X-Men Evolution NEXT

From Within

Deep beneath the Xavier Institute, in one of it's many chambers Charles works quietly, and yet determined. The chamber is spherical with a grid chrome paneling encasing the walls. A bridge extends through the chamber then stops in the dead center to a circular platform. There Charles works in silence on the electronic equipment. In his lap is silver colored helmet. Wires connect the helmet to the main computer panels that lay in front of him. It is through this interface, he calls Cerebro, that he is able to locate and communicate other mutants as well as other minds at long distances. Cerebro enhances Charles's telepathic powers and is capable of connecting his mind with almost the entire world while wearing the helmet. This night the helmet sits on his lap as he re-adjusts the wiring. He feels at peace as he tediously re-aligns the systems in the helmet. The chamber door opens behind him as Hank McCoy walks through. He speaks a bit softly due to the echoing chamber, "Good evening Professor, how are your re-adjustments coming along?"

Charles glances back at Hank and replies, "We will know soon enough. I am stepping up the power from your last nights' adjustments. I felt we were close, I could almost sense something. But believe tonight we may have a break through. I trust your mission went well this night?"

Hank step towards the computer panels and starts assisting Charles as he says, "Yes indeed, quite well. I was able to sneak into the police forensics lab and get a closer look at those so called wild animal remains. It is unlike anything I have ever seen. There really wasn't much left of it. According to their reports, most of the remains either evaporated or dried up so much it became brittle and fell apart."

They hear a rough voice behind them, "It wasn't no wild animal."

Both Charles and Hank look behind them and see Logan slowly making his way into the chamber. Hank says, "Logan you should not have gotten up. Your muscles are still in shock."

Logan replies, "Yeah, well, I shouldn't have lost that fight either, but I did."

Hanks walks back to Logan, "Your body just suffered some kind of trauma I've yet to understand. Any excursion on your part may cause you serious injury."

Logan gives Hank a blank stare, "I'll deal with it. Besides I feel better standin' up."

Hank looks back at Charles, who nods and says, "It's alright Hank."

Logan grins as Hank shakes his head smiling. Logan inquires, "So, what's our next move with this Charles?"

Charles turns back to his work on Cerebro as he replies, "Our next move will probably be a rescue mission."

"Who do we need to rescue, Professor?" Hank asks.

Charles closes the panels on the helmet and places it on the console as he answers, "The young motorcyclist who saved Rogue this afternoon."

Hank smiles, "Ah yes, I caught wind of that gossip when I arrived home today. I always seem to miss the controversial moments here in the mansion."

Logan rolls his eye at Hank and asks, "This' the same guy who helped the kids out in town? What he do to merit a rescue?"

"To put it frankly, Logan," Charles adds, "He took on both Sabertooth and Gambit at the same time and defeated them. Quite easily I might add, according to Rogue."

Logan grins and remarks, "I like him already."

Charles turns back to the computer consoles and starts prepping the systems as he adds, "Well, as much as that may make you happy, Logan, that young man has put himself in considerable danger now. By proving himself against two of his Acolytes, Magneto will no doubt try to apprehend or even kill him. We must make preparations to save him or get him to safety."

Logan sternly says, "Just say when, Charles."

Upstairs, in the mansion, the students prepare for bed. They walk to their rooms chatting and giggling, mostly about today's early events. Since arriving home, Rogue can't turn a corner in the mansion without someone giggling or glimpsing at her. She gave them quite a scare with her sudden disappearance in town, then her sudden and romantic entrance as she arrives home, on the back of motorcycle to make it even more same motorcycle she and a dashing young man rode off on into the sunset after she watched him single handedly defeated two of Magneto's Acolytes. In her mind, it's not really far from the truth, in fact, the rumors that spread throughout the institute about her and her new friend, were almost dead on. Allan did beat Sabertooth and Gambit, by himself. She did jump on his jump onto his motorcycle and rode off with him as the sun was going down. The only difference is, they were running for their lives. Anything romantic was far from their minds at that moment. Though as she thinks more about it, she did feel like some damsel in distress, riding off with the hero in the manner she did.

