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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
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18
Chapter 19
Chapter 20

Faith and Dreams - REVIEW THIS STORY

Written by Valerie Jones
Last updated: 04/26/2007 02:10:47 AM

Chapter 14

Remy closed his eyes, resting briefly while Dana struggled with the fittings on her armor. A piece of memory flashed to life behind his closed eyelids and he stiffened in response to the remembered pain. It was happening more often now-bits and pieces returning to him in a disjointed collage. They were only fragments so far, filled with bright lights and the sound of his own screams. He was torn between the desire to know what had happened-to resolve some the details that simply didn’t make sense-and the sure knowledge that, if he found them, he would never be able to completely erase the memories from his nightmares.

The puzzling question was how had they held him, conscious enough for the agony he remembered, but somehow circumventing his powers. The only intact memory he had was of when Jean and Dana had come after him, and his powers had been functioning just fine then. It didn’t make sense to think that his tormentors had suddenly given him his powers back. But for the life of him, he couldn’t understand why he would have stayed there, let them do to him what they had, if he possessed the power to escape.

His confusion only served to fuel the simmering fury in the pit of his stomach. Remy was no stranger to the emotion of hatred, but in the past it had always been a sudden and passionate thing, involving little thought and even less self-control. This was different. He was determined that those responsible would eventually be repaid in full for what they’d done. When he remembered what they had done to him, they would get it back in spades.

He opened his eyes as Dana muttered a curse.

"Y’ wan’ some help, chere?" He pushed the thoughts away. He hadn’t yet decided if he was going to mention the returning bits of memory to anyone.

Dana looked up, her lips pressed together in a thin line of frustration. "No." She went back to what she was doing, and with a sharp yank pulled the stiff seals into alignment. They fused with a soft hiss.

"There." The single word was triumphant. Dana spent a moment looking the suit over. Remy examined her critically as well, but saw nothing untoward. She’d managed to put the complex suit on properly without assistance.

"How’s it feel?" he asked.

Dana cocked her head, a small frown decorating her lips. "Better than I expected, at least. I’m not sure I would call it comfortable."

She turned to the table where a standard-issue Browning laser rifle was laid out, waiting for her. After a moment’s hesitation, she picked up the weapon, weighing it in her hands. She spent several minutes familiarizing herself with the weapon, and then turned to Remy, her expression hinting at a smile.

"So now I’m ready to join the X-Men on their next mission?"

Remy found himself chuckling dryly at her expression, despite the sharp pain it caused him. "Be fun t’ see someone try t’ stop y’." He pressed the fingers of one hand lightly against his bandaged abdomen as he nodded toward her new gear. "Y’ ought t’ spend some time in de Danger Room gettin’ used t’ all dat, t’ough."

She nodded in assent as she checked the safety on the rifle and slung it over her shoulder. "Maybe we should check in with Charles. He might have heard something by now." She walked around behind Remy to take hold of his wheelchair’s handles.

"Y’ wan’ go upstairs?"

"It’s almost time for breakfast." She glanced down at him over his shoulder. "I don’t suppose I’m going to be able to talk you into going back to the infirmary?"

Although her tone was light, it brought back everything Remy was trying not to think about. "Non," he answered more sharply than he intended. He had never been fond of the laboratory air of the X-Men’s infirmary. It reminded him far too much of Sinister’s labs.

She sighed softly. "Suit yourself. However, as your doctor I’m going to insist that you lay down in a bed once we’ve talked to Charles. I assume you have one upstairs somewhere."

"Oui, chere." He was a bit amused by her stern, matronly tone, though he wondered why she was so willing to let him leave the infirmary on a semi-permanent basis when Hank would not even have entertained the idea.

Their conversation faded into silence as they moved out into the hallway. With nothing to distract him, Remy began to notice how tired he was. And how much he hurt. He shoved the awareness away. Sleep wasn’t going to bring him any peace, not while the X-Men were gone.

Charles’ expression of surprise was priceless as Remy and Dana entered his office. It was very rare for anyone to catch Charles off guard, but the beautiful and slightly ethereal federal agent, now decked out in some of the world’s most powerful combat hardware, was a rather stunning sight. Remy enjoyed watching the Professor struggle with his composure.

Charles stared at Dana for several long moments, his surprise fading into approval. "I see you two have been keeping busy," he commented, his gaze traveling between them.

