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Chapters
Prolog
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 02:10:46 AM

Chapter 4

Dana woke with a pounding headache. She groaned as she raised her head, and then immediately fell to a fit of coughing that sent stabs of pain through her lungs. After a moment, she gained control of the spasms. She sat still for several long minutes and concentrated on breathing.

The last thing she remembered was the three gas grenades that the soldiers had thrown into the hanger with herself and her odd acquaintances. As if in slow motion, she had watched the metal cylinders hit the ground and bounce, clattering haphazardly across the floor. Oddly enough, Remy had stopped one with his foot, and as the whitish smoke began to pour from vents along its length, he and Jean had stared at each other in another of those silent conversations. Dana would probably never know if it had involved words, or simply the eloquent body language of people who knew each other well, but she had watched as they decided whether to submit to the gas or to fight. Now, with the painful itch of the chemical burn in her lungs, she almost wished theyíd decided to fight.

Dana opened her eyes slowly. She was lying on the floor of a metal cage in the middle of what seemed otherwise to be a normal living room. She turned her head slightly, studying the cage. From the height and the spacing of the bars, it looked as though it might have been designed for a lion, or perhaps a small bear. Thankfully, it didnít appear to have been inhabited by either-at least, not recently. The floor and bars were clean enough to shine.

She turned further and spied another prone form on the floor beside her. Jean. She appeared to be unconscious, and Dana could see the steady rise and fall of her ribs. There was no sign of Remy. Dana sat up slowly and scanned the room. She was still a bit dizzy from the gas, but as she looked around, she saw nothing but the tasteful decor. A single window gave her a glimpse of the outside, but she could see little through the branches of a willow tree that apparently shaded this portion of the house. An empty fireplace took up the far wall, with a cluster of small couches arranged nearby. It appeared that the furniture had been hastily rearranged to make room for the cage, and Dana found herself wondering whose house she was in.

Turning her attention back to her immediate surroundings, Dana slid over to Jean. A cursory check confirmed that the other woman was both healthy and unconscious. Dana sighed and moved to put her back against the bars. Eventually, she was sure, someone would come to check on them. She was very curious who that someone might be.

"Spit it out, Hank." As the hours passed with no sign of either Jean or Remy, Scott became more and more concerned. The information Lilandra had brought them had left him chilled by the knowledge that even their own government was involved in this insidious invasion of Earth, and from his expression, it now appeared that Hank had brought him some more bad news.

Hank dropped into the nearest chair with a soft whuff that spoke volumes about the long hours heíd been keeping in his lab. "Heís not human," he said without preamble, gesturing toward the lab that resided beneath their feet.

Scott blinked in surprise, grateful that his visor hid so much of his expression. "Agent Mulder?"

Hank nodded. "In a manner of speaking."

Scott reminded himself forcibly that this was just Hank, and he shouldnít get annoyed. "English, Hank. Agent Mulder isnít human?"

Hank grinned, his weary expression evaporating. "Correct. He isnít Agent Mulder, either."

Scott paused. Hank had a knack for setting people up so that anything that came out of their mouths would sound incredibly stupid. He considered his options, eventually settling on, "Then who is he?" as the most intelligent question he could ask.

Hankís grin remained in place. "The operative question, O Fearless One, is íWhat is he?í." He pulled off his spectacles and began examining the lenses. "And the answer is- drum roll, please-- a SHIELD decoy."

"SHIELD?" Scott was dumbfounded. This was a curve he hadnít anticipated. "Youíre certain?"

Hank threw him a briefly annoyed look. "I triple-checked."

Scott stared at him, thinking furiously. "Is there a version of SHIELD in this other dimension?" he finally asked the curious scientist.

"I donít think so, no." Hank returned his glasses to their usual perch on his nose.

