"Mutation--it is the key to our evolution. It has enabled us to evolve from a single-celled organism to the dominant specie on the planet. This process is slow, often taking thousands of years. But every few hundred millennia, evolution leaps forward."

-Professor Charles Xavier

Mankind has always been guilty of its crimes against itself. Some think that humanity is a lost cause. With wars and crimes of hate and genocide always in the mind of those corrupted by the power they've obtained, one begins to wonder. Weapons of mass destruction are at the fingertips of nearly every military power on the globe. Tension grows with time and when it snaps there may be nothing left of the sad excuse we call civilization. Our beautiful mountains will one day melt as wax, and our bridges will burn and fall into the rivers. We try, to no avail, to stop our upcoming peril, but the sea will turn to blood and the sun to darkness as this cold world plummets straight into Hell.

Hell--is there such a place? If there is such a place, what need is there of it? Earth is Hell, once a God-given gift to His beautiful creation--a paradise--now thrown into ruin from our own selfish pride and ambitions. Where is our hope? Where is our salvation in these bleak times? Why do we insist on continually killing our own, our brothers--our kindred. We may never know...

The years had been kind to Dr. Jean Grey-Summers. Even at forty-two years old she was still a beautiful, young-looking woman. Her hair was still extraordinarily red, her eyes as emerald as the day she was born. Her complexion had maintained throughout the years. She sat at the desk of a long-dead but not forgotten friend. Her drumming fingers sent a dull ratta tat resounding in the otherwise quiet office. She looked out the window at the magnificent school grounds. The landscape was still lush and green. It was still as beautiful as the day that she'd arrived so many years ago...

Once a student herself, she was now the administrator of the school, the "School for Gifted Youngsters", as the sign so eloquently put it. She used to feel guilty about the somewhat misleading sign on the outside. It made it sound like it was a school for the intelligent-superior kids--smart kids. It was and could very well be that. There was a wonderful college preparatory program. Many of her students would be the future, doctors, lawyers and senators of tomorrow. Others...

It was a school for mutants. It was as haven of education for those who were born differently in this world. She herself was...a mutant. Some of the kids attending there eventually became part of a secret task force called the X-Men. The X-Men were a group of people who would use the gifts that come with their mutation to their own and everyone else's advantage. They would, rescue, war and mend. Jean, more importantly than the educational administrator for the school, was the leader of the X-Men. She took it upon herself to pick up where her mentor, Dr. Charles Xavier left off.

She worked closely alongside her husband, Scott, the general of the X-Men, to help train those who were eligible and interested to be the best. They had to be prepared for what was to come. Wars and rumors of wars were brewing. The war to be fought was one like no other the Earth's soil had ever seen. It was a war where mutants would defend themselves against the assaults of the non-mutants. From what Jean could gather, it would soon be illegal to live in a mutant in the United States of America. A nation-wide check was to be distributed; mutants had already been forced to register their powers to the local authorities. It wouldn't be long before mutant-kind would have to fight to defend their right to live in peace in America.

She felt her blood run cold as she knew that it wouldn't just be up to her, Scott and the other adult, X-Men veteran agents scattered around the world to fight the fight. It would come to the home front. It would be the children's fight too. She didn't want to see any of the kids die...but she'd would rather them die than have the God-given right of freedom be stripped from them like they were an animal. She would give up the air in her lungs to prevent that.

She reached out with her power and moved the coffee pot from across the room, through the air and over her cup. Holding the cup and pot steady with only the use of her power, she poured herself a fresh cup. She, without lifting a finger, put the coffee pot back on the burner where it belonged. Telekinesis gave her an unbelievable advantage in the world. She had long since developed her powers so much that she could lift up tanks and uproot trees from the ground with mere thought exertion. Her telepathic powers would now rival even Dr. Charles Xavier himself, if he were alive. She owed that all to his attentive training for her of course.

Telekinesis was actually the single most common side effect of human mutation. The next, but far distant, was telepathy in a long list to follow. The too effects, often accompanied each other. Many students were could do both equally as well, some had to develop one or the other, and other students still were incapable of doing both. She felt blessed to be strong in both, though her telepathy took a long time to fortify.

