Home | Forum | Mailing List | Repository | Links | Gallery
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 15

Dana stared out the windscreen of the Blackbird, feeling numb. The dark ocean swept by beneath her, lit only by the silver light of a crescent moon. The foamy crests of breaking waves glowed faintly against the black surface of the water, but they were so far beneath her that she lost any sense of motion. Instead, the tiny glints seemed to mimic the starry sky, as if the ocean were a vast mirror reflecting the infinity of space. Everything was cold and silent. Even the cockpit of the Blackbird was eerily quiet as they outraced the sound of their own engines.

Seated in the co-pilot’s chair, Dana wrapped her arms more tightly about herself and glanced at Charles. His eyes were fixed resolutely ahead, then lines of his face hard and still. She desperately wanted to ask about Remy, but was too frightened of the answer to force herself to speak. She’d seen the change in Charles’ face when he lost telepathic contact, as grief and resolution warred in his features, but his hands on the Blackbird’s controls had never hesitated.

Finally, she forced her mind away from the past and directed it toward the future. "Where are we going?"

Charles’ gaze jerked to her, as if she’d startled him out of a private reverie. "Muir Island," he answered after a short pause. "We’re going to meet up with Excaliber and start making plans to go after the X-Men."

Dana digested that quietly. Plans to go after the X-Men. Not Remy, the X-Men. The realization sent a chill down her spine. For whatever reason, the attack on the mansion had convinced him that the X-Men were also in danger. Dana thought back through the events of the past hours, searching for a logical chain of information that would lead her to the same conclusion, but she found that she lacked far too many of the important details.

"Do you know who sent those men?"

Charles breathed an aborted sigh, which to Dana seemed filled with resignation. She had the distinct impression that he didn’t really want to talk. Unfortunately, he was the only one with answers to her questions.

"Not for certain, but the specific agency isn’t important."

On another day, Dana might have smiled at that. She’d become quite familiar with the generic "government" stamp. She was also used to discovering that such people always seemed to know everything they wanted to know. However, Charles had seemed very surprised that anyone would have discovered that his reclusive school actually housed the X-Men.

"Do you have any idea how they knew where to find us?" She touched the back of her neck reflexively. "Hank scanned all three of us for implants."

Charles adjusted his grip on the control wheel. He flexed his fingers several times as if debating with himself, then reached over and punched the appropriate buttons on the autopilot mode panel. Then he sat back and turned to face Dana.

"That is not the most disturbing thing about all of this, I’m afraid. It’s not a large stretch to imagine that someone in the government has paid enough attention to the X-Men over the years to figure out where their base of operations is. That information is available. It is the method of their attack that disturbs me."

Dana listened curiously while he continued, "First and foremost, only a very few people know that I am a mutant at all. And of those, even fewer know anything about the extent of my powers." He crossed his arms. "The soldiers that attacked us were wearing some highly advanced psi shielding. Even I couldn’t penetrate it."

"So they knew exactly who you were."

Charles nodded. "Yes. Secondly, they knew just as much about Gambit’s powers as they did about mine, which is perhaps just as surprising."

Dana cocked an eyebrow. "I noticed he’s not the most forthcoming of people." She felt a little guilty, as is the comment was somehow irreverent. But then she shoved the thought away. She was not going to let herself believe that she was talking about the dead.

Charles’ lips quirked in a shadow of a smile. "Considering that he’s a professional thief, spy and who-knows-what else, that shouldn’t surprise you." The hint of humor in his face died. "But the truth is that I didn’t think there was anyone who really knew the extent of Remy’s powers. I certainly don’t."

As Dana watched, his expression grew even more grave.

"What?" she finally asked.

Charles looked up. "Remy was tortured." His voice was flat with suppressed anger. "Even though he claims not to remember any of it, and I believe him, I am quickly running out of other possibilities for how these people could have learned so much about us."

Dana closed her eyes and leaned her head back against the seat rest as the chain of logic fell into place in her head. She felt hollow with dread. "Then, if they know that much about you, they also know all about the other X-Men. Their powers, their personalities, their weaknesses... " She opened her eyes to look at Charles.

He nodded. "And since they attacked us after the X-Men were gone, and with an application of force consistent with the small resistance we three could offer, the chances are good that they knew about the mission." He turned his head to look out at the stars. "Or at least they knew enough to have tracked the Blackbird when it left."

Dana followed his gaze to the night sky, wondering what was happening up there to the people she was beginning to think of as friends. "Then the X-Men are walking into a trap."

Charles bowed his head. "I fear they already have."

Dana looked over at him sharply. "What do you mean?"

Charles met her gaze, his eyes filled with anguish. "I’ve been trying to reach Jean since we took off. Even with her shields up, I should be able to sense her, but I can’t find a trace of her or any of the X-Men."

Chilled, Dana turned to stare out the cockpit windshield. She wanted to scream at the dark forces that seemed to be forever stealing from her the people she cared about. First Melissa, then Mulder, and now Remy and Jean and the others. Part of her was tempted to run away-to give up searching for the truth and live any lie that would not cost her the lives of those she loved. But the rest of her was simply angry. The low-grade fury she harbored for the Racth’zai and the governments who perpetrated such evil on the people they were supposed to protect exploded inside her, chasing away her fear.

