The "Big Mutant On Campus" Series
By David D. Amaya
Part Seven "Evil Dreams Sweet Nightmares"
Disclaimer: As always; the first step of the journey.
"I DID IT!"
"Horosho, young pupils!" Colossus praised his two students as he dropped the large scrap to the hangar deck floor. "Husk, I know it is frustrating right now, but as you work to improve your ability, it will yield the results you wish."
"I know, Colossus," she conceded. She reached for a robe, thankful Shadowcat was mindful enough to bring it down earlier. "But it's just so…well…"
"I know just what you're going through, Husk," Shadowcat replied as Lockheed landed, giving her back her clipboard. "When I was younger it wasn't easy to control my ability either, but it will come in time."
"At least you two have always had some control over yours, Shadowcat!" Glacier remembered to call the other three mutants in the room by their codenames as he wiped the sweat off his head with a towel and breathed hard. "When I first discovered my powers I was afraid to touch Q-tips!"
"Oh, that's nothing, Glacier!" Shadowcat gulped down some water then plopped down on a folding chair. "After I first noticed I could go through walls I was still having nightmares and fell straight through to the basement! I had to inflate an air mattress and leave it next to the washing machine every night!"
"Da, I can relate, when I first used my gift as a student here I was climbing a tree to retrieve a kite, then as I was falling-"
JAY, NATHAN! STEWART NEEDS BACKUP! LECTURE HALL, EAST SIDE, NOW!
Glacier's eyes rolled into the back of his head at the sudden psi-scream. The jarring telepathic intrusion caused him to lose his balance from the support of the tire, and he collapsed on the floor with a sickening thud, the concrete cracking from the impact.
"Glacier!" Husk was at his side in an instant checking his eyes. Luckily, the titanium he absorbed earlier was still prevalent in his system.
"Glacier!" Shadowcat slapped his face lightly until he came around. "Nathan, are you alright?"
"I'm alright just got nailed by a-" stopping abruptly, he realized the implication of the telepathic message. "Where's the lecture hall!"
"No, don't get up," Colossus gently held him down. "Husk, get Beast."
"NO! Something's wrong!" he pushed the Excalibur teammates aside and got to his feet. "Where's the lecture hall!"
"Two levels up," Husk replied. "It's the fifth door on the left. Nathan what happened?"
In response, Glacier dashed to an alien metal in the scrap pile and absorbed its unique properties than headed for the turbolift.
"Paige," Shadowcat called out, "Contact Hank and have him head to the lecture hall, stat! Petey, Fastball Special, HIT IT!"
Colossus transformed into his organic metal form, grabbed Shadowcat by the belt and collar of her uniform, then launched his teammate into the air. She sailed through the air, then phased through the hangar deck ceiling toward the upper levels of the mansion.
Don't cuss, Delano! he reminded himself. It's getting dark soon. Don't let the bigmouth girl in the yellow coat piss you off, not today! Not-
"Do you always fight dirty, Argustous, or are you being scouted by the UFC?"
"The only ones who bi- complain, about me fighting fair are the losers I've stomped, Jubes. Do you guys all cry like that to Magneto or a pack of Sentinels when they humiliate you guys?"
"Argus," Psylocke addressed the young man on the dojo's table as she continued to write notes on the session's activities. "In accordance with your arrangement with Phoenix, we will not tolerate your outbursts, censured or otherwise in her presence or in absentia."
"Yea, but she ain't here!"
"Does the term 'mind reader' mean anything to you? Oh yea, Island gal said you only have half the needed gear!"
Argus flipped Jubilee the bird.
"Right back at ya! NAYA NAYA!" she shot back showing him the double bird in return.
"Jubilation, if you please, I am attempting to obtain a secondary readout which would be greatly more accurate without dueling extensions of the digitus impudicus. Now as you can see young man," Beast informs the teenager wearing the special medical bodysuit who lay on the table as he continued to run his tests, "as your EKG, and EEG, and EMG, tests show, your levels of stamina are improving from this quarter hour than from the first thirty minute session, Argus."
"So what you mean, Hankster, is that he can go from getting smacked around by Toad to strong enough to take out a fistful of Sentinels! COOL! I can't believe you learned all that by hooking Jay up to a motion capture suit straight outta Tron! Can you hook these wired long johns un to the X-Box Hankster?"
