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Here There Be Monsters, Chapter 5 (Logan/Ororo Pairing, Rating 'R' for strong language and violence)

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  • Stormwolfe
    Title: Here There Be Monsters Authors: Stormwolfe and Tinhutlady E-mail: Stormwolfe@mindspring.com and Tinhutlady@yahoo.com
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 23, 2004
      Title: Here There Be Monsters

      Authors: Stormwolfe and Tinhutlady

      E-mail: Stormwolfe@... <mailto:Stormwolfe@...> and
      Tinhutlady@... <mailto:Tinhutlady@...>

      Rating: R, story contains violence, strong language, and suggested
      sexual situations.

      Summary: As for a summary, let's see, we've got aliens, mutants, the
      military, and evil scientists. How on Earth are we going to peg this? I
      mean, what more could anyone ask for? (Grins)

      *Story Notes: This story is based on the ending of the novelization of
      X-2, X-Men United. Therefore, Jean is not dead.*

      Notes Stormwolfe: I realize that there are many Predator and Predator VS
      Alien novels on the market. *I have not read them.* Most of the basic
      information regarding Predator was taken from the two movies. The names,
      background on his culture and society, etc. were completely fabricated
      to suit this story.

      Notes from Tinhutlady: I'm so glad Stormwolfe offered me the chance to
      work with her on this. It has been a blast! I love action scenarios like
      this and she really let me have a go at it. Many, many thanks to you,
      lady, and to LaDonaJ_Rose (Rabbit); you two are wonderful.

      Category: Crossover/Alternate Universe. The X-Men characters are
      portrayed as closely to canon as possible per the various Marvel comic
      universes, cartoons, and movies. Familiarity means that my (our) writing
      leans heavily on Movieverse and artistic license has been taken where

      Disclaimer: The X-Men and the X-Men movies are the properties of Marvel
      Comics, Inc. and 20^th Century Fox Studios. Predator belongs to 20^th
      Century Fox. No copyright infringement intended in any way.

      Dedication from Stormwolfe: To LaDonaJ_Rose for superb beta'ing as
      always and just being a Rabbit. Wolverine6Claws (for help with a
      particular scene, thanks sugar) and X-MenLoganFan for test reading,
      input, general support, and just being friends. Last but far from least,
      Tinhutlady - for taking on this project and putting so very much into
      it! What a blessing to have such wonderful friends and writing companions.

      *Here There Be Monsters*

      *Chapter 5*

      Dunst squared her shoulders and motioned for the others to back away.
      She gripped the female mutant's arm tightly to prevent escape but there
      was not really a need. The female was in bad shape and numbly followed
      where she was led. Dunst nodded and the door in front of her opened. The
      creature stood as she entered the arena, pulling the mutant with her. As
      the door behind her closed, Dunst lifted her chin. This thing respected
      strength and women so would not harm her. She repeated this mantra to
      herself as she watched the alien approach. It stopped, assessing her,
      she was sure. Well, she would show it her power and she would become its

      She pushed the mutant in front of her and then grabbed its white hair
      and pulled backwards, forcing the mutant to its knees. Dunst kept her
      eyes locked on the alien as she drew her pistol and slammed it against
      the mutant's skull, knocking it insensible. She let it fall to the floor
      and held up her now empty hand.

      Dunst loudly voiced the command word for 'kill' that McDaniel had been
      trying to teach the creature. She pointed to the mutant on the floor and
      kicked its body. Again, she repeated the command and watched with
      pleasure as the creature moved closer, intent on the mutant's body. It
      picked up the female mutant and looked back at her. Dunst nodded and
      said the word one more time. The creature turned and started to walk off
      with the mutant. Patricia felt her heart soar. She had done it. It would
      obey her. Her power over both Stryker and McDaniel secured, she gave an
      arrogant thumbs up to the watching faces in the control room above her,
      and then turned her attention back to the alien. It had set the mutant
      down and had touched its neck, then ran a hand down the female's
      abdomen. It rose, making fists with its massive hands as it walked
      slowly back to Dunst. She held up a hand, palm facing it.