"I’m going with you," she told Charles grimly.

His expression didn’t change as he nodded.

Jean Summers opened her eyes cautiously as consciousness returned. Her head ached horribly and she instinctively tried to raise a hand to touch her forehead, only to discover that she couldn’t move. Surprised, she tried to lift her head, despite the pain, but that was tied down as well. A strap of some supple material crossed her forehead, pinning her head tightly to the surface on which she lay. That was quite possibly part of the reason for the headache. She struggled briefly against the bonds that held her, but quickly gave up in favor of observing her new surroundings.

Above her, bright lights were stationed in a circle around the edges of the ceiling of what appeared to be a small amphitheater. Her mind identified it as a surgical theater without registering any significance to the thought. The lights were bright enough to obscure anything beyond the windows that ringed the upper portion of the theater. A single tube of some silver metal descended from the ceiling, terminating in a narrow tip a few inches above Jean’s face. She could see little else from her restricted viewpoint, and after a few minutes of observation, closed her eyes.

Memories began to return then, and her eyes flew open in alarm as she remembered her last moments of consciousness.

They’d walked into a trap. She wasn’t certain how they’d known or even how they’d accomplished it, but somehow the Racth’zai had stripped away their mutant powers. One moment the X-Men had been walking through a kind of storage area and the next Jean’s mind had been filled with a high-pitched keening that grated across her senses like giant nails. She’d reached out telepathically for the source of the broadcast at the same time the other X-Men began to fan out, but she found herself locked within her own mind. Too quickly to counter, the horrible sound had increased until it brought Jean to her knees in agony. She’d been vaguely aware of the others around her, suffering as she was, but as the noise in her mind became unbearable and she pitched forward into darkness, she’d been unable to feel anything except for horror at how easily the X-Men had fallen.

Fully cognizant now, Jean struggled to calm her fear. Her powers were still gone, leaving her head-blind, unable to sense the other X-Men. Even her rapport with Scott was missing and she felt intensely vulnerable and very thoroughly alone. Her heart was pounding in her ears, so she concentrated on breathing deeply in the hopes of being able to hear whatever might be around her.

Eventually her pulse slowed, but her straining ears found nothing. For all she could tell, she was completely alone.

Remy woke at the sensation of something cold touching him. He identified it before he opened his eyes and decided that he was in some kind of trouble.

"I suggest you sit very still, Mr. Gambit."

Remy also recognized the voice, and opened his eyes to find the Cancer Man watching him warily. He held a nine millimeter pistol whose tip rested against Remy’s chest, just over his heart.

"Y’ have m’ full attention," he managed to answer, and was somewhat surprised to hear the words come out. He felt awful, as if someone had tied him up and dragged him behind a truck for a couple of days. He didn’t think he’d acquired any new injuries since the attack on the mansion, but he’d been in bad enough shape then as it was, and it didn’t appear that much had changed.

Cancer Man smiled in amusement, though the expression never got as far as his eyes. "Good." He gaze dropped momentarily to Remy’s hands, which were tied to the chair in which he was seated. "If I see even a hint of pink, I will kill you. Understood?"

Remy didn’t doubt him. "Oui." He resisted the temptation to flex his wrists against the cords that held him. His spatial power was in operation, as, no doubt, was his biokinetic charge, but he didn’t think he could dodge the bullet so long as Cancer Man kept his gun where it was. He did have to wonder how the man had learned about mutants in general, and his own powers in particular. There seemed to be a disturbing number of people who knew an awful lot about him these days.

Cancer Man seemed to accept his answer and shifted his stance slightly. "You and I are going to have a little talk about our last... meeting."

Remy’s eyes narrowed angrily. "What about it?"

Cancer Man’s expression remained mild. "What do you remember?"

Remy stared at him as he debated how to answer, if at all. Cancer Man’s tone wasn’t taunting as, perhaps, it should have been. He sounded genuinely curious, and it set Remy’s mind to racing through the possible implications.

Cancer Man watched him for a moment, then his eyebrows lifted fractionally. "Obviously not very much." Then his expression firmed. "So let me fill in a couple of details for you."

"You were delivered to me in pretty much the same condition you’re in now." A flicker of a smile crossed his face, but Remy couldn’t identify the emotion that fueled it. "At the time, I was... unaware of your unique abilities. So, I’m curious-if your friends hadn’t shown up when they did, I believe you might very well have blown up the safehouse and everyone in it in the process of attempting to escape. Is that a reasonable assumption?"

Remy studied him for a long moment. He wasn’t certain he believed Cancer Man’s claim that he wasn’t involved in his torture, but there was little reason not to play along for a while, at least.

He shrugged. "Prob’ly."

Cancer Man seemed pleased by the answer. "Well, that’s the confirmation I was looking for." He cocked his head and adjusted his grip on the pistol. "Now the only question that remains is why someone went to so much trouble to set you up to kill me."

