X-Men Evolution NEXT

Pawns and Players

The action that unfolded in front of the Xavier Institute ended as fast as it started. And from he can tell, there were no real victors from the outcome, just confusion. For Sean Cassidy, the action revealed more information than he had thought. Being a former Interpol agent, he had seen a lot, dealing with mad men and chasing down terrorists. A career that was taking flight, despite his concern for concealing his mutant ability. But it wasn't his genetic gifts that had him disavowed, it was his human weakness. A little money can change someone's life, but a lot could change someone's mind. That weakness cost him a partner, a career, and more importantly, his family. A wife and daughter that soon left him after being sentenced twenty years in federal prison for bribery, conspiracy, and treason. It was Mystique that made it possible for him to avoid complete incarceration. And now with the help of both Mystique and her cohort, Emma Frost, he has been able to elude federal agents maintaining his freedom. But being an Interpol agent for so long has given him a somewhat sixth sense about trouble, and that sixth sense has been going off ever since he got involved with those two women. Neither one of them trusts one another, and would sooner stab each other in the back if the opportunity came up. But if there is one thing they do have in common, is the idea of getting back on the path of riotousness. Emma wants to clear her name of some false murder charges, Sean wants his family back, and Mystique is simply looking out for her children's well beings. But neither goal can be accomplished without each one's help. So the situation stands as is, and Mystique has her team. 'For what purpose?' Sean thinks to himself. He has had Allan Paran under surveillance for a few months now, and he has proven to be too powerful to handle, and no real threat to society. Sean watches the institute from afar, perched on top of the closest tall building in town. He looks through a pair of high intensity binoculars set up on a tri-pod. Right by his feet sits a lap top showing several images on the institute grounds where he has strategically placed small wireless digital cameras. Sean treats this situation as a typical stake out, just like the operations he conducted during his Interpol days. He checks his lap top watching some of the students bustle about the grounds as the situation from before seems to wind down. Sean thinks to himself again, 'This job is gonna be the death of me, I know it.'

Then Emma's voice echoes in his mind, 'Oh, you must think positive, Sean. Never think of the labor, look ahead to the reward.'

Sean thinks out to her, 'I warned you not to invade my thoughts, you mind witch!'

'Tsk, tsk, Sean luv, you didn't complain the other night.' Emma replies.

Sean shakes his head as Emma's giggle echoes through out his mind. She adds, 'All jokes aside, Mystique would like to know the situation.'

Rolling his eyes at Emma's voice in his head he responds, 'Magneto's Acolytes are on the move again. I lost sight of Allan Paran, but he hasn't left the grounds as far as I know.'

'Well, keep us posted when he does. This job is really starting to bore me.' Emma replies.

'And when he does, what then?' Sean asks.

Emma sighs out, 'That, my dear Sean, is up to Mystique. Enjoy the view.'

Sean runs his fingers through his red Irish hair, brushing it back. He slides his hands to the back of his neck rubbing it out of frustration as he looks up at the sky. "I take it back, those two will be the death me" he mutters out.

Allan sits patiently on the examining table while Hank tediously checks his heart beat. Several tiny sensors attached to various parts of Alan's upper torso relay information to monitoring equipment allowing Hank to check his vital statistics in complete detail. Standing in the doorway to the infirmary, leaning up on her left shoulder, Rogue also waits patiently for Hank's results. She clears her throat and adjusts her posture a bit asking, "So, how's he doin' Mr, McCoy?"

"Well, he is in perfect health, Rogue." Hank replies as he smiles at Allan.

Walking up to the main monitor, Hank points to an image showing a detailed diagram of Allan's brain activity. He mentions, "These brain scans, however, show an increase in stress levels. Enough stress to cause some serious or even fatal health problems in normal human beings. In Allan's case, it was enough to cause a kind of overload, or feedback. I surmise that the constant power suppression on Allan's part has been slowly causing this stress build up. Combined with the repressed emotions that Mastermind unlocked, it was a bomb waiting to go off in his head."

