by Nancy Lorenz.
Rating: PG-13. Some violent, disturbing themes. Swearing.
Archive: XMMFF, WRFA. All else, all ya gotta do is ask.
Classification: General, L/R UST, S/J content.
Series: Manus Mortiferum
Spoilers: The Movie.
Synopsis: Continues on after the movie. The Mutant Situation is
worsening and Erik Lenscherr escapes from prison. Rogue suffers
a terrible mishap during the mission to stop him that shakes the
foundations of her psyche and changes her life completely.
Disclaimer: All characters copyright Marvel and Fox.
Feedback: Enjoyed, responded to, adored and worshiped. Respond
to the email above :)
Author's Note: This is beta read, but not to the fullest extent
that it can be. Some comma and semi-colon confusion occurs. Does
that really bother you? I figure it's only fan-fic, and I have a
comic to ink so I don't have the energy to break my back over
this thing. But I did get rid of the spelling mistakes and the
grammar mistakes. Most of them anyways :) Very big thank you
to my Betas - JennyEdu, Jennifer Hallmark, Shaz Nolan, and I
swear there must be someone else. I can't remember right now.
E-mail me, smack me up the side of the head and I'll rectify it
in the next chapter posting. Love ya's alls mates! Oh - and I
know I said I'm releasing it a chapter a day, but I'll forget to
do that I think, so I'm just doing it bunch by bunch :)
Dedication: To the WRGrrls. You've been around for over a year,
and the fandom is still going. That's majorly cool. Without
your support, your enthusiasm and love, I'd be nowhere. This
tenacity and companionship has helped me improve the crafts that
I want to take into a career. For that, I thank you and love you
always. Thank you girls.
They stood around the briefing table, faces drawn and clearly
showing their exhaustion. Professor Xavier sat at the head of
the table, fingers woven together, calm exuding from him. Rogue
wondered how the hell he could be so calm at a time like this,
after what they'd been through. She felt herself twitch with
excess energy, anger building within her as time went on.
"Report," said Xavier.
"They ransacked the lab," Cyclops said.
Yay for Captain Obvious, Rogue thought darkly.
"They targeted the office computers, uploading information from
their mainframe," said Jean. "I took the liberty of taking one of
their hard drives. Kitty is going through it now, breaking the
codes and gathering as much information from their computers as
she can before they change them."
Xavier frowned, eyes soft and sad. "I assume there was a good
reason for you to take it..."
"Yes sir," Jean said, wilting a little under his admonishing
gaze. "While we were in the basement labs I found this..." She
pulled a wad of printed papers from her jumpsuit, handing them to
Cyclops to hand along to the Professor.
His wise blue eyes skimmed over the paper, and looking up to Jean
his frown deepened. "This is data pertaining to mapping a human
"Not just any string sir," Jean said. "On the second page
there's a paragraph mentioning a certain point in the string
where the mutant gene is located. It goes on to describe its
attributes and the specifics in mapping it... I believe that this
document is about mapping that genome."
Storm's brows tilted, her arms crossed and her lips taught.
"What are you saying?"
"I believe what our dear Jean is saying," said Hank, "Is that the
purpose of this government funded laboratory was to map the
mutant DNA string, specifically seeking which strand causes one
to be a mutant."
The alarm in the Professor's eyes was evident. At that moment
there was a bleep from a console on the table. Xavier pressed a
"Hi Professor, it's Kitty." The voice was nervous and lacked the
cool authority of his older X-Men. "Uhm - I've hacked my way
into the government server... I think there's some stuff here you
guys would like to see."
The Professor pressed his lips together darkly. "I'm on my way."
Kitty typed away furiously on the keyboard, and as the X-Men
entered the computer lab behind her, she waved a hand absently in
greeting. The team, still in their battered uniforms, gathered
around her, gazing at the large flat screen that the cube was
plugged into. Kitty's fingers flew, stopping occasionally to
shift the mouse about on the pad. She glanced to her friends
behind her and her jaw dropped.
"Wow... you guys look like shit."
"Feel like it too," Rogue said.
Kitty glanced to the Professor next to her before getting back to
the computer. "Swear to God, Professor, if you came up to me and
just gave me this information without telling me what it was, I'd
swear it was some freaky-deaky sci-fi conspiracy theory crap."
Logan lifted a brow. "You're in a school that secretly harbours
a group of mutant vigilantes," he said. "Dunno if you noticed,
but you're living this freaky-deaky sci-fi conspiracy crap."
