New Millennium Universe Prolog 1
Chapter 1

Steelwolf woke to a buzzing on the back of his skull. Opening his eyes he saw he was still in his darkened bedroom and there was no movement or danger obvious to him. Cognizant of the buzzing, Steelwolf lifted his head up while reaching with his right hand; when he heard a slight moan as someone rolled off his chest he paused.

"Oh, just her," was his only thought before he looked to his left and saw his other bed partner. Seeing her brought a smile to his feral lips.

But the buzzing in the back of his skull would not abate; continuing with his right hand he felt the sub-dermal receiver set the in the back of his skull and pressed it. After hearing the expected click, the buzzing subsided. He thought loudly, "This is Steelwolf."

Steelwolf was not telepathic; the sub-dermal receiver was designed to do two things; protect its user from telepathic attacks and to facilitate secured telepathic communications, if a telepath knew the right 'frequency'.

His psychic shout was promptly answered, "SW, this is SG1. You have been activated by the new DepSec for a liaison mission with NYPD: SWAT-PD. I am en route and will pick you up in seven mikes."

The new Deputy Secretary of the United Nations Security Council Paranormal Peace Keeping Force had a job for him in conjunction with the New York Police Department: Special Weapons and Tactics - Paranormal Division. That told Steelwolf the assignment could range from a boring stakeout to taking down of a rogue Para. Steelwolf hated being bored and was hoping for the latter. SG1 ID'd his mental caller as Stephanie Gonzalez; a very cute Hispanic girl originally from Harlem.

Steelwolf grunted in mental reply, "Roger that, pickup in seven minutes."

Steelwolf looked at his two naked bed companions and smiled again. They were typical fan girls, but the blonde on his left was his current favorite. She was average in looks but made up for it with her willingness to do absolutely anything for Steelwolf in or out of the bedroom. The fangirl on his right rolled back over to bury her face in his side, seeking more warmth in the cool morning air. She was a very tasty looking morsel but for Steelwolf, kind of stagnant in the sack.

Steelwolf was born Clint Tin Rafferty in Saigon. His mother was Vietnamese and his father a Canadian business man from Alberta. Eventually his family moved him to Canada where his mixed heritage was not as much of an issue as it had been in Vietnam. He was a quiet, insightful boy until that tragic event in late 2001. Like so many, it affected him profoundly; unlike many, he slowly changed as a result of the trauma. As an adolescent boy, Clint was fairly unremarkable, his dark hair, not so dark skin and almond eyes was fairly common and the only thing that made him stand out was a slight birth defect. He did not have opposable thumbs; instead he had a fifth finger on each hand. Clint would be the first to tell you it was a minor nuisance as birth defects go.

By the end of 2001, the hair on his body darkened and lengthened to the point it looked like he was completely covered in a soft felt. By early 2002 his ears had tapered, canines enlarged and lowered and his nails thickened and hardened making them more arduous to trim. By this time Paras had entered the world and Clint knew that he too was one of them.

His transformation, though slow and painful, was completed when Clint was 16 years old. Not only did he grow to his final height of five foot eight but his weight topped at four hundred and twenty-one pounds, nearly three times normal. With that increased density came paranormal levels of strength. Unfortunately, he suffered an extreme lack in his sense of touch.

Clint didn't so much volunteer for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police as he was drafted once his uniqueness became obvious. He understood that the Canadian government was trying to protect him from the fear and uncertainty that gripped the world as Paras made their mark. The agency was also trying to figure how to use his peculiar skills.

Being near-bullet-proof jaded Clint to the point that he only saw the good aspects of his uniqueness. Currently the most positive aspect of the Paras was the near abandonment of the old Hollywood celebrities, replaced by even more ardent worship of all things Para. Unlike the stars of Hollywood who were just actors, Paras were more than human: some much more.

When the United Nations came to their senses and realized their traditional inability in the facilitation of peace and prosperity among their member nations was dooming their planet, the Security Council formed the Paranormal Peace Keeping Force. The five permanent Security Council members would be required to sponsor two Paras each, while the ten rotating nations would have to sponsor one Para per country giving the SCPPKF up to twenty active Paras. The 'Blue Team' as they would be known, thanks to their light blue jumpsuit uniforms, stood apart from the more traditional non-Para UN Peace Keepers, nominally referred to as the Blue Berets or Blue Helmets.