      "Stop!" She commanded. It kept coming. "No!" she raised her pistol but
      it batted the gun aside easily. Frightened now, she glanced up at the
      control room. Why didn't they activate the collar? A massive hand shot
      out and gripped her throat, tightening with incredible strength. She
      felt her eyes begin to pop out of her skull and her tongue thicken and
      fill her mouth. She couldn't scream. Dunst tried to fire her gun but
      something was wrong. A white-hot pain wrenched her shoulder and she
      barely saw the creature fling aside an object that looked like her arm
      before she felt something grab her hair.

      - - -

      Stryker entered the control room and approached McDaniel. "I noticed
      your major absconding with my mutant again. I say, McDaniel, I must
      protest. I need her eggs now that she's lost the fetus."

      McDaniel's cold gray eyes settled on the unwelcome visitor. "My title is
      Colonel and I suggest you use it, Doctor." He stressed the last word
      sarcastically before he turned back to the report in front of him on the
      desk. "I have no idea what you're talking about. I did try to offer your
      mutant more merciful treatment than your lab had in mind. The fact the
      alien did not kill her still confuses me." He studied the report again
      and then rose to hit a button on a machine. The replay of the alien and
      the mutant fighting ended the same way no matter how many times he
      watched it. The alien actually knelt in front of her, refusing to kill.
      "I don't get it. He was fighting her and was ready to strike. Why didn't

      Stryker leaned over and peered out the observation window, sticking his
      hand into his pocket and gripping the remote tightly. "Perhaps we'll
      find out now. That major of yours seems quite plucky, taking the
      creature on like that."

      McDaniel hesitated only a moment before rushing to the window. "What are
      you talking...No! Dunst shouldn't be in there! He'll kill her!" He
      grabbed for his radio and started issuing commands as he fumbled for the
      remote to the creature's collar. He clicked the slim black instrument
      again and again, pointing it at the creature. "Get her out of there!" he
      yelled into the radio. Frustrated, he dropped it and struck the glass.
      "Dunst! Get out now!" Again, he clicked the remote, unable to do more as
      the creature advanced on the Major.

      Stryker eyed the scene with clinical detachment. "A bit brutal, but
      highly effective, don't you think?"

      McDaniel felt ill. Dunst might still be alive but he could not risk
      sending anyone in with that thing, not without the secondary control
      measure activated. He slammed a palm on the dial that controlled the
      atmosphere in the arena, twisting it harshly, knowing it would take
      twenty minutes for a room that size to cool down to the temperature needed.

      Meanwhile the creature just kept ripping Dunst apart, piece-by-piece. He
      needed the alien alive, McDaniel said to himself. At all costs, it had
      to be kept alive. One final display below and McDaniel felt his guts
      rush to his mouth. Helpless to stop it, he vomited, all the while
      wondering why Dunst had gone into the arena and why the collar had not

      "Yes, a very effective demonstration." Stryker said absently as he
      continued to clamp his hand on the remote in his pocket.

      *- - -*

      K'Ha'Lon-Ka slowly pulled the filter tubes away and released the helmet
      clasps. He needed to examine her closely for damage and the shield would
      interfere so he raised the helmet and dropped it to the floor, kneeling
      beside the little female for a better look. He extended his outer
      mandibles and inhaled. There was blood, yes, but not enough. She was
      still alive; her heart was beating, though not as strongly as it had
      before. He glanced over at the now cooling body parts of the other
      female, the human. She would never breathe again; he had made sure of
      that. He turned back and touched the blood stained clothes on the little
      female. They had taken her embryo. She was no longer with child. He
      could now kill her and put her out of her misery but something in him
      hesitated. Her hands had touched him in an effort to heal. Perhaps she
      was like the females of his kind who loved life and children and fought
      with energy and passion to keep things alive. Her hair was so soft, he
      thought, and he absently ran his fingers through it as he waited for her
      to wake up, hoping it would be soon, before he could not communicate
      with her again.

      He could feel the room cooling and grimaced. They had not activated the
      collar and he had been glad for the opportunity to rip the other human
      apart. Her structure was of no worth to him. Her skull and bones were
      not the same clean specimens as the female in front of him. Still, he
      wondered why the collar had not punished him. Did it no longer work? He
      sighed. It did not matter; they were going to take the little female
      away from him once the room cooled beyond his ability to function and he
      growled as he thought of her back in their hands.