Dana managed to look slightly abashed as she nodded, but her gaze remained firm. "When we have the opportunity to search for Mulder, I don’t want to be left out."

Charles gave her a sympathetic smile. "That was never our intention." He glanced at Remy. "Though I was expecting to have Ororo introduce you to some of this world’s more advanced technologies once she returned."

Remy shrugged as diffidently as he could manage. "Nobody told me dat."

"Most likely because you are supposed to be staying in bed to recuperate," Charles returned immediately, and Remy gave him a sour look.

"Y’ heard anyt’ing from de X-Men?" Remy asked by way of changing the subject.

"No, not yet." Charles pushed himself away from his desk and moved the hoverchair around to the side. "I was just getting ready to go use Cerebro to make another sweep for them. It’s still early to expect anything."

Remy froze as something impinged on the edge of his mutant spatial sense. Three somethings, actually, that streaked across the front lawn at tremendous speed.

"Get down!" he yelled and dove for the floor as the alarms began to wail. Dana joined him as his mutant senses tracked the three missiles through the last seconds of their flight.

Two of the missiles exploded over the driveway as the mansion’s defense grid came on line, but the third evaded the fine net of lasers and continued on its course toward the bay window that lined the wall of the Professor’s office. Remy reacted instinctively, grabbing a paperweight off of the corner of the desk, charging it, and throwing it toward the incoming missile. His injuries screamed at the motions, but they would all be dead if the missile detonated inside the office.

He collapsed to the floor with stars whirling before his eyes as the two objects met and exploded just beyond the window. The shock wave toppled the Professor’s hoverchair and blew all of the objects off of the desk. Charles hit the ground with a surprised cry, but the overturned chair provided him with an excellent shield against the flames and shattered glass that slammed through the room. Behind the desk, Dana and Remy were similarly shielded.

As soon as the explosion was over, Remy felt strong hands on him, helping him up. "Are you all right?" Dana’s eyes were wide and wild with adrenaline.

"Oui," he managed to answer as he leaned back against the side of the desk. "Professor?" Outside, he could sense a swarm of human activity at the edges of his perception. Whoever had fired those missiles had been waiting just beyond the limits of his spatial sense, but now they were beginning to advance.

"I’m fine." Charles had raised himself to a sitting position. A shallow gash on his head was shedding of trail of blood, but he didn’t seem to notice. "How many are there?"

Remy could now clearly sense the men who were cautiously making their way across the lawn. They moved with the precision of a trained combat squad, and he could only guess that they had taken care of the defense grid lasers somehow. "Six in de first group, ’nother six behind."

The Professor’s expression was grim. "I can’t sense them. They’re wearing psi shielding of some kind." He paused. "They obviously know who we are."

Dana looked between them, her expression calculating. "What now?"

"I don’t think we three are going to be able to mount much of a defense if their intent is to kill us. Our best choice is to get to the other Blackbird," Charles answered as he began to pull himself across the floor toward the door.

Remy nodded and then immediately regretted the action as nausea swept through him. He forced himself into motion though, crawling toward the door with Dana’s assistance. He ducked involuntarily as one of the men outside swept the room with strafing fire. The three of them were still well shielded by the desk and Charles’ chair, but he knew they were running out of time.

Beside him, Dana pulled the laser rifle off of her shoulder and thumbed the safety off. She rose to her knees, firing blindly through the jagged hole that had been ripped in the wall of the Professor’s study as Charles opened the door that led into the hall.

Remy forced himself to his feet as Dana darted out into the hall behind them and slammed the door shut. He felt like he was seeing everything through a haze, but the FBI agent’s face was clear enough as she stared at him and the Professor in dismay. Remy had no trouble guessing what she was thinking.

"I’ll manage," he croaked. "Y’ have t’ carry de Professor."

More gunfire drummed against the other side of the door, propelling Dana into motion. With a last look at Remy, she stooped and lifted the Professor into her arms. He was pleased to note that she kept her rifle in hand as she did so. She wouldn’t have much flexibility in her direction of fire, but it was better than nothing.

Bracing himself against the wall with one hand, Remy staggered after Dana as she ran for the lifts that would take them to the lower levels.

"There it is," Cyclops said softly and walked forward to peer carefully at a diagram plastered to the wall of the passageway they were in.

"Ah suppose it’s too much ta hope for a ’You Are Here’ sticker," Rogue commented beside him.

