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FF: Long Road to Nowhere

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  • kkeene@bobcat.bradley.edu
    Here is the long time typeing and editing of my next story in the Season s change series. I took a turn tot eh unexpected and I didn t even know where it
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 9 5:40 PM
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      Here is the long time typeing and editing of my next story in the
      Season's change series. I took a turn tot eh unexpected and I didn't
      even know where it went, not according to my original plan. Sorry it
      ahs taken me so long. I wanted to put even more into it but it just
      has to wait till the next chapter....
      in case you are new to my fic and really want to read it here is a
      list of my X-men fan fic...

      Fan fic list:

      Seasons Change series:
      Connection
      Flashbacks
      The accident
      The thief
      Friday night
      How to be a leader by Scott Summers
      Something to be thankful for
      Gift of giving
      Another new year, another resolution
      The last semester
      Tomorrow
      A piece of the puzzle
      Be my valentine
      My snow angel
      Black leather
      The discovery
      Driving me crazy
      Guy talk
      Just like Frankenstein
      Living nightmare
      The waiting game
      Time to heal
      Worthless
      Alive
      Mind Games
      Champaign and french fries
      Stirring of the heart
      The storm
      In the Garden
      The letter
      Baked
      The Great Outdoors
      Long Road to Nowhere (NEW)
      Nightcap (needs to be written)
      Stealth (idea stages)
      Wedding Bells (needs to be typed in)
      Explosion! (idea stages)
      Higher education (needs to be written)


      R/S series:
      New spark in life
      New arms to hold you
      Hand in Hand
      I've found you

      Other:
      Starlight, Starbright
      Not another number in my arm
      Petunia
      The Journey Home




      and now....the fic

      Title: A short trip to nowhere
      By: Peachy
      Rating: PG-13
      Teaser: Logan take the two week journey to investigate his past
      Genre: action, suspense, drama




      "Need any help?" Jean asked, leaning up against his door frame.

      Logan was packing for his trip. He decided to take Chuck's advice and
      planned out his route. He knew where to go and he figured two weeks
      was enough time for now. He wouldn't want to worry anyone about not
      coming back, especially after the last two year stint of absence.
      Then he never found anything and was just uncertain about coming back
      here. He didn't know what it would bring him. In fact, one could say
      the wolverine was scared.

      He was almost done and didn't need anything from Jean right now.
      It was late, past midnight and he turned to find her in a silky red
      robe, clinging to her body. She seemed sinful to Logan, a treat he
      couldn't have but in reality, didn't want either.

      "No, I think I got it."
      "Are you going to wake her up to say goodbye?" she asked and walked
      into his room.
      "No. It's not goodbye." He said a bit irritated.
      "That's not what I meant…I wasn't implying…"
      "I know," He interrupted.

      He finished and zipped up the small duffel bag. He didn't need much.
      He was use to owning nothing and traveling with very little. He
      would manage, especially for just two weeks.

      Jean came over and took his hand in hers and opened up his palm. She
      gave him from the pocket of her bathrobe, a cell phone and placed it
      in his hand.

      "In case you need something…" she smiled into his eyes. "Don't be
      afraid to use it. She'd love to hear from you."

      He nodded and put the phone in his duffel, straddled it over his
      shoulder and stared at Jean. He had to admit she was still
      beautiful.
      "Bye Jeannie…"

      He strolled form the room and off to the garage. He shoved the bag
      in and drove off in the truck Charles lent him to use.

      Jean stood in his room for a while. She would miss him. She knew he
      cared about Rogue but it was fun just to have him irritate Scott.
      She hoped he'd be okay. She walked quietly down the hall and slipped
      back into bed, hoping not to wake her fiancée. Unfortunately, Scott
      stirred and woke, wrapping his arms around his love.

      "He's gone?" Scott asked.
      "He'll be back," Jean said.
      "He better." Scott warned.

      Marie was like his little sister and he cared about her. If Logan
      ever hurt her, he'd suffer more than any other man in history. He
      didn't agree with Rogue and Logan being together, but if it made
      Rogue happy, then he'd go along with it. As a side note it help keep
      him away from Jean anyway.

      "He didn't tell her he was leaving did he?"
      "No. I gave him my cell to use if he needed it."
      "Figures. He leaves without a goodbye. Did he take my new bike?"
      "Relax cowboy…Charles gave him a truck to use. Your baby is safe."
      She smiled. He loved that new bike. Over several months Logan's old
      Christmas present got a face lift or two and it was almost as good as
      his old motorcycle.

      "I'll tell Rogue tomorrow he left, she'll find out anyhow." Jean
      added.
      "I love you…" Scott whispered.
      She turned to face him. "I love you too…night." She kissed him and
      they drifted off to sleep wrapped in each other's arms, a place that
      was warm, loving and where they'd soon be for the rest of their lives
      as husband and wife.

      **************************

      "Where is he?" Marie wondered. She was going for a run and wondered
      if he wanted to come with her. He occasionally joined her. They'd
      race and talk and he'd teach her a few defensive moves outside of
      class. It was bonding time she enjoyed.

      She had to go alone by the trail outback. It lead to a lake and
      Scott's training obstacle course and other places. It was quiet in
      the morning and the birds were just waking up. It was music Rogue
      loved to run too. Her job at the bookstore was going well and she
      was saving up money. She hoped to find another job, making more
      money. After all wasn't that the goal of every hard working
      American.

      She wanted to be able to live on her own, not that living at the
      mansion was bad but there is just something about being independent
      she always believed in. But there was the real world out there that
      seemed to be deteriorating before her eyes. She felt powerless,
      useless to help anyone.

      Marie wouldn't even know where to begin. She continued to boggle her
      mind over a lot of thing, depressing herself even more. She wondered
      if anywhere down the line, she could make a real difference. She
      doubted it. But making even a small difference in just one or two
      people was something to strive for.

