentinels are already here. I think Willow can keep watch on them with her cameras as well as I can at this stage of things." Andrew said frankly as he reached through a portal in mid-air and came back with his med kit.

"Matt, where were you?" Scott asked firmly as he turned the majority of his attention back to the multitude of split-screen monitors.

"I... I don't know. I was fighting that big robot and then he got in a good solid hit on me, then the next thing I know, I'm walking up to the mobile command center with you guys yelling at me." Matt said slowly.

"When that thing knocked you down, it looked like it lost you. It was like it was searching around for where you went. I thought that maybe you were able to get away... somehow. Even I couldn't figure out where you'd gone." Andrew said as he did a thorough scan to assess Matt's condition.

"I don't know what to tell you. He hit me. I went down. Next thing I knew, I was heading back here." Matt said frankly.

"Bad news: You've got a concussion and a pretty bad case of road rash." Andrew said regretfully.

"Is there any good news?" Matt asked cautiously.

"Your healing factor appears to be revving up. I can't predict how long it will take before it's back to its usual intensity, but from what I'm seeing here, the only thing I can offer you is a little pain management until your body can repair itself." Andrew said seriously.

"If it'll fix itself, then you can just leave it be. I'll tough it out." Matt said wearily.

"Fat chance of that." Andrew said as he injected a hypospray into Matt's neck.

"Didn't you take an oath or something that you can't do stuff like that without my permission?" Matt asked gruffly.

"Nope. I help people when I think they need it." Andrew said as he put his tricorder and hypospray away.

There was a moment of silence, then Matt reluctantly said, "I can feel it working... It's helping. Thanks."

Before Andrew could respond, Scott quickly said, "I think Clark just caught that Sentinel's attention."

* * * * *

Using what Alex had taught him, Clark was finally able to focus his optic blasts to the point that he could penetrate the hull of the Sentinel.

With one mighty swipe of its arm, the Sentinel swatted Clark away, knocking him some thirty feet back to land between some cars, much like it had done to Matt earlier.

"Go check on him. Let us handle this. If it gets you two, we've lost." Spike told Alex and Marie.

"Yeah. We'll make sure that Clark's okay. If he's in too bad of shape, we'll evacuate him to the command center." Alex said professionally.

"Should I go with you or stay?" Icheb asked uncertainly.

"Stay right here. If something turns up that you can do to help, I'll let you know." Spike said firmly.

Icheb gave a single nod of commitment to the plan.

Spike swooped in and gave Alex a firm kiss before hefting his machete and joining Vi to fight the giant robot.

* * * * *

"How is he?" Marie asked anxiously at Alex's side.

"No blood." Alex commented as he felt for broken bones, watching Clark carefully for any sign of reaction.

"If Trey and John catch you feeling me up like that, they're going to kick your ass." Clark said weakly as he slowly opened his eyes.

"John isn't here and Trey's busy collecting data on the robots." Alex said as he continued to probe, then quietly asked, "How badly are you hurt?"

"Actually, I think I'm okay. When that thing hit me, it caught me by surprise and everything went dark for a minute. But I don't hurt or anything. I just feel a little spacey." Clark said as he slowly sat up.

"Still, you should give yourself a minute to recover before you go back to fighting." Alex said urgently.

"I don't know if you've noticed, but from what I've been hearing on the radio, so far I'm the only one who's hurting these things at all. If I stop fighting, we've got no one." Clark said as he slowly moved from a sitting to a crouched position.

"Believe me, I've noticed." Alex assured him.

"Clark, my mutant ability is to absorb other people's abilities. Maybe, if you let me touch you for a minute, I could get a copy of your optic blast and then there'd be two of us who can attack that thing." Marie quietly offered.

"But it's after mutants. If it notices you, it'll go after you and won't stop until you're captured." Clark said anxiously.

"Then I'll be sure to hit it from a good distance and be ready to run." Marie said seriously.

"I can't fight these things all on my own. If you want to copy my ability, I have no problem with that. But don't attack that thing until I'm up on my feet so that we can fight it together." Clark said firmly.

"Yeah. You draw it and I'll distract it from a distance when it gets too close to you. With any luck, we'll be able to double-team it till we take it down." Marie said as she took off one of her long gloves.

"Is this going to hurt him?" Alex asked anxiously.

"When I touch regular people, it usually knocks them out. When I touch mutants, I steal their abilities and they might get weak for a little while. When I touch Icheb, nothing happens... well, it doesn't hurt him, just a little touch telepathy." Marie finished with a slight blush.

"What do you think will happen when you touch Clark?" Alex cautiously asked.

"Hopefully nothing too bad. He's right. So far, he's all we've got." Marie said as she offered her bare hand for Clark to take.

"Don't forget that we have Icheb and Trey on our side. We're not just fighting to protect them, we're also fighting to give them time to sort this whole mess out for us. It may turn out that they'll be the heroes and we'll be their support." Clark said honestly.

"Then let's support them." Marie said as she closed the distance between them and took firm hold of his hand.

