The X-Ceptionals

Original Characters Created/Devised by Fallen Angel Overlord

AU created by The Darks Familiar

Story by FAO & Darks Familiar

Concept: The Darks Familiar

Reviews are wanted...a lot...please review! Tell us anything: Favourite Quotes! Comments! Characters! We'll listen!

Chapter 1: Patience (1 of 3 "Hellfire Virtues")

Bobby Drake hurled the snowball at Jean Paul. The Canadian turned, frowned and ducked in the time it took Bobby to exhale with the throw. The snowball hit the chalkboard with a crisp wet thud...

"Mr Drake" warned the corporeal voice of Cassandra Nova Xavier, headmistress of Academy-X, as she entered the room. "It's September, I am thankful no snow has fallen thusfar...if you ruin that joy for me Rosanna Barr in a bikini will take centre stage of your dreams for the next week."

"Ewwww! Miss!" Bobby grimaced and he gripped his head in his arms which were propped on his desk. Cassandra put the Vice Principal on the desk. Martha Johannson's anti-gravity floats were being built...but for now the brain was immobile.

"I'd like you all to meet a new student" Cassandra said as she adjusted her black helmet that vaguely resembled the head of an alien from the Alien movies. "Cuckoos, please cease your prodding of Triplicate's power cortex"

The five girls that formed a barrier of blondes along the front of the five rows in the class frowned. The boy who seemed to be followed by two faded blurred-around-the-edges copies of himself looked grateful as the cuckoos stopped prodding his mind telepathically to get one of his blur's to jump.

"This young lady is joining the class and I warn you to treat her well."

"What will you do otherwise?" snorted Maxwell (rich boy who had a golden tan that turned to solid gold (laced with admantium) at will).

"Actually I was warning you about her" Cassandra said. "The young lady is far more devestating as she is not governed by educational boards etc, etc"

Maxwell snorted laughter. Then he saw the girl as she entered...every guy stared... some at her chest, others her legs, a few at her bare midrift... she was stunning! Her dark blonde was tied up by chopsticks at the back of her head...she was dressed in a black and crimson halter top, a black beaded sash and leather trousers and boots. "Oh my god" she said. "There's a row of blondes with a superiority complex... wonderful...I thought this was different from my last school"

"May I introduce the class to Ms Martinique Wyndegarde, joining us from a private boarding school in the French Alps" Martinique took a seat near Jonothan Starsmore and opened her black folder.

"Now class" smiled Cassandra. "I'll leave Ms Darkholme to continue her class" The blue skinned mutant commenced the class on war. The Austrian invasion by the Nazis...yes this was predictably vivid. Jono glanced at the girl...she noticed him looking and he looked away.


Jono watched Martinique walk past the Cuckoos who shot her dirty looks. She ignored them entirely and sat down near Jono. "Don't mind me" she sighed and opened her copy of The Belljar.

/'re not the cuckoos favourite person/ he said.

"I'm really devestated" she said with a roll of her eyes. "They're soooo important to me. Children of the Corn"

Jono stifled a snigger. His torso was wrapped in bandages and small flickers of light were visible in places as he laughed hard at the insult towards the Cuckoos. /I'm Jono by the way/ he added. /Sorry I'm not talking, they created a synthetic jaw for me but it's in the shop at the moment/

"The pleasure is all mine. I'm Martinique as was announced at the top of media studies class" she shrugged. "Malheureusement je ne vais pas oublier ca" she shrugged.

/You're French/

"English-French really, I was raised between the two countries" she sighed. "You're state the obvious" she shrugged. "So...what do you do?"

/Play the guitar and my torso is filled with psychic telekinetic fire/ he shrugged. /They've created a cybernetic portion for my body, I don't need to breathe so that gave them space, they put it into me permanently next week, once its in I'll look human... less deformed then usual really/

Martinique raised an eyebrow and looked around the lunch room. Suddenly Bobby and Lewis (Triplicate) were on either side of her. "Hey" Triplicate grinned.

"We were just-"

"No" Martinique said with a sighed.

"But" Bobby attempted.

"No" Martinique repeated.

"I-" Lewis attempted. Suddenly his eyes bulged and he collapsed. Martinique looked at him flying dazed on the lunch table. Then she delicately shoved him out of her way.

