A Change in the Force.
Contramancer's Disclaimer: I do not own either the X-Men or Star Wars. The following fanfiction story is most assuredly notcanon by any measure, and is written solely for the pleasure of writing and having it read.
A response to Whitetigerwolf's Mutant Jedi Challenge.
Chapter 5: Small Changes Made Large...
Somewhere in Hyperspace.
The Midnight Raven and her escort raced through the well-travelled lanes of hyperspace, aiming for the pre-arranged rendezvous with the Rebellion's forces. The bunks and quarters aboard were a little crowded, as they hadn't expected to find so many passengers, or they would have used a different module for the Wayfarer-class transport. As things stood, they were forced to bunk in shifts, and the supplies would be running low before they arrived at Eriadu to resupply. From there they would skip towards their real destination in the Greater Javin cluster, but that was a far distance away.
Leia Organa gazed across the bay at the man she'd unwittingly bound herself to through the force. He was a warrior, of that there was no doubt, disciplined beyond what most would expect, but he had rough edges. He reminded her a little bit- just a little bit, mind you- of that scruffy smuggler that had rescued her alongside... Luke... The sorrow struck her again, the incredible, crippling loss, and Logan paused in his sparring, catching the lightsabre of the tiny Jedi Master on his claws, where it sparked and spat, unable to even so much as scratch the metal... quite impressive when dealing with something capable of cutting starship armour plates. As the tears blurred her vision, he strode over to her, offering his shoulder for her support, some place to weep and grieve properly.
"There, there, darlin'," he said, and while she'd heard him use that form of address with Kitty and Marie, or Shadowcat and Rogue to use their code-names, it still felt special when he said it to her. "Let it all out, it does no good in there."
Settling into his arms, clinging to the lifeline of his presence, both physically and in the Force, she told him about how she met her brother.
Warhead sat in the engineering workshop, helping the scarred droid the crew and the princess called Artoo with some precision fusion welds, and plasma cutting. His powers allowed him a degree of control over such things that even the astromech would envy. Between them they were able to smooth out many of the welding scars on Artoo's shell. As they worked, they were aware of the audience they had in the two mutant girls who looked in every now and then. Kitty was busy figuring out the functions of the computers in this galaxy, and learning about the hypernet, but she still looked in on Leo every chance she got. Rogue, on the other hand was studying the controls and learning the basics of flying the starship, after learning that most vessels were possessed of similar controls. Oh, there was some variance, but it was easy enough to figure those out once you knew what to look for.
The two mutant girls had not had time to continue their talk, being on alternate shifts for bunk time, and Neither wanted to broach the subject with Leo until they knew what was going on between them. All in all, it was a very frustrating trip for both Kitty and Marie.
The Raven's med-bay wasn't the most advanced, so they had to explain to Leia and her friends what a mutant was without the technological back-up. It was a necessary lecture, and Logan, Kurt, Kitty and Rogue weren't as accomplished with genetic science as Professor Xavier or even Ororo had been. They would have given a lot for Hank McCoy to have been there. Surprisingly, Leo came to the rescue, metaphorically speaking, having minored in genetics and biology while he pursued his majors: Physics, astrophysics, nuclear physics and quantum physics. He was at least as intelligent as Shadowcat, but had taken a different academic path.
"Basically, your Highness," he began, only to be interrupted.
"It's Leia," she insisted. He grinned, and nodded.
"Very well, Leia," he continued, a gleam in his eye. "In our universe, some humans acquired superhuman abilities. Much like the Force seems to do here, there were telepaths, telekinetics and energy manipulators."
"Like you," Wedge Antilles spoke up.
"Exactly," Warhead said. "A lot of people were considered altered humans. This meant that they'd received their powers from an outside influence, such as an accident, or cybernetics. There was a class of techno-heroes who used powered armour to level the playing field, and then there were those whose powers were encoded into their very genes at birth."
It was easy enough for Leia to make the connection. "Mutants."