When Vietnam's inaugural election to the UN Security Council occurred in January 2009, they surprised everyone by petitioning Canada to allow Steelwolf to be their representative with the Blue Team. Vietnam didn't have a Para who met the SCPPKF requirements. Canada was more than willing to let their Para represent the land of his birth.

A familiar feeling broke Steelwolf's reverie. The blond fangirl had awoken and moved between his legs; her moans of pleasure as she suckled on his thick penis reminded him why she was his favorite. She was sucking quite forcefully, knowing he hardly felt her hot, soft mouth. She had learned nothing pleased him more than her verbally showing her pleasure while she fellated her hero. If she was lucky, and he was particularly excited, then sometimes she would even get a nice salty treat.

But not this morning. Steelwolf petted the blonde's ruffled morning hair with his paw-like hand, careful not to scrape her; not that she would have minded. She was eager to please and would allow her Para to do whatever he wanted to her. But Steelwolf knew enough to not let his libido get the best of him as he languidly gazed over her prostrate form and that of his other bed companion, the large breasted brunette. She was still cuddled tightly against him since he did not need nor allow blankets on his bed.

With a wicked grin, Steelwolf dragged the claws on his right hand along the brunette's back. His sense of touch was so bad that if he wasn't careful, his claws could shred the sleeping girl's skin.

"Oh!" the brunette gasped, as she felt the claws scrape her back prompting her to roll away from his warm and solid form. She was older than the blond by two decades; only a rigorous diet and expensive boob job got her any interest from hunks like Steelwolf. She matched Steelwolf's grin when she realized where he was gazing. "Yeah, you better like these tits, they cost an arm and a leg."

The brunette gripped the sides of her saline enhanced breasts, sliding her hands forward until she got to her nipples. With a wicked smile on her face she tightly pinched her nips and twisted roughly. The flaring of Steelwolf's nose matched the sudden pulse of his turgid rod, prompting a muffled yelp as it unexpectedly tickled the back of the blonde's throat.

Steelwolf laid his head back and luxuriated in the worship of his two fangirls.

When he finally moved to stand up, the brunette gave a pout and continued to rub her mons in anticipation of the morning festivities; she was almost always ready and willing for Steelwolf to pound her the way only a Para could.

The blonde was more in tune with her hero's wants and stood, moving towards the kitchen, the morning's impromptu carnal activities forgotten, "Coffee?"

"No time, ride is on the way." That was enough for the blonde who followed Steelwolf into his walk-in closet to watch him dress. The brunette was lost in her own world and was frantically rubbing her clit while sliding three fingers deeply into her pussy, hoping to entice him back to bed.

In the closet, Steelwolf had to stop himself from automatically grabbing one of the solid black t-shirts that he preferred to wear out in public. They nicely matched his black leather pants and custom boots.

Black was all he wore; except when he was on the clock with the Blue Team. Then he had to toe the line and wear the sky-blue jumpsuit marking him as a representative of the UN. The UN seal was on the right shoulder, the official Blue Team seal on the right and his name in on his right chest. He thought the whole uniform was tacky, but the boots were comfortable even if they were sky blue. Similar to his custom black leather ones, but, like the jumpsuit, they were made from an artificial material that was both tough and very flexible.

Pulling the zipper up to his neck, he looked at himself in the mirror, smiling as the blonde licked her left hand before wiping the hair on the top of his head flat.

Exiting the closet on their way to the bathroom so Steelwolf could brush his teeth, neither paid any attention to the moans coming from the bed.

Hurtling just over the tips of the New York skyscrapers, Stephanie Gonzalez thought about how much she loved most of her job as a Psi-Tech. Veering towards Battery Park she banked harder than was necessary but she had no passengers with her and the maneuver brought a smile to her face.

Because of rules agreed to by the Security Council the Blue Team was limited to twenty Paras. Those twenty had been further limited to scoring a five or less on the PF Scale, which was the accepted way to measure just how powerful a Para was.

Stephanie herself was a Para, but she only scored a "1" on the PF Scale; her empathetic telepathy was just too weak. After the Blue Team suffered a catastrophic loss in 2006 trying to stop a gang war, the guidelines were loosened. After the dust had settled, Newark, NJ was a wasteland and in the new world of Paras, one more growing pain had been endured.

A score of five on the PF Scale is still the bar, but if the hosting country gave a strong enough argument then a waiver could be issued to allow that Para on the Blue Team with a higher score. Additionally, a minimum score of three was also implemented. To bolster the limited Blue Team, the Psi-Tech positions were created to utilize Paras with a score of "2"or less. The Psi-Techs were support personnel only, not allowed in combat. Their valuable services in support roles quickly made them indispensible to the Blue Team.