Dr McCoy ignored her remarks and addressed the young man in the EKG sensor suit. "I feel that further study would improve the data on your abilities, Jason. So If I may take some laboratory specimens to study further."
"I ain't no guinea pig. I wouldn't let my personal doctor-"
JAY, NATHAN! STEWART NEEDS BACKUP! LECTURE HALL, EAST SIDE, NOW!
Psylocke dropped her clipboard and gripped her head with both hands at the sudden mental intrusion as Argus rolled off the trainer's table and landed on the floor, shaking his head violently, then without warning, he pushed passed Jubilee knocking her to the floor as he ran out of the room, ripping the electrodes off the machines in his wake.
"Whoa!" Jubilee exclaimed as Beast leaped to Psylocke's slumping form. "Was it something I said?"
"Betsy!" He called helping her to her feet. "Are you alright, my dear?"
Before she could answer the intercom buzzed loudly; "Dr. McCoy!" Husk's voice sounded more urgent than normal. "Something's happening in the lecture hall Kitty wants you head there as fast as you can!"
"It's Rafale," Psylocke replied. Shaking her head. "Firestorm called Glacier and Argus to him in a panic, I believe he is injured."
Jubilee dashed to the intercom "We're on it Hayseed, we're rollin' code-three!"
Tutoring Session Report
Submitted by Special Agent Kord- Lariat
Students in attendance; Dr. MacTaggart, Nightcrawler, Leech, and Mr. Maddicks.
As per parameters given me, I devised the following session;
This exercise was intended to test seven fields of combat-correlated skills. Admittedly, the students for this challenge had no previous experience in this arena of appliance, thus their ability to promptly apply recently learned, if not more eruditely honed, skills were also tested to a great extent.
Within the last hour, teamwork, weapon handling, defensive tactics, and strategy of attack were discussed, diagrammed and executed, however reasonable adaptations were prearranged to fit the numbers allowed.
As Lariat heard Dr. MacTaggart's cry of victory, he looked up from the report he was writing and saw Artie projecting a flashing red light. Clearly, their team had scored a goal. "And that makes five goals! That's three games apiece, lads!"
"Nice shot, Moira," he applauded, rejoining the quartet. "So everyone, what do you all think of this afternoon's lesson?"
Artie projected an image of him holding what appeared to be the Stanley Cup.
"Artie like hockey! Leech like hockey too!"
"Aye, lads!" Moira agreed as she sipped some water. "That was a fun way to learn something new, though this game reminds me a good deal of shinty back in the old country."
"Ja, I agree with the good doctor, mien freund." Nightcrawler removed his roller skates. "Now I know why Shadowcat and Colossus enjoy Blackhawks games on the satellite."
"Looks like you guys are enjoying your tutoring session," A voice called out from the front steps. "I hope you are all having fun."
"It is all fun and games until someone loses a tooth, Phoenix," he replied. "Then it becomes a hockey game!"
"You sound like Wolverine when he's watching the Maple Leafs, Lariat. The Professor asked me to come out here and ask if you have spared any thought as to how you are going to be able to get the services of-"
JAY, NATHAN! STEWART NEEDS BACKUP! LECTURE HALL, EAST SIDE, NOW!
The sudden mental intrusion caused Phoenix to wince hard and caused her to lose her balance. Lariat, Nightcrawler and Dr. MacTaggart were at her side instantly.
"Lass, are you alright? You had a spill!"
"I'm fine, Moira, but something's wrong in the lecture hall!" Cyclops, she sent to her husband on the other side of the grounds, head to the lecture hall! Hurry, something's happened to Iceman and Rafale!
Kordel skated to the gear bag where he had placed his gun box and produced his sidearm. "ARTIE, LEACH, HEAD TO THE POOLHOUSE AND WAIT THERE UNTIL SOMEONE GETS YOU!" While still in his skates, the Secret Service agent negotiated the main steps and skated full speed to the east wing.
"You a good institutrice yourself, jeune homme," Gambit told Kilowatt as they exited the library. "You seen to absorb everythin' you learn. Why you only in la classe de cinquième if you be a computer hacker?"
Glancing over both shoulders, Kilowatt also looked and down both ends of the hallway for eavesdroppers, "To no one?"
