A/N: Special thanks to everyone that reviewed the last chapter.
TheDreamerLady- Yeah, it's a pretty bad time for Rahne right now, but at least she's made some new friends to help her through it.
Lucas'sgirl- Normally, I try to keep from writing chapters that long, but I didn't think it would've worked the same if I broke it up into multiple parts. I'm glad you still managed to finish it though!
Freelancer- Uncommon? I give you a standing ovation for finishing this in one sitting, I don't think I could've done it and I wrote the thing. I'm glad you liked it and I agree with you about some of the subplots. After going back and reading some chapters, I realize I could've explained some things a little better, but I'll try to fix that in future updates. Glad you like the mix of different realities, and especially that you like the Kiotr!
Independent Fire- Glad you like everything. It's okay about reviewing irregularly, just as long as you give your thoughts on things every so often.
Navi-Zero- Glad you like the blend of things, hope you continue to look forward to more…
nightcrawlerclone- Glad you liked it…
Jeremy Harper- Thanks for taking the time to review. Yeah, the first few chapters really weren't that strong, but this is the first X-Men fanfic that I've ever written and I'm pretty much learning as I go.
Glad you liked the fight scene. As far as the Sentinels, you don't know how much time I spent trying to decide how I was going to use them. I don't think twenty-foot robots would work in a live-action movie either. I had even considered jumping forward and using Sentinels similar in size to Nano-Sentinels, but that just didn't seem right for a second-generation model. So, I went with the standard model, and scaled them down from the super-size models that the X-Men in the comics routinely go up against, to what I'm using here. And I do intend to stay in this for the long haul, so I hope you enjoy what's coming up next!
Moon Comix- Glad you decided to take a peak at what's been going on over in this story. And as far as Logan and Rogue, everything that's taking place in this story is going to have a very big impact on them as well.
Less than twelve hours after the fight of their lives, some of the X-Men on Muir Island were up with the sun, as it began its ascent into the eastern horizon. They were desperately searching for a young friend of theirs, who the night before had learned the most difficult truth of her young life up to that point.
That sometimes life can just be cruel beyond belief.
At least, that is the closest way to describe how Rahne Sinclair felt after learning that her foster mother Dr. Moira MacTaggert, the woman who had shown Rahne love and cared for her as if she had bore her herself, had been taken from the island by strange and monstrous creations called Sentinels. As a result, Rahne had taken off in a futile attempt to escape the hurt that she felt inside, and also the sense that it was her presence on the island that drew the Sentinels there in the first place. Now, it was up to Kitty, Peter, and Theresa, who were currently looking for Rahne, to figure out a way to convince her otherwise.
Peter and Kitty called out on a remote part of the island, but received no answer from the young Scottish girl.
"We're gonna spend the whole morning looking for Rahne at this rate." Kitty said, as she, Peter, and Theresa walked along the island, keeping an eye out for any sign of her.
"And if she has really converted into her wolf-form, there is no telling where she may be right now." Peter replied, as they talked and continued to call out her name.
"I'd say it's a pretty safe bet that she's all 'were-wolf' right about now. When Ororo went to look for her last night, all she found were Rahne's clothes lying in a pile like they had been ripped off, or clawed through." Kitty said to him, "Ororo said she tried to look for her, but it was too dark and her leg's still too messed up for her to walk long distances."
"On top of that, the Professor is finally conscious again, but is unable to use his powers to locate her. We could definitely use Wolverine's tracking abilities at a time like this." Peter said, as they stopped on a hilltop overlooking another part of the island.
"No kidding. Bub." Kitty replied, as she giggled a little after saying that to Peter, "We could even use 'Songbird's' vocals to try and find Rahne, her powers were tailor made for stuff like this. But no, you had to go try 'n prove that you're one of the big kids."
Kitty made her last statement while looking directly at Theresa, but Theresa was currently unable to utter a response. She had severely injured her vocal chords when she used her mutant sonic abilities to fly herself and Rahne from the mainland of Scotland over to Muir Island.
But, Theresa did manage to shoot a look at Kitty that said, in no uncertain terms, where Kitty could go.
