Categories > Cartoons > X-Men: Evolution > Sinister Soldiers

Lives Remade

by slickboy444 0 reviews

The Evo world is forever turned upside down when a man named Dr. Nathanial Essex begins a project known as Shadow Cell from which the lives of Scott, Jean, Vincent, Wanda, and X23 are changed forev...

Category: X-Men: Evolution - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Action/Adventure, Drama, Romance, Sci-fi - Characters: Avalanche, Berzerker, Blob, Boom Boom, Cannonball, Colossus, Cyclops, Gambit, Iceman, Jean, Magma, Magneto, Mr. Sinister, Multiple, Mystique, Nightcrawler, Professor Xavier, Quicksilver, Rogue, Scarlet Witch, Shadowcat, Storm, Sunspot, Toad - Warnings: [?] [V] [X] - Published: 2005-10-09 - Updated: 2005-10-09 - 6601 words

Sinister Soldiers
Chapter 5: Lives Remade


Upon completing the momentous experiment, both Scott and Jean were taken to an infirmary where a team of skilled doctors carefully monitored their vitals and physiology. Naturally, Dr. Nathanial Essex was there the whole time, making sure that his machine did everything he wanted it to do. All the trial and error from Weapon X and the Prodigy Project had all culminated with this fateful experiment and as Dr. Essex stood over the two young ten year olds that were now in an advanced state all their own, he couldn't help but smile in pride for what he had just accomplished.

The General and the Colonel were there in the infirmary along with Dr. Essex and so was the mysterious and stoic Magnum, who had yet to say a word to any of them yet. However, Dr. Essex remained confident and seemed to trust the dangerous Russian mercenary, even if her appearance and presence didn't sit well with most of the officers present. Her imposing form now hovered over the two unconscious children as she looked at what she was going to have to work with. She had been given the daunting task of taking two very traumatized ten year old kids and turning them into strong, determined soldiers not afraid to kill. Already, she was going through a multitude of steps in her head that she knew she would have to take in order to harness that emotional angst and turn it into a force to be reckoned with. Having been trained herself by ex Russian KGB and special forces units at a very young age...She knew the power of the human psyche and understood how the limits of the body and mind could be overcome with sheer focus and determination.

"So what's the verdict Doctor?" asked the General as he watched Dr. Essex perform many readings using advanced tools, many of which he created himself.

"It's official General...The experiment was a complete success," proclaimed Dr. Essex proudly, "Both subjects show full acceleration of X-gene manifestation. And just as I had predicted, the presence of the X-gene allowed the rest of the DNA in every cell to become enhanced and grow into a new state of functioning."

"And in English that would mean?" said the Colonel, who was by no means a leading authority in biology, genetics, or mutants.

"That means, Colonel, that every function in their body has been improved and enhanced into a greater state thanks to the X-gene," answered Dr. Essex, trying to suppress his laughter of the Colonel's ignorance, "Like a stepping stone, it's presence allowed my machine to enhance all other functions of their bodies. That means they'll have all the stamina, strength, and endurance necessary to become full fledged soldiers of Shadow Cell."

"But what about their mutant powers?" said the General, "I'm more concerned about the effects the experiment had on them since you told me earlier that neither subject had an adequate amount of control over their abilities."

"Ah yes...That's actually an interesting factor General," said the doctor as he brought up a computer screen showing a digital readout of Scott and Jean's now highly advanced genetic makeup, "For young Scott Summers, the enhancement to his cellular functions has seemed to heal the brain damage I told you about that he suffered in his early life. So it's logical to assume that both subjects now possess a powerful healing factor. And while it is nowhere near the level of that of Weapon X, it's still well beyond anything a mere human can muster. And if this healing can mend brain damage, then I think I can safely say with near certainty that it can heal other serious wounds as well as fight off infectious element ranging from the common cold to the deadliest biological weapon on the black market. However...This healing seems to have done more than just mend the part of the brain necessary for control..."

Dr. Essex brought up another image, this time it was one that showed an entire readout of Scott Summer's body from head to toe.

"So they can heal now...But will they be able to control their powers?" asked the Colonel, not seeing the connection between healing and control.

