Peter Rasputin (codename: Colossus) had his heavy travel bag slung over his massive shoulder waiting outside his once and once again lover Katherine Pride (codename: Kitty).
“Just a second, Pete. It’s gusty and I’ll need a sweater,” Kitty called. She was removing something from near her laptop as Pete opened the door.
“Geez, I said wait!” Pete knew this was an invasion of privacy and was not sure how far his newly reacquired status took him.
“I’m sorry, Katya. I did not hear you from in the hall. We must be in hurry though; You know how impatient Scott can be.”
“Try pushing a woman leaving her house for who knows how long,” she responded. She seem frazzled; a whatever she took from her computer was now put into her travel bag; a hard drive perhaps? It was not like Kitty to have secrets but perhaps time apart had changed their dynamic. Pete was content to give her the space.
Bobby popped his head in the door,” I’m not interrupting, am I lovebirds?”
Kitty glared at him and Pete left and pushed Bobby with him,” Is not a good time, my jovial friend. No one wants a woman’s scorn, do you say?”
“Ok, I get it. But you know how Scott gets when he has to wait!”
From the courtyard…..
Wilbur sat with a plate of fried chicken, at the School mixer, looking more at his plate than around at his fellow students. Even in a school of mutants, he was standing out.
“Do you know how much grease that stuff is dripping?” a sarcastic voice spat out.
Wilbur looked up to find the girl calling herself Wisp. “Do you know how good it makes me feel when i’m eating it?”
“Yeah, good point.” She dropped her slice of cantaloupe on the ground and stole one of Wilbur’s thighs and bit in deeply.
“Oh, you’re right. I feel complete now,” she said.
“I can’t tell if we’re friends or you are teasing me?” Wilbur stated matter of factly, with grease dripping from his lower lip. Wisp couldn’t help but laugh. She pointed to the drippage and Wilbur wiped it away and let out a chuckle himself. It quickly turned into full blown laughter. They seemed to be old friends to some of the other students watching.
Kurt Wagner (codename: Nightcrawler) vanished from his room on the 3rd floor into the main hallway and stood in front of Scott.
“Was this your call or Hank’s?” He asked.
“Kurt, this was a team call. A lot of damage has been done and Hank, a team is needed to assess the situation.”
“The situation is we kept someone, yes a mutant but a murderer of one of our own in bed with medical assistance and a soft pillow while we buried Alex in the gardens. And now, to no one’s surprise, that rampaging psycho has escaped and where do you think he will come? But, you leave and take 3 veteran X-Men with you? This was not a team call.”
“We are not doing this right now. There is no intel to suggest Magneto is on his way here. I don’t know how things ran in Britain but you’ve forgotten that there’s an order to keeping the people of this country safe. And keeping our students safe. No one asked you here, Kurt. The funeral’s over. Don’t speak to me like Alex was just Alex to me! He was my brother and I buried him in the garden this morning and I was there, like you, when he died. So, unless you have any other complaints, out of my way!” Scott went to shove Kurt but he was only a puff of sooty sulfuric smoke.
On Muir Island…..
“Hank, can ye hear me? I need your help with something….” Moira MacTaggart, longtime keeper of the Island’s grounds had been researching the isotopes in Magneto’s blood since the destruction earlier in the evening.
“YEs, Moira, what is it?”
“Well, I’m not quite sure. We took a blood and hair sample from Erik earlier; when we run a test, everything’s normal. When I run a further P-scan, i’m not sure how to put this….”
Hank peers into the microscope himself and gasps
“We have to tell the Professor immediately.”
Back at the Mansion….
Wilbur as deftly as he can mange, trots back to his room and sluggishly opens the door. He has eaten more and spoken more than he has in months. There isn’t anyone back on the farm who can relate to his problems, nor anyone who cares to listen. He was a large boy for most of his life but when he grabbed young Bobby Joe, his classmate out causing mischief with the cows on the family farm, and caused the fence to collapse, Wilbur held onto an old tractor frame, turning solid and the beam broke over his back instead of impressionable Bobby Joe’s head. He was labeled a freak from then on. Might as well ship him off upstate, to a place he’s never seen before. Better off in his head. But, at least he had Wisp. She might be the nicest person ever talked to him. She doesn’t look at him strange or anything at least. She…
She was in his room, melding through the wall.