      Magneto's thoughts lingered in her head while she ran. He quietly
      whispered the plight of mutants and how it was humans holding them
      back. She knew it wasn't all humans but some were so ingrained with
      prejudice, how does one change that? She knew Magneto's way, hurting
      all humans, was not the way to go. Not all mutants were nice
      either. People are people. There are good and bad ones that are
      out there.

      Marie ran and rested by the lake on the other side out back about two
      miles from the mansion. She decided to walk back and think about a
      lot of things.
      She was scared, afraid of life yet excited for what it might hold for
      her in the future. She had Logan. Sure he was older but she loved
      him no matter what. The way he treated her, held her, kissed her.
      It was everything she wanted yet something felt like it was missing.
      It wasn't with Logan but from her own life. She couldn't put a
      finger on what it was though. There was some hole.

      She finally arrived back, exhausted more mentally then physically.
      She didn't have to work this Saturday. She got Sunday off too but
      had to be back to work at 7 am on Monday.

      She showered and allowed the ice water to cool her body while she
      tried to organize her mind. She got dressed and joined Jessie, St.
      John, Katherine, Bobby and Jubilee for breakfast. It was wrong for
      them all to be up this early on a Saturday but they were use to
      getting up early for work. Plus the earlier they got up the more
      free time fun they could have on their days off.

      During the week, St. John and Marie car pooled and so did Katherine.
      Bobby went to work the opposite direction and Jessie worked nights at
      a restaurant in town, making good tips.
      "Hey Rogue!" Jubes shouted over the cafeteria.
      She joined them with a plate full of mini-waffles and syrup.
      "So what are we all doing today?"
      "Well I got to work tonight…"Jessie said. She never got a day off,
      even worked Sunday nights. It killed her social life but she got paid
      a lot.

      Bobby pulled out his small pad from his pocket.
      "Let's see what is on our summer fun list. Hummmm, sky diving, all
      night party hoping down town, Chucky Cheese, a picnic, renaissance
      festival, New York City for a day…"

      "And training. I'll see you all in one hour!" Scott said walking by
      their table.

      Since they were to become X-men, training was everything. During the
      summer it was every night and weekends day and night it seemed.
      Scott knew they needed to be ready, especially since things were
      heating up. Xavier and the other teachers kept it well hidden but
      they had the inside edge on what Magneto was up to and a group called
      Normailty. Things were going to come to a blow sooner or later.
      Xavier and Scott wanted to make sure these new recruits would be
      ready.

      Unfortunately the students at the table didn't see it that way.
      Moans went around, some saying they were tired, others wanted to do
      something else but they all know this is what they committed
      themselves too.

      "It's not that bad." Marie said. She liked training, except the
      pretend touching thing.

      After she touched Mystique, Marie vowed not to ever use it again. She
      never told anyone but she didn't want to touch anyone like that
      again, even on accident. Her friends weren't so bad but strangers…
      She had too many small tid bits in her head to confuse her enough.
      In practice she had to pretend to touch people to save them. Other
      then that she wasn't special in any way compared to anyone else. She
      just had to be quick on her feet dodge and run fast, oh, and throw a
      punch, but she had that part covered pretty well. Flying was okay.
      It made her fast but Rogue never saw much else she could do with it.
      Drag people up high and drop them but that…no, she couldn't hurt
      anyone like that. She never liked fighting but figured if needed
      she'd try her best.

      "No, it's not that bad, especially when I can beat up the friendly
      fried-out cajun." Bobby smiled and pointed to Gambit. That was the
      easiest way to get him ready for the danger room and training,
      provoke him.
      "Nah, I like to see ya try." He retaliated.
      "I sense a challenge comin'!" shouted Jessie.
      "Who's betting?" St. John added in. Money changed hands around the
      table, takin' down odds. Only a few dollars, after all they were
      poor soon-to-be college students, for most of them anyway.

      Jean walked up to the group and up to Rogue.
      "Rogue, can I see you for a moment?" she asked.
      Rogue smiled, "Sure. Be right back guys…"
      "Think she's in trouble?" Jubilee whispered.

      Rogue caught a bit of it. She hopped she wasn't in trouble. She
      hadn't done anything wrong recently.
      "Sorry to pull you away but I wanted to say a few things. First
      Ororo, Diane and I are going dress shopping tomorrow and I would like
      you to come with me. I was hoping at my wedding you'd be a brides
      maid?"

      "I'd love too!" Rogue said very shocked Jean would pick her. She
      wasn't extremely close to her. She wondered now about the cost.
      "But, I don't think…"

      "Don't worry, Charles has it all covered."
      "Okay. Thank you." She said, feeling really guilty.

      Why did she never have enough money. It's not like she spends it
      like Jubes or Kitty at the mall every weekend. She had a feeling
      Scott wanted her in the wedding more then Jean, but was happy.
      "Great. You will be beautiful!"
      "I can't possibly outshine you." Rogue replied.
      The bride always had to be the most beautiful woman there. Always.

      "Well the other things is," She had a hard time finding words. It
      wasn't bad news but why couldn't she just say it. "Well, last night…"
      <Here goes> Jean thought to herself.
      "Logan, he left last night for his trip. He didn't want to wake you
      but he'll be back soon. I gave him my cell in case he needed
      anything. I'm sure he'll give you a call from the road."

      Rogue wasn't surprised but a bit hurt he never said goodbye to her.
      She had hoped to see him off, wish him well, and pray for a safe
      trip. At least she could at least pray still for a safe return.

      "Tomorrow we're going bright and early at 9 am. I know you and a few
      others go to church in the morning but can you skip this once?"

      Nine to Jean was not early, but to the kids who would be out late and
      enjoy their weekends since they have so few, it was early.

      "I think so, I'll be ready!" she smiled and turned and went back to
      eat breakfast.

      *****************

      Logan had traveled most the night and slept for about four hours and
      was up again driving. He wanted to get to Base 74 at Fairmount as
      soon as possible. He wanted all these questions to stop. While
      driving he thought about the answers he might find. A wife, family,
      be over 100 years old. He was old grandfather next to Marie. Maybe,
      maybe it wasn't right, him going after just a kid. Was he some sort
      of sick fuck or what? Maybe Jean had been right all along.