"Healing in a sense is what garners control on a physiological level Colonel," explained Dr. Essex as he powered up a program that would show what Scott Summers was capable of now, "For young Mr. Summers here...His X-gene first manifested in a way that allowed only a certain amount of energy from the sun to be absorbed and metabolized into a destructive photo-concussive blast through his eyes. The brain damage made this all but impossible to control because it gave him no conscious manner to do so and if the X-gene had been allowed to grow and manifest naturally, then I doubt he would have ever been able to turn off his powers and keep the mechanisms from going off 24/7. But with the growth and enhancement of my machine...The manner in which his body takes energy from his environment has been greatly advanced to the point where he can take more than just solar energy...He can take practically any kind of energy and metabolize it in far greater quantities than before."

"Wait...ANY kind of energy?" said the Colonel, not ascertaining what he meant by that.

"Yes...Any kind Colonel," said Dr. Essex with a confident tone in his voice, "Most people don't know it...But there is more energy in the volume of coffee cup to evaporate the world's oceans. We in science call it many things...Cosmic energy, radiant energy, zero-point energy...But no matter what we call it, it is still just as powerful. And now, this strapping young lad as the power to take that energy, absorb it, and direct it in any way he sees fit. It's like the concentrated firepower of a nuclear bomb all nicely wrapped within a powerful genetic package."

"Amazing..." said the General, clearly impressed by what Dr. Essex just described, "The possibilities for that kind of firepower are practically endless."

"And it doesn't stop there General," said Dr. Essex with a grin as he brought up another screen, "Apparently, the experiment also did more for Mr. Summers than just enhance the quantity and quality of energy he can manipulate."

"What do you mean?" asked the Colonel as both he and the General looked curiously at Dr. Essex's readouts.

"Remember how I said that his powers manifested those destructive blasts in his eyes?" said Dr. Essex as he ran a program that would illustrate exactly what he was talking about, "Well now that the X-gene has been enhanced and allowed to grow and advance, his body has gone beyond simply being able to focus such power through his eyes. You see...The reason why it was only in his eyes was because that was all the X-gene was coded for. Yet since being enhanced, such power and control is now possible in almost all parts of his body. That means that the intense energy he can metabolize can now be used in his muscles that have the capacity to give him a superhuman burst of strength when he needs it for a brief period. And although still somewhat limited to brief periods of time, it also means that he can focus, channel, and unleash these blasts through more than just his eyes...Hell, he can practically use his whole body if he wants to and unleash this great destructive power on a scale he could never have managed otherwise, making it possible to focus it for maximum destruction and power to blow away any foe that stands in his way whether inanimate or otherwise."

Both officers definitely looked impressed at what the doctor had just described and shown them. Since they were both experienced men of war, they saw the value of such abilities when it came to the battlefield. And if this child could be given the proper training, they knew he would be a force to be reckoned with.

"Firepower and strength..." mused the General as he looked back over at the still unconscious boy, "Perfect for the field of battle."

"Indeed General...And just wait until we give him the proper training," grinned Dr. Essex as he saw the fruits of his labor manifesting before him.

"That I look forward to seeing," said the General who seemed to share part of the doctor's excitement about the possibilities with such a specimen.

"But what about the girl?" asked the Colonel, knowing there was still more to discuss.

"Ah yes...Jean Grey," said Dr. Essex in a tone that seemed just as enthusiastic as it was when he addressed Scott Summers, "Ms. Grey has also shown a rather unusual readout both before and after the experiment."

"But is she still just as viable?" asked the General as he once again watched Dr. Essex bring up another readout, this one of Jean Grey.

"See for yourself gentlemen," proclaimed Dr. Essex proudly, "As you both know from the data I gave you earlier, young Jean has the mutant abilities of telepathy and telekinesis. While both of these abilities are rather imbalanced, what made Ms. Grey such an intriguing specimen was the sheer structure of her powers."

"Structure?" said the Colonel, once again feeling that Dr. Essex was speaking in a manner not meant for those who weren't Nobel Prize winning biologists.

"Yes...Both structure and composition," explained the doctor as he went into more detail, "Like Scott, the intensity of Jean's powers are quite great even in their previous, partially manifested state. Yet as in the case of young Mr. Summers as well...The control mechanisms for managing such powers were not present. Before she went though this machine, the capacity for her abilities dictated by her X-gene was growing in terms of power and intensity...But her ability to control it was not. In fact...If she hadn't gone through my accelerator, there's no doubt that both her telepathy and telekinesis would have kept growing and growing at an exponential rate as time went on until they got to a state beyond the capacity to measure."