It reminded her of a young man enrolled into her school now; his name was Markas, and he was both a telekine and a telepath. She envied him a little bit, because he was able to command both equally as well. She had to work so hard with her telepathy when she was his age. He had a long way to go with his powers.

She closed her eyes and felt him approaching. She could hear his thoughts.

Hello, Markas. You can come on in, she thought-spoke to him.

Why thank you, Mrs. Summers, he replied. Four seconds later he opened the door, came in and sat down.

He always made her smile. He was a very awkward-looking fellow--handsome in his own, boyish way but still awkward. He was sixteen and his hairline was already severely receded. He'd no doubt be bald by the time he was thirty. His teeth protruded forward so it always looked like he was half-smiling. He was about five feet and nine inches tall, he weighed a good one-eighty but it was due to his constant physical training. He was as strong as any full-grown man and healthy as a horse. The thing that she liked most about his physique was his little blue eyes. Behind long, feminine eyelashes were two little blue beads that seemed content--no matter what.

"I came to talk about--"

"Use your telepathy!" Jean scolded. "You should be using it all the time to communicate. It will help you to develop it. It's just like working a muscle."

Okay, you happy now? He joked.

Yes, thank you. Now, what did you come to talk about?

My cousin, Caleb--the one that I mentioned to you before.

The one who writes you from time to time? She asked.

Yeah, that's the one. Anyway, he wrote to me again. He's not dealing too well with finding out he's a mutant...and neither are his parents, Markas explained.

I see. Did he ask you to do something for him? Jean asked.

Not really. It's more like he was venting and just telling me what's up. He's a senior and all of his friends have kind of abandoned him since they know he's a freak now, Markas said.

This was her one pet peeve with him. He insisted on calling mutants freaks, a word she detested. He said it because he didn't necessarily think it was a bad thing.

Mutant, she corrected.

Whatever, you know what I mean. I know your policy about students coming in mid-semester but I would like you to make an exception for him. He's living with strangers now, fellow-freaks--I mean mutants. He's trying to stay in school but they are the wrong kind of crowd, if you know what I mean. Can you help him out? Markas looked at her hopefully with his puppy-dog eyes.

He's a senior, correct? Jean asked.

Yes, Markas replied.

Call Caleb and tell him about this place. I want you to see if he's interested first. If he wants to come then I'll talk to the other teachers and I'll see what we can do. But don't get his or your own hopes up, she said.

"Thank you so much, Mrs. Summers! You don't know how much this means to me," Markas suddenly exclaimed aloud.

"Your welcome. Now, get back to class. I know your schedule and I know that your trying to skip my husband's field training exercises. Go," she said sternly, but with a smile. He obeyed and started to leave in an excited hurry.

"Markas, on more thing," Jean pondered.

"Mrs. Summers?" he turned and asked politely.

"What does he do?"

"He wants to be a music teacher," Markas replied with a smile.

"I mean his mutation. What does he do?" Jean asked.

"I can't answer you on a scientific level, but in short, causes these unbelievable intense and sometimes explosive vibrations," Markas said.

"How powerful?" Jean asked.

"If he tried he could knock a guy clean off his feet...but..."Markas hesitated.

"What?" Jean asked again.

"If he loses control, it can be really dangerous. You know the 'earthquake' that Midwestern Illinois just had?" He asked her. She knew where he was going but let him explain anyway.

"Yes," she said and gestured for him to go on.

"He broke the fault underground when he lost his temper in a fight. He punched the ground and put one of his...um vibrations into it," Markas said grimly. "This doesn't change your mind does it?" Markas looked at her pleadingly.

"No, of course not. This is just the place for him to learn to control a destructive power like that," Jean said, hoping that Markas wouldn't read the concern on her face--or in her mind for that matter.

He left without saying anything else. The Midwestern Illinois earthquake! The incident caused the deaths of several thousand people. She hoped that Caleb wasn't one of those angry kids who would fly off the handle and abuse his power whenever life treated him poorly. She'd have to work with him, that much was for sure. She at least needed to talk to him before the Brotherhood found him.