"Anyways, if we don't find her, it won't be from lack of trying. We've been halfway around this island already." Kitty continued, "What I don't get is why she even used her powers, when she told us how much she hated them and how they made her feel dirty. Prime example is this extra set of clothes that I brought with us. Rahne said that her conversion forces her body to shed her clothes when she changes. She said when she converts back, she wakes up naked and not really sure what she was doing."
"It is probably because she is not thinking like her usual self." Peter answered, "You heard her last night, she believes the Sentinels came to Muir Island as some form of punishment from above."
"Poor kid, we've gotta find her and straighten her out. None of what happened was her fault, but I for one would definitely like to know what psycho was responsible for sending those things here in the first place." Kitty said, as anger started to well up inside of her.
"As do I, Katya." Peter said in agreement, also wanting an answer to that particular question.
After walking for a little while longer, Peter's knowledge of nature and the outdoors led them to an area of the island where they happened upon a small cave in a secluded area.
"Both of you stay here, I have a feeling that we may have found her." Peter said, as he walked towards the entrance to the cave.
As he got closer, Peter heard what sounded like a low-pitched growl from inside.
"Rahne? If you can hear me, this is Peter. We have come to help you." Peter told her.
But, he didn't get a response, at least not in the form of a human voice. So, Peter decided to investigate further, and quickly learned the answer to his query as he neared the cave.
"Peter!" Kitty shouted, as a large brown wolf lunged at Peter from inside of the cave. Peter quickly moved out of the way, to avoid being pounced on.
"I am okay." Peter said to Kitty, as he stood up and faced off against Wolfsbane, who was now in her lupine form and was currently in her animal state of mind.
"Quick, turn yourself into Colossus." Kitty told him, not wanting her boyfriend to get hurt or mauled.
"I cannot, I do not want to hurt Rahne. But, I believe I can handle her." Peter reassured Kitty, as he stared into the wolf's eyes.
"How do you plan on doing that?" Kitty asked him.
"I used to wrestle the animals near my home in Siberia as a boy. Some of them were quite larger than Rahne, and I did not have the aid of my mutant powers at that time." Peter revealed.
"Hold it just-one-minute. I don't remember seeing any animals hanging around your home when we were there." Kitty pointed out, recalling their recent trip to Peter's homeland.
"Perhaps, it is because they learned long ago that it was unwise for them to come near the Rasputin home." Peter smiled, as he reminisced on his days spent growing up near Lake Baikal.
As soon as Peter said that, Wolfsbane lunged at him again and landed on Peter, knocking him to the ground. But this time, it was exactly what Peter had wanted. Despite not being in his steel body, Peter still possessed an unnatural level of strength, in comparison to most other human beings. This allowed him to wrestle Wolfsbane down, and eventually wrap his arms around her. He placed her in a type of sleeper-hold, just like his older brother Mikhail had taught him. Within a matter of minutes, Wolfsbane was out cold. Peter was soon carrying her back to the research complex across his shoulders, walking alongside Kitty and Theresa.
A little more than an hour after the trio of Peter, Kitty, and Theresa had returned to the damaged research complex with Rahne, news of the previous night's disturbance on the island finally reached the British national media. In no time, there was a helicopter flying overhead, broadcasting news of the strike against the research center by what were believed to be Sentinel machines……Last night, there was apparently some type of explosion at this research facility located on Muir Island, off the eastern coast of Scotland's mainland. While the cause of this explosion was most likely a ruptured gas line, a few local eyewitnesses report that they saw large robots flying over the island. This has fueled speculation by internet-conspiracy theorists that Sentinels were responsible for the damage caused here, which have long rumored to have been in existence for the purpose of defending humanity against an increasingly hostile mutant populace. One might draw the conclusion that last night was perhaps a pre-emptive strike, against organizations that secretly provide support to such suspected mutant terrorist groups. But at this point, no such link can be confirmed between these groups and Dr. Moira MacTaggert, who runs the research facility located on Muir Island. With the latest, this has been Louise Ferrera reporting. Back to you Brent…
Although the reporter said that the reason for the attack on the island was unclear at that point, her statement provided little comfort to a small group of television viewers watching from a venerable school in upstate New York.