"You learnin' de Knowledge Clandestine an' you need to ask de Gambit, to keep a secret? It like you don' know me at'll, garçon!"
"Sorry, but I promised Uncle Jake I wouldn't share this one, but he taught me how to tank tests. Jake told me and Oz we only need to score a 101 on IQ tests so we don't get bumped up too many grade levels. 'You can't play college baseball when you're eleven, 'Watt!' he once told me. 'Not even at a Division III school!' Besides, can you imagine how little friends I'd have if I was at MIT right now with Lariat! And besides, I'm not a 'computer hacker,'" He air quotes with his fingers. "I'm an 'proletarian technology security integration specialist!' I just happen to specialize in 'off-site intrusion analysis'!"
"An' it don't hurt to know you de smartest guy in de room and no one else any wiser."
"All this and a curveball that can break a foot an' a half!"
While they were headed towards the kitchen, Argus ran from around the corner at breakneck speed. "MOVE!" he bellowed as he pushed between them so violently he knocked them both down, medical wires trailing behind him. A dozen yards later, he smashed through the lecture hall doorway.
From the other side of the main hallway they saw Kilowatt's Secret Service bodyguard approaching furiously on roller skates with his gun drawn. "Gambit!" he called when he saw the pair on the floor. "Evacuate Kilowatt to the poolhouse and wait there with Artie and Leach!" When he made it to the lecture hall, he entered the doorway, leading with his gun raised.
Not heading his advice, The pair scrambled to their feet and, with a charged card at the ready, ran for the lecture hall.
"I said no, Robere. I'm not doing that."
"Come on, Stewie," Iceman was prodding. "It's easy, you don't have to squeeze into red spandex anymore, you can change back easily, Heck I use it all the time!"
"But my mutant compétences don't need that." Rafale countered, again. "You don't understand, Robere-"
"It's easy!" Iceman then transformed into solid ice, then in a shattering of hail, he easily broke out of the ice-covered shell, returning to normal. "Here," He raised his hands toward the Canadian's feet. "I'll help you out."
"No, Robere, I don't need any help to-" suddenly he noticed his legs getting colder. "Wait, Que fais-tu!" he began to panic, his worst nightmare was beginning. "ARRÊTER! SOMEONE HELP ME! SOMEBODY-!"
Iceman had frozen Rafale into a solid block of ice, and grinned, the hard part over. "See? That wasn't so bad! Now to show you how to be cool and smoking hot at the same time! I'll just crack the block of ice and as Gumbo would say, 'VIOLIA!'"
He flicked at the block that contained his student with his fingers, but instead of cracking, the block fell to the ground, shattering around the teenager. Rafale was frozen stiff with his hands in a defensive position and a look of pure terror etched on his face.
"Stewie," Iceman slapped his face lightly. To his shock, the sound was hollow. "Oh, shit! SOMEONE HELP! SOMEBODY HELP ME!"
Shadowcat appeared through the floor, Lockheed in the knapsack strapped to her back. She saw Stewart's ridged body on the floor and gasped. "Iceman, what happened!"
At that moment, Firestorm crashed through a high window, while Argus smashed through the main door. Both were at their friend's side in a heartbeat.
STEWART! She sent to his mind, but not finding his consciousness immediately. STEWART, CAN YOU HEAR ME!
Alea? He responded weakly in her mind. What's happened to me? I can't move. I'm so cold.
It'll be all right, Kewalaka. She hoped her mental voice sounded reassuring. "He's alive inside! We've got to thaw him out!" Jason was already rubbing his frozen body with his bare hands.
"Drake! What happened?" Agent Nichols entered the smashed doorway with gun drawn, but holstered it when he saw Stewart on the ground. As he approached the bottom level, he noticed his skin was an ominous, ghastly chalk-white color and his red hair was aquamarine.
As the rest of the teams arrived to witness what happened to the new guy, his cousin burst into the room, knocking aside Remy and Agent Nichols as he pushed to the lecture pit toward his cousin's prone form.
"STEWART! STEWART!" He shouted as he pushed past everyone. Then he turned to Alea. "Is he-?"
"He's alive!" Jay told him as he continued to rub his body. "We need to warm his body carefully so we don't-" Alea stopped him from finishing that sentence for fear of the reaction.