"Sounds dangerous," said the General, looking somewhat concerned upon hearing such things about this young girl's powers.

"It was General...But don't worry, my wondrous machine has apparently fixed that," said Dr. Essex with a grin as he looked at the enhancement readouts, "Thanks to the acceleration process, Ms Grey's X-gene appears to have been turned from incomplete, to fully functional. Her X-gene now has all it needs to grow to levels far beyond the capacity of any lower class mutant while maintaining perfect control in the process. Her telepathy and telekinesis should be in perfect harmony...Evolved to the maximum level of power and intensity so that it promises to make her one of the most powerful psychics who ever lived."

"Telepathy and telekinesis..." said the General to himself as he looked over at the young girls still lying unconscious in the bed, "The capacity for both knowledge and destruction...Very impressive."

"I didn't say I was done, General," said Dr. Essex with a humored grin.

"You mean there's more?" said the Colonel in a surprised tone.

"Indeed there is..." said Dr. Essex as he brought up another screen, "While Ms Grey's advanced telepathy and telekinesis along the enhanced functions of her body will make her a powerful force as it is...My machine seems to have caused a rather unforeseen developments in her mutation."

"Is it something to be concerned about?" asked the Colonel, always the anxious one.

"Depends on how you see it..." said Dr. Essex, not sounding too concerned in the slightest, "According to these readings, the enhancements to the X-gene and to Jean's telekinesis as actually caused a new ability to manifest along with the ones she already possesses."

"A new ability?" said the Colonel curiously, "What kind of a new ability?"

"One that might not have manifested on its own if she hadn't gone through my machine," said Dr. Essex, once again relishing in the feeling of his accomplishments as he looked at the data before him, "In addition to her primary powers, the enhancements seemed to have given her the ability to manifest strong pyrokinetic powers as well. Meaning in simpler terms...She can create and manipulate fire."

"Fire..." said the General as he contemplated the uses of such ability on the battlefield, "Telepathy, telekinesis, and the ability to create fire...Not bad Dr. Essex. Not bad at all. I have to say...I'm truly impressed with what you've accomplished with these two. You've done everything you promised and then some in a manner that has been quick, efficient, and quite cheap."

"Thank you General," said Dr. Essex in a humble tone as a sign of good faith, "I am pleased that my work has given so much progress to the betterment of the country. But keep in mind...These two are only the beginning. They have shown that the processes that I have completed and perfected truly work. Weapon X and Prodigy cannot boast such success and given time...Both specimens along with subsequent recruitments will provide for a new age of soldiers for the protection and safety of this country and this world."

"And it couldn't have come a better time Doctor," said the General as he once again looked upon the two young mutant children that held so much promise, "With more and more enemies showing up every day, this country needs all the help it can get."

"I won't argue that sir, but I do have one more question..." said the Colonel, also quite impressed with what he had heard, yet still somewhat skeptical in certain areas.

"But of course Colonel, seeing as how you are a vital part of this project," said the doctor in a friendly tone, which he knew kind of annoyed him.

"You say you plan to recruit more mutants for this project..." he began as he looked back at the two unconscious kids, "And if they go through that machine of yours and come out as powerful as you say these two are...Then how do you intend to keep up with controlling and managing them? My GURSO unit is strong, but if too many powerful mutants such as these two become a part of this, then keeping them in line may prove difficult and be quite detriment if something goes wrong."

"Do not worry about that for the time being, Colonel," assured Dr. Essex, "Let us simply focus on developing these two and working out the kinks in the training phase so we can better perfect our development as a unit."

"I'm sorry Doctor...But that's not the way I operate," quipped the Colonel in somewhat of a more stern tone of voice, "The General put me and my GURSO as head of maintenance and security in this project and I can't do my job unless I know that there's some sort protocol for keeping these very dangerous individuals under control."

"The protocol is as simple as you put it when we first began Colonel," retorted Dr. Essex in an undaunted tone, "If they go rogue or something unforeseen occurs...Then your entire unit will converge and annihilate them. But if everything goes according to the meticulously crafted plan that I have instigated with this project, then that won't be necessary."

