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Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12


Written by KazeRogue and Cat Smith
Last updated: 01/02/2007 02:01:11 AM

Chapter 4

Sighing, the young Detective closed the folder that lay in front of her. This was getting her nowhere. She had given the single strand of hair she had found in the envelope to the laboratory, ordering them to do a DNS analysis. Now, finally, the results had arrived, and all she had learned was that Gambit was a mutant. Big clue! She had suspected that after reading in the files how easily he had evaded every security system during his pitches. That WAS supernatural.

The labrats were still trying to identify his mutant power and knowing them Xandra gave up the hope to have the results within this week. They hadn't even found a match in the data bank. This guy really knew how to cover up his tracks. But at least there had been matches to other DNS scans made after other robberies. When all there had been left at the scene of crime had been a hair, or a scale of skin. So at least they had a lot to charge him of when they caught him. If they caught him.

Determined to try the seemingly impossible, Alexandra Thorne got up and copied the sheet with the locations and dates of the matching robberies on it - which was against regulations - and left the Police departments with the copy hidden in a secret side pocket of her bag - which was against regulations.

Common police work wouldn't help her here. If she really wanted to find this thief, she had to extend her boundaries a bit. And she knew exactly where to start.

The area was as filthy as they get, where people tend to mind their own business - which was perfectly fine. Nobody would have suspected the most genius computer expert to have their 'store' in an old garage there, without even a sign giving evidence of it's existence. Exactly the way Katherine Pryde liked it. Daytime programmer at a middle-sized Computer company, she turned into software dealer and hacker-girl at night. And her friendship to a NYPD Detective had kept her back clear. Not that she had ever left any evidence when her deals crossed the line of being legal, and since she was very selective when choosing her customers, she didn't consider herself as being a criminal. Her products weren't used for evil purposes, at least she did everything to secure that.

One of her regular customers was said Detective. She had sold her several hardware pieces and self-written hacker software that no Police officer should own. But Xandra wasn't a common police officer, she knew one had to howl with the wolves at times, if one wanted to arrest them. But sometimes even the extensive illegal equipment at her home PC and her hacker skills weren't enough for her to get the information she needed. It was then that she turned to her friend with an order that would not only prove to be hard work but interesting as well. So Kitty smiled at the woman opposite, taking the list Xandra handed her.

"These are the dates of the crimes. Ah need the air traffic with passenger lists of each in the period of the robbery. Leave out the regular passengers at the routes, compare the remaining to resemblances, compare them to the guestlists of the hotels in the area. He will be flying with a faked ID, so Ah need every remaining name on th' list checked whether there's a birthdate and location. Hopefully our dear Master thief hasn't used the names of existing persons."

Kitty nodded, not looking the Detective in the eyes. Her mind was already considering the line of action, when a question sprang to her mind.

"What will you do with the names? His aliases won't be of much use to you."

"First, Ah can maybe make a personality profile. Second, Ah need a check on matching names currently residing in local hotels."

"Uh huh. Consider it done. I'll call you ..uhm.. Thursday."

"Tomorrow." Xandra said while turning around to leave the garage.

"Hey, I have a life besides playing your Jimmy Olsen!"

"Tomorrow." the Detective closed the door.

"Bite me"

Xandra entered Logan's apartment and leaned against the doorframe closing her eyes for a second. This wasn't the cosiest of places, and her new case did nothing else but making her feel like a failure. She had been so thrilled when Forge had given it to her, her chance, her acid test. And she was getting nowhere. Through the turmoil of her thoughts she heard the beeping of the answering machine. She hadn't even known Logan had a telephone.

She slowly strode towards the desk, kicking off her shoes as she did so. 23 messages. Great. Cody must have found out where she had gone. Big clue, how many friends had she that weren't actually Cody's friends. In that instant the phone rang again. Xandra looked at it almost hostile, as if the ringing was an assault at her persona. She didn't move to pick up the receiver and finally the answering machine went on. The Detective rolled her eyes when the voice at the other end of the line was really Cody's.


Gawd! How she hated his nickname for her!

>>Please, pick up the phone... Xandy, c'mon, Ah know that ya're home... Can't we even talk lahk normal persons anymore?<<

Though everything inside of her screamed to not do so, she was tempted to pick up the phone and talk to him, at the sound of his tired voice, but an instant before her hand touched the receiver, Cody let out a sharp breath and he lost his patience.

