Categories > Cartoons > X-Men: Evolution > Extermination

A Harsh New Reality

by slickboy444 0 Reviews

Takes place 2 years after Apocalypse, 1 year after the Phoenix. The mutant problem has grown and a obscure general named William Stryker thinks he has a solution. Has Scott/Jean, Wanda/Kurt, Kitty/...

Category: X-Men: Evolution - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Action/Adventure, Drama - Characters: Cyclops - Warnings: [V] - Published: 2005/08/27 - Updated: 2005/08/27 - 6093 words

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Extermination
Chapter 10: A Harsh New Reality


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"Stryker? What's the meaning of this?" demanded Xavier as he faced a tall, stoic man standing before him with over a dozen heavily armed guards behind him.

"Oh Charles, you sound like a broken record," said Stryker with a grin, sensing the Professor's frustration, "How does it feel to be powerless? It must feel sobering to be so ignorant of the situation as it is. Thanks to these headbands that my men and I wear...You're nothing but a cripple."

"Fuck you!" bellowed Logan as he struggled back up to his feet.

But before he could, the tall Russian woman that was by Stryker's side used the taser launcher that she had used earlier and knocked the Wolverine down with another painful series of high voltage shocks.

"Don't bother Logan...I always come prepared," smirked the general as he listened to the man's screams.

"Enough!" yelled Xavier as Magnum finally stopped shocking the downed Wolverine, "I may not be able to use my telepathy through those headbands, but I can use it to summon the authorities!"

"Charles, Charles, Charles...I AM the authorities."

"What are you talking about?" demanded Xavier, who was beginning to grow frustrated with this man's enigmatic intentions.

"Don't bother worrying about your little meeting with Congress," stated Stryker in and amused tone, "It's been cancelled due to...New developments."

"Bub..." grunted Logan as he struggled to get up once again, "You're definitely trying my temper!!!"

Magnum was about to shock him again, but Stryker quickly gestured for her to yield...Because he wanted Wolverine to hear every bit of what he was about to say.

"You're an animal Logan..." said Stryker as he looked down at him with a mixture of pity and disgust, "Like all mutants...You are nature's great mistake. You see...Normal mutation bought about by nature in the course of the evolutionary process assist in the growth and enrichment of life. Yet you mutants on the other hand...Seem to only enrich death."

"Great...A wannabe anti-mutant preacher with a mindless posse," grunted Logan.

However, this earned him another round of shocks from Magnum, sending him back down to the ground in an agonizing heap.

"Call me anti-mutant all you want Logan...But NEVER call me mindless," replied Stryker sternly, "I am a man of intellect...A man of logic and knowledge. Much like yourself Professor...Only I seem to be living in the real world while you insist on staying stuck in an unending dream that only works to mask you from reality. You see...You believe that mankind and mutants can one day live in peace with each other...And that the main reason your kind has been met with such hostility is because mankind fears what it doesn't understand. However, I understand perfectly. Over the years I have studied and restudied the concept, science, and philosophy of the mutant/human question and in all that time I have kept coming to the same conclusion...That the mutant race is the poison of this planet and will lead all of us towards ultimate destruction."

"I don't see what this twisted logic has to do with destruction Stryker," responded Xavier, "Your concept of reality is beyond knowledge and boarders that of paranoia."

"Paranoia?" repeated the general in an amused tone, "You think I'm paranoid? Oh Charles you really are a fool. Two years ago...You and your kind work to unleash an ancient mutant that sought to kill every man, woman, and child that didn't posses the X-gene. There are 6 billion souls on this planet and only 6 to 10 thousand of them are mutants. I ask you...Is it so paranoid to become vigilant when a single being tries to murder the population of an entire world?"

"That being was a madman," said Xavier in response, "You cannot use Apocalypse as a basis for all mutants."

"Can I? Was it not the actions of your students that helped open the first two doors to the chamber keeping that monster at bay? Was it not your fault that he came so close to succeeding in his goal because you let him escape?"

"Now you're just exaggerating the matter Stryker," said Xavier as the general's uncanny recollection of the events of three years ago began to heighten the Professor's suspicions.