      - - -

      McDaniel clicked the radio again. "Anderson, report to the control room,

      He raised his head and watched the good doctor click his tongue
      reprovingly, still with his nose pressed against the window. "Anderson!"
      He stood on shaky legs and made it to the monitor station where he began
      to flip through the various camera views. "Shit!"

      Immediately he felt Stryker breathing heavily over his shoulder. "More
      problems, Colonel?"

      They watched in disbelief as military men fought an enraged Weapon X,
      the scene eerie in its muted silence. The display from the security
      monitor indicated the fight was raging in front of the arena door that
      Dunst had dragged the female mutant through.

      "He must have recovered and killed the rest of my staff," muttered
      Stryker testily. Then, in an entirely different voice, he barked out,
      "He tracked her here. Open the arena door. Let the fight go in there. He
      won't rest until he finds her and now we can at least contain them all
      in one room."

      Before McDaniel could recover from hearing a Southern accent from
      Stryker, the doctor reached over and hit the door switch with his free
      hand. Instantly, the melee fell into the arena and the door closed
      behind them, sealing them in. Stryker ran to the window as McDaniel
      headed to the door of the control room to grab the armed guard outside.
      Sergeant Hicks and his crew were just about to enter and both the
      Colonel and Hicks' men skidded to a halt.

      "Sir, there's been an accident in the lab, the male mutant's on the
      loose, and none of our radios are working."

      "Get in here and grab hold of that damned crazy doctor," McDaniel roared.

      - - -

      K'Ha'Lon-Ka watched the door open again but was surprised to see a fight
      spill into the room instead of the usual humans and their shock sticks.
      His eyes narrowed. The one in the center, the one killing, and maiming
      the rest of the humans was not human. He quickly glanced at the little
      female and back. This one's bone structure looked similar to humans but
      its composition was anything but and its heat signature was akin to the
      little female's, only different all over instead of just around the
      skull and eyes. The room was still cooling and he was finding it harder
      and harder to move but he rose and placed himself between the combatants
      and the soft-haired female, determined that she not be harmed any
      further. There was something on the male's hands, some kind of metal and
      it used it to great advantage but even K'Ha'Lon-Ka's eyes flew wide when
      one of the metal gloves sheared in two and claws emerged from the
      warrior's now free hand. The weapons the humans were firing at the male
      were suddenly cut into pieces and so were the humans. Bodies now piled
      around him, the remaining male turned to K'Ha'Lon-Ka, who backed up a
      step in recognition of such lethal weaponry. He extended his lower
      mandibles and let loose a roar of challenge, knowing he was too stiff to
      take the male on in a fair fight but wanting to try for the little
      female's sake.

      Logan blinked. What faced him was unlike anything he had ever seen
      before and he muttered, "You are one ugly motherfucker, aren't you?"
      before catching a glimpse of what lay beyond the creature. "No!"

      He ran toward Ororo only to be blocked by the creature. He bristled and
      the creature did the same, matching growl for growl. Toe to toe, they
      crouched, neither willing to give and each ready to die until a small
      sound brought both of them around sharply.

      "No! Please..."

      Instantly, Logan maneuvered around the slowing creature and half-scooped
      Ororo off the floor, keeping his claws at the ready in case the alien
      attacked. Her arms around his neck felt wonderful and he closed his eyes
      just for a second. Then he straightened and helped her to a sitting
      position, all the while keeping the other male in sight.

      Ororo made a feeble motion toward her collar and then tapped the
      remaining glove on Logan's hand. Puzzled, Logan watched as the creature
      nodded and sat down.

      "Logan," she began, "he's been collared just like me. They punish him
      with cold. That is why the room is so cool. As soon as he is down, they
      will come in and take us. They are afraid of him."

      "I don't blame them," Logan replied, "Ororo, I..."

      "Logan, I had a miscarriage. They took our baby." She began to cry and
      he sheathed the claws on his good hand to wipe her tears away.

      "I know. I found out." He clung to her for a moment then broke away and
      stroked her hair. "I'm going to cut your collar off. We need to get out
      of here."

      She pointed to the creature. "Help him too."

      "Ororo," Logan began, wanting to make it clear to her that she was his
      main priority but was interrupted.