      What was he thinking! She was sweet, perfect, someone he could look
      after. Was it really love? He remembered when he first kissed her
      on her birthday. It was magic. He felt her trembling unsure lips
      against his own and he wanted to make that all go away. Make her feel
      loved, cared for, taken care of. He had kissed lots of women but
      none so soft, gentle and sweet. She was a solid foundation he was
      getting stuck in. He wanted those lips for his own. But she was
      just 19 and he could be 100 plus. He didn't look it though. He
      hated the stares when they went out. Young girl old guy, either I'm
      sick man or she is a gold digger to those people.

      Plus, what about aging? Logan thought he may look like this for
      another hundred years while Marie turned old, gray and wrinkled. He
      wanted to grow old with her, not watch her die while he lived on. He
      was doubting his relationship with her but decided for now he had to
      focus on the task at hand. Finding out who he was, where he came
      from and who did this to him. He wanted justice but more so no, he
      wanted to make sure it didn't happen to anyone else like his Marie.

      He guessed with only sleeping four hours, it would take him about
      two/three days to reach the Yukon area of Canada. They sure stuck
      places way out of anyone's way. No one could find them then. But he
      had the help of Charles and a few hot tips that he picked up for
      Logan.

      *****************

      Gambit and Bobby were paired off in the X-men room. Gambit and
      Jubilee weren't part of the X-men yet and hadn't been officially
      invited in either like the rest on Christmas, but after graduation
      Scott talked to both of them about joining, if they worked hard
      enough and showed potential. Summer training was this time for them,
      otherwise if they lacked devotion, Scott wouldn't let them in.
      Gambit flung his cards of energy at Bobby who dodged each one very
      well, as if he was as fast as lightning. Bobby retaliated with ice
      chunks and spears which Gambit avoided. Some of their bursts came
      head to head causing quiet and explosion of sorts, energy slamming
      into cold ice.

      Gambit then hit Bobby square in the chest with a hidden double car.
      Bobby got revenge with a side slice of ice so sharp and cold it
      caused a nasty burn and freezing/tearing the suit, causing some
      stinging to his skin.

      Finally Scott called the match as a draw and had them examine their
      moves. Rogue won the bet, knowing that the match would end with no
      winner. She earned about 20 bucks and pocketed it nicely. She'd
      save it for tomorrow, for lunch during dress shopping.

      Marie paired off again with Scott, both learning from each other and
      both ending up in a draw as well. He was proud of her, and afraid
      for her. Only bad things were ahead and he didn't want to get her
      hurt at all. She was good but…He shook off those thoughts and
      finished up the lesson with everyone else.

      Rogue went to the showers and relaxed under hot steaming water,
      letting her muscles unwind a bit. She wondered what trouble Jessie
      and Katherine were getting into while the rest worked out in the
      danger room.

      *******************

      Marie sat and turned on C-span while Jubes took her place in the
      battle of girls vs. guys in fooze ball. She sat down and became
      engrossed in the news of the day. More mutant activity and another
      boring Senate debate was aired but she wasn't bored. Her future was
      in these people's hands and all she could do was sit. What else
      could she do?

      "That is too depressing, " St. John said grabbing the remote and
      changing it to cartoon network where Looney Toons was on. Bobby
      talked about the hardware store, Kitty gabbed about the sale at her
      store that Jubes, Jessie and Rogue had to check out nest weekend.

      Gambit was just goofing off this summer. He had to finish his paper
      but was almost done. He gave it to Katherine for editing.

      "Well I don't know bout the rest of yez, but I'm hungry!" Gambit said
      going to raid the kitchen. The rest followed and they took ice cream
      out to the pool and jumped on in, except Rogue.
      "Come on!"
      "I'm fine!" she shouted and sat in the chair under the umbrella,
      enjoying her vanilla ice cream cone.

      Scott came out wondering and found them all by the pool.
      "So this is were you all are, You're late for training! Now move. I
      want you dressed and ready in five minutes!"
      Morning had passed, lunch flew by and the afternoon session was
      already here.
      Everyone forgot and ran down stairs dripping all the way. Jessie and
      Katherine kept swimming. Rogue was there first.

      "Sorry, Scott. We didn't meant o forget. It's just, well everyone
      will be going away soon. We wanted to enjoy what time we had left.
      Don't yell at them." He usually did.
      He had a soft spot for Rogue and smiled.
      "I know, I won't. Why weren't you swimming?" he said as if it was
      just natural for any girl her age to have fun.
      "Didn't want to burn, no fun swimming alone."
      Scott knew what she meant and left it at that. "Well if you ever
      want to play a little one on one water volleyball, just call." He
      smiled.
      "Thanks…" he was sweet and always thinking of her.
      "Time to get to it!" he said stepping past her and with his glove
      hand messing up her hair as he went on by. Scott didn't ask if Logan
      called or not yet. Scott guessed that the man hadn't and Logan would
      pay for that.

      ******************

      At the end of the day Marie was tired. She sat by the phone.
      Everyone did well distracting her today but she waited, like she had
      so many other nights for the phone to ring. She was depressed. He
      hadn't called.

      Xavier checked up on her and felt her sadness. He had guesses as to
      why but didn't pry or open her door to ask.

      Marie finally fell asleep and sank into a green fog she knew was
      familiar with Logan's nightmare. It hurt so bad and she woke with a
      scream and a tear ridden face, which woke Katherine.

      "What!?!" Katherine was startled. Ever since that night when she and
      Rogue were attacked by some strange guy, any screaming at night
      scared her even more, made her feel like it was happening again, he
      was there. Sure Jean talked with them both, tried to help, but it
      still gave her the creeps. She removed all her covers and curled up
      as if a snake was in her bed.
      "What?!"
      Rogue was trying to catch her breath.
      "Sorry Katherine, just a bad dream I guess."

