Lee Ann Wantanabe pressed the intercom button and waited nervously. After a few seconds, she got a reply.

"Good morning, Miss Wantanabe. Just give us a moment to raise the bridge. You came by bike, correct?"

"Yes, sir."

"Give the bridge a minute or two to dry out, then. Please come in through the main entrance."

Lee Ann watched with interest as the bridge rose, and waited patiently for about three minutes as the seawater dripped through the perforations in its surface. Once the traffic barrier lowered, she started forward.

She approached the main door, which opened as she was looking for a place to tie up her bike. A tired-looking, but still gorgeous, blonde stepped out.

"You can bring that inside, Miss Wantanabe. We have a spot for it in the break room."

Lee Ann nodded, stepping off the bike and walking it inside. The width of the double doorway allowed her to walk beside the other woman. "Did I come at a bad time?"

"We just got back from a forest fire in California. It took us about eight hours to get everything under control, so we're all a bit frazzled."

"Would you like me to come back tomorrow?"

"That won't be necessary, Miss Wantanabe," a new voice said as they entered the main room.

The voice in question belonged to an older-looking man, who was holding an ice pack… a large slab of ice wrapped in a towel, actually… against a heavily bruised face.

"It's likely that you'll see us like this often, so we may as well get you used to it now. Welcome to the madhouse." He stood up and shook her hand, readjusting the ice pack as he did so. "Everybody okay with civilian names in private? Okay. I'm Will, you've met Meggan, that's Ororo, Bobby, Domenic, St. John. Topaz and Rogue go by their code names."

"Then I'll go by Lee Ann."

"What are you majoring in?"

"Marine biology."

"You're still an undergrad?"

"I'm on year three of a combined B.S./M.S. program. Two years to go."

Will nodded. "If you like, one of our people can reconfigure your laptop's firewall so that you can use it here. Our security wouldn't allow it otherwise."

"I'd appreciate that."

"If you give us half an hour or so to clean up, Bobby will show you how our inventory database works. Did you bring a lunch?"

"Yes, sir."

"Good. Glad to have you with us." He winced. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I have cinders in some very uncomfortable places." Turning, he limped out of the room.

"I should only be twenty minutes or so," Bobby told Lee Ann. "You can take a look at the store, and see if there's anything you think can be improved."

"He'll take at least half an hour," Rogue whispered to Lee Ann as he left.

Lee Ann grinned. "I guessed as much when I saw Topaz's hand on his ass. How did… Will get hurt?"

"The fire was near some new luxury homes, and we had to use some fancy footwork to keep trees from falling on houses. A limb snapped, and it smacked him across the face when it sprang back."

Lee Ann winced. "Ouch."

Rogue nodded. "When he came to, he had some… colorful words to say to the owners about maintaining firebreaks."

"Is that going to hurt your image?"

"Will's rapidly becoming fond of a phrase regarding over-development. I'm starting to agree with it."

"What's that?"

"'Stupid Should Hurt'."

Two hours or so proved to be sufficient time to get the new employee trained on the database system. They took a short break afterwards, during which Will handed Lee Ann a small nametag, which he had just finished carving out of driftwood.

"I'd like to go over a few of the rules," Will told her, "just to make sure that there isn't any miscommunication later."

"No problem."

"Rule One: If this place gets attacked, you do not play hero. You run. If there are visitors here, you blend in with them and make your way out." He paused for a moment. "Domenic, let's look into the idea of adding a panic room, attached to the break room."

Domenic thought about that. "We'll have to cut into the slab."

"I can teleport part of it away if need be. Rule Two: There will be times when we have to lock this place down. Be prepared for that. We have a guest bedroom that you can use, so you might want to consider keeping a change of clothes in your locker, just to be on the safe side.

"Rule Three… in many ways, the most important one. We're going to keep you in the dark about certain aspects of our operation. This is for your protection. It's likely that there are groups that will try to counter our work, and it's possible that they could try to pump you for information. You can't reveal what you don't know, and even the most casual telepathic scan would confirm that you're telling the truth."