Cyclops threw her a sour look, which Rogue returned blandly. They were all getting twitchy crawling through the endless tunnels, and she, at least, needed to restore some perspective before the eerie atmosphere of the spaceship made her completely paranoid.

Behind her, Storm leaned against the corridor wall, her face set in the grim lines Rogue recognized as a defense against her claustrophobic reaction to small places.

Jean’s touch on their minds froze each of the X-Men in their places. Company, she said tersely.

The creature that scampered around the corner took Rogue by surprise. It was small and squirrel-like, but covered in a luxurious coat of long white fur. A fitted vest covered much of its body, and appeared to carry a variety of tools in mesh pockets.

The creature had time for one short squeak of surprise before Bishop knocked it to the floor. Either stunned or unconscious, the creature simply lay there, and Rogue realized suddenly that she recognized its species.

"It’s like that thing that rides around with Ch’od," Bobby said before she could put her thoughts into words.

Scott nodded as the creature opened its eyes, blinking slowly. "I think you’re right. Does it seem like it’s a kind of... mechanic?"

Jean knelt to touch the creature’s small head. "I can’t sense much from its mind, but it does seem to be some kind of a worker." Rogue saw the frightened creature’s eyes sag shut under Jean’s gentle touch.

"Indeed. Perhaps these Racth’zai are using the races they have conquered as laborers?" Storm knelt beside Jean to finger a collar that surrounded the creature’s neck.

"Well, at least now we know there’s somethin’ alive on this ship." Rogue gave the small creature one last look. "Ah was beginnin’ ta wonder."

"We’d better keep moving," Cyclops told them as he went back to studying the alien map. He seemed to reach a conclusion, and pointed to one of the corridors that branched away from the one they had been following. "That way."

Remy leaned against the wall with one hand pressed against his stomach, wishing desperately that he could afford the luxury of fainting. Fresh blood darkened his shirt in a growing stain, from the sutures he had once again managed to rip open. Dana watched him with concern, as did the Professor, but neither said anything, for which he was grateful.

The wall mounted lasers in the foyer started up with a sharp staccato of sounds, and Remy heard an answering cry of pain from one of the soldiers who were invading the mansion. So far, the mansion’s defenses-under Cerebro’s direction-- were holding them down fairly well, but they continued to advance in stages as they methodically destroyed each weapons station. Remy, Charles and Dana had already been cut off from the nearest of the lifts, and had been forced to backtrack. Unfortunately, the group of soldiers that were coming in through the foyer stood between them and the kitchen, which would provide them a shortcut into the den and access to the other lifts.

"Ready?" Dana asked him as the soldiers returned fire on the wall lasers.

Remy nodded jerkily, not trusting himself to speak. He had picked up a couple of pieces of debris from the missile’s explosion, but his fingers felt like they were going to sleep, making it hard to keep his grip on them.

Charles was seated with his back to the wall, completely vulnerable unless Remy and Dana could do something about the approaching soldiers. His powers were nullified by the psi-shielded helmets they were wearing, and Remy had to agree that it looked like they knew just exactly who they were dealing with. How they had discovered the X-Men’s base of operations was another question entirely.

"Now," Dana said, and darted around the corner. Remy followed her as she opened fire, charging the debris in his hand as he went. The power felt like acid running down his arms, but he clung grimly to the targets that his mutant sense picked out, and threw. As the scraps left his hands, Dana caught him around the chest, slamming both of them into the wall as she used her armor to shield him from the close-quarters blast.

Remy gagged as memory impinged on reality. His vision was whited out momentarily by impossibly bright lights. He recognized the circular shapes of the lights within the brightness, but could see nothing beyond. Hard points of agony raked through his brain, more painful even than Psylocke’s psychic knife. Shadowy forms moved around him, their outlines obscured by the light. They seemed to be watching him, their voices a low scratchy murmur he couldn’t identify.

Vaguely, he was aware of the sound of Dana’s rifle, as if he was hearing it from a great distance. Then, in an instant, the memory was gone and the real world hit him full force. Sound and vision returned, and he looked around to see Dana standing in the middle of the foyer, her expression dismayed as she stared at the bodies that littered the floor. She blinked once and then gathered herself with a small shake of her head. With a quick glance in his direction, she went back into the hallway after Charles. Remy leaned gratefully against the wall and waited.

A loud crash and then the sound of gunfire set a cold shiver up Remy’s spine. Dana came back at a run, the Professor in her arms. Her rifle was gone.