      Katherine relaxed and curled back up under the covers.
      "You want to talk about it?"
      "No, thanks. It's not mine to talk about. Understand?"
      "Yeah." Katherine knew there were many minds running around in that
      head of Rogue's. Something she could never understand and wished
      there was something she could do for her best friend. But there was
      nothing.

      *****************

      That night Scott, Felix, and Storm stayed up as Jean and Xavier left
      for DC to debate.

      "I've been talking with Commissioner Phelpts and together with our
      own little list, we have come up with some possible targets of
      Magneto's." Scott said.
      "These deaths aren't accidents?" Felix asked confused.
      "Not likely."
      "Too many coincidences." Storm added.
      "Also Xavier gave me this new information to check into, Jaasper
      Contract Division, Inc. It's a company, " he continued while passing
      out copies of this information to Storm and Felix, "that has numerous
      defense contracts for the government in weapons and supplies. Xavier
      thinks Magneto might be connected. He might have been able to turn
      the company owner pro-mutant but most likely he thinks some cloning
      did occur, illegally again. Or Magneto may be threatening him. We
      just don't know. Jack Travert is the CEO and many of the weapons
      from his factories and plants have been used across the world against
      anti-mutants." Scott explained.
      "This is a big leap for Magneto don't you think?" Felix added.
      "Yeah but I wouldn't put it past him to try," Storm added.
      "Jean thinks we should tail this Mr. Travert or penetrate his
      company. He might have some records of these missing weapons
      transfers, but we don't have the man power to do that. No one seems
      to be able to get any hard evidence that would connect him in any
      way. Xavier has the police keeping tabs on him but so far nothing
      has come up."
      "What about the other targets?" Felix wondered.
      "It's impossible to watch them all across the globe. I've faxed the
      lists to our sister schools in London and Munich to take care of that
      part of the world. As for the US and Canada and Latin America, it is
      up to us and the group outside San Francisco to keep our eyes open.
      We're it…"
      "Who's in our area?" Storm asked.
      "Well…" Scott turned on his computer and called up photos and
      biographies of the known targets Xavier and him worked up over the
      last month.

      "These anti-mutant targets include, Pres and CEO of TelCOM, Frank
      Haupor, outspoken news anchor in Chicago, Sandra Winfield, our own NY
      shock jock, Tue Tone, VP of sales at Nike Corp., Senator Grant of
      Massachusetts, Dr. Drake Zantoff at Boston University, running back
      of the Carolina Panthers, and the list goes on…." He fumbled through
      a few more and the list seemed to have no end.
      "That's about everyone on the eastern seaboard!" Storm said.
      "Well anti-mutant love is just spreading." Felix was not very happy.
      "and WE have to watch these people's asses!"
      "We are going to have some help. Xavier and the police have notified
      these people of the potential risks but they aren't taking it
      seriously, only the CEO of TelCOM and VP of sale for Nike are toning
      it down and getting out of the spot light."
      "Xavier can't find him yet?" Storm questioned.
      "No, not only that but finding anyone he's hired is become harder and
      harder. We can only pray Magento or one of his horeds makes a
      mistake."
      "And Normality?" Felix changed from Magneto's terrorism to anti-
      mutant terrorist group.
      "Cops busted some members downtown yesterday. First arrest in new
      York that claimed to be members. The group's growing though."
      "I expect something to blow and real soon." Storm was pacing the room
      now worried.
      "I hate not knowing, waiting is something I don't do well…" Felix
      added.

      **************

      Logan parked his car a few miles out of the way of the main road near
      the facility. He finally made it there and wasn't going to take
      useless risks, just in case it was still an active facility.

      He finally patrolled a bit of the outer perimeter watching the
      outside. It was dark inside and he hadn't seen anyone yet. It was
      summer up in the Yukon territory, snow and 6 months of sunshine was
      still on. It gave people more light to see him. Light, dark… for
      himself was never a problem, he could be nocturnal if need be.

      He felt odd as if the place was still alive. He was cautious with his
      movements and senses. The hair on the back of his neck stood on end.
      Something wasn't right. He ran up towards the door of the facility,
      locked. It wasn't the main entrance and figured getting in wouldn't
      attract attention, even though he couldn't see anyone. Faint traces
      were in the air that Logan recognized as human.

      He extended his claws and used them to slice through the lock and
      quietly entered the facility. He came in a hallway, linoleum floor
      in checkerboard pattern. He searched almost every room down that one
      hallway. Most were bare offices. Bookshelves emptied, marks from old
      desk legs and chairs. Nothing else. He turned down another corridor
      and went through those rooms. These were like doctor offices, cold
      metal tables with restraining straps, cabinets, and a desk.

      He looked through the rooms, all bare. He ascended up one level and
      found rooms, larger. There were more then one table and a glass
      window above, as if there was a place for audience viewing of what
      ever they did in here.
      He extended his claws and went down stairs.

      Logan caught hints of human smell, stronger this time and with a hint
      of aftershave and something else. People were here, recently.
      Whether they were still patrolling or looking around he wasn't sure.
      He smelled a bit of gun power and oil. Soldiers perhaps, not punk
      kids breaking and entering.
      He was cautious as he took a set of steps down and down into the
      basement level. There were two floors beneath the ground floor. On
      one there was a whole hall that looked like something out of a
      psychiatric hospital. Rooms with no windows, some padded, others
      solid metal. The only way to see in was to slid a plate in the door
      that covered a small barred window.

      He went into most f them. It felt even colder down here and his
      hearing seem to pick up the sounds of old, screaming, pleading,
      mumbling, cries for help and laughter. Some of the rooms were torn
      apart, other's had scratch marks in the metal. He came to one, dents
      covered the walls. Who ever it was hit it so hard, knuckle marks
      could be seen. He retracted his right claws and put his fist up to
      it. Perfect match. Did that mean something? He didn't know. There
      was an LM scratched into the bed frame. L…Logan? M…a last name? M
      for mutant? He was jumping at straws but this might at least be
      something!
      Flashbacks hit him hard as he gripped his head in his hands as
      headaches pounded away at his brain. He saw flashes of images but
      before he could make them out, they were gone and the pain seceded.