Rogue steps up to the monitor while Hank continues gesturing to the information. Allan raises his hand and says, "Um, people, I'm still in the room."

Hank turns around smiling at Allan replying, "Excuse my fasination, Allan. It is quite a rare privilege to examine someone like yourself. Your over all physiology seems to be super charged at the sub-atomic level. Now I'm not sure if that is what gives you those remarkable gifts, my equipment is unable to determine that. But I can say your molecular structure is unlike anything I have ever seen. Very unique indeed."

"Everybody in this house are unique, Mr. McCoy." Allan replies, "And I'd like to think I share the same uniqueness as everyone around me."

Hank chuckles and slowly removes the various sensors off Allan's upper body. Allan stands up from the examining table and puts on his shirt asking, "Well, are we done here?"

"For now," Hank replies, "But I would like to run more brain scans later on. I ask if you would take it easy for at least a day, Allan. Try not suppressing your powers for once and give your mind a rest." as he pats Allan's shoulder.

Allan smiles and sighs out, "As long as I don't have to give up chocolate, then I think I can live with that."

Hank laughs as Allan walks out of the infirmary with Rogue following closely. She gives Allan a baffled look remarking, "So that's it, it's just that simple? You take a day off and you're fixed?"

They step into the elevator and Allan replies, "I guess so. I like simple."

Shaking her head with a smile, Rogue says, "Ah just been through your mind, Allan. And Ah'm not all sure of what Ah really saw. But Ah know it couldn't be that simple."

"Why not?" Allan asks as the elevator closes and heads up.

Charles sits with the students in the living area looking at all of them saying, "The situation is now under control. There is no need to worry, Allan is going to be fine."

Scott asks, "What does Magneto want with him, Professor?"

"I am not sure, Scott." Charles replies, "Perhaps it is for the same reason he pursued Warren Worthington in New York."

Kitty adds, "From what I was told, though, Warren was just another mutant. It's quite obvious now that Allan is something else."

"Indeed," Charles says, "What Allan is, is both complicated and simple. It is true, he is not a mutant, nor is he completely human."

The students all look at each other confused as Charles continues, "In Allan's own words, he is simply 'cosmic'."

Todd's eyes get wide as he spurts out, "Whoa, you mean…he's like…from outer space!"

Jamie stands up quickly and cheers out, "Yeah! I knew it!"

"Stop bein' a dork!" Ray says as he tosses a pillow at Jamie.

Elizabeth raises her hand and says, "I know that I am new here, so this may sound a bit stupid." She says as she clears her throat, "He's cosmic, so what?"

Scott stands up stating, "It means he could be a danger, to all of us. Look at the damage he did to the property just with his fists alone. I'm sorry Professor, I think Allan is cool and all, but he's starting to seem like a magnet for trouble."

Logan steps up to Scott remarking, "Easy kid, the same can be said about all of us."

Charles looks at all the students and says, "Logan is right, all our gifts make us prime targets for any form of exploitation. And despite the dangers that do follow, I hold out my hand to any who seek help. Allan is no different."

Scott nods his head and replies, "You're right Professor, I just can't help but feel concerned."

"And that is understandable, Scott," Charles adds, "Who knows what encounters we will have with Allan around. But life is a journey, and just like all of us, Allan is just another passenger on that journey. And as far as the damages to the institute grounds, Allan has taken responsibility. Although I asked him not to worry about it, he has also volunteered to repair all the damages himself."

Scott smiles ands sits back down next to Jean. Wanda raises her hand and saying, "You know I wish Pietro and I could offer some information about Magneto. But our father has been, um, reclusive since that whole Apocalypse thing."

Pietro nods his head and adds, "And I still can't figure why he would pay us to attack Allan if he knew we couldn't beat him."

Charles expression becomes stern as he says, "Yes, I've been thinking about that too Pietro. It is not like Eric to knowingly send his children into potentially life threatening situations. He is however, persistent, and a bit stubborn, but never truly heartless."