The Cuckoos watched with glee as Mr Forge led Martinique towards the principals office. "We're so glad THAT happened"


The PE teacher and the Languages Professor were most unamused. They'd been sent to New York to retrieve two signatures detected by Cerebra a few hours before hand, these signals were flaring, meaning extensive use of powers. And there had been news stories about an anti-mutant riot at a nightspot. 2+24

"Here we are" Ms Darkholme said. She looked to the PE teacher Mr Marko. He said nothing merely pulled himself out of the bench at the back of the jet. He was huge a physique to rival the hulks. He was also not as dumb as people believed, but he WAS unstoppable. Raven had seen him take an RPG to the chest - - and she didn't mean Role Playing Game by that.

Raven morphed into a woman in a business suit. "I'll go and scout around - the Academy-X uniform is pretty noticeable" she added as he opened his mouth to complain. She walked down the ramp into the car park they'd landed in. Night time, an office block car one would be up here any time soon. Raven stepped into the elevator and hit the Ground Button.

She took out the hand held device and tapped the keys. It was connected to the Cerebra device's main display unit. It showed where the signal was...suddenly the signal split in two. "What the hell?" Raven snapped. "Cain. Big trouble, there's two...or the target can duplicate"

"Okay I've got the display up, I'll take the one going North" he said. "You take the East bound one and we'll meet up."

"Okay" Raven said. She morphed into her true form, blue skin, crimson hair, yellow eyes and a black uniform decorated by the X symbol. Her black Jog-Bra and trousers were in leather, she had a belt of X-Circle symbols around her waist and on the kneepads of her laced up army boots. She had one on the breast of her shirt and tiny ones on the knuckles of her fingerless gloves and the neck of her outfit. Even her earrings were X's. She checked the black leather and nodded. "Good to be me" she said as she ignored the staring people and sprinted down an alleyway, vaulting trashcans and leaping over a fence to intersect her target.

He ran into her. "OOF!" he yelped as he fell on top of her. She shoved him off. "Out of my way" he exclaimed. Then he noticed her blue skin and stared. Three seconds later four men with chains, pipes and heavy baseball bats came around the corner.

"There's the mutie"

"Get behind me kid" said Raven. He snorted and ran. "Goddamnit!" she cursed. The man saw her as an easy target when he swung his chain. By the time it had come withing a few inches of her he was re-educated to the contrary...Mystique ignored him and removed her knee from his groin. She smashed her other knee into his buckled face and he went down. She ducked a baseball bat as she lashed out with a kick to a man with a heavy lead pipe nearby. The man with the bat took another swing but her palm impacted with his nose. "Sorry but this girls a heavy weight" Mystique said, morphing into a brutish Stallone-like boxer and smashing the man in the face. She ducked backwards, her spin bending easily as the lead pipe wielding man smashed his friend across the face. That left him alone...with Mystique in her normal form. "Okay so is this the part were you make a last ditch attempt to get me?" she asked.

He roared and ran at her with his lead pipe. "Evidently so" she decided and spun with a strike to his head that bashed him into a wall. "idiot" she muttered as she checked her Hand Held device. "Right...the kid" she decided as she rushed after the signal...which had somehow managed to get through a locked door in an apartment building...Raven however had to kick it in. She glanced upwards...the boy's long black coat was flowing behind him as he bounded up the high stairs. "Come on!" she exclaimed as she leapt onto the bannisters and backflipped off them onto the other side of the stairwell. She shot upwards and dug sharpened fingers into the wall, she scaled up the cheap plaster nad vaulted over the bannister to meet the boy.

"Okay hold it! I'm here to help!" she said. He dived through her...right...through her. She spun and lashed out with a kick as he became solid, he collapsed. "Now, see? If you'd held on a second THAT wouldn't have happened."


Cain landed in a crouch on a rooftop then leapt over the street below onto another. He checked his scanner again, the small recangular device was dwarfed by his hand. "Okay where to?" he mused. With a short nod he vaulted onto a nearby roof and then dropped. He landed right in front of a boy running from a mob. The boy halted with excellent agility and looked at Cain, then the mob and then Cain again.

"I'm here to help" Cain grunted. He adjusted his headset (a glass-like face visor with a large black headest at the back) and charged. The men were sent flying as he crashed through them. They didn't get up. When he turned around again, the boy had gone. Cain growled and rushed along the alley, his feet stomping, shaking the earth. He wasn't exactly super fast but he could leap the length of an alley and catch the boy.