"I understand."

"You'll be scanned for your right palm print and retinal print," Ororo informed Lee Ann. "In addition, you'll be given an access card that responds to your left thumbprint."

"And your aura will be scanned when you use the shop's safe," Topaz added.

"We apologize for the security overkill," Will finished, "but it would just be too easy for a metamorph to step in and take your place."

"There's no need to apologize. My dad used to be a contractor at Pearl, so I can appreciate the need for security."

"What are you researching for your thesis?"

"I'm trying to develop a more accurate census method for bottlenose dolphin populations."

"How's it going?"

"Slowly. I think that I have some good ground rules in place, but I still have to modify it to account for local conditions."

"Maybe I could help," Meggan suggested. "I can talk to dolphins."

Lee Ann blinked. "I… think I'll have to discuss that with my advisor."

"Fair enough," Meggan agreed cheerfully.

"That raises a question," Ororo said. "Do you think that you'll have any problems at school due to working here?"

Lee Ann shook her head. "I don't think so. Actually, I've had a few people say they were envious of me. If your idea for guest speakers pans out, it'd be a great way to make professional contacts."

"But no comments on the mutant issue?"

"It doesn't seem to be an issue. My professors and the other students in my classes are interested in what you can do… but in terms of environmental impact, not your powers. There's no interest in your genetic status."

"That's good to hear," Bobby said. "It's a nice change of pace."

"We should open up," Rogue remarked. "It's almost eleven."

Domenic pulled out a small PDA from his pocket and woke it up. "We've got… eight people out there," he said after a few taps.

"I'll drive the tram," Bobby volunteered as he stood up.

"And I'll play guide," Will said. "Meggan, could you give Lee Ann a quick tour?"

"No problem. Should I include the beach?"

He considered that for a moment. "Yes. She can spend her breaks there if she likes. Show her the lanai, too."

Lee Ann got right to work after her tour, ringing up the purchases of each group of visitors as they came through. "I noticed that you don't have any local art," she commented to Ororo at one point.

"We decided not to interfere with the local market," Ororo explained. "Picking just a few artists wouldn't be fair to everyone else. We have considered hosting an open exhibition. Are you having any problems?"

"Oh, no. I worked in a grocery store when I was in high school, so this is easy by comparison. I also noticed that you don't have any snacks for the kids."

"We're still considering it. We'd have to deal with storage and trash issues. It would be the same for drinks."

Lee Ann nodded. ""I looked at the book selection. Pretty eclectic."

Ororo smiled. "Blame Will. He's the one who's been choosing them."

"Well, he seems to know a bit about renewable energy, given all of the books he chose. There's a lot of stuff on sustainable gardening, too."

"Domenic helped with that. I came by to relieve you so that you could have lunch."

"Okay. I can go out to the beach, right?"

"Yes, but if you go into the water, please stay within the buoy line that we set up."

"Fair enough."

Lee Ann took a quick shortcut through the greenhouse, and was on the beach within five minutes. She found a comfortable spot underneath a tree, set her watch alarm so that she wouldn't lose track of time, then dug out her lunch and a textbook from her pack. Within seconds, she was delving into the mysteries of orca migration.

The rest of the day was slow, a fact explained by St. John as a result of the students needing to get back to class. "Most of our older visitors come on the weekends," he added.

"Just like most other museums," Will commented as he walked over. "Any questions or concerns, Miss Wantanabe?"

"Just one question. Is the telescope on the back porch yours?"

"Yes. I'm an astronomy buff. It's why all the outdoor lights are sodium halide."

"I noticed. I liked the interactive display you made on light pollution, too."

"Well, it's an important issue that doesn't get much attention, and it's only getting worse due to suburban sprawl and a shopping center every half-kilo down the road. It has major impact on migratory birds and human circadian rhythms, and it louses things up for astronomers."

"Maybe you could do a bulb giveaway."