“Hey,” she said.
“Hey’s for horses,” Wilbur replied. He felt dumb as soon as he said it.
“Don’t listen to anyone else here. I don’t. We’re special, just as special as they are. And no more sob stories from our pasts! Ok?”
Wilbur nodded. Then, to his surprise, Wisp kissed him! He blushed and turned crimson. The kiss lasted longer than he would have thought; but it was an innocent kiss, all lips and no spit.
“What was that for?” he asked.
“Your first kiss?” she asked. Wilbur gave her an indignant look.
“That’s mighty rude of you to assume no girl’s ever locked lips with me before; and in fact, it’s not even true. Sue Ellen Claremont kissed me in the 5th grade, so there.”
“No, i’m sorry. I was asking because it’s mine,” she said.
Wilbur felt plum embarrassed.
“Now that all this sexual tension is out of the air, we can just be friends.” she held out her hand, which was a heap of smoke. Wilbur extended his and his mutant power kicked in and his hand became the matter it was touching. It was the second coolest thing that had happened so far.
On the X-Jet….
Pete was watching Kitty; she seemed nervous, fidgety even. They’d only gotten a few miles out from home base and she already seemed antsy.
“Katya, do you wish not to be on this mission?” he asked in his softest tone.
“Pete, no. No, it’s not that. You wouldn’t….you wouldn’t understand.”
Pete backed off and saw Kitty dive into her carry-on bag as Bobby played on his hand held video game. Pete could not make sense out of women; Kitty was someone he deeply cared for when they were younger, they had drifted apart and despite a moment or two of awkwardness when they came back together, it was like nothing had changed. Now, all of sudden, she was cold, distant even. He was not sure how to …..
CRASH! The plane jerked, then Pete saw the floor emptied underneath him. He saw Bobby’s face twist upward and turn to ice.
“Katya!” Pete reached out to her but she was near the middle and falling into the ocean below him. Pete transformed into his metal skin, using the extra weight to drop himself quicker into the water. As he fell, he turned himself in mid-air and opened his arms to Kitty. She hit with a thud and Pete quickly checked her pulse. She was okay but seemed in shock. As he fell, he saw wavering magnetic waves emanating from a flying figure in the sky. They hit the water with a boom, and plunged deep. Pete put his mouth over Kitty’s, to give her oxygen as he tried to propel his feet back and forth, to get back to the surface. As he shot upwards, he saw a frozen arm float by him. Kitty jerked and Pete put his plan into hyperdrive, kicking with all his might. As he did, an object floated from Kitty’s pocket; the hard drive she was protecting earlier. Pete, in a moment of instinct, grabbed it. But as he did, he realized it was not originally what he thought it was. The water broke above him; he jetted out of it like a buoy in the night with force, that he was nearly waist high out of the frigid waters. He held Kitty up, then as softly as he could manage tapped her back, trying to force whatever water was in her lungs out. She started coughing up a good bit, then some other fluids escaped her. She was coughing, violently for a moment, then settled and laid her head against Peter’s solid metallic shoulders. He lifted the object to his eye line and saw a white stick, longer than a hard drive. In the middle, red as blood, was a large Plus sign.
“Hank, what are you saying?” Sean Cassidy burst into the room.
“The X-Jet’s homing signal; just went off line. I’m going out to find them.”
“nay, you can’t love! ” Moira objected loudly.
“If something went wrong , I can find them quicker than anyone,” and with that, he flew out arching his modified wing harness out as far as it could go.
“The samples aren’t wrong, Professor,” Hank reassured him. “There are traces of other people’s DNA in Magneto’s bloodstream. 4 we’ve identified so far; but one, we’ve never seen. It’s a virus. A self-replicating one.”
“No, not the Legacy Virus….It can’t be!” Professor exclaimed.
“No, not that. It’s something else. It’s something with it’s own blood stream. And Moira pin-pointed something else. A frontal lobe inside the virus cellular structure.”
“A virus with a brain?”
“it would appear so, however improbable.”