Summary: Hold on to your hats, folks! It's the action-packed finale! The Morlock's plan to get Kitty back to her own time is carried out! Don't drink anything with caffiene because you'll be on the ceiling after this one!
AN: Hiya everyone!
Finally, the last part is finished! Whew! I'm still shaking after writing it, too! Hope it has the same amount of thrill it does for you guys as it did for me while I was writing it!
Thanks to everyone who reviewed the story as the parts went up. Doubt I would have finished it if you all hadn't liked it so much! And a thanks to everyone who reviews this last part, too! ^_^
Also, thanks to everyone who read Mushroom Hunting while waiting for this part. Got a little sidtracked there. ^_^;
Anyway... On to the last part! Enjoy! ^_^
Kurt’s little room had become an impromptu command center again. Mylene had returned with the blueprints to a nearby power plant. No one asked where and how she got them. Frankly, no one cared. They were unfurled on the floor in the middle of the group of six Morlocks who had crammed themselves into the room. Jack, now sporting a fresh bandage on his left arm and a splint on his right leg, sat there contemplating the blueprints. Finally, he looked over to Mylene.
“This is the easiest to get into?”
“Yeah, man,” Todd agreed, “I’d hate ta see the worst.”
“Hey, gimme a break,” said Mylene, “this is all I could get on such short notice. Probably all I could get at all, since I got lucky.”
“So, like, what’s the plan?” Kitty asked.
“Forge?” Kurt prompted.
Forge opened up the bag that he had resting in his lap. The thing he brought out was a large and heavy looking construct of cobbled together electronics arranged in a sort of column. “We’ve gotta get four of these,” he said, pressing a button on the side which extended the column and a tripod at the wider end, “into the plant and hooked directly into the energy output of the place. We set ‘em up a meter apart and put this,” he pulled another bag into the middle of the group from behind him and pulled out an beetle-like, half dome of a machine about the size of a large pizza, “into the middle of them to active the sequence. That’ll open the Chrono Hole directly above the machines and all Kitty has to do is jump on through. At least… that’s the theory.”
“Oh gee, that’s, like, so comforting,” Kitty carped.
“And if something goes wrong, it just blows up and we’re all terrorists,” Mylene agreed in kind, “love it, when do we start?”
“First ve have to figure out a vay into ze place,” Kurt stated, “ve’ll vork it like a raid. Five of us to carry ze generators and no more. Obviously, Jack is ze one staying behind zis time. Ze rest of us vill each take-”
“Wait, K,” Jack interrupted, “I get’cha when you say I’m not going, but what happens if the rest of ya’ are all taken out at once on this li’l romp? Shouldn’t we get some of the others?”
Kurt looked directly across the circle to Jack and fixed him with his one eye. “Vell, obviously Katzchen is going along. Ve’ll need Forge zere in case somezing needs to be repaired quickly. Zat leaves zree others and ve need the zree best fighters ve have. Mylene, Toad and I are it. If anyzing happens… you’re in charge of ze Morlocks.”
There was silence as the two of them stared across the circle at each other. For a moment, it seemed as though Jack was going to make another protest, but he finally nodded instead and they left it at that. Both were oblivious to the fact that Kitty was staring at Kurt as though he had just grown horns. She shook herself out of it when Todd began to speak again.
“In any case, we still gotta figure a way in there,” he said and pointed to the blueprint, “if dat’s the main power output, and those are the entrances, we gotta get from point A ta point B.”
“Vhat do you know about ze security zere, Mylene?”
“Four men at each of the four entrances,” she responded, “obviously, not enough to hold us all off if we all charged one.”
“Yeah, but they might call the others from the other gates if we did that,” Jack stated, “and remember, they’ve got more firepower in their weapons than we do with Mylene’s fire balls. Stealth is the only way.”
“I’ll try’n not take that personally,” quipped Mylene.
Kurt considered for a moment, staring at the blueprints and resting
his chin in one hand. “I zink I have an idea.”
Kitty had been the first out of the room after the meeting had ended. The enormity of what they were about to do had settled into the room with the subtlety of a ton of bricks and everything had suddenly turned taciturn in nature. It was obvious that everyone was preoccupied with their own thoughts and revelations about the Chrono Hole and it was beginning to weigh on everyone, Kitty included. She leaned against the wall in the quiet commons area. The meeting had gone into the middle of the night, so the place was largely deserted. Silently, the others all filed out after her, each one returning to their own places of sleep for the night.