      "Rrrrorrrroooo." They both looked at the alien, and he nodded, satisfied
      that he had their attention. He pointed to himself and tried not to
      shiver with the cold; this was something important he wanted to do
      before the humans came and took these two away. "K'Ha'Lon-Ka."

      Logan's sensitive hearing caught the subtle nuances of clicks and purrs
      but knew his tongue could never reproduce them. He frowned and tried anyway.


      The alien gave a brief nod. They now knew his name - at last, he was
      able to communicate with something other than the humans. He pointed to
      Ororo and repeated, "Rrrrorrrorrroo?"

      Her eyes softened and she reached out to him as she nodded in
      affirmation. He touched her warm fingertips with his own frigid ones
      then, with difficulty, pointed to Logan.

      "Logan. His name is Logan." Ororo made sure to pronounce clearly but did
      not speak loudly.

      "Lllgnnnnn." The effort was brutally taxing and K'Ha'Lon-Ka felt the
      room spin a little as he fell to his side. "Rrrrorrrroooo."

      Logan eyed him but nodded, "I see what you mean, Ro. I'll free him too.
      Hold still."

      When he popped the claws again, the creature flinched and growled but
      Logan ignored him, choosing to concentrate on delicately cutting the
      band from around Ororo's neck instead. Immediately there was a commotion
      above him and Logan realized for the first time there was a control
      booth filled with men staring down at them.

      "Damn!" he hacked at the other glove and moved toward the creature,
      pointing to the collar around K'Ha'Lon-Ka's throat. A gunshot rang out
      and Logan clearly heard the words, "I'll get your bitch for that!" He
      turned and dove for Ororo, wanting to shield her from any other bullets.
      A volley of thunder erupted and he gasped in agony as bullets ripped
      into his back.

      - - -

      "Let go of me!" Stryker protested. "Someone has to have the good sense
      to watch those three! Gas the arena!"

      McDaniel frowned. The British accent was back but there was still
      something wrong with the good doctor and he wasn't going to tell his men
      to let go until he knew what it was. "It would take too long to
      concentrate gas in that amount of space. They can't get out. I've
      electrified the exits." He noticed that Stryker still had one hand
      clutched in a pocket. "Search him." He looked over at the guard that had
      followed Hicks and his men into the room. "Watch those three. Let me
      know if they show any signs of trying to escape. We only have another
      four minutes before the alien collapses. Make sure they don't attack him
      if he falls."

      "Yes, sir. Sir, what do I do if they do attack him?"

      "Fire a warning round through the porthole. The male mutant won't want
      his female shot and will break off to protect her," growled McDaniel,
      his voice tightly clipped with anger as he tried to explain the obvious.
      "I don't want the creature hurt, got me?"

      "Yes, sir!" the guard moved to the glass and McDaniel returned his focus
      to the doctor in front of him.

      "...Roger that. Come to the arena and block the exits, now!" Hicks
      disengaged his radio. "Sir," Hicks held out the small, black remote as
      he spoke. "Stryker was using this. It looks like some kind of frequency
      inhibitor. Our radios work now that it's off and I've stationed all
      available men at the arena exits. They're ready to storm the place when
      the alien goes down."

      "Good." McDaniel took the remote and glared icily at Stryker. "A very
      effective demonstration, Doctor? Is that what you had in mind?" He
      backhanded Stryker. "Dunst didn't deserve that kind of death!"

      Stryker grinned, a trickle of blood now coming from the corner of his
      mouth. "You don't think so?" The Southern accent was back. "Was it a
      more 'humane' treatment, a 'kinder' death than I would have given the
      mutant female?"

      'You sick bastard!" snarled McDaniel. "What the hell kind of game are
      you playing?"

      "The same one you are," returned cold British tones.

      Stunned, McDaniel stood there for a moment, unable to reply.

      "Sir? They're talking, sir. Is that allowed?"

      McDaniel's head snapped around, "What?"

      "The mutants, sir, they're talking with the alien. Is that allowed?"

      Dumfounded now, McDaniel and the others moved to the window. No one
      noticed Stryker slip his confiscated pistol from the table back to his
      pocket while the soldiers craned their necks, trying to watch the
      shocking sight below.

      "I'll be damned," mused McDaniel softly. He had a sudden insight into
      what Stryker had said and his own motivations now seemed...insane.

