Disclaimer: Rictor, Shatterstar, Cameron Hodge, Cable, X-Force and all related characters, events are the property of Marvel Comics and are used for entertainment purposes only. You know the drill. Intended to be a "What If" kind of story.

"You Only Live Twice: On Shaky Ground" by Karen Galarneault
EMAIL: karrenia_rune@yahoo.com

Guadalajara, Mexico, two years ago

The eleven year old boy named Julio Esteban Richter unlatched his seat belt and jumped out of the passenger seat of his cousin Omar's Dodge pickup. Omar, several years older had just received his driver's license. Julio had begged and promised to do his cousin's chores for two weeks if he'd take him joy riding along the back streets of Guadalajara.

Omar finally gave in, swearing he'd hold him to the promise. Julio belatedly realized that Omar was just the type to try and weasel himself out of an extension on the promise.

They'd shot down to the outskirts of town, weaving in and out of traffic. The pickup speed along at an exhilarating paces, often threatening to spin out of control as it hit every rut and bump in the road. With the wind in his face, his shoulder length brown hair whipping over his eyes, and vision blurred, Julio loved every moment of it.

Omar called the pickup 'a gainer', telling him how he'd acquired it in Mexico City during one of his weekend trips with his buddies. Julio didn't care, just as long as he could enjoy going this fast without having to worry about the policia.

Omar headed towards a rocky outcropping called "Jewels of the Sky", he insisted it was a spectacular view. Pulling up to a guard railing, Omar slid into a parking spot and turned off the ignition. They both got out.

It was every bit as advertised. He saw eagles whirling in loops above the cloud break, and the bluest sky he'd remembered seeing in a long time.
"It's exactly the kind you see in mushy, romantic movies or in dramatic flicks when they wanted to emphasis landscape," he thought.

Standing atop the outcropping, the view stretched away to the horizon.
Julio watched the ebb and flow of city life. People, cars, and every day life, from this altitude it looked like a model city being played out just for him.

"You can see everything from up here!" Julio exclaimed, running over to lean over the guard railing. He tried to trace imaginary dragons and other shapes in the clouds.

"Told you so," Omar replied, yanking on Julio's leather jacket sleeve. Don't fall over. Your mother would never forgive me if I let anything happen to you."

"Yeah right," Julio replied, placing both hands on the railing, taking deep breaths of the pure air, which jolted him out of his more fanciful thoughts?
"I think I can see my house from here," Julio said, ignoring Omar' death grip on his sleeve.

"Come away from there, the view won't change the closer you are to it."

"Thanks for bringing me up here," Julio said.

"De nada. I come up here every once in a while to 'get away from it all. It's sort of a special place. I thought you were ready to come here," Omar said.

Julio didn't quite know how to respond to this, so he just nodded and mumbled his thanks. Omar, not used to expressing emotion took this as acknowledgement of his gesture.

"Take all the time you want, soak up the view. We'll head back home whenever you're ready," Omar said as he went back to the pickup for a cooler where he'd stashed a six pack of beer, and then came back to stand next to Julio in comfortable silence.

"Sure, Omar," Julio said. He could understand how this would be a perfect spot to get away from it all. It was incredible. He lost track of how long they'd spent just hanging out up there, not really doing anything. However, he was eager to get back to his room,
because he'd left a copy of Robinson Curouso unfinished. He'd left it splayed open on his bed,
like some ungainly butterfly.

It was one of his favorite books. He especially liked the way the title character yearned for ocean adventures on board a ship, exotic ports, and the occasional pirate raid thwarted. Even being shipwrecked on a deserted island seemed exciting, when he read about it. His favorite role was the character, Friday, whom Robinson saved, taught English, and converted. "Probably the best part of the book," he thought.

He'd always imagined transposing the heroes he'd read about in his books, for his father, imagining him better then he was.
He couldn't help wishing that he'd pursued some other line of business.

Julio Richter's mind drifted back to a time when he'd first learned about that business.


Costa Rica, early 80's

The Elder Richter, balding and unkempt, peered out through leaded and barred windows. The younger Richter, wearing a hand- made poncho, sewn with care and love by his mother, perched on a stool. He'd come down to Costa Rica thrilled to be old enough to accompany his
father on a business trip.

For the last five hours he'd watched his father pace back and worth wearing an almost noticeable groove in the wooden floor of the building.
His father's client had told them this was the "Waiting Room." He'd also said Jimmy Alegria Hernandez would be with them momentarily."

"Is this what you were expecting them to do to us, poppa, when we came down to Costa Rica?" Julio asked.

"No, hijo. This isn't what I was expecting. And Louis Alejandro Richter is not to be treated in such a disrespectful manner! Who do these people think they are dealing with anyway? Bunch of lackeys, is all. You'll see, Julio, when these idiots report back to their boss,
and realize what a mistake they have made, they will let us out and smother us with apologies and wine. You'll see what kind of weight your father's name carries all over Latin America!"

A door opening on creaking, unoiled hinges, let in a half dozen armed men in jeans and denim shirts. All were armed, except for their apparent leader, a medium built man wearing an expensive Italian suit.

"About time," Louis said.

"Come with us. Senor Hernandez will see you now," one goon said, pointing towards
the only available exit, and allowed them to walk out ahead, the business end of the
gun pointed towards the small of their backs.

Outside

"Senor Richter, my sincerest apologies for having detained you and your young son for so long. It was an oversight of a most accidental nature. But you did bring the merchandise with you?" Hernandez oozed.

"I am a professional merchant, Senor Hernandez. Your goods are in the crate."

"I expected no less of you, Louis," Hernandez soothed.

Julio hanging back at the edge of the ring of men, eased his way between them to take a closer look at the contents of the crate. Those standing around dickering over the agreed upon price of the merchandise ignored him.

He bent down on one knee to get a closer look.

Hernandez gave a cursory glance at the nine year old boy.

"Mira! Look how your boy is so curious about what you deliver to me, Louis! Nice heft. Ammunition, too? Si? I am very pleased, Louis. Take a good look, Nino. See any light at the end of this tunnel? Hope so," he gave a throaty laugh, "Since you're staring down the barrel of your own future."


Gudalajara, Mexico, two years ago

The sound of gunfire outside the kitchen window shook Julio himself out of the unsettling memory.

It also brought his cousins, both immediate and twice removed running to the window. Lifting the lace curtains that his mother had purchased a week ago from a mail order catalogue all the way from Ireland. Julio watched as about an even dozen of his family members, tossing back cans of beer, fingering the safeties on their rifles.

A sudden blast from an invisible source knocked them flat on their faces.

Julio watched his father pull on his best dress shirt and run out to the front courtyard.
A man emerged from the shadows, well over six feet, his white hair slicked back, a long trench coat opened to reveal a muscular figure, a star shaped scar criss-crossed his left eye.

"Es un tiburon." Julio whispered to his cousin, Omar."

"A shark?" Omar whispered back in confusion.

A shark. Omar had taken him to see the movie "Jaws" a week earlier, so that was the most frightening thing he could think of; just like the great white shark plowing through the water, right before sinking its rows of razor-sharp teeth into the hull of the boat.

The animal laughed as bullets bounced off him, it was as terrifying a sight as the boy had ever seen

All the Richter men were on the front yard, shooting away. Maybe they were
too stupid to be as frightened as he was. If there was one thing he'd learned as he
got older, there was as little shortage of stupidity in the family as there were guns.

"We should be out there, Jul, shootin' away!" Omar shouted.

"I don't know, Omar, it looks like bullets ant gonna settle this one," Julio replied.

"You're a coward," Omar remarked.

It stung, but Julio knew instinctively that his first gut reaction had been right about this one. As he got to know his cousin Omar better, it seemed he didn't have the sense God gave a mule. Tears in his eyes, he turned his attention back to the fight outside, which was turning out to be more of a waste of ammunition. The futility of it all wrenched at his heart. "I can't believe this is happening," Julio muttered.

Meanwhile, 'the shark' moved forward, no longer laughing, just burning with anger.

His body lit up like a Roman candle like a spectral glow of red, orange, and white. framing his entire frame in a light that hurt Julio's eyes just to look at him.

"NO! Senor Stryfe!" his father shouted.

Julio watched his father crumple to the crowed, the gun held loosely in his slackening grip.

"Louis Alejandro Richter, you have lied to me!" Stryfe growled.

"I had no choice- La Policia were poking around, I had to move the merchandise quickly....
You were two weeks late and I could not reach you, no matter how I ride. I sold the materials to HYDRA at a loss just to be rid of them...."

"You have reneged on our agreement, Louis. I do not wish to see harm befall your entire family for your personal indiscretions, but someone must pay."

"Stay back.." Louis shouted, holding his gun in shaking hands.

"And that someone's YOU!" Stryfe announced, a sphere of lighting appearing in his hands, aimed directly for his father. The lightning hit, instantly stopping his heart, He fell down dead, but not before he'd managed to squeeze off a shot.

Julio watched as the bullet bounced off the Shark, his father screamed. Out of the window, torn between fleeing and staying, Julio heard his father fall, heard him scream a clean hole through his forehead, and his murderer walked away as if nothing had happened.

Julio stared at his father, a man he respected, a man he loved. He was frozen in shock, at loss for words for the first time in his life.
He knew what his father did for a living wasn't pleasant. He'd had ambivalent feelings about it but he couldn't stand to watch his father die, murdered at the hands of some homicidal madman in the guise of a defrauded buyer.

The funeral

The Richter family, led by Se~nora Juana, shrouded in black, bundled up in several cars headed to the San Sebastian Cemetery. The arrangements for Louis Alejandro's cremation had been taken care of, all that remained was the funeral, his ashes sprinkled over the family plot. It turned out to be quite a procession.

Padre Ramirez greeted them at the front gates. "Beinviendos."

Senora Richter quickly formed up everybody, handing out lit candles and baskets filled with food and wine. They'd share a meal during the candlelit
vigil. Since Julio and his cousin, Candia were underage they wouldn't be allowed any wine.

The family took their place in the circle of mourners, which included both friends and family members.

The priest took the baskets from his mother, and placed them on the ground, arranging the family in a loose semicircle. Padre Ramirez than accepted the urn. He sprinkled the ashes on the ground, "Ashes to ashes, and dust to dust, we return
to the Lord." Benedictus que veni en Nomi de Domi, Blessed is He Who Comes in the Name of the Lord," then the priest led the recital of several songs and other group participation prayers: Psalm 121

""I lift up my eyes toward the mountains; whence shall help come to me?
My help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth./ The Lord is your guardian; the
Lord is your shade. The Lord will guard you from all evil; he will guard your life.
The Lord will guard your coming and your going, both now and forever.""
Padre Ramirez sang.

Several hours into the vigil, which would last until sunrise, Julio, kneeling with the others, struggled to keep his eyes open. Sleep threatened to overtake him, that, and it was nearly impossible to get a comfortable position. Candia sidled up next to him, tickling his left side. "Stop that!" he whispered.

"Why? Hey, Julio, you gonna be okay?" she asked. "It was just his time to go. Sure, it was an awful way, but at least his suffering is over now," she added.

"How can you say that? he yelled at her. "He was murdered!" turning away from her.


Power manifests

Julio had been eleven when he his father was murdered right in front of his eyes, and the memory was still painful, still haunted him. He thought he should be grateful his mother was still alive, and life went on. Two years later, he still felt a tight fist of resentment deep in his gut over what had happened.

His cousin, Candia tried to console him, she was well meaning, but he didn't want to be consoled. She clung to all during the funeral going on and on about how Louis was in a better place, that his suffering was over now. Julio tried to put those thoughts out of his mind, it was bad enough trying to fend Candia. It was hard to ignore her though, she always wore tank tops and cut-off denim shorts.
She had allowed her long black hair grow almost to her waist, second cousin or not, she was still family.

He was momentarily knocked off his feet by a group of drunks coming out of a bar, his cousin Omar in the lead.

"Hey, Julio! he yelled, "Come join us." he weaned unsteadily, a bottle of vodka in one hand, a gun in the other. Another group of drunks shouldered their way past the first, lurching into Omar. Julio watched as his cousin swiveled bringing up one hand and aiming a right hook toward the offender's eye

He missed by a mile. Growing angry, he brought up the other hand and pulled the trigger, causing events to spiral out of control and breaking into a brawl.

Julio couldn't stand it. "Can't they see how stupid they're being?" he thought

Even though he knew that Omar regularly drank with his buddies, this was too much.
The fist of disappointment and anger clenched inside of him, feeling, emotions he'd learned to bottle up exploded.

Bringing up both hands in front, responding to some unnamed and unknowable instinct, Julio brought his fingertips held outward like aiming a gun. From some source deep inside of him came forth an energy he never knew he had. Green energy played about his clenched fists and spread out towards the group of fighting men, toppling them from their feet, guns hitting the ground with a metallic clan. They were sprayed with a shower of wood, masonry, and concrete falling apart like a lake that had a heavy weight dropped into it.

Buildings in radius of two blocks collapsed upon their foundations.

The men were swept up in a green circle of energy coming from the boy's hands.

Realizing that the green energy was his, Julio was more shocked than the men staring at him were. Julio dropped to his knees, staring in mute appeal at his cousin, his friends, people he thought he knew staring at him like they'd never seen him before.

Screaming in wordless pain, Julio picked himself and ran away from the scene. Tears fell unheeded downs his face.

*****

Later That evening

Julio locked his room, hoping that Candia wouldn't barge in with another attempt to persuade him to try another board game or watch a movie.
He pulled out all his dresser drawers and stuffed his clothes into a leather suitcase without bothering to fold anything. He'd already raided the kitchen for stuff to take in his backpack. By morning he'd be gone and he'd never look back.

"It's for the best, I don't know what's going on with me. But it's too dangerous for
me to stay here," he muttered, stuffing a few odds and ends into the suitcase,
along with several books he'd planned on taking along to read, then zipped up the suitcase.

Running away sounded like a wonderful plan at first. Sure, it would solve all his
problems, the void he felt inside after his father's death, Candia's sometimes
comforting, sometimes tedious presence, and Omar's drunken episodes. It would
also solve a general feeling of not fitting in anywhere.

Slinging the backpack across his shoulders, Julio snagged the suitcase, debating
whether or not to leave a note, but what would he write?

"Perdon, mi famila, but I have to leave because I just wrecked two city blocks

with some weird green energy?" "Yeah, that would go over well, Not," he thought.

Julio finished stuffing the suitcase, then glared at the inoffensive piece of
luggage for a while, wondering for the first time if he'd made the right decision,

"I've gone too far to turn back now," he muttered.

He left the house, taking his ten speed and the money he'd been saving and headed for the bus station. .


San Francisco, California

Three weeks and two hundred dollars later, Julio found himself in San Francisco. He'd taken odd jobs here and there to supplement his funds by translating for farmers and families along the border and in small towns on his way to the big city.

His first glimpse of the city by the Bay was the impressive Golden Gate Bridge reflecting the afternoon sunlight.

Once here, Julio didn't quite know what to do with himself. Running away was a lot more complicated than he'd thought.

Walking up and down the storefronts of the famous Nob Hill, he occupied himself by window shopping, spending hours in the bookstore, amazed by the array of titles. Scanning titles in the mystery section, he nearly toppled a stack of paperbacks precariously leaning up against a wall. A tall man, blonde hair and glasses, which looked for the entire world, like some Hollywood version of a trial lawyer, stood next to him.

"You like mysteries, kiddo?" the man said.

"Si, Mister," Julio, said, trying to play dumb until he could figure out what the man wanted with him, he knew he didn't want to strike up conservation with a perfect stranger.

"My name is Cameron Hodge."

"Like that was supposed to mean something to me?" Julio thought.

"I've got a mystery for you." He nodded and pulled out a can of mace then sprayed it

directly into Julio's eyes a split second before he realized there was something fishy
about this hombre.

"Something tells me I should get the hell out of here," he thought.

Then everything went black.

******_

An ivory tower in the heart of downtown San Francisco served as the headquarters of the Right Organization.
Their founder and leader was Cameron Hodge. The Right started out in the late 70's as an offshoot of other self righteous vigilante groups, by some white supremacists, likes the Ku Klux Klan. There was one glaring difference the Right was part of the rising upswing in anti mutant hysteria sweeping the nation.

Cameron Hodge had learned of the boy Julio Esteban Richter from a rather unlikely source, the boy's cousin. The man hadn't known what mutants were, only that he'd seen the boy flare up months ago, taking out several city blocks and injuring several drunken men involved in a street brawl. The resulting property damage in the official newspaper reports had been attributed to a ground soil collapse. In some accounts, just a random earth tremor, or a mild earthquake not strong enough to register on the Richter scale. The irony wasn't lost on Cameron Hodge.

"Are we awake yet?" the mocking voice asked, echoing over and over is head; as his cousin Candia would have said, "like that annoying song that's stuck in your head and you can't get rid of it?" Julio didn't know where he was, but given the ache spreading all over his body, he surmised that whereabouts were the least of his concerns.

He didn't want the owner of the mocking voice to know that he was awake. A numb sensation and the general unresponsiveness of his body probably meant they or whoever they were had used some stronger drug on him than mace sprayed in
his eyes. What he couldn't figure was why?

Julio stirred and rolled over on his side, realizing that he'd been lying on a metal gurney like he'd seen in hospitals.

"Who are you? Why have you brought me here?" he demanded.

"Good. You're awake." I believe we've already met, but time was of the essence and I had to dispense with the formal introductions. As you know,
I am Cameron Hodge and you are Julio Esteban Richter. And from the
moment you set foot in my ivory tower, you're my prisoner," Hodge explained.

"Madre de Dios" What do you want with me?"

"I am the leader of the Right Organization. Founded for one purpose and one
purpose only, to flush out and study so-called "Children of the Atom", mutants,
dear boy, like you."

"I don't believe you," Julio retorted.

"Whether you believe me or not, is immaterial. You don't even realize that's
what you are. Oh, that weird green energy emanates from your hands. Bet that shocked you?"

`"How do you know about that?

"I have my sources."

"So I'm a mutant, whatever that means. What now?"

"Now, we have a little fun," Hodge replied, holding up a pair of hot pokers.

"You're going to torture me?"

"Smart boy. Exactly. I'm going to torture you. For several reasons: One, I want to know what a mutant's threshold of pain is; Two, I like to watch my prisoners suffer; and Three, which is the most important reason. I've done some cross-checking, and I've managed to pin down exactly what you're particular mutant powers: kinetic vibratory blasts," Hodge explained.

"Huh?"

"In other words, Julio, you can generate energy wavelengths capable of causing an effect akin to an earthquake. because of an genetic imbalance referred to as the X-Factor."

"You're one sick bastard, you know that?" Julio said defiantly.

"Thank you, As I was saying, I will torture you until you agree to meet my demands. It might take days, it might take hours, who knows? Hodge shrugged. "But understand one thing, my seismic mover and shaker, however long it takes, your newly manifested powers will either be voluntary used to topple San Francisco or I will force you to do it. Either way, my organization will be able to point a legitimate finger at you, and say, 'there goes a dangerous mutant menace to society, and it must be stopped," Hodge grinned.

Julio's heart sank deeper than the San Marina's ocean trench. This Hodge hombre was mad and the worst part of it was, he was going to drag Julio down with him when all hell broke loose. That he was some kind of mutant because of a genetic X-Factor was easier to accept than what was happening to him.

Gritting his teeth and trying to block from his mind any pain sensations as Hodge inflicted torture after torture on him. He refused to scream, not wanting the sadistic man to get any satisfaction out of it. If he was a mutant, so be it, but he wasn't about to let this bastard with a vendetta use him as some weapon or worse yet, someone to take the blame when something went wrong.

He'd just arrived in San Francisco. He'd always heard that California was the land of dreams, well, this was turning out to be a nightmare.

Ripples of pain lanced through and rational thought slipped away into a black void.

******

Julio had been dragged kicking and screaming, tossed in the trunk of a car. Taken to a focal point in the city, Julio's feet were chained to a stone mounting block to prevent him from running away. He'd be locked up there until Hodge decided it was time to unleash his 'seismic' powers against an unsuspecting city.

Hodge used the key to the manacles to lock Julio securely in place, then used a connecting cable to join the conduits in the mounting blocks as a link from the mobile generators to insure maximum possible range.

Then it started.

Hodge flicked a switch on the generator and the green energy flowed from Julio's hands against his will. He could only see the damage from his newly awakened powers in the immediate vicinity.

Hodge was using the equipment to increase the range. He saw storefronts, homes, buildings, crumple like they were being hit with a wrecking ball. Paved streets buckled sending shards of concrete flying as if imploded from below. He saw people running inside and outside, cars jamming up from the resulting bottleneck, and he heard screaming.

Abruptly the flow from the generator cut off. The green energy from his hands flickered and went out. He felt about as wrung out as a wet rag.

"Why are you stopping?" Hodge yelled, jumping up and down, in his fury he was nearly
incoherent. "According to my readings, the epicenter hasn't even reached the suburbs yet."

Two men and a woman in black designer suits came around from the back of the generator. All were armed with handguns. Julio half expected them to flash some sort of official badge. Instead, they pointed the guns at Hodge.

"Cameron Hodge, we find you in violation of the Amnesty International codes governing human rights," the woman announced.

"You must be kidding!" Hodge exclaimed.

"Let me assure you, I am not," the woman replied.

"Who are you people?"

"That's immaterial, but if you must know we're called M.U.S.E. and Julio Esteban Richter is coming with us. Now release him from those chains. NOW!"

One of the men strode forward and snatched the key from Hodge's hand.
He released Julio from the manacles, chaffing his wrists, and gave him a lotion.
"Rub this on your hands and feet, boy. Don't worry, "No te preocupes. Lo entienes? Tu estas seguro ahora."

Julio took the man at his word, and the lotion, somewhat reassured by the fact the man was speaking Spanish to him and that the others were trying to help him. Stumbling out of the mounting block, he staggered over behind the three people in black.

"Who are you? " Julio asked, rubbing away at his various aches and pains.

"Voy a explicar mas tarde, chico."

"Somewhere away from here."

"In fact, I think you'll like it. Well get you squared away, and when you're ready, we'll find you a nice place to live," one of the men said.

"Huh?" Julio gasped.

"I guess its time for the explanation, but not here,'t the woman said.

"I have rights!" Hodge protested.

"Not here, you don't,". the man who'd spoken Spanish, muttered.

"Let's go, Julio, we'll tell you more somewhere in private, and a lot safer than here," the woman said. Turning to Hodge, getting 'in his face' she glared at him. "Don't think you're getting off easy. The three walked away from the scene, placing Julio in the middle of the impromptu group, leaving Hodge to clean up his own mess.

****

Later

"So, what's the deal?" Julio asked, flopping down on a nice, comfy hotel room bed.

"We don't have the authority or the manpower to shut organizations like Hodge's dirty Right outfit. But we can help rescue mutants in trouble, like you," one man said.

"It's time for that explanation. MUSE is an acronym that stands for Mutant Underground Support Engine. We're a network of concerned
individuals trying to protect mutants from the rising anti mutant sentiment in this country. By the way, I'm Lucas Wydham."

"Yeah, nice to meet you. Guess you already know who I am?" Julio grumped.

"The woman tossed him his backpack, "Dr. Nancy Parsons. Here's something you lost that you might want back," she added.

"How'd you find this?"

"We're not without resources of our own," Dr. Parson said.

"Well, what happens now?"

"What were your plans before Hodge got his mitts on you?" the other man said.

"I was making it up as went," Julio replied.

"We can offer you a better alternative than that," Parsons said.

"Such as?" Julio demanded.

"You have every right to be suspicious, and caution is well advised. You've been through a lot, " the other man said.

"It's not that I'm not grateful for the save and all, he trailed off.

"You're not sure if you should trust us," Parsons finished.

"The way we work is not just finding young mutants in trouble, we also take them to a secure location, provide them with clothing, shelter, you know the drill. Once they've had sufficient training in the use of their powers, we set them up with an accommodating foster family."

"Kind of implying that I can't go back to my real family, and that I don't really have any place to go right now."

"Smart kid." Uh, I forgot, the name's Cedric Barnes."

"Sounds like a plan. And this works, you train me, work with me, and then just screen people who want to adopt foster kids?" Julio demanded.

"We have a renovated 19th century brownstone near Boston. It's in the countryside, away from populated areas," Wydham started.

"So any accidental damage your powers may cause during training sessions will be limited to a smaller, unpopulated area," Barnes concluded.

"Ill call the airlines and make all the arrangements for the four of us. It's your decision; we're here to help. Please believe when I say, MUSE
is dedicated to doing what we can for mutants. We try to provide as 'normal' a life as possible, " Dr. Parsons said.

"I guess I believe you. It's just that I'm still in shock from everything's that happened," Julio said, rather dazed and confused.

"Get some sleep, kiddo. Probably the earliest flight we'd be able to get out of California to the East Coast will be the redeye," Wydham said.

"Yeah, probably." he was kinda liking this Wydham hombre.

Julio flopped back on the bed, sinking down into the mattress, pulling the sheets up over his head. He was grateful for the rescue from Hodge's clutches, and that they genuinely wanted to help. In the back of his mind, the rational part was telling him to not be so hasty with his decision,. Another part of that operated on instinct, told the rational side to shut up and get some sleep.
"Maybe tomorrow will be a better day, at least, I hope so," he said. The emotional side won, because of an overwhelming fatigue swept over him, as he conked out.

"Nice kid. He was just in the wrong place at the wrong time," Dr. Parsons sighed.

"Kind of stubborn though. Kid's got a head start on his powers, he just needs control and maybe a little more focused direction. I think we're really doing the right thing here, Wydham," Barnes remarked.

Ill go make the call,." Dr. Parsons said, leaving the room. "The sooner we're in Boston and away from here, the better Ill feel, " she said, over her shoulder.

"You got my vote there," Barnes replied, as the three left the room to leave the physically and mentally drained boy, sleeping.

To be continued in "Juxtaposition" featuring Shatterstar.
http://www.geocities.com/karrenia_rune/Juxtaposition2a.html

http://www.geocities.com/karrenia_rune/Enter.htm (Siryn)

Main Page: http://www.geocities.com/karrenia_rune/XFORCEfanfiction.htm