The room falls silent just as Allan and Rogue turn the corner continuing their conversation oblivious to the gathered mass. "I'm not implying anything, Rogue. I just said I occasionally like things simple in my life." Allan remarks.

Rogue replies, "So where do Ah fit in this simple life of yours?"

"Where do you fit in?" Allan remarks as turns to her, "Where would you like to fit in, Rogue?"

Just as she is about to speak up, Rogue looks past Allan into the room with a blank expression. Allan slowly glances behind himself and notices the gathering in the living area. He looks back at Rogue and whispers out, "Let's finish this later."

Rogue whispers back to him with a smile, "Whatever." and backs out of the room.

Allan turns to the gathered student in the living area smiling at them and says, "So, what'd I miss?"

Eric leans over into his bathroom sink closing his eyes tightly. His head pounds like a drum and feels as though his brain could explode at anytime. He has had such head aches before, but not since he was a boy. Not since he discovered his mutant ability to control magnetic fields. But this head ache is different, each throbbing pain is drawn out and long. Eric turns on the sink and splashes water on his face. He takes a breath opening his eyes and looks into the mirror. The pain seems to subside as he grins at himself. He dries off his face with face towel and looks back in the mirror again. His eyes glances over his right shoulder in the mirror as he notice a man standing off to the side of him. Eric quickly turns to face the man, but finds no one standing behind. He looks about the bathroom defensively waving his hands around. Every loose metal object in the bathroom is lifted into the air and begins to orbit around Eric as he stands firm. He shakes his head with a smile, realizing he is alone, and looks back into the mirror again. He sees the man still standing there, wearing a long trench coat and a dark leather like hat tilted over covering his face a bit. Eric stands looking into the mirror saying, "Typical, I turn around and you're not there. What are you, a teleporter, an apparition? Never the less, you've got my attention."

Eric notices the bathroom has become a bit cooler. He stares at the man in the mirror as he continues, "Though not impossible, it is still very difficult to breach my security. Who are you?"

The man in the mirror looks from under his leather hat. Eric's expression becomes baffled as he looks into the man's eyes. Featureless eyes, without pupils or color, and seamless like black marbles, Eric feels the room get even colder. So cold he loses concentration dropping the metal objects to the floor. Eric shivers before the mirror, his breath puffs out as he hears the water running and in the toilet crack freezing over. He mutters out, "You think I am helpless? Your parlor tricks do not impress me."

Eric holds his hands out pulling the metal objects off the floor. Suddenly the bathroom completely ices over. The air becomes thin as frost forms on Eric's skin. The sudden touch of extreme freezing overwhelms him as he nearly drops to his knees shivering frantically. The metal objects floating about freeze in mid motion as the air around them ice up. As he shivers, Eric glances up at the mirror. The man slowly approaches him with his featureless dark eyes held opened wide. He is somewhat of an elderly looking man, despite the dark eyes. His face is quite angular and emotionless as he speaks with a deep echoing tone, "Parlor tricks are what physical beings like yourself, possess. Your ways, are folly. I instilled thoughts and suggestions to aid you on a crusade to save lives. Yet, all I have done is feed your self absorbed obsessions. So be it, you serve my purposes no longer. I will continue this crusade with the shape shifting blue female. I leave those thoughts in your mind, they will be your destroyer. Farewell, master of magnetism."

Eric finally falls to his knees shivering. He closes his eyes tightly once more as he grabs his head in pain. Eric's voice echoes in the bathroom as he yells out. He opens his eyes and finds himself on the bathroom floor. The frozen air gone as well as the layer of frost that blanketed everything, as though it had never happened. Eric catches his breath, realizing he is no longer shivering. He looks toward the door and notices Colossus standing in the doorway with a concerned expression on his face. The large Russian man stands unsure of what to do as he says, "Gambit has returned."

Eric slowly gets to his feet replying, "Good. Assemble the others."

Colossus inquires, "Is everything alright, Magneto?"