Kitty sighed and tilted her head to the ceiling, her own thoughts a bit of a jumble in her head. Kurt came out shortly after the others.
“Aren’t you going to get some sleep?” he asked.
She looked over at him uncertainly. “Um… yeah, I guess so.”
Kurt made a very odd gesture; he began patting his head as if checking for something stuck to the sides or the top.
“What’re you doing?” Kitty asked around a chuckle.
“Checking my head for horns. You’re looking at me as if I just started growing zem.”
Kitty giggled. “No, it’s not that.”
“Then vas,” Kurt asked, a little more intensely than Kitty was expecting, “vhat is it?”
“In the meeting… you… called me Katzchen. You haven’t done that since I, like, got here.”
Kurt looked away, quite obviously noticing it for the first time. “So I did. Vonder… vhy zat is.”
Kitty was suddenly prey to an uncontrollable instinct. She wasn’t sure how it had crept up on her, but she found herself acting on it before her logical mind could kick back in and she took hold of one of Kurt’s hands. “You could, like, come with me, you know. You and Jack and Lycanthrope and everyone. Get out of this place, this time. Live like people again.”
Kurt put his other hand on top of hers for a moment and his one eye stared into hers. Kitty found herself looking into it and she saw her own reflection, her own wish, in more than one reflection. They seemed never to end and the reflections blended into one another, hypnotizing them both in this cryptic stare, until Kurt closed his eye, breaking the pattern. He shook his head back and forth once.
“Zat’s not possible. Zere vould be two of everyone here. Ze time to prevent zis has passed and now you’re ze only one who can.” He shook his hands free and turned to walk away. “I have some zings I need to do before tomorrow, so-”
He stopped. Kitty had taken hold of one of his hands again. “Listen,” she said, “look, you’re, like… I mean… well, what I wanna say is that… well… you’re not my Kurt and all, but, like the eye patch kinda grew one me, an’… look, I promise I won’t forget you.”
He sighed, not turning back around. “I became ze demon I vas called and if all goes as planned tomorrow… I von’t have even existed. It’s better for everyone if you do forget me.”
He shook his hand free for a second time and walked away silently, back into his little dark room, flipping the blanket over the door behind him.
Kitty sighed. “Stubborn,” she whispered to herself.
From the bleary-eyed appearance of everyone assembled, it was apparent that none of them got any real sleep the night before, least of all Forge. He had been up most of the night tinkering with the Chrono Hole generators, perfecting them and making certain the things would actually work when the time came.
This time, Forge’s lab was the meeting place as the inventor was still working on his all-important project. Kitty, who had been up since fairly early herself, was the first to wander in.
“Hey Forge,” she said, “I got a question.”
“Fire away, Kitty-cat,” he said, utilizing his tool-arm and putzing with one of the unfolding columns.
“So, like, I got here almost a week ago, right?”
“And you’re just building that time machine thing now.”
“So, if you built the thing, like, after I got here… how’d I get here?”
“Are you even listening to me?”
“Didn’t think so.”
Jack and Mylene came in just then, keeping Kitty from pressing the matter further. She decided it was probably just some random little quirk of time travel and left it at that. Better to just accept it and move on.
Jack and Mylene had their fair share of sleep in their eyes as well. Jack’s hair, usually straight and obedient, was poofy in places, even sticking up in clumps. Mylene had two very dark circles under her eyes, making her look vaguely like a raccoon. They both sauntered in with yawns on their mouths.
“Man,” Kitty exclaimed, “you two look like-”
“Don’t even start,” Jack mumbled, limping past on his bad leg.
Todd was next into the room. He came hopping in, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, and obviously the only one of them who was ready to greet the day. “S’up, yo!” he exclaimed.
“You, if you continue to be so damned cheerful,” Mylene groused.
“Whoa,” said Todd, “guess she’s not a morning person. Hey, where’s the ‘Crawler?”
“He’s off sending the Spark twins on a quick scout of the power plant,” stated Jack, “not such a bad precaution, if you ask me. We’re gonna start this li’l shindig at sundown so we’ve got the cover of night. Everyone remember the plan?”
