Summary: Plans, plans, plans! Time for some descisions, some ideas, a couple problems, and a mission! But it's not quite the mission you think it's going to be!
Hiya, everybody! Sorry it took so long, but here's part five. It took longer to write than I thought it would and it came out a bit longer, too. I considered breaking it into two parts, but decided it would be clunky and funny looking that way. So, sorry for the wait, but I hope it was worth it.
Remember to R/R, k? I wanna know what everyone thinks! ^_^
Thanks to all who have reviewed so far. Great to know someone's enjoying it! ^_^
Forge hurried after Kitty, following at a safe distance, since she looked ready to take off the head of the next person to come within ten feet of her. They stalked their way right into the Commons area, which was strangely deserted. Kitty finally stopped and looked around.
“So, like, where is everyone?”
Forge was finally able, and felt safe, to catch up with her. “This usually happens right after the distortions,” he told her, “most people just wanna be alone for a bit.”
A small, orange tabby made its existence known by meowing up at Kitty and rubbing against her leg. She picked the cat up and started petting it. “I can believe that,” she said, “I suppose it’s, like, really weird. So, what’d you see?”
“Just this last time?” Forge got a bit of a wistful look on his face. “A soapbox derby. Seems I have a kid.”
“Who’s the lucky lady?”
Forge scratched his head. “I seem to keep missing that.”
Mylene came out of one of the side corridors, carrying an armful of cans. They threatened to spill over her elbows and topple to the floor and it was obvious that she was desperately trying to keep that from happening. She made her way over to a section of shelves on the wall and puzzled a way to make some space for them. Kitty and Forge obliged, pushing some other cans aside.
“I heard yelling,” Mylene said, “what happened?”
“Oh, just Jack and Kurt having an alpha-male fight,” Kitty responded.
“About our next move?”
“Actually no,” said Forge, “about Jack’s last one and K’s lack of communication, to put it in slightly more polite terms than Jack did.”
“Well, it’s about fraggin’ time!” Mylene exclaimed. “Those two have been dancing around each other like that for five years. About time they had it out.”
“They threw punches at each other,” Kitty cried, exasperated, still petting the little tabby.
“Well, they are guys,” stated Mylene, putting the last
of the cans in its place on the shelf.
Back in Forge’s lab, things were equally quiet, but not as calm. Jack and Kurt were still both sitting on the floor, not facing one another, not looking about the room or making any sort of move. They simply sat there, staring off into their respective sections of space.
“So…” Jack finally ventured, “I guess… we’ve got a decision to make, huh?”
“Ja,” Kurt agreed. He cleared his throat as if trying to find his voice. “So… vhat’s your opinion on Forge’s plan?”
Jack sighed, picking up a nut from off the floor and fiddling with it. “I think it’s a long shot, K, I really do. You?”
“Nien, no argument zere,” Kurt said, then sighed again. “So, vhat did you see? In ze last distortion, zat is.”
“Would you believe I had a kid… with Mylene, no less! Heh… fire an’ ice, go fig. You?”
Kurt leaned back on his elbows, staring up at the ceiling. “Ze same zing I see every time. A normal life. I’d do anyzing to have her, you know.”
“You meant ‘it,’ right? You said ‘her.’ You meant ‘it.’”
Kurt blinked a few times before answering. “Of course.”
Jack flopped onto his back, also staring up at the ceiling. “Yeah, I hear ya’. I want the same thing.”
“So…” Kurt ventured, “ve have a decision to make, zen.”
“I’ll need your support,” Kurt stated, finally looking over to Jack.
Jack sat up again. “Yeah… yeah…” He, too, finally made eye contact with Kurt. “Let do’t, K. What the hell we gotta lose, anyway, right? Nothin’ to lose, everthin’ to gain.”
Kurt nodded. “Ja.”
“He drove Mystique’s car through what!?! You guys have gotta be makin’ that up!”
Kitty still had the cat in her lap and a can of green beans in hand. “Girl, I just fell through a hole in time, like, yesterday,” she said, half laughing, “and you think I’m making this up?”
