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FIC: X-Book 1 New Allies New Enemies, PG-13, Chpt 21

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  • Kathleen
    X-Book 1: New Allies New Enemies - Chapter 21 - More Questions Than Answers Rating: PG-13 By: Kath713/Leen713 Summary: (See Book 1: Prologue) Disclaimer: I own
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 12, 2004
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      X-Book 1: New Allies New Enemies - Chapter 21 - More Questions Than
      Answers

      Rating: PG-13

      By: Kath713/Leen713

      Summary: (See Book 1: Prologue)

      Disclaimer: I own nothing associated with characters from the Marvel
      universe or any previously published work.

      Author's Note: As I pull more crossovers into this story, I'll
      restate that I own none of them. These are just my own ramblings
      and expression in appreciation for stories and movies I've
      enjoyed.
      I just want to see what happens when they're all thrown into the
      blender and someone hits `purée.' Dammit...now I want a
      milkshake...

      ***

      Chapter Twenty-One:

      "Systems Operations Incorporated," Xavier said as he stared
      down at the aged document, "That is a name I have not heard in a
      long time..."

      The Professor tapped his fingers on the armrest of his wheel chair.
      He was examining the paper under a large projection lamp, which also
      scanned the information into the computer for further analysis.
      Logan stood to his left with his arms folded across his broad
      chest. Scott and Storm were sitting at opposing consoles, tapping
      quickly at their keyboards.

      "So...you know what it is then?" Logan asked with a deep
      frown, "That place I found, you've heard of it before..."

      "Oh, yes," Xavier replied, "As would any stock market
      investor from twenty-five or thirty years ago. It was a corporation
      that specialized in chemical and plastics manufacturing...at least,
      to the public. It was widely suspected that the company also
      developed and sold weapons...and not only to the American
      government."

      "What kind of weapons?" Logan asked, flexing one hand and
      feeling the metal blades against the bones of his wrist. Xavier
      turned his chair and glanced up at him.

      "Human weapons..." he replied honestly, and then explained,
      "Fifty years ago, the government created a new branch called the
      Department of Scientific Investigations. Its primary purpose was
      for the advancement of scientific research in all fields from
      medical to aviation. However, as the `mutant phenomenon'
      began to gain public interest, a new facility was built specifically
      for studies of the human mind. Its nickname was the SHOP..."

      Scott frowned and glanced at the Professor, "I thought that was
      an urban legend...the only place I've ever heard about the SHOP
      was on those late night `unexplained mysteries' shows..."

      Xavier nodded knowingly, "A public perception that was
      purposefully created. When the SHOP facilities were destroyed,
      which was nearly forty years ago, the evidence of what had once been
      happening there was quickly disposed of, and what better place to
      hide the truth but in an `urban legend.' Common public
      knowledge but not publicly believed."

      "What did happen there, Professor?" Storm asked.

      "Essentially," Xavier explained, "The scientists there
      discovered a chemical that activated a dormant mutant gene,
      typically enhancing it to a point that use of one's abilities
      actually deteriorated the mind itself. They called it the `Lot
      Program,' and began with twelve test subjects, all of which
      eventually went mad or were killed..."

      "And what does this `SHOP' have to do with the documents
      I found?" Logan interrupted quickly.

      "After the SHOP was destroyed," Xavier continued, "The
      `Lot Program' was abandoned...until certain individuals
      associated with Systems Operations realized how lucrative the
      development of human weapons could be...especially considering how
      quickly governments around the world were searching for ways to
      control the `mutant problem.' What better way to deal with
      mutants but with their own powerful mutant weapons."

      Logan let out a disgusted and angry sigh and paced around the room.
      The memories of his fight with the clawed woman at Alkalai Lake
      floated through his mind. Mutant weapons...how many others were
      there?

      "Why would they continue the program if all the original subjects
      died?" Storm asked, a strange coldness filling her eyes.

      "Because the `Lot Program' was not considered a
      failure," Xavier said darkly, "The subjects did show enhanced
      mental abilities and some did live past the original
      experiment..."

      "Is this still going on?" Logan interrupted again, and Xavier
      was patient with the man's anger, "Is this company still
      doing this `Lot' shit?"

      Xavier shook his head, "No, not for at least twenty-five years,
      as is evident by the facility you found, Logan. The Systems
      Operations main offices were destroyed in a similar manner as the
      SHOP facilities. After that, there were very few organizations,
      whether through government or private funding, interested in
      developing living mutant weapons."

      "How was it destroyed?" Logan asked.

      "By fire," Xavier replied, "A very controlled, very
      purposeful fire."

      "By a mutant..." Storm said quietly.

      "Yes, I believe so..." Xavier said.

      "Where did you learn all this, Professor?" Scott asked,
      "How come you've never told us about this?"

      Xavier smiled sadly, "I learned about the `Lot Program'
      about thirty years ago...when I worked with an old friend of mine in
      England."

      "Magneto?" Logan asked firmly, wanting to confirm who
      Xavier's `old friend' was.

      Xavier nodded, "Yes. When Erik and I were younger, we were
      associated with a watch group of a sort, which was based in London.
      There, we were able to monitor the increasing rate of mutant
      activity around the world and locate those in danger. It was there
      that we developed the first prototype for Cerebro."

      Xavier glanced around at the others, who were watching him intently.

