Trip to Mutant School

Ok, so I'm feeling so bad about not updating this other than a joke for… how many years? I really have forgotten where I was going with this before, and the fact that it was all over the place really doesn't help me at all…

Anyway, I'm going to try to make it make more sense, though I am going to retain a lot of the writing style. A quick peek at my new story "Butterflies" shows my current style. So, writing in a dumb-ed down style might actually be interesting. Or, I could switch styles completely to my newer, better one.

Well, there's no time to worry about that. I'll just start and see where that leads me.

Chapter 18B: Preparations

Now that the "cats" were out of the bag for the newest members of the X-Men team, the group was able to focus their efforts on working towards the goal of defeating the enemy rather than hiding themselves behind a shroud of lies and deceptions.

It was rather odd. The group had been so concerned about being disliked by the humans because of their differences and pasts, but in reality, they became all the more liked. The revelation of their past triumphs gave them more credibility through the ranks of the other students, which was very helpful for the cause.

They were given only a week before they had to face the "army" of level A and level S demons and aliens. Therefore, they had a lot to learn.

"Oi, Gramma, can't we take a break?" Yusuke complained amidst a particularly long training session that pitted he and Hiei and Kurama into a series of spars.

The one not sparring was to run around the campus until it was his turn to take on the winner. Needless to say, after about five hours of this, Yusuke was no happy camper.

Genkai just glared at him then ignored him as she pointed her attention to the other students who were training under her watchful eye and harsh direction.

The mutants, unfortunately, did not have the other groups' ability to quickly develop their powers, so training them was difficult. However, Genkai had worked out ways for them to increase their ability to think on their feet and be able to focus their attention on the task at hand. These exercises included things like a timed obstacle course for Kurt, wherein he must move from place to place in a certain amount of time while meeting all of the checkpoints.

The training for Jean, by contrast, consisted of the tedious process of using her telekinesis to lift individual push-pins from the other side of the room and place in a particular pattern against a corkboard, marked by small dots. The training was harder than it sounded. Jean's traditional training usually dealt with increasing the size and weight of the items she was lifting, rather than the precision of such. By training in such a fashion, she would be able to maneuver things better and from further distances, which would help her stay away from the heat of battle while making her just as effective.

The only people excited about the increased amounts of training were Hiei, Logan, and Genkai. The first two, by no surprise, always liked training and thus had no problem with it. The third just liked to get her enjoyment from watching the others suffer. More of her personal training was mental, anyway, so she did not have to run herself ragged in trying to make herself stronger.

Gohan and Trunks, dubbed the strongest fighters of the group because of their Saiyan heritage, spent a great deal of their time working on precision of ki blasts and on their ability to watch out for the others. While in theory the two of them (each able to destroy the planet if they so desired) should have been strong enough to take out all of the opponents, the mere fact that there were others involved prevented them from being able to completely focus their attention on the offensive. Besides, the unpredictable nature of the powers of the enemy prevented them from being able to 100 percent guarantee that they were in fact strong enough to take them on without a problem.

The week of training went by agonizingly slowly. The students did not even bother to put on a "regular" façade, not attending classes or going out for much of anything. No, instead they worked hard to make sure that they were all prepared for what lay ahead.

On day 5, as the Professor was reading through the daily mail, he came across a letter from the enemy, describing the location for the upcoming battle.

"On Friday, two day's from now, we shall meet at 14:00 (2 PM). The location shall be in Catskill State Park. When you arrive, you should be able to feel our presence. The number of civilians in our chosen area is minimal, not that it will do much good in preventing us from killing them once we have disposed of you and yours. If you are late, we will consider it a forfeit and we will take our prize: the lives of everyone we come into contact with.

"Thank you for your time."

The note was unsigned.

Tensions ran high between the members, a side effect of the impending doom. While most of the people were low-key about their skittishness, some of the students had a definite decrease in their level of patience. Kurt almost gave up walking as a normal person, preferring to "bamph" around the Institute. Kitty shadow-walked through all doors and walls as a way to save time maneuvering about. The two saiyans, who were usually so well mannered about dinner time (at least until the eating part), had problems waiting for the meal to begin. Inuyasha, who was always impatient about everything, acted no differently than

normal, other than calling Kagome "wench" a little more often and being even more irritable.

Perhaps these strange behaviors were due to the fact that they were not to have much time left in life should they fail. Or, perhaps this was merely because they wanted more time to train and did not want to spend so much sitting around, waiting for things to happen.

The day before the confrontation arrived, and much of the students were still far behind in their training. No great leaps of strength had happened in the past week, though many were more sure of themselves. Though this was good for them, it still didn't help their cause.

Xavier called a meeting, in order to brief the students on the impending disaster should they fail.

