6353FIC: Once More Unto the Breach (Summers in a Sea of Glory, 8/10)
- Jun 12, 2006Cabinet meeting in my office immediately. The
voice was Charles Xaviers. The words landed directly
in Scotts brain, with no need for telephones, or ears
for that matter. It was the most efficient way to do
it. Given that Charles was calling a meeting with no
notice at 2:00 a.m., it was clear that he thought
efficiency was important. Charless tone in Scotts
brain felt slightly apologetic under the urgency,
though. Cyclops took the apologetic grace notes to be
an acknowledgement of the fact that it had been a full
day of classes followed by a mission he had only
returned from an hour before. Scott had barely fallen
asleep when the voice in his brain woke him again.
I shouldnt have bothered to get undressed, Scott
thought to himself, pulling on a uniform and grabbing
his visor. Charles hadnt said what the meeting was
about, but he knew chances were better than even that
a cabinet meeting called in the middle of the night
would lead to a mission before the night was over.
Hank had beat him to the meeting, Scott saw when hed
sprinted to Charless office a couple of minutes
later. The two men were seated by the fireplace, tea
set out on the end table in front of them. Hank was
sitting on the couch, blue fur blending into blue
upholstery. Charles was in his accustomed place by the
end table the carpet slightly worn on the path where
his chair had rolled from behind the desk to that spot
over the years.
Hanks bedroom was nearer to Charless suite, so it
was no surprise he was the first to arrive. Or maybe
Charles and Hank had already been together, drinking
tea, when whatever event happened that had prompted
the meeting. They were dressed as they had been when
hed last seen them here, when Scott had done a brief
post-mortem on the nights successful mission, before
heading off to what he thought would be an
uninterrupted night, not that he ever counted on that.
Whats up? he asked as he sat down on the couch
next to Hank.
Lets wait a minute so we dont have to do this
twice, Charles replied.
Oh, is Ro back from Washington? Scott asked.
No, Storm and Nightcrawler are not expected back
As Charles said it the door to the office opened again
and Jean walked in, in uniform, pulling her long red
hair back in a ponytail as she sat down in the
armchair facing Charles. Welcome back to the
cabinet, Jean, he said, smiling at her.
We were just having tea. Would you like some?
Scott? he turned to Cyclops as he included him in the
None for me, Scott replied, but the china closet
opening and a cup and saucer floating over to Jeans
waiting hand indicated her acceptance of the offer.
Xaviers smile vanished and his face and voice were
all business as he turned to the reason hed called
the meeting. Northstar has activated the homing
device, he said.
Where are they? Jean asked it first.
Vermont. Peru, in fact.
Scott looked surprised. Near our house there?
*In* our house, as far as we can tell, Charles
answered. We cant pinpoint quite as precisely as
that, but it seems most likely.
No ones there now, right? Scott asked. I know
none of our people are, but not any Alpha Flight
Hank spoke for the first time. That is correct. The
auxiliary X-Men venue in northern New England has been
closed and padlocked since we departed. Given the
unfortunate eventualities ensuing as a consequence of
the occupation of your corporeal being, my dear, he
inclined his head slightly at Jean in a courtly bow,
and how central the Vermont domicile was to that
whole episode, we havent been inclined to employ
those premises lately.
And the whole Mutant Protection Plan has been on hold
since then, Charles added. So there has been no
need for anyone from either the X-Men or Alpha Flight
to be there. Ive already called Mac Hudson to make
sure he doesnt send anyone to Peru until further
Scott nodded his approval. So were in a good
position. We know Magnetos there, and I think we can
presume he doesnt know we know it. And no one is
going to show up unexpectedly. Except us. He has no
way to know about the tunnel from the clearing we dug,
so we have a way to take him by surprise, too. He
paused. Good thinking on Jean-Pauls part to steer
Magneto there. Or did you instruct him to do that? he
asked, turning to Xavier.
The professor shook his head. No, I didnt, and Im
not sure that it was Jean-Pauls idea, either.
Then how? Jean asked.
Erik knows about the Vermont house. Its a good
hideout and a good place to work on rebuilding his
mutagenic machine, if that is the plan. I agree that
its fortunate for us that we know where he is and we
have an access point that we can use unannounced.
Thats why I called this meeting so we can figure
out how best to use that advantage. Im sorry to get
you out of your beds, but I think we will probably
need to act quickly.
Of course, Scott said. What does Magneto know
about the house, and how?
Yes, its important you have that information to plan
and lead the mission. I was remiss in not telling you
earlier, but it never occurred to me hed use the
house in Peru. Id forgotten he knew about it,
actually. The professor took a sip of his tea. It
was a long time ago. The somewhat faraway look in
Xaviers eyes signaled Scott to let down his mental
shields. He assumed the other two had done the same
as a picture of a much younger Erik Lehnsherr entered
his brain, driving up the dirt road approaching
Xaviers ski house in a convertible looking like it
dated from the 1950s.
Scott was seeing the scene from Charles Xaviers
viewpoint. It wasnt a new experience for him.
Charles had often used telepathy to recount some event
he wanted his field leader to know about, as it was
both a thorough method and an efficient one. This
time, though, there was something different about the
mental picture and Scott wasnt sure what. It was
nagging at him a little, distracting him from the
scene he was experiencing, wondering what felt off
about it. He couldnt quite figure out why everything
looked so different from the way the world usually
looked when he was seeing out of Charless eyes. It
all became clear to Scott, though, when Lehnsherr
parked the car, leapt out of it, and ran up to
him/Charles. As he felt young Magnetos arm clasp
him/Charles around the shoulders and heard a greeting
in his/Charless ear, Scott realized the angle was
different. They were both standing.
