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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 7

Sam stuffed his hands in his pockets and kicked idly at a tuft of grass, the picture of boredom. Logan watched him for a moment, then let his eyes sag shut once more.

"How much longer are we going ta wait?" Sam asked.

Logan came back to himself with a start. He wasn’t entirely sure how long had passed since he’d last opened his eyes. He had the feeling that he’d actually been asleep and it had been longer than he thought. But the spring sun was just warm enough to be cozy, and the area where they waited was filled with gentle breezes wafting fresh earthen scents around him. The tar-smell of the blacktop two lane road that ran through the woods about twenty feet from where Logan sat was mild compared to the rampant greenery. If it weren’t for the nagging worry in the back of his mind, he would be utterly content.

He opened his eyes again and stared at Sam from beneath the brim of his hat. "Until Jeannie shows, or Cyke calls us back," he answered. Scott had sent them across the gulf into this other world to look for their missing X-Men, but a couple of phone calls to Washington D.C. had verified that the F.B.I agent Dana Scully was not home, nor had she been there for several days to judge from the backlog of message beeps on her answering machine. Rather than run wildly around D.C. trying to pick up Jean and Remy’s tracks, Logan had decided to wait here, at the rendezvous, to see if they would show up. She and Remy were less than a full day late so far, which was alarming only to a rigid-thinker like Scott.

Logan turned his head to check on Gateway. The third member of their party sat in silence a short ways away, meditating, as he had since they’d arrived. ’Least he knows how ta sit still, Logan thought. Sam was young enough to be annoying for a number of reasons, and his constant shuffling was beginning to wear on Logan’s nerves. But it wouldn’t do any good to tell him to sit down. The boy couldn’t help his restless energy, and if he couldn’t move his body, he’d probably start running his mouth. Logan smiled as he adjusted the brim of his hat. And the last thing I need is another mouthy sidekick.

Dana leaned forward between the front seats and peered out the windshield. "Where are we?" She had climbed into the back to check on Remy once they were certain there was no one pursuing them, and had decided to stay with him. Jean had to keep pushing her uncertainties into a shadowed corner of her mind, lest they consume her. Remy’s breathing had again become a frightening bubbling wheeze, and the fact that Dana had not felt confident to leave him only added to her fear. She wasn’t sure what she would do if there was no one waiting for them at the rendezvous. There was no one in this part of the country for them to turn to-not on this world, anyway. And she couldn’t take Remy to a hospital. The staff would have to report him since there was no way his injuries could be the result of an accident. For all her powers, she felt entirely helpless.

"We’re just outside of Westchester, New York," she answered as calmly as she could, but her voice still wavered. Dana didn’t seem to notice.

"How much further?"

"About ten minutes." The roads and houses here were remarkably similar to her home, something she and Remy had discussed on the drive out. On the way, they’d even passed the Cow Rock, which was what had started the conversation in the first place. The turn onto Graymalkin Lane was marked rather incongruously by a large rock, painted white with uneven black spots. It looked for all the world like the owner of the corner house had painted the rock up to mimic a cow’s hide. It was hideously ugly, but no one she knew of had ever missed the turn. And apparently it existed in this world as well.

Dana settled back into her seat just as a familiar whomping sound reached Jean’s ears.

"Uh oh," Jean said and Dana craned her head to look out the back window. Jean checked the side mirror and was unsurprised to see the sleek shape of a helicopter pacing them above the maples that lined the country road.

"I don’t see any markings," Dana said. "Not even a tail number."

Jean glanced in the mirror again. The helicopter was painted jet black and, as she watched, a second, identical, bird swung out from behind the first. It moved up beside its partner, flanking the road on the opposite side.

Jean formed a telekinetic shield around the truck as a precaution and turned her attention back to the road in front of her. For the moment, she didn’t really care who had sent the helicopters or why, nor did she care much whether they were going to attack or not. Home was only a few miles away, provided that someone was waiting to give them a gate across. She had pinned her hopes on that belief, betting not only her own safety, but also Remy’s life, on it.

Dana was still watching the helicopters. "I see two gunners stepping out onto the rails."

Jean strengthened the shields as the distinctive rattle of gunfire filled the air. "Got it." She could feel the impacts of the bullets against her shields, but ignored them. Their weapons couldn’t penetrate her defenses.

The noise of the bullets ricocheting from the shields echoed loudly inside the truck, and Jean was grateful when it finally stopped. But then, one of the helicopters picked up speed, passing over them. It flew a ways ahead and then slowed to a hover, turned, and descended until it was only a few feet off of the blacktop. Jean realized that they meant to force her to stop by blocking the road. The trees that lined the country highway were just barely far enough apart to allow the small helicopter to descend and left no room for Jean to maneuver around him.

At another time, she might have been willing to stop, to avoid risking the lives of the men in the helicopter, but she was tired, frightened, and more desperate than she was willing to admit. So she floored the accelerator, strengthening the shields around the truck as she did so.