As a Psi-Tech, she used the MorningStar Mark III Psi-Enhancer helmet to provide near instantaneous communications for the Blue Team. She was also well trained in advanced first aid and more importantly, transporting the Blue Team via the Hawker Hover Car. The HHC looked like a speed boat that flew; indeed, it could operate on either land or water. On the rear of the car were mounted two powerful turbofans which gave the vehicle its tremendous thrust and speed.

Stephanie hated having to wear the badly-designed MorningStar helmet, which was not only heavy, cumbersome and stifling but also prevented her from turning her neck. The helmet was supposed to be sealed at all times, but absolutely the worst thing about wearing it was the fact that the operator had to have their head shaved bald. Her jumpsuit also had to be sealed, so over the course of her twenty-four hour duty rotation would get sweaty, grimy and began to chafe.

When Stephanie had tested positive for Para abilities, she was elated. The disappointment came later, as further tests showed that she would never register higher than a "2" on the PF Scale. The MorningStar did not elevate her emphatic abilities, but it allowed her to communicate telepathically with anyone in the UN SCPPK network and mentally control the Hawker Hover Car as well as a trained fighter pilot.

Flying the Hawker almost made up for the loss of her hair; almost. Banking towards the Ritz-Carlton in Battery Park, Stephanie buzzed the upper floors the UN had procured as quarters for some members of the Blue Team.

A small platform was mounted on the balcony of each condo that housed a Para, to allow the HHC to conveniently dock. The Paras of Blue Team received a healthy stipend and free housing at an upscale location.

The Ritz-Carlton was the best of the three condo's; the other two locations were in Brooklyn and Jersey City. The Psi-Techs were taken care of as well, but their stipend wasn't even half of the Paras combat members of Blue Team, and their housing was located in Staten Island and the Bronx.

Sometimes Stephanie was jealous of the more powerful Paras, and as she nimbly dropped the Hawker on Steelwolf's platform that jealousy flared. The platform looked directly into the large bedroom, giving Stephanie an un-obstructed view of the naked blonde joining a large-breasted brunette, apparently in the throes of an orgasm. The torrid scene brought to the forefront just what sort of perks a more powerful Para would garnish. Why couldn't she have a posh suite with two naked fanboys servicing her?

As the electric turbofans of the Hawker powered down, the top of the Hawker opened. This easy access allowed a quick exit for those Paras who could fly or handle a high drop.

Stephanie wasn't surprised that Steelwolf didn't even wave good bye to his two playmates as he walked out the balcony door. Looking back at the two lovers she didn't think they were of mind to care at that moment. For a moment Stephanie wished that was she was the one who had her thighs in a vice lock around the blonde's head obviously still riding a very nice orgasm. Looking back at Steelwolf as he was climbing in she knew something better was going to happen with her in the very near future instead.

Once he was in and starting to strap himself in, Steelwolf noticed Stephanie had started winding the electric turbofans back up while closing the top. He had to be mindful of his mass while riding in the Hawker; the last thing he wanted to do is throw off his pilot's control by with a sudden movement. The UN didn't like to receive bills for his rough landings; light on his feet he was not.

Not a fan of someone plodding around in his mind, Steelwolf spoke to his handler, "So what's the gig?"

Stephanie was not a fan of the helmet's voice amplifier, which the manufacturer had designed to make any wearer sound like James Earl Jones. Quite a few Psi-Techs who were annoyed by this would continue to communicate telepathically even with the target of the conversation in front of them.

Stephanie respected her passenger's privacy, and gave the mental command for the front visor of the helmet to open, effectively putting her in blinders. She couldn't turn her head and Steelwolf couldn't see past the side of the open visor without leaning his head in front of her, which he did not do.

He had conversed numerous times with a Psi-Tech with their visor open and knew that there was a second visor that covered the tech's eyes, though he really wasn't sure what the internal visor did. He couldn't be bothered to ask.

With the top secured, neither had to yell to be heard over the electric turbofans behind them, "In the Bronx at a warehouse the NYPD were staking out a Para with the silly handle of Crimson Rook has been seen unloading some sort of contraband."

Grunting, "Crimson Rook? He's small fry."

"Yeah, that is what the Boston PD thought a few days ago; they still sent in their SWAT-PD to apprehend him."

Steelwolf vaguely remembered reading about some op gone wrong in Boston. "That was Crimson?"

