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FIC: A Moving Target (Unexpected Occurrences 6/12)

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  • Mo
    A Moving Target (Unexpected Occurrences 6/12) “Heather? It’s Wendy.” “Hi. Have you heard anything?” “No, I was hoping you had.” “I’d call
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 14, 2004
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      A Moving Target (Unexpected Occurrences 6/12)

      �Heather? It�s Wendy.�

      �Hi. Have you heard anything?�

      �No, I was hoping you had.�

      �I�d call you if we got any news.�

      �I know. I know. We�re just going a little crazy
      here.�

      �I understand. We�re very worried, too. They may be
      fine, but it scares me that they haven�t checked in.�

      �And nothing on the news either, right?�

      �No, but I tend to think that�s a good thing. If
      there had been an escape from their �impenetrable�
      mutant prison, I don�t think the U.S. government would
      be advertising that fact. They�ve been assuring the
      American public that they can contain mutants,
      regardless of their powers. And this administration
      has no compunctions about withholding information, or
      even outright lying. We�ve seen that a lot lately.

      �So, I think it�s not a bad sign � and maybe a good
      one � that there�s nothing on the news. If the
      mission were a failure � if they were captured � we�d
      be seeing that on all the front pages, I bet. I�m
      hoping that no news means at the very least that
      they�re still out there, trying to get to Tabitha and
      Rogue.�

      �Or at best, that they�ve got them. But either way,
      why aren�t they checking in?�

      �Our secure transmissions were breached; that much we
      know. That�s why we can�t contact them. Jean-Paul
      and Walter would have gotten the same warning signal
      we did, so they knew not to contact us that way. We
      had lots of alternate communications methods lined up,
      though, in case this happened. We�ve checked all the
      channels, looked for messages in all of our backup
      methods and nothing. But I don�t know. They may feel
      it�s not worth the risk, once we know the secure
      channel isn�t secure anymore. They may have decided
      it�s better to just contact us when it�s over.�

      �If Jean-Paul gets out of this alive, I swear I�ll
      kill him. Not worth the risk? I�m crazed with worry.
      Plus I have to act like I�m not, so Adam doesn�t
      spiral out of control.�

      �He�s back from San Francisco?�

      �Yeah, he got back day before yesterday. I�m glad
      he�s here, so we can at least talk face-to-face. He�d
      been calling here all the time for updates, and I
      didn�t have any. I assured him we�d hear soon, but
      then a day went by. And another. And another.�

      �He must be climbing the walls.�

      �Oh he is. And he wasn�t starting off in a good frame
      of mind, even before he got the news.�

      �What do you mean?�

      �I don�t know, exactly � I�ve tried to get him to
      talk, but he won�t say a thing. It was clear
      something was bugging him even before he heard we�d
      lost contact with Jean-Paul, but I don�t know what.
      Something must have happened at the conference. When
      he called here right after Jean-Paul left he wouldn�t
      tell me anything about the conference or his trip.
      And he seemed barely to listen to what I said. Even
      when I talked about Ezra, and you know how he is about
      the baby.�

      �Wow! Well, maybe he was too worried because we
      hadn�t heard from Jean-Paul to think about anything
      else, even Ezra.�

      �No, this was before we thought anything was wrong,
      right after Jean-Paul and Walter left for DC. I told
      Adam they�d be calling in soon. Well, I thought they
      would! I said I�d have Jean-Paul call him at the
      hotel as soon as he checked in. At that point we
      didn�t think there was anything to worry about. But
      Adam was all agitated already. There was something he
      wanted to tell Jean-Paul. Something he wouldn�t tell
      me.�

      �I wonder if he found something out there, something
      about the War on Mutants we don�t know.�

      �I don�t think so. Adam would tell me if he found
      anything out like that. And you guys and Charles,
      too. He knows we�re all in this together. Adam
      believes in teamwork. No, this has to be something
      more personal. Something that had him upset, even
      before he knew about the rescue mission... So Charles
      hasn�t made any progress on finding them?�

      �Not yet. I spoke to Charles a couple of hours ago.
      It was overambitious to think he could get it working
      so quickly, I think. He�s still at our cabin. Scott
      and Logan, too. I think it�s going to be at least a
      couple more days. Reconstructing Cerebro is a big
      job. The original was completely destroyed. I sure
      wish Charles hadn�t blown it up when the school was
      evacuated.�

      �He certainly didn�t want any government types having
      a mutant tracking device.�

      �Still, I don�t think it was necessary to destroy it.
      It takes a strong telepath to use it.�

      �I know, but who says they couldn�t brainwash or
      threaten someone to do it for them? We have no idea
      what they�re doing to mutants they capture.�

      �Yes, that was Charles�s argument, too. He�s got the
      original plans. He brought them with him when they
      evacuated. I wish Walter were here to help � he�s
      great with electronics. Maybe we should have sent
      someone else with Jean-Paul and kept him here.�

      �Logan must be a big help. He can fix anything, I
      swear.�

      �Yeah, that�s what Charles says, too.�

      �But it�s not done.�

      �No. They�ve got the basic structure built, but
      they�re nowhere near finished with it.�

      �Too bad Magneto isn�t around to help. He built the
      first one with Charles.�

      �Yeah, well we�ll have to make do with the team we�ve
      got now. Scott and Logan will suffice. At least
      neither of them is trying to take over the world.�

      �I was as happy as anybody, Heather, when Magneto was
      captured. Now, I�m not so sure. The world could use
      some taking over.�

      �I know what you mean. I�ll call you if we hear
      anything, I promise.�

      �Okay. Same here.�

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

      �Hello.�

      �C�est moi. Don�t say my name, mon amour.�

      �What? What are you talking about?�

      �Or anyone else�s. No locations. No identifying
      details. I don�t know that this line is secure.�

      �Where are you?�

      �I can�t say plainly. Let me think of a way to
      explain... Do you know where I went while you were
      gone?�

      �Yes! I�ve been worried sick. I heard about the umm
      the thing you were doing when I got back. Uh, the
      people here, they told me about it � where you were
      and why. We thought you�d be back three days ago.
      I�ve been crazy with worry.�

      �I�m sorry to have worried you. You probably wish I
      had gone with you on your trip and stayed out of
      trouble. I wish that a little myself. It was... not
      completely successful. There were problems. And
      casualties. On both sides.�

      �Are you okay?�

      �Oui. One of my team didn�t make it, though. The one
      who was mon ami.�

      �Wal- I�m sorry. Oh, no! I am so sorry, love.�

      �Moi aussi. It doesn�t seem real yet. I was right
      there. I saw it happen; I tried to save him. You have
      to believe me; I did everything I could. His blood is
      all over me still. But it doesn�t seem possible. I
      can�t believe he�s really gone.�

      �Oh, love. I know. You�re okay, though? Really?
      You�re not injured?�

      �Not too badly. I�ll survive. I need help, though.
      Pour moi and for... for the one who is with me.�

      �Only one?�

      �Yes. We tried, but we couldn�t get them both out.
      The other one... Mon pauvre ami died trying to save
      the other one.�

      �Where are you? Can you tell me anything? Some way?�

      �Yes, let me think. I am chez la b�te. Comprends?�

      �Yes! How did you get in there?�

      �I had the key. My team leader gave it to me before
      we left for this... job, just in case we needed
      somewhere to go. I think it�s still secure here, but
      I can�t be sure. I wanted you to know where I am.�

      �Can I come to you?�

      �I don�t know. I don�t think so. Not yet. I can�t
      tell if it�s safe to.�

      �I don�t want to compromise you.�

      �I know.�

      �What can I do? What do you need?�

      �Medical assistance. That�s most urgent.�

      �Oh! How badly hurt are you?�

      �I�m not that bad. It�s the one who�s with me. Lots
      of blood loss, bad injuries. She�s okay. I�ve got it
      under control for now, as well as any first responder
      could. But first aid isn�t the same as real
      treatment. We need a doctor. Is the Professor there?
      Can he send someone?�

      �He�s not here now, but I know where he is. I can
      reach him right away. He�ll talk to... the redheaded
      doctor. She�s in the same city as you, I think. They
      can speak in that special way they have.�

      �Bien. Tell them we need help fast.�

      �I will. Are you sure you�re okay?�

      �I�ll be fine. Send the doctor. Now. Je t�aime, mon
      coeur.�

      �I love you, too.�

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

      �Charles? Adam Greenfield here.�

      �Adam. Is something wrong?�

      �Yes. I just heard from Jean-Paul. He needs help,
      medical assistance. Jean is still in DC?�

      �Yes, I�m in telepathic contact with her right now.
      Tell me where he is and she�ll go there.�

      �Hank�s old apartment. Jean-Paul has one of them with
      him � I don�t know whether Rogue or Tabitha. He was
      being careful and not using names. He�s unsure the
      line is secure. Jean should be careful going there,
      too.�

      �I�m letting her hear everything you�re saying. She
      wants to know � what kind of injuries do they have?�

      �I don�t know. I should have asked more. He just
      said that there was a lot of blood and they�re both
      injured. Tabitha � or Rogue � is injured worse than
      he is. He said it�s under control for now but he
      needs a doctor there.�

      �What about Walter?�

      �He died! I don�t know what happened, just that he
      died in the rescue attempt.�

      �I�m so sorry to hear that. Do they know at Alpha
      Flight?�

      �I don�t know. I didn�t think to ask that, either.�

      �Adam, Jean is on her way. She wasn�t far from there.
      She�ll be with Jean-Paul in a few minutes. She�ll
      let me know as soon as she knows what�s going on and
      I�ll contact you.�

      �Thank you so much! What can I do to help?�

      �Inform the others. Tell Wendy and Arthur everything
      you know, and also call Alpha Flight headquarters.
      Are you still going to Washington yourself?�

      �I want to. More than ever now. Anjuli is expecting
      me tomorrow. Is there any reason I shouldn�t go?�

      �I don�t think so. You have good documentation, don�t
      you? And you�ve been to the States recently without
      incident?�

      �Yes, I was at a journalism convention last week in
      San Francisco. I really will be working in DC. I�ve
      got press credentials, an assignment. I�m not a
      mutant, so there�s nothing on my passport to alert the
      border guards. There�s no reason it should be a risk
      for me to go there.�

      �In times like this, most everything is risky. Still,
      I think you should go. We can use you there. And
      we�ll arrange for you to see Jean-Paul.�

      �Thanks. Okay, I�m going to get off the phone now and
      compose myself for a minute. I�ve got to pull myself
      together enough to tell Alpha Flight about Walter...
      Charles, call me as soon as you know how Jean-Paul is.
      Okay?�

      �I will. I promise.�

      *********************************************
      �Charles?�

      �Hello, Mac. Adam reached you earlier?�

      �Yes. Terrible news.�

      �I�m very sorry. He was a good man. How is your team
      taking it?�

      �Everyone�s in shock. Me, most of all. Heather�s
      watching me like she�s afraid I�ll fall apart
      entirely... I worked with him for years, you know.�

      �I know. It�s awful. I remember how I felt when we
      lost Hank. And at least then there wasn�t a War on
      Mutants going on and we could mourn properly.�

      �Yes. We can�t even retrieve his body. At least I
      can�t think of a way to. Can you?�

      �No. And I think we�d better concentrate on trying to
      retrieve the living.�

      �No word on where they�ve moved Tabitha to?�

      �Not yet. Adam is going to do some investigating while
      he�s down there. And we�re hoping we�ll be able to
      find out a lot more about the detainees from Rogue,
      when she�s well enough.�

      �How is she?�

      �Jean says she�ll be okay. Jean-Paul did a good job.
      She says she�s going to talk him into medical school
      when this is all over.�

      �She�ll have to talk him into university first� It
      must be tricky to treat Rogue, since she can�t be
      touched.�

      �Jean�s been her doctor for years now, she knows what
      to do. Besides, medical providers are accustomed to
      working with gloves on. It�s more surprising to me
      that Jean-Paul managed � managed to get her to Hank�s
      place with her injuries and without being followed and
      managed to keep her alive until Jean got there. All
      that without ever being able to touch her. He�s quite
      something, your Northstar.

      �Don�t I know it. No poaching, eh?�

      �I wouldn�t dream of it.�

      �Do we know much about how Walter died? My team is
      asking.�

      �I haven�t heard the whole story yet, but I�m sure
      Jean-Paul will give you all the details when you see
      him. Jean�s bringing him and Rogue to an
      out-of-the-way spot we know in Virginia, as soon as
      they�re well enough to be transported. We�ve used
      this place before as a makeshift landing field. Scott
      will meet them there with the Blackbird. We need to
      airlift them out as soon as possible. I don�t want
      either of them in that country one minute more than is
      necessary.�

      �That seems wise. How badly was Jean-Paul injured?�

      �A bullet wound at least. I�m not sure of everything.
      I know Rogue was more extensively injured. But Jean
      says she thinks they can both be transported in
      another day or two. They�re still in Hank�s old
      apartment. It seems like it�s still secure. We�ve
      got a non-mutant tenant as cover. No one in the
      building seems to have caught on.�

      �That�s good. About Walter � Jean-Paul and Rogue were
      with him when he died?�

      �Jean-Paul was. I don�t think Rogue was. They were
      trying to get Tabitha out when they got attacked. I
      think Rogue was held elsewhere and Jean-Paul managed
      to get to her when he escaped after Walter was killed.
      I know he was with Walter when he died. Adam told me
      Jean-Paul said he still had Walter�s blood all over
      him when he called.�

      �I was afraid of that. Charles, there�s something
      about Walter I think you ought to know. Something
      Jean-Paul doesn�t know.�





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