"But keep in mind Doctor...No plan goes absolutely flawlessly no matter how brilliant or knowledgeable the people involved are," argued the Colonel, "Dr. Cornelius of Weapon X can attest to that...What's left of him at least."

"Then we shall simply learn from our mistakes Colonel," said Dr. Essex as he took a step closer to the ever ostentatious Colonel, "Now I know you are a very paranoid man...And I know that you have certain distastes about this whole project for reasons that I can't seem to convince you otherwise. Never the less...We are both driven by the same goals...Protecting America. Now if something comes up or if something unforeseen starts to threaten the security of us this project and the people outside it...Then we shall work the problem and deal with it. But for now...Let us simply do our jobs."


"That's enough, Colonel!" said the General, cutting him off in mid sentence before he could go any further, "If you have concerns, follow the proper protocols...Otherwise, do your part with the privileged power you have been given. And keep in mind that if I sense that you are proving to be a menace to the progress and success of this project...I'll have no qualms about relieving you of your position. Is that clear?"

The Colonel had to swallow the bitter taste in his mouth as he looked back at his superior officer and then towards the still smiling Dr. Essex. He didn't like that the General was taking his side and making him seem like a problem instead of a voice of concern. He still had his suspicions about certain aspects of this project like the lack of mental conditioning to make the recruits more docile and manageable, yet Dr. Essex seemed determined to let them keep their free will. He was also weary about bringing more mutants into this very secret project and turning them into such powerful forces, but neither Dr. Essex nor the General seemed too worried about that either. The Colonel had never been a big fan of mutants...Hell, it was one of the reasons why he formed the GURSO unit. But like it or not, he was a part of this project and he had a role...And if he squandered this opportunity, the consequences for him could be quite dire.

"Yes sir..." he finally answered.

Just then, one of the scientists who had been examining the physical condition of both Scott and Jean spoke up and caught the attention of the three men standing off to the sides of the beds.

"Dr. Essex...They're starting to stir," he said as he heard a light groan from Scott and noticed some slight movement in Jean's hand, "It appears they're recovering quicker than we had estimated."

Immediately turning his attention towards his proud specimens, a new feeling of excitement came over the doctor as he saw the two children that were now such a huge part of his elaborate plans start to stir into consciousness once more.

"Excellent..." he said with a grin as he approached the area in between both of their beds, "Everybody...Leave us."

"Excuse me sir?" said the doctor who had spoken up as the rest of the scientists present also looked back at him curiously.

"I said leave us...All of you," he ordered, "Except for Magnum...She stays. There are a few things that I need to discuss with our little recruits."

Looking over towards the General, he lightly nodded in confirmation as he and the Colonel led everybody out so that only Dr. Essex and the Russian mercenary were the only ones in the room. While they both stood in wait for Scott and Jean to regain consciousness, there was still one thing left that Magnum was concerned about as she now stood alone with the one person she could even remotely trust in this very hostile facility.

"I don't trust that Colonel..." she said in her heavily accented voice.

"Magnum...You don't trust anybody," grinned the doctor as he remained focused on the two kids lying before him.

"True...But I have a sneaking suspicion that he may be a problem with what we both have planned in the long run," she replied in a deep stoic tone.

"Oh come now...You shouldn't concern yourself with such things at this point in time," said Dr. Essex, feeling too proud of his accomplishments to feel any pessimism, "That Colonel is a mere nuisance. As long as I have support of the General and the rest of the superiors both in and out of Washington, he'll have no power to interfere."

"But he still controls the GURSO unit," she argued.

"Let me worry about that for now, Magnum," assured Dr. Essex in a confident tone, "You're only concern at this point is finding a way to turn these two strapping young lads into the most efficient and deadly soldiers that they can possibly be. And in order to do this, both you and I need to be more than just their superiors...We must be their nurturers as well."

The imposing Russian mercenary didn't respond as she merely stepped back away from the beds, allowing Dr. Essex the space he needed to address his proud creations. While she was never one to trust anybody, she knew she still had a job to do while she was here and had best focus on accomplishing it in the way that only she could. Dr. Essex had told her more about this project than he had the rest of his superiors and she knew things that would most definitely not sit well with the rest of those involved. But being the secretive woman that she was, that little tidbit of information would stay securely with her and the doctor as she watched the two young children who were to be her pupils return to consciousness.