"Oh really...Wasn't it a mutant named Mesmero that started it? And wasn't it Magneto that allowed it to progress?"

"What?! How do you know all this?" asked the Professor as the general continued to flaunt his knowledge as if it were a trophy.

"I know a lot of things Charles...Not because I have mutant powers, but because I have good old fashioned determination. I work to gain my knowledge. I work with a level of patience and planning that you could never hope to ascertain. That day, two years ago, you and your soldiers put a stop to a menace that you created while 6 billion innocent people were powerless to do anything to save their own lives and that of their loved ones. You thought of yourself and your army as saviors...When in reality you were merely shoveling up your own shit. And it turned out quite nicely for you...In exchange for stopping a problem that you created the press lauded you, governments became more reticent in dealing with you, and Trask and the Friends of Humanity were dissolved yet again. But if they knew the truth that I have known for quite some time now...I doubt that this day would have truly been necessary."

"The truth...Only as you see it," quipped Xavier.

"No...Not just me Charles, it is mere logic that dictates human action. It is logic...That dictated the events of the past two years leading up to this fateful turning point in history," said Stryker proudly as he reveled in Xavier's apparent ignorance of what he had done in the early hours of the morning on this day, "In a strange twist of irony...It is you that bought about the factors that led to my ascension to the power that I wield now. You see...It is because of you that Trask was put in jail and the Friends of Humanity was forced to transfer its power overseas to Europe. And since Trask was gone, it left me as the sole apparent to the leadership of the Friend's of Humanity. And I have you to thank for such a development."

"The Friends of Humanity?!" bellowed Logan, knowing that this group could mean only trouble, "Don't you pricks ever quit?! You think after all the damage you cause for both humans and mutants alike, you'd have taken a hint by now!"

"In a way...You are actually right Logan," said William Stryker surprisingly, causing both him and Xavier to look back with undue shock and confusion on their faces, "The Friends of Humanity lacked direction, procedure, and overall patience with accomplishing the goal of neutralizing the mutant threat once and for all. Projects like the sentinels were too crude and ahead of their time to fully use in a world such as this. So when I took over...I began working smarter instead of harder. I have resources that you could never hope to grasp...I have connections in places you could never hope to reach. Now...The Friends of Humanity has gone from a rag tag bunch of believers exiled from their own country...To an organization that wields the kind of power that can shape the future in a way that even the mutant race could never hope to. You thought that our humble little organization was gone...When in reality we merely stuck to the shadows so you would continue to believe your foolish notions. Now, we have emerged from the shadows...And will finish the task which I personally set to complete two years ago."

"Whatever your task is, you won't succeed Stryker," said the Professor vehemently as he listened to this man's incessant droning over mutant hate, "Genocide is never justified no matter how you say or interpret it!"

"Genocide?" laughed the general in an amused tone, "You think killing off those who would in turn kill us all is genocide? Please, don't insult me Charles...I am a man of humanity, knowledge, and ambition."

"You're a fuckin' wacko who thinks he can justify killing off an entire group of human beings!" grunted Logan.

"I need not justify my actions brute...You all justify them plenty enough for me," smirked Stryker, "Humanity isn't perfect, don't think that I don't understand that...But even the greatest wars and conflicts between men like World War II or the Cold War didn't nearly amount to the kind of death that one single mutant like Apocalypse or Magneto was trying to spread. And unlike mutant conflicts, those wars such as the Cold War could be negotiated peacefully without a shot being fired. Humanity has the capability to live peacefully with itself when knowledge and logic dominate over hatred and ignorance. However, all the education in the world could never hope to pacify the mutant phenomenon. Mutants cannot be reasoned with because they are by definition, not human. They are another species of few threatening to wipe out a species of many because they believe themselves to be superior. You call men like myself and Trask mad...Yet you need only to look at yourselves to see the truth behind the conflict that you so eagerly delude yourself with."

"Your mind is warped beyond measure Stryker," said Xavier as he looked into the calm, stoic face of this enigmatic man, "Men like you are not the ones that history remembers as famous...They are the ones that history remembers as infamous."