"It's okay kid, like I said..." His helmet sparked and crackled as the boys eyes lit up with golden light. Cain stumbled back in surprise. The boy tried to run past him but Cain grabbed his by the scruff of the neck, lifted him up and tossed him over his shoulder. His psi-shield helmet was damaged by the telepathic force the boy had hit him with...not many people could do that.

He landed on the car parks top level where Raven had tied her target into his seat. "Okay" she smiled as Cain held the thrashing boy out to her. "This might sting a bit" she delivered a chop to his neck and he went limp.

"That went well" Cain said.

"And we'll have a peaceful journey at least!" Raven smiled. "See? Bad girls finish fast"


/I've never thought much about becoming an X-man/ mused Jono as he sat on the bench, watching people playing tag-rugby. Boys against girls...that wasn't very fair - on the boys. Martinique had teamed up with Amanra Ankaar and they were playing all out Power Rugby. Martinique was on restriction for two days for her little Zapping of Lewis.

"Okay boys" Martinique said as she took up position on the girls team. "If any of you boys can score a point they get a kiss from little old me"

A new determination filled the eyes of the boys. Maxwell was taking position. "Blue 42 - HIKE!" he exclaimed. The ball was flung to him his golden armour formed on his body as he hurled the ball. It whizzed through the air...the wave of sand snagged the ball from the air.

"Oops!" exclaimed Martinique. "No point in reapplying my lipstick then, nice one Amanra" she added. The Egyptian girl laughed and transformed into a spinning sand storm around the ball. She whirled around the field. Bobby unleashed his ice blast at her. Immediately her progression was halted.

"No fair Bobby!" she shouted, returning to human form so she could avoid being frozen in sand form. Jean-Paul whizzed past, grabbed the ball and made for the opposite goal.

"Bold!" snapped Carly. "Kick in the butt!" she whispered in a multi-tonal voice as light glowed in her eyes and around her body. The same aura sprang up around Jean-Paul and he yelped as though he'd been kicked in the backside. Tanya leapt over to him, performing a cartwheel...she grabbed the ball from his hands and threw it to Martinique. Suddenly there were 28 Martiniques on the field and all running for the goals.

"She's tricked us!" Maxwell exclaimed as he frantically tried to grab a Martinique. Lewis blurred and moved at triple speedtrying to grab Martiniques but to no avail, he split in three and the three blurred but solid images tried to grab clones. Then there was laughing.

Martinique was seated on the grass with the ball held on the ground before her. "Darlings I'm not only a telepath...I'm an illusionist too!" she laughed again and smirked.

The girls laughed. "Call me Mastermind" martinique said as she tossed the ball to Maxwell. "Arrivederci" she climbed the steps and went into the school.

/i/ I really didn't think about becoming an X-man until that day/i/ Jono was smiling under his bandages (as best he could). /i/ When I first learned what they were up important their mission was/i/ The jet descended into the basketball court. "new students" stated Bobby as he and Jean Paul sat down beside Jono.

Bobby was dressed in a grey tracksuit and t-shirt while Jean paul was wearing a pair of green shorts and a tight white t-shirt. There was a contrast between the dirtied outfit Bobby wore and the clean-and-pressed outfit Jean Paul sported.

"Maybe we should look around?" suggested Bobby

/I don't know/ murmured Jono. /If I get put on probation they might not give me the implant/

"Come on Sparky" Bobby pouted. "You know you want to!"

"Oui, you know you want to" Jean Paul smirked in an innuendo soaked voice.

Five minutes later they were in the halls beneath the school. "What's going on?" whispered someone. They jumped and then realised it was just Amanra, forming out of soil that had somehow found its way into the hood of Bobby's top.

"What are you doing here!" hissed Bobby

"I saw you sneaking in here so I hid in his hood!" she said quietly. "I want to know what had THE JUGGERNAUT out of the school. Something big I expect otherwise why not send someone like Ms St.Croix or Ms Guthrie or even Shortpack!"

"Which reminds me, I have a paper on the Culture of Bali due for Mr Shortpack" mused Jean-Paul.

"That's not relevant right now" sighed Amanra. "I heard that there was a riot about these two in NY...well? What do we do?"