"Scott...Jean...Can you hear me?" said Dr. Essex as he heard a slight groan escape from Scott while seeing Jean's eyes start to flutter.

Both Scott and Jean felt as though they had just been through hell and back. It was like a truly vivid nightmare that had manifested in a painful daze around them, searing them burning every nerve in their bodies from the inside out. However...Now, as they awaked from this nightmarish state, they felt so...Different, for lack of a better word.

As they both came to their senses, they felt a strange new wonder within their bodies that had not been there before. As Scott woke up and gradually took in where he was once more, he felt as though he was a few inches bigger. In addition, the muscles in his body felt somewhat bulkier, as if they had been set for unprecedented growth, helping to change the thin, malnourished appearance he had when he first arrived. However, the one feeling that stuck out most in his mind had to do with the abilities that so ardently plagued him. Instead of burning, painful pressure that always seemed to be building up in his head...He felt a strange connection with the energy around and within him. And unlike before, it wasn't the same painful feeling that made him so weak...If anything, it made him feel stronger. There was a power he could feel within him...One that had taken what he felt before and amplified it to another level that he didn't even know existed. This strange new feeling was strong, but it frightened the young boy to no end as he was left with a dazed sense of confusion about what had just happened to him.

For Jean Grey, the feeling wasn't much different. As she woke up and became more aware of the world around her, she immediately felt a strange difference in her body that had not been there before. Like Scott, she was an inch or so taller and the muscles in her young body had grown, altering her malnourished form as well to something that looked full of potential and primed for growth. However, what she noticed most were the sensations in her head. Before, all she could feel was a painful bombardment of outside thoughts and feelings that flooded her mind and caused her a great deal of pain and confusion. But now...She heard no such voices or felt so such things. She wasn't wearing the inhibitor that she and Scott had been forced to wear earlier, but she was still in control...A very unfamiliar feeling to the young girl who had been bound and drugged for the better part of the last three years. In it's place, there was a much stronger, far more powerful set of feelings in her head now...Feelings that flowed all throughout her body in a strong, balanced psychic aura that brought both her telepathy and telekinesis to a whole new level. And although she didn't know it at the time, her pyrokinesis was brewing just as much beneath her skin.

Both youths were very confused and quite scared at all these new feelings. They didn't know what had just happened to them or what these new sensations meant, yet the one thing that did stand out almost as much as this new phenomenon did was the strange new feeling within the depths of their minds. While in those nightmarish tanks, something had happened during the process that caused them to reach out to one another both physically and mentally through the pain and suffering of both the past and the present. That longing had established some sort of strange connection that they both now felt, yet didn't quite understand. It offered them both a warm, comforting feeling to help with the fear and anxiety that they both felt as their vision cleared and they both saw Dr. Nathanial Essex sitting in the area between their beds, smiling warmly at them.

"Welcome back to the world of the living my children," he said in his deep tone as their young eyes became fixated on him.

"What...What happened?" said Scott, his voice strained and raspy.

"I made good on my promise..." said the doctor with a smile as he helped both children sit upright in their beds, making sure he was careful not to do anything too fast, "Just relax now...The process is over."

"Process?" said Jean in a dazed voice, still feeling a bit dizzy upon her return to consciousness.

"Yes...The process that I told you about," said Dr. Essex as he once again drew the full attention of the two confused ten year olds before him, "You see...The abilities and powers that you once wielded...Have now been enhanced to a whole new level. I know you can feel it in your bodies and minds...The power that is written into your blood."

"But...The voices, they're..." began Jean Grey as she struggled to make sense out of everything that was happening, but the doctor soon cut her off.

"They're gone now Jean," he assured her with a comforting gesture, "You are not crazy...Just gifted. Thanks to my machinery and know how, you will never have to feel the pain of uncontrolled thoughts or the incessant pressure and burning sensations in your minds and bodies ever again. You both now have the capacity for something you never could have gotten otherwise...Control."

"Control?" said Scott, his young mind still not fully ascertaining the complex situation at hand.