He considered that. "I'd prefer to give out LED bulbs, but I don't know what the light wavelength is like. I should look that up."

Ororo took out her PDA, wrote a quick reminder, and sent it off to Will's account. "Done, Boss," she told him with a smirk.

"You actually carry that thing around with you?"

"Of course," she replied, her eyes twinkling. "We never know what pearls of wisdom you'll utter next."

"When did being a smartass become a mutant power?" Will thought out loud.

"It's just a talent."

At class the next day, Lee Ann was peppered with questions from both her teachers and fellow students. She kept her answers as vague as she could get away with, citing the team's security concerns and desire for privacy. Her advisor, after thinking it over, decided that while Meggan's ability to communicate with dolphins was fascinating, it would likely be inadmissible for her thesis, since there was no way to objectively verify it. He did suggest, however, that Meggan could provide off-the-record, independent verification and corroboration of Lee Ann's results, which would make her thesis more likely to pass review.

The three days a week that she spent at Ecologix HQ were informative, entertaining, and occasionally a bit surreal. Her impressions of the team members became more nuanced as she spent more time with them. Domenic was a stable, dependable type, while St. John varied between being somewhat withdrawn and almost outrageously gregarious. She found out later that the former state meant that he was considering ideas for his next book.

Meggan was almost invariably cheerful, which, in turn, helped raise the moods of those around her. Lee Ann was curious about her habit of always having a book on her whenever she was off duty, so she asked Meggan about it one day. Meggan explained that she had only learned to read recently, and was making up for lost time.

Ororo was the sole morning person on the team. (Meggan's disposition in the morning seemed to depend on that of her fellow teammates.) She seemed to view her time at the base as a break from her leadership duties, and relaxed accordingly. She also enjoyed the crafts demonstrations that were occasionally put on for school-age children.

Bobby enjoyed spending time with the children as well, because it allowed the childish part of his own personality free rein. His jokes and antics helped draw out some of the more reserved children, and got them interested in the topics he discussed… usually something to do with climate change or the species to be found at the poles.

Topaz also worked well with children, and was able to use her empathic abilities to quiet fussy infants, easing the strain on their parents. She could usually be found in either the greenhouse or garden when she wasn't on duty, meditating or running through her yoga postures. Lee Ann didn't quite get the comment about Topaz not being able to wear her usual meditation uniform…

Rogue seemed to enjoy being a 'floater', working wherever there was a need at any given moment. She took care to make sure that the public areas of the base were clean and well-maintained. While Lee Ann couldn't be sure, she was fairly certain that Rogue had also taken responsibility for the team's inventory and supplies.

The team leader, Will, was something of a puzzle to Lee Ann. He was always polite, but seemed to want to keep a degree of professional distance from her. When he wasn't acting as a guide or giving a presentation, he was usually in the residence, working at his computer.

"He's really not comfortable around large groups of people," Rogue explained to her at one point. "It's draining for him, so he needs some alone time to recharge."

"What's he doing on the computer?"

"Catching up on email, reading the news, getting some writing done, that sort of thing."

"He seems comfortable enough with the visitors to me."

"It's an act, believe me. He gets really nervous if he starts to get crowded in."

"He always seems… preoccupied,"

"That's due to his powers. He's always got something competing for his attention, and sometimes he drifts off for a bit." She grinned. "The trick is knowing how to get his attention back."

"Please, no details."

"You're spoiling my fun."

One Friday night, Lee Ann was invited to stick around after work to share dinner with the team. Will was cooking, and had set up a barbecue pit to slow-cook a side of beef and two whole chickens. "I thought that a whole pig would be a bit cliched," he explained.

"The luau has gotten a bit overdone," she admitted.

"You deserve some advance warning," Ororo said from behind them. "Will makes the barbecue sauces himself. The X-Men have labeled them as 'Medium, 'Hot', and 'Whimper Like A Lost Puppy'."