"I guess this explains why we haven't been able to get through to anyone on Muir Island." Bobby said, as he, Jubilee, Kurt, Alison, Rictor and Jones were all in the main room of the mansion, as the hour neared midnight local time.
They were all watching the big-screen television as it displayed footage of the research facility with a huge gaping hole in the center of it, and rubble scattered on the sides from where other parts of the complex had been demolished.
"I wonder if everyone there's okay?" Rictor asked, voicing his concern about the well-being of their friends.
"I hope so." Jubilee replied.
Just then, a small group of younger students came down from the dormitory upstairs, to join those that were already in the living room.
"Those army guys are gonna come back, aren't they?" A worried Jamie Madrox asked, as he came and took a seat on the floor by the sofa that Jones, Jubilee and Rictor were sitting in.
"We were up in Kitty's room, since she has a TV in there, and were flippin' through the channels when we saw the news break. What goin' on?" Danielle Moonstar asked Alison.
"I was just passing by myself, coming back from a late night workout downstairs when the news report happened to catch my attention. Me and Jones have been watching since they first started talking about it. So far they haven't said too much, other than they think something called Sentinels attacked that place." Alison told them, before looking over at Kurt, "Do you know what they're talking about?"
"Ja." Kurt replied, "It means very big trouble, if what they say is true. I am going downstairs to see if Scott and Hank are aware of what has happened. Alison, Jubilee, Bobby, just try to keep everyone up here calm."
With that, Kurt disappeared from the room in a cloud of smoke.
"I'm not worried, we can handle them if they come here looking for trouble." A confident Roberto DaCosta said, as he leaned forward against the back of the sofa.
"Yeah, just like when Stryker's men showed up." Dani replied, "You ended up in a prison cell too, along with the some of the rest of us, 'Berto."
"Don't remind me." Roberto responded.
"Dani has a point. We didn't do very well against a bunch of regular guys with guns, how do you think we'll do against a bunch of killer robots, or whatever those things are?" James Proudstar also said to Roberto, "Colossus was ten times stronger than you and me combined, and those things managed to kill him."
"Don't talk like that! We have to assume that they're alright, until we here somethin' different." Jubilee told James.
"I'm just being real. I mean, you saw what that island looked like." James replied.
"And I'm bein' serious too, keep talkin' like that and Sentinels'll be the least of your worries!" Jubilee replied, in an unusually angry tone.
"Jubes, James, both of you just calm down." Bobby intervened, "We're all worried about our friends, but getting into a fight isn't going to help them."
"I know. I'm sorry for snappin' at you like that James." Jubilee apologized, "Look, I'm gonna go try again and see if I can get an answer over there."
Jubilee then picked up a com-link phone that had direct access to the Blackbird, and went into another room at the mansion. Scott had tried calling Muir Island on the regular phone, after the school began receiving an emergency computer download from Dr. MacTaggert. But, the only thing he got was a message stating that the phone lines were temporarily out of service. So, Jubilee decided to try contacting someone through the secure com-link. Following the problems that Logan said he had in using the com-link, back when Stryker invaded their school, dramatic improvements had been made to the communication system. Now, the X-Men could use them to talk from virtually anywhere around the world. What had Jubilee really worried though was the fact that, despite the improvements, she still hadn't gotten an answer from the other end on the Blackbird.
But, there was a good reason for that…
"I didn't think I'd ever get down here." Kitty said to herself, after changing into her Junior X-Men uniform, and then making her way down to the hangar underneath the Muir Island complex where the Blackbird had been docked.
Kitty's phasing ability made it easy for her to go through the debris, which now blocked the passageway to the hangar below. Debris also covered the hangar's doors above her, which was similar in design to the retractable hangar doors built beneath the basketball court back home. So, she volunteered to come and see what shape their ticket home was in. After her experience the night before with phasing into unfamiliar territory, Kitty was being extra cautious now as she made her way down below. Some might say that she even seemed a bit gun-shy about using her powers, when compared to how she normally phased through objects in the past.
