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TCE VS. THE UNIVERSE

ISSUE 3

LT. RASHARD BONDS vs. WOLVERINE

As the dust settled, Lt. Rashard Bonds aka Lou, experienced his surroundings becoming ever so present. The air had a chill to it, and the horizon displayed a lavender and orange sunset. Sweat poured down his face and rolled over the veins protruding from his skin, tantalized by a slight breeze. This did not distract him though, for he was replaying the last striking exchange in his mind. Then, when he devised a new approach he attacked again. This time, the roaring growls along with the incredible speed and ferocity-fueled strength of his enemy did not upset his concentration and beat his carefully calculated maneuvers. The super soldier landed devastating strikes in rapid succession, felling his adversary; something that was becoming more common as the battle raged on.

Wolverine knelt over, coughing blood and panting heavily. What should’ve only taken a few seconds to recover from was taking noticeably longer. He growled furiously before standing to his feet. Staring at Lou, he said, “Look, bub. I don’t know what you want with the professor, but you ain’t taking him!”

The super soldier registered his adversary’s words, but quickly disregarded them. He could tell his enemy was sworn to protect the target he went to acquire. Yet, the Lou also knew if he did not leave with the target, the entire universe could be lost. Therefore, he replied, “I’m leaving here with him, even if I have to put you down for good.”

The two warriors accelerated towards another at an astonishing rate before clashing again. Their training was unparalleled, and coupled with their physical abilities that were off the charts, the ensuing combat was masterful. Every punch and kick was perfectly placed with lethal intent. Every aerial maneuver was executed with precision. Their limbs flew by the other at speeds the normal eye could not fully see, and the contact made was enough to shatter concrete, even when blocked. Blood splattered on their surroundings. Crunching and loud-thumping impacts resounded in the air. It was this continuous action, too, that left Wolverine confounded.

Rarely before had the X-Man encountered anyone who could withstand a slash from his blades. Yet, every time he stabbed or cut Lou, the momentum propelling the claws protruding from his fists was immediately slowed and stopped. Whatever the super soldier’s muscular and skeletal anatomy was comprised of, it was unlike anything Wolverine had ever seen. Furthermore, the injuries he inflicted were not lasting. It was as if Lou had a healing factor akin to his mutant power; another extremely rare fact.

After many minutes of the two warriors mortally dancing together, they again were at a standstill. Lou had never been beaten and diced apart as he was at the hands of his adversary. It was a fact that caused him much distress earlier in the fight, but he had now come to terms with. After his gun clips were emptied and his combat knives were destroyed by the superior quality of Wolverine’s blades, using his enhanced bones and muscles to defend against deadly strikes had become absolutely necessary, regardless of the fact it meant he was being sliced deep into his body. However, this also enabled Lou to take advantage of his blocks and parries by continuously landing devastating combinations of strikes that began crippling the X-Man.

Crimson dripped from Wolverine’s claws. Much of it was from Lou. Some of it was his own trailing down his arms as well. Once again, the X-Man – normally invincible to injury – noticed he continued to have increasing difficulty healing and recovering energy. This filled him with even more wrath, and he showed it through his glare at the super soldier as he showed his teeth.

At that moment, Lou noticed his secret strategy was finally going into effect. It was a welcome sight. He himself had taken extensive, experimental efforts to super charge his own durability. Normally, he also possessed an increased healing factor, but not one as efficient as Wolverine’s. Thus, the super soldier prepared for the battle by going to great lengths to ensure his own regenerating ability could withstand extensive, grueling damage. It took an incredibly painful procedure to achieve this too, and it was not permanent; a main reason why he was so elated to witness Wolverine was fading. Increasing his own durability was not going to be enough to win the fight and secure his target though. On top of a god-like healing ability, the X-Man’s mastery of multiple combat and martial arts styles were comparable to his own. Thus, he devised a way to utilize his unique anatomy in a way never before thought of.

Shrugging off the agonizing pain which slowly arose in his body, Wolverine inquired, “What the hell did you to do me?”

Lou, panting and writhing in pain himself, answered, “Every cut, gash, slash and slice you have inflicted was an opportunity for me to enact my plan. I did extensive research before finding you, and I realized I needed to level the playing field. So, I have been ensuring my blood has been mixing with yours, because inside it are an innumerable amount of nanocells infused with telepathic and telekinetic energy. I weaponized them before coming here, giving them programming that once inside your body would enable them to counteract your healing ability on a cellular level. Every second my nanocells are multiplying using your body’s energy and anatomy as a host, while telepathically linking together to encapsulate your regenerative cells in telekinetic barriers, completely muting their repairing functionality. You have been infected, Wolverine. You will only get weaker from here on, and eventually I will subdue or kill you.”

The X-Man coughed up more blood, a sign affirming the super soldier’s words held no fallacy. Wolverine was gradually getting weaker as his healing ability subsided. This realization made him livid, and while enraged he grunted and clanged his adamantium claws against one another, causing a sharp, metallic ring to vibrate throughout the air.

Lou stood confident despite being exhausted while holding his side and arm, both of which were injured beyond the point of quick healing. He continued, “I don’t want to harm Xavier. I need his help. The entire universe is at stake, and only he can help us control the powers of the being who is the key to our salvation. Her name is Constellation; she’s a young girl, much like the ones the professor has dedicated his entire life to helping. Let me take him, or I will have no choice but to end you and force him to come with me.”

“You obviously don’t know the professor. He makes other people do what he wants. Not the other way around,” the Wolverine replied.

The super soldier pointed to his head and said, “Psionic energy barrier. It shields my brain from all telepathic and telekinetic attacks. I also had that enhanced to exponential degrees before coming here. I fully researched the professor as well.” After a moment, Lou then added, “You can come with too, Wolverine. We could use a warrior like you. Please, don’t make me do something I don’t want to by killing you. Help me. Help the universe.”

Wolverine did not hear Lou’s pleas though. All he heard was the plan to control a being and their powers; a little girl at that. It was an excruciatingly painful reality he once suffered, and one he would be damned to allow befall another person with abilities. The memories of soldiers experimenting and torturing him flooded his mind as well, reinforcing his decision. Wolverine shook his head refusing to stand down. Then, staring at the dog tags around the super soldier’s neck, the X-Man said, “Lt. Gen. Rashard Bonds, it was nice knowing you, bub. But I’m the only one walking away alive.”

At that point, Lou knew Wolverine would not be deterred. So, he dug his heels in and prepared for the finale to their battle. And though weakened, the X-Man was still incredibly deadly. Therefore, Lou gathered all of his strategic thoughts and readied his body for the brutality to come.

Wolverine did the same as he saw the super soldier take his stance. He spit and inhaled with a deep breath before lowering his hands at his side showing his adamantium claws, performing his trademark stance. Finally, after a short pause of recognizing someone’s death was imminent, Lou and Wolverine launched towards one another belting their war cries in preparation to annihilate the other once and for all.