Chapter 10: The Pendulum

A pendulum.

Swinging.

Back and forth.

Stryker was going to use his Cerebro any minute now.

Morgan was pretty sure that Jean could get through to Charles if given half a chance.

The dam was starting to collapse.

They still had time to get the fuck out of here.

Remy, Hank and Warren had come to save the day.

A dozen soldiers were probably guarding Cerebro.

The clock was ticking. Morgan could feel it, almost like a steady thump in her head.

Impending doom.

For whom the bell tolls.

The mother of all cluster fucks.

Scott, Jean and Morgan were moving fast, but not fast enough for Morgan's comfort. For fuck sake, can't they feel that time was most assuredly not on their side? She ran her fingers through her tangled hair in bitter frustration. Jean's injured leg was really slowing them down. Just as Morgan was about to suggest that Scott should just pick her up and carry her bridal style, Jean unexpectedly stopped moving. Her breath caught in her throat as her eyes flew open in alarm.

"Cerebro," Jean gasped, "we're too late," both of the mutants fell to the ground, screaming.

Jonathon abruptly appeared in front of Morgan, his eyes were wide in fear. The combined pain of every mutant in the vicinity hit her before she could register what Jonathon was screaming at her to do.

"Close your shields!"

Morgan fell to the ground as well, clutching her head in agony. It took her about ten seconds before she was able to close herself off from the carefully orchestrated monstrosity that was happening to just about everyone that she cared about. Jonathon grabbed her by the hand and pulled her up to a standing position.

"Get to Cerebro, Morgan," Jean moaned aloud, "and try to stop Charles…"

Morgan took off in a dead run, deftly avoiding a large pool of water and the flying sparks from the broken electrical lines. She ran up a flight of stairs, taking two at a time, pushing the door open without a care of who might be on the other side but then stopped dead in a darkened corridor, unsure of which direction to go.

"Fuck," she whispered into the dark, her eyes searched the shadows for soldiers.

"Go about halfway down and there's a door on the right, it connects to the corridor closest to Cerebro," Jonathon's ghostly disembodied voice instructed her, "and don't worry. There are no soldiers left alive."

"Thanks."

Morgan arrived just in time to see Magneto and Mystique quickly walking away the opposite direction from Cerebro. Neither of them noticed her as they turned the corner and left. She was unsure if she should try to stop them, or allow them to go. Truthfully, she doesn't even know if her power would affect Erik while he was wearing his helmet, knowing that it keeps Charles out of his head. Looking on the bright side, she deduced that if they are vertical and walking around, that means that some how Cerebro was shut down. Morgan dropped her shields to confirm this. The pendulum was swinging back their way, and it was about fucking time.

"Oh fuck them," she mumbled to herself, throwing a nice two finger British salute in their general direction. Morgan decided to let sleeping dogs lie and figured that the X-Men could deal with the Brotherhood of Mutants at some future date and there was no need for Charles Xavier's personal assistant to get involved at this point in time.

The corridor in front of Cerebro was littered with the bodies and body parts of Stryker's soldiers. Blood and other unidentifiable fluids covered the floor and walls. She stopped and took several chests full of air to fight back a wave of nausea, as she gingerly stepped onto patches of dry grey concrete, weaving her way around dismembered body parts to a closed circular door.

"That's weird," she whispered aloud, placing her fingers onto the cold steel. She could empathically feel Charles on the other side, but he was still subdued by that other mutant. She could connect with both of them but was powerless to influence either one of them. Morgan banged her fist against the door in frustration before deciding to concentrate harder. She ground her teeth and focused everything that she had. Nothing. They were both too powerful for her. Hot tears leaked down her face, she swiped at them in anger and focused once again. This time, she broke through but it wasn't Charles or the other mutant, it was something else. Whatever it was, it was very massive and connected to Charles, and it grabbed her and pulled her in. Morgan had never felt anything like this. Her empathic power swelled and grew under the influence of Charles Xavier being connected to almost every human being on earth. She found herself unwilling to break away from Charles; the power that was now coursing through her body was too exhilarating, too addictive, she craved more.

"Pari, you have to break off," Jonathon whispered in her ear. She ignored him.

"It's too much, love. You aren't ready for this," he gently stroked the bruised skin of her jaw where Stryker had punched her. She continued to ignore him. He sighed heavily, his shoulders sagging in defeat. He faded away as the room behind her filled with mutants.

"Vhat is this?" Kurt asked, clutching at the beads of his rosary, crossing himself as he looked at the carnage of dead soldiers before him. He wished that he could grab the innocent hands of every child behind him and take them away from this place; no child should ever have to see this.

Kurt glanced curiously at the woman standing with her back to them, her hands raised, fingers splayed apart on the door, her whole body was trembling. He figured that this must be the empath that Bobby spoke of in the jet. Morgan.

"Cerebro," Ororo answered his question, warily eyeing Morgan who hadn't yet to acknowledge them. Storm didn't know if she might still be under the influence of Stryker.