"I absorbed this metal that helps defrost the Blackbird's engine. It conducts heat."
"Everyone, please, move aside! Let me through, Please!" the Beast bounded into the room and leaped for Stewart, followed by Professor Xavier. "Please move aside, my X-Men! Allow us to pass!"
"He's alive inside, Doctor," Alea reported, "We've been trying to thaw him out."
"Gentlemen, please assist me in taking him to the MedLab."
"No, Hank," The Professor maneuvered his hoverchair next to Stewart. "I believe we can better aid him here. Alea, if you will assist me."
"What are we going to do, Professor?"
"I must enter Stewart's mind, Alea, but I will require your unique knowledge of your friend."
"He's not having a psychotic breakdown! He really is frozen!"
"NO JAY!" Nathan pleaded. "Anything to help him." He looked Alea in her eyes. "But if this doesn't work!"
"They'll have to go through me, first, Kaikunane! But I give you my word, we'll get him through this!"
The Young Hawaiian placed her left hand on Stewart's forehead, than placed her right on Professor Xavier's. Closing her eyes and opening her mind, she was instantly transported to what appeared to be a frozen wilderness. Though she has never seen this memory before, she knows where she is and cursed under her breath.
"Where on earth are we Alea?" Professor Xavier asked, standing by her side.
"Witches Cauldron," she spat out in disgust when she saw the wreckage of a small plane. "THIS is what he warned Drake about, damn him! This way, Professor." She pointed to a nearby cave. "They're in there."
A short walk later, they arrived at the mouth of a large cave, but the opening was covered with a sheet of ice that looked at least a foot thick, though the pair could hear a small boy crying from inside the cave.
"Wake up, Nate, please!" they could hear the boy scream. "Réveiller! Please, I didn't mean it! I take it all back! Everything I said on the plane! Vient de se réveiller, S'IL VOUS PLAÎT!"
"What is this moment, Alea?"
"It's not my story to tell, Professor," she replied. "Just know THIS is why he doesn't transform into solid ice. He calls this one of his 'evil dreams.' How are we gonna help Kewalaka? Should I melt the block of ice?"
"We need for him to do this task himself, my dear. Stewart!" he yelled towards the cave entrance. "Stewart MacKenzie! Can you hear me!"
"Professor?" The young boy replied. "We're in here! But I've frozen my cousin Nate. S'il vous plaît aidez-nous!"
"Stewart, we are going to get you both out of there, but you have to calm down and listen to us!"
"Alea, are you outside, too?"
She looked puzzled at the Professor. "Yes, Kewalaka, I'm standing right next to Professor Xavier!"
"This manifestation is what is known as 'traumatic hysteria,'" the Professor explained. "Stewart is experiencing this psychosomatic event because of a physical trigger. Your friend is paralyzed 'with fear', he is not is physical danger, despite the current state you and your friends have found him in. But, as you noticed events are not playing out in his mindscape as they did originally occurred. To aid him we must help him solve this issue himself, and then he shall begin to recover physically.
"Stewart! Listen to me very carefully! Your cousin will be all right, but you need to clear this opening in the cave! YOU must break the ice sheet!"
"I can't! I tried to shore up the entrance when the storm hit, but I completely trapped us inside! Je suis désolé!"
"No, Stewart! You did not trap yourself! You just need to undo what you have done! You can break the ice you formed! You CAN do it!"
"Je ne peux pas!" the young boy broke down and began crying.
"YES YOU CAN KEWALAKA! Just listen to the Professor! He'll talk you through this!" She grabbed the Professor's arm turning toward him, looking him dead in the eye. "You CAN do this, right?"
Charles would have been dismayed at her attitude, as he still finds the alpha-male ferocity Wolverine often uses disenchanting, but he knew her lone concern was for the young man she loves as a brother, whose mind they entered to save.
"No, my dear. He WILL. Stewart!" he called out again. "S'il vous plaît venir à l'entrée de la grotte! We need to see you here!"
"Ça va," he approached the mouth of the cave, Stewart MacKenzie appeared to be only about ten years old. Tears were streaming down his young face.
"Stewart, I need you to place both your hands on the sheet of ice," the Professor told him. "You need to freeze the ice even colder than it is. The colder it is, the more brittle the ice will become and you can break it."