Scott stood up and began to pace. "So, what we have here is no longer an FBI agent from another dimension who killed himself by crashing a stolen spaceship into a mountain range in Russia somewhere." He pivoted smartly and looked at Hank. "We now have a SHIELD decoy copy of an FBI agent from another dimension who may or may not have killed himself by crashing a stolen spaceship into a mountain range in Russia. Correct?"

Hank chuckled appreciatively at his sarcasm. "Something like that."

Dana jumped at the sound of the doorknob being turned. She had been dozing with her forehead on her drawn up knees, but now she looked up, unconsciously smoothing her hair and tucking it behind her ears. She was almost unsurprised to see the Cancer Man walk in. A Marine guard held the door for him as he entered, which was a useful piece of information. Until then, Dana had had no idea whether the door was guarded or not.

She stood as he approached, making little effort to disguise her hatred. There was a very good chance that this man had ordered the assassination attempt that had killed Danaís sister, and she held a vague suspicion that he might yet turn out to have some connection to Mulderís death as well.

"Why am I being held here?" she demanded as soon as he reached the bars.

Cancer Man studied her in his irritatingly casual manner. Dana always had the feeling he was trying to decide if she was worth the cost of the bullet it would take to silence her. "You were trespassing in a restricted installation, Agent Scully."

Dana tried to hold on to her temper. "I was investigating a Federal crime scene."

He waved her statement away. "A matter of semantics."

Dana knew better than to rise to his bait, so she simply watched him and waited. After a moment, he smiled as if he could see her thought process. Dana hated that smug little smile and the superior attitude behind it. Someday, she sincerely hoped, she would be there to see that expression irrevocably wiped off his face.

Cancer Man studied her a moment longer, and then nodded toward the prone figure at Danaís feet. "Tell me about your friend."

Dana resisted the urge to glance down. "What do you want to know?" she countered.

"Letís start with her name." Cancer Man fished a cigarette out of his coat pocket, followed by a book of matches. The smell of carcinogens assaulted Danaís nose.

"Jean Summers." Hopefully that was an alias, she thought. Though knowing names hadnít seemed to help the government the last time theyíd tangled with these people.

Cancer Man nodded. "What else do you know about her?"

"Nothing."

The gray eyebrows arched as he blew smoke. "Surely, Agent Scully, you must know something."

She pursed her lips. "I donít. Whereís Remy?"

"Who?" Cancer Man asked with patently false curiosity.

"The man who was with us at the compound." Desperately she wished Mulder were there. He had always been so much better than her at these conversations. He could play on the hints and insinuations, dishing out the double entendres with glee. She never seemed to be able to do anything except lose her temper. Mulder was always telling her that it was because she took it all too seriously, but she simply didnít know how to not be serious with a man who had the power to ruin her life. And perhaps already had. More and more, she believed that the cancer in her head had been caused by human agents, not extraterrestrial.

Cancer Man cocked his head. "This cage seemed a bit small for three people, so we moved your other friend to more... suitable accommodations."

"Then Iíd like to see him."

"I donít think so." Cancer Man dropped his cigarette butt on the carpet, grinding it beneath his shoe. It left a small burn mark, Dana noticed. "Weíll talk again later, Agent Scully." He turned to leave.

A few steps from the door, he paused and turned. "My condolences on the death of your partner."

Dana could only stare at him. He almost sounded sincere.

Jean woke with a hazy pain in her lungs and a vague feeling that something was wrong. "Scott...?" She opened her eyes as memory began to return. "Remy...?"

"Heís not here." A hand gripped her shoulder and Jean recognized the FBI agentís voice.

Suppressing a groan, she rolled over. Dana was leaning over her, her expression one of professional concern. "How do you feel?"

Jean summoned a feeble grin. "Rotten."

"The dizziness and nausea should pass. Do you think you can sit up?"

Jean accepted the other womanís help as she pulled herself into a seated position. Then she cradled her head in her hands, rubbing her temples. As promised, she began to feel better almost immediately. Her head began to clear as well, and she finally looked up, surveying the immediate surroundings. Cautiously, she made a telepathic scan. There were perhaps twenty people in the building, most of them soldiers. She didnít find Remy anywhere among them.

