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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 02:10:46 AM

Chapter 6

Ororo Munroe let herself out of the plush office without visible expression. But inwardly, she heaved a sigh of relief. Her high-heeled shoes tapped rhythmically along the floor of the Congressional building as she made her way toward the front door. She had come to Washington D.C. at Professor Xavier’s request, to speak with one of the few men in the government that the X-Men trusted. His membership in the mutant underground was a closely kept secret.

Unfortunately, he had known nothing about gray men or governmental conspiracies involving anything extraterrestrial. But he had referred her to a Senator Sorenson, and that was the office she had just left. Ororo suppressed a shiver. The man was so corrupt that she felt polluted simply from being in the same room with him. She was amazed that Tom hadn’t warned her, but perhaps he did not see what she did.

Senator Sorenson had told her nothing as well, which did not surprise her. They had danced carefully around the delicate issues. Ororo had not given him any confirmation that she knew of the conspiracy and the Racth’zai, and he had not given her any in return. But when she left his office, she was certain that they both knew.

Ororo pushed open the glass door leading out of the building, and took a deep breath of fresh air. Pigeons exploded into the air around her as she stepped into their midst. Her car was parked several blocks away, but she didn’t mind. The walk would be far more pleasant than the drive back to her hotel. Ororo hated driving. Passionately, though she would not have admitted it.

The crisp fall air was invigorating, and Ororo felt worlds better by the time she reached her rented Audi. She stuck the key in the door lock just as another car pulled down the row. Something made Ororo turn as the car drew even with her position. A warning sense-- that undefinable feeling of dread, followed by a rush of adrenaline. She registered the nose of a silencer sticking out of a gap in the tinted window and instinctively summoned lightning to protect herself. The bullets bounced away from her as her lightning sought out the metal objects, blasting each with millions of watts of energy.

The car accelerated, tires squealing, before Ororo had a chance to collect her thoughts. It pulled recklessly out into the heavy D.C. traffic as she raised her hands. There she paused, unwilling to risk hitting innocents with the massive bolt of electricity. The car cut across traffic to turn at the first intersection and disappeared from sight. Ororo lowered her hands, a satisfied smile on her lips. Mission accomplished.

"So, is he going to live?" Jean jerked awake at the sudden noise. She had been dozing with her chin resting in her palm.

"I believe so," Dana said. She had turned to look up at the one named Frohicke, who leaned against the door jam, arms crossed. Jean was tempted to get angry at his mercenary tone. But Dana had warned her about them, and a quick mindscan had confirmed what she’d said. These men worshipped Information-- people would always be secondary to that.

"Then you owe us a certain proof you mentioned."

Jean snorted privately. Proof she would be more than happy to provide. Dana seemed to recognize her emotions, and the corner of her mouth curled upwards. She turned her head to hide the unbidden smile from Frohicke.

"Of course," Dana answered after a moment. Her expression had again grown flat and Jean admired her self-control. She climbed stiffly to her feet, and Jean followed. They had both spent the night on the floor next to the bed, and Jean didn’t think the other woman had slept any better than she had. The good news, though, was that Remy’s condition had improved dramatically as the hours passed. Dana still couldn’t tell her when he might wake up, but she was no longer concerned about losing him.

Dana led them out into the main room. Jean hesitated to call it a living room, given the piles of equipment that covered every horizontal surface in the room, including the floor. Hank would have liked it, she thought as she looked around. His lab was very much the same way, though somewhat cleaner. The three men gathered with them and Jean could clearly sense the mixture of curiosity and anticipation each one emanated.

"Well?" Langley asked after a moment.

Dana looked at Jean, who answered with a mild shrug. "What would you like to see?" she asked the three men.

"You’re the telekinetic?"

Jean didn’t answer, enjoying their uncertainty.

"All right," Langley finally said. "Here, lift this." He stretched out his hand toward her and laid a ballpoint pen on his upright palm.

Jean kept her smile to herself and felt Dana doing the same. She made a show of furrowing her brow in concentration, and then lifted the pen shakily into the air. Behind the floating pen, Langley’s eyes were huge, and filled with almost childish excitement. Slowly, he moved his hand back and forth beneath the pen, then around it, as if confirming that there were no hidden supports.

A stray violent thought caught Jean’s attention, startling her. She turned toward the source, searching, and discovered several men converging on the front door. More were moving around to the back of the building, and Jean quickly identified them as an FBI swat team. She dropped the pen, which hit the carpet with a dull thump, and turned back to Langley.

"Is there another way out of here?" she demanded.

He blinked at her in surprise. "What?"

"We’ve got about three minutes before the swat team out there comes through the door."

While Langley was still digesting that, Byers motioned toward the kitchen. "Of course. Through here," he told her calmly.

Go, Jean told Dana. I’ll get Remy.

Dana nodded and followed the three men, while Jean hurried toward the bedroom. To her surprise, Remy was awake, propped on one shoulder as he tried to swing his feet off the edge of the bed. She darted forward and caught him before he could fall, using a burst of telekinesis to help him to his feet.

"Company, chere," he said weakly as she maneuvered to brace him against her shoulder.