Remy stared at him as the pieces fell into place. His memories were still very, very fuzzy, but there was a different feel to the ones filled with so much pain. Wherever that place had been, it wasn’t in the basement where he’d awakened. And that explained why he hadn’t been able to escape. For most of the time, his powers had been suppressed. They’d only been returned to him once he was in a position to use them for the benefit of whoever had arranged it all. It made a bizarre kind of sense. Remy felt a new anger filling him. He didn’t like being used, and especially didn’t like being used to kill. He’d been down that road before with Sinister and didn’t have any interest in going back.

Remy sorted through his options. He didn’t know how much Cancer Man knew about the alternate universes or the Racth’zai. Adding to the man’s knowledge would probably be dangerous, but if he could glean some understanding of the political machinations going on on this universe’s side of things, he might be able to turn it to some kind of advantage.

"Maybe y’ friends not so friendly after all."

Cancer Man pressed the tip of the pistol more tightly against Remy’s chest. "I don’t have any friends, Mr. Gambit."

Remy didn’t react. He was beginning to get a feel for the Cancer Man. His years of working as a thief, con artist and various other things had given him a keen ability to gauge people. The Cancer Man was frightened, but not panicked. He was a man used to having complete control within his arena, and the destruction of that absolute power had him scared. He needed answers that he believed Remy could provide him, but was showing some willingness to compromise in order to get those answers. Remy was confident he could work him, so long as he didn’t underestimate the man’s ruthless intelligence.

"All right," Remy agreed quietly and felt the pressure on the gun ease. "I t’ink maybe we have some common interests, neh?"

Cancer Man visibly relaxed, though Remy could tell it was mostly a show for his benefit. "That’s better." He paused. "Last time you said the ship crashed in Mongolia. Tell me about it."

Remy’s mind spun for a moment as he tried to make the connection, but then the memory came back to him and he wondered once again just how much this man knew. He seemed to have a wide scattering of information, but Remy couldn’t tell how much of the real picture he possessed. He weighed his words carefully.

"A ship did crash in Mongolia." He shrugged lightly. "Can’ guarantee to y’ dat it was de one y’ lookin’ for."

"Who was on it?"

Remy raised an eyebrow. That was a point of real interest, and the Cancer Man was doing a poor job of hiding it. But, if the pilot was who the X-Men thought, that was understandable. However, Remy was going to have to dance around this one a bit. He had much to offer Cancer Man, which hopefully would be enough to distract him from the more important questions that Remy couldn’t afford to answer.

He summoned a smile. "If y’ wonderin’ if Mulder was on it, den oui, he was." He had the satisfaction of seeing the Cancer Man’s expression widen in surprise. "We pulled his body out o’ de wreckage."

Cancer Man’s eyes narrowed thoughtfully. "Then Agent Scully’s identification was in error."

Remy shrugged. "Don’ know ’bout dat. I wouldn’ be surprised if she was right."

The thoughtful expression didn’t change. "Clones?"

Remy was almost starting to enjoy the conversation. "Y’ folks seem t’ be into dat."

Cancer Man ignored him for a few moments as he thought. Remy was content to wait. His power to charm was somewhat nebulous, but he could feel the tendrils, like tiny hooks, that now linked him to the Cancer Man. The longer they talked, the stronger his ability to influence him would grow. As long as he was careful, he had little to fear and might be able to learn a great deal.

"What about the ship itself?" Cancer Man asked suddenly.

Remy followed the shift in direction curiously. "Not’ing left but pieces." Then he smiled. "Is it my turn t’ ask a question?"

Cancer Man gave him an evaluating stare, as if trying to decide how much he might gain by granting the request. Finally, he nodded tightly. "Of course."

Remy considered the possibilities carefully before he spoke. "How did I get here?"

Without losing his focus on the gun in his hand, Cancer Man reached into an inner pocket in his suit jacket and pulled out a package of cigarettes. "I called in a favor... several favors. It seems that the agency that captured you works outside of our jurisdiction." His expression hinted that that was another subject of interest, but Remy knew better than to pursue it. He didn’t think that Cancer Man knew about the different universes yet, only that there were other players on the field that he hadn’t known about. But the fact that he could pull strings on this side of things and get people on Remy’s side to jump was significant.

Cancer Man drew a cigarette from the package with his lips and moved to toss the package onto a nearby table. Catching a whiff of the tobacco, Remy decided to push his power a bit. He narrowed his concentration and Cancer Man paused with the package still in hand.

"Cigarette?" he asked.

Remy smiled. "Merci."


GambitGuild is neither an official fansite of nor affiliated with Marvel Enterprises, Inc.
Nonetheless, we do acknowledge our debt to them for creating such a wonderful character and would not dream of making any profit from him other than the enrichment of our imaginations.
X-Men and associated characters and Marvel images are © Marvel Enterprises, Inc.
The GambitGuild site itself is © 2006 - 2007; other elements may have copyrights held by their respective owners.