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FIC: Causa Anima [17/18] [PG-13]

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  • tosh
    Causa Anima by Nancy Lorenz. E-mail: tosh@opera.iinet.net.au Rating: PG-13. Some violent, disturbing themes. Swearing. Archive: XMMFF, WRFA. All else, all
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 12, 2001
      Causa Anima
      by Nancy Lorenz.

      E-mail: tosh@...
      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, and Shana Nolan. Love
      ya's alls mates!
      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.
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      Chapter Seventeen:
      Alarm

      The mood of the team in the briefing room that day was that of
      tension, of anxiety. It had the muted air of a force defeated.
      It was not a morale that the Professor particularly liked, but
      under the current circumstances, he couldn't very well blame his
      charges for their feelings. Storm, Beast, Rogue, Logan and
      Cyclops sat around the table. To the far end of the room, in
      front of a large wide-screen projector stood Jean, arms wrapped
      around herself, features drawn in stoic determination as she
      looked at what was on the screen.

      It was a DNA string. Next to it were two cells... a virus and
      an antibody. Her brown brows were tilted. "The information we
      garnered from the government server was extensive," she said, the
      light from above the table reflecting in her fine-rimmed
      spectacles. "Hank and I collaborated on interpreting the data,
      and Kitty assisted in helping us access the mail files and
      converting them to text files. I wish I could say what we found
      was nothing to be concerned about..." She ran her fingertips
      over her lips, taking a moment to collect herself. "It is. What
      you see in this projection is the contingency plan of the United
      States government in dealing with what they call the 'Mutant
      Problem'. It's a problem they feel they need to control, and
      the Legacy Project is their answer."

      Rogue frowned. "Legacy... isn't that what all those files 'r'
      called?"

      Jean nodded. "Legacy is the codename for their defense against
      mutant-kind - the viral body you see before you now."

      Rogue felt a yawn inside of her. A virus... they were making
      viruses to deal with them?

      Professor Xavier's brows knitted, and he pulled in a steady
      breath. "What does this virus do?"

      "Thankfully it's still in development, so this virus may not
      exist yet." She pulled a laser-pointer from her pocket and
      clicked it on. "What you see here is a healthy human cell." The
      red point of light floated around the much larger of the two
      cells. "It has a nucleus, and all the chemicals and bodies
      needed to create more cells of it's kind. Viruses are, very
      simply, packages of RNA or DNA encased in a protein shell, that
      invade healthy cells and use their replication material to
      procreate. Without healthy cells, viral bodies are helpless,
      and cannot multiply." She pressed a button on her laptop and the
      slide changed. The picture was now of a close-up of a DNA
      string, and a close-up of a viral body. In both of these were
      highlighted segments. "This particular virus, the Legacy Virus,
      needs the existence of a particular DNA sequence in its host to
      activate. Without it, the cell ejects the foreign material and
      the virus is flushed out of the body. The government have dubbed
      this DNA sequence the X-Factor gene."

      "Catchy title," rumbled Logan.

      Jean eyed Logan unappreciatively for a long moment before
      continuing. "From here on in it gets a little complicated. To
      put it simply, once the virus locates this x-factor gene, it
      absorbs it into its RNA and replicates. The virus goes through
      the body this way, targeting the special systems that are
      responsible for a mutants' abilities. The mutant slowly loses
      their abilities, till they're no longer present in their bodies."

      Rogue felt herself glancing to Logan, her heart thumping in fear.

      Silence dampened the room, the Professor weaving his fingers
      together and bringing them to his jaw, leaning on them dourly.
      "Did you manage to find out how they were planning to utilize
      this virus?"

      "Affirmative," said Jean, pressing the laptop again. A tree
      diagram was up on the wall, all leading up to National Security.
      "This project is funded by the Department of National Security.
      I can only assume that the president knows about this. It's a
      project that would have been under the highest of secrecy. For
      Magneto to have found out, he would have had to have someone on
      the inside. Of course, he does have someone on the inside."

      "Senator Kelly," supplied Xavier.

      "Exactly," said Jean. "Another project we saw mentioned in mails
      and documents, also funded by the DNS is 'Project Sentinel'.
      From the context in the messages and the incredibly brief
      descriptions we were able to gather, it doesn't refer to
      something medical. It's a defense project. In one document,
      they referred to using the Project Legacy in lieu with Project
      Sentinel to gain total control of all dangerous mutants. The
      word 'sentinel' connotes someone that stands guard. I have a
      feeling it's some form of policing project, with mutants in mind
      as the target." Jean turned off the pen and the slide show,
      folding shut her laptop.

      Eyes were down turned and hands clasped together, a darkness in
      the usually bright brave features. One by one they looked to
      their leader, Professor Xavier, their need for his wisdom, his
      guidance, his calm, painfully evident. He lifted his head
      proudly, sighing a little, looking to his team with a quiet
      defiance.

      "This shall not slow our work," he said. "We will fight this,
      however, we will do it as X-Men. It won't be easy, trying to
      combat something like this, and staying within the confines of
      the law. Unlike our renegade counterparts, we will not take
      human life. We will not endanger those that cannot defend
      themselves against us. And as always, we will defend our human
      neighbours from our own kind and any unjust acts that mutants may
      try to inflict upon them."

      Logan clenched his teeth, hazel-green eyes flashing with anger.
      "So while these bastards try to take away what makes us who we
      are, we're gonna smile and hand 'em our freedom as well?"