"Indeed. There was a government agency who felt it was their duty to keep track of and assess the threat levels of mutants. This resulted in five classes of mutant. First, and most common, are the Sigma class, mutants whose powers are completely dormant until some event 'kickstarts' them. Then we have the Gamma class mutants, who often had some physical external manifestation like Kurt's fur, tail and extremities. They also often had additional gifts, which is why he is extraordinarily agile, can climb on walls, fade away in shadows and teleport. If it weren't for his appearance, he'd be a Beta at least. The Beta class mutant has powers and an almost normal physical appearance, but they usually have some major drawback with those powers, like Rogue's power-draining. Before we started training with Master Yoda, she couldn't turn it off at all, much like I can't prevent myself absorbing loose energy I come in contact with. Wolverine and Rogue are Betas. Kitty is an Alpha. She has the ability to decrease her density until she is practically intangible, in which state she can disrupt electrical fields as she passes through them. Her power is completely under her control, and unbelievably versatile. It is possible she has a secondary mutation lurking in the wings that would shift her density the other way, but only time will tell."
Wedge was glad he'd let the other two take the X-wings for this trip, he was learning so much. "Wait up, you said there was five classes of mutant. What's the last one?"
Warhead sighed. "Omega class. These mutants can come from any of the three other classes, and would be classified as such were it not for one factor," he explained. "Power. Sheer, unadulterated power. Xavier was an Omega class telepath, and with some external augmentation, he was able to access every mind on a planet of over twelve billion people. Omega class telekinetics could shift moons. Omega class mutants are exceedingly dangerous because of that power, and what could happen if they're not careful." He dropped into silence, his mind once more on the past.
Leia spoke softly, striving not to upset or startle him. "You never said what class you were."
"That's raht, sugah," came the voice of Rogue from the hatchway behind her. "He didn't. He doesn't lahk t' think of it." Her odd accent (They said it was a 'Deep South' accent where they came from) was thicker than usual. She dropped her voice to a whisper. "He's an Omega. He can generate nuclear plasma, lahk y'all find in a star, and manipulate it, he can see and is immune to radiation of all sorts, and he absorbs energy until he cain't hold any more."
Leia knew that wasn't all of it, because that all sounded incredibly useful, and Rogue's next words confirmed the Alderaanian princess' fears.
"An' when he cain't hold no more, he explodes, and totally devastates a one-and-a-half klick radius."
Leia stared at the unassuming young man, who was probably only a couple of years younger than she at most. She could sense a deep pain from that statement, but an old one. Clearing her throat, she asked another question. "So what happens to a Sigma that... manifests? Awakens? Whatever the proper word is."
Leo shook his head as he returned to the conversation. "Depends on the circumstances. Some Sigmas who manifest, you were right the first time, have powers that are influenced by the circumstances that caused it. For example, a Sigma who gets caught in a fire may develop pyrokinetic abilities. But a manifested Sigma could fit into any of the other four classes of mutant."
Leia's rest cycle was interrupted again. It wasn't the dreams, those were normal, at least for someone in her mental state. Master Yoda had actually taught her a meditative state that allowed her to process what these figments of her traumatised psyche were telling her, and come to terms with them. No, it was the others in the bunk chamber. Leo gave off a constant, low level sub-sonic buzz, annoying as anything, and if that were all it was, it might be bearable. The real problems lay in the fact that only Logan could hear it, other than her and the droids, and in the smells she kept getting distracted by.
Everyone had a unique scent, she understood that, having spoken with Wookiees and Shistavanen about such things. What was hard for her to deal with was being able to tell the difference. There was an acrid, bitter smell for Warhead, an almost metallic tang for Rogue and an animalistic musk for Logan... one that was very appealing... She ruthlessly dragged her thoughts from that line, lest she spend a lot longer in the refresher than intended. Splashing her face with water a couple of times to help her feel better, she stepped out of the small chamber. She froze as she caught a scent...