      This was giving him the creeps big time. He roamed around to the
      bottom floor, smelling the cologne again and gun power.

      He went into room that were mostly bare again. If this place was
      bare then why was some guard here somewhere, what were they trying to
      protect and hide? He came into a room with a tank in the middle of
      it. What was this? Suddenly the headache and flashbacks returned
      and Logan was thrusted back with images from his nightmares, seeing
      bits and pieces, he saw this tank. Drowning in it, screaming, fire!

      He snapped back into reality. It took a while before he'd move or
      breathe for that matter. He saw the computer on the side of the wall.
      It was so old, it had a punch card slot. It also looked updated, as
      the year's technology increased. He wondered it there was something
      in this that would help. He didn't know anything about computers.

      Suddenly he heard footsteps. He hid in the corner around the other
      side of the computer as the guard entered and flashed a flashlight
      around.
      There was another one with him.

      "The door was busted Mike. Someone is in here."
      "Probably some punk kids just goofing off."
      "No matter, General isn't going to like it."
      "Nothin' in here…" and the two continued to chatter and move on.

      Logan waited and waited for about a half hour before moving. The
      footsteps finally were no where within his sound reach. He looked at
      the super computer. Maybe something about him was in there. Where?
      He took apart parts of the computer. What would have info on it that
      he might be able to salvage? He ran into an office and took on of
      the sheets covering and old chair and wrapped all these cards and
      pieces, hoping something would be on it. He couldn't just take the
      whole machine. He prayed to what ever God was in the heavens that he
      was grabbing the right pieces.

      He carefully left and got back to his car. When they find the
      computer messed up security may be too much for him to get back in.
      He drove past two towns that night and camped in the woods, away from
      anyone, hoping he could hide himself. He tried Jean's cell phone, if
      it hadn't froze.
      "I'm sorry, no signal can be detected" it read. Out of area,
      figures! He sat under the fire, holding was could be his past in his
      hands.

      Did he have a wife, kids, a family, his old job? Where he use to
      live? He then thought of Marie. He could be 100! And what was she
      19…a kid…a kid. Those thoughts of doubt lingered forward again now
      that he had time to think. Was he doing the right thing with her?
      He never wanted to hurt her, that would be the last thing. He'd die
      before he ever would!
      If nothing was there, why was it guarded? Should he go back? Maybe
      something he missed. Logan would have to sleep on it.


      The next day he went into a near by town and started asking questions
      to the older folks who have lived there for a while. Most never
      heard of any base, others just ignored him and moved on. Finally one
      gentleman smoking his pipe outside the general store over heard Logan
      ask another man who said, "Sorry son." And walked on home.

      "I heard somethin'" the old guy said.

      After a day of no luck, his ears picked up and he sat down with the
      guy on the rocking swing. It must have been below twenty degrees and
      this guys was out smoking his pipe like the middle of a Florida
      summer.
      "What do you know about Fairmount base?"
      "Why don't we head to my house son, too many ears round here, ya
      know. Besides Margaret will fix us up somethin' good an warm, eh."

      Logan followed the old man for a few blocks and then inside a tiny
      shack home but inside it was hotter then a toaster oven. Logan
      peeled his outer layers and Margaret came in and helped hang the
      coats.
      "Hello. Name's Margaret? And you?"
      "Logan."
      "Well Logan, always a pleasure to have company. I got some soup over
      and I'll bring it in when ready. You wants some coffee while ya wait."
      "Yes mam'."
      "Oh, just call me Maragret, mam' sounds so old!" she smiled and went
      to fetch two cups of coffee.
      "Why you askin'?" Rodger said.
      Logan had to think on his feet here, "A friend of mine I think was
      stationed there. He died and I haven't been able to get any
      information on him."

      "Terrible shame. Don't think you will ever find anything on him,
      sorry to say. Well I'll get right down to it. Back a ways I worked
      in the army not at Fairmount base mind ya, but uh, a file came across
      my desk one day. Everyone says I'm crazy, but I know what I seen. It
      must have been some accident, big mistake. It weren't for me that's
      for sure. Anyway, a file come cross my desk marked Trojan Secret.
      I'm human, curious, so I opened it, despite not have clearance for
      it. It was placed on my desk. I read it right then and there. Had
      all sorts of stuff in it, bout biological weapons, human mutations,
      back before mutants were around. Who knows, could be somethin' they
      created and injected in random humans. Government's done that kind of
      experiments before, especially the American Government mind ya, eh."

      Rodger went silent as Margaret came in and gave the gentleman a tray
      of coffee, sugar and milk and walked back towards the kitchen.

      "I never even told this to her. Anyway talked about army men,
      experiments and all sorts of stuff like one would hear of the Nazi's
      doing back in World War II. I fought in World War II. Terrible
      things I've seen. Ranks right up with what was in that file.
      Whatever the objective was it never said, just Trojan Secret was
      all. I put the file down, went to get some coffee, come back, was
      gone. They took it back, whoever they were. I tried to find who
      ever put it on my desk. No one knew, everyone said I was crazy. I
      don't think I was for a second. Now it mentioned Fairmount base but
      there was no Base at Fairmount that I never saw. I even went
      lookin'… If your friend was involved, it's old dried up news now,
      won't find a thing probably."

      "Do you know what kind of experiments they did on soldiers?"
      "I don't. Just mentioned failure after failure. Again it has been a
      long time ago. I'm 96 son, my body's still tickin' but my mind's
      startin' to forget a bit. I was 22 then, but reading somethin' like
      that, you don't forget it, eh."
      "Soups ready!" Margaret said with a smile.
      Logan and Rodger ate and chatted about this and that, his old
      experiences during the war and Logan listened intently.
      Margaret kept appologizin' for Rodger since he was such a chatter
      box.
      Logan didn't mind it though. He left finally with a thank you. He
      walked in the bitter cold to his truck a few miles south of the
      town.
      He felt in his bones that's where it happened to him, not near
      Laughlin city but at Base 74 at Fairmount, what ever happened to
      him. He wanted to find one of those guards and find out why that
      place was still secret and guarded. He was so close, he didn't want
      to give up.