"History...You think you know history? You think you know how I am going to be remembered?" said Stryker with a laugh, "Xavier I came in here with reasons to resent mutants...But you just keep giving me more. History is determined not just by the victor in battle...But by the reality that people perceive. The public in this world only believes that which they see and hear...They are an audience in one big magic show...Infinitely susceptible to any such illusion that those who wield the power wish to create. I have the power...I will determine my own path in history...While you, unfortunately...Are too late to determine yours."

"What do you mean?" demanded Charles as the grin on Stryker's face only grew wider.

The general let out another sinister laugh as his female associate, Magnum, handed him a thick folder containing 'information' that the field teams sent him before he came to meet Xavier. With a casual grin, he tossed the folder in to the crippled man's lap...Unveiling its contents to both the Professor and Logan.

"You think you have the power to stop me Charles...But like I said before, I am a man of knowledge...Not stupidity. I know how to fight and win a war. And I have worked hard, planned meticulously, and executed with unabated force one of the most ingenious operations in history. You can't win against me because I am already victorious. Face it Professor Xavier...You lose."

Then...Professor Charles Xavier and the dazed Logan got a glimpse at what lay within the small, yet ominous package. The contents of the folder spilled out in the form of dozens of graphic, color pictures...Pictures that bore a horrific sight that caused both men to gasp in undue shock and horror. These pictures...These terrible images were that of the graphic mutilated bodies their friends, family, and students of the institute. The young boys, girls, and teachers of both their friends and even their enemies were shown in horrific pools of blood, gore, and burnt flesh. Some had permanent expressions of pain frozen on their face...Mainly those who were unlucky enough to survive the initial blast...While others seemed to have faced a bloody, sudden death while sleeping peacefully in their beds. The Professor's hands began to tremble as he looked at gruesome pictures of young Jamie Madrox, Bobby Drake, Todd Tolensky, and Jubilation Lee. His eyes then soon fell upon horrific sight of the massacred Morlocks, who had been gassed to death and forced to suffer slow, gruesome deaths. They were only young children...Yet they had been slaughtered brutally. Then...There were the pictures of the dead, mutilated body of his close friends Hank McCoy and Ororo Munroe...Two respected and kind hearted teachers that now lay dead in a most gruesome way. The flesh had been singed off of their bodies...There were pieces of glass in shrapnel lodged within the corpses only adding to the sheer horror. Some photos had Friend's of Humanity soldiers standing over the bodies with proud looks on their faces, as if they had just killed a trophy animal in a hunt.

A tight, suffocating feeling gripped Charles Xavier as he looked over these horrific photos. The dream he had built...The family that he had created...The friends that he so deeply treasured...Were all gone...Killed mercilessly. Logan too, felt a paralyzing feeling come over his mind as an unspeakable sense of rage and remorse fell over him. These were the dead bodies of the only family and home that he had ever known...The children that he had sworn to protect. Now here they were...Dead...Murdered...Slaughtered.

"Welcome to the reality of war Professor," said Stryker with a sinister grin as he reveled in the pained expression that both men showed, "And guess what? I win..."

"No..." said Xavier in a silent, pained tone.

The pictures that bore so much death...Not just of his X-men, but of the Brotherhood, Acolytes, and Morlocks as well...Were too much for the Professor to bear. These were all living beings...Yet this man now standing before them murdered them all simply because they were born different. Finally...Xavier could no longer take it anymore.

"YOU MONSTER!" yelled the Professor as forced himself out of his wheelchair and grabbed on to Stryker's uniform with his bear hands and punched him in the face.

Stryker seemed unsurprised, and somewhat humored by Xavier's actions as he easily threw the crippled man off of him and back on to his wheelchair...But this didn't stop Xavier. He struggled to crawl out and attack again...He wanted nothing short of death for this man that had so heartlessly murdered so many innocent people.

"THEY WERE CHILDREN FOR GOD'S SAKE! BOYS, GIRLS, TEACHERS...INNOCENT LIVES THAT YOU SO HEARTLESSLY MUDERED IN COLD BLOD!" yelled Xavier.