Will just shrugged. "I'll cauterize your taste buds eventually." He opened up the pit, then poked into the meats with a cooking fork. "I'd give this ten more minutes."

"We'll bring everything else out, then."

Domenic unfolded a portable table, and Rogue and Topaz brought out several cold dishes. A few minutes later, they were all munching on chicken, or a very tender beef brisket. Beer and sodas sat in a bucket that Bobby had filled with ice.

Lee Ann dipped a piece of brisket into the 'medium' sauce and took a bite. "Ooh, that's good," she said to herself. She looked up at Rogue. "Do you guys eat like this every night?"

"No, we're just avoiding the meal at our main base. Bishop's cooking leaves some things to be desired."

"Little things," Will added. "Taste, texture, edibility…"

They all sat and chatted casually for half an hour or so, at which point Will excused himself and, taking his chair with him, went down the beach a ways and sat, facing the sea. "What's he doing?" Lee Ann asked.

"Meditating," Rogue told her. "He needs some alone time every day to stay balanced."

"So, Lee Ann, tell me," Ororo said, cupping her chin in a palm, "how does one go about counting dolphins?"

As Lee Ann's answer became increasingly technical, Rogue quietly left the group and went to join Will. "You okay?" she asked softly.

He gave her an affectionate smile. "I'm fine. It's just that being this close to the sea brings up a lot of memories from the Chorus."

"Like what?"

"Sailing on a Yankee whaler… and a Spanish galleon… an Irish coracle… out on the open sea. A clear, starlit night, like this, using an astrolabe, compass, and the stars to find the way…"

"No Viking longship this time?"

"Nope. The things that I see are completely random. If there's a pattern, I've never noticed it."

"That brings up a question. Can you sail a boat?"

Will thought about that for a moment. "I honestly don't know. We should test that out."

"I'll put it on the 'to-do' list. Lee Ann wanted me to tell you that she'll have to head home soon. Bobby, Topaz, and 'Roro are going back to the Mansion right afterwards. We start our stretch here in the morning, remember."

He nodded. "Was there anything you needed before we head to bed?"

"Just a shower." She gave him an impish grin. "And an audience."

Will packed the leftovers up in record time.

Lee Ann arrived for work one morning to find a new, small building on the grounds. She walked over to it, finding that Will was still adding shingles to the roof. "What's this?" she asked him.

"Chicken coop," He replied. "We bought the chicks this morning, so I thought I'd get the coop done ahead of time."

She nodded. "How many did you get?"

"An even dozen, all heritage breeds. That should give us plenty of eggs, and some roasters besides."

"I won't have to muck out the coop, will I?"

He laughed. "No, we'll take care of the cleanup. And the great part about being on an island is that you don't have to chase after them, either."

"You'll be letting them run free?"

"Within limits. We'll be keeping them away from areas where people are going to be. Letting them run through the garden will be fine, though. We are going to keep the goats fenced in, though. I want to avoid any stripping of the local landscape."

She nodded. "What will you do when butchering time comes around?"

"Haven't decided yet. We're not doing any demonstrations, though."

"That wouldn't help your image," she agreed. "Where's everybody else?"

"The ladies are all cooing over the chicks." He paused for a moment. "That just sounds wrong."

Lee Ann laughed. "What about Bobby? He promised to help me with inventory today."

"Well, Topaz is likely bent over the chick box right now, so you'll find Bobby…"

"Watching her ass, right…"

"I honestly wasn't sure if I could do this, Topaz."

"That's why I thought we should test it out. Does it feel any different to you?"

"Slightly. It's hard to describe."

"Could that affect your control, St. John?"

"I don't think so, Rogue. I'd like to experiment a bit more before we try this in the field, though."

The team was watching, impressed, as St. John manipulated a flame construct he had built from a fire that Topaz had summoned. Will had asked, earlier in the day, if he could manipulate magickal fire. St. John didn't know, so they decided that an experiment was in order. Having gathered on the beach (to minimize the chance of accidents), Topaz had summoned a small ball of greenish-blue fire in the palm of her hand. Taking that as a start, St. John had used the flame as he did the small flame-throwers built into his costume.