/i/If you must know/i/ said Jono. /i/ The teachers are in the med-bay...and heading this way Towards us/i/

His telepathy could pick up the panic around him and they all dived into a cupboard. From their hiding place (Amanra became sand in the corner and Jean-Paul floated up above Jono and Bobby so they could all fit) they saw Mr Forge, Ms Darkholme, Mr Marko, Mr Shortpack, Ms Johanson and Ms Xavier walk past.

"...Fire club. This is definitely worth investigation Cassandra" Ms Darkholme said.

"I agree but we have to remember how tempermental they are," Cassandra replied.

"I can contact a few friends" Forge said. "See what I can get on the boys..."

"They will be kept here for the duration" Cassandra decided. "Shortpack, your thoughts?"

"I don't know, I feel like there's something at play here...I just don't know what"

"We'll review our files on the Club tonight once we have information on the boys" decided Cassandra.

"Oh joy ANOTHER staff meeting" Raven snorted.

The elevator pinged shut and Amanra slid out in sand form in this shape she saw the world in a grainy colourless form. She formed her body and opened the cupboard door. "Clear" she nodded. They headed for the med-bay. Inside lay two boys on stretchers...they were tied down.

One had black hair, he was Japanese - partially at least, and was dressed in a white shirt with black trousers and boots. There was a long duster over the back of chair. His friend was dressed in tight faded jeans that were artfully torn and a loose white silk shirt that exposed some chest, around his neck he wore a neck belt and he had piercings in his left ear with only one on his right lobe. His brown-blonde hair flopped a little on his face but the angular features shone through.

"What are they doing? Collecting pretty boys?" Bobby mused.

/i/ I think that the moment I realised being an X-man might be what I should do, was when they woke up/i/. The fair haired boy opened his eyes first.

"One of them's waking up!" hissed Amanra.

"Perceptive" the blonde said. "Shinobi?"

"Yes Cameron?" the Japanese yawned. He phased out of the restraints and took his friends hand helping him off the table as though the restraints weren't there. "Ah, I see we're somewhere different from when we passed out."

"Well how many times does that happen to us in a week?" the blonde asked. He decided to notice the students. They were all the same age. Everyone in the room was a teenager. Amanra at 14 was the youngest.

So the fight was surprisingly mature. Shinobi turned into black crystal, he swung angrily at Jean Paul who dodged easily. "Sorry, but this is one of those things - you know - turn into super-solid form and punch your way to freedom"

Jono pulled open his bandages and unleashed a blast of telekinetic fire at Shinobi who staggered forwards one step in his black diamond form then turned around and shoved a stretcher at Jono. /Oh bloody hell/ Jono muttered as he blasted the stretcher off to one side.

Amanra swirled into sand form. "Excuse our manners the place is very dusty" she said as she turned into a sand storm and blasted over Cameron. His body burst out ina glowing halo of light.

"No trouble love, because your psychic shielding is easy for me to think around, I'll find the door and pick the lock..." Cameron smirked. A flash of light went off in the storm and the sand began to gather into the form of Amanra on the ground, clutching her head. "And then I get in and hit the button that shuts the sand off."

Bobby hit him with freezing cold snow. Cameron yelped. "Chill" Bobby said as he unleashed another blast of ice.

"I assume the cold shoulder is an appropriate pun" Cameron sighed as he ducked aside and the ice and snow hit a wall. "Chilly reception"

"Enough with the puns" Bobby groaned. Suddenly Cameron was behind him. He reached out and touched him.

"My skin carries telepathic energy, one touch means instant addiction!"

Bobby yelped and stumbled forwards as pink light flooded his mind. He clutched his head, the world was hazy - everything was turning him on...oh hell...

"That is quite enough of that" the energy blast hit Cameron and he was knocked flying. Shinobi turned around to act and was knocked onto a wheeled stretcher and shoved at a wall. Shinobi became intangible and phased through the trolley. The blast of energy smashed him into a wall and he fell unconscious.

"Twice in one day - a record for being knocked out" Dr Essex said as he entered. He was frighteningly pale with glowing red eyes and tightly cut black hair. He still looked like he was in his late 20s but he definitely wasn't - he was a few hundred years older. "Firstly what on earth are you four doing here?" he asked, the green energy glowing in his hands. "Secondly: Who needs medical attention."