But Stryker merely responded by kicking the determined man back to his chair as he now lay helpless on the ground at the mercy of a mass murderer.

"Welcome...To the real world Xavier," taunted the general, "Your days of delusional dreaming are up. This is a war Charles...And this is what happens in a war."

Logan stood in shock at what he had just seen. The normally peaceful, non-violent mentor that he had looked up to and respected for so long now had just lashed out this madman with a fury unlike anything even he had seen. But watching the callous general merely throw him off like a rag doll was even worse. The raging animal within him was coming up with a vengeance now. Then...He looked back down at the floor where Xavier laid and the pictures remained scattered. His eyes then fell upon that of the dead body of Rogue...With her burnt body that seemed blackened by heat and the white streak still visible only now stained with blood. Right beside that picture...Lay the picture of the dead body of Logan's first true friend and closest companion, Ororo Munroe. The kind, gentle woman that had been so peaceful and loving towards every student at the institute...And the only person that had ever seen past the animal that he was...Lay dead. Her beautiful, white hair was now stained red with blood while bits of shrapnel now littered her ebony face. Most of her arms and upper torso had been burnt beyond recognition and a small pool of blood surrounded her body. But the worst part of all...Were her eyes...For they were still open. She had been awake when she died...She had had felt pain in her death. It was too much for Logan to bear...He couldn't take it...He couldn't look any more.

"ERRRRRRRRRRRRRAAAHHHHHHHHHH!" yelled the Wolverine in a booming voice that echoed all throughout the floor as he unsheathed his claws and flung himself at Stryker.

Then, the powerful Russian woman that always stood beside Stryker sprung into action with lightning fast speed. Before Wolverine could react...The strong woman hit him with a powerful three-punch combo and with reflexes that seemed beyond human, she whipped out her shining magnum gun from her holster and fired a single, perfectly aimed shot directly at the heart of raging man. Immediately, the Wolverine fell back as a result of the force of such a shot. His adamantium skeleton had not broken as a result of the bullet...But it had sent a damaging shockwave to his insides and he now lay in too much pain to get up and fight back as his healing factor was left to undo the damage. But Magnum wasn't about to let him get rest to regain his composure. She now stood over him, aiming her powerful gun directly at the feral man's head.

"You'll heal from that last shot," said Magnum in her thick Russian accent, "But you will NOT heal from this one."

"No Magnum..." said Stryker as he ordered his associate off, "Don't let that animal off so easily. Let him live...For now."

Not questioning Stryker's orders one bit...The strong Russian woman backed off and put her gun back in her holster as she looked down with pity at the Wolverine. The well aimed bullet had delivered a blow to his heart and lungs...Dealing damaged that would take a while to recover from even with a healing factor like his.

Now...The general stood in triumph over the two men as the sinister grin on his face only worked to make things worse. The X-men were gone and so were Magneto and the Brotherhood...The Morlocks had been massacred...All seemed truly lost now. It seemed as though this man truly had won. He was holding all the proverbial cards...He had struck before they even had chance to respond. He knew when, where, and how to strike. He did it under their noses...In the shadows. They had not even been aware of his existence. It was all growing too hopeless to think about now as Xavier looked over at his downed friend and back up at the man who had taken everything away from him.

"You are truly mad Stryker..." said Xavier with anger and resentment hanging strong in his tone, "You will burn for this..."

This comment only made William Stryker laugh even more as he looked down at his feeble opponent.

"You really are a fool Charles...You truly don't know the rules and mindset of war."

"You slaughtered unarmed, innocent people! That's not war...That's murder!" yelled Xavier.

"I believe that the correct term is preemptive strike..." replied Stryker, "One strike from you mutants...Be it from you, Magneto, or Apocalypse...Is enough to kill countless more than these dangerous ticking time bombs that you see neutralized before you. Would you say the same if one of your own bought this kind of death to innocent humans? Or would you simply try to delude yourself with notions that all mutants can be controlled when in reality...It only takes one? Human lives come first for me...And I will make sure that there are no more of your kind left to endanger them. I've already shown you a small sample of what I can do...But mark my words Xavier...This is only the beginning."