At any rate, now that Kitty had finally made it to the floor level of the hangar, she walked around the Blackbird to do a visual inspection of the super-sonic plane.
"It doesn't look too bad. Being way down here probably kept it from being completely trashed by those Sentinels." Kitty thought to herself, as she only saw some minor damage from debris that had been shook off of the walls, leaving a few scratches and dents on the exterior hull of the Blackbird as evidence.
Kitty then decided to go inside of the plane, and make sure that all of its internal components were still functioning correctly. She walked up to the Blackbird and located the key-pad next to the ramp, where she punched in the security code and watched as the ramp lowered for her. Once inside of the plane, she proceeded on to the cockpit to begin running standard diagnostics tests on it. As she sat down in the pilot's chair and watched the readout that displayed the results on the control panel, Kitty noticed that a light on the Blackbird's communication system was flashing, indicating that it was receiving an incoming call.
"Hello?" The voice on the other end said to her, as Kitty picked up the phone shaped communicator in her hand.
"Can you hear me?" Kitty asked.
"Yeah." Jubilee replied.
"Can you hear me, now?" Kitty asked again.
"You know, even if I didn't recognize the voice, there's only one person I know that thinks that commercial is still the least bit funny." Jubilee replied, relieved that she finally got into contact with someone on Muir Island.
"What can I say? A classic is a classic." Kitty smiled.
"Classically lame, maybe." Jubilee responded.
"Anyways, I assume since it's the middle of the night over there, and you're calling me on the secret 'spy-phone', you heard about what happened." Kitty said to her.
"Heard about it? We saw it all over the news, as in world news." Jubilee told her, "They're talking about you guys like you're terrorists. What happened exactly?"
"The only terrorist is the guy that decided to send a buncha giant, killer robots to maim, destroy, and kidnap." Kitty responded.
"How bad is it over there?" Jubilee asked.
"Well, one of those Sentinels took off with Dr. MacTaggert. I got banged up a little, but the Professor and Ororo took the worst of what they had to dish out. One of the walls in this place got caved in on him, and it hurt him so bad that he can't even use his telepathic powers. The Professor's still recovering in the med-lab right now." Kitty revealed.
"How about Ororo?" Jubilee asked, with dread in her voice.
"She's up and around now. Her leg is still botherin' her, but that's to be expected after being shot by one of those things." Kitty told her.
"Being what?!" Jubilee exclaimed.
Jubilee's animated reaction to news of Ororo's injury was due to the fact that, next to Rogue, Ororo was the person that she was probably closest to at the school. The two of them seemed to get each other almost instantly, and Ororo was the one that talked with Jubilee every night for the first month after her arrival at the school. Jubilee was surprised that Ororo, like her, had lost both of her parents tragically as a child too. They were also able to relate to each other's experiences of living on their own at a very young age.
"She's gonna be alright Jube, she just has a really bad bruise to show for it." Kitty added, trying to calm Jubilee down.
"Okay, how's about everyone else?" Jubilee continued inquiring, pushing her own worries into the back of her mind.
"Well, Siryn hurt her voice trying to scream her head off, but luckily her Dad was here to help out and keep things from getting any worse than they already were." Kitty told her, "Peter's been going non-stop since last night. Right now, he's doing his 'metal man' thing about two stories above me, and is clearing off of the landing pad so that we can get out of here as soon as possible."
"Sounds like he's earned a nice back rub from somebody I know." Jubilee teased her.
"Actually, he likes it when I massage his shoulders." Kitty replied, not realizing what she had just said.
"Whoa! I was only kidding." Jubilee exclaimed, as she definitely did realize what Kitty had just said. Jubilee remembered how shy Kitty was around Peter before they left a few weeks ago, and didn't know how much things had changed between the two.
"Um, yeah…so, how's Rogue doing?" Kitty asked, quickly changing the subject.
"Apparently, not as good as you seem to be doing on your European Spring Break." Jubilee responded, "But to be honest, I wouldn't really know about that either. She took off with Logan for Japan, not too long after you guys left."