Will nodded. "I think that if this works, we could build some gauntlets that would allow you to call up a flame at will. It'd be a bit safer than your current setup. To be honest, the exposed fuel tanks have always made me nervous. They're too obvious a target."

St. John nodded. "They can get in the way, too. Every once in a while, I snag the hoses on something. Want me to give you an old pair of gauntlets, so you can test the fit?"

"It would help." He looked at Topaz. "Copper?"

"Or bronze. We might be able to get away with setting the gems in a small metal plate, then setting that inside a composite. It would give his forearms some protection."

"How about a nanotube fiber?"

She thought about it. "That could work. Aren't they using nanotubes for solar collection now?"

"It's still in testing stages. We're a few years away from practical application."

"It wouldn't have to be much. Just enough storage to charge the gem, same way that Meggan's amulet does."

"That should be doable." He took his PDA from his coat and switched to a drawing program. After a few quick sketches, he showed them a prototype design. "We'll put the gems on the inner side of the gauntlets, closer to the palms of your hands. They'll be short enough that your wrist movement isn't restricted."

St. John nodded in approval. "Looks good."

"I'd advise keeping a lighter somewhere on your uniform, to be on the safe side," Will advised. "Just in case we run into something that negates magic." He turned to Topaz. "That reminds me… I still have to make your knives."

"No rush," she assured him.

"Probably best for me to do it now, before it slips my mind again. Why don't we head back to the Mansion, and I'll get started."

Will started a small fire in his forge, then let it burn slowly until he had a large pile of coals. He took a short length of iron bar, then shoved it into the coals with a pair of tongs. "I'll make these strong enough to be effective weapons on their own," he told Topaz, who sat beside Rogue atop his workbench, "but feel free to add some enchantments as I go, if you want."

"What sort of enchantments could you do?" asked Ororo, who was seated at Will's drafting table.

"I have a few options. I could make it so that they either burn or freeze my opponent's skin… not both. They could affect only nonliving things, so somebody's armor or guns would be affected, but not their flesh. They could never miss their target if thrown. That sort of thing."

"Impressive," Ororo admitted.

"Enchanted blades tend to stay free of rust and corrosion, don't they?" Will asked.

"I've seen more than my fair share," Topaz told him, "and they all looked great, no matter how old they were."

"Good. I think I'll make these Damascus steel, then."

"That'll take a while."

"True, but you can't rush quality work." He thought for a moment. "I'll need ferric chloride for the final etching."

"Hank might have some in his lab," Ororo informed him. "I'll see if he can part with it."

"We've got some time. This is going to take a few hours."

Once the iron was glowing to a bright red, verging towards yellow, Will removed it from the coals. He placed an anvil devil atop the surface of the anvil, then took a four–pound hammer in his right hand. Holding the tongs in his left, he placed the iron atop the devil and gave it a good rap with the hammer. He then bent the iron at the dent point, essentially folding the iron back upon itself, then hammered it flat. "That's one fold down."

"How many to go?" Rogue asked.

"Don't ask."

"I'll get you some water, then."

"Not too much. I can't take a break from this."

"Why not?"

"Magic is intent driven by will. If I lose my concentration, the enchantment is ruined, or worse, corrupted. I'm not going to risk that on a teammate's weapon."

"We could help out."

"Not a good idea," Topaz told her. "It'd be a case of too many cooks interfering with the finished product. I've seen what happens to spells when that happens, and it's not pretty."

"Okay," Rogue sighed. "Just don't pull the same stunt you did before."

"This should only take… let's say thirty-six to forty-eight hours. I can push through that without too much of a problem. I'll just crash for eighteen hours or so afterwards."

"Anything I can do to help, then?"

"Only thing I can think of would be adding fuel to the forge and running the bellows."

"I think I can manage that."