"Yep. Seems Crimson was able to equip his lackeys with some high powered weapons. The lackeys shredded the SWAT-PD; Crimson Rook didn't lift a hand and when the dust settled he was gone; vanished."

"So why the interest in Rook if he didn't do anything?" asked Steelwolf, as the Hawker flew steadily up the Hudson River and approached the George Washington Bridge.

"Because of the fact they don't have a clue how he got away and because of the advanced weapons his lackeys were wielding. In the shootout the Boston PD took out two of the lackeys and wounded a third. They recovered weapons which easily pierced the PDs armor."

Steelwolf grunted. "So what, there are tons of advanced weapons out there, chemical, laser, magnetic..." he trailed off.

"Yeah but these weapons were different; they worked fine for the lackeys but when the US Home land Security techs took a look at them they got baffled. The geeks couldn't figure out how to get them to work. Couldn't figure out what powered them. Lots of major interest in our little Red Bird now. When the NYPD figured out who they had snared they put a call into HS who immediately called for Para support. Bronx SWAT-PD objected but was over ruled. None of the Red Cross Knights were available so the call went to the UN."

Steelwolf grunted again; there were numerous rules and regulations that dictated when and how Para support could be called from the UN. The rules were a nuisance but since the Dawn of the Paras in 2001 the UN had definitely grown some teeth; especially where it's Blue Team was involved.

If a request was made of the UN for Para Support; the Para or Paras involved would maintain independent command to ensure that the Blue Team worked for the UN and not the hosting nation. The hosting nations did not like this stipulation at all, which is why the UN Paras were limited originally to level 5 on the PF Scale.

Do you mind if I ask you a question? A ... personal question?"

Steelwolf's ears perked up; none of the Psi-Techs ever tried to be chummy with him, "Uh, sure."

To make sure that Steelwolf paid attention, Stephanie reached under the MorningStar's mantle to grab her zipper which sounded quite loud as she pulled it down to her navel. The mantle harness which kept her back so straight pushed her full breasts forward; only her jumpsuit, pulled nice and snug kept her nipples from popping free.

She smiled when she saw Steelwolf lean slightly forward. She was sure he was using one of the many interior mirrors of the Hawker to get a better look, and she was confident that while he couldn't see nipple, he most definitely saw a portion of her rosy areolas.

"I ... I know how you are a player," she began timidly. "I was wondering if maybe the two of us could hook up sometimes."

Steelwolf gave a feral smile, "Yeah, how about as soon as I take down this fairy bird and finish the corresponding paperwork?" That was another thing that was uniformly disliked by all of the Paras of Blue Team; after each action, tons of paperwork to file and 'Power Usage Reviews' interviews to complete. Mandatory time spent with shrinks to ensure none of the Paras developed a sense of megalomania or any other issues.

"Uhmm, how about dinner tonight? There is a meeting scheduled by the new DepSec, apparently a meet and greet of some sort. I know he's pulled in all of the Paras of Blue Team from all around the world. Even the Detachment in Yucatan."

One of the biggest events after the Dawn of the Paras was the Secession of South America from the modern world; an event that took the world completely by surprise. In 2005, three Paras, who the world would come to know as the UnHoly Trinity and the Terra De Dios quietly used their massive abilities to take over first the Amazon basin, then Brazil as a whole. Columbia, Bolivia, Peru and Chile quickly followed.

The UN, in their typical fashion, condemned the action but was powerless to do anything substantial about it. It was quickly understood that enacting economic sanctions was a toothless threat because the UnHoly Trinity was slowly dismantling all forms of technology on their continent. Many of the world's governments thought the various South American dictators and armies would not allow such a thing to happen, but every time an army was mobilized against the UnHoly Trinity, the soldiers would simply surrender or fight amongst themselves.

Something known only to select individuals was the US, Great Britain, Russia and China had each tried to neutralize the UnHoly Trinity using their Special Forces or cruise missiles. Every single attempt had failed, some more spectacularly than others.

It was this action that compelled the UN to form the Blue Team in 2006.

In 2008, a rebel faction in the Yucatan had suddenly to become a factor when they were taken over by a group of Paras wanting to carve out their own fiefdom. Mexico immediately petitioned for Para Support from the UN and ever since then there has been a Detachment in the Yucatan hunting down the rebel group, named the Monstruos.

"Really. Just who is the new DepSec?" Steelwolf came back to the conversation.

"Not who everyone expected. He's not a career politician. Rumor has it he was a SEAL."

"What? Fuck me running!"