"Yes you can, Stewart!" Alea told him motherly. "Here, place your hand here over mine."
"Now concentrate on the ice getting colder. You must decrease the temperature of the ice five more degrees, to make it brittle enough to break. Now, concentrate very hard!"
"Come on, Stewart. I know you can do this."
"Okay, Alea. I'll try."
"No, Stewart," Charles placed his hand on the ice as well. "You shall DO this!"
The young boy placed his hands over Alea and the Professor's, then shut his eyes tightly. The ice became noticeably colder until the ice became crystal clear enough to be invisible. Young Stewart fell to his knees, clearly exhausted.
"Outstanding! Now kick the block of ice. It will shatter, and you will have freed Nathanial and yourself."
Stewart got up from his knees, kicked the ice, and, as promised, it shattered into a million pieces.
"Ca a marché!" he exclaimed. "Nate, we're free!" He then ran back to his older cousin, pulling him tightly into a hug. As Alea and Professor Xavier approached the pair inside the cave, they both appeared their current ages. "Everything's going to be alright, Nate! Tout va bien se passer!"
Outside the cave, the blizzard ended and the landscape began to turn green and bloomed like spring.
"Our task is complete, my dear," Charles told his pupil. "Young Stewart shall be fine. Shall we inform his family and friends in person?" He extends his right arm to the Hawaiian who slipped her left arm around him, then the two telepaths returned to the present.
Despite them having entered his mind for what seemed to the young telepath like hours, in reality less than ten second elapsed. Alea, though noticed a definitive change in Stewart's appearance. His eyes were no longer iced over and were moving, but instead of emerald green, they were aquamarine, as his hair.
"He's coming around, guys!" she informed Jay and Nathan, who were still rubbing his body with Dr. McCoy's help. "He's gonna be alright! Kewalaka, can you hear me?"
His eyes turned towards her voice. Oui, Je vous entends, Alea. Ce qui m'est arrivé? Je me sens tellement raides.
"Can you move, Stewart?" Xavier asked.
Je pense que oui, le Professeur. he replied in his mind, and then Stewart's body started to vibrate.
"Back up!" Alea shouted. Then a shattering sound filled the large room echoing loudly as a thin layer of ice cracked off his body in an small explosion of tiny shards allowing him to move slightly.
"Jason, Nathanial would you be so kind as to assist Stewart to his feet?" the Professor asked. The pair looked to Alea.
"It's alright guys, really." She reassured them. "Help him up!"
Once the pair got the Canadian to his feet, he almost lost his balance. Jay and Nathan held him up by his arms.
"Are you hurt, Kewalaka?"
He moved his mouth but no sound escaped his lips, but shook his head.
"Can you stand?" Jay asked him. He moved his mouth but again no sound escaped his lips, then he shook his head.
"Why the fuck can't he-!" Nathan angrily addressed the Professor, but his cousin held out a weak hand in front of his mouth making him pause his tirade.
"His vocal cords are still too ridged for him to speak, Nathanial," Professor Xavier answered. "but that shall pass within the hour. Are you able to breathe comfortably, Stewart?"
Stewart looked at the professor, his eyes telling him that he was thinking of the answer.
"He says it hurts to try to breathe through his mouth," Alea answered, more for the benefit of Jay and Nathan. "but he can breathe through his nose though."
"Gentlemen, please assist Stewart to the MedLab." Dr. McCoy informed them. "A rest period followed by a mug of hot chocolate seems to be the best prescription to aid in his recovery."
As they helped him to the stairs, the teams were all standing in the trio's way, wondering what could have caused this mishap.
"Make a hole, NOW! Everyone step aside!" Agent Nichols called out asserting his authority role. He looked to the open window where most of the flyers were sitting. "Rogue, Miss. St Croix, if you ladies would please, will you head for the poolhouse and escort Artie and Leach back to the mansion, they must be worried sick by now."
As they slowly made their way, helping Stewart on shabby legs, they passed the worried look on the faces of the three X-Teams. When they passed Iceman, they stopped.
"Not now!" Alea warned them in a loud angry tone everyone could not help but hear.
"He ain't going anywhere we can't find him later!"
End of Part three
©David D. Amaya 2012