/i/The reason? I wanted to become an X-man because I could see these two were more then just mutant kids...I wanted answers. I knew they were dangerous/i/


"You wanted to see me Ms Xavier?" Bobby said in a small voice. Jono was already seated in the office as was Amanra, Martinique, Maxwell and Jean Paul. Dr.X was sitting at her desk, her helmet glinting in the light streaming through the French Windows. Martha Johansson was perched on a moving podium nearby.

"Yes Martha he is late but we need not state the obvious" sighed Cassandra. "Take a seat Bobby." Slowly Bobby did. He smiled at Martinique, she ignored him. "You six are particularly talented students, I've already assembled another team of six however this team will hold the body of brute force. I need your help students, I must push you into action today". She tented her fingers and closed her eyes, taking a few moments and breathing slowly. The silence was deadly.

"Allow me to explain" the wavering images of Shinobi and Cameron appeared in the air before the students. "Shinobi and Cameron were found in New York today, they are marked down as members of a very deadly alliance. The Hellfire Club".

Inside her retina's an image burned, a pitchfork, it appeared in the air. "The Club has been based globally: Ireland, England, Paris, New York, Madrid and Tokyo to name but a few of its bases. It's exterior is that of an elite club with a prestigious background through the ages." The image of the pitchfork burst into flames. "This is not the case, its Inner Circles are vastly powerful, rich and influenntial and above all totally unscrupulous, many of them are mutants using their powers for political gain."

/What's their connection to the boys/ asked Jono.

"Shinobi and Cameron are tied into these men and women, both of them had tattoos marking them as property of The Hellfire Inner Circle and both had club rings that allowed them to bypass security" Martinique's gaze met Cassandra's as they spoke. She remained cool and unaffected. Cassandra knew something.

/i/Martinique knows something/i/ mused Jono. He focused on her mind. He'd have had better luck running into a steel door. Jono was a Level-3 telepath at full strength. That was okay but he couldn't match her...with training maybe but Martinique's psychic shield was like Fort Knox...he couldn't find a way around it.

Martinique glanced at Martha, then Dr. Xavier and lastly at Jono. He didn't show anything as their eyes met. But he sensed she was scanning his mind.

"Cameron is an alpha Level telepath" continued Cassandra. "His skin is also a conduit for the power, it appears that with a touch he can make a person addicted to him". She looked at her students. "His latent mutations are still dormant within him which implies he is a second generation mutant. His telepathic powers have also manifested in a psychic whip that is pure mental energy he summons on command. This makes him a powerful mutant and we can't allow him to fall into the hands of the Hellfire Club."

"Shinobi" she continued. "Is a molecular manipulator. He can phase himself and others he touches through solid objects or turn his body into a diamond like form with superhuman strength. He can also alter his mass. Again, he is extremely powerful and a second generation mutant..." she held out a small ring with a ruby on it, the ruby had silver on it in the shape of the fork of the Hellfire Club. "This is his ring, it can grant access to the Club when used on a scanner." She frowned. "I am afraid that my faculty cannot abandon the school, so we will have to send in the students we deem ready". She nodded at last.

"We're going to be X-men!" shrilled Amanra.

"Oh calm down!" snapped Martinique. "There's a catch..."

"Perceptive...this is not permanent, this is a once off and that is all you should worry about" Cassandra said. "The X-men are an emergency response team, don't forget that, these missions are simply to respond to our suspiscions that the Hellfire Club has been trading in mutants, enslaving them...and selling them on".

"What gives you basis for that?" Martinique asked.

Jono watched her. "Simple" Cassandra said. "The rings were not only tracking devices but also genetically coded to inject a neuro toxin into either boy if they tried to escape. Shinobi's ring would lock to his skin when he increased mass or density and phase as he did. Cameron's was loaded with particularly strong venom to affect his protected nerve system. They were designed to control."

"I'd like to feel sorry for Cameron but..." Martinique smirked.

"Thank you Mastermind" sighed Cassandra. "You must infiltrate the club and do your best to liberate the mutants held below. Three hours ago Mystique and Shortpack went Deepcover in the club. We lost contact with them after they reported finding mutant slaves...children...we need you to act. The faculty cannot abandon the school altogether I can barely spare Dr Essex and Mr Forge to go with you as it is."

"Why not get that galoot Marko to go?" snorted blonde boy Mazwell.

"Because Cameron's telepathy shorted out the helmet and there are at least six alpha-level telepaths in the building - all together they could do a lot of damage to his helmet and get into his mind...would you want him turned on you?" Cassandra asked.