Everyone in the room, with the exception of the still puttering Forge, nodded.
“All right. ‘Till then, we’ve gotta few continuity issues to straighten out. K’s old watch, for one. One of the reasons this whole mess started was Kitty took his hologram generator when she disappeared. You still got the thing?”
“Yeah,” Kitty answer, reaching into a pocket and pulling the watch out, “it, like, broke when I was trying to keep hold of Kurt back then.”
Jack took it from Kitty’s hand and took a look at it. “So, this is the li’l gizmo. Forge, make sure it’s workin’, will ya’?”
Forge’s eyes lit up upon seeing the watch. He put the Chrono Hole generator aside and snatched the watch from Jack. He was soon completely lost, inspecting the circuits and buttons on the thing.
“Second, Kat, is you’re wardrobe there,” Jack continued, “obviously, you can’t wear that back to your own time.” He gestured to the black body suit and dark green armor that she was wearing, a variant on the Morlocks’ general attire theme. “And we obviously don’t want you just goin’ in there unprotected. So, you’re gonna havta wear the armor over the street clothes you came in so that you can get if off quick before goin’ through the Hole.”
Kitty looked down at the attire and imagined the armor over her pastel themed school clothing. “Eew! I’m gonna look like a complete dork!”
Jack crossed his arms and made a sour face. “It’s a commando raid, not a fashion show,” he said, somewhat exasperated.
“Yeah, yeah. But, like, I’m still gonna look like a dork.”
“No argument here,” Todd said, jokingly which earned him a bit of a glare from Kitty.
Suddenly, everyone became aware of a soft snoring sound coming from the corner where Mylene had plopped down. Her head was lolled to one side and her mouth was gaping open. She was fast asleep.
“This is gonna be a long day,” Jack sighed.
Shadowcat’s eyes had finally adjusted to the lack of light, but she still hadn’t gotten used to the headset covering one ear or the heavy backpack weighing down her back. Nightcrawler was with her, crouching in the rows of hedges next to her with his own backpack and a rather large and imposing laser rifle in hand. Silently, he peered out a small hole in the hedge and kept a watch on the building ahead of them.
“How much longer?” Shadowcat asked, somewhat impatiently.
“Give zem time,” Nightcrawler responded, “ve vait for zeir call.” He put a hand to his own headset. “Blizzard, any vord from ze others on your end?”
“They’re still gettin’ in position on the other side,” Jack’s voice came though both their headsets.
“Roger zat.” Without taking his gaze off of the power plant Nightcrawler spoke to Shadowcat. “Zis is ze part I hate most; ze vaiting.”
“I hear ya’,” Shadowcat responded.
“Fire Bomber here,” Mylene’s voice came through a moment later, “we’re in position and ready to go whenever you are.”
“All right, zen,” Nightcrawler responded, taking his backpack off and plopping it on the ground next to Shadowcat, “Fire Bomber, as soon as ze entrance near ze zree of you is cleared, get inside. If the men zere don’t go to support ze main entrance, contact me right avay and zen pull back immediately.”
“Copy that,” Fire Bomber responded.
Nightcrawler stood up, making certain he was still in the cover of the hedges, and looked down at Shadowcat. “I’ll be back for you in a moment, Katzchen.”
Shadowcat nodded. “Yeah, just like, be careful out there. And by the way, you said it again.”
The blue furred mutant said nothing in reply, but simply drew his laser rifle and looked back to the power plant. He bamfed out in a puff of smoke that smelt of sulfur and Shadowcat quickly waved it away. She took up Nightcrawler’s spot among the hedges and peered out the same hole he had.
Nightcrawler reappeared directly in front of the main entrance to the power plant, rifle drawn and firing shots immediately. The four guards there sprang into action and two shots were fired back at him. At least one of the two others was calling out over their own radio system.
“It’s the Nightcrawler! We need backup over here on the north entrance!”
Dropping into a roll, Nightcrawler dodged the line of fire from the guards already there. Stopping his roll on one knee, he fired off a few more shots, managing to catch one of the guards in the shoulder Several more of the guards, at least eight, came around the corner of the place drawing their own weapons and closing in. As they formed a circle around him, he feigned a loss of charge on his rifle, deciding to save the rest of the charge for later, put it in its holster at his side and cautiously turned to each guard in turn, glaring.