"Morgan?" Storm murmured her name quietly; unsure if she should truly try to get her attention, but she knew one thing for sure: something was decidedly not right.

Ororo abruptly turned around as Scott shouted her name from behind. He was fully supporting an injured Jean on his hip.

"Jean, are you okay?"

"Yeah. I'm fine."

"What's happening?" Ororo demanded, her eyes turning back to Morgan and the closed door of Cerebro.

"The professor is still in there…and he's with another mutant," Jean pauses as her eyes narrow, "he is trapped in some kind of illusion and… Morgan…she's empathically linked to Cerebro, which is …connected with everyone-" Jean's voice waivered as her telepathy searched for the answer that was alluding her. She founsd it in the mind of Erik Lensherr, who so happened to have removed his helmet at that exact moment.

"Oh my God…Magneto has reversed Cerebro. It's not targeting mutants anymore…"

"Who is it targeting?" Scott interrupted.

"Everyone else," Jean whispered.

Morgan suddenly screamed in pain, clutched her head as she fell heavily to the ground onto her back.

"Everyone- stand back," Scott ordered, his fingers flew to the control of his visor as he gently pushed Jean off from his hip.

"Scott, no. His mind is connected to Cerebro. Opening the door…could kill him and everyone his mind is linked to," she explained, knowing that he already knows this, he just hasn't thought it through rationally. Storm glanced over at Kurt, knowing now what needed to be done, even though the very idea scared her to death. Teleportation.

"Doctor Grey?" Jean painfully pivoted around to look at Jubilee, whose eyes were as big as saucers, and the color had completely drained from her face.

"What is it Jubilee?"

"Morgan is not breathing," she whispered, pointing to the prone body of Morgan near the door. Scott immediately focused in on Morgan's chest, which indeed was not rising and falling with air exchange.

"Fuck," he yelled, as he flew past Ororo and Kurt, who was having some strange conversation about teleportation and faith. Scott knelt beside Morgan in less than two seconds, his fingers were already expertly palpating for her carotid artery.

"No pulse," he said, looking up at Jean, she painfully lowered herself down next to Morgan's face, she then leaned over, assured that she had an open airway and gave her two quick breaths of air. Scott waited a moment as Morgan's chest rose and fell from Jean's rescue breaths; he then positioned himself over her and began chest compressions.

"Don't believe anything you see in there," Jean said as Kurt began to recite the Lord's Prayer. Storm threw her arms around Kurt and they both disappeared in a cloud of purple smoke.

"Hello? Is everybody all right over there?" Warren's asked through the communicator, his voice sounded shaky and unsure. That was probably the first time Remy had heard anything affect the cool and collected angelic X-Man. They had decided ahead of time that it would be better if he stayed with their jet, just in case they needed a backup plan.

"Yeah, we're okay. I almost blew de damn jet up, it activated my powers," Remy replied, cracking his neck, and shaking his tingling fingers out.

"That was Cerebro, wasn't it?" Warren asked.

"Unquestionably," Hank answered. He was applying firm direct pressure to the back of John's head with a towel. He had fallen backwards onto a steel box on the floor, when the wave struck and had a pretty nasty gash.

"Fuck, that hurts," John groaned, "Hey Doc…I'm really diz…" Hank rubbed John's cheek with the back of his hand when John's eyes started to slip shut.

"John, you need to stay awake. I think you might have a concussion. Robert, go get the small med kit from the back, he'll needs an ice pack." Hank ordered and he decided that he wasn't going to mention to John that he probably would need some stitches as well.

"Okay." Bobby quickly left. John smiled weakly down at Rogue who was on her hands and knees on the floor using a wet towel to clean his blood up.

"Sorry," he muttered, looking mildly embarrassed.

"Don't worry about it, John. This isn't as half as bad as when you and Bobby drank all that SoCo and you guys puked in the Gazebo," Rogue quipped, her eyes crinkling in amusement; she then reached over and gently squeezed his knee.

"God, don't mention that right now, my stomach is not so good," he answered, his voice slurring over his words.

"Keep talking to him, Rogue," Hank said, smiling at her.

"Y' got dis?" Remy quietly asked Hank, gesturing towards John with a nod.

"This is completely under control. What is our next course of action, Gambit?" Beast asked, officially recognizing him as this mission's leader. Remy stood up and began patting the pockets of his long black leather duster that he always wore over his uniform. Old habits die hard, and there will never be a time that Remy LeBeau doesn't need several pockets.

"Alright, I think that de best plan would be that Angel takes to de air to keep an eye on what's goin' on and I am goin' in there." Remy said authoritatively.

"Sounds like a plan, Gambit. I'll keep you apprised of the situation from above. Angel-out."

Remy heaved a sigh of relief. He wasn't completely sure that Warren would accept him as the leader. They have had their differences in the past.

"If that dam goes, y' get de jet in de air."

"Good luck, Gambit."