"What do we have to do?" asked Jean Paul. "It's obvious we're facing serious enemies here...we have two of their lapdogs in the med-lab. Have they provided any information of use?"

"Shinobi's mind had decent mental shielding, I bypassed it and found a great deal" nodded Cassandra. "Though his knowledge is limitted on the topic of the slavery he knew very little."

"So when do we get the costumes?" Bobby leaned forward eagerly.

/Is that the MAIN concern Bobby/ asked Jono.

"Right now...yes" nodded Bobby.


Helen Talent traced her finger around the rim of the wine glass. It hummed. She was dressed in skimpy black lace and a long cloak. Her husband was talking with Xander. "Douglas Darling" she called. "Are they here yet"

"You're the telepath honey..."

"Fine" she sighed. Oliver walked past in his Victorian garb, adjusting the clothes carefully. They were expecting company. Helena focused and skimmed the area. "Yes, found them" she said. "Approaching..."

Her blonde husband smiled. "Perfect".


Team 1 was comprised of Bobby, Jean Paul, Amanra, Maxwell, Martinique and Jono. Team 2 was made up of Simon, Lewis, Carly, Stevie, John and Ahmed.

Forge was with Team 2. That left the extremely creepy Dr Essex with Jono's team. The man creeped Bobby out, he looked like a vamire! The uniforms were red and blue for both teams. Rather unimaginative actually.

/i/The Hellfire Club...I'd seen their HQ back in London...I'd been inside it...I'd felt the darkness and the greed. I could feel it now. Here was a reason for me to be an X-man. To destroy this sort of thing/i/ Jono rubbed his temples.

Stevie was called Prompter, he made suggestions and people followed them. Regardless. It had led to difficulty around the females in the group when he "suggested" they wait on him hand and foot. Right now he suggested the guards open the gates. Good thing his powers worked over intercom.

"Okay, Team 2 are in" Forge said over the communicators. "Your turn!"

Amanra sighed as she slid along the wall to the gate and turned into sand, she bled through the cast iron bars and swirled around the feet of the guard. Before he knew what was happening he was flipped over and Martinique telepathically stunned his mind. Amanra pushed the switch in the guard hut down and they entered the back garden. Team Two was in the garage they'd meet up mid way. The party was in full swing as they crept past the windows. "Team One will locate the slaves, Team Two will locate the missing agents" Forge whispered.

"Ready?" Bobby asked Jono as they crouched int he dark shrubbery.

/I spose/ replied the British boy.

"These are terribly gaudy uniforms" stated Martinique. "Let's do this so I can change soon!" she touched her temples and focused. The minds flitted through her head, she didn't scan them, there was something risky about the partygoers...then she found one. A waitress. NO ACCESS TO THE EAST DOOR OF THE CELLAR was imprinted across the mind. Martinique took Jono's hand. /What do you make of this/ she asked.

/Someone tattooed a telepathic command onto her brain/ Jono whispered as she shared her vision with him. /Nasty/

"East Cellar" Martinique said. "No access for the servants, but they saw some of the guests going down there." Dr Essex nodded.

"Then that is our destination" he decided. "Let's go."

Cameron opened his eyes, Cassandra Nova was using Cerebra...perfect. He sat up and unbuckled Shinobi. Cameron's telepathy was untrained, he could manage what he had done to Amanra yes, but it was hard, he was surprised he'd not had a nosebleed when he'd zapped her mind.

"I sensed her scanning distant thoughts. She'll not notice us, she's too busy worrying about her students" he said. Shinobi nodded and rubbed his wrists. "I'm doing my best to shield our telepathic speech but I'm under head"

"If only you had decent training" Shinobi muttered. He took Cameron's hand and phased them both through the wall. "Let's move" he nodded. Shinobi hurried down the hall while Cameron turned and marched around a corner.

Shinobi phased into the security maintenance offices and shorted a camera out by phasing through it as well. He knew it would look like a circuit shorted out so he had no fear. Quietly he reprogrammed the schools lockdown for 2am. "Schools not out children" he muttered.

Cameron slid silently into the defence system mainframe. He slid the disk into the drive and hit the enter key. "Simple yet effective" he decided. /Shinobi? I'm done. We have to return to the - the - the lab/ he pinched his bleeding nose. He was doing too much. He may be a telepath...but he wasn't trained, he could do a lot but his illusions were surface deep. He wasn't taught - he had learned...