"Tough night?" Logan's voice came from one of the shadows by the bulkhead, and she jumped a little, startled. "You wouldn't have been asking those questions earlier just from intelligence gathering, would you? There's something else."
Sighing, the Alderaanian made a decision. "I've been having... odd sensations lately," she admitted. "Ever since this... this link between us was forged, I've been getting little bursts of heightened senses, and my forearms have been aching. I was wondering if the link was changing me. Now that I know about Sigmas, I suspect it has..." Her voice trailed off in worry, and she whispered her last words, somehow knowing he'd hear them. "I'm not sure how to take it."
Logan was silent for a few moments, as though weighing what he was about to say. "This ache, is it a sharp, almost cutting, burn?" he asked, and when she nodded he shook his head. "From what Yoda said, the Force is capable of acting on its own, and making little changes is a way for it to make big changes... Here, let's find out something."
He extended the first claw on his right hand, gesturing for her to pay attention to the way his muscles flexed as he did, a task she complied with almost eagerly... "Down girl, bad thoughts," she berated herself mentally as she paid a little more general attention to his musculature than was necessary.
"The first thing I want to check," he said, in a calm conversational tone, "is for the presence of a Healing Factor." So saying, he made light nick on her forearm, deep enough to draw blood and cause some injury, but not deep enough to be significant. The sudden pain shocked her, and she jumped back, snarling at him as she curled the injured limb to her chest. Deep inside her, a feral creature struggled free, merging with the rest of her psyche, and she brought up her other arm, the right one, and curled and twisted her hand in a particular manner.
The bone claws that erupted from her hand startled both of them, and shocked Leia back into rational thought. There had been pain as she forced the claws free of her flesh, and if she was honest, the pain from the cut Logan had inflicted was gone. Glancing at the arm revealed that the injury had already healed. Switching her gaze back and forth between arm and claws, she muttered the question even as she thought it. "How? How is this happening?"
Leo didn't truly understand the Force. It was an energy field, Yoda had told him, that connected everything, that bound the universe together, but it was a form of energy he couldn't 'see'. His vision extended into the infrared and ultraviolet spectra far enough that he see x-rays, gamma rays and heat signatures by temperature, yet he could not see the Force. Maybe it functioned on a quantum level, that would explain a lot...
Dragging his thoughts away from the idle musings over the nature of the Force, he looked carefully at the readings the admittedly limited med-bay on the Raven gave him regarding Leia's changes. The claws showed up on the scan quite vividly, a part of her as much as Wolverine's were of him. Her senses were heightened, not yet at Logan's level, but getting there. The last piece of the puzzle was the healing factor that had already replaced the amounts of blood she had volunteered for testing. Leo had been able to make up for the lack of spectrographic equipment with his own powers, and was forming a theory. It was kind of out there, but it did fit the facts...
"Got anything?" Logan's voice broke the silence. The X-man was concerned, worried that his abilities had somehow become contagious, but his gruff-natured exterior concealed it well.
"I have... something," the newest X-man replied. He still couldn't believe that even in this universe, the feral mutant had trusted him with that. In all the years of being a fugitive in his own reality, he'd never thought that would happen. He'd just wanted help to control his powers. He returned to the point. "I don't totally understand how the Force works," he said, "so I can't say for sure that this is what happened, but my guess is that the link between the two of you allowed it to see your powers as something she would need to survive, and shift her DNA enough that she developed the same powers. It's shaky logic, though. From what I can tell, she was a Sigma before this happened, I think. If this were an advanced genetics lab I might be able to say for sure, but as it is..." He paused for a moment, then went ahead. "I think our presence in this universe has kick-started the manifestation of mutants. So far, there's only the Princess to judge it by, but that's what my gut is telling me."
Logan snorted. "Coming from you, I think I'll trust that guess," he assured the nuclear mutant. "C'mon, according to Artoo, we reach Eriadu tomorrow, and I want everyone ready for the shopping trip, if we can keep it under the Imperial radar."