"These opponents are lethal," he stated as the entire student body gathered in the entrance hall (the only place spacious enough for everyone that provided Xavier with the ability to see everyone, as he sat at the top of the stairs and looked over the banister). "I must warn you all of the danger that you will face tomorrow should you fight, and the even greater danger should you lose. The younger students," he addressed the various students who were not part of the

X-Men yet, "shall stay here, where they will hide underground in the safe rooms. All of the strength the team has to offer must be on the battlefield, so we need you to stay safe here in case something happens. Do not, for any reason, leave from there unless I or one of the official X-Men team instructs you to do so.

Those rooms should be secure enough for you to remain safe for a while, even if we should fail. The enemy would probably attack here first after disposing of us.

"As for the team going out tomorrow, I must stress how important it is to work as a team. If we go into this working as a group of individuals, we will fail.

Therefore, watch out for what the enemy is doing to your comrades and see if you can help. However, and this may seem harsh, do not put yourself in mortal danger for the sake of another unless that person is in mortal danger themselves. Watch your own back, first and foremost, and then watch those of your comrades. Only after the previous two are secured can you be free to actively pursue the enemy.

"What good would it serve for us if we won and everyone died? Yes, we would protect the rest of the world and the sacrifice would be worth it, but we would not gain anything. Remember that: we are not gaining anything special from this war, we are merely holding onto that which we already have. This is an advantage that the enemy unfortunately holds over us, for they have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

"Before we break for yet another wonderful training session, are there any questions?" he asked finally, scanning the room for any thoughtful faces.

Kagome raised her hand and asked timidly, "Yes, I have a question: how are we going to split up the team for the battle? I mean, this isn't exactly the time to be discussing this… but I need to know for planning purposes."

The professor just smiled at her honesty and willingness to ask a question that no one wanted to think about. Sure, everyone had thought about what they hoped to do in battle, but as for splitting up the team (which was a necessity considering the size of the enemy force) they preferred to push that to the back of their mind.

Part of the hesitation lay in the fact that if there was some problem with the teams and someone died unnecessarily, then everyone would feel the guilt.

The Professor took in a breath and let it out slowly before answering, "I was hoping that either Genkai or Logan would have planned out that aspect. I think, however, that we need to organize in teams of three or four, with one strongman, one distance fighter, and one or two special fighters in each team."

Logan gruffly interrupted him and put out the plan, "Ok, here's who's gonna work with who. Pay attention since I'm not going to repeat myself: (1)

"Red (Jean), you are going to work with Monkey-boy number 1 (Gohan) and the elf (Kurt/Nightcrawler). Shades (Scott), you are working with Money-boy number 2 (Trunks), Kitty-cat, and Iceman (Bobby). Stripes (Rouge), you take… what did she call you, Dimwit? (Yusuke) Yea, you take Dimwit as your strongman and…"

Logan trailed off when he realized he didn't have a nickname for Kagome. He stared blankly at her before continuing, "Stripes, you take Miss-priestess with you as your distance fighter. Sparky (Hiei), you and I are working with Ice-princess (Yukina) and Spike (Evan). And you, pretty-boy (Kurama) are going to work with Storm and the Professor. If I missed you somehow, attach yourself to a group, because I really don't care who you work with."

The rest of the evening's training consisted of team building exercises that were meant to draw them closer together and learn where the team's weaknesses were. For the most part, the teams were balanced with strong fighters and distance fighters, but some, like the Logan/Hiei/Yukina/Spike matchup were less about distance abilities than they were about specialization. With Logan's strength, Hiei's speed, Yukina's protective abilities, and Spike's abilities to… well, spike the enemy, they were still a formidable team.

As for their ability to plan between the groups, there were major problems. Catskill State Park was a rather large place that was actually quite developed (though preserved as well). Because of this, there was difficulty deciding on exactly what type of terrain they would be faced with in the battle. Now, this would not have been much an issue (as mutant abilities are rather versatile) except for the fact that they had to set up for their distance fighters. Setting Kagome up with her arrows in an open area was very different than setting her up with trees in the way.

And so began their last minute contingency plans. They drew out diagrams of what they would do under certain circumstances, which added to the overall feeling of dread that some of them were feeling (as it made it all the more final a battle.)Ee

They went to bed at a reasonable time the night before and did no strenuous workout that next morning in order to prevent a pulled tendon or something stupid before they needed to go to battle. Instead, they did some warmups and relaxed, going over the last of the battle plans.

At exactly noon, they started piling into the jet to fly to the center of the state. It did not take too long to get there, but they had no intention of being late.

The plane landed in the middle of a clearing in a wooded mountain area. The hatch door opened and the passengers took in a deep breath while preparing for what lay ahead.

(1) I made up some of the nicknames, so don't be all "Why's he calling them that when he usually calls them…?" OK, I know. I'm just trying to play with his love of nicknaming people. You will probably not see the names again.