He returned to the lab with Shinobi, they phased through the doors and returned to the benches.

The guard collapsed as Jean Paul's fist impacted with his Jaw. Martinique subdued a group of staff in the kitchen with her illusions and Dr Essex used his own telepathy to stun a few. Bobby froze the lock on a door and Maxwell shoved it open. "Nicely done" Dr Essex said. "Chamber, if you would be so kind".

/Yes sir/ Jono said as he snapped a spark from his fingertips and held it out, the ball of telekinetic light floated above his palm, humming faintly and lighting the dark passage. Maxwell pushed on ahead of the others rudely.

"Let's hurry up and do this!" he exclaimed. They stopped at the doorway and stared. The mutants were all chained down, the smell of urine and vomit and blood clotted the air. There were chamber pots in each cell. Dr Essex leapt down to a cage. "They're all wearing power isolators - come on, help me" he said. "We have to get them out of here!"

Maxwell/Icon tore doors of hinges. Bobby/Iceman froze locks and popped them off. Jean Paul/Northstar shattered control panels off. Amanra/Terra turned her body to stone and punched and kicked through the control panels. Martinique and Jono dealt with the collars, Martinique/Mastermind shorted them out by scrambling the wires and Jono/Chamber used concentrated bursts from his fingertips to zap them. The mutants were soon freed.

/...It's really hit the fan...tacking us from...l sides...cape fromt hem they're every... armed to the teeth...path is hitting us/ Carly's psychic powers were limitted, the telepathic signals were barely getting through. She must have been desperate to even try. Suddenly an echo of pain resounded through the telepaths in the dungeon.

"Forge is in danger" Dr Essex said as he used his own limited telepathy. "Come on!"

They stormed up the stairs. The kitchen was in dissarray. Ahmed had tripled in size and the Hindi boy was taking down several men. Lewis/Triplicate was split in three, dodging bullets, he blurred back into one being with two blurred shadows following him and zipped around his enemy, a man in black and red who was firing a rifle at him. Simon/Tessla blasted out his electric aura, shocking the Pawns. The team split up to handle the overwhelming troops.

Jono unleashed blasts of psi-fire as Bobby hurled ice grenades around. "It will take more then that to defeat us" a man said as he descended the steps. "Douglas Talent and my wife Helen. Mr. Oliver and Xander are associates. I am the White Bishop, Mr Oliver is the Black Bishop and my wife and Xander are the black and white rooks respectively...this is a symbol of our standing in the club..."

"Nice" nodded Maxwell he hurled a desk at them. Mr Oliver smashed it aside like it was nothing. "Huh...okay lets do this..." growled Maxwell.

"By all means boy let's see your gaudy armour and strength take me on" Mr Oliver growled. Mazwell charged him and rammed a shoulder into the man's torso, sending him flying. Helen Talent laughed and looked at Carly. She sent a shock of telepathy into the girl who bucked and fell to her knees. Douglas laughed and hurled a bolt of electricty across the room at Amanra.

"Got it" Tessla shouted as he took the bolt for Amanra and shocked a pawn with a touch. Talent hurled another bolt but Amanra dispersed into sand and swirled around the legs of the man - before dragging them from under him. Helen lashed out with a psychic bolt and Amanra shouted out.

"Sorry but not today!" Bobby shouted he hurled a snow storm at the four Inner Circle members. Xander ducked off the staircase seconds before the snow plastered the trio. He rushe dover and grabbed Jean Paul from behind. The pain and pleasure rushed into Jean Paul. he didn't know what to do cry in pain or scream in pleasure.

"Hello Xander" a voice said. Jean Paul heard the familiar sound of a punch connecting with a jaw and Xander collapsed. Martinique rubbed her fist and patted the surprised Jean Paul's cheek before rushing off to blast some victims with illusions. Douglas Talent fired his blasts at Triplicate, Jono, Stevie/Prompter and John/Kaboom

"You don't want to do this!" Prompter said. Talent tensed and redirected his attacks at Kaboom. Prompter focused on his suggestions...he had to make them stronger.