Kitty eyed Logan then got back to typing. "That's what worries
The Professor frowned thoughtfully. "Can you somehow download
this information onto our computers?"
"Already ten steps ahead of you, Professor," Kitty said, "I've
been downloading since I broke in. I've also been saving
information on their security protocols, in case I ever want to
break in again." She blinked then looked to the Professor.
"Er... that is... if *you* ever want to... er... hehe." She
looked back to the screen, cheeks red. The Professor just gazed
at her sternly.
"Is there any way they can trace this breach back to us?" asked
Kitty cocked an eyebrow, snorting. "Please! This is Kitty Pryde
you got workin' here. I'm far too good at this to get caught out
Cyclops gazed at the screen. "I'd think about how much time
you're spending with Jubilee there, Kitty," he said smoothly.
"You're sounding more like her every day."
Kitty stopped, eyes narrowing, and she turned her head at
Cyclops, glaring at him coldly. "If you were a decent human
being, you'd take that back."
Rogue nudged her friend gently, and Kitty went back to her work.
"Here we are again!" she said, "Legacy, Legacy... this word is
Jean frowned, pointing to the files. "Legacy01.doc,
Legacy03.doc... spreadsheets... image files..."
"Keep downloading," the Professor said. "Normally I would not
approve of this course of action but under the current
"You can't afford not to," Jean finished.
The Professor nodded.
Jean's back ached as she stepped from the shower. She didn't
remember hurting it, but with all the rolling around in agony
she'd done that night, she wasn't surprised that she'd pulled a
muscle or two. Wrapping herself in a heavy fluffy nightgown, she
plodded from the bathroom, sipping at a glass of water. She
looked at the clock on the nightstand.
It felt more like noon. The hours had crawled along, and she'd
been kept up giving the team members the once over in the
infirmary, to make sure they'd not suffered any serious injury.
She looked to her fiance snoozing on the bed. Poor Scott. She
sank down onto the bed next to him, running her fingers through
his hair. He groaned, not quite asleep as he'd only just turned
"Nice..." he mumbled.
She smiled, drawing circles on his scalp with her fingertips.
"How are you feeling?"
"Considering my body looks like a patchwork quilt from the
beating that green guy gave me-"
"Rogue said his name was Quicksilver."
Scott looked to Jean, cocking a brow. "He named himself after a
Jean looked to the ceiling and smiled. "I think he's named for
the more traditional meaning, honey."
Scott blew a sigh through his cheeks. "I feel okay." After a
moment, "Better, since you started giving me the head rubs."
She sighed back at him. "Well, I'm afraid they're going to have
to stop for the moment."
Scott's mouth dropped open. "Huh?"
Jean shook her head. "I can't get my mind off of these
government files, and..." A crease of effort touched her brow
lightly, "Hank is up looking at them too."
He stroked her arm, "Hon, you should probably get some sleep
Jean closed her eyes. The psychic bombardment she'd gone through
had drained her, but something inside her couldn't let her rest,
not on what they'd discovered tonight. "I will," she said,
leaning over and kissing Scott tenderly, "After I read a few of
She moved to leave, but Scott's hands grabbed hers. She looked
"I was scared for you tonight," he said.
"I love you."
She smiled. "I love you too, Scott." She bent over, kissing
him again, this time letting her lips sink deeper to his and
pulling away slowly, she cradled his face. She mouthed, "Love
you," one more time, then dragged herself away from the bed.
Warm Scott and a soft bed was very tempting, but the possible
future of mutantkind needed to be determined.
She was tired as she entered the private office that came off of
the bedroom. It was the kind of tired that wouldn't let you
sleep. It was the kind of tired that was past sleep. Every limb
hurt, but her mind wouldn't sit still for a moment, therefore
weariness evaded her. Her eyeballs even hurt. She rubbed them
as she sat down and turned on her laptop and the lamp with her
plodding mind. She sank down into the soft self-adjusting chair,
the creak filling the room. As she waited for the computer to
start up, she could hear the soft snoring of Scott from the other
room. Her mind floated to him, adored him. It gave her peace to
She sighed, pulling herself away from such luxuries and brought
her attention to the computer in front of her that awaited her
command. The drive whirred as she accessed the school's server,
and in turn, the files that contained what Kitty was able to
swipe from the government computers. The file that contained
their stolen information was easy to spot.
It was called Legacy.