"I hope you know what you’re doing," Dana commented, but her voice was calm. Jean didn’t feel anything from her except a twinge of nervousness as they rushed headlong at the helicopter. At the last moment, the aircraft reared, leaping upward as the pilot pulled back frantically on the stick. They were so close that Jean could see his eyes widen in terror as he realized that she did not intend to stop. Then he was out of her field of view, rising above the truck, but he had reacted too slowly. Jean felt the helicopter’s landing rails slam into the roof above her head. Her shield took the impact, but as she turned in horror to look out the back window, she saw the helicopter cartweel over them. The tips of the rotor blades hit the pavement, disintegrating and throwing pieces of metal in all directions. The body of the helicopter crashed upside down into the road just a moment later, the rotational energy from the still-spinning rotor hub sending it tumbling. It slammed into the line of trees, toppling one, and then promptly exploded.

Cold and frightened, Jean turned forward again. It was an accident, she told herself. They were trying to kill us. But she had deliberately not used her powers to move the helicopter out of the way because of the risk of exposing her mutant nature and the extent of her powers. The more time she spent in this world, the more convinced she became that these ’gray men’ or whatever they really were, were perhaps the greatest threat to the human race they had ever seen.

Logan sat bolt upright at the sight of a pillar of fire rising over the trees. Jean? he called, knowing that if she were in the vicinity, she would hear him.

Logan! The wealth of relief in her voice sent a chill down his spine. Not that she wasn’t generally glad to see him, but she was a very self-sufficient lady. She didn’t often sound like she wanted to burst into tears.

We saw the fireball, darlin’. You o.k.?

I-- yes, we’re fine.

Logan doubted that, but didn’t argue.

Jean didn’t seem to notice. We’ve still got one helicopter following us. Can you be ready with a gate when we get there? The question was accompanied by an image.

Logan nodded despite the fact that Jean couldn’t see him. We’ll be waitin’.

"There it is," Jean said, and Dana leaned forward so that she could see forward through the windshield. "It" appeared to be a big blue disk that someone had rolled out into the middle of the road. It shimmered oddly in the sun, and Dana spotted three people standing to either side. One, she was surprised to realize, was an Aborigine, complete with gray beard and loincloth, like the one that had met Remy and his friends after their escape from Turing-Rocheland. He held his arm out toward the disk as if he were holding on to it, but that was the only visible support Dana could see. She quickly glanced behind them to check on the other helicopter. It continued to pace them, but did not seem inclined to approach.

Dana looked forward again. They were rushing toward the disk at a fairly high speed for the narrow road, and Jean showed no signs of slowing. "What is it?" she asked.

"Our ticket home."

Dana gripped the back of the seat and braced herself for the impact as they plowed straight into the blue disk. She was only slightly surprised when there was no impact, only a nauseating twisting sensation that sent her stomach climbing into her throat. Then Jean was braking as she turned into a wide driveway . She pulled up to the tall, wrought iron gate and paused. After a moment, the gate began to swing inward and Jean drove through.

Dana looked back to see two of the three people walking up the drive behind them. The Aborigine was nowhere in sight. Nor was the strange blue disk they’d driven through, which Dana was beginning to think might have been some kind of projected image. It certainly hadn’t had any substance. Something else nagged at her senses-- something that was missing. Then she realized what it was. The helicopter.

"The helicopter’s gone," she told Jean.

Jean nodded. "Yes." They broke out of the trees and Dana was greeted with the sight of a rather impressive mansion. It was made of brick and had the smell of old money all about it.

"What happened to it?"

"Nothing. We left it behind."

Dana pondered that for a moment, but then they were pulling to a stop in front of the wide front steps leading up into the house. At that moment, people came spilling out of the house and Dana’s thoughts snapped back to the wounded man beside her. Wherever they were, Jean expected to find friends here. Hopefully that meant that medical attention would not be far away.

"We need to get Remy to a hospital as soon as possible," she told Jean, who nodded.

"There’s a fully equipped medlab here at the mansion." Jean opened her door and climbed out as the first of the wave of people reached the truck. One of them was a man wearing an odd-looking pair of yellow goggles, who swept Jean into a tight hug. Dana decided that must be Jean’s husband. Jean pulled away from him after only a moment though, and turned to open the back door. Dana was already working to shift Remy closer to the edge of the seat as she did, and she felt Jean take hold of him telepathically and lift him out of the truck.

"What happened?" The man’s voice was filled with dismay.

Jean just shook her head as she moved away from the truck. Dana scrambled to catch up, and found herself the sudden focus of attention. Most of the approaching people had gathered around them, including the two who had been walking up the driveway. Dana realized that she recognized the tall woman with the shock of white hair.

"Agent Scully?" Ororo said, her expression one of surprise.

The man with the goggles turned to Jean. "You brought her across?" The question was not accusing, but Dana found herself bristling anyway.

Jean didn’t look at him as they started up the steps into the house. "I didn’t have a choice." Dana wished she could take a moment to study her surroundings, but she had to move fast to keep up with her patient. The people surrounding her were striking as a group, more for their diversity than for any one person’s exotic appearance, and Dana wished she could spare the attention to do more than glance at them.

