A Brave New X-World By: Night Elf Crawler

Chapter One:

Author's note: X-men Matrix style. Mwahahhaa. Yes, this is based off a movie I recall seeing when I was a kid. don't ask me WHAT movie. give credit to them. cause I don't remember *awkward grin*

******

Katherine Pryde choked back a cough as she stumbled again in the rocky dirt- ridden terrain. Tears choked her throat along with dust, and she was certain she looked a complete mess... like the tramp they had condemned her as...

The winds blew harsh, hot and dusty, and as she glanced up, the chemicals that scoured this portion of the world made her eyes water more....

It had all been so WONDERFUL yesterday...

*

"Happy birthday dear Kitty... happy birthday to you..." Came the voices. With a grin and deep breath, she blew out the candles on her cake, all sixteen of them.

"So, Kitty darling. What did you wish for?" Her mother joked as she began to cut the cake for her, serving it out.

"I'm not supposed to tell you." She smiled secretively. ~Like duh... I wished to meet a guy...~

It was the year 3042. Life had gone on through hard times, and good... Civilization had changed much from what it had been. Cities were encased in thick resistant domes that kept the toxic atmosphere, and the harmful UV rays out. Sickness had been eliminated. There was virtually no crime. Punishments were dealt with swift and strict. Anyone who did anything small was given an attitude re-adjustment. More severe crimes were dealt with in a more severe manner. If you so much as stole something, it was out into the wilds, outside the protection of the city...

That's where they threw the mutants.

Mutants... creatures of abhorrent talents, physical appearances, and horrific pollution of the gene pool.

Race, religion, ethnicity.. they were all united and accepted in this society. There was no prejudice, no hatred... those who committed these crimes were dealt with severely like the rest...

Mutants however... were another matter.

All of this had little impact on Katherine Pryde, until her 16th birthday.

She was in the midst of having her cake, when she sneezed.

Startled, she realized she was standing in the apartment complex below their own domicile on the 184th floor of their building. Confused, she stared around. Luckily no one was home, so she stood in the dark locked room, cake in hand, suddenly realizing something had gone wrong.

It hadn't taken long for the authorities to track the new mutant activity.

By the time she had figured out how to get outside, returned to her home, and tried to explain to her frightened family that it couldn't be what they thought... she was NORMAL... she couldn't be a mutant, the authorities had arrived only seconds later.

She had been taken without mercy, and put inside the city's detention facility. Within the next hour, she was standing before the city council.

"Katherine Pryde... you have been convicted of being a mutant. For this you must be removed from society, in hopes the genetic mistake does not continue to ravish our society."

Kitty's lower lip trembled as the council spoke, bringing her parents out. They were to be sterilized, since they had spawned a mutant. They refused to meet her eyes, and just stood, blank faced listening to the council speak. It was short, to the point, and gave her no choice but to accept her fate.

She had been stripped of any possessions save her clothing, and dumped uncharacteristically outside the city boundary.

*

That is where she sat now. Alone, in the dirt, staring back at the glistening dome beyond the ridge, just out of reach. There was no way to sneak back inside, the dome was heavily guarded by defenses, as well as locked to the outside. Few residents' left the dome, if they did it was in the safety of sealed vehicles. There was no way in, without their good graces.

She shivered and knelt there in the dirt. She wouldn't live through the night. It was known that those who were dumped outside, never survived one night. There was nothing out here. No food, no water, and no shelter save a few caves scattered about. But it did no good to hide in caves, for the toxic atmosphere penetrated the air. It corroded the skin, the eyes, the nose, the mouth... One couldn't survive out here for long.

So, Kitty had no desire to try and find such shelter. Her life was over... She was officially 'dead' to the world. She no longer existed. The refuse bots would no doubt find her bones and it would be officially confirmed, but legally she was dead.

Which is why it was such a surprise, when a black boot crunched in the dirt by her knees, surprising her.

She glanced up, and stared at the boot. It was dusty, obviously it's occupant had been walking for some time through the rough conditions. The boot was very large, and a pair of synthetic black pants were methodically tucked into the top of the boot. As she continued to look up, the figure came into more focus.

He wasn't, assuming it was a he, very tall. He stood rather stooped actually, but that could be from the gigantic black backpack on his back. He was covered from head to toe in that weird synthetic fabric, complete with a breathing mask over his face, and goggles that hid the eyes, save a slight light showing through, she assumed from the digital display. He had a cape of sorts fashioned out of the same material, presumably for bringing across the breathing apparatus to fend off the dust. A pair of swords were attached to the utility belt at his waist, sheathed in their own anti- corrosive components. There were various things clipped to his belt, from radio communications, to water and food rations.

He looked like a very warped version of Lawrence of Arabia, Kitty thought, remembering the classic movie her parents had loved.

She thought she was hallucinating at first, they had said the toxin did odd things to the mind, until a hand touched her shoulder, real and firm, gripping her with a force a specter could not have.

Surprised, she looked up, as a mask descended over her face. She struggled, and tried to pull back, but the grip on her shoulder tightened, and the mask clipped onto her face and around the back of her head. Within seconds, pure cold air filled her lungs, and she looked up with some surprise.

"Now... what is a beautiful young lady like yourself doing in such a desolate place as this?" Came a soft friendly male voice in her left ear. She jumped a bit, and stared. There must have been a communicator attached to the breath mask, since his voice had come across with a metallic sound.

Still a bit stunned, she felt herself being moved, and brought to her feet by the man. She blinked a bit through the goggles that sheltered her eyes from the harsh environment, and realized this was something unexpectedly good. "Who.....? How....?" she began to stutter.

"Ah ah ah... I asked you a question first." Came the voice. It had the hint of an accent to it, and she could tell he was smiling behind the mask, due to the tone in his voice, though she couldn't see anything of his face.

"Um..." she blinked and her mind recalled the question. "I... I was thrown out."

"Well that is quite obvious, fraulein." He chuckled, keeping a firm hand on her shoulder. There was something odd about her grip, but she couldn't put her finger on it, and with the mask on she couldn't turn her head to look down very easily. "Why did they throw such a flower like yourself, out here?"

She cast her gaze downwards, not that he could see her face through the goggles anyway. It must have been one of those heat shield types, you could see out but not in. "I... I'm a mutant...," she whispered almost in- audible, but it seemed he still heard her.

"Ah, is that all? Well don't fret." He put something over her shoulders, and she realized he was giving her his cloak, that had a hood as well. Gratefully, she pulled it up, which provided a small amount of protection from the driving sand-winds.

"Who are you...?" She finally asked, turning her head once she had the cloak wrapped around her. It was warm, but not stifling like the outside heat. "I thought..."

"You thought perhaps no one survived out here, ja?" He asked, and chuckled at her sudden head movement that showed her surprise. "Ja, well we're all dead out here. You too, my dear! But isn't being dead wonderful! No one can tell you what to do."

She blinked, and was confused at that. "You mean.... people LIVE out here?"

"But of course. You don't' expect those thrown out would just lay down and call out 'kill me now' do you?"

She blinked and slowly shook her head. "I thought no one could live out here. It's deadly...."

"That it is, and any fool who would want to live on the surface deserves his fate." He replied. "But we do not live on the surface fraulein... come, it will be dark soon, and we shall need to leave this place, before the bots spot us."

He took her arm, and turned her in an easterly direction, and then began walking, making sure he took care to help her, given all the footwear she wore were the thin slippers that they wore inside the dome. Her feet already burned as it were from just walking half a mile.

They walked in silence, his strong arm guiding her direction. A million questions buzzed in her head, none of which she had enough courage to ask directly. So, she started with the obvious. "Who are you...?"

"Me?" He feigned surprise. "Or the man over there?" He pointed at a rock.

She blinked. "Uh...." His laughter brought realization that he was teasing her, and she blushed.

"My name is Kurt Wagner, fraulein." He said soothingly. "And what would your name be then?"

"Um... it's Katherine... Kitty...Pryde."

"Well, Katherine, Kitty, Pride..." He drawled. "Welcome to the Outer Rim." He gestured with a hand. "Home to the unwanted, the unwelcome, and the outcasts."

She blinked about the mountainous barren landscape. "Not much here..." She murmured, not intending him to hear.

"Ja, it is true that this is no place to stake a plot of land on." He chuckled. "But then we take what we can pick. It's good enough to live, you don't be picky over the view."

They had shifted course towards the rocky mountains just beyond view from the city dome. There were traces of bones in the desert sand which caused her to shiver with repulsion.

He seemed to catch drift of her trepidation and squeezed her shoulder gently. "Relax... most of them live a very long life before retiring up here." She stared up at him with surprise, and he continued. "Normally, our lifestyle involves hiding from everyone above... They don't' know we exist for sure, they may be suspicious, but no one can prove the existence of our lives.... our cities... our organization."

"Organization?"

"It's a world-wide effort, one of which we are a part of... Friends of Humanity. We strive to live, so that one day we can co-exist again with the rest of the world... but for now we cannot let our presence known, and we hide beneath the ground, out of sight."

She took in a small breath. She had heard of Friends of Humanity... a rogue group of people who proclaimed mutants were just further human evolution, not a mistake of the gene pool. She had scorned them, just like the rest, but now, she began to wonder if what they said was really true.

She glanced up at him. "How long have you lived here...?"

"All my life, fraulein." he chuckled faintly. "A surprise to you? No? I was born different from the start... my mother fled with me outside the city so my father could not be disgraced..."

Her mouth opened a bit and closed. All his life.... how horrible... "So you've never been inside the city?"

"Ahh I didn't say that." He teased. "We have our own ways into the city. I often go there, but no one sees." He must have sensed her confusion, because he went on to continue. "How do you think we make a living out here? Food does not grow, there is no water... we must take what we can from the city to survive... That is part of the reason I am out here now. I was returning with food rations and water." He indicated the big backpack he wore.

"Part of the reason?"

He turned his masked face towards her, and seemed to be contemplating. "Well, the other half of why we scout around the city is to find people like yourself. Thrown out and left to die. Sometimes we don't find them in time... it's a tragedy when that happens. But thankfully to you, I found you, ja?" he squeezed her arm gently in re-assurance.

He suddenly stopped, right in front of a solid rock wall. she nearly bumped into it, having not seen it there. She glanced up at him confused for a moment, until he brought forth a small electronic device and pushed the button. A cracking sound split the air muffled slightly by the wind, and the rock wall suddenly slid back to reveal a thick metal door. Surprised, she watched as he punched in a code to the device he carried, then another code into the door, and it opened. Beyond was a gaping maw of blackness.

He led her inside, and she stumbled after him, and the door shut behind with a loud 'thump', leaving them in complete darkness. She squinted, but it was no good, she couldn't see a thing. Kurt however, didn't seem to be bothered by this, and started forward, still pointing her in a direction. They walked in silence for some time, occasionally taking turns. She wondered how he knew where they were going.

"We have tunnels built in to confuse anyone who might break in." He explained, as if reading her mind. "If you were to use a flashlight, it would set off the sensors and blind you temporarily for our security to retain the intruder."

"How do you find your way around then?" She asked.

He chuckled. "I can see quite well in the dark, my dear." He explained. "That, and I know the route by memorization."

They walked on for some time, and eventually her footsteps changed from the earthy echo of the mountain's constitution, to a metal vibration. Before long after this, they stopped, and she could tell they were at another door, as he entered another code, and the door swung open.

The light beyond was dim, but bright considering they had just come out of pitch-blackness.

The smell was rich with scents, as she was blasted with the warmth from the chambers within. It was like walking into a vast underground cavern. The rock walls seemed to have been naturally formed, as if they sat in a dormant volcano.

He paused and led her to a small room just to the side of the entrance, that was lit with crackling power torches. A cheap efficient source of light, but one that was not even, therefore not used in the city except for lighting effects. The room had several lockers and he opened one, pulling out a suit of black material that looked her size, and handed it to her.

"Why don't you go ahead and clean up in there, fraulein." He nodded at the small sonic shower booth at the end of the room. "This might be more comfortable than those rags. And you can remove your mask in here." He added as he began to un-strap the backpack from his back.

She took the mask off, and took a breath. The air wasn't as foul as it had smelled inside the mask. It was laced with sulfur and dampness. she turned and stepped into the shower without hesitation, stripped, and activated it, letting the sweet air refresh her as her body was cleaned. She stood there for a good five minutes, before turning it off, dressing and stepping back out. Her hair was straight and clean now, still a bit tangled though. As she stepped out, she glanced down at the suit he had given her. It fit like a glove, one of those self-adjusting things. It was plain, but comfortable.

She closed the door and glanced over, and almost shrieked aloud.

Sitting on the bench, pouring sand out of his boot, was her savior, or so she assumed. But he wasn't your average looking run of the mill man. His face was elfin in design, very fine and well formed, but covered in a soft blue fur that shone in the dim light like pools of darkness. His ears were pointed like an elf's, and his dark hair tumbled down freely around his neck and shoulders in soft curls. She noticed what had bothered her earlier about him... he only had three fingers on each hand. It wasn't as if he had lost two, they just were formed that way. Her eyes slid down to his feet, which were incredibly strange. Two toes on the front, and one that wasn't quite a full toe on the heel. So that's why his feet had been so big.... She took all this in with a blink, not really surprised that he was different, just taken off guard.

The real kicker was the spaded tail...

It moved back and forth, coming out from his spine and never seemed to sit still as it lay on the bench next to his tight black leather pant-clad legs. It even had a ridged point along the spade tip.... her first instinct was to squeal and snuggle it, after her shock wore off.

"Ah." His head lifted, and a pair of golden glowing eyes crinkled with a smile that flashed pointed fang-like teeth at her. "Enjoy your shower?"

****end chapter one****

Ok!! I wrote this in a matter of a few hours... ^-^ SO! What do ya'll think? Like? Dislike? Imput? Flames? ECT ^-^