>>Damn you Alexandra! You're just as much a bitch as your goddamn mother! Go ta hell. KLICK <<

Xandra's hand froze millimetres above the phone, then started to tremble. Her features turned from shock to fury. She finally picked up the receiver, her fist clenching around the plastic so hard that her knuckles turned white, and threw it against the opposite wall. Panting, she glared at the answering machine as if she could set it on fire with her stare.

Swallowing her anger, she walked to the wall, dangerously calm, and picked up the receiver to replace it on the station. In that very moment the phone rang again, but Xandra just stared at it coldly, waiting for the answering machine to go off another time, an air of indifference layering over the rage that was still boiling in her guts. It was Cody again.

>>Xandy, Ah.. Ah'm sorry. Ah shouldn't have compared ya ta yoah mother. Please...<<

Alexandra's hand grabbed the receiver, this time not to toss it, but to lift it to her ear.

"Listen, Cody, if ya say Ah'm lahk my momma, Ah'm proud o' it! Ah love mah mom, an' no matter what she did, that won't change! And now LEAVE ME THE HELL ALONE!"

She tossed the receiver back on the station and pulled the cable out of the wall to keep that moron from disturbing her any further.

Then, a smile creeped up her face. Her mother, of course.. why hadn't she thought of this earlier? Who could teach her better to think like Mr. X than Mrs. X herself? Again, it was time to pay the women's jail a visit.


The shadowy figure watched the young woman with growing interest as she yelled at someone on the phone, then hung up and slammed her fist into the wall. He retreated to the outermost corner of the sill he was crouching on as she approached the window, hoping that she wouldn't perceive him, stirred as she was. He should leave now, an inner voice screamed, but he couldn't tear himself away from his observing place. He tried to convince himself that he was just studying his opponent as he watched the young Detective stare into the rain.

But when the look of anger on her beautiful face turned to one of sadness and a single tear crossed her face, passing her trembling lips while she leaned her head against the glass, eyes closed, he could barely restrain from reaching out with his hand as if to comfort her from the other side of the window. Her shoulders twitched treacherously as she sobbed silently, then she took a deep breath and pulled herself together visibly. As she opened her eyes again, he could see determination there.

The young thief couldn't help but feel like an intruder. He had observed the woman in a very private moment, had witnessed a weakness at the memory of an old pain, a weakness she would have never shown him deliberately. He had observed people a thousand times before, gleefully noting every weakness that he could later use against them. But this time all he felt was remorse at having stolen a bit of the woman's soul. For the first time in his life, Remy LeBeau felt remorse for being a thief.

End Interlude

Raven Darkholme watched her foster daughter closely. She was nervous, but that didn't show in her face or her gestures. Good. She had taught her well. Xandra wanted something, Raven could tell as much, but she wouldn't make this easier for her. She would wait till her daughter found the nerve to tell her what she wanted. The nerve Raven had preached her endlessly to find when she had been younger. The world would give her nothing if she didn't demand it. And family was there to offer practise.

Xandra couldn't help but glance at the power suppression collar her mother wore from time to time. There she was now, recently promoted Detective, face to face with her mother, the terrorist. Before the declaration of equality between humans and mutants has been signed, her mother had been very... 'intent' in fighting for the mutant rights. Xandra approved of her mothers intentions and her bravery to stand up against a suppressing system. She didn't approve of her means to do that though. But that was past long gone, and now that her mothers goals were finally achieved, she couldn't relish them in freedom.

Xandra sighed. These were the issues her mother had to deal with, and she had always known the consequences her actions might have on her. And as far as the Detective could tell, Raven wasn't doing that bad in imprisonment. She seemed calm, at peace with herself. And she was really interested in what Xandra told her, about her promotion, about her break-up with Cody, all the news she had to offer, evading the subject at hand. But this small-talk wouldn't help her arrest Gambit. The young woman took a deep breath.

"Momma, Ah need yoah help. Ah'm working on this case, and Ah'm kinda struck. Ah hoped maybe ya could help me in anticipatin' the guy's next move."

Raven smiled. "Who are you searching, honey?"

"A phantom."


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