"That's not good. That's so not good, it isn't even funny."
Mike massaged his temples in a distracted fashion. The group were in Michelle's rather spacious basement, sitting on the couches and boxes that were stored there. It was still Wednesday, around midnight; Michelle's father was already asleep, and her mother was at work. Phil had teleported just about everybody in, once Michelle had given him the 'all-clear' via the phone. Geordie was pacing near the door, and Melissa was sitting quietly in a large armchair, facing the door. Mike and Michelle were sitting beside each other on the loveseat to Melissa's right, and Phil and Adam sat on the couch opposite them. Gordon was perched on a box behind Phil and Adam's couch, that was filled with various junk that Michelle's family had stored away, examining a box of seashells. Michelle petted Sagitar, who lay in her lap half-asleep.
"They took Holly," Geordie murmured, as he paced, "They have her..."
"Not to change the subject, but how did you get your parents to let you keep Sagitar?" Melissa asked, turning to Michelle.
"Sagitar acted all cute," Michelle shrugged, "She talked her way into it."
The puppy made a little throaty noise, and shifted her position before quieting down again.
"They love her," Mike said, "But that's irrelevant. Does anyone know where they took Holly?"
"If we did, would we be here, dickwad?" Geordie asked, raising his eyebrows and pointing at Mike.
"Maybe they wanted to regroup," Mike said, raising his hands innocently, referring to Melissa, Phil and Michelle.
"We have no idea," Phil said, shaking his head.
"Mystique did say one week until we needed to answer," Melissa said thoughtfully.
"I don't want here there for a week, I want her back now," Geordie said, seething.
"No need to get possesive on someone who isn't even your girl," Adam said, raising his voice.
"Hey, at least I don't try to flirt with my ex," Geordie shot back.
"That's because you don't have an ex," Adam retorted.
Geordie stepped toward Adam, who jumped up out of his seat.
"You know what, bas-" Geordie began, then Phil jumped up and pushed the two other boys apart.
"Shut up," the teleporter hissed into Geordie's face, "Both of you," he added, turning to Adam, "You make too much noise and we're caught and dead. Or at least just Michelle, and you don't want her dead, do you?"
Adam sat down and crossed his arms sulkily, and Geordie took a step back.
"Fine," Geordie said in a tight voice, "Does anyone have a plan?"
"I do," Gordon said, raising a hand.
Everyone else turned to the oldest of the group.
"You," Melissa said, unbelievingly.
"I don't even have a plan, and I'm the strategist here," Geordie said, shocked, as Phil and Adam nodded.
"The school dance next Monday-" Gordon began, and Michelle cut him off.
"Tell me this is a serious plan," she begged.
"It is, just hear me out," Gordon said, "Everyone will be dressed up, and masks are actually pretty common, even though school rules say not to. The gym will be darkly lit, and everyone is going to be mingling in the crowd."
"Easy for us to hide," Melissa nodded, "And the mingling..."
"You want us to kidnap Matt?" Adam exclaimed.
Phil blinked, "Wow, Gordon, I didn't know you swung that way."
"Oh, shut up," Michelle laughed, and Sagitar looked up sleepily.
"Actually, I was thinking Scott," Gordon said.
"So it's personality you're after, not the looks," Phil said, scratching his chin, and Gordon hit the back of his head.
"You're after the brains of their two-man team," Geordie nodded, "But why?"
"Let them know that we're not that weak; not to be underestimated. They took a team member and we want them back. Also, it's kind of insurance. What if we give them the wrong answer, and they don't return Holly?" Gordon pointed out.
"...I see pros and cons everywhere," Melissa said, "It's an idea...but it's risky."
"Yeah, how do we know Scott and Matt don't have another ally? There's Magneto, Mystique...and how about that huge neanderthal guy that Mystique transformed into?" Phil asked.
"There was a neanderthal?" Michelle asked, confused.
"You got knocked out by him first," Melissa explained.
"Sure...target the coloured person," Michelle mumbled, then shook her head, "I say we kidnap Scott, but not the whole team. Only half; if we're caught, then the other half can still try to get the others out of trouble."
"...You sure the precaution is necessary?" Adam asked, scratching his head.
"Better safe than sorry," Michelle said, "And they don't know how many of us there are. And she thinks that Melissa's probably a telepath; someone answered a question I asked while in morph out loud. And she thinks Holly's a morpher; maybe Holly's able to hide it. She knows Phil teleports, and I'm a special morpher. She also knows Mike is a morpher because we mentioned him. And she probably suspects Geordie of being a mutant. Am I missing anything?"
Michelle looked at Melissa questioningly. The girl thought a moment, then shook her head.
"So Gordon and I..." Adam scratched his head again, "We're your 'secret weapons', if you will."
"Well, she knows that most of us are mutants, but not what kind," Mike pointed out, "We still have a good chance. Melissa can be just about anything, she doesn't know Holly can strike her with lightning, and she doesn't know what Geordie can do."
"Not to mention you and Michelle's special techniques," Geordie added, his eyes lighting up.
Michelle squirmed a little where she sat, then stopped when she noticed Sagitar was about to fall of her lap. Straightening the Akita puppy, Michelle thought a little worriedly that the look in Geordie's eyes wasn't at all pleasant.
"Holly told you?" Michelle asked, looking at the puppy.
"You told Holly?" Mike asked in a wry voice, raising an eyebrow at her.
"It's hard to keep secrets from Holly," Michelle defended.
"It's hard to keep secrets from me," Geordie scoffed.
"What special techniques?" Melissa asked, leaning forward in her chair and looking like a cross between an evil overlord in his throne and a mad scientist discovering something new.
"What kind of special techniques?" Adam asked suggestively, earning a swat from Gordon.
"What're you waiting for?" Phil prompted, "Tell us! Spill those beans!"
"Never say that again," Gordon advised, swatting Phil.
"Um...basically, I'm really really good at changing aspects of myself," Michelle said, carefully choosing her words, "But you already knew this. What you didn't know was that I can...fragment myself, so to speak."
"...break up into little pieces?" Melissa stared, along with the rest of the group, "That's the big secret?"
"More like make little copies of herself," he said.
"Seriously? Cloning?" Gordon exclaimed, "Show us! C'mon!"
Michelle held up her hand for all to see, then something interesting happened.
"Goddess above, your hand just fell off!" Melissa exclaimed.
And indeed it did. Sagitar sniffed the disembodied hand in front of her nose, then yawned as it turned into a mini-Michelle.
"That is awesome," Adam breathed, "And you can put your hand back on?"
"Yup," Michelle nodded, and did just that, making the clone of herself become a hand again, and reattaching it, "But I can only fragment small things. For now."
"So what can Mike do?" Gordon asked.
"You know that whole morphing equivalent thing that we were working on?" Mike asked, "I can do something like it; I can change the forms of other objects or beings, without having to change myself. I just need contact."
"Demonstation please," Melissa said, waving a hand imperiously.
Mike rolled his eyes, and Gordon tossed him one of the seashells he had been looking at. Mike deftly caught it, and turned it into a small dagger before tossing it back to Gordon. It hit a box beside Gordon, and the point buried itself within the cardboard.
"I can't change the mass though," Mike shrugged.
"That's ok, that's perfectly ok," Gordon said, "It'll fit into my plan quite nicely."
"So spill," Phil said, and Mike, Michelle and Geordie gathered closer around Gordon, and Melissa leaned in her chair as the group's strategist of the hour outlined his plan.