Kaboom was jetting about overhead using his bursts of exploding air to fly around. "Hey you electric snob... have a boom bolt!" He hurled a rocket blast at Talent but a lightening blast dispersed it. "No you can keep it" scoffed Douglas Talent. He blasted Kaboom in the chest

Triplicate split in 3 again and rushed the man. "here goes" Triplicate shouted. He was shocked away into a corner by the electric waves from Mr Talent's hands. He groaned and reformed into one unit.

Jono focused. /Talent/ he said. /Try this on for size/ Talent raised his hands and blasted the energy bolt but the other two curved out and back in, blasting Talent across the room.

His wife was meanwhile at the mercy of Jean Paul and Carly. Jean Paul was jetting around her, slapping her so she couldn't concentrate. Carly raised her hands. "My name's Suffer" Carly said. "So do...because with a little effort I can make you feel any pain I want you two. Like waxing your legs..." helen shrieked and her legs gave way. "Holding a hot the hot end" Helen screamed again and clucthed her right hand. "Or getting a kick in the face". Martinique's leg lashed out and slammed the woman down.

"You're lucky I was generating interference" martinique said. "She's a pretty powerful telepath you're so lucky you wouldn't believe".

Carly shrugged. Bobby and Maxwell meanwhile had frozen the table to Mr Olivers hands and then his feet to the ground so Maxwell could land a few body punches and an uppercut that knocked him flying. Ahmed Caught the man in a gigantic hand and slammed him down.

"That's that" decided Maxwell. There was a click of rifles. Pawns were coming from every doorway.

"You had to say it" martinique groaned.

/i/ I think everyone was re-evaluating their ideals on X-man life/i/ Jono thought. /i/Until we were saved by a lamp/i/

The lamp was of a copper woman holding a small vase in one hand and a lightbulb in the was switched off. Suddenly it became Mystique. She kicked a guard into another and started a Domino effect as she pulled a light switch. "Shortie! The fuse!" There was a crack and Shortback slammed the small spike into the lights.

/One Shocker Spike into a light source and instant black out/ Shortpack declared as he dropped off the chandalier in the dark room and opened the glider on his back. Forge fired his stun rifle and there was a blaze of light as Dr Essex unleashed bolts of energy around him. "Children time to exit"

/Follow my thoughts children/ Cassandra whispered into their minds. Immediately they could tell where they were supposed to go. The mutant refugees were huddled outside.

"This way! Come on!" Mystique shouted as she and Shortpack (who was clinging to a morphed spike on her shoulder) guided the mutants and students towards the jet that was descending from the clouds on Forges remote command.

There was a roar and Oliver came from the club. "You're not going anywhere" he snarled as he grabbed a stone bench and hurled it at the group. The blast of yellow light was intense, it hit the stone and both shattered and melted it in one bolt before hitting Oliver in the chest and sending him shooting away. The Japanese boy looked at the people around him. His hands were still smoking.

"Did I do something wrong?" he asked...then he collapsed.


"perfect" Helen said. "Fetch the car and rally the troops" she watched the jet vanished into the dark clouds. "We'll be set after this one"

"I'll report to the White King" smirked Douglas as he kissed his wife.


Cassandra smiled at her students. "I am extremely proud of you all" she said. "You showed great maturity and I thank you". They were seated in a class room. It was late at night and after an infirmary check up they had been sent to be addressed by their headmistress. "Naturally you're excused from your morning classes tomorrow - hold all cheers until I finish and leave - and I want to once more thank you for what you've done, the mutants you liberated are being placed in safe houses in their native countries...some are even joining the school!" She walked out the door. "You may cheer now" she shouted back. The students whooped and threw their hands in the air.


Jean Paul tossed and turned. /Mon Deu. What is wrong with me? Why can't I sleep? It's most unfair/ He sat up and looked at the clock: 1:43. /Well looks like I might as well raid the much for my diet/ he got up and pulled on a t-shirt. As he stealthily crept along the silent, moonlit passage he kept one of his pointed ears out for sounds of movement...nothing. Everyone was asleep.

The kitchen lights clicked on and Jean Paul blinked to overcome the brightness. He rubbed his face and stretched a little before opening the fridge. He paused...there was a rustling outside... slowly he turned around. The Hellfire Pawn raised the rifle and fired...


Next In: 2 of 3 "Union"...

The Institute is Under attack and on lockdown as the Hellfire Club set up their slave farm! With the teachers trapped and Helen Talent trying to break into Cerebra to take over the minds of the faculty...well things look bad for the small group of students still wandering the halls!