Stephanie didn't think Steelwolf could see her smile, "Yes, I want to fuck you and if you want to do it running I am game but that's what I've heard. Apparently the new DepSec has connections with Project Freebird."

"Freebird? Yeah, I can see that think-tank having enough influence to get a non-politico in."

The think-tank known as Project Freebird was the world's most renowned authority on all things Para. Their PF Scale had become the standard for measuring the power and skill levels of Paras.

"Yeah," Stephanie agreed.

Soon enough the Hawker was over the correct location in the Bronx and Stephanie brought them in for a landing next to the NYPD-PD Command van that was parked behind an abandoned warehouse.

Steelwolf was notorious for ignoring his Psi-Tech support but not this time, "Thanks for the ride. I'll call you later so we can hook up."

Jumping out of the Hawker, Steelwolf trotted towards the back entrance of the Command van which opened as he neared. The man who met him was decked out in standard NYPD Paranormal Department 'Linebacker' armor that was based on the AM-RAM non-powered armor. It was a cheaper version that wasn't as capable as the AM-RAM but still provided adequate ballistic protection while enhancing the wearer's strength and running speed.

The officer did not move from the doorway until after Steelwolf showed his UN SCPPKF identification. Only then did he take off his bullet helmet, revealing his weathered face, as Steelwolf entered the van.

Steelwolf ignored the posing and went straight to the woman in charge. Captain Marjorie Bradshaw came from a long line of NYPD officers; her prematurely grey hair matched the early wrinkles on her eyes.

With barely a nod she started her spiel, "Two blocks over at another abandoned warehouse there is an eighteen wheeler, from which for the last forty five minutes four men have been unloading various unknown boxes. Our UAV has spied eight men, wearing gang colors; five of the eight are carrying the same advanced weapons found after the Boston raid.

"Our main perp, Crimson Rook has only been seen twice but neither time outside of the warehouse."

When she paused, Steelwolf asked his first question, "Are these the same guys that were in Boston?"

"No, that was a Boston gang. We think these eight are from local muscle.


"Because of the actions in Boston, Standard Operating Procedures are waived."

Early on in the Dawn of Paras police and sanctioned Paras who would tell rogue Paras to surrender or 'freeze' would suddenly find themselves confronted by an apparently unarmed perp attacking them viciously with their Para abilities. The most well known instance of this was when "Implode" went on a rampage in Mexico City resulting in the deaths of three members of the Blue Team, twenty seven police officers and the complete destruction of thirteen armored police cruisers.

With the SOP waived, Steelwolf was free to hit first and ask questions later. "Anything else? Containment?"

"We have full containment two blocks out and as soon as you move in we'll squeeze to half a block. As soon as your Psi-Tech passes the word, I'll send in the four PD squads present."

"SG1." Steelwolf called to his partner.

"I read you loud and clear," was heard over the Command Van's speaker system.

"Okay Captain I'm moving out now. As soon as I take down the gang I'll signal for the squads." Captain Bradshaw nodded and Steelwolf was on the move.

Because of his extreme density, Steelwolf was slow to accelerate but once he had inertia on his side, he could easily out-distance the fastest non-Para human.

The first gang banger in the Para's path was on 'guard duty' but was too into what was playing on his mp5 player to see his approach. The hood felt his ribs implode sickeningly and crumpled almost silently to ground with massive damage to his internal organs.

Steelwolf's custom boots sported hard rubber soles designed to give maximum traction; they grabbed the asphalt firmly as he cornered around the truck to the loading zone. Three of the men doing the unloading were inside the trailer taking a 'toke' break. SG1 passed that info to Steelwolf who changed his trajectory and leaped through the aluminum side of the trailer, straight into the midst of the relaxing gang members.

Because he went through the side claws-first, two of his targets were sliced; one through the shoulder, separating the boy's rotator cuff. The second boy, sitting on a crate, had unfortunately positioned his head in the path of Steelwolf's open claw. That claw was strong enough to penetrate the boy's skull a half-inch. It wasn't a killing blow so the boy remained conscious.

The third, tackled by the barreling Para, had the air knocked out of him. On the floor, he flailed, silent and breathless, trapped under Steelwolf's massive form. Not so the other two, who screamed in a duet pain; the first on his knees holding his crippled shoulder, the second on the ground in a fetal position trying to stop the massive blood flow with his hands.

Steelwolf ignored the second boy and gave the other two gang members his full attention. His first blow shattered the jaw of his target, who crumpled to the deck of the trailer with a whimper. The third boy, felt the searing pain of his knee-cap being shattered as Steelwolf's massive leg smashed through it.