"Why'd she go there?" Kitty asked.
"She and Bobby got into a fight, and then broke up. She decided to go over there for awhile, so she could clear her head." Jubilee answered.
"Are you serious? I know they've been having problems since whatever happened between them in Boston, but they actually broke up?" Kitty responded, as it was now her turn to be the one out of the loop when it came to the latest news regarding hook-ups and break-ups.
"Yep." Jubilee confirmed.
"We've been talking about everyone and everything else, what's the latest with you and 'Lancelot'?" Kitty asked, referring to Jubilee and Doug.
"It's all good, but it's just too bad that our last date ended up with the police having to break things up." Jubilee answered.
"What're you talking about?" Kitty inquired.
"When we went to the Alison Blaire concert, I ended up duking it out with the Blob on stage. He and Pyro were there, just to cause trouble and keep decent folks from havin' a good time." Jubilee told her.
"The Brotherhood was there? I still can't believe John is actually in cahoots with that buncha losers." Kitty added.
"I know, but that's not the craziest part…" Jubilee said, as she started to tell Kitty that Alison was now living at the mansion, but decided to save that as a surprise for her, "I just realized, I better go tell Cyclops and the others that I got through to you."
"Don't worry about it, Storm and Banshee are working on getting the phone and communication lines back up. They'll probably be conference calling you guys in the War Room later." Kitty replied, " But I'd better get going too. I need to finish running all the preliminaries on the Blackbird, to see if we can get it airborne."
"All right, catch you later." Jubilee said, as she disconnected her communicator and got up to tell the others about the news that she had just received.
While Kitty continued checking out the Blackbird underneath Muir Island, Ororo was in the complex's med-lab up above, checking on the condition of their mentor.
"Is there anything that I can get for you?" Ororo asked, as she walked into the med-lab.
"No, but thank you Ororo." Professor Xavier replied from one of the hospital beds in there, "How is your leg feeling?"
"It is getting better, but I suppose that you won't mind if I have a seat and rest it for a moment." Ororo said, as she sat down in a chair next to the Professor's bed, "How is your own recovery proceeding?"
"The headaches and dizzy spells seem to be coming less frequently than they were when I first awoke, but I have yet to regain use of my empathic abilities." Professor Xavier revealed.
"You suffered severe head trauma last night, and it may just take some time before you have use of them again." Ororo said to him, as she looked closely at the deep bruise on the Professor's head, from where a large piece of concrete had struck him in the main laboratory.
"I imagine that you are right," Professor Xavier replied, sounding less confident than Ororo about his prognosis, "How are the others?"
"Peter is busy clearing away the debris from last night's battle, and repairing any major damage to the research facility's structure. He has also taken the remains of the fallen Sentinels, and placed them in a storage area underneath the complex for further examination." Ororo replied, " Sean and I have been working on repairing one of the video communication devices here that provides a direct channel to the mansion, and Kitty is checking on the status of the Blackbird in the hangar below."
"How are Theresa and Rahne?" Professor Xavier continued inquiring.
"Theresa is with Rahne in one of the auxiliary labs. We have Rahne sedated and restrained right now, to prevent her from hurting others, or herself." Ororo told him.
"She still has not reverted back to her human form?" Professor Xavier asked.
"Despite being unconscious, the poor child has remained in her wolf-state." Ororo stated, "I fear that Moira's disappearance may have caused her severe psychological distress, which she is simply unable to handle at the moment."
"I can relate to her mindset, which may take a step in explaining my own dilemma regarding the use of my powers." Professor Xavier told Ororo.
"What do you mean?" Ororo asked him.
"While lying here, I have had time to think." Professor Xavier began, "Some might say that I possess the most powerful mind on Earth, but twice now, those abilities have done little to prevent, or even warn me of impending dangers to those that I care about the most in this world. I recall Erik telling me one time, during one of my visits with him during his incarceration, that each of our mutant powers seemed to be rather symbolic. While I was the great thinker, content with dreaming of ideals for an ideal world, he was the great builder, actually forging a new world from a broken one."