* * * * *

"Shouldn't we be trying to get away?" Caridad quietly asked.

"I thought you'd be wanting to fight that crazy thing." Evan said honestly.

"Um, yeah... no. I lived this long by not being stupid. I don't see any reason to change that now." Caridad said frankly.

"You know what? I'm totally on board with that." Evan said weakly, then continued, "I'm just afraid that if we try to leave that it'll notice us. Right now, it's busy with Mr. Rourke and that King Arthur guy."

"His name is Groo... but he is a king..." Caridad trailed off as Angel and Groo struck the robot in the head from two different directions at exactly the same time.

A cheer rose up from the crowd that had formed to watch the fight. It appeared that those in attendance thought that the whole thing was some sort of production to celebrate the release of a new video game just in time for the Christmas holiday.

"I think it's crowded enough that we can probably get away if we go right now." Evan said as he looked around.

"You may go if you like, but I am receiving a message from Borg Control. It appears to be instructions for disabling the Sentinel robots." William said slowly, as though he were listening to something at a distance that only he could hear.

"What'dya say? You in?" Caridad asked Evan challengingly.

"Fuck yeah!"

* * * * *

"Something's wrong." Marie gasped.

"Are you alright?" Clark asked with concern.

{Is this hurting you?} Marie asked in a breathy whisper.

"It feels a little warm, but that's all. It's actually kinda nice." Clark said honestly.

"The life energy, it's not like any mutant power I've ever absorbed before. It's incredible. I'm drowning in it." Marie said as she began to look around them jerkily.

"Let go of Clark if it's hurting you." Alex said firmly.

"I can see... everything. Clark? Is this how you see the world?" Marie asked in wonder.

"I see the same way that you do, as far as I know." Clark said honestly.

Marie let Clark's hand fall away from hers as she began to rise.

"You're floating." Alex told her; in case she wasn't aware of it.

"What'dya say Clark? You up for some payback?" Marie asked as she began to float toward the Sentinel that had swatted him.

"Remember that it's going to try and capture you." Alex called anxiously.

"Yeah. Fat chance." Marie said, then disappeared in a blur of movement.

"C'mon. We'd better go. 'X-Men to the rescue' and all of that." Alex said flippantly as he hurried away to follow Marie.

"Are we going to be rescuing Marie or the Sentinel?" Clark asked as he followed.

"Honestly, I could see it going either way at this point."

* * * * *

"What's the plan?" Evan asked as he took his backpack off and released his skateboard so that he could have it at the ready.

"Janine and Robert are transmitting a series of new programs for our nanoprobes. Once deployed, they will disable the Sentinel robots and reconfigure them. Their technological distinctiveness will be adapted to service us." William said distantly.

"What are you going to need for us to do?" Caridad asked impatiently.

"Once I have generated a sufficient number of nanoprobes in the new configuration, I will need to make physical contact with the robot to deliver them." William said calmly.

"So you want for us to hold it down while you give it a shot?" Evan asked dubiously.

"Although that would be most convenient for me. I believe that we might be able to achieve a better result if you were to 'distract' the robot whilst I approach it from behind and attempt to discreetly implant my modified nanoprobes while it is otherwise occupied."

"Sounds a little rapey to me." Evan said frankly.

"We'll see that it gets whatever counselling it needs once we've stopped it from attacking mutants and trying to capture them." Caridad promised.

"Is there anything we can do while you're busy making probes?" Evan asked cautiously.

"Yes. If you were to find a way to inform Uncle Angel and his fighting companion of the plan, it might make the execution of our plan significantly easier." William earnestly suggested.

"If you guys will promise to hang back and stay out of sight, I can go over there and tell them what's going on." Caridad said confidently.

"Yeah. We'll stay right here, inside the arcade doorway." Evan promised.

* * * * *

Clark and Alex arrived in time to see Marie punch the robot hard enough to knock it off its feet.

"Does that mean that I should be able to do that?" Clark asked as he stared in wonder at Marie hovering in mid-air.

"I don't know. I suppose it's possible." Alex said honestly.

Before Clark could respond, the Sentinel turned and began to emit a beam of blue light from a device on its forearm.

"It's probably trying to nullify her mutant ability. We need to stop it." Alex said firmly.

"If you attack it, it's going to zero in on you and we will lose you. Let me see if I can shut it down on my own." Clark said as he stepped around the car in front of him, then began to fire optic blasts directly at the emitter.

As the blue beam stopped, Marie began to slowly float down to the ground.

"Are you okay?" Alex asked as he rushed out from between the cars to catch her.

"Yeah. I don't know exactly what that did, but it didn't hurt me." Marie said as she shook her head to clear her foggy thinking.

"It probably just nullified your ability to absorb other people's abilities." Alex said honestly.

Marie leaned in close and laid a gloved hand on his cheek, holding Alex's face against hers for a long moment.

"Hey! What you two doin over there?!" Spike demanded to know.

"Marie's just confirming that she can't absorb my ability." Alex called back.

"Yeah well, she can confirm it with someone else. Back off!" Spike informed them before running to attack the giant robot with his machete.