“Yeah, M,” Forge agreed, digging into a can of ravioli, “Kitty and I made this story up fifteen years ago just so we could mess with ya’ when she appeared out of nowhere.”
“I wouldn’t put it past ya’,” said Mylene, stabbing her fork in Forge’s general direction, then digging into her can of foodstuffs, “so how big was this Middleverse of yours, Forge?”
“Stopped just short of ze girls’ locker room,” Kurt’s voice came from the entryway. Kitty, Forge, and Mylene all looked up to find him standing just inside the room, Jack just behind him, leaning on the doorframe.
“Hey,” said Kitty, “you two done, like, tearing each other to shreds?”
“Each other?” Kurt asked, making his way over to the sitting threesome. “Yes. However…” He reached down and grabbed the tabby out of Kitty’s lap, lifting it up by the scruff of its neck. “Lycanthrope.”
“Woops,” said the cat, “busted.”
Kurt dropped Lycanthrope on to the ground. In his cat form, he was able to land feet first easily. “Human form,” Kurt commanded, “now.”
“Okay, okay,” Lycanthrope said, changing into the ratty-haired little boy that was his normal form. “I was just trying to help.”
Kurt put both hands on his hips and let the boy see how angry he was. “I don’t care if you vere trying to save ze vorld! You are never, ever to go to an enemy stronghold by yourself, ever! In fact, you’re not to go up top for two veeks, understand me?”
“All right,” Lycanthrope agreed, dejected.
“And no sewer spelunking, eizer.”
“Aw man! C’mon, K, there’s nothin’ left!”
“And nothing is vhat could have been left of you, Lycanthrope. Zey are out to kill us! And you’re not immune any more zan ze rest of us. Do you have any idea vhat zey might have done to you? Any idea at all? Zey might have turned you inside out in one of zeir experiments, just like we’ve heard of. Zey vould have treated you like an animal and you vouldn’t believe vhat you’d feel, just because they vanted to see how long it took you to die! It vould have-“
Jack’s hand clamped down on Kurt’s shoulder. “K…”
It was as if Kurt had been snapped back into reality. He looked from Jack back to Lycanthrope and discovered that the boy’s eyes were filled with tears and he was trembling with a not-so-hidden fear. Kurt’s left hand made its way to his face and ran across his eye patch for a moment. His right hand had formed into a fist and it slowly let loose. That was just before he finally bent over the boy and embraced his tiny form. Lycanthrope flung his arms around Nightcrawler’s neck, clutching at him as if letting go would let loose some sort of natural disaster.
“Lycanthrope, don’t ever do zat again,” Kurt said, his voice trembling.
Lycanthrope sniffled a few times, then nodded, still clinging to Nightcrawler. Kurt scooped the boy up and started down one of the corridors. “Jack, tell zem,” he said, disappearing into Lycanthrope’s little part of the compound.
It was several moments of silence before someone finally spoke up.
“Tell us what?” Mylene asked of Jack.
“Forge,” said Jack, “what would it take to build that time-hoppin’ gizmo ah yours?”
Kitty took a step toward Jack, hopefully. “Does that mean you guys are planning what I think you’re planning?”
“S’right, babe,” Jack responded, “we’re sendin’ you back.”
Word of the plan spread quickly. The entire Morlocks community sprang into action and numerous sorties to the surface were planned to gather equipment that Forge needed to build his machine. In less than a week, the parts were scattered over the entirety of Forge’s lab, making the place look even more like the lab of some mad scientist than it normally did. At almost any given time of the day he could be heard tinkering away, mumbling some obscenities when something went wrong or broke.
In the meantime, Kitty had a chance to see just exactly what the Morlocks were all about. Word had reached Jack of a round-up operation headed by the New York national guard. It had already gathered a rather large number of Mutants and was shipping them off to a small island just off the coast of Lake Erie. It was happening in their back yard, and Kurt and Jack decided that they couldn’t ignore it.