"You will not succeed!" replied Xavier sternly, hatred burning within his eyes, "Someone will stop you! Once they've learned of the atrocities that you have committed, you'll never be able to hide from the will of the people!"

William Stryker turned a deaf ear to the Professor's threats as he and his associate walked back towards the door.

"Haven't you been listening to a thing I said Xavier?" said the general, actually sounding as though he felt pity for the professor, "The people will believe what they are told...And when you have the kind of power that I wield...The will of the people is as irrelevant as yours."

Then, as he left, one of the soldiers turned on the TV to the morning news. The gruesome pictures of their dead loved ones remained...As if to be Stryker's last taunt to the Professor and Logan. Stryker left the building casually as the dozens of heavily armed soldiers stayed behind and guarded the door and every route of escape from the hotel both inside and out. They were trapped now...And as they heard the grim announcement on the news, the future for mutants everywhere now looked extremely dark.

"Good morning and this is a CNN breaking news headline. A most historic development had arisen in the history of the mutant phenomenon that has gripped the world in the past four years. Sources in Congress, the White House, and the Pentagon released a series of stunning revelations that are sure to send shockwaves throughout the world as the mutant phenomenon seems to have taken a decisive turn. According to recent investigations carried out by both government and private organizations, a mutant plot similar to the one that nearly bought the world to an end two years ago has been uncovered with strong evidence linking it to the famous X-men, Brotherhood, and Magneto. The plot overwhelmed and shocked authorities as evidence of a secret mutant army from all three groups has been confirmed by military and police personnel. Sources say that hidden, underground facilities unknown to the public beforehand has uncovered a massive volume of data that includes plans for a covert mutant takeover, lists of humans targeted for assassination, and machinery capable of great destruction. Evidence also shows that these plans were set to be put into action within under a few months and before any response from humanity can take place. However, government officials today say that upon hearing of this shocking discovery, a lone general who has yet to be named was hired by the White House managed to avert disaster by assembling a covert military strike force that has effectively neutralized the dangerous threat and the mutants responsible. A message from the White House was issued less than an hour ago saying 'What we have discovered...Is nothing short of a horror beyond description. The mutant phenomenon is now clearer than ever to be a treat to mankind and the world. Now that we have the truth in our hands, the growing menace can no longer hide in the shadows of their plot. And thanks to quick thinking and steadfast dedication to their kind...Our men and women in uniform have managed to fight for the good and survival of humanity'"

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The rising sun bought on a whole new set of challenges for the seven surviving mutants of the X-men and the Brotherhood. Pietro's condition was no longer as critical as before, but he would be in a lot of pain for the time being. And without proper pain killers, his suffering would only be prolonged as his speedy body was left to go down a long road of recovery. He would remain in the jet in the medical area, but the others made their way outside in order to familiarize themselves with their new surroundings.

"So this is where you stayed last time the institute was destroyed by my hands?" commented Mystique as she looked into the cave with Scott, Jean, and Kurt standing beside her.

"Yeah, this is the place," said Scott as he looked at their old hiding place of two and a half years ago, "It hasn't changed one bit."

"Indeed...It still as cold and smelly as last time," added Kurt as they all felt a chilly draft from the insides of the formation.

Mystique couldn't help but feel guilty as she saw the area that her kids and their friends were forced to stay as a result of her actions on that fateful day when mutant's were exposed to the world. It had been her fault last time that their home was destroyed and now that she had suffered a similar fate with the boarding house, she finally had a pretty good idea of how they felt about it.

"Well...For what it's worth, I'm sorry that you were forced to stay in a place like this last time when I was the one who blew up the mansion," said the shape shifter.

"Try not to think about such things, mother," replied Kurt as he saw the guilty look on her face, "It was a different time...And it's in the past. Let us worry about the present and future for now."