"Whereís Remy?" Not knowing where he was or what had happened to him made her exceedingly nervous. In part because they had a mutual responsibility to each other to make sure they both made it back from this place, but more than that, Remy was the only familiar reference she had here. She would feel much more secure if she could catch a glimpse of that aggravatingly cocky smile.

Dana looked uncomfortable at the question. "Cancer Man said they moved him to another place."

Jean quirked an eyebrow. That nickname still tickled her. However, the business at hand was serious. "Do you know where?"

Dana shook her head.

Jean sighed and looked around. She noted the cage-its construction and simple but heavy lock, and the room with its single camera mounted in the corner near the ceiling. There was only one guard outside the door, but his thoughts were mostly about the dancer heíd met the night before, and not about his charges. Beyond him she sensed several other guards, including two at some kind of entry gate. They seemed like normal soldiers-competent but not expert. All in all, a pretty simple job to break out. She was loathe to leave just yet, though. If she had been unconscious this long, there was a fair chance that Remy might still be out as well, and she couldnít sense an unconscious mind.

"So what now?" Dana asked her. She had settled on the opposite side of the cage so that they faced each other across the short distance.

Jean shrugged for the benefit of the camera. "I donít know. We wait, I guess." Then she added, I canít sense Remy. I want to wait for a while to see if he might be in the house but still unconscious.

Danaís eyes narrowed as she forcibly suppressed her reaction. Jean had the feeling that she was never going to be comfortable with telepaths.

Why donít you just read Cancer Manís mind? He knows where they took him.

Iíd rather not risk it unless I have to. The chances that Cancer Man was being observed by these mysterious ígray mení was high, in her opinion, and Psylocke had said they were sensitive to telepaths. The last thing Jean wanted was to give herself away. Hopefully, she would be able to feel it if they were observing her directly, and she hadnít sensed any in the house.

Do you know where we are? Dana asked.

Jean had not scanned any of the soldiers deeply, but she had gotten that much. Some kind of government-owned safe house. They use it for political prisoners and private meetings, that kind of thing. She resisted the urge to scratch her itching eyes. It appeared she wasnít quite done with the gasí after effects. The only problem I can see is that weíre in North Carolina at the moment, and our rendezvous is in New York in a tad under three hours. Gatewayís not the kind to wait around.

Gateway?

Jean smiled. Itís his name. Well, the only one we have to call him by, anyway.

Oh. Dana closed her eyes and leaned her head back against the bars. Can you talk to him from here?

Jean was impressed by how quickly she adapted to the concept of telepathic communication and began to incorporate it into her thought process. Usually, people who disliked telepathy tended to ignore the possible benefits to both themselves and others. As if by not thinking about it, they could somehow make it go away. She was pleased that Dana didnít react that way.

Not without hanging out a great big sign for these ígray mení of yours that Iím a telepath.

Dana brought her head up sharply and stared at Jean. Donít tell me you believe in little gray men!

Jean was taken aback by her vehemence. On one hand, she seemed to believe that there was such a thing, but she also hated herself for it. It was as if she felt she were giving into a type of psychosis by believing in the existence of aliens and giving credence to the tangled web of conspiracy theories that formed a kind of urban mythos around them.

Finally, Jean decided that what little she could tell the FBI agent would only aggravate the situation. I do believe there is something out there, she said. Rogue called them the gray men, and the name stuck.

Danaís eyebrows dipped. Rogue is the woman who crashed here last year? She seemed to want to change the subject.

Yes.

They lapsed into silence. Jean took the opportunity to make another scan for Remy. Although she had put up shields against unwanted observers, it didnít occur to her to shield herself from him when she did it. The full force of his pain slammed into her. She doubled over with a cry, her vision blanking as she fought to filter the sensations to a manageable level.

"Jean!" Danaís hands were on her, helping her to sit up. "What happened?"