      That night he walked back and found the door he used before all
      boarded up. He roamed outside until he saw literally his window of
      opportunity. He crawled in and roamed the facility. He hid from a
      pair of guards and found nothing new. He left the way he came and
      just as he almost reached the wooded area, a guard spotted him.

      "Hey you! Freeze!" then bullets flew.

      Logan knew they didn't want him to freeze, and there'd be no fine for
      trespassing then death. He ran into the woods to flee the guards. He
      felt a burn in his shoulder and another in his leg as he tumbled and
      got back up running. Bullets flew and voices shouted at him until
      finally they grew silent and distant. Logan couldn't smell them or
      hear them. He sat for a moment and waited till the bullets that hit
      his leg and shoulder healed. Ten minutes later he made his way to the
      truck.

      He drove for about five miles when stopped by a roadblock in the
      middle of nowhere. Two guards with guns were aimed and ready.

      "Sir, please turn off your engine and step out of the vehicle."

      Logan complied and stood his ground after stepping out of the truck.

      "Hands behind your head and turn around." The order was shouted.

      Logan followed suit till the guy came up behind him, to shoot him,
      cuff him, he didn't know but he gave one fist punch and the guy was
      in the dirt. Before the other guard could comprehend what had
      happened Logan was on his. A knife was draw and Logan disarmed him
      and extended his claws and stabbed him in the gut, he dropped dead.
      A third tried to report in but Logan beat the man to the punch,
      destroying the radio and grabing him by the throat.
      "Who do you work for?"
      The guard did not respond.
      "You wanna live kid?!" the guard couldn't have been more then 25 year
      old.
      "I ain't tell you nothin' freak!"
      "Wrong answer!" and Logan smashed him into a tree.
      "Why are you guarding an empty base, and I'm running out of patients!"
      "Just…just…" the kid could barely speak as Logan had him tight around
      the throat. He loosened up to hear what he had to say.
      "Just following orders!" HE figured the kid probably was right. He
      didn't know anything, hell he wasn't even born when the facility was
      open.

      The guard was loyal at following orders and grabbed for his spare gun
      around his ankles but Logan's quick reflexes cut the man's throat and
      he collapsed into the white snow, staining it red.

      Logan got back in the truck and speed as fast as possible out of
      there and away from Base 74 and Fairmount as fast as the truck could
      drive.

      He laid low in this one motel for a few days and then he'd go home.
      He visited the bar that night, slugging down a few drinks and then
      loafed on the bed and watched some baseball game.
      "Pansy sport." He commented to himself.
      He shut the TV off and decided to give the cell phone one more chance
      to work. It was picking up a signal and he dialed the school.
      He needed to talk to Marie as he saw the claws extend from his
      hands. He felt more like a hunted animal again then a human. Marie
      would remind him that he was loved, that he was a man, not a beast.

      ************

      It was late when the phone rang but Marie, after a few days of pacing
      stormed to the phone first, praying and hoping it was Logan.
      "Hello?" she said.
      "Hey Marie."
      "Logan!" she shouted.
      "I've been so worried about you? Is everything okay. Why haven't you
      called?"
      "I'm fine. The cell phone was out of area, couldn't get a signal."
      "There are pay phones." She said giving him a hard time.
      "Well I can hang up and try to find one…"
      "No! No…no…it's okay." She smiled at his attempt at humor.
      There was an awkward silence. Rogue wanting to ask and Logan waiting
      for her to say it.
      "Did you find anything?" she whispered, hoping yet fearing.
      "I don't know. I got somethin' here laser eye might want to check out
      for me, see if there anything on it. Not much else to really talk
      about over the phone. "
      "I'm sorry."
      "Don't be, not your fault."
      "Are you coming home?"
      "Yeah in a few days. Just gonna take it easy goin' back. Should be
      home by Tuesday though."
      "Miss you."
      "Miss you too kid…Marie." She cringed a bit but understood. He hadn't
      called her that in a long time. It bothered her but she tried to
      shrug it off as normal.
      "Night, sleep well Logan."
      "You too Marie, sweet dreams angel."
      And he hung up.
      Marie's face lit up. He called her angel. She liked the sound of
      that. She skipped back off to bed and Scott watched as she left.
      <<Damn it!>> he thought to himself. <<Now I can't kill him.>> he
      smiled and went off towards his room to get ready for bed himself.

      ***********

      Jean and Xavier were back that next day from DC. They had help
      stopped a bill from getting out of committee in the Senate and began
      formulation of a mutant rights bill in the house with a few pro-
      mutant senators. It was a start but a campaign was in the works for
      an all men are created equal public awareness effort. Jean had
      worked hard and was exhausted.