It may not have been enough to overshadow the guilty feelings that Mystique still harbored about that act that she now so regretted, but when she heard her son call her mother...It did help her feel a little bit better.

The four mutants proceeded to enter the cave and explore whether or not it would be suitable shelter until they could determine their next course of action. However, their options were highly limited at this point with the Professor gone and the mansion destroyed.

"Well, it looks like this will have to do," said Jean as she and the others rested their legs and sat on the damp, dirty ground of the cave.

"For now I guess..." said Scott, who didn't seem to enthusiastic about living in a cave for an unknown period of time.

"So...Vhat do ve do now?" asked Kurt in a distant, somewhat lost tone.

An eerie silence soon fell over the four mutants as they contemplated Kurt's question. There truly were few actions they could take at this point with the military controlling everything. They still had no clues as to whether or not Xavier and Logan had been hit as well in Washington. There were just too many unknowns as this point...Too many things coming at them from all directions as the life they once knew lay in ruins around them. Finally, Scott broke the silence as he offered what little he could in terms of a plan.

"I don't think there is much we can do at this point Kurt. We don't know if the Professor is alive or dead, we don't have a lot of supplies, and we've still got a wounded Pietro to deal with."

"I thought that you said he was out of danger Jean," said Raven upon hearing this.

"Well yes but...He's still in a lot of pain. I've tried to use my powers to help, but there's only so much the mind can do without proper pain killers. Either way, we still need to watch over him in shifts just in case something unexpected happens. Kitty and Wanda are looking over him now...But we really need some medicine."

"But he will survive right?" said Kurt wanting to be sure.

"For now...He's out of danger," said Jean as she let out deep sigh, "But there's still a chance that something happened...Something I missed. There are always those awful possibilities."

"Well try not to think about that now Jean," said Scott as he placed a comforting hand on her shoulder, "Let's just focus on the present for now."

"So what's the plan then?" asked Mystique, sounding somewhat skeptical at the prospects of an actual course of action against the powerful forces that had attacked them.

It was clear now that they had no hopes of fighting the military and they were all fairly certain that they were now wanted escapees after making their getaway in the X-jet. In other words...They were stuck here.

"At this point...Our key purpose is survival," said Scott even though he did not like saying words with such grim prospects, "The supplies in the X-jet will only last us two days at the most. Now that we have shelter, we have to find a way to get some food for us and medicine for Pietro."

Upon hearing this, an idea came to Mystique...One that may hope to gain the trust of the people that she had hurt so much in the past. She knew that there was still some distrust towards her from everybody...Even Kurt. And she could do nothing about it except show that she had changed in the past two years.

"Well I think I can help with that. Even though my home is gone, I still have several bank accounts under some aliases that I go by, so you need not worry about money. And if we can find a store or shop nearby and find a means to get to it, then I think we can stay fully stocked in terms of food."

"That's good to hear," said Scott sounding somewhat relieved that Mystique was willing to contribute, "There was a general store at least seven miles from this place that Logan found last time we were here."

"Ja, but vhat about the military? Aren't they still looking for us?" said Kurt.

"Yes...But only if we do something to draw attention to ourselves," answered Mystique, "We best make a trip to the store and stock up as soon as possible. Since I am not easily recognized with my powers, I'll go."

Mystiques willingness to volunteer only added to the uncharacteristic kindness that she had been exhibiting since their paths crossed back at the mansion. It had all come within the span of six hours, but at this point they had no choice but to trust her sincerity for the time being. Unknown to them, however, Raven Darkholm had no desire to do otherwise at this point...For the pain of Rogue's death still hurt too much.

"And I'm coming with you," said Jean, "You'll need a telepath just in case."

"Very well...Then we should leave as soon as possible," said Mystique knowing that they weren't ready to trust her too much after everything that had happened.

"And in the mean time, Kurt and I will see if we can contact the Professor and Logan back in Washington," added Scott.

"Sounds like a plan. Only..."

"Only what?" said Jean wearily.

"Only we're going to need some sort of transportation to get into town."

"No we don't, I can just fly us there if we need to," said Jean.

