X-Book 4 -- Of Politics, Tacos and Other Things that Give You
Chapter 18: In Search of Dust and Ghosts
Rating: PG-13 (violence, language)
Genre: Crossover (with anything I can squeeze in), SPOILERS FOR X2
Summary: See prologue to book 4
Disclaimer: I own nothing in regards to the Marvel characters or
any character from a previously published source portrayed in this
Reviews: Any feedback would be great and is appreciated!
Inside the mansion's spacious garage, Logan crouched beside his
motorcycle and strapped the last of his `luggage' onto the back.
No one really thought of the machine as "Cyclops's motorcycle"
anymore, especially considering it was becoming almost as weathered
looking as its well-traveled rider. Logan had made adjustments here
and there so that the bike could hold the weight of his inner
adamantium plates without too much strain. But, Cyke had built it
to be tough, and Logan planned to test its endurance once again.
He made no effort to hide his plans for leaving, but Logan was
always surprised when the others showed up to see him off. The
Professor sat silently with his hands folded in his lap as Bobby
helped Logan secure his bags on the bike.
Storm and Scott also stood nearby, taking turns reviewing the
information from the database regarding facilities and companies
(such as the now defunct Systems Operations) that had secretly
specialized in mutant experimentation. Logan had wanted to know
everything he could about those facilities and what they knew of
It was times like this he cursed his forgotten memories. Before he
became one of those experiments, he had worked with men like Stryker
to carry them out (though in what capacity, he did not know). As
much as Logan did not want to believe what his past might hold, he
would not deny it. Instead, he planned to use what Stryker's
experiment had given him to seek out others who may still be
committing such inhumane atrocities, and put an end to it for good.
Logan stood up, and dusted his hands on the sides of his jeans. To
his left, Rogue stood with her arms folded, a somber but
understanding expression on her face. She did not look upset or
angry at his departure...she never did. She just accepted that this
was part of his duty to the X-Men, and to himself. He tried to give
her an encouraging grin, but it faded almost before it formed.
There was still a part of him that hesitated about leaving when he
thought of Rogue. He had been protecting her for as long as he had
known her, and there was always the thought of her disappearing
again when he was not looking, of her being taken if he was not on
guard. But, Rogue had changed from the shy, frightened child he
found stowing away in his truck almost two years ago. She was
older, much older than her counted years, but he would always see
her as that kid...his kid...his child...the one he promised to take
"Where do you plan to go first, Logan?" Storm asked, holding a small
palm size computer in her hands.
"Back to West Virginia..." he said, and frowned thoughtfully, "That
fire might not have destroyed everything Stryker had hidden in that
"There will still be investigative teams in the area," Scott said
and then glanced at the Professor, "Did the President say how long
they planned to keep people at the explosion site?"
Xavier shook his head, "No, but I don't imagine they will be there
any longer than necessary. President McKenna wants to keep the
incidents at the base as quiet as possible. The world...has not
been at ease...over the past eight months, and he wants to prevent
any further panic or additional, unwarranted attacks on mutants."
"Glad to know Big Brother's on our side," Logan said with a
smirk, "And don't worry about the Feds...I'll keep clear of them.
They won't even know I was there."
Xavier nodded, appreciatively, but his face remained stony and
somber. Simply referring to Alkalai Lake, or the attacks, made all
of them uneasy, but inwardly only Xavier struggled to keep his
composure. There were times those memories seemed like nothing more
than a dream, but the nightmare became raw reality again when he
thought of that empty place next to Scott...where Jean would have
As if he could sense Xavier's disquiet, Logan walked over toward him
looked at the Professor determinedly.
"If there's somebody out there...still doin' these things to kids or
anyone else...I'll find them," he said, and then glanced around at
the others until he met Rogue's gaze, "And we'll stop them..."
Xavier smiled wearily, "To be honest, Logan. I truly hope this
search leads you to nothing but dust and ghosts."
"Me, too..." he said, and then smirked again, "Ghosts?"
Xavier shrugged, and Logan noticed out of the corner of his eye that
Rogue was chuckling quietly.
"Here, take this too," Storm said, handing him the small computer.
Logan frowned, "What's this?"
"All the information we have about the Lot experiments and scanned
images of the documents you brought back last time," she
explained, "If you need to review the individual pieces of video
footage, you can link up to the mainframe here by pressing this..."
Storm pointed out a few simple features on the handheld device, but
Logan looked at her doubtfully. Then, she handed him a small
satellite phone and grinned.
"If you have any questions, call..."
Logan sighed and looked over the phone's panel of glowing buttons.
"What if I can't get the phone to work?" he asked sarcastically.
"Bang it repeatedly against a rock or similar solid object until it
breaks...then you find a pay phone..." Storm said matter-of-fact
tone, but continued to grin, "Good luck, Logan."
"Thanks," he said, and turned toward his bike. Rogue walked over to
him and smiled sadly as she hugged him around the neck.
"Forget the ghosts," she said, "Watch out for the no-skinned-flipper-
Logan was frowning when she stepped back and looked at him again.
"The what?" he asked and she laughed.
"I'll tell ya when you get back," Rogue replied and stepped over
toward Bobby as Logan pushed the motorcycle out of the garage.
As he moved out toward the driveway, Logan spotted Gambit leaning
against a stone wall smoking casually, a short glass bottle sitting
next to him with the word Bourbon printed boldly across the label.
"Hey, Gumbo," Logan said as he moved past him, "Might wanna hide the
bottle. Storm'll probably be out here in a second."
Gambit glanced at him and grinned, "Then you better take it and run,
He tossed the bourbon toward Logan, who grabbed it out of the air.
"Thanks," Logan said, and tucked it into one of his coat
pockets, "This mean your stockpile's dry?"
Gambit shrugged, "Maybe Remy just wants to try the super hero thing
for a while. Besides, what we saw the other day...that will keep
Remy sober for years to come...no matter how much he drinks."
Logan raised a cynical eyebrow, "Uh, huh. Well, remind Remy to keep
up the target practice before he tries to be heroic again..."
Gambit laughed, "Trust me, ami...he knows..."
As Logan revved the motorcycle to life, Rogue came around the corner
to watch him go. He gave her one final wave over his shoulder
before heading down the driveway toward the front gate. Plumes of
dust stirred up behind the bike as Logan drove off, and Rogue did
not turn away until he was out of sight. Gambit watched her
curiously as she sighed and began heading back toward the garage.
"Where's he going, chere?" he called, snuffing out his cigarette.
Rogue glanced over at him, "Back to the base...to see what he can
find. After that...I don't know..."
"Oh," he replied, "And what's the plan for us?"
"Us?" she asked.
Gambit gestured toward the mansion, "Us...the X-Men...and Women..."
Rogue smiled, "Training...studying...learning what we can about what
happened so we can be ready for...whatever might happen next..."
"Whatever does happen..." Gambit said thoughtfully, "Remy hopes it
has nothing to do with giant robots..."
Rogue narrowed her eyes and a wicked smile appeared on her face.
"Nah...Hopefully it'll be something more interesting than that," she
Gambit frowned as she grinned at him again and walked away.
"More interesting than a giant killer robot?" he said to no one but
himself, "Remy doesn't think he wants to know..."
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