"Yes...Full control of greatly intensified powers," said Dr. Essex, not hiding the excitement he felt in his tone, "You see...In your blood, your gifts have been written. Whether it be firing off destructive energy beams or hearing peoples thoughts and moving objects with only the mind...It is a part of who you are. Now...It has been enhanced and strengthened to new heights of power and potential. And thanks to what I have done...You both have the capability to fully control this power. They are no longer curses...They are gifts now...Gifts that can truly be used for a noble purpose."

The two young kids who had suffered so much in their brief lives were in a state of awe at what this mysterious man who had helped make the pain of their 'abilities' go away and put into their place a new plethora of sensations. Dr. Essex had done something truly unique with their minds and bodies and just by listening to the way he spoke and the manner in which he addressed their mysterious mutant powers, it was clear that this was only the beginning for him.

"But...What do you want with us?" asked Jean as she and Scott were now fully aware, "Why have you done this to us? Why did you help us?"

Dr. Essex took a deep breath, knowing that what he was about to explain might be a bit hard to ascertain for a couple of ten year olds. Never the less, he was confident that what he said would truly resonate with them...For all was going exactly as he had so meticulously planned.

"You both possess an amazing amount of power my children," said Dr. Essex as his tone became deeper and more serious, "You're abilities are truly unique...And now that I've enhanced them, they are truly on another level. And it's not just your abilities that I've enhanced...You're bodies and minds have also been advanced to a truly higher state of functioning. There's so much about you that's been enhanced...So much that could never have happened if I hadn't found you two in the first place. I chose to do this...Because I know you two have the gifts necessary to truly make a difference. Now, with your mind, body, and abilities...You both have a great deal of potential."

Dr. Essex let this sink in for a moment as he now drew the full attention of the two young children sitting before him. It was clear that they were both intrigued by what he was saying...A clear sign that he all was going well as he had hoped.

"This facility...This organization that took you both out of the hellish lives you were stuck in...Is what we call Shadow Cell," he explained, making sure to go slow so that their young minds could understand, "It's more than just a place...It's a unit...One that uses beings of immense power and talent such as yourselves to create soldiers to defend this country and the free world from tyranny, oppression, and injustice. There are so many enemies out there that seek to do nothing more than cause pain and destruction upon innocent people...Pain not at all unlike that which you have felt in your lives...Loss, loneliness, sadness, hopelessness..."

The looks on their young faces sank as they were once again reminded of the great deal of pain they had suffered in their short lives. They had both watched their families die right before their eyes and they had both been forced to live all alone in a world that seemed to do nothing more than hurt them. Dr. Essex knew this very well...More so than they thought...But that only fueled his drive to bring them into this ambitious project which promised to reach further than anything else he had ever been a part of.

"You two...Scott Summers and Jean Grey...You both possess everything that is necessary to become a part of this glorious organization," said Dr. Essex in an increasingly excited tone, "You had all the right stuff we needed to form the first of what we hoped would be the true building blocks of an unstoppable unit...One that could help prevent the kind of feelings that you both know so well from overtaking millions of innocent people. That's why I sought you...That's why I helped you...To give you the chance to become a part of something that can truly make a difference in the world."

"But...How?" asked Scott, not seeing how a couple of poor orphans could make as much difference as he said they could.

"By taking all the gifts you have been given both mutant and non-mutant alike and honing them on a whole new level," said Dr. Essex with an expression of ambition and idealism on his face, "What I'm offering the both of you is the chance to become the first, but hopefully not the last recruits of Shadow Cell. You're powers, your bodies, and your minds will be trained by the best this world has to offer...Helping you to become something far greater than mere heroes...Proud soldiers. Everything we have here...All the resources that this great nation has poured into this project...They are focused on creating soldiers. But with Shadow Cell...You won't just be soldiers...You'll be true warriors of peace. You will be able to fight the foes that nobody else can fight and stop the devastation that could wipe out and cause great suffering to millions of innocent lives. You have so much power and potential...And we want to help you hone it in order to use it for the true betterment of the world."