“Hold up guys,” said one of the guards, putting a hand to his headset, “we’re to take him alive. They don’t want him dead, yet.”
Nightcrawler dropped to all fours and continued turning to each guard in turn as they closed in on him. When they started to get what appeared to be dangerously close, he added a growl to the glare. One of the guards moved for a tackle, but he bamfed out of the line of action and up only about two yards or so into the air. He landed on the guard, jumped again and kicked one of the others in the face, effectively knocking both out cold. Nightcrawler bamfed out again, dodging an oncoming rifle butt and he tackled another of the guards from behind. Two more joined the frey and piled on top, sandwiching Nightcrawler in the midst of three of them. One got a good hit in on his side and he could have sworn he heard a slight crack accompany the jolt of pain. Paying it no heed, he lashed one of the two on top with his tail, knocking him backward. A well placed kick got rid of the other one on top of him.
“Nightcrawler! We’re in!” Toad’s voice came through his headset.
He didn’t miss a beat. Sending a fist flying across the jaw of the guard he had tackled, he jumped clear of the guards and bamfed out.
He rematerialized back in the hedges next to Shadowcat and collapsed to his knees, holding his side and panting as if to catch his breath. Shadowcat put a hand on his shoulder.
“You all right?”
He grabbed on to her hand with his own free one and nabbed his backpack with his other one. “Zere’s no time for zat! Let’s go!” They both bamfed out and came out of the other place on the opposite side of the power plant from where Nightcrawler’s brawl had taken place. They were only a few scant feet from the wall of the place and made their way to it easily. Shadowcat phased them through the wall and they were inside in an instant.
They both paused and Shadowcat spoke into her headset, allowing Nightcrawler to catch his breath. “Blizzard, we’re in. Where’s the power output from here?”
Shadowcat looked about and spotted a sign on the wall. “Uh, junction 12-B on the ground level.”
“Okay, the output’s at 20-B on the same level,” Blizzard replied, “head north and take a right at the fifth corridor.
“We’re at thirteen,” Forge’s voice came through, “we’ll hold position and wait for you.”
“Negative,” Nightcrawler stated, “get to ze output and establish a perimeter as fast as you can. Ve’ll be right behind you.”
Shadowcat and Nightcrawler took off down the hallway and skidded
to their right at the fifth intersection.
Fire Bomber let loose several fireballs down the corridor behind her. Toad had taken point and Forge was between the two of them. Each of them was weighed down by their own heavy backpack. Forge had the largest one of the bunch, the central controller for the Chrono Hole generator. Shots of laser fired back at the trio as they sped down the corridor and Fire Bomber silently wished Blizzard was with them so that they could make a little steam to cover their backs, but knew she could make due with what she had to work with.
“This is it!” Toad called from point as he entered a large room. His head whipped from side to side, checking for anyone who might wish to stop them, kill them, or generally be a pain in the back side.
“Check for other exits!” Fire Bomber tossed over her shoulder to Toad and Forge, still tossing fireballs at a couple of advancing guards. “And then start setting up!”
The laser fire had stopped and the two guards had disappeared down a set of side corridors, waiting for a chance to advance again. Fire Bomber waited on them, a fireball ready in her hand.
There was a commotion down the corridor to her right and suddenly one of the two guards was flung into the corridor and a shot rang out. A shot replied from the opposite side and Fire Bomber heard a tell-tale combination popping and sucking noise before seeing the tail end of an expanding ring of smoke. The other guard gave a yelp and then appeared in the corridor as well, slamming backside first into the other, already unconscious guard. Fire Bomber was fairly certain it was clear, but kept her fireball ready just in case. Nightcrawler and Shadowcat came around the two corners. Nightcrawler had his rifle raised and at the ready and Shadowcat had her two hands clenched into fists. All three relaxed when they recognized each other.
“Is zere a door?” Nightcrawler asked of Fire Bomber. She nodded. “Let’s seal it up, zen, and get to vork.”
Once inside, Fire Bomber closed the door and set to work welding
it shut, a blue flame protruding from her right index finger. Meanwhile,
Forge had already begun to tinker with the one of the consoles in the room.