"No," Eric remarks and looks back into the mirror, "but it will be."

Allan walks around the Xavier estate surveying the damage caused by his hands. His expression is mixed with frustration and embarrassment as he shakes his head. Large trees have uprooted, the driveway has a large crack running through it, the shock wave he caused with his fists warped a good portion of the lawn, and now he just learn there is a leak in the pool. Allan sighs out, "I'm really blowing it."

Logan walks up behind him and says, "Don't be so hard on yourself kid, we all had bad days."

Allan smiles and looks up to see Ororo floating to the ground in front of them. A light gust of wind accompanies her arrival as she lands elegantly on the grass. She asks, "Are you sure you don't want us to help, Allan? This is a large estate."

"I appreciate the offer, Ms. Monroe," Allan replies, "this is my mess, let me deal with it."

Sitting a downed tree, Allan looks back at the main house and sees some of the students peering out, watching them. "They're afraid of me, aren't they?" Allan asks.

Logan and Ororo look at each other as Allan adds, "Its ok, I understand. I'm actually kind of used to that."

Allan stands back up looking around the property and continues, "You know, on some distant remote worlds, I'm seen as either an angel , or demon. I don't know about you two, but having people form a death cult in your name is very disturbing to me. And to think, my old high school guidance councilor said I wouldn't amount to anything with my attitude."

Logan chuckle and smiles as he says, "Let us help you, Allan. I ain't opposed to a little yard work."

"I'm cool, Mr. Logan," Allan says, "I can deal, thanks anyway. Besides, Mr. McCoy told me to take it easy today. So I'll start on this first thing tomorrow morning."

Allan looks up at the sky with sadness as Logan asks, "You expectin' trouble?"

Glancing back at Logan and Ororo, Allan replies, "Not yet, but that's also my problem. Nothing you two should worry about."

Ororo smiles at Allan saying, "We both owe you our lives, Allan. If you need us, we will be there for you."

Allan smiles as he watches both Logan and Ororo walk to the house. He then notices them holding hands and mutters to himself, "Well, at least I did that right."

Looking back at the mansion, Allan focuses his enhanced eyes to the faces of the young students peering though the windows. Their expressions are a mixture of fear, concern, and wonder, all of which Allan is quite accustom to. Allan sigh out again turning away and walking towards the steep cliff ocean view of the estate. He trudges through the wood area leading to a secluded spot right by the edge. It is now early afternoon and the sky is clear once more. The sound of water splashing on the rocks below allows his mind to relax. Then Jean's voice speaks up, "This is my favorite spot on the entire property. I'm so glad your shock wave didn't knock down this tree."

Allan looks up to see Jean sitting up on a branch looking out over the ocean as well. Allan turns his gaze back out to the scenery and remains silent as she continues, "I don't have to read minds to know you're hiding something. Mastermind said that I was like you. What did he mean by that?"

Allan's expression becomes calm as he says, "You aren't. At least, not yet."

Jean floats down and says, "Look, I won't ask too many questions, because maybe I won't like the answers. But you know about my dreams?"

Allan replies, "Messages. And I agree they're weird too."

"Ok," Jean adds, "my drawings and paintings. They resemble your power don't they?"

"An outlet for your mind. It was to help you come to terms." Allan responds.

Jean lightly asks, "Does the Professor know?"

Allan keep looking out over the ocean and replies, "Yes. He received similar messages."

Her eyes lightly tear up as she asks, "Should I be afraid?"

Allan turns his eyes to her and simply says, "No, that's my job."

He gives her slight smile and adds, "It's very rare that someone asks the right questions. You're gonna be fine, Jean. You have Scott by your side. Most of the time, that's all people like us need."

"You and Rogue?" Jeans inquires.

Smiling once more, Allan replies, "Trying, working on it."

Jean adds, "I'm leaving to see my parents tomorrow. Is there anything I should do?"

"Yes," Allan says, "Have lots of fun." as he grins heading back to the main house.


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