      Xavier's eyes grew cool then. "No, Logan. As I said... we will
      fight them." He sighed, looking down, a dent of sadness in his
      brow. "This is a war, after all."

      A bleep chirped from the console beside Xavier, and he pressed a
      button at it.

      "Professor, I know you only want us to use this button in
      emergencies, but I think it kinda counts as one and-"

      Xavier's expression softened a touch, and he fought to keep the
      smile off his face. "Slow down, Jubilee, and tell me what's
      wrong."

      "It's the news sir... you guys are on it."

      ---------------------------------------------------

      The energetic voice of the news reporter spoke over the muted
      whirr of helicopters, the slightly shaking camera work detailing
      the destruction left from the night before. Policemen staggered
      into ambulances, trails of blood dribbling down their harried
      features. A shot cut in of four men carrying away officers on
      stretchers... both of them enveloped in vinyl body bags. The
      children about the television looked on in horror, holding
      themselves, covering their mouths or just shaking their heads in
      disbelief. One boy looked back at Cyclops, a frown of worry on
      his face.

      "You didn't do that, did you Mr. Summers? You didn't kill
      people, right?"

      Cyclops' jaw tightened a little as his expression hardened. "No,
      Jake, that was the other guys."

      "What other guys?"

      "The Brotherhood."

      Rogue gasped, "Oh mah God..."

      On the screen was suddenly shaky footage of a group of people
      creeping in front of the building. Two broke away from the main
      group, and these two the cameraman followed. One was taller,
      obviously masculine, the other was shorter with dark hair and a
      shock of platinum bolts.

      "Footage of the perpetrators was enhanced by the FBI," nattered
      the television reporter. "From the two groups of people leaving
      the complex, only one mutant was identified." A fuzzy infrared
      image of a tired old face in a smooth round helmet was flashed on
      screen in a small yellow border. "This man was imprisoned last
      year for an attack on the International Summit from the Statue of
      Liberty. The attack irreparably damaged the statue, the
      structural integrity of the extended arm insufficient to allow
      repairs. Erik Lenscherr was sentenced to life imprisonment at an
      undisclosed location, which was inexplicably discovered. He
      escaped when followers of his militia group laid siege to the top
      secret government installation, destroying the very
      infrastructure of the building itself."

      Another picture flashed upon the screen - it was the dark shady
      figures of the X-Men fleeing the scene. "The second group of
      unidentified mutants are thought to be a separate entity from
      Lenscherr's self-proclaimed 'Brotherhood of Mutants', though they
      are still suspects in this attack. They arrived half an hour
      later to the scene, the Brotherhood suspects fleeing shortly
      afterwards. Computer enhancement was able to salvage this image
      from the news footage." Another image swept out from the picture
      of the X-Men. It was a zoomed in picture of Logan's belt, the
      yellow of the 'x' belt buckle proudly spelling out his
      affiliation to anyone with the right knowledge. "Witnesses claim
      that the second group all wore uniforms, each one bearing an 'x'
      similar to this one. Are they a highly organized vigilante
      group? Are they terrorists? Officials say that from the
      differentiating behaviour of the two groups, and the actions of
      the two, that the 'X-Group' may have been there to stop
      Lenscherr's Brotherhood." The report cut to a swarthy
      police-chief, talking to a reporter beside the camera.

      "From eye-witness reports we were able to gather that the second
      group were highly organized, and highly focused. They did not
      inflict any harm on our officers. All they seemed to be
      interested in was getting inside of the building."

      "Are you saying that this second group are innocent of the damage
      the lab suffered?"

      "No," the Police Chief said. "Not at all. They still trespassed
      upon private government property, and they need to be detained
      and questioned, despite what their intentions were. This is a
      serious crime and we need to find out what went on here tonight."

      "What is your response to speculation that the two groups may
      have been working together?" asked the reporter.

      "Current evidence doesn't point to that scenario, but it is a
      possibility. Not a very strong one, but a possibility
      none-the-less."

      Jubilee turned from the television screen, looking to the
      Professor, voice soft and eyes sad. "They said that a reporter
      and five news crew died. Thirty policemen died, Professor. From
      organ rupture and burns and stuff."

      The Professor laid a hand on the girl's shoulder. "I know
      Jubilee."

      Rogue massaged her brow, eyes closed, a crease of stress between
      them. "What are we gonna do, Professor? They think we're
      terrorists. This'll give the Government even more reason to
      neuter us of our powers."

      Xavier sighed, rolling his chair away from the television. "I
      was hoping it wouldn't come to this, but it is not totally
      unexpected." He pressed his lips together. "Our level of
      secrecy has always been of high priority, but now it's importance
      is of even more consequence than previously imagined." He
      trundled away from the sitting room, away from the stunned groups
      of children. The X-Men followed him slowly. "I knew that the
      X-Men would one day be identified, and I was hoping it would have
      been under much more favourable circumstances." He sighed.
      "Although our introduction to society is less than amiable, our
      actions shall speak for us and hopefully clear our name."

      From behind Rogue, Logan folded his arms. "And what actions are
      those?"

      Xavier looked to Logan. "That of a peaceful group, a group
      formed to help society, not thwart it."

      The X-Men trailed behind Xavier in silence as they made their way
      back to the briefing room. Although their collective mood was
      that of defeat, somehow, despite their dire circumstances, there
      was hope.

      ----------------------------------------------
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