In association with the X-Men Comics group on Facebook, we are proud to present… XvX Round Four: Domino versus Longshot! Fortune favors the brave, but for which one.
According to the old cliché, a person who’s been unconscious gradually awakens with a throbbing head and a painful increase in light. Well, for Domino there was the throbbing head; but it took her a couple of dazed seconds to realise there was no light. She stayed completely still, allowing her mind to recover from its sluggish pace while – hopefully – ensuring any passers-by didn’t realise she was awake again.
The last thing she remembered was a daring escape from a Hydra facility, where she’d rescued the son of a billionaire who was being held as a political prisoner. It had been a fun mission, culminating in her successful acquisition of Hydra’s fastest jet. Only now did she begin to realise that she must have been set up. So much for lucky, she observed ruefully.
In the absence of sight, Domino allowed herself to focus on her other senses. The floor beneath her was cold and sleek, probably metal. She could hear a faint hum, something akin to the sound of engines; a taste of the air with her tongue made her realise it was faintly stale, with a higher oxygen percentage than she quite liked. She’d been in oxygen-rich environments before, and they tended to explode with only a little provocation.
So: a self-contained artificial environment, she deduced. She was remembering more now, remembering the ‘prisoner’ clasping her shoulder as he thanked her. There was a faint ache in that shoulder that perhaps indicated she’d been injected with a drug, rendered unconscious, and brought to this place.
Even with her eyes still closed, the sudden increase in illumination was agonising; less disciplined women would have yelped in pain, and Domino couldn’t control the reflexive flinch. Her eyes watering with pain, she opened them gradually, allowing them to acclimatise to the harsh artificial lighting.
She was in a large metal-walled room, its roof arcing into a dome overhead, and a screen on the wall before her. She recognised the face looking at her immediately.
“Arcade,” Domino whispered, allowing bitterness and hatred to colour her tone. To be captured by the likes of Arcade was rather more insulting than it was threatening.
Arcade grinned. “Hello, Neena,” he greeted her cheerfully, as though they were old friends settling down for a cup of tea. “I’d ask how you were, but, well, I’m kinda guessing I wouldn’t like the answer.” He laughed at the harsh scowl on Domino’s pale face. “Unlucky for you,” he added, and laughed all the more.
“What do you want, Arcade?” It wasn’t often a gun-for-hire like Domino had a contract out on her, but she guessed something of the sort must have happened – and this loser had taken the bait. Wary, expecting an attack at any moment, she got to her feet. Arcade’s eyes were sparkling with excitement, and she had a feeling she wouldn’t like whatever was coming next. He seemed to be, well, graduating these days, moving from the C-list to the B-list through pitting kids against one another. That thought made her pulse race; she suddenly had a feeling she knew what was going on.
“Well,” Arcade declaimed, leaning back in a plush golden throne, “I’ve got a game on. X-Man against X-Man…”
Domino winced. She’d guessed right.
“Here’s the scenario, Neena. You’re in a Murderworld, a submarine one that’s perched on the edge of the Mariana Trench. I’ll be flooding the base in four hours. And only one of the two X-Men in this place is gonna get rescued.”
All of which depended on the capabilities of the other X-Man, Domino reasoned. If she was lucky, Arcade would be trying to play her against her old flame Cable, and she was pretty sure the two of them together would be able to outwit Arcade.
“You’re up against Longshot,” Arcade continued. Not what she’d wanted to hear; the man had probability powers akin to her own, but little that she felt would help them both get out of this fix. Arcade’s grin was like a shark’s. “Just outside this chamber, you’ll find a small armory – nothing that could break the doom, but everything from rocket-launchers to knives. There are thirty armories across the base, one near Longshot as well.”
“And if we won’t fight?”
Arcade shrugged. “It’d be a shame, but you’d both die.”