Jean ignored the question as she regained control of her senses. A hard knot fury coalesced in the pit of her stomach, demanding action. "Come on." She rose to her feet with Dana half-supporting her, and turned to face the cage door.

With a telepathic wave, she yanked out the wires to the surveillance camera. Then she shattered the lock on the door. Dana turned away from the burst of metal shards, then stared at her, eyes huge.

"Remy is downstairs," she grated as she concentrated on the soldier outside their door. She had pushed her awareness of him into the back of her mind, reducing the pain to a dull ache, but she was almost too angry for words. It was a reaction she usually hid, knowing that her husband simply would not understand, but there were no X-Men here to see her now.

Dana opened the door of the cage at the same time the soldier outside slumped against the wall. Jean led the way across the room, pausing only to manipulate the tumblers in the door lock. She swung the door open and stepped out into the hall. Dana followed her after retrieving the soldierís weapon. The hall was empty, and Jean turned toward the kitchen and the stairs that would lead them to the basement.

They burst into the kitchen, taking the two men sitting at the wide table by surprise. They raised their hands uncertainly at Danaís command, their gazes locked on the automatic rifle pointed at them. Dana shot Jean a questioning glance.

Get them down on the floor, Jean told her.

The two obeyed as Dana relayed the command, and as soon as they were prone, Jean telekinetically clamped down on the appropriate arteries until both were unconscious. It was neat and untraceable, but more importantly, it was fast. So far, they had moved so quickly that no alarm had yet been sounded. Jean hoped their luck would hold for at least a few minutes more.

They went down the basement stairs more carefully, though Jeanís scan told her that there were only two men with Remy. They paused outside the door to the room and Dana nodded as Jean gave her a silent count. On three, Jean blew the door inward, hoping for the maximum element of surprise and then followed Dana through the doorway. The room was dim, lit only by a single bulb in a metal shade. Jean could see the nearer man pretty well, but both Cancer Man and Remy were nearly buried in the shadows. She tried to reach out to Remy, but received only a confusing burst of impressions, mixed with pain.

As expected, both Cancer Man and the other spun around at their entrance. Jean hit the closest man with a telepathic spike and he collapsed immediately. Cancer Man was slowly raising his hands under Danaís direction when Jean turned to him. To her surprise, her spike barely fazed him.

"Hey!" She narrowed her gaze and hit him harder. Though she might not have admitted it, she was immensely gratified to see him fall. Without another glance, she turned her attention to the man who hung limply in front of her.

His eyes flickered open as she approached. "Jean..." Then he was gone, sliding into unconsciousness.

Jean glanced at Dana, who had stepped up beside her. Her expression was once again filled with that professional compassion that Jean was certain masked real concern. "Letís get him down." There was a quiet anger there, too, which Jean appreciated.

Not wanting to be too obvious, since she wasnít certain if there were cameras hidden in the darkness, Jean broke the manacles at the welded seams, and together she and Dana lowered Remy to the floor. A red light on the wall began to flash as they did so, and Jeanís breath caught in her throat. The alarm!

"Now what?" Dana asked.

Jean lifted Remy onto her shoulders with a little boost of telekinesis and then stood. Her mind was churning. She didnít want to have to fight their way out. This wasnít her Earth, where it would be, at most, another incident to fan the anti-mutant hysteria even further. Here, it was the stuff of miracles, and the kind of thing that would draw far more government attention than they could afford. She smiled grimly. Maybe it was time for some more of that subtlety.

Drag those two into a dark corner. Jean motioned towards the two unconscious government men. Theyíll be more likely to be overlooked for a while.

Dana frowned and shouldered her weapon. We canít afford to stay down here very long. Weíre trapped here.

If anyone saw us here, we would be, Jean agreed. But those soldiers arenít going to see us. Theyíre going to see them. She nodded toward the two.

Dana stared at her, eyes narrowing, as she considered the implications. Then she nodded once, and went to move the unconscious men.

 

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