Yes, Charles said, responding to Scotts
realization. It was before my accident. He looked
down at his legs, then continued. Erik and I built
the first prototype of Cerebro at the Peru house.
Here, he added, and the other three saw through his
The young Erik Lehnsherr ran into the house, Charles
Xavier following. Where is it? Lehnsherr asked
Charles showed him a door off of the kitchen and
Lehnsherr opened it and ran down the stairs to the
basement, Xavier following him. Scott tried not to be
distracted by the thought of a mobile Charles Xavier
and paid attention to his surroundings. A large room
was set up as a workroom electronic equipment on
benches along one wall, building materials in the
center, what looked like a chemical lab along another
I had no intelligence about this subterranean
laboratory, Hank said, almost accusingly.
I didnt even know there was a basement, Jean added.
Its big, Scott weighed in. A whole extra floor
downstairs. Its nothing like that, though, he
added, referring to the image that Charles had just
placed in all of their brains. Ive only been in the
basement a couple of times. Wed considered having
the tunnel come up there, but Logan decided against
it. He had me blast a small hole in the basement
floor as a test, and water seeped in. Scott felt
strange talking about the time he and Logan had been
in Vermont together, particularly with Jean there. It
felt like an oddly intimate recollection, although he
was only talking about the mission theyd accomplished
there together. His shields down to let Charles in
made Scott feel slightly vulnerable, as if his
thoughts and emotions were on display more than he
would have wanted in this company.
What does the basement look like now? Charles asked.
Is it suitable for Magneto to work there? I havent
been down there since... well, since I could walk down
the stairs, he added.
Its mostly empty. There are some things stacked by
the walls furniture, boxes of stuff. I didnt open
any of them when we were down there. Maybe old
equipment. The floors dry it was only when I
blasted it that water came in. The lights didnt
work, but we put new bulbs in and they did. Yeah, Id
say he could make a workroom out of it for his
mutagenic machine. If thats indeed what hes doing.
If we dont stop him first.
We will. And I think it very likely that is his
plan. Why else would he need a gorilla with Rogues
powers? I suppose I should applaud his decision to
sacrifice an animal rather than a human this time.
Given the knowledge weve amassed of Magnetos
character, Hank interjected, the choice of a
non-human primate as subject to expire as a result of
the execution of this endeavor was most likely a
decision borne of expedience rather than a newly
emerging value placed on the lives of mutant humans.
An assault upon the zoological gardens was undoubtedly
easier to plan and more likely to result in the
preferred outcome than one upon our own premises.
Yes, Hanks right, Im afraid, Scott said to
Charles. Magneto knows how well defended we are
here. Anyway, no point speculating now. We need to
get moving on this mission. We cant know whether
were right about Magnetos plan or not, but we need
to plan the mission without that information. A good
plan executed today is better than a perfect plan
executed at some indefinite point in the future.
Right you and Patton are. And the difference
between a good naval officer and a poor one is about
ten seconds, Charles quoted back at him. A
principle that applies equally to X-Men Field Leaders.
Now, whom will you take on this mission?
Beast. Scott turned to Hank. Youre best able to
evaluate how far hes gotten with the rebuilding of
the mutagenic machine. Hank nodded his agreement and
Scott turned to Jean. Do you feel up to it? I can
use your powers. We dont know who Magnetos got with
him, or even how many. I need a telepath. Unless you
want to come, Charles?
Xavier shook his head. I think its better if I do
not. Erik Lehnsherr knows me too well. He has used
that knowledge to our disadvantage before. He turned
towards Jean. Do you feel ready for a combat
Definitely. Her voice was clear and confident.
Yes, I think one more. Not more than that. We want
a small team, since we need to take them by surprise.
And weve got Jean-Paul on the spot.
Pyro, too, Hank interjected.
I hope so, but Im not counting on him. Im not
saying hes gone over to Magneto again, he added,
seeing Charless expression, although I wouldnt
totally rule that out. Still, he doesnt have the
combat experience or even the experience under my
command to leave me feeling like I can count on him.
And like I said I dont know how many Magnetos
got there. I want to be sure we can take him, whoever
hes got with him. Im taking Wolverine, too.
Is that wise? Charles asked. Maybe youre better
off with someone else. The metal skeleton makes him
No, I want Logan with me. Jean was looking at Scott
as he said it, but he didnt meet her glance. Youre
right, Charles, that he cant take Magneto, but Ill
handle him myself. I need a team that can take on
Magnetos henchmen. Logan knows that house better
than anyone but you he not only was foreman when we
built the tunnel, but supervised all the security
enhancements. Hes best able to get us in without
setting off alarms, so we can take them by surprise.
Besides, Logans the best fighter Ive got. I need
him for this one.
Xavier nodded, closing his eyes briefly. Wolverines
in the Danger Room. Ive told him theres a mission.
Hell meet you at the Blackbird.
Jean stood up, saying, Ill go now and brief Logan on
the mission. Meet you at the hangar in a few
Hank stood as well. Ill don appropriate clothing
for this mission and be prepared to depart in five
Scott stood up to leave after them, but Charles
stopped him. Just a minute, he said.
I didnt want to say this in front of the others.
He hesitated a minute. Scott, I dont know all that
is going on between you and Logan, but... your
feelings are strong. That was clear when your shields
were down. I know there are unresolved issues. This
is a dangerous mission. Are you sure you want him
along? You could take Colossus, Iceman...
Scott shook his head. I need him for this one. Hes
the man for the mission. I dont let personal
feelings interfere with a mission my feelings or
anyone elses. You know that, Charles. I wouldnt
have stayed alive this long or kept the rest of them
alive if I did.
Mofic Website: http://mo.fandomnation.com/fic/
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