A Stolen Season

A Stolen Season - Part One

by Khaki

Rating: PG13
Pairing: Logan/Marie
Category: Drama
Disclaimer: If I owned them, there'd be a series of official novels based on the movie by several talented authors. I don't. There aren't. Nuff said.
Archive Rights: Just ask.
Author's Notes: Thanks go out to Shakespeare for the title, but this fic isn't based on any of his plays. This story takes place four to five years after the movie, and uses movieverse alone. I only refer to the comics when it suits my fancy.
Summary: Mutant control is underway. How does it affect Logan and Rogue?

**********

Four years after X-Men: The Movie.

POV: Dr. John Thacker (original character)

"Dr. Thacker, the president will see you now."

I'm in the White House, and I'm about to talk to the President of the United States. It's so surreal that I feel even pinching myself won't wake me from this dream. It feels so right, though, like my whole life has been building to this moment. All the research, the achievement of FDA approval, the development of my company, becoming a billionaire, all of that was just leading me to where I am now, at the cusp of all the power I've ever wanted.

I walk into the Oval Office and sit where President Creed directs me, a small table in the corner. He signals his advisors to leave and soon it is just him and just me, man to man.

"Dr. Thacker, you're probably wondering why I asked you here today."

"Not really," I answer confidently.

"Oh," he says, leaning back in his chair, "well then, enlighten me."

"You're interested in my nanoscalpels."

The miniature robots I'd invented had revolutionized surgery. They made the need for large incisions to be practically nonexistent. Take heart bypass surgery for example. Decades ago, the patient's breastbone would be broken and the chest cavity opened wide enough for a surgeon's hands to work. Only ten years ago, heart surgery became laproscopic with the aid of a computer-guided robot. Still, that surgery resulted in three pencil thick wounds in the patient's torso. My invention had completely revolutionized medicine, requiring only the injection of nanoscalpels into the blood stream of the patient. They find their way to the damaged area and the surgeon controls them remotely to perform amazingly accurate procedures with little to no surgical recovery time.

"That's only part of the reason, Doctor. I'd like to discuss with you an alternate use of your invention."

I sat up and leaned closer, my interest piqued.

"I won my presidential campaign on the platform of mutant registration, and well, it's obvious the program isn't working as well as it should."

That's an understatement. It was a pitiful failure. Hardly any mutants voluntarily registered. The manpower required to track down and register rogue mutants was too demanding on our peace-time, cut-back military. The president could call in the reserves and initiate the draft, but it might turn public opinion against him if people felt they were living in a state of martial law. The mutants were disruptive and disturbing, but not enough to warrant such extreme action in the United States of America.

The president continues, "I have begun to research other alternatives to registration."

He lays out two proposal papers in front of me. Curious, I reach for the first one and leaf through it. It refers to something called Sentinels. As I read further, skimming the details, I discover that Sentinels are two-story, mutant tracking and capturing robots. As I read about how the Sentinels should fly over the city, swoop down and capture a mutant before taking off again, I can't restrain my laughter.

"They can't be serious," I say, tossing the proposal back on the table.

"They are, Dr. Thacker. I assure you."

"Two-story tall robots? Jet-powered lifts? Mutant DNA detection from far distances?" I shake my head. "It reads like science fiction."

"So you don't believe it to be practical?"

"No way. First off, the backwash from a jet-powered landing would throw pedestrians and vehicles everywhere. Second, DNA testing for the mutant gene can only be completed through blood analysis. Not all mutants look different and not all humans look normal. You just can't program a robot to guess. Third, the mutants are dangerous because of their powers. They would most likely fight back against these 'Sentinels,' and I would hate to think of the millions in property damage such a battle would cause, let alone the deaths of innocent, human bystanders."

"I agree, but that proposal and this one," he says, handing me the other, thicker booklet, "are the only reasonably practical ones."

If the Sentinels were reasonably practical, I'd hate to see the other submissions he'd gotten.

As I flicked through the new proposal he'd handed me, I could immediately tell that it was written by a research scientist. Only a doctor with no practical experience in treating patients could think up something so amateurish and dangerous.

"The Legacy virus?" I ask.

"Yes, a genetically-engineered virus designed to kill only mutants."

"It wouldn't work." I state, shaking my head. "Viruses are notorious for mutating, even under normal circumstances. A designer virus exposed to a twisted, unpredictable immune system would change even quicker. Before a few months passed, the virus would probably attack humans as well. We would be less likely to survive because we don't have the mutant, genetic advantage. We'd effectively wipe humans off the face of the earth, making it a haven for mutants."

"This is exactly why I asked you here, Doctor. My advisors have been suggesting that I choose from either of these programs, but I agree with you. I don't think either would work in the way their creators expect."