      She sat down in the teachers' private lounge and turned on the TV…
      "Out of control situation, must register mutants and know what is out
      there in order to stop the disasters from occurring!"
      "I agree!"
      "What about out of control humans!"
      "The Senator Drake of Illinois does not have the floor at this time."
      Jean turned off C-span and turned it to something much lighter like
      the Disney Channel. Felix walked in and noticed Jean almost passed
      out from her week in DC and the files of work on the table in front
      of her.
      "Tired?"
      "Understatement. It will be so nice to have Hank around."
      "He's offered to even teach bio I've heard to help give you a break."
      "Yeah, Ms. Janet Reisling will be coming from the Munich school to
      help out. Everyone is fleeing Europe to come here. How many
      students did you finally decide we are taking?"
      `INS is restricting VISA's like crazy."
      "How many students?" She said serious tone.
      Felix took a deep breath and looked her in the eye. "Five."
      "Five! There were over a 15,000 general mutant applications and I
      know at least 80 were students secretly going to come here."
      "First of all, we can't handle 80 but we can take more then five!"
      "Can't we just pick them up in the jet." Jean said frustrated.
      "Unfortunately no. What ever happened to give us your tired, poor,
      hungry, yearning to be free, or what ever it said."
      "Easy," Jean replied, "politicians."
      She rubbed her temples and saw the folders in his hand. Felix sat
      down beside her and rubbed her shoulders.
      "Oh, my…uuuuuhhhhhhh….that feels sssssoooo good." She said closing
      her eyes. "Can I see the files?"
      "Sure." He stopped and gave them too her and she looked through as he
      continued to give her a back message.
      Scott walked in.
      "I'm fondling your finance if you don't mind?" Felix gave him a grin
      Logan would be proud of.
      Scott just smiled and sat next to Jean.
      "Whatcha doin'?"
      "Looking at our five new students."
      "Not a bad bunch there."
      "Let's see…Kurt Weinser, German kid from Berlin. Has a mutation like
      Simon's, only different physical characteristics. Aqua, from
      Sweden. She's got water, hence the name. Her real name is Karla Von
      Stron. Oh, here's one with telepathy and empathy powers, only ten,
      Javier Domingo from Sevilla, Petr Rabinovitch, from outside Moscow,
      has gift of fire and wind. And these three are on top waiting list…
      This fall should be fun." She said tiredly. Jean yawned. Felix
      handed her over to Scott, who picked her up and carried her to bed.

      "Just a short nap…" Jean said, almost falling asleep before Scott put
      her to bed.


      ****************


      Next Morning most of the kid were off to work when the news exploded
      in New York finally. The extremist group Normality hit in New York
      City. Almost as if in retaliation, Magneto's group killed a city
      judge known for putting mutants in detention facilities. The news
      reported it as foul play suspected. A large X was imprinted on the
      door, a new feature to the recent suicides now being called murders.
      All around the Northeast, X marks were turning up in dead officials,
      businessmen and politicians who were killed that day. Five total.
      The news woman was quoted saying, "These murders were committed by a
      new group of terrorists, an X-man but officials are more likely
      suspecting a group of terrorists and are calling them the X-men."

      A volcano erupted in Xavier's office that afternoon.
      "They're running our name into the mud! Blaming us for this!"
      "No one knows we're the X-men yet, therefore in the future, X-men
      will now have a negative terrorist tone and people will fear us."
      Jean added.
      "How can we stop him?" Storm asked.
      "During my daily search with Cerebro, with them split up so, I was
      able to find Toad and track him to an area, ten miles by ten. From
      there I don't know where he is. We can check it out and in the mean
      time I have provided the officials with some leads. Agreed?"
      "Agreed." Scott confirmed.
      "No one is going to ruin what you've worked for Charles, we won't let
      them!" Scott stated firmly.
      "We can't keep this from the rest of them any longer. We'll have a
      meeting tomorrow night when Logan returns, let all the new recruits
      know what's coming."

      ***************

      Logan called that night to Professor Xavier's office. He notified the
      old man that he'd be home tomorrow night. Xavier kept quiet the
      going on's of the mansion and in New York. He'd debrief Logan when he
      got back. Since there was nothing he could do, might as well not
      worry him yet. Xavier hung up the phone and wheeled to Marie's room.
      She was drawing or trying to.

      "May I come in?"
      "Sure." Marie smiled.
      "Can I see?"
      Rogue hesitated but eventually turned the pad over to show him her
      drawing.
      "Not very good. Figured I might take some lessons or something."
      "I'd recommend it myself." He smiled but they both got a good laugh
      out of her drawing of Jubilee with a Pinnochio nose and Dumbo ears.

      "Logan just called. He let me know he'll be back tomorrow. He didn't
      tell me how his trip came out, I figure I'll talk to him later. How
      is work panning out?"
      "Okay I guess."
      "You guess?"
      "Well it's still hard to grasp books with my gloves sometimes, at
      least the shelves aren't tall. Money is hard to manage too. I've
      told my boss about, about, being a mutant when he told me I shouldn't
      ear gloves to work. But that's it. He said it was okay. I don't
      have to run the register. The bills slide in my hands too easily.
      I've read a lot of good books though."
      "I'm glad to hear it. It will work out okay. Just keep the faith
      Rogue. Ever wonder what else you want to do?"
      "Travel that was about it. It costs money but I figure I can do odd
      jobs to save. I'd like to go to Italy one day, maybe even
      Australia. And Alaska. Never quiet made it there."
      "Who knows…Your dream will come true Rogue, don't ever doubt that.
      You work hard, you have the biggest heart of anyone I know. I'm
      proud of you."
      "Thank you. How was your trip?"
      "Dull, boring and talked so much my throat went horse for a day."
      Xavier smiled and dismissed himself.
      "I am not as young as I use to be. It's getting late and I should go
      to bed."
      "Night professor."
      "Good night Rogue."
      And he left.

      **************

      Katherine, Rogue and St. John drove out to the mall that day. Where
      they worked was close to the big city in a rather ritzy area of
      town. The mall was crowded Tuesday. With school out now, kids are
      everywhere, spending their summer cash and not saving hardly a dime.
      That meant good business and busy days.

      Rogue was helping customers find books and reshelving. St. John was
      serving up Mocha's in the adjoining coffee shop to the bookstore.

      Katherine was just across the way at the department store. After
      lunch break that afternoon it only got more crowded. Rogue worked
      over lunch while Katherine and St. John went out to eat.