Turning from those three, Steelwolf lumbered out of the trailer and into the open bay. The fourth 'loader' was rushing toward his screaming comrades only to run into an immovable, cable-like arm which dislocated his shoulder and slammed his head into the concrete floor.

The three remaining gang bangers stopped where they were and drew their advance weapons.

Steelwolf growled for effect and leapt at them.

The leap was a patent move that most hand to hand combatant Paras learned early and used often. The leap changed their profile so the gunners didn't have a straight shot and would have to adjust their aim.

Steelwolf did not like to use his claws as weapons against people and did so only grudgingly. Instead he struck with a modified knife hand or a half-fist, knuckles first.

Flying straight at his first target. He fired a hard half-fist into the right side of the man's chest snapping the number five rib, puncturing the young urbanite's lungs.

Spinning, a wildly aimed round house missed the second thug, who threw his body backwards while the last lackey unleashed a fusillade fired from his hip, his blaster held sideways.

Steelwolf clenched his teeth when he felt a searing sensation in the middle of his back and right arm. Turning and stepping towards the shooter Steelwolf growled again before leaping. Again the shooter was not lucky since he was trying to move out of the Paras way. He missed. Steelwolf's knife-like strike did not and the gang banger dropped his rifle, his right humerus snapped in two.

Kicking the grimacing ganger fifteen feet into the wall, Steelwolf spun to face his last remaining opponent. The man was screaming in pain, holding his left arm in his right hand. One of his fellow gang member's errant shots had severed his left hand. His weapon was lying on the ground in front of him, completely ignored in his panic. Steelwolf threw an empty wooden crate at the man before turning to look for Crimson Rook.

The warehouse was surprisingly empty, Steelwolf thought, considering an entire tractor trailer had been unloaded in the last forty five minutes. Outside of the wooden crate that happened to be handy for Steelwolf, he could only see two or three other crates in the otherwise barren warehouse.

That barrenness meant that the Crimson Rook was easy to spot, running toward the middle of the cavernous building. His target seemed to be a freestanding door frame, the door ajar, smoke wafting out from an unseen source.

The Crimson Rook was not an imposing man. He was short, possibly five foot five or six with a beer gut and was not fleet of foot. Steelwolf thought this looked plain silly with his costume; a deep maroon full cloak with hood, pirate style boots with flaps, a wide leather belt with three pouches tied on them, baggy red pants and tunic and a mask that covered all but his mouth.

Even though the Rook was closer to the peculiarly placed door frame Steelwolf beat him to it, and as a tease jumped through it to land in front of Crimson Rook.

What Steelwolf was not expecting was to suffer a massive wave of nausea as he passed through the doorframe.

Steelwolf had never suffered from air sickness, even with how recklessly some of the Psi-Tech's flew their Hawkers, yet he found himself on his knees trying not to hurl the previous night's bile.

Crimson Rook used that moment of weakness to his advantage and side stepped the distracted Para on his way through the doorway.

Steelwolf, with one hand on his mouth holding his stomach waste in, reached out with his other hand and snagged the Rook's flowing cloak. His grip was firm and he expected his heavier weight would be enough to jerk the wimpy villain off his feet.

But that did not happen. Instead the open doorway lit up like so many stars leaping to light speed and suddenly Steelwolf found hurtling after the Crimson Rook. Another, more profound wave of nausea hit him and Steelwolf's body wracked in convulsions, forcing him to lose his grip on the Crimson Rook's cloak.

Instead of simply exiting out the other side of the doorframe onto the warehouse floor, Steelwolf found himself surrounded by a strange terrain.

He felt the impact as his body hit uneven rocks. The light behind him winked out without him really noticing. When the nausea abated to manageable levels his first thought was, "Where the fuck am I?"

That he was no longer in that warehouse in the Bronx he was certain. It looked like he was in a smoke-filled cave. He could see his surroundings, just barely. His mutations were mostly physical, leaving his vision not much better than a normal man's and they definitely did not include seeing into lowlight or infrared spectrums.

In the faint distance he heard laughter. Crimson Rook's? He wasn't sure but thought so. Ten minutes later he confirmed that he was in a cave that had some sort of bio-luminescent fungus on the walls. Between the smoke that was everywhere, the ominous silence, and the utter lack of response from his sub-dermal receiver, Steelwolf became painfully aware that he had no clue where he was.

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