      "Sir! The male cut the female's collar off!" The soldier fired off a
      warning round before McDaniel could stop him.

      "I'll get your bitch for that!" Stryker roared through the other
      porthole. He tried to empty clip of the automatic before the soldiers
      could wrestle him to the ground.

      "Get him out of here!" ordered McDaniel. He pushed a button and
      deactivated the arena doors. "Hicks! Tell the men to go in and hold them
      at gunpoint but don't fire, got it! Those mutants can communicate with
      the alien. I don't want them hurt!"

      - - -

      Ororo felt Logan's body jerk as the rounds tore into him. It had only
      just begun to dawn on her that he was here with her and still alive. Now
      they were wounding him again. The Windrider's entire being began to
      quiver with rage. She had believed him dead, horribly murdered by the
      monsters that wore the guise of human beings. She had felt them finish
      murdering their child and she had been helpless to stop it. Ororo was
      not helpless now.

      "No more!" Ororo's strong, clear voice cut through even the sound of
      gunfire. Levering herself quickly to her feet with more grace and
      strength than she actually felt, Ororo stepped forward to stand in front
      of Logan and K'Ha'Lon-Ka. Her eyes were glowing white and a powerful
      wind built in the room. Lightning snapped from her hair and from the
      tips of her fingers as she raised her hands upwards. Later she would
      grieve for her loss of control and the many deaths she caused. Now, all
      she wanted to do was put an end to this.

      There was nothing the soldiers could do as wind drove them backwards and
      lightning destroyed their weapons and in many cases, their companions.
      They watched in fear as the mutant woman raised her hands and eyes to
      the control room and lightning followed her gaze to strike repeatedly at
      the glass front, shattering and melting it. As a gunshot raked by her
      left shoulder, the woman returned her white-hot gaze to the soldiers.
      With no pity or remorse showing on her beautiful features, she sent bolt
      after bolt of blazing energy into their midst. Killing many and driving
      the rest back. One part of her mind reached out to control the
      atmosphere in the Arena, warming it from its previous frigid state. As
      the Predator rose from his seated position behind the furious Weather
      Witch, the soldiers broke and ran. They could not outrun the wind and
      their screams were heard as the wind lashed and tore at them, attempting
      to pull them apart as they had the life of the woman that controlled the

      Still caught in her own whirlwind of rage, heedless of Logan's call for
      her to stop and come back, Ororo rose on the wind, flying toward the
      Control Room. Cyclonic winds and streaks of lightening sought to ravage
      everything in its way. Landing gracefully amongst the chaos, her eyes
      sought out the one man that remained in the room. The force of the winds
      had pinned him behind a massive metal desk. By itself, the desk would
      not have been enough to cause fatal injury. Trapped in the confines of
      the Control Room, the cyclonic winds had repeatedly slammed the heavy
      piece of furniture against him, finally breaking his spine and doing
      considerable internal damage. There he waited, pinned against the wall;
      all pain now gone.

      - - -

      Oblivious to the drama unfolding far below ground, Mother Nature sought
      to achieve balance above ground. She felt her daughter's sorrow and rage
      and responded. Tornado force winds circled the relatively small area
      that housed the research Facility. The trees in the forest that
      surrounded the clearing whipped their branches and danced in frenzy,
      wanting only to ease the Windrider's pain. The men in the two
      guardhouses huddled inside seeking protection from the Goddess's fury.

      *- - -*

      Ororo stepped gracefully around the chaos in the Control Room, stopping
      short of where the man half stood, half lay; pinned to the wall by the
      twisted mass of metal that had been a desk. The wind that still stirred
      was calmer now, merely a breeze that ruffled the beautiful Windrider's
      silken hair. Ororo wondered if she could find it within herself to feel
      something for this creature in front of her.

      Ororo was unaware that, in spite of the stained and torn coverall she
      wore and her wind whipped hair, she still looked every inch the Goddess.
      Tall, beautiful, coldly regal, she surveyed Colonel McDaniel. Her voice
      was measured and pitched low as she spoke. "My name is Ororo Munroe. I
      am also known as Storm. The man you call Weapon X or Wolverine, his name
      is Logan. Our child has died without a name. Did you bother to find any
      of this out before you had us kidnapped and tortured?"