Throughout the night, and into the next day, the rhythmic tink-tink-tink of hammer meeting steel could be heard from the Mansion. Oddly, no one felt the need to complain. The sound wasn't perceived as annoying, but white noise.

Rogue found that she only had to add more fuel to the forge every twenty minutes or so, giving her plenty of time to observe Will. His eyes had started to glow about an hour into the forging process, and he had begun to mutter something underneath his breath that Rogue was fairly certain wasn't in English. "What is that he's saying?" she asked Topaz in a whisper.

"It's Irish Gaelic… I think. Give me a second." She muttered a short phrase, and Will's voice, after dropping in volume for a heartbeat, became intelligible.

"I summon this day all these powers between this blade and those evils,

Against every cruel merciless power that may oppose the wielder's body and soul,

Against incantations of liars,

Against black laws of tyrants,

Against false laws of the corrupt,

Against craft of glamour,

Against black spells of witches and smiths and wizards,

Against every knowledge that corrupts the body and soul."

"Interesting," Topaz murmured.


"He's reciting Saint Patrick's Breastplate. An adapted version, at least."

"Did Saint Patrick write it?"

"Probably not. The monks who came after him knew the way he thought, though. It's definitely an Irish prayer."

"Why's he using it, though?"

"As a protective spell for the knives, to keep them from being used against the wielder."

Will finished the forging process about ten hours later. He looked at Topaz as he ran the knives through their final firing. "Rainwater or seawater?"

"Seawater, please."

He nodded. "I'll do it in the waters near our island. It'll strengthen the bond if you use them there."

Glancing to his right, he opened a Door, which led straight to the beach on Ecologix's island. He took a pair of tongs in each hand, removing the knives from the forge with them.

The four of them stepped through the Door and onto the sand of the beach, where the tide was slowly coning in. Will kicked off his shoes and looked at Ororo. "If you would, please?"

Ororo nodded, and her eyes whited over. A few seconds later, a small cloud began to form over Will's head. He held the two blades crossed in front of him. He nodded in satisfaction as a small lightning bolt struck the knives. The electricity followed the outline of the blades, then continued up the length of the tongs, finally covering Will's body. He seemed to be unharmed.

Once the electricity had been dispersed into the ground, Will stepped directly into the surf. He held the knives just above the water, allowing an approaching wave to wash over them. He plunged them into the water before the wave had receded, holding them there for a good ten minutes.

"That should be cool enough," he said to himself. He left the water, stepped back into his shoes, then gestured for the women to walk back through the Door. He followed, and placed the knives atop the anvil for a moment. Putting on some protective gloves, he opened up the bottle of ferric chloride and poured the contents into a metal container designed for wallpaper paste. He placed the blades in the acid (slowly, to avoid splashing), and let them sit there for about forty-five minutes, flipping them over once to ensure even coverage. After removing them and letting them drip dry for a moment, he rinsed them in water and dried them off.

He showed the blades to Topaz. "What do you think?"

"Very nice," she told him. The blades had a pattern of fine lines, resembling flames, etched into the steel. "What were you going to use for the handles?"

"I was thinking purpleheart, to go with your uniform. Do you want any sort of protective wards carved into them?"

"I can take care of that later," she assured him. "Why don't you get some rest first?"

"Sounds good to me," Rogue declared, giving Will a nudge. "Move it, mister. You've got a hot shower and a backrub waiting for you."

"Cold milk, warm backrub, hot girlfriend," he mused. "All-temperature cheer."

Will slept through the day and night, waking up with the sun the next morning. He saw that Rogue was still asleep, and spent a few minutes watching her, a small smile on his face. He gave her a light kiss on the top of her head, then crept out of the bed to take his shower. Dressing in his uniform, he headed down to the Danger Room, where he found that Logan was about to start a solo session.

"Want to do a team up?" Logan asked.

"Actually, I came down for pistol practice," Will confessed.

Logan considered that for a moment. "Let me go get one of mine, and I'll set us up with two lanes."