Rogue sits up in her bed with the sheets just covering her legs as she gazes out her window. Her mind plays back the events of the afternoon over and over. And every time, her heart almost starts racing. But as with any roommate situation, she can feel someone looking at her from the other side of her room. She turn her gaze into the room and sees Kitty smiling at her. These two have been roommates since starting at the institute, so Kitty knows when something is on her mind. Rogue smugly says, "What're you smiling at?"

Kitty sighs out, "Do you think he's like, thinking about you too?"

Rogue asks, "Who?"

"You know who, Rogue," Kitty adds, "What's his name, Allan."

Rogue glare at Kitty, "Why would he think about me?"

Kitty replies, "Oh please, he rescues you, sweeps you off your feet, and you ride off on his bike. That is like, so cool!"

Rogue shakes her head, "You know, y'all make it sound like Ah was in some kind of cheesy movie or somethin'. The fact is, we were getting bullied and we fought back. Granted, he did all the work, and won. But it's not he rescued me or anything."

Kitty rolls in her bed giggling, "I would have loved to see you ride off with him into the sunset, that's so romantic."

Rogue rolls her eyes, "We were running for our lives, Kitty. Yeah, he did beat them to a pulp, but he didn't want stick around to make sure, and I didn't blame. So we jumped on his bike and took off."

Kitty lays in her bed look up at the ceiling and adds, "Yup, into sunset. I bet it was so much fun."

Chuckling, Rogue says, "Allan sped us away as far as he thought safe. We thought we were being chased. And so what, it was gettin' dark too."

Kitty asks, "So did guys talk?"

Shrugging her shoulders Rogue says, "A little."

Rolling up, Kitty asks, "What'd you two talk about?"

Pulling up her sheets to cover herself, Rogue grunts out, "None of ya business." as she lays down turning her back to Kitty.

Giggling, Kitty says, "Sweat dreams, Rogue, oops, you already had one."

Rogue covers her head with her pillow as she says, "Shut up and go to sleep."

The outskirts of Bayville is a haven for the city's more questionable nightlife. A sprawl of bars, pool halls, nightclubs, and twenty four hour convenient stores make up most of the landscape. Not the most attractive sites for the more conservative citizen, but for those looking for a little fun and excitement, it's not a bad spot to be. If one is of forgetting their troubles for a couple of hours, then this is the perfect place to get lost in. And for one young man, forgetting his troubles overshadows and prospect of fun and excitement. Seated in the far corner of the bar, in a tavern called 'The Pit Stop', Allan drinks back a soda with frustration. He looks at the bartender saying, "Come on man, one beer, that's all I'm asking."

The bartender says, "Hey guy, no proper ID, no beer. Sorry."

Allan sighs out, "My wallet was lifted earlier this afternoon. Give me a break, I'm old enough."

Shaking his head the bartender replies, "Rules are rules, bud. You may be old enough, but you don't look it." as he turns to serve another customer.

Allan mumbles out to himself, "Figures. Well that's the curse of being half Asian, we don't age, we just shrink. Not like all the beer in this place would do anything to me anyway."

As Allan gulps back more of his soda, another gentleman seats himself next him on his left, where the bar has the least light. The gentleman removes his leather hat and places it on the bar, I his face hidden in the shadows. The bartender asks, "What's your poison pops?"

The gentleman simply says, "Nothing at the moment."

His deep voice seems to echo a bit. The bartender replies, "Just say when." and turns to serve others.

Allan keeps his gaze straight ahead as he smiles with an annoying expression. Still look forward he says, "You knew my wallet was stolen, didn't you? That's why you wanted meet here, to rub it my face."

The gentleman replies, "I have no interest in your petty squabbles."

Allan rolls his eyes, "Right, sure, that would explain why you're always bothering me."

Not reacting to Allan's comment, the gentleman adds, "I assume you found the source?"

Allan lightly nods his head. The gentleman continues, "Things are set in motion that you cannot stop."

Slightly glancing at the gentleman, Allan replies, "I'm not here to stop it."

Then another gentleman seats himself next to Allan to his right and asks in a Cajun accent, "Stop what, Mon Ami?"