      In Ororo's beliefs, names had power and significance. Normally one would
      not share their true name with an enemy. She wanted this creature to see
      and realize that the beings he had so casually allowed to be
      experimented upon, tortured, and ultimately thrown away were
      individuals, with names and identities, just as he was. Her blue eyes
      were still ice-cold as she gazed at him.

      "Colonel Mike McDaniel." The effort to speak obviously stressed him.
      Ororo did not need Logan's senses to tell her this human was dying.

      "I have those that would grieve for me and will grieve for the life that
      your cruelty took from me and my mate." Her voice was still cold, still
      controlled. "Will anyone grieve for you Colonel Mike McDaniel?"

      "Very few." McDaniel found the strength to answer honestly. "This
      service has consumed my life."

      Ororo's rage had spent itself into a cold flame that wound through her
      body and soul. "You are dying."

      The man nodded his agreement, "I am dying. I would rather go by your
      hand than the alien's." His gray eyes indicated the Control Room door.
      "They will come for you."

      "Yes." Ororo's eyes snapped fire. "Why should I offer you this mercy
      after what you have allowed to be done? After the life of my child was
      taken from me?"

      "Stryker is insane. I see now that I am no better - equally insane in my
      own way. I allowed myself to believe that offering you to Predator was a
      more merciful death than allowing Stryker to do as he planned with you.
      I was wrong. Wrong about so many things." The speech exhausted McDaniel
      and his eyes closed for a moment.

      "I pity you, Colonel McDaniel. I do not forgive you. Maybe someday, I
      will ask the Goddess to forgive me and allow me to forgive you. Not
      today." She started to turn but stopped at a small sound from McDaniel.

      The gray eyes did not quite plead with her but still asked for a kinder
      release than the ones coming would allow. Ororo inclined her head, "I
      will not kill you, but I will delay my companions. Make your peace with
      whatever powers you believe in, if any. You will die here, alone." The
      Windrider turned on those words and left the room.

      McDaniel murmured softly as his strength failed, "You are more gracious
      than I deserve and more Human than any of us here."

      Outside the Control Room door, the Windrider leaned against the wall and
      waited. A tear slipped down her cheek as she thought of all she had
      lost, including the ability to forgive. More than her child had died in
      this place.

      *- - - *

      Much later, on the same day as the 'wild goose chase' to Maine, Scott
      finally sat down in a small den that was reserved for staff only. He
      stared blankly at the large, plasma screen TV. The current news program
      that was being televised did not register with him. The feelings of
      failure ran too deep. Jean and Remy were currently putting together
      plates of grilled cheese sandwiches and soup for the tired and very
      discouraged X-Men. The Professor sat nearby, in his wheelchair, sipping
      on a cup of hot tea.

      Charles also looked exhausted and more than slightly worn by their
      ordeal. Like Scott, his imagination was in overdrive as he worried about
      his 'children'. No one quite understood how he felt about those that
      came under his roof and therefore his care. From the aloof and
      standoffish Wolverine down to the smallest child attending the school,
      he loved them all with a devotion that sometimes exceeded what a parent
      could provide. Some, like Scott and Jean, occupied a slightly different
      space in his heart, but he set no less value on the others.

      Jean and Remy came in carrying trays of sandwiches and soup that they
      distributed to Charles, Scott, Piotr Rasputin, and Hank McCoy. Rogue
      came in a moment later carrying a pitcher of iced tea and some cans of
      soda. She handed out everyone's preference then curled onto the sofa
      next to Remy with her own plate. No one felt much like talking so sat
      quietly eating their meal, each preoccupied with thoughts and concerns
      about their missing friends.

      Scott took another sip of his soup and widened his eyes as a Special
      News Bulletin flashed on the TV screen. Motioning for Jean to turn up
      the sound, he listened closely...heart thudding with renewed hope.

      "...out of a seemingly clear and tranquil sky, fierce and destructive
      storms have materialized over the Maine/Canadian border just west of
      Edmundston. This weather phenomenon, though devastatingly destructive,
      appears to be localized and not moving. At this time authorities do not
      think there is danger to the surrounding population..."

      All the X-Men gathered in the room exclaimed at once, "Storm!"