“Funny thing about the info,” Jack was telling Kurt and Mylene in the middle of an organizational meet in Kurt’s quarters. Kitty was sitting in, hoping to offer some help. “My source said the letter came right to his drop point near point Charlie. No one knows about those drop points besides you, me, Mylene, and my source. Not even other Morlocks.”
“We’ve only had zose drop points for a veek,” Kurt stated.
“Exactly,” said Jack, “which means our friend out there knows where and how to look for us.”
Mylene folded her hands and rested her chin on them. “This make anyone else nervous?”
The other three all put their hands in the air.
“So did you, like, check into it?” Kitty asked.
Jack nodded. “It’s just like the letter said. There’s fifty-some people being held in a detention center near Brockport. They’re shipping them out tomorrow. So, whatever we do, we’ve gotta do it before then.”
Kurt nodded, taking in the information. “Vhat kind of security does zat facility have?”
“Not much. I don’t think they expect us to hit someplace as far out of New York City as that.”
“Does it match vhat ze letter said?”
“To the word.”
“All right, zen,” said Kurt, “ve’ll conduct a raid on ze detention center. Vill seven people cover it?”
“Oughta be enough,” said Jack, “me and six others. And before you say anything, K, you’re needed here to coordinate Kitty’s time jump. No offense, but I can lead a simple raid just as well as you can.”
Kurt sighed and for a moment it seemed as though a protest were about to issue forth from him, but he finally agreed. “But take one of ze Spark twins vith you. Mindspark and Dreamspark are telepathically linked. It vill keep radio transmissions between here and zere down. Get ze rest of your team togezer and leave as soon as you can.”
“I’ll be outta here in two hours,” Jack confirmed, rising from the table and exiting the room.
“Jack, be careful!” Mylene called after him.
Lycanthrope came zipping into the doorway just after Jack left.
“Hey, K! Forge sent me. There’s a snag with the time jump machine.”
“Power,” said Forge once they had gathered in his lab, “the thing takes too much power. And we can’t find anything portable enough to bring down here to generate it.”
“So, like, how much power are we looking at?” Kitty asked, looking over one of the components that Forge had cobbled together. He grabbed it out of her hands as if the thing would break if you looked at it funny.
“We’re talking about what an entire power plant would put out,” Forge stated, placing the thingamabob back down on the table, “if you wanna try and move a power plant, it’s up to you. But I can’t guarantee we won’t be noticed.”
“Dammit,” Mylene swore, “just when we’d got it all figured out, and now you’re saying there’s no way we can do it?”
“Well, maybe if we invested in enough stock…”
“Can you make it portable?”
The question had come from Kurt who had one of the small devices that were laying about in his hand. He was looking over the rest of them thoughtfully, noticing that there was no piece bigger than his open hand.
“You got somethin’ in mind, K?” Mylene asked.
“Ve’ve got a plan and I intend to carry it out. If it takes a power plant, zen zat’s vhat ve’ll use. Forge, can you make it portable?”
Forge took the piece from Kurt’s hand and turned it over as though it were a magic eight ball. “Dunno, really. I suppose if I arranged the parts right, I could decrease its size, and maybe some wiring. But I’m not sure just how small I could make it.”
“Ve need it as small as possible.”
“I’ll do my best. But I can’t guarantee a thing.”
“All right. Just do vhat you can. Mylene, I need information on ze local power plants. Zen get some sleep. You’ve been up for almost twenty hours.”
“On it,” Mylene responded, already on her way out the door, “and I’ll sleep when you do.” She disappeared around the corner.
“So, is it always this, like, hectic around here?” Kitty asked of Kurt as they exited Forge’s lab and left him to his tinkering.
“Only vhen zings are coherent,” Kurt responded.
“Oh, that makes me feel so much better.”
It was several hours and a catnap enforced by Mylene later that she, Kurt, Kitty and Forge were gathered in Forge’s lab with the young lady known as the Mutant Mindspark. She was perhaps seventeen and one of a set of identical twins. Her hair was white save for a few streaks of black in some choice places and it spilled over her shoulders and halfway down her back. She wore a white turtleneck and a vest of black over a pair of gray jeans. She was sitting on the floor, her legs crossed and her eyes closed as if looking into a dream.