Allan turns his gaze straight ahead again grinning as he remarks, "Bad timing, gumbo."

Gambit chuckles and says, "Just like dis afternoon, no? Here you dropped dis." as he holds up Allan's wallet in front of his face.

Allan takes his wallet keeping his face straight and slides it in his back pocket as the gentleman says, "As I said, petty."

Looking pass Allan at the gentleman, Gambit remarks, "So, dat yo pappa?"

Allan chuckles and says, "The less you know, the safer you'll be."

Gambit just nods saying, "Fair enough."

The gentleman stands back up putting his hat on slanting over his face, "I take my leave. I urge you act soon, or I shall."

Allan darts out in a stern tone, "Don't start anything, I'll handle it."

The gentleman tilts his hat and casually walks out. Gambit watches him leave, then glances back at Allan saying, "A mystery man yo pops is, huh?"

Allan looks at Gambit annoyingly, "What do you want, another beat down?"

Gambit gulps back a beer and says, "Just came here to give yo fair warning."

Shaking his head Allan inquires, "From your boss?"

"No, dis be my warning to ya, " Gambit adds, "Gambit don't like his boss, but da man pays well. Da man can be stubborn too, which is why he'll keep comin' for ya."

Allan chuckles, "And I hardly did anything."

Gambit says, "But it was enough, it got his attention. Just thought ya should know."

"Well, it figures," Allan says standing up, "thanks for the warning. And tell your boss, he's in way over his head. We all are."

Gambit quickly says, "Hey, we now know who ya are, where ya live and where ya work. Don' go pressin' yo luck, Mon Ami. Leave town tonight."

Allan smiles at him saying, "I'll see ya on the playground."

Gambit grabs Allan's upper left arm abruptly, "I don' wanna see Rogue get hurt."

"Neither do I." Allan says in a deep tone flexing his muscle hard. The sudden bulge of Allan's arm muscle forces Gambit to lose his grip. He watches as Allan casually leaves the tavern and cracks a smile drinking his beer.

The hour is late as Charles finally connects to Cerebro. With the silver helmet on, Charles closes his eyes. Hank and Logan glance around as they hear the humming of Cerebro powering up. Charles says to them, "Gentlemen, stand by." as he concentrates his thoughts.

His mind expands over city as he hears the thoughts of those still awake and those caught up in their dreams. He focuses deeper on a single mind, one that has eluded him the pasrt night. Suddenly his mind is drawn in by force unknown to him and finds himself on the interstate moving fast. He barely make out what believes is a digital dash board. Images and voices echo nearly uncontrollably as his gaze look ahead. He sees multilane highway speeding by him, then a flashing images of Rogue drinking a soda, his students walking through the mall, and multiple voices saying, 'Sweet wheels man!' 'Are you a mutant too?' 'Try Mississippi, tough guy.' 'I urge you to act soon, or I shall.'

The intensity of the visions start to become unbearable and he focuses harder. Then with a sudden and loud echoing yell, feels pain and deep sadness all over him, 'NNNOOOOOO!' the echoing voice screams out.

Images of disasters flash before him. People yelling out to him for help, pleading for mercy, trying to hand babies and children to him for safety. Then worlds beneath his feet falling apart as he falls through forever into darkness. In the utter darkness he hears a crying voice, Charles reach out with his mind trying to console who ever it was crying, but he is without voice in place. Then a slight glimmer of light twinkles in front of him. He gazes at it and feels a sense of redemption from it. Visions of smiling children sitting in a class room face him. The shine in their eyes gives him the feeling of hope. He turns and glance out towards a window and notices a sign, Bayside Financial. He continues turning and faces a large canvas with a bright angelic bird. The bird comes alive and flashes very bright.

Charles then opens his eyes and sees Cerebro's computer console in front of him. He removes his silver interface helmet and slowly turns around looking at Hank. Hank

Gently asks, "Is everything alright Professor?"

Logan stands behind hank scratching his head looking confused. Charles rubs his chin lightly and says, "Hank, if you would, tomorrow, take me downtown. I think it is time we introduced ourselves."

Hank nods his head saying, "Certainly, Professor."

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