      Scott barely managed to set his dishes on the glass and oak coffee table
      as he leapt to his feet, "I'll pull up the GPS and triangulate."

      Charles nodded and looked to Hank, "Lets get to Cerebro. I can focus in
      on the use of her powers even if I cannot sense Ororo herself."

      Remy followed them out, "I'll make sure we have what we need on board
      the 'Bird."

      Jean and Rogue followed him with Jean calling back over her shoulder,
      "We'll prep and pre-check the 'Bird. Ready to fly in less than fifteen."

      * *

      As good as her word, by the time the other team members were in their
      uniforms and on board, Jean had the Blackbird ready for take-off. Scott
      and the Professor had coordinated the data that each had acquired and
      Scott now had a very good idea of where they were going. He also had a
      sick feeling in the pit of his stomach as the location had nudged an old
      memory of Hank's. McCoy told Scott and the Professor that he believed an
      old associate of his that had gone into bio-weapons research had been
      stationed at a facility in that general area. Any hopes that Scott had
      entertained that his friends were being passively held somewhere for
      some obscure reason vanished. The harsh reality of experimentation on
      mutants raised its ugly head once more.

      Scott boarded the jet and took the pilot's seat. Jean was good with the
      Blackbird but the jet was Scott's baby. The only other person that could
      coax as much out of the X-jet was Ororo. He edged the jet carefully out
      of the hangar then sent her hurtling north. As Scott touched the
      controls to send the Blackbird soaring higher and faster, he sent his
      thoughts ahead of her. Please, he thought - Logan, Ororo, we are on our
      way, hold on just a little longer.

      *- - -*

      K'Ha'Lon-Ka watched the Weather Witch in awe. Never had he seen such
      tremendous power before. She could control the very weather, something
      his kind - even with their advanced technology - could not, and she
      wielded it with deadly force. Breathless, he realized she was so very
      Not-Human. So much power and so much compassion could not exist side by
      side in mere humans. They feared her; they had collared her, taken her
      child, and used a weapon on her mate. Her mate...K'Ha'Lon-Ka looked down
      at the other Not-Human. Sure enough, he was rising to his feet, even
      after taking the killing blows from the humans' weapons. Shaking his
      head, K'Ha'Lon-Ka realized there was more to them than first observation
      revealed. If he had not been collared himself and had seen them display
      their powers while he was hunting he would have thought of them as
      extremely valuable prey, ones that, alone, would garner him the status
      needed to claim his chosen mate. But he had seen their pain, knew the
      humans had tortured them as much as they had him and it gave him a
      strange feeling, as if he considered them of his clan, capable of
      intelligent thought beyond that of prey - more like ally. This was a
      foreign thought to him. He again checked the ceiling of the room,
      knowing he had seen her fly up there but sill finding it hard to believe.


      K'Ha'Lon-Ka's head snapped back to Llggnnnn, watching him point toward
      where Rrorrrooo had gone.

      - - -

      "Mine," Logan repeated. He had tried to catch Ororo's attention to tell
      her he was okay but she had not heard him. Now he watched the alien
      stare after her and he wanted to make sure it was understood that Ororo
      was under his protection. He saw the alien nod and he released his
      breath, sure that Khaakkllkhaaa would not make advances on her.

      "Don't move, Khhaakkklnkhaa." Logan let one blade out and advanced on
      him, pointing to the collar. Noting the strange look on the other's
      face, nervous flaring of mandibles, Logan held up his other hand to calm
      him. "Don't move." Carefully he cut it off and let the metal drop,
      clanging heavily as it hit the floor.

      He watched the alien pick up the pieces, try to bend them to no avail,
      then hold out a piece as if to ask for another demonstration. Logan
      flicked a claw out quickly, a blur of motion that sliced the metal like
      butter. He then began to hack at the glove on his other hand as he
      looked up.

      "Since neither of us can fly, we need to find another way up there.
      Ororo's alone and I can't hear her."

      "Rrorrooo." The alien pointed up and Logan nodded.

      "Come." He motioned with a jerk of his head as he shredded the last of
      the metal glove. Now with both sets of claws out and an unknown, but
      strong, ally behind him, Logan was ready to take on anything in order to
      get Ororo out of this place.

      *The End, Chapter 5*

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