Scott Summers and Jean Grey were now at a crossroads. What Dr. Essex was describing seemed almost too fantastic to be true. In many ways it was very scary...But in other ways, it made sense. They both knew now that they had a great deal of power...Yet they did not know what they would do with it. What purpose could such abilities possibly serve them? Dr. Essex was now offering them a chance to give them purpose...To use them for the greater good. They had both suffered so much...Yet now they had a chance to make it so others didn't have to feel their pain. It was an enticing offer...One that would give them something they had not been able to find ever since the tragedies that took their families away...And that was something to believe in...Something to fight for.

"But..." said Dr. Essex after a brief pause, "As I have said before, I can't make you do this. I want you both to make the decision on your own. Now this is what I am offering...A fulltime place here at Shadow Cell. This will be your new home...This will be where you will hone your skills. As a part of this unit, you will be given the full training of every part of the American military machine. You will be taught skills far beyond the bounds of other soldiers. You will both become a team of great warriors...Ones that have the ability to fight for something you believe in. Now I'm not saying that this is going to be easy. The training I'm talking about will be rigorous beyond measure...But it will make you both much stronger in the end. It will be intense...For you will have to wake up ever day and push yourself to the limits in order to make yourselves the most efficient soldiers ever trained. The lives you had before will officially end...And neither of you will exist in the world any longer...For you will both become shadows of freedom and democracy. You will be strong, proud, and doing a great deal to help your country and your fellow man. Scott Summers...Jean Grey...The choice is yours. On one hand...You have the path towards strength, courage, and valor...And on the other you have the path towards weakness, fear, and uncertainty. It's all up to you now...Which path are you going to choose?"

It was a truly monumental decision for a couple of ten year olds to make. They were just a couple of scared kids who were now being offered the chance to become the most powerful soldiers ever trained. It seemed as though they were finally given a break in their painful lives. Becoming a part of this would make it so those lives never existed and they would only have memories left to contend with. And after being weak for so long, the promise of actually becoming strong...Proving all those who brought harm to them wrong...Was a very enticing matter.

Scott and Jean looked over at one another, seeing and feeling the uncertainty in one another's eyes. Yet at the same time, there was now a new feeling of hope within the both of them...A feel that they could wake up and make each day better than the last...Not just for themselves, but for many others out there like them. Their young souls had been tainted so much by the darkness in the world...Yet they had remained pure with a sense of good despite all this. And as they seemed to read the look in each other's eyes...The choice before them finally became clear and they both knew now that their lives would never be the same after this.

"Dr. Essex...I choose to join," said Scott with the first hint of determination in his voice in over three years.

"Me too..." said Jean, also feeling confident for the first time in what seemed like forever, "I want to be a part of Shadow Cell too."

A wide, approving grin spread across his face as he looked back towards Magnum with a feeling of great triumph. While she hid her feelings and expression with superhuman skill, even she couldn't deny the sheer power of the moment that had just taken place. It had gone every bit as well as Dr. Nathanial Essex had planned...Now all that remained was to begin what would promise to be a long, hard process...One that would take them all to a new and uncertain future.

"I'm honored to hear that..." said Dr. Essex as he stood up and looked back with great approval at his first two successful recruits while Magnum stepped forth and made herself known the kids she would now be mentoring, "You're training will begin immediately. This woman is Magnum...And she will be your mentor and teacher. Both she and I will guide you down the path towards becoming true soldiers. Now...Scott Summers and Jean Grey...On behalf of everyone here at this glorious facility...Let me be the first to say...Welcome to the world of Shadow Cell."


AN: Well, it's official...Scott Summers and Jean Grey are now pupils of Dr. Essex and not Professor Xavier. This is where the timeline diverges people, for the world of X-men: Evolution will never be the same! Now for any of you who read "Between Life and Death," you'll know the nature of the new powers that they both have been given to some extent, namely that of Scott in that fic. And just so you know, because Dr. Essex's machine has given Jean the control over her powers that was not possible before, assume that this has made her incapable of turning into the Phoenix. As strong as she is, she'll have the ability to control her powers now like Scott, so the Phoenix is not possible in this universe since it's so focused on her powers being uncontrollable. But don't worry...The pyrokinesis was just a little add in to connect with the feel of the Phoenix, so I haven't completely negated it. And trust me, I have plenty more planned! Stay tuned to see how Scott and Jean go from being scared, malnourished orphans into becoming all out soldiers with Magnum as their teacher! This fic is far from over, so be sure 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 you all the best!

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