“They’ve made contact with a cell of five local resistance fighters who know the layout of the place,” she informed the room, “they’re guiding them in now.”
“Make sure zat Jack knows I vant him to be careful,” Kurt commanded.
Mindspark stifled a small giggle. “Yeah, he knows,” she said before pausing for a moment and getting a rather horrified look on her face. “I am not going to repeat that, sister!”
Mylene crossed her arms across her chest. “Blizzard’s getting a little pissy, I take it.” This elicited a giggle from Kitty and a snicker from Forge, but Kurt continued to stare at Mindspark with a serious face, never looking away as if the teen was some sort of all-important tactical display.
“They’re moving through the complex, now,” stated Mindspark, “the local cell members are leading the way toward some kind of underground tunnel. Sounds like they’ve got a guy on the inside.”
“Anyone we know?” Mylene asked.
“They haven’t said. No time to talk about things like that. They’re just getting in and out fast as possible. As soon as they get there, everything’s going to break out into chaos and our guys will reduce the visibility in the place.”
“Who’s going out first?” Nightcrawler asked.
“Blizzard’s going out first followed by Dewfog. They’re planning to reduce the ambiance to pea soup and get the refugees the hell out. They’re about to go.”
Kurt clenched his teeth and tried valiantly to contain his anxiety. Kitty took her eyes off of Mindspark and her running commentary for a moment in order to steal a glance at Kurt. His tail was twitching and thrashing back and forth and she recognized it as a nervous habit he had had back when they were both at the Xavier Institute. The more things had changed, the more they had stayed the same.
Strange… when had she started thinking as though the time she was in was her true place? The memories of the Xavier Institute were fading under the atmosphere of the place she was in now. If was beginning to feel as though she had lived through all of the past fifteen years with everyone. Why was that, she wondered…
“They’re up and out of the hole,” Mindspark stated, bringing Kitty’s train of thought to a very sudden stop.
“I vant to know vhat’s happening,” Kurt demanded.
“Dreamspark’s going up now.” There was a short pause. “Everything’s already half covered over in fog and snow. Still no sign of their contact on the inside, but he’s apparently sending the refugees in the direction of the tunnel. They’ve started exchanging fire now!” She gasped suddenly. “We can’t see Blizzard anymore! Lost him in the pea soup!”
The room took a collective breath and held it and Kurt moved a step closer to Mindspark, his face filled with obvious worry. Mylene’s hands were suddenly clasped one into the other and she began to bite her lower lip nervously.
“That’s the last of the refugees, they’re all in the hole. So’s Sis. Blizzard hasn’t come back in yet and we still have yet to see the guy from the inside. They’re keeping the tunnel open as long as possible, but they can’t hold out much longer. Sis and Dewfog wanna know what they should do; seal and run, or hold out until they can’t?”
Kurt ground his teeth together and his tail thrashed wildly. His hands closed into fists and he remained silent and seemingly indecisive.
“K?” Mylene ventured.
Kurt’s scowl deepened, but he remained silent.
“Kurt…” Kitty prodded.
“But, Kurt-” Forge began to protest.
“I said seal it! Get zem out of zere!”
There was a pause before anyone in the room spoke again. “It’ll take a minute for them to seal the opening,” Mindspark finally announced. That was just before she gasped in surprise.
“Vhat is it? Vhat happened?” Kurt asked, urgently.
“It’s Blizzard… and… and the contact from the inside… it can’t be, that’s not possible. It can’t be him.”
Mindspark settled into a shocked inactivity. Her closed eyes continued to stare into that far-off place that allowed her to communicate with her sister, but she said nothing further. Desperate to know what was going on, Nightcrawler removed one of his gloves and clamped a bare hand onto one of Mindspark’s. After a moment, he let go and took a step back with a shocked face of his own.
“What is it?” Kitty asked. “You look like you saw, like, a ghost or something.”
