The MCRT, Morlocks, MGH and Murder

Part 1: Chapter 3

Clay followed Remy through the convoluted tunnels for another three and a half hours, while he visited with various other Morlock groups, families and clans. He knew enough by now which Morlocks were a threat to Remy and his wellbeing, which ones were smitten and which did not care whether they came at all.

Remy took notes, Clay suspected, of everything he saw and everything he heard in a weather-proof notebook. His penmanship, even when walking was small and neat, and always in the cursive he had to write when he was in Catholic school.

Other than the usual hateful remarks and horror stories, only one slight tragedy occurred, which was averted quickly, and by the time they surfaced, Clay’s empathetic partner was in a stormy, thoughtful mood. He was always that way after leaving the tunnels of the Morlocks or the various other dilapidated dwellings the underprivileged mutants called home. But Clay figured stormy and thoughtful was better than other choice moods he had seen Remy go through.

Clay got into the driver’s seat, and set out for the two and half hour drive back to Westchester. He put the heat on a gradual setting after the car was warm enough and said nothing, for the moment, regarding the wicked bite mark on Remy’s thumb. He agreed with Remy on the gun issue only when children were involved and he didn’t think scaring a seven year old with a gun was necessary. Thus, he used only his hands to remove the kid’s jaws from Remy’s wrist and hand, the wounded thumb the result. But now, as he really looked at it, and pictured the scar it would leave, he thought maybe he should have used the tranquilizer at least. Then again, that could have caused even more damage if the tranq dart caused the child to bite down.

He marveled at the ability kids these days had to multitask as Remy put his laptop on his lap and started compiling his hand-written notes onto the appropriate file forms, using mostly his right hand. At the same time, he also made some phone calls; one to his superior, another one to one of his affiliates located at Westchester and also one to an affiliate located at another S.H.I.E.L.D. facility in Florida. Travel time was an excellent time to get some paperwork done, but Clay had always thought it was better spent shaking off whatever it was you just left. Obviously, Remy thought differently.

Finally, when Remy appeared to be down to one task, Clay said, “Maybe you’d better put some iodine on that. Or better yet, get a tetanus shot.”

Remy looked at his bloody thumb, and the slight teeth imprints on his wrist and the knuckles on his palm, knowing that the injury could have been much, much worse. Remy’s hands were his livelihood, in direct regard to his mutant abilities, and thus, he was usually very careful. But, to be honest, his head and his throat were hurting and he wasn’t paying attention to the little mutant child with an affinity for biting people that came too close to her. “Yeah, I’ll have Jean look at it,” he said absently, adding, “Do you think what Edith said was true?” The reason for his storminess revealed.

Clay was looking at the road in front of him, forever cautious, especially now because of the weather and for an instance he was reminded of every private conversation he’d ever had in the car with his three sons. Remy was seven years older than his Travis, but that really made no difference. The tone didn’t change with age; the need for reassurance never retired. “That old bat doesn’t know what she’s talking about,” he replied, surprisingly sternly, as if he was angry about something. When honestly, very little made him angry. Just cautious or worried. “She’s been swimming around in the sewers her whole life, what the heck would she know?”

Remy, because he was nearly an expert at reading people, knew that Clay felt very protective of him. And though, when he was first assigned to him, Remy had been annoyed, he now didn’t mind. “I didn’t mean she knew from personal experience. But, maybe she guessed right. What will happen when we’ve done our job to completion?”

Clay asked for clarification. “You mean, once all the Morlocks are brought to the surface?”

“Once we’ve brought all the mutant communities to some sort of civilization. Then perhaps, they will be subjected to persecution because their differences will be all the more visible.”

“Maybe so,” Clay replied thoughtfully. “But, maybe persecution won’t be as bad compared to what they’ve gotta deal with now. Rampant poverty, turf wars, not having their basic needs met. By bringing them to the surface, you’re giving them a fresh start at least.”