"No...That would be a bit too conspicuous," replied Mystique, "We have no idea the tracking capabilities of the pricks that did all this. We'll have to find another way."

"Don't worry, we've got one..." said Scott, as a quick solution came to mind.

The four mutants then made their way back to the X-jet where Scott unloaded a hidden compartment in the back area of the fuselage. Inside, a single two seat motorcycle touched down on the ground, similar to the one that Logan and Rogue had used last time they were stuck here. Mystique was somewhat impressed that they had come prepared...But neither she nor Jean wasted time in getting ready for a quick supply run.

"Do you know how to ride a motorcycle Mystique?" said Jean as she and Scott checked some of the gauges.

"In my old line of work...Such skill was always necessary," answered Mystique, "And please don't call me that anymore...Call me Raven."

Jean looked back at the shape shifter with confusion in her eyes, for the tone that she had used seemed so unlike the bitter woman she and the others knew. She was about to ask more...But Scott quickly dissuaded her, knowing that she was still dealing with everything that had happened...Especially Rogue.

Mystique then shifted into an inconspicuous human variation of her true form...One that she hoped wouldn't draw too much attention. After sensing that everything was in order...They were finally ready to depart. Scott gave Jean one last kiss before they left sending her a quick 'Be careful' through their link as the two women sped off down the rugged dirt roads and out of sight.

Upon seeing Scott and Jean kiss, Kurt looked away so nobody would see the dazed look on his face as it bought back memories of the previous night when Wanda had kissed him on the jet. His mind was already reeling from the loss of his sister and the mending of old wounds between him and his estranged mother...But that kiss from the Scarlet Witch by far was the most bewildering. He had saved her twin brother's life thanks to his knowledge of CPR and in turn...She had kissed him. But it wasn't a simple peck on the cheek...It was a deep, powerful kiss right on the lips that lasted so long yet so short at the same time. The memory was now singed in his mind as he went over what had happened again and again...But he tried not to let it show, for the situation of the world around them was just too grave to be concerned with ones feelings. But still...The young mutant couldn't help but think about it.

"Kurt...Hey Kurt!"

"Vhat?!" said the young man as he was suddenly snapped out of his daze.

"You okay man? You looked like you were in another world just now," said Scott as he noticed the strange look on Kurt's face.

Kurt shook his head, forcing himself to return to reality. Nobody knew about the kiss just yet...And he wanted it to stay that way until he could at least make some sense out of what had happened if such a thing was even possible.

"Ja...I'm okay," assured Kurt, "I just...Spaced. That's all."

"Are you sure?"

"Ja...I'm sure. Now, let's go see if ve can contact the Professor," said Kurt in a somewhat rushed tone as he made his way back on to the X-jet, making sure to avoid Wanda for the time being.

Scott was definitely not convinced, for Kurt was a lousy liar. However, he could tell that he didn't want to talk about it. Scott suspected it must be about Mystique or Rogue...Or perhaps something else that he hadn't told anybody yet. But they could not focus on that at this point. Unfortunately, there was much work to be done.

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AN: Well, I'll stop there for now. I know that it's not the same big cliffhangers that I've been using for the past two chapters, but I thought that I'd give you all a break this time! I know that the cliffhangers annoy the hell out of some people, but sometimes they're the only thing that will get people to review! So be sure to review so that I don't have to keep resorting to such methods! I know that some of the scenes in the early part of the chapter were kind of wordy and the actions of the Professor were somewhat intense, but I really wanted to add to the drama of the story and I wanted Xavier's reaction to more realistic. I know it was kind of intense, but that's what I was shooting for. And as for the wordy speeches of William Stryker, I just wanted to add those because I wanted to make him seem less a psycho and more an intelligent, logical man that believes in something. So what do you think? Like it? Hate it? Again I apologize for all the death, but this is AU! Remember that please. There's lots more to come with Magneto and Colossus as well as the surviving X-men! Stay tuned and don't forget to REVIEW! Send them to me via email or post them on the fanfiction website. Thank you all very much for reading and I wish everybody the best!

REVIEW! I CRAVE REVIEWS!
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