Dagobah (High Orbit).
The dark-cloaked figure stood staring out the bridge viewscreen at the mist-shrouded planet far below. A few months after fleeing it, he was back, and payback would be his...
A nervous Imperial Navy officer, an ensign, he thought, was giving his report. "The abundant ambient life-signs of the planet are obscuring our scans, rendering our readings useless, Lord Primal," he said, praying that this man was nothing like the infamous Vader when it came to bad news.
The harsh, gravelly snarl very nearly caused the ensign to soil himself, a fact that he would not be taunted about later. "Well, that suggests its own solution, then doesn't it?" The entity once called Victor Creed, or Sabertooth, asked. "Captain, orbital bombardment. I want that planet's surface reduced to cinders. While that's happening, keep a scanner tracking any thermonuclear events. That should pinpoint them if they're here. If they're not, that's another matter, but first, let's remove all them pesky life-signs, shall we?"
The full fire-power of an Imperial Star Destroyer was brought to bear, and Dagobah's surface burned. It was no Death Star, but it would do for now...
Eriadu (Eriadu Spaceport, Eriadu City)
Kurt sat in the security of the Midnight Raven, unwilling to set foot outside the ship. With the non-human slavery acts, combined with his own appearance, it was deemed best that he remain here. His training with Yoda had centred on the use of lightsabres, unsurprising given his skill at fencing, and he was still getting used to the way they balanced. There was very little that a lightsabre couldn't cut through, only a handful of materials were sturdy enough to stand up to such punishment. The first stop, Yoda had insisted, had to include the basic parts to assemble at least one lightsabre for each of them. The important components they would find once they were sufficiently in tune wit the Force. Until then, it was the practice blades, which stung on contact, but inflicted no real damage.
The German mutant had begun to integrate the use of three such lightsabres (one for each hand and another for his tail) into a naturally acrobatic style. He was hard put to keep up with Yoda's single blade, but then, the diminutive Jedi Master did have the better part of a millennium's experience under his belt. It was during the course of such practise sessions that they had discovered Wolverine's greatest advantage against a lightsabre wielder: his adamantium-laced skeleton. The rare alloy, reputed to be virtually indestructible in their home reality, apparently continued to be so here. If one were expecting the contained plasma that made up the blade to sever a limb, and it failed to do so... The benefits of such a surprise were obvious.
As he watched the security screens and comlink channels, Rogue sat cross-legged in the cargo bay, striving to centre her mind. She was watched and monitored by Master Yoda, and he said she was making progress, but it was hard to believe with so little to show for it. Her abilities in the Force were not super-impressive, as her focus seemed to lie in amplifying her physical abilities.
The retail district of Eriadu City was crowded, with many of the people leaving some form of tribute at the Tarkin Memorial, a fact that had Leia muttering indignantly under her breath. There were more than a few curses in their. Stormtroopers were present everywhere as the Imperial-aligned planet mourned the loss of its 'hero'.
"Hero, is it?" Logan heard the other half of his link clearly. "He destroyed a pacifistic society, billions of innocent lives, to make a point! The man was a monster!"
Taking her shoulder, Logan pulled her close as a pair of the ever-present white-armoured soldiers passed close. Fortunately, they seemed to take Leia's trembling for grief rather than the rage she was actually feeling, or who knew what would have happened. Kitty and Leo, behind them, were scrutinised carefully by the one on the right, but apparently didn't ring any bells. They'd made the purchase of enough food to see them to the rendezvous, and the ship had been fueled and charged, and was ready to go. Leia and Wedge were now acclimating the three mutants to the realities of galactic society. It was unlucky for the other two members of Red Squadron, but X-wings were too easily recognisable as the preferred starfighters of the Rebel Alliance.
As the small group made their way back to the spaceport, they made some conversation, mostly discussions on the state of the Empire and its citizens, unaware of the armoured figure following them...