      "With that prototype," he continued, "I located the
      signature of a very powerful mutant traveling through the middle of
      the United States. When Erik and I were sent to meet this young
      woman, we began discovering the truth about the SHOP and the
      `Lot' experiments. After she told us her story, she
      disappeared, and I have never been able to locate her again. Erik
      was so disturbed by her revelations that he tried to convince our
      `Council' to take action against those organizations who were
      using mutants unwillingly in such a horrific manner."

      Xavier looked down sadly, "However, they refused to interfere
      with anything associated with the `mutant phenomenon,'
      considering it not to be of their concern or their
      responsibility..."

      "I guess that didn't sit well with Magneto," Scott
      replied.

      "Indeed," Xavier agreed, "To say he was dissatisfied with
      their response would be quite an understatement."

      Storm frowned and shook her head, "But, you said you learned all
      this from a young woman..."

      "Yes," Xavier said, "She was barely twenty when I met
      her..."

      "So, say she's in her late-thirties or early forties
      now," Storm continued, "How did she know so much about what
      had happened at the SHOP? She would have only been a child when it
      was destroyed..."

      Xavier sighed, "Because her parents were two of the original test
      subjects of the `Lot Program.' As far as I know, she is the
      sole living product of those experiments...if she is still
      alive..."

      "And she had her own gifts?" Scott asked and Xavier nodded.

      "Oh, yes," he said, "Extremely powerful gifts...which she
      was learning to repress due to their destructiveness."

      "And they were after her..." Logan said, "Right?
      That's why she ran again..."

      Xavier nodded solemnly, "First, the SHOP, then Systems
      Operations. She was a weathered traveler for one so young, and I
      don't think even Erik could have kept her from running again."

      "And you have no idea where she might be?" Logan asked.

      "None," Xavier replied, "As I've said, the project
      was abandoned by all those involved and it's been nearly
      twenty-five years since our first and only meeting."

      Logan frowned, "Could it be possible...that someone is looking
      for her again?"

      Xavier looked at Logan curiously, wondering what had prompted the
      question.

      "Back at that compound," Logan continued, "It looked like
      somebody had been there before me. Recently. Doors smashed in, the
      file room had been torn apart, most of the equipment destroyed, but
      by the way the rest of the place looked I don't think it was done
      by the ones who worked there. Nothing else looked like it had been
      touched."

      Xavier frowned thoughtfully, "I suppose it is possible. Was
      there any thing that could have given proof as to whom had been
      there?"

      "Yeah," Logan said, and then sighed (which sounded like a
      quiet growl) before speaking again, "The walls...the metal
      walls...looked like they had been clawed..."

      He clenched his fists before continuing.

      "...five clean marks...like Stryker's personal assistant back
      at Alkalai Lake."

      Scott raised his eyebrows but his face was grim, "You mean that
      woman who attacked me at Magneto's cell? Do you think it could
      be her?"

      Logan scoffed rudely, but spoke softly, "Only if it was a
      ghost..."

      Xavier gazed at him intently, knowing enough of what happened to
      Logan in Stryker's base to understand what he meant. But, was it
      possible she survived both the fight with Logan and the flood? It
      did seem impossible. However, she had possessed the same healing
      powers as Logan. Could it be her...or could there be still others
      more who were also subjected to Stryker's experiments?

      "How long ago would you say the previous break in had occurred?"
      Xavier asked.

      Logan shrugged, "Only a month or two, but the scent was
      faint..."

      "Could it have been prior to the events of eight months ago?"
      Xavier asked.

      "No," Logan replied and then repeated thoughtfully, "No,
      these marks were newer than that."

      Xavier sat for a moment in silent thought, considering the
      possibilities carefully. The others waited respectfully for his
      response.

      "Well," he began, "Let's wait and see what we restore
      from the video and what other information the computer can give us
      about these documents. I won't make assumptions about any
      possible threats this situation may incur without more solid facts.
      However, I do believe, given the history behind that facility, this
      does warrant our further investigation. If there is someone out
      there looking to reinitiate the `Lot Program,' we must find
      out who it is…and why."

      "How long do you think that'll take?" Logan said and
      Storm shrugged.

      "It's hard to tell," She replied, "There's not
      much film here that hasn't been exposed or damaged. Give me a
      few hours and then check back in…"

      Logan nodded, and turned back to Xavier. A sudden change came over
      Logan's face, the hard, angry glare fading into a calm, almost
      pleasant grin.

      The pair headed out into the hall and back towards the elevator,
      leaving Scott and Storm to decipher Logan's discoveries.

      "How's the kid been?" he asked and Xavier smiled.

      "She's been doing very well," the Professor replied,
      "She's become quite an active member of the team. She's
      been working with Storm and Dr. McCoy regularly. I think the other
      students have begun to see her as more of an adult instead of a
      peer."

      "Yeah," Logan said, "Well, she's been through more
      than most adults."

      "Very true," Xavier replied, "I think working with the
      younger students has helped her recapture some of that lost
      innocence. However, I believe she's permanently absorbed your
      temper."

      Logan chuckled, "I'm glad she got my best quality."

      They reached the elevator, and, as Logan stepped inside, Xavier
      threw him one last glance.

      "By the way," he called with amusement, "When you see
      Rogue or Bobby, let them know…their uniforms will be coming in
      next week."

      Logan grinned again and nodded, figuring both of the kids would be
      glad to hear those were arriving sooner than he had predicted.

      ***
      Archived at www.fanfiction.net/~leen713
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