      Rogue was helping one gentleman when shouting started to flood the
      Mall. Protesters, look like rich kids and inner city kids together
      screaming "Normality!" down the mall. They were an anti-mutant
      group. All of a sudden Rogue saw someone in the crowd she knew, not
      with Normality kids but with the rest of the passerbyers. It was
      Toad and he was camouflaged. His green skin was gone, thanks to
      probably a lot of cover girl consealer, and he had a woman with him.
      Rogue thought it might be Mystique. She excused herself and ran to
      the coffee shop and told St. John.
      "Are you sure?"
      "It's them!"
      "What are they doing here?"
      "How am I suppose to know?"
      "I'll call Mr. Summers."
      "I'll take my lunch break now and keep an eye on `em. Good thing I
      didn't leave early for lunch today."
      "Hey, be careful." He said with care and love in his voice for his
      friend.
      St. John called and Mr. Sumemr's was out so Felix and Storm were
      coming. He also called the department store, Charolette Russe across
      the way and told Katherine. Rogue came out and stood with the
      watchers, listening to these Normality kids preaching hate. She
      tried her best to hide herself from Toad. He walked one way and then
      Mystique walked another. What happened next seemed too fast for
      Rogue to keep up. Toad jumped up on stage and grabbed one of the
      Normality kids, some 17 year old and jumped through the glass ceiling
      with him. Marie wondered if she should fly off after him. She
      didn't know where he was going or who was waiting for him. The woman
      from what Rogue could tell just smiled and walked away. This scared
      her and she got a bad feeling.

      Marie followed to where the woman was, only to find a timer detonator.
      "Move back, everyone move back!" she shouted and not too many were
      listening. Suddenly it blew and she flew in the air. Her head
      pounded after waking up and there was blood on her arm from being cut
      and a piece of wood was still in it. Katherine brought her back into
      reality and when she woke a huge X marked the stage and dibree was
      everywhere.

      The police and medical team showed up just after Storm and Felix.
      Rogue screamed as the guy tried to touch her…
      "Gloves! Gloves!" he had them on but she still was nervous. He
      removed her own gloves and cut them away to get the piece of wood out
      of her arm. Finally they patched her up and gave her a shot to help
      reduce infection.

      "What is going on?" Storm asked.
      "I saw Toad. I also think the woman I saw could have been Mystique.
      They took some kid."
      "Did you get a good look at the kid?" and officer asked.
      "It was Daniel Rustington." Some other Normality kid replied.
      "Are sure miss?"
      "Yeah that muty freak took `em. They should all burn!"
      "Thank you miss…" and the officer escorted her away from the rest of
      the group to do a few more questions.

      Finally Rogue, St. John and Katherine where allowed to go and they
      left work early to go home.

      "Daniel Rustington!?" Felix said.
      "Ya know him?" Katherine added on the ride home.
      "I know the name Rustington."
      "Who is it?" Storm asked.
      "Andrew P. Rustington is one of the wealthiest New Yorkers. Owns a
      lot of real-estate, head of the city commerce board and is a lawyer
      at the top firm downtown."
      "So what would Magneto want with his kid?"
      "He doesn't represent mutants and has a 100 percent track record of
      putting them behind bars in cases that he is against them. His son
      apparently is following in his father's footsteps. I met Rustington
      at a function once with his wife. She on the other hand is a
      wonderful lady. Why she ever married a jerk like Rustington I'd
      never know."
      "Why they took him… I'm sure the news will find out soon enough."
      Storm added.
      "Should I have flow after toad?" Marie asked unsure. She felt like
      she could have stopped it. Even though the kid hated mutants, being
      taken by magneto was not something she wished upon anyone.

      "NO!" Felix said.
      "I agree, you all did the right thing." Storm said.
      "We have a meeting tonight. We have to fill you in on everything
      we've been working on." Felix said.
      The rest of the car ride was recounts of the afternoon events.

      *************

      The sun faded over the horizon and Logan returned to an empty door
      greeting. He went to Marie's room but she and Jubes weren't there.
      He then heard Xavier in his head. <<Come to my office right away.>>

      It sounded urgent and Logan wondered what could be wrong.
      He hurried only to find the group waiting for a meeting. He saw
      Rogue a bandage on her head and arm. Katherine had a bruise on her
      face as well.

      "What happened to you?" he said cupping her face carefully with her
      hair to cover his hands. He had run right to her side with worry and
      anger.
      "I'm fine." She said, "just good to have you back." She gave him a
      hug and sat right next to his as he wrapped his arm around her
      shoulder, holding her tight.
      "I'll explain everything." Xavier added.
      "Well, let's hear it." Logan said eagerly.

      He filled then in on Normality and their terrorist type activities.
      Plus Magneto, and how they might have found his new hide out in
      Maine, his X-men terrorist attacks on anti-mutant officials, and his
      possibility of new recruits and assassinations.
      "Now this recent event has change a few things. Our new first
      priority is to get Daniel Rustington back from Magneto."
      "Why should we help a sniveling brat who thinks we should be put to
      death?" Logan asked.
      "Because if the X-men recover the young man and safely return him to
      his parents that A, might help clear the X-men name, and B," Xavier
      was interrupted.
      "The kid might not think all mutants are that bad," Bobby added.
      "I hope?"
      "Fat chance." Logan said.
      "I actually have to agree with Logan." Felix said.
      "So where do you think this guy is Charles?" Ororo asked.
      "Scott?' he turned the floor over to him.
      "We've narrowed down his location to this remote area of Maine. But
      he may also have a separate hold in Vermont. After St. John called us
      Xavier tracked them to Vermont with Cerebro, paying close attention
      to Toad's brain waves."
      "He has brain waves?" Logan joked.
      Scott just gave him a let's-get-serious look.
      "So let's go there and grab the kid and go?" Logan said.
      "It's not that simple." Jean added.
      "Nothing ever is…" Logan mumbled and Rogue gave him a quick gab in
      the ribs to shut him up.
      "From the past murders of public anti-mutant advocates, we guess that
      he has three new mutants and if the woman Rogue saw wasn't Mystique
      then that makes four. What mutations they have and how his facility
      is guarded, we have to find out."
      "How did you find this out?"
      "Video analysis, small details at the crime scene. There were
      mutants involved that is a fact."
      "So have they made any demands yet?" Jubilee asked.
      "Not yet, so while they wait, we have to do a little snooping of our
      own."
      So what's the plan?" Rogue waited patiently to figure out just how
      their leader was going to organize this mess…
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