Balance of Power

(NOTE: This takes place just after issue 8 of the new Gambit comic series. I donít have issue 9 yet so I donít know how the actual story started in issues 7 and 8 ends, but I wanted to write my own ending to it so thatís what Iím doing. I donít own any of them, Marvel does. But the idea is mine. Essentially if the Thieves and Assassins Guilds unified in 2000Öwhich they didÖthen this story takes place five years after that. So itís also essentially five years after all the stories I did about them. Iím not really incorporating all of what I developed in those stories in this one. I was just inspired by this new comic series and the storyline. Enjoy!)

Gambit and Brother Voodoo stared at the floating zombie in front of them. Remy recognized him. He was Emery Arcenaux, the mutant kid who was killed by Detective Tanaka. The one with the impenetrable force field and the ability to generate concussive bursts of energy. It was one of those bursts of energy that had just knocked Gambit and his companion to the ground.

"Datís what I was talkiní about!" Remy said. Brother Voodoo had told him he didnít have a choice but to kill the zombies or theyíd overrun New Orleans, destroy it and kill all the people. "I meant, what if I canít kill Ďem...what if dey invulnerable?"

Brother Voodoo looked around. There were hundreds of zombies around them in a circle, closing in fast. Many others were heading through the city, destroying everything in their path and harming people. Both he and Gambit had figured out that they both wanted the same thing, to stop the zombies. But it was starting to look like in spite of his voodoo powers, and in spite of Gambitís own powers, the black magic controlling the zombies was too powerful. They werenít going to be able to save the city.

"Do you have any ideas?" He asked Remy.

"Actually..." Gambit grinned. "I know dis is a lot to ask...but you need to hold dem off for a bit. Iíll be back."

"WHAT?! Youíre just going to leave me here to face them alone?!"

"Not for long." Gambit laughed. "Iím going to get reinforcements. Trust me." He used his bo staff to flip up to a building roof and disappeared in seconds. He ran the roofs of the city until he arrived at his destination: his old Garden District home. He went there frequently when he was in town, but had moved to the French Quarter to give himself some distance from the people who he gave the home to. He loved them all, but even he had to admit they could be hard on the head.

He opened the door of the house and stepped inside. They were nowhere to be found, but he knew they were all there. He stood in the doorway and called to them.

"Mes amis! I need your help."

It was five years since the New Orleans Thieves and Assassins Guilds had unified into one. The first year was difficult, with them still operating more as two separate Guilds, but with Remyís help they slowly transitioned themselves into one Guild. Then, in the third year, tragedy had struck for the Assassins. Fire had destroyed the Boudreaux mansion, leaving them homeless. Remy had already expressed a desire to move into his own place and had put the plan in motion, giving the Garden District safehouse to the Thieves to use as their home. And the Thieves, wanting to keep the peace within the unification, invited the Assassins to move in with them after the mansion burned to the ground.

For three years the safehouse had been home to six thieves, five assassins and their spiritual healer. It was those twelve people that Remy was now asking for help. He was their patriarch and he knew them better than anybody. He knew they could and would help him and Brother Voodoo fight the zombies. After all, New Orleans had been their city long before he or Brother Voodoo had come into the picture.

It took the Unified Guild less than two minutes to assemble in the living room after Gambit called to them.

"Whatís going on, Remy?" Bella Donna asked. She was Remyís ex-wife and Viceroy of the Guild, which put her in charge when Remy wasnít around.

"We have a problem. A very powerful Bokor witch doctor has risen hundreds of people from de deadÖand is controlling dese zombies in an effort to take over de city, destroy it, kill everyone, I doní know." Remy shrugged. "De point is, the city is being overrun by killer zombies aní...well..."

"Bokor...datís powerful stuff indeed..." Tante Mattie, the Guildís traiteur, commented softly, glancing over at one of the Assassins.

"I know. Datís why I came here. I need help fighting dese zombies aní stopping whoever is controlling themÖaní Brother Voodoo doesní tíink his powers are strong enough to do de job."

Gris-Gris, co-third-in-command of the Guild and a powerful Bokor voodoo master himself, snorted. "Brother Voodoo?! LeBeau, you disappoint me. Dat boy doní know nothiní Ďbout real voodoo."

"Iíll let you debate dat wití him later, Gris. One of de zombies is a powerful mutantÖhe creates a force field and generates energy burstsÖaní I caní stop him. Datís de second reason I came here. Unless we stop him, de other zombies aní de witch doctor controlliní dem, weíre goní lose dis city." Remy said. "I doní tíink any of you want dat to happen..."

"Of course we doní. Dis is our city." Remyís sister-in-law, Mercy, said. "Weíll help you."

"What do we need to do, Remy?" Theoren, the other co-third-in-command of the Guild, asked quietly.

