Author's Note: it looks like the beta fell through after all. Too bad. Now I can't blame anyone else for any mistakes in the story below :-) Hope you enjoy! I'm interested in any comments except flames. Please remember I've barely seen half a season's worth of Mutant X episodes so far.

Disclaimer: this story is based on the Tribune Entertainment/Marvel Studios/Fireworks Entertainment series Mutant X. All characters belong to their original creators. The story was written for entertainment only and no copyright infringement was intended.


Part 1

It wasn't supposed to go down like this.

The thought skittered across Emma's mind. She made a grab for it but it was gone before she could seize it. The shock of the moment of clarity, brief as it was, caused her to stumble. If not for the firm arm around her shoulders, she would have ended up face-first on the floor.

She batted at the fog that clouded her mind, searching for the thought, for any thought she could latch on to and that could help her focus.

Ariel Spenser

Emma clutched at the name. It meant something to her. What? Did she know this girl? Ariel wás a girl's name, wasn't it?

Conversation, the voices muted by the insistent buzz in her ears, distracted her from further pursuing the name and its connotations.

"She all right?" A concerned male voice.

"She'll be fine." Another male, right beside her. "She needs some air, is all."

Emma tried to move her head, to focus on the owner of the second voice, but her muscles refused to obey. Instead, the slight movement caused the world to spin ever faster in a wild vortex of light and colors. A whimper escaped her and her eyelids fell shut, attempting to protect her brain from the overload of sensations.

"Don't pass out on me now." Again the man at her side. "We're almost there."

Emma wanted to trust the owner of the voice, to yield to his presence and rely on him to lead her. Yet some deep-rooted instinct, perhaps something even coded in her DNA, refused to submit.

Danger! her sixth sense yelled. Danger, danger, Will Robinson!

The unexpected allusion to a forgotten childhood memory was so out of place, so inane, that it jarred her back to near sobriety.

Her instincts were right; she was in danger. Deep down Emma knew it wasn't the noise and thick smoke in the club that caused her dizziness and nausea. The owner of the voice wasn't some kind stranger who helped her when she grew sick. She didn't need to read him to know he was a kidnapper, abducting her while nobody noticed.

She reached within herself, and managed to find a last ounce of strength. She struggled against his grip, tried to pull herself free so she could run and cry out for help.

The attempt was as successful as if she'd tried to shift Stormking Mountain--the hand around her biceps remained made of granite. With a sob, Emma sagged, her knees giving in to the despair that washed over her.

The hand held her up and forced her onward until other fingers curled around her shoulders. She was pulled into -- a van? She slumped, no longer strong enough to keep up even the illusion of resistance. Already, the moment of clarity was fading. The fog was closing in and she couldn't recall why she had been struggling.

"Please. Please." What she was pleading for, Emma had no idea.

Something stung the back of her neck, and the plea flew from her mind. Emma's world turned black.