"Mr. President, excuse me, but you could have asked any number of robotic experts or practicing physicians about either of these projects and gotten the same opinion. Why did you want to see me?"

"Because I know your views on the mutant menace, and I believe you can provide me with a third option. How difficult would it be to modify your nanoscalpels to be mutant detectors?"

Now that *is* an interesting idea. The nanos would have to be slightly bigger to contain the DNA sampling equipment, but all the other equipment needed is already there. Deployment might be a problem. They couldn't fly. If we were looking at a small deployment, we could probably contaminate a person and then everyone that person contacted would be exposed. For large deployment, we could infest a city's water supply, or better yet, lace food in the grocery stores with it. A wide number of humans and mutants would be exposed.

We would have to activate the nanos simultaneously, though, so no one could catch on. For medical purposes, the surgeon controls the nanos through electromagnetic signals so they already have receivers. A sequence of signals could be programmed and broadcast to a wide radius to make the nanos respond at the same time. It could work.

"It would be possible, and it would probably work," I answer.

"Excellent," President Creed says with a satisfied smile.

"But..." I amend before he can say anything further.

"But? But what, Doctor?"

"Do you really want to eliminate *all* mutants? Some might be beneficial."

"All mutants are a menace to human superiority on Earth," the President replied, pounding a fist on the table to make his point.

"With respect, Mr. President, that's not true. Sure, all mutants are subversive, but some of them could be detained without restricting their mutation."

"For example?" he asked through gritted teeth, obviously furious at my suggestion that any mutant might be better off alive.

"Healing. That's relatively common as mutations go. The mutant who heals could be physically restrained and exposed to viruses, bacteria, any disease for which we don't have a cure. Can you imagine? We'd have a cure for Ebola Virus, Hanta Virus, AIDS, hell even the common cold. The possibilities are endless."

"I... That is a valid point, Dr. Thacker. What other mutations would you save?"

"It would depend on what we found. The DNA equipment in the nanos should give us a general idea of the type of mutation in each subject. We could decide to kill or capture on a case-by-case basis. Of course, telekinetics and telepaths would be uncontrollable and require elimination. So too for mutants with evading abilities or high-powered defenses. I'm not suggesting we save many, just that we save the few we can use."

"How soon before your modified nanoscalpels could be ready?"

"It'll take," I pause the calculate the time needed, "nine months to a year, and then we'll be able to start limited trials. I'd like to test it on a small area first."

"Not to worry, Doctor. We will start with the mutant lobbyists. Their strange politics make them more than likely to either have a mutant child or be friends with mutants."

"That sounds reasonable." I pause, and then continue with a tactful voice. "Mr. President, as excited as I am to be involved in this project, research and development costs money. My company..."

"The government will fund your research and pay you handsomely for your service to humanity," President Creed answers with a dismissive wave. He turns around and presses a button on the wall. In seconds, his two advisors walk back into the office. "Dr. Thacker, this is Mr. Lloyd and Mr. Duncan. They will work out all the details with you and prepare the contract. All I ask is that you keep me informed of your progress."

"Of course, Mr. President," I answer before I am led out of the room.

-----

A year later.

POV: Logan

I wake to Marie filling my senses. Her scent, her appearance, her touch (even through protective fabric), it's more intoxicating than a bar-full of liquor. Even after five months of marriage, I still can't get over the overwhelming calm, the rightness I feel when I wake up with her every morning. It took me long enough to figure out, but when I did and when I convinced her to the point where she did, our love became heaven on Earth.

The sun's barely peaking over the horizon and it's a Saturday mornin', so there's no reason for me to be wakin' up. I'm still awake, though. I'm hot, but I don't know why. It was Marie's turn to dress up for bed so I'm pretty exposed here, but I'm still hot, almost burnin'. The itchin's back, too.

I don't get sick and I don't have allergies, but something was making me itch somethin' fierce yesterday for a few hours. It started in my arm and moved up my shoulder and into my chest. It didn't feel like my skin was itchin', though. It felt deeper, like my blood. I tried scratchin' at my skin, but it didn't help at all. In fact, it just made the itchin' more annoying. After a few hours, though, it went away and I forgot about it.

Now, the itchin's back and it's worse. Even though I know it won't help, I can't stop scratching. The itch's moving down my chest into my gut and then down into my thigh. I'm really scratchin' up skin now, but my healin' factor's replacing it as soon as I pull it up. It's not deep enough. My blood's itchin' and nothing but scratching my blood will help.

There's no other choice. I release my claws and plunge them into the flesh of my thigh, tryin' to find the itch and get rid of it once and for all.

**********

See part two.