"How does that relate to our current situation?" Ororo asked him.
"I've been bothered by the fact that this 'great thinker's' abilities were of little help to Moira last night, the woman that at one time I intended to spend the rest of my life with." Professor Xavier revealed.
"You, as well as the rest of us, did the best that we could given the circumstances. All that we can do now is try to be better prepared for our next encounter, when we go to find Moira and face whoever is responsible for her kidnapping and for unleashing an evil like the Sentinels on us." Ororo said, as she put her hand over Professor Xavier's, "As far as your conversation with Magneto, you may not have the physical abilities that the rest of us may have, but remember that the X-Men do not fight for a world that Magneto seeks to build, but a world that a 'great thinker' dreams about and would like to one day make reality."
Ororo then stood up from the chair that she had been sitting in.
"I had better go see how Sean is faring with restoring communication."
As Ororo walked towards the door that led out of the med-lab, the Professor spoke to her again.
"Ororo…" Professor Xavier said to her.
"Yes?" Ororo replied, as she turned back around.
"Thank you." Professor Xavier said, thanking her for her words.
With that, Ororo answered only with a smile, before leaving to find Sean.
Later that afternoon on Muir Island, Ororo and Sean finally got the island's communications functioning again, and immediately patched into the War Room at the mansion.
"My dear Ororo, what a relief it is to see your beautiful face again." Hank said, as he, Scott and Kurt sat in the War Room looking up at the multiple video screens mounted on the wall. They had been watching the various news feeds coming in from around the world, trying to figure out what their next course of action should be.
"It is nice to see you as well, Hank." Ororo replied, as she and Sean stood in front of the large screen in the facility, both dressed in their uniforms.
"What, no warm welcome for me?" Kurt jokingly asked her.
"It is nice to see you as well, Kurt." Ororo smiled.
"Now that we've all exchanged pleasantries, I suppose that it's time that we discuss something not quite as pleasant." Scott said.
"What have ye found out?" Sean asked Scott.
"Unfortunately, outside of what Jubilee relayed to us from you this morning, not much. We've been monitoring the various broadcasts around the world for the better part of the day." Scott started, "Just about every government in the free world has issued a denial of any involvement in what happened. The British government has publicly issued a statement, saying only that they will continue to investigate the matter further. But our own underground sources say that they're livid at any action, whether in the name of global security or not, being taken on sovereign soil by another country and without their knowledge or approval."
"Which begs the question, who would have the capability to do such a thing?" Ororo asked.
"On the short list of immediate candidates, S.H.I.E.L.D. would have to be at the top. But, this doesn't seem to fit with their normal operating procedures. They usually like to do things with more subtlety, and with as little attention from the public as possible." Hank answered.
"Whoever orchestrated this attack wanted to make a very public statement, and in a very dramatic fashion." Kurt added.
"Dr. MacTaggert is just a scientist, trying to unlock the secrets of the mutant genome." Ororo stated, "It is strange that whoever sent these Sentinels would leave behind an island full of mutants and take her, a non-mutant, instead."
"I've been thinking about that too, and it appears that we may dealing with someone who has a hidden, personal agenda." Scott replied, "Until we find out more, I've put the school on alert status. I think everyone over on Muir Island should be prepared for anything as well."
"Of course. But, as soon as we are able to, we will be returning home." Ororo told him, "I will contact you again before we leave."
"And we will continue to monitor things over on this side. Cyclops out." Scott replied, as they both signed off and ended their briefing of current events.
"Do you still intend to return back to the mansion with us?" Ororo asked Sean, as she went to sit down in a chair in the room to give her leg another rest, before going to check on everyone else on the island.
"Ye better believe it! If there's a fight a brewin', then I have no intention of turnin' tail and run." Sean replied.
"Then you will get your wish. The Sentinels may have dealt a first, unexpected blow to us. But, they will soon learn that the X-Men are not so easily put down for a final count." Ororo said, with deep determination and resolve in her voice, as unknown to her, she voiced what the other X-Men currently felt inside…
To be continued in A Force Unleashed…