He had a panel open and was connecting a rather large cable to one of the
ones in the console he had broken. Sparks were flying from the rough
connection as he worked with his tool arm. At the same time, Toad
had begun setting up the generators, unfolding the four satellite ones
and setting them up. Shadowcat lent a hand, setting the bug-like
one in the center and attaching cables from it to the other four.
There was a sudden ker-thunk from the door and Fire Bomber took a step back when a large, inward pointing dent made its presence known. Everyone, save the frantically working Forge, looked to it.
“Aw, man, that didn’t take long!” Toad exclaimed.
Nightcrawler pointed his rifle in the general direction of the door, motioning the others to do likewise. “Zere’s only ze one vay in or out. Let’s make it unattractive, ja? Forge, keep vorking! Shadowcat, take his rifle and cover him as best you can. Toad, Fire Bomber, let’s hold ze line. No one gets through, no matter vhat!”
Another ker-thunk opened a hole in the middle of the door. Fire Bomber sent a fireball through it and readied another while Nightcrawler opened up with his rifle. “Hustle it up, Forge!” she called.
“Believe me, I’m hustling!” came Forge’s reply.
Another ker-thunk opened the hole wider and several pairs of what appeared to be metal tongs began pulling on the edges. Shots began to rain in on them from the outside and everyone took defensive positions. Shadowcat and Forge, behind the console, were well out of the line of fire and the other three Morlocks found nooks and crannies to press themselves into.
“Got it!” Forge shouted into the cacophony of light and sound.
Nightcrawler was in the midst of changing charge packs on his rifle. “Fire it up!” he called. “Get Shadowcat zrough! Fast!” Once the rifle was recharged, he drew a bead on one of the enemy gunmen.
Shadowcat shed her Morlock’s armor quickly and left it in a pile next to Forge. She had handed him the rifle and he was busy firing shots over the console. “Red button to start her up,” he instructed between shots, “then just jump into the portal. If it’s not set right, you can fricassee me in whatever time you end up in, I won’t mind, promise!”
“I’ll hold you to that,” Shadowcat shouted over the din, “in case this doesn’t work, you take care of yourself.”
“The generator!” Toad shouted, somewhat panicked. Firing off his tongue into the air, he pulled down a piece of the power plant from the ceiling, a large conduit of some sort or another. The pull generated an action-reaction pair and he was pulled into the pathway of the door’s open hole. The falling piece of conduit took a rather large laser shot and exploded just after Toad had managed to get his tongue unwrapped from it. He jerked to one side and fell into a sidelong leap, clutching his left shoulder and somersaulting to the side. Shadowcat reached out and pulled him behind the console. He leaned up against it and she took a look at the laser burn.
“Looks like it cauterized,” she said.
“Forget about it,” Toad snapped back at her, “just get goin’ already. None of this don’t mean crap if you don’t get back to your time. Go!”
Shadowcat steeled herself and nodded. She lunged into the
clearing, keeping as low as she could to stay out of the line of fire.
There was a series of groans and creeks from above in the same general area as the part of the ceiling Toad had pulled the conduit from. Several pieces of tubing, conduit, and sheets of metal came raining down into the room. Shadowcat dodged all that she could, but one late falling one caught her by surprise and landed a blow across the back of her head. She fell to the floor motionless, a few feet from the Chrono Hole generator.
“Shadowcat!” Nightcrawler called. He repeated himself when there was no response from her. Gritting his teeth, he fired off a few more shots through the now gaping hole in the door. “Toad! Cover me!” He slid his rifle across the floor toward the console Forge and Toad were crouched behind and Toad reached out for it with his tongue. Moments later, he had joined Forge in his shooting frenzy.
Nightcrawler dropped to all fours and raced along the floor to
Shadowcat, keeping as low as he could, he picked her up, hearing a soft
groan from her to his complete relief, and made his way with her to the
main generator in the middle of the other four. Whipping his tail
around, he slapped the button on and in a new cacophony of light, sound,
and assault on the senses, they five generators sparked to life and the
swirling white of the Chrono Hole opened up above them. Once he was
certain it had formed completely, Nightcrawler kicked upward with his powerful
legs and he and Shadowcat went flying into the portal, disappearing into
Whatever had formed the vacuum in that intensely bright pool of light on the ceiling had suddenly switched directions. Instead of having to keep hold of the cafeteria floor to keep from being pulled upward, Kurt now had to keep hold of it to keep from being blown to the outside edges of the giant room. The hand he had had extended, reaching for Kitty, was back on the floor in an instant.