"Well Iím goní leave findiní aní stoppiní de witch doctor up to Gris. Tante, you can take care of any innocent bystanders who got caught in de middle. Mosí of de rest of you can help me aní Brother Voodoo in killiní de zombies. But somebody has to stop de invulnerable guy..."

Fifolet, one of the assassins, grinned evilly. "Leave dat to me."

"I was hopiní youíd say dat, Feef." Gambit said. "Solid tíings caní penetrate dat force field of his, but an intangible assassin should have no problem. Letís get goiní."

Brother Voodoo was starting to think Gambit had ditched him. He wasnít impressed. But he couldnít help but be exceptionally happy when Gambit returned to his side in the midst of the battle.

"Itís about time you got back here! Whereíve you been?"

"Calliní in de reinforcements." Remy said. He gestured to the rooftops above them, where the Guild was about ready to jump down and join the fray.

"What...?" Brother Voodoo couldnít hide his shock even while fighting zombies.

"Didní recognize my name did ya. Iíll explain later. Jusí fight...aní doní get in de way of any of dose guys!" Gambit warned him. He knew what the assassins were like in the heat of battle and didnít want to see Brother Voodoo end up on the victim list.

The Guild made its way into battle, doing whatever they could to destroy the zombies. Singer blinded them with her light bursts, giving the others the advantage over the undead creatures. It was only a matter of time before the zombie numbers were starting to diminish. The Guild was effective that way.

Once things were more under control, Fifolet gestured to Singer, who turned her light bursts on Emery. She was the distraction Fifolet needed and worked like a charm as always. While Emery was blinded by her light, Fifolet slipped up close and, using his powers to become intangible, penetrated the impenetrable force field. Once inside the force field, he took out a knife and in one quick movement, severed Emeryís head from his body. The force field dropped as Emery collapsed to the ground, just another zombie laid back to rest.

Fifolet and Singer rejoined the battle once their mission was accomplished, amid a scream of anger and agony. The witch doctor made her presence known when her nephew was killed again.

Gambit looked over at Gris. "Youíre up, Gris!"

Gris nodded, his face dark. He really hated when people abused their power and did crap like this. Especially when the crap was intended to harm his city. In a matter of seconds, he stepped up behind the witch doctor.

The crazy old womanís eyes were glowing. "You caní stop me, boy. I will succeed."

Gris snorted. "In your dreams, old woman."

She turned and faced him, somewhat surprised to be squaring off with someone of his stature. She wasnít willing to back down, though and didnít. It was going to be a matter of who was stronger.

Voodoo words flew through the air from both of them, each trying to gain the upper hand. Gris was feared around the city, not only for being an assassin, but for having such a handle on his magic. He knew what he was doing. He was a professional.

It seemed to the others that the zombies just kept coming. Things werenít going so well for them and the zombies were relentless. They were on a mission and were determined to succeed. Their master told them to.

"For every one we kill itís like two more show up!" Questa yelled.

"I know! Dis is insane!" Emil yelled back, before yelling over to Remy. "We caní beat dem, Rem!"

"Keep tryiní!" Gambit yelled back. "I have a feeliní once de witch doctor is out of de way, dis will be over. Jusí give Gris time!"

The battle between Gris and the witch doctor seemed to be pretty even. Each time one of them kicked things up a notch, the other matched. But one thing the witch doctor didnít know was that Gris wasnít using the full extent of his powers or his knowledge. He knew she wasnít at the top of her power yet and was biding his time until he sensed that she was. It was then that he was going to strike.

After what seemed like years, Gris finally sensed that the witch doctor was out of tricks. She was using everything she had against him and he saw her frustration in being unable to do more than knock him off his feet.

"Lady..." He said. "You really oughta know betterín to tryín stop me." With those words spoken, he uttered one sentence in Voodoo that she had never heard before and called upon a magic more powerful than any she knew. Sheíd never get to use it though. That one sentence ripped her apart from the inside out without Gris ever having to lay a hand on her. In seconds she was merely a pile of skin and bones and cloth on the ground before him, banished forever to the depths of hell.

Gris turned around as things very suddenly grew very quiet. With their master dead, the zombies vanished into thin air, going back to their graves quickly and silently. The battle was over and New Orleans was saved.

Gambit faced Brother Voodoo as the eleven Guild members assembled behind him. Tante Mattie was on the other side of the street, tending to a woman who had gotten injured during the fight.

Brother Voodoo shook his head. "This is..."

Gambit smiled. " de Unified Guild of Thieves aní Assassins. Iím deir patriarch. I knew you aní I could never do dis on our own, so I went to de people who I knew could successfully help." His smile widened as he remembered Brother Voodoo calling New Orleans his city when they first met. "And for de record, New Orleans is deir city. It has been for a lot longerín you or I have been alive aní will continue to be so long after weíre dead. Of course, if you stay out of deir way, I doní see why dey wouldní share it wití you. After all, dey share it wití everyone else who lives here."

"Itís a deal." Brother Voodoo grinned.