She couldn’t help but smile at the typical Gambit bravado. "I know. We’re leaving." She half-led, half-carried him into the kitchen, where someone had torn apart the interior of one of the lower cabinets. Dana had the trapdoor, built into the floor of it, open and was in the process of climbing through. It appeared to open into a crawlspace beneath the building that Jean estimated at no more than two feet high.

"East," Frohicke told her, pointing in the appropriate direction. "There’s a maintenance door that goes down into the parking garage."

Jean nodded in acknowledgment as she helped Remy into the cabinet. She could feel the wash of pain from him as he crawled headfirst into the tight space, but it didn’t seem to slow him. Jean was right on his heels as a terrific boom announced the swat team’s entry. Frantically, she pulled herself down into the musty darkness, yanking her feet out of the way as Frohicke closed the door behind her. She heard the muted thumps as things were tossed haphazardly back into the cupboard and then shouts and the pounding of feet on the floor above her.

The crawlspace was pitch black, with only the faintest traces of light outlining the edges of the trapdoor. As she turned her head toward where she knew the others were, she caught a flash of Remy’s eyes, glowing red, before he turned his head away. The surface beneath her palms was rough cement, and the cold clamminess of it almost seemed to soak through her clothes as she lay there. The air smelled musty, almost rotten. A small, irrational portion of her mind wondered just what kinds of bugs lived in this little gap. Roaches, certainly. Perhaps spiders, too. Normally Jean wouldn’t be bothered by insects, but the idea that they could be crawling around just beyond the tips of her finger made her shiver.

Dana was already moving, the rustle of her clothing against the cement barely audible over the tumult in the apartment above their heads. Jean briefly hoped that nothing would happen to the three men. Not that she held much affection for any of them, but they had helped and she did not want to see them harmed because of it.

After a moment, Remy crawled after Dana, his breath hissing through his teeth.

Remy? she asked as she followed him.

I c’n manage, he answered curtly.

Jean was somewhat doubtful, but she kept the thought to herself. He was moving under his own power for the moment.

Dana, can you find the door they were talking about?

Jean heard a muffled thump from ahead of her, followed by a whispered curse. Ow. Yes. There’s some light. And tell Remy to watch out for this water pipe.

Jean relayed the warning, then made a quick scan of the area in search of the FBI agents. They were still in the apartment or outside the building, frustrated that they could not find their quarry.

Following the sounds of movement in front of her, Jean navigated the obstacle course of pipes, ducts and wires. Suddenly, the tight space was flooded with light as Dana released the latch on the maintenance door, allowing it to swing down into the emptiness below them. Without pausing, Dana slithered through the opening in the ceiling of the parking garage, and Jean heard the dull report of her landing. From the sound, she guessed that Dana had dropped down onto the hood of a car. Remy followed, and Jean buoyed his descent with a telekinetic bubble as she moved to the lip of the opening. From there, she could look down into the garage, and she scanned it quickly, but neither saw nor sensed anyone near them. Then she dropped down herself as Dana helped Remy off of the hood of a new-looking Forerunner.

"My car is over there." Dana pointed in the appropriate direction. Jean was grateful. She hadn’t exactly been paying attention when they’d come in.

They’d taken no more than three steps when they heard a man’s shout. Where did he come from? she thought angrily. There hadn’t been anyone in the garage when she’d scanned it. She touched his mind for the barest instant. Idiot was asleep on the job. No wonder I didn’t sense him. He had been assigned to keep an eye on Dana’s car.

The man in question was obviously a junior agent, and Jean put his age at something just barely over twenty as he ran across the garage toward them. Jean looked back at the Forerunner. "I guess we’ll take this one."

Dana was already moving. She took up a position by the front wheel well on the passenger side, drawing her gun as she went. Using the hood of the truck as a support, she lined up on the approaching agent.

"Freeze! FBI!" she shouted. The young agent saw her gun, backpedaled in a almost comic confusion, and dove behind the cover of a nearby vehicle. The action gave Jean plenty of time to help Remy climb into the back seat, and then get in behind the wheel herself. It was a simple matter to telekinetically mimic a skeleton key to start the engine. Dana darted to the passenger side door the moment the engine turned over, and Jean pulled sharply away before she’d even closed the door. They roared past the poor agent, who simply stared at them.

Jean swept the street in front of the garage telepathically before she reached the exit, and swung neatly out into the traffic without pausing. Behind them, swat members were shouting and running for their vehicles, but Jean was confident she could lose them in the mid-morning traffic. All she had to do was remember how to get back to the highway.

Dana leaned her head back against the headrest as she holstered her weapon. Then she turned to look at Jean out of the corners of her eyes. A faint smile touched her lips. "Would you like to be Thelma or Louise?"

Jean chuckled, but didn’t respond. They drove in silence for a few minutes, as Dana split her attention between the traffic behind them and the uncommonly quiet man sprawled in the back seat. From what Jean could read from him, Remy would be all right for a little while, though their impromptu spelunking trip had torn open most of his stitches.

Eventually, Dana turned to the front again. "So, is there a plan?" she asked plainly.

Jean shrugged. "I’m heading for our rendezvous point in New York."

"I thought you missed your contact."

"We did. But I’m sure my husband will think of something." Jean just hoped he wouldn’t overreact and bring the entire team over to this dimension to look for them. It had turned out to be a far more dangerous place that they’d thought.


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