The cafeteria doors blew open and the crowd of panicked students burst through it in a giant pile. It cleared in moments, each teenager scrambling to get out of the building as fast as they could.
Kurt was still squinting up into the light when a shadow appeared, falling out of it limply and without any particular form to it. The figure fell down on top of him and he only had a moment to shift positions and catch it to keep from being knocked on the head. The instant he caught the falling shadow, the light and the wind died out. His vision cleared and he caught sight of another figure, somersaulting to the floor just in front of him, fading into the air as it did.
Was he crazy, or was this second figure… blue?
It landed, barely substantial and just before it faded entirely, the figure raised a transparent head. For just an instant, Kurt’s eyes locked on to one white eye and an eye patch.
And then, the figure was gone completely.
Something clamped down on his wrist, weakly and he was suddenly aware of the bundle that had falling into his catch. He looked down and found it to be Kitty, one rather nasty looking bump forming on her forehead. She had planted his watch back on his wrist and the hologram activated itself once again. She looked up at him and shook her head as if to clear it, then threw her arms around his neck and collapsed into him.
There was several moments of silence before the other X-Men, still in the cafeteria, made their way over to them in a rush.
“What just happened!?” Rogue exclaimed.
“Dunno,” Scott stated, looking up at the ceiling where the light had been only moments before.
“Kurt, is Kitty alive down there?” Evan asked.
“Ja,” Kurt responded, “looks like she got hit on ze head, zough.”
“Let’s clear the place and get her home, then,” said Jean, “I dunno what that was, but I don’t know if anyone saw you without your image inducer, Kurt, and we don’t want to answer any questions at the moment.”
“Jean’s right,” Scott agreed, “let’s blow this place.”
Kitty slowly came to, feeling the encompassing softness of a pillow under her head and a blanket over the rest of her. Her head throbbed rhythmically and she slowly opened her eyes, the pain intensifying slightly with the new introduction of light to her senses. Once her vision cleared, she found Kurt looking down, a smile of infinite relief spreading over his blue, elfin features.
One eye, two eyes, no eye patch. Normal. Just as was planned.
“Katzchen!” Kurt exclaimed. “You’re feeling better, ja?”
Slowly, Kitty sat up, putting a hand to her head. “Yeah, I think so. We’re back at the institute. How’d we get here?”
Kurt gave a short chuckle. “Hello! Scott’s got a car, remember?”
Kitty blinked a few times, somewhat stupidly. “Oh yeah. Right.”
“Ororo said you just got a bump on ze head. Don’t tell me you have amnesia.”
It was Kitty’s turn to laugh.
“So…” Kurt ventured, “don’t suppose you have any idea vhat zat light vas?”
“What are people saying it was?”
“No one really knows, but zere’s one zeory about crossed vires from ze lighting an air conditioning systems at ze school.”
Kitty shrugged. “I suppose that’s, like, good an explanation as any.”
Kurt looked at Kitty dubiously, making a bit of a sour face at her. “You know more zan you’re letting on.”
“And you’re not telling me?”
Kitty gave a bit of a whimsical sigh and looked out her window before pushing back the cover and getting up from her bed. “Because it’s not anything you have to worry about, any more,” she stated walking across the room and out the door. “It’s been ages since I had anything to eat. Coming?”
Kurt stood in the middle of Kitty and Rogue’s empty room for a moment, watching Kitty’s retreating back as though he had just seen Big Foot walk by. “Any m-… But… Katzchen, vhat do you mean by zat? And ve just ate lunch an hour ago!” He hurried after her in the general direction of the mansion’s kitchen. “Vhat’s going on! C’mon, don’t keep secrets from little old me! Kitty!”
The room fell silent after the two of them had left. The
wind blew on the curtains on the window and a soft breeze made its way
through the room. Had anyone been there, they might have felt a gaze
and a smile from out of nowhere. It belonged to no one, it simply
existed in a world where everything was right.
Whew! Done! Okay, breathe in, breathe out...
So, there's still open questions, you say? Why, yes, there are, aren't there? ^_~
Until later, folks! Kick the tires, light the fires, and keep the Kurtty fics coming!