"That works. Is there a program that I can use for long-range practice?"

"Maybe. Gimme a second." He hit the intercom button. "Wolverine to Cyclops."

"Yes, Logan?" was the reply that came, after a moment's pause.

"What was the name of that program you used to use to calibrate your visor's range settings?"

"Uh… Pinpoint. I think. Haven't used it in years."

"Chuck and Hank figured out a way to do it electronically," Logan explained to Will. He turned back to the intercom. "I was thinkin' that Will could use it for rifle practice, if we made a few tweaks to it."

"That ought to work. Let me finish what I'm working on, and I'll come down. It should only take a few minutes."

Scott entered the control room about ten minutes later. "What did you have in mind?" he asked Will.

"I want to start training with the rifle that Bishop… acquired for me. I realized that I've only been working with the pistol, and I figured it was time to branch out."

Scott nodded. "Makes sense. Did you want to do straight target shooting, or sniping?"

"Let's start with targets, but in a realistic setting, like a field."

"That'll take a while to program."

"We can run through a few rounds of pistol while he's at it," Logan said.

"Fair enough." Will took his pistol case and headed down to the Danger Room as Logan set up the program. By the time he had reached the door, there was a two-lane pistol range in the room.

Logan entered a few minutes later, a pistol case in his hands. "Which one's that?" Will asked him.

"Colt forty-five ACP."

"For some reason, I thought you'd prefer a forty."

"The forty has a good kick," Logan admitted, "but the forty-five ACP was around for so long that it doesn't get many second glances. Most people think that you're ex-military. And finding replacement parts is easy."

Will nodded. "I've been considering carrying a forty revolver as a backup. I'd use it as a primary weapon out in the woods."

"You'll want to train with it first. A forty can take some time to get used to."

Will thought for a moment. "Actually, I just got an idea. What if I built a gun and rifle lathe? We'd be able to make custom weapons."

"You can do that?" Scott's voice asked from the control room.

"I think so. I might have to order some parts, but I'm pretty certain that I can do the bulk of the work on my current equipment."

"Do you have the skill for it?"

Will smiled. "I think my learning curve will be pretty shallow."

"All right, less talking and more shooting," Logan said as he put in a pair of earplugs.

After Will had also donned hearing and eye protection, they began. Logan, as usual, was a crack shot, hitting the bulls-eye at maximum range. Will's shooting was far less accurate. "I think I'd better start making this a weekly affair," he decided after looking at his results.

"Good," Rogue said as she entered the Danger Room, a pistol case in her hand. "It'll give us more bonding time."

Will looked at the case and blinked. "I didn't know you had your own gun."

"Momma trained me on this one when I was twelve," she said as she removed a small twenty-two. "I think I'll get used to it again before I move back up to something bigger."

Will nodded in approval. "Makes sense. It'll give me time to make some custom firearms for the team, if anybody wants them."

"Could you set me up a lane?" Rogue asked Scott as she put on goggles and ear muffs.

"Already on it," he told her. The lane appeared a few seconds later.

Rogue fired off a quick burst of six rounds and retrieved the target. Her shots were off-center, but her grouping was fairly close. "I thought that'd be a problem," she said wryly.

"What's that?" Will asked.

"When I first started shooting, I had a habit of pulling to the left. Looks like I do again."

"We'll work on it," Logan told her. "Cyke, set us up for an hour of firearms training twice a week. We'll alternate between pistol and rifle."

"Make it three for me," Will said. "I want some time for sniping practice, and I'll need to get used to accounting for wind and distance adjustments."

"All right," Scott said, making the adjustments to the schedule. "What are you going to do on your Hawaii days?"

Will thought about that for a moment. "I'll see where the local cops practice, and wrangle up a membership there."

"That'll help with public relations, too," Rogue mused. "Maybe you should get memberships for the entire team."

"I don't know if Topaz would be interested. I'll ask, though."

"Just what we need," Logan drawled. "A sorceress with a semi-auto."