"Is there anything I can do to help you guys?" Alex asked anxiously as he watched the battle.

"Where's Icheb?" Marie called out as she got back onto her feet and managed to stand on her own.

"I don't know. We're kinda busy here." Vi said from a few feet away as she dodged a punch from the enormous robot.

"There he is." Marie said with a smile as she looked to their left.

"Where?" Alex asked as he tried to follow her gaze.

"Between those cars, right over there." Marie said simply.

"How can you see between the cars from here?" Alex asked cautiously.

Marie looked around curiously for a moment, then said, "It looks like I didn't lose Clark's abilities after all. Cool!"

Before Alex could react, Marie was a blur of motion, flying straight at the Sentinel.

As much as he was loathed to do so, Alex crouched down and watched events unfold from a distance, so as not to make the situation worse.

Marie flew directly at the robot and grabbed hold of it by the arm. In one swift move, she flipped the thing on to the ground, flat on its back.

"Clark? What'dya say? You wanna help me carve this sucker into about a dozen pieces of scrap metal?" Marie asked as she floated to hover at Clark's side.

"Yeah. I think I could get into that." Clark said honestly.

"Excuse me, but before you do that, you should know that Janine has developed a plan for the Sentinels." Icheb said as he walked to stand beside Marie, the other side from Clark.

"What? Does she want to keep them as her toys?" Marie asked with a grin.

"Yes." Icheb said simply.

Marie and Clark waited for an explanation, but none seemed to be forthcoming.

"That's it?" Marie finally asked.

"Father has said that this may be our best opportunity to discredit the Sentinel project and prove that they are not worth the investment. Janine's plan is to assimilate the Sentinels so that they will service us. The complete loss of the investment should discourage the people who made the Sentinels from attempting to replicate this particular strategy." Icheb explained.

"What do we need to do?" Clark asked simply as he noticed that the Sentinel was in the process of righting itself and would soon pose a threat.

"Janine has already processed the scans from Trey and developed a new series of directives for our nanoprobes. I will simply need to get near enough to the Sentinel to inject it with my tubules." Icheb said frankly.

"How long will that take?" Marie asked seriously.

After a moment to consider, Icheb said, "Ten seconds at most."

"Do you need time to prepare or anything?" Marie asked cautiously.

"No. I have produced a sufficient number of nanoprobes with the new programming." Icheb answered confidently.

"Then let's do it. C'mon. I'll fly you in. Clark, give us cover." Marie said confidently.

"You got it." Clark said easily.

"Spike, Vi. Keep it busy for a minute. We're going to try something." Marie called out as she effortlessly lifted Icheb into the air.

"What's going on?" Alex asked cautiously from between two cars.

"Hold on. Stay down another minute or two, then we should have this thing under control." Clark called back to him, keeping his attention on what Marie and Icheb were doing.

With nothing more than a single glance between them, Spike and Vi sprang into action.

Their perfectly choreographed moves looked as though they might have been practicing together for months. The hack and slash attacks were relentless, providing sufficient threat to occupy the Sentinel while Marie and Icheb swiftly swooped in from behind.

"Sined, seeled and delivered. You may put me down." Icheb called seriously.

"No more Buckaroo Banzai for you." Marie said with a grin as she flew them a short distance to where Alex was waiting.

"What now?" Alex asked anxiously as he discretely watched Vi and Spike continuing to fight the monstrous robot.

"In a moment, the Sentinel will become non-operational. Sometime after that, it will be under our control." Icheb said informatively.

"So I'm guessing that you're going to need for us to do the same thing to the other nine Sentinels." Marie said hesitantly.

"Perhaps not. All the Borg former drones have received the alternate programming for our nanoprobes. While we do not have direct communication with each other, we all receive the same messages from Janine and Robert at Borg Control. I expect that the others are formulating plans to subdue their own Sentinels." Icheb said calmly.

"Remember, you have radios." Alex said frankly.

"I had forgotten. We typically do not coordinate. We follow." Icheb said very deliberately, then purposefully reached up and tapped his communicator badge one time before saying, "All team members, this is Two of Seven. We have defeated our Sentinel using Borg technology. Thus far the reprogramming appears to be one hundred percent effective."

"We were watching your fight, you did good. How would you like to deal with another one to your northeast in the 'A' parking area?" Scott asked hopefully.

"Yes. We will do so immediately. Two of Seven out." Icheb said before tapping the badge again.

"Who put you in charge?" Spike asked hesitantly.

"Do not worry, Uncle Spike. If you feel that you are too weak or tired to fight additional robots, I am certain that Marie and I can handle it." Icheb said with a grin at him.

"Cheeky bastard." Spike grumbled good-naturedly as he dusted himself off and prepared to go.

To Be Continued...

Editor's Notes:

Well, it sure looks as if Clark, Marie and Icheb seem to have put a sizable dent into the threatening Sentinals.

It appears as if Borg tech, Mutant abilities, along with Kripton powers have been used together to nullify the poorly constructed robot fighters.

Cooperation is a very good thing.

Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher