Chapter 6


After a night's rest, or reasonable facsimile thereof considering the constant thrum of the engines in the core reverberated through the whole complex, Kitty walked out of her domicile to face the new day, and her new assignment. She'd received the note tacked to her bedpost asking her to report when she woke to the magistrate's office.

She forced herself not to be nervous, after all what reason had she to be? These people were like her, and expected her to pull her weight, and to be honest, she looked forward to it.

She walked out of the room and faced the warm heat that blasted her face with a now friendly glow. She wore a tight blue t-shirt that had been Tabitha's, so it was quite a bit more roomy up top than she had flesh for, but no matter. It was only slightly stained and fairly clean. The pants were borrowed from Rahne, and were cargo-type with lots of pockets.... she still itched from patches of fur that were left in the waist cuff.

She slowly walked down the path to the council chambers, and smiled at people she passed by. Despite the reason why they were down here, everyone seemed fairly happy... they were free, and had those who understood them as peers. the living situation wasn't the best, but what more could they ask other than a safe home?

She reached the chambers, and heard voices inside. She pushed the door open, and was surprised to see a dense throng of people there, seated on the benches around, as if a session was about to commence.

She didn't spot Kurt, but she did see 'Iceman' sitting next to a spare seat, and she slid through the throng and sat beside him. "Hi."

"Hey." He threw a grin at her and held a hand out. "Didn't properly introduce myself yesterday. Bobby."

"Kitty." She replied, taking his hand and shaking it with a smile. He was CUTE. "Nice to meet iceman was it?"

He winked, and put his hands together, and she felt a cold draft, before he handed her the perfect ice sculpture of a rose. "Indeed it is."

She felt her cheeks redden, though in the dim light of the chamber, she was certain he couldn't see it. "Thank you..." She felt the rose begin to melt even as she held it, but she didn't' mind, it was beautiful. "So... what's going on?" She asked, nodding to the crowd around them, speaking in hushed tones.

"Oh, the councils' going to brief us on the plan."

Kitty nodded, having surmised something of the sort. "What kind of plan exactly is it?"

"Not sure exactly." He shrugged. "Has something to do with infiltrating the topside and rigging the election, then taking over something or other... that's all I know though. Details haven't gotten out to the majority of us yet."

Kitty pondered that. It made sense, what with the discussion of the election she had overheard when she had joined the others topside in meeting the Senator.

She was about to ask more, when the door opened. The council was filing out.

It was a strange group of people, indeed. A tall bald man, a tall silver- haired man, the blue skinned woman, a formidable man in tan robes, and archaic jewelry, and a woman with flaming red hair and iconic aura. The Council of Five.

The whole chamber fell immediately silent, and reverent respect was held for those five founding members of the Friends of Humanity.

The five were seated, and soft murmuring commenced as they drew their plans together. Then the silver-haired man stood.

"That's Magneto." Came a soft whisper in her ear, and Kitty jumped having been so intense on the five, she'd forgotten Bobby beside her. "Next to him is Psonic, Mystique, Apocalypse, and Phoenix. They're the ones who run this place... The two dudes on the left are in charge of politics and managing our strategies, Mystiques in charge of running things down here and coordinating between them all, and the two on the right are in charge of the militia and scouting procedures."

Kitty nodded and turned her attention back, as everyone was growing silent again as Magneto readied to speak.

"My friends... we have come to the time which we have hoped for... our plans are in place, and it is time to take action. We have set up careful plans as to what role each of you shall take, and we expect you to do your best, give your life if necessary, so that the rest of our population may survive."

Kitty's heart chilled a bit, thinking she wasn't sure she was ready to give her life for the cause... she'd just gotten here! But then if she didn't belong here, where did she belong....? Not up there certainly.

He continued ignorant of her thoughts, though she caught a sharp glance from the bald man, Psonic, directed straight at her.

"We will hand out your assignments as soon as our meeting is finished. Please make sure you report immediately to your direct supervisor for more explicit instructions. With all your assistance, and our strength, we WILL win." His fist formed hard and there was a surge of power in the room that seemed to draw to him, and Kitty felt a creepy sensation crawl over her as she watched a couple people's jewelry raise slightly directed towards the man.

"Thank you all." He took his seat and the bald man stood.

"Before we excuse you, I would like to add that if any of you run into trouble during this assignment, remember to focus your thoughts and one of the telepaths shall attempt to assist you. Thankfully, they cannot take the power of thought away from us yet." There was a murmur of agreement, and the council stood, and the session was over as the audience stood.

Kitty let out a breath and glanced at Bobby. "Is it just us who are going 'on assignment?' There has to be more people here than just us."

He nodded, and shrugged. "Probably not. They just picked people whose powers will work best."

"But... we have to go into the city, right?" Kitty asked with a slight frown. "The id scanners are everywhere... if we enter buildings, access any technology, they'll know who did it.. how do we get around that?"

Bobby grinned and smirked a bit. "Don't worry."

Then, someone came around with a holopad and pushed it into Kitty's hands, and walked on. She turned it on, and saw that her name was there on the top. she scrolled down and briefly read the message.

She was to report to the sub-level for training immediately.

"Whoo." whistled Bobby as he peered over her shoulder. "You got it heavy... you sure you're up to this so soon?"

She glanced at him as they both walked out of the crowded chamber into the hot inner core. "What do you mean."

"Well the training room.. you're going to go through serious run-down battle simulations in the Danger Room."

Her blood chilled. "Danger Room?"

"My guess is, you're going to be one of the infiltration squad."

"Wonderful." Kitty put a hand to her head and placed the holo-pad in the receptacle on the wall on the way out, since it was meant to be read and discarded for re-use.

"Good luck! You're gonna need it." Bobby joked, and put a hand on her head, and shot a bit of cold into her scalp, to shock her enough to gasp with surprise.

She didn't have time to worry about what exactly she was in for though, since she was to report there directly. She made her way down to the sub- level, and paused before the twin metal doors that stood closed before her. She hadn't been allowed in during her tour, since a session was in progress, and Victor had snorted and told her she'd never be the type to go in there.

Apparently he'd been wrong.

She pulled at the door, and it opened easily, and she found herself in a small room with many lockers lining it, and a few benches there as well. Several people were already there, including a certain blue fuzzy elf strapped into a tight black outfit that left nothing to the imagination.

He grinned brightly seeing her enter, and gestured. "Come in, and go ahead and get suited up. We all have a long session.... let's get started."

The training was harsh, and difficult. By the end of a week, Kitty ached all over, even in places that SHOULDN'T ache from doing rigorous training exercises.

Kurt was a taskmaster, when it came to getting his recruits in shape. He sent them through yoga exercises first to limber up, then a multitude of limbering exercises, followed by the most difficult set of tests for her powers that she had ever encountered. Even the more experienced mutants who'd lived with their powers for years were hard pressed.

But after the first week, she found herself becoming faster, stronger, and able to pull off the complex martial arts moves that he taught them. At the beginning of the second week, Logan came to join them, on break from his normal duties. Kitty was quick to discover that Logan was definitely not the softie he portrayed when babysitting, but a lethal killing machine when he wanted to be.

At the end of the second week, Kurt made the announcement.

"Ok everyone, break for today. Come here, relax a bit I have an announcement to make."

The tired trainees flopped on the metal floor, exhausted in front of their trainer, and caught their breath while he spoke.

"You've trained very hard and I commend you highly. No one else could have done such great work."

They all felt the weight lifted a bit off their shoulders at his praise.

"However, now it's time to explain to you what we're going to be doing... and it involves a lot of patience, espionage, and careful planning."

Kurt paused, and curled his tail up on the ground, and sat on top of it, supporting his weight as he sat cross-legged there for a moment suspended in the air by the strength of his limb. "It's two more weeks until the election. Others have been up campaigning for the success of Senator Schauffman. At the moment, the public consensus is split fifty fifty. It's our job to get in place, influence the vote with the others, and then stand back until the success of the election... from there, we'll make our move... we'll go into that later, when the date approaches, just in case any of you are caught and exposed."

Kitty shuddered at that thought. Caught and exposed? Dear me, that doesn't sound good.... but he had a point. The government had a way of reading your mind against your will, and if they knew the details, the plot would be revealed and their chance deteriorated.

"For now," Kurt continued. "We will set out tomorrow. Each of you will be given orders and an identity, plus location of respite for you. May we succeed, for all our sake."

And with that, the meeting was over. Kurt turned and began to talk with Logan, discouraging Kitty from talking to him, so she simply turned and headed back to her domicile, prepared to take a nice relaxing sonic shower to relax her aching muscles.

She stood by the rail on the edge of the core, and peered down, thinking. Her parents wouldn't have recognized her, which was probably a good thing... she had filled out with muscular bulk to her slender body, and her hair had been cropped off short for the sake of the problem it was to keep long hair out of her way when fighting. She was an entirely different person... she knew how to snap someone's neck with a few moves of her hands before they could cry out, or how to put out a dozen guards without killing them. Death was highly frowned upon in their training, but they knew sometimes it was necessary as not to spread word of their organization.

"You look deep in thought." A voice startled her out of her revere, and she turned. Graydon was approaching, hands in his pockets, looking casual. "They work you hard tonight?"

"Yeah....but it's not so bad anymore." She smiled, actually amazing herself by saying that. Yet it was true. She didn't find it distasteful, it challenged her to go beyond her own boundaries.

"Hm.." He mused, leaning on the rail beside her. "Hear you guys are shipping out tomorrow."

"Yeah... guess so..." She glanced at him. "What about you?"

"Me?" He snorted sarcastically. "I can't help, so I get stuck down here watching the kiddies."

"OH..." Kitty felt bad for him. No powers, he couldn't do much... it had to suck. "Well at least you're safe here."

"Maybe... but what's life if not to risk it."

He had a point... "Have you asked them if you could go up there and... like do stuff?"

He glanced sideways at her, and shrugged. "What use is it. They can use someone with powers who has a better advantage than I."

Kitty glanced down, a bit discouraged. He seemed so negative about it. "I'm sorry..."

"Hey, not your fault." He smiled a bit. "You busy right now?"

She blinked. "Well, I was going to go shower and relax... why?"

He shuffled his feet a bit. "Oh... just wondering if you wanted to.. go do something with me... wont' take long, I promise."

Was he asking her out on a date? She blinked and was mentally staggered for a moment, then finally smiled. "Yeah... sure... Let me freshen up first..."

"No, just come as you are. It won't last long." He grinned and gestured. "Come on." He turned and began to jog up the stairs towards the upper levels.

Kitty followed, bemused, taking the steps two at a time behind him easily. She hadn't been up to the upper levels yet, it was just the exhaust area, they told her, and not a very friendly environment. She soon found out why, all the fumes and smoke got thicker higher up, for while the core machine kept most of them inside, some still leaked out of the rock around. By the time they reached the very top, she was breathing through her sleeve.

Graydon stopped, his own mouth and nose covered and pointed. They stood in front of a door. He glanced at her and gestured with a nod. She understood, and took hold of his hand, and pulled them both through the door.

Inside, they were in a short corridor, that went on for about twenty feet, before opening out into a small room. In that room, was a large window plate set into the rock, overlooking the outside.

Her breath caught. The sun was just setting, and the orange and red glow hitting the atmosphere reflected off the domed city and sent sparkles of light across the desert wasteland like a prism. It was beautiful.

"Oh my..." she breathed out softly.

"It's pretty isn't it?" Graydon's hand slipped around her waist slowly, but she didn't notice, even if she had, she probably wouldn't have objected. "I know it's a bitter view mentally, but there is something good out of it..."

She smiled and nodded. "Certainly is." She glanced over and met his eyes. They were different, but had the same light sparkle that Kurt had. She could visually see they had blood relations to one another.

She blushed a bit, embarrassed. She couldn't shake Kurt from her mind... what was wrong with her.

But that was thrown from her mind when a soft touch brought her back. Graydon was staring at her, with one of those knowing, familiar, lusting looks......

Suddenly, Kitty was uncomfortable, and drew back.

"What's wrong?" Graydon's eyes hardened a bit, almost defensively.

"Graydon... I'm sorry." She sighed and looked up at him apologetically. "It's... too soon for me to do this..."

At that moment, she saw that she had just lost his attention, for his face hardened, and he became rigid. "I see. My apologies then."

Kitty winced internally, but took his arm and phased him through the door again, and he wasted no time, in heading down the stairs ahead of her, leaving her to wonder why she had just rejected his advances....

The next morning, Kitty woke nervously. You know the feeling where you wake when you're about to do something important, and you're stomach is fluttery, nervous, and jittery so that you cannot keep food down? Yes, that's what Kitty felt.

She didn't even try to eat her rations, but stored it and packed up her gear and headed down to the external element room. The others were there already. Kurt was suited up in his black element gear, boots cloak and all but the breathing apparatus. The others there were familiar to her as well. Mort, Amanda, Rogue, Jubilee, and Amara. Each wore their gear already, and were finishing packing things into their packsacks. Kitty joined them and dressed as well, putting her carefully refurbished clothing into the bag with her supplies. All she knew was they were going topside to infiltrate and wait it out.. He hadn't excluded details yet. They were to be there a while..

As everyone finished packing, Kurt cleared his throat. "Well. it's time. I won't pad my words, this may be a mission we don't return from if things do not go well. But if they do, we may not return here either, due to the fact we shall be allowed to live up there once more."

There were nods of repressed excitement in all their faces.

"Our plan is to sneak in like we did before, and make it to my father's home. We're to be masquerading as members of his family from across the Dune Sea in Vula. Amara and Jubes will be sister daughters of mein father's cousin, there to support his campaign.. The rest of us will be their entourage. Once we are up there, those who will be recognized for who or what they are will be given changes to their appearance." He glanced around at the group. Seven of them. it was the largest group that had tried to infiltrate the city. "Please be aware if you use your powers we will be tracked instantly. If you must use them in a fight, make sure you lose yourself and do not return home without receiving clearance first. This is why we have trained so hard, to avoid capture."

Kitty felt a bit nervous about this. Appearance changes? She could understand herself and someone like Amanda, but what about Kurt himself, and Mort.? They were obvious mutants that wigs would not hide. And no cosmetic alteration shop would accept mutants..

But nothing more was said, as they strapped on their equipment, and made sure their supplies were ready. They stepped out of the compound, and into the elements.