Kurt shook himself out of his haze and collected himself enough
to respond. “Maybe I did… Ze contact on ze inside, vith ze refugees…
it vas Toad!”
It was several more hours before the rescue team returned, bringing the refugees, the members of the resistance cell, and several shiny new weapons back to the Morlocks’ layer in New York City. Because they had broken up into several groups shortly after leaving the detention center, the groups came trickling in over the course of about two hours. Jack’s group came plodding in midway through the second hour. He was accompanied by Toad and seven or so refugees. As soon as he had heard that Jack had returned, Kurt teleported to the commons area to meet him. Kitty, Mylene, and Forge were hot on his heels by foot.
Jack was sporting a blood-laden bandage on the bicep of his left arm and seemed to be favoring his left knee slightly. Toad was right next to him, ready to help the stubborn-by-nature Morlock if his strength should suddenly give out. All in all, the former member of the Brotherhood looked none the worse for wear. He was still shorter than average for his age, just as he had always been, due to his mutation. His sandy blonde hair was kept shorter now, in a spiked crew cut. The outfit he wore still bore a form reminiscent of the one he had worn when working for Mystique, but he had obviously made some changes to it. Mylene took over from Toad at Jack’s side, checking over the bandage and generally making a fuss over him.
“M, it’s just a scratch,” he insisted.
“Some scratch,” Mylene mumbled back to him.
“Jack, vhat happened?” Kurt demanded, approaching him.
“Ah, I just got knicked by a bitta laser fire. I’ll just be feelin’ it in the mornin’.”
“H-Hey, ‘Crawler!” Toad exclaimed, letting Mylene take over on the Blizzard watch. He dropped into a leap over the two of them and landed next to Nightcrawler. “Long time, no see. S’up, yo?”
“Toad! Vhere have you… Ve thought zat you vere-”
“Dead?” Todd finished for Kurt, standing back upright and spreading his hands out in front of him. “C’mon, man, you know me better’n that.” An abnormality came to Kurt’s attention, then; the last finger of Todd’s right hand was missing.
“Vhat happened zere?” he asked, indicating the hand.
Todd looked at it as though he had forgotten completely about it. “Oh yeah, that. Wolverine and I got caught back in Chicago and they hacked it right off after I tried to escape once.” He pointed to Kurt’s eye patch. “Looks like you lost somthin’ a bit more important, there. Guess you been through ten kindsa hell, huh?”
Kurt stepped toward Todd and put both hands on his shoulders in an urgent gesture of inquisition. “Vhat happened to Volverine? Vhere did zey take him? Did he get out vith you?”
Todd looked away as if wanting to avoid the subject. “Didn’t take them long to figure out about them metal bones ah his,” he said, “look, I never particularly liked the guy, but… what they did ta him, I wouldn’t wish it on anybody, y’know.”
Kurt fell silent and looked away, his one eye hardening into flashing anger.
“So, like, how did you find the resistance cell in Brockport?” Kitty asked, trying to change the subject.
“Whoa, pussy-cat!” Todd exclaimed, finally noticing Kitty for the first time. “So, they finally dug ya’ up, after all this time, heh? You don’t look a day older, yo.”
“Well, that’s, like, a really strange story, but you first.”
“Fair ‘nough. I found these guys ‘bout a year ago. I was following some rumors about a resistance cell in New York. Then ‘bout three months ago, I hear about another one in the city, so I looked into it and dug up your drop points. Never figured it’d be you guys, though.”
“So, you’re the one who’s been freakin’ us out like that!” Mylene exclaimed.
“The same, yo.” Todd looked about the commons area. “This is some set up you got goin’ here. So, wat’cha’ll been up to?”
“Time travel,” Forge proclaimed.
Todd looked up at the tinkerer as though he had completely lost
Whew! This thing is becoming one big, long experiment in speech
patterns! Between Kitty's overusage of the word "like," Kurt's German,
and now Toad's 'hood-speak, I'm starting to go a little schitzo!
One more part to go folks! I'll finish it up ASAP! ^_^