Outside, as if the day weren’t dreary enough, the icy rain started coming down, blowing around because of the windy conditions. Remy sniffed, mulling over what Clay had just said. Clay switched on the windshield wipers, and their swishing plus the cadence of the steady little pellets drumming on the windows was like a song to go along with the companionable silence that followed.

Back in Westchester, and after dinner, Clay had a tactical training assignment and Remy had taken a voluntary position at the campus as a pole vault instructor. It was never too early for the eager to start training for a spring sport. Remy had been much like that when he was in high school and college. Still was, in many ways. So, dressed in athletic gear from head to toe, including a hat and gripping gloves, because it was so cold, he spent the hour and a half practice time going over the proper stance and posture he had perfected years ago. He had always been very strict on how he managed his physical activity, even when he was too young to realize what he was doing. He was fastidious in keeping his body forever in top performance. Not to mention, it was actually something he enjoyed. And so, despite the cold, and the griping sounds of eighteen year olds whining when he told them to do something over again, he allowed himself to forget about the sewers and poor people and the tremendous responsibilities he had, for the most part, given to himself.

But after a quick, hot shower, he returned to his desk and reality. The people who frequented the bull pen after dinner hours were mostly quiet, the ringing of phones usually the most disruptive. It was also rare to see an Academy student, and thus, it was easier to catch up on work without them bothering anyone. Except that he couldn’t concentrate on account of his still thumping head and his raw throat. And now his nose was runny, too. He blamed the icy rain, though logically, he knew weather did not cause such things.

Caught up in his own misery, he did not notice Clay’s return. The desk directly across from his was Clay’s, but it had yet to take on the all-consuming, lived-in appearance that most people’s desks did. Including his own, most days. Clay’s desk was very militaristic and neat as a pin. His voice startled Remy from his somewhat self-centered thoughts. “Hey, thought you would have gone home by now.”

Remy looked up, and replied, “I might have said the same thing.” Clay’s commute home was nearly two hours away, as far away from the city and Suburbia as he could get.

“I had that tactical training assignment,” Clay said as he sat down and moved the mouse to awaken his computer.

“Oh, that’s right. I remember you saying so.” He turned away from his own computer and Clay then to sneeze into cupped hands. “Excuse me,” he muttered, sniffling.

“Bless you,” Clay said, distractedly.

“Thank you. You’re going home now?” Remy asked.

“I’ve got a couple of emails I gotta send out. Won’t do it at home,” Clay said. “Or I should say ‘can’t’ do it at home.” Clay was typing away as he talked, causing him to seem a tad detached.

“Why not?” Remy asked, either not noticing or not caring that he didn’t have Clay’s full attention.

“That’s right,” Clay said with a small smile, barely glancing up, “you’ve never had the experience of trying to write like a grown up with an eleven year old telling you about their day non-stop.” He paused and added, “That and Bridget doesn’t like it.” Bridget was his wife. A beautiful, sensible woman who knew how to make damn good barbeque and always spoke her mind, but always, of course, in the good ol’ bless-your-heart Texas style.

Remy smiled back, and might have made that cracking whip sound that so many unmarried men thought was funny, but ended up sneezing instead.

“Bless you,” Clay said as Remy responded with another sneeze.

“You got a cold?” Clay asked him, figuring he probably did. He didn’t have to be partnered with Remy for long to realize the poor kid caught everything that went around. And he had noticed the throat clearings and sniffles.

Remy cleared his throat and shrugged. “Don’t know yet. Probably.”

“My youngest has a cold,” Clay replied, just now remembering and felt a bit bad that he had forgotten. “Might be I brought it in with me.”

“Well, thanks for that,” Remy said sarcastically, with a sniff.

Clay laughed and shut down his computer, finished already with his emails. Perhaps, he was a bit better at multitasking than he let on. But then again, he wrote emails opposite of how he talked – short and to the point. “You’re welcome. I’ll let you get back to work then, finish that up so you can get on home.”

“Night, Quartermain,” Remy said.


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