"Move, Remy!" she shouted at him as chasing laser fire ate large chunks out of the corner wall just behind her.

Instinctively, Remy charged his last sliver of metal and lobbed it into the hall, then turned and ran after Dana. He heard the explosion but barely registered it through the spikes of pain that accompanied every pounding footstep as they bolted for the kitchen.

The kitchen was as far as Remy could push himself. He stumbled to a halt, sagging against the countertop. The shimmering surfaces of hanging pots and cutlery sparked an idea, and he fumbled with one of the drawers that his searching fingers found beneath the edge of the counter.

Dana whirled, her eyes snapping to the kitchen doorway as a black clad figure appeared there. Remy yanked open the drawer in his hand, grabbed the nearest piece of silverware, charged it and threw before the soldier could bring his weapon to bear on them. The spoon exploded and the man collapsed with a cry. Remy knew that would hold his companions off for a little while, but not very long.

"Remy, come on!" Dana jerked her head toward the door that would lead into the den and then to the lifts.

Remy managed to grab a handful of silverware as his legs gave out beneath him. He slid down the cabinets and the handful of forks and spoons scattered across the floor in front of him. His vision wavered dangerously and he scrabbled to hold onto the shreds of consciousness.

Laser fire filled the room as someone fired blindly into the kitchen from the hall. It didn’t quite reach them because of the angle, but Remy knew that the next volley probably would as the soldiers grew more confident.

"Go on, chere," he told Dana as a cold hand of fear clenched his stomach. He carefully picked up one of the forks, eyes narrowing as he forced his powers to function. His throw was weak, but the fork skittered across the tiled floor, exploding when it hit the door jam.

"Gambit, we’re not going to leave without you."

Remy felt Dana’s presence beside him and looked up at the Professor. He tried to summon his usual bravado. "I’ll be right behind y’," he said as his mutant power noted renewed motion outside the kitchen door. He picked up another fork. "Y’ can’ let dem take de most powerful telepath... " The effort of charging the aluminum utensil momentarily robbed him of speech. "...on de planet... neh?"

The Professor’s next words echoed directly in Remy’s mind. Remy, we’re almost out of time. You CAN make it a little further.

For once, Remy was grateful for the telepathic intrusion. It was much easier than speaking. Somebody’s got t’ cover y’ backs. He threw the glowing fork in his hand toward the doorway. Wise to his powers, the men outside took cover from the blast. Two of them started moving away, and Remy guessed that they were looking for another entrance to the kitchen. It would only be a matter of moments before they found the door to the den, which would cut Dana and the Professor off from the lifts. He conveyed that information to the Professor through their mindlink, not bothering to put it into words.

He knew immediately that Charles understood. The Professor’s expression was agonized as he turned to Dana. "Go," he told her.

Remy was impressed despite himself when the FBI agent didn’t hesitate. She seemed to have an uncanny understanding of how dangerous it would be to allow the Racth’zai to tap into the full potential of mutant genes. And how important Charles Xavier was as a telepath capable of manipulating any mind on the planet.

Dana turned and sprinted for the door that led into the den, disappearing almost immediately from Remy’s sight. His mutant power continued to track them, and he smiled grimly as they moved into the anteroom where the lift doors were. The approaching soldiers had found the other door to the den, but they were moving too cautiously to catch them now.

Concentrating, Remy picked up another piece of silverware as the soldiers closed in on him in careful silence. His job now was misdirection. The Professor would seal the lift tubes and lock down the cars once they got to the hangar level, but the longer it took these soldiers to figure out where they’d gone, the better. Remy had no idea if the Professor had been able to reach anyone on the other teams telepathically, but he could hope that the cavalry would show up in time to keep the government and the Racth’zai from raiding the complex beneath the mansion.

The two soldiers in the den made a rush on the kitchen from that side and Remy tossed a fork in their direction. The two scattered, diving to the floor as the explosion shattered the floor tiles and sent a ball of fire billowing through the doorway. But as his vision cleared from the bright flash, Remy found that the two had regained their feet. Their rifles were trained unwaveringly on him, and Remy laid his head back against the cabinets with an unconscious sigh of relief. He’d done everything he could to shield the Professor and Dana while they escaped.

Sighing once more, he allowed his eyelids to sag shut. Unconsciousness came to claim him almost immediately, and he went without protest.


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