"Not unless ya think she could’ve taken on an assault chopper by herself." A somewhat wild and hairy man had fallen in beside Dana. He was no taller than herself, and sported a truly impressive set of sideburns along with several days worth of beard. His voice was the gravelly scratch of a lifetime smoker, and his eyes were a piercing blue. He was watching the man with the goggles, but turned to Dana long enough to wink.

Great. One of the good ole boys, Dana thought in mild irritation. He’s probably going to refer to me as a ’gal’. As a medical doctor and an F.B.I agent, she found the "old-fashioned" male attitudes very tiresome. She shoved her thoughts away. Remy’s condition was her first priority. She desperately hoped that this medlab was as advanced as Jean had implied.

A young blond man opened the door for Jean and held it as the whole group entered the house. He was handsome in a collegiate sort of way, but Dana didn’t immediately see anything unusual about him, and she found herself wondering what strangeness might lie beneath that normal exterior.

The interior of the mansion lived up to her impression of the outside. The floors were lustrous hardwood, the ceilings vaulted. Dust motes danced in the sunlight falling through the tall front windows, and the sounds of their many feet echoed in the stentorian silence. Dana disliked it immediately, though her opinion improved as they moved out of the front room into a very comfortable den. The television was on with some kind of football game in progress, and there were drinks and mismatched bowls filled with popcorn scattered across various lamp and end tables. A pair of shoes lay in the middle of the floor, which Jean kicked out of the way as she went by.

As they reached a door on the far side of the room, a hand closed around Dana’s arm. The short man’s grip was surprisingly strong.

"I’m afraid you’re gonna have ta wait here, darlin’."

In the process of maneuvering herself and Remy through the door, Jean paused and looked back at them. Dana stared at the man holding her in a mixture of anger and impatience. "I am a medical doctor," she explained curtly. "That man-"she waved at Remy, "is in desperate need of medical attention. So unless you have a very good reason to detain me, I suggest you let me go with him."

The man arched one eyebrow in surprise at her tone, and then glanced past her to his companions. Dana could tell from their expressions that there was a telepathic conversation in progress, and she wondered what secret these people held that they did not want to let her see. She was becoming used to secrets and conspiracies of silence, so she was a little surprised when the man with the goggles said, "Let her go, Logan. Hank is going to want to talk to her."

Dana filed the names away as Logan shrugged. "Sure thing, Cyke." He released Dana’s arm and stepped back a half-pace, as if giving her room to continue. Dana turned and followed Jean as she puzzled over the name Logan had given the man with the goggles. Sike? Psyche? She could attach no useful meaning to it.

The room beyond the door was entirely unexpected. It was as cold and clinical as the den was cozy. It appeared to be a small lobby for an elevator. The floor was tiled with the standard removable squares that indicated to Dana that computer and electrical cables were probably run beneath the floor. Her steps sounded hollow on the white panels. The walls were metal, smooth and unmarked, as was the door of the elevator. Fortunately, not everyone followed them in. Only Jean, herself and the man with the goggles stood in front of the featureless door. Dana was relieved to be away from the press of strangers. She did not know what to make of these people and she wasn’t entirely convinced they were friendly, despite how much she liked Jean.

The elevator slid silently open and Dana followed Jean inside. The man with the goggles pushed a button marked "Main", and they began to descend. It was the middle button of three. The top one read "Ground", which Dana took to mean the ground floor that they had just been on. The third button was marked "Hangar", which Dana thought was a bit odd. Did they keep aircraft underground? How did they take off? And just how extensive was this complex? It was a good fifteen seconds until the elevator slowed to a stop, and judging from the force of the deceleration, it was not a slow elevator. She estimated that they had descended at least one hundred feet.

The door slid aside, revealing a wide hallway. Everything was metal, including the floors, which glowed subtly in the fluorescent lighting. Biting back her questions, Dana followed Jean down the hall to a set of double doors which were marked "Medlab" in large black letters. They pushed through the swinging doors into a suitably impressive medical suite. There were several beds, each surrounded by equipment both familiar and strange. Off to one side, she could see an observation window and a surgical theater beyond it. To the other side was a door marked "Laboratory". Everything seemed to be immaculate, and Dana’s hopes rose.

Then a large blue... something walked out of the laboratory. Dana froze, torn between fascination and terror. It stood upright, and reminded her of nothing so much as some of the Yeti drawings she had seen, save that it was not seven feet tall, and was bright blue instead of white. It was dressed incongruously in a white lab coat, and had a pair of spectacles perched on its nose.

"Good, Jean. Put him there," the creature said, waving toward one of the empty tables. Then it launched itself toward them, crossing the distance in two terrific bounds and landing next to the table where Jean was just laying Remy down. Dana was frozen in place. On one hand, instinct told her that she should be drawing her weapon to defend herself from this fearsome beast, but on the other, both Jean and the man seemed completely unafraid and it had spoken. In English. And now it was examining Remy with all appearances of competence.

Shaking herself into motion, Dana approached the table cautiously. She came up beside Jean, but could not help staring at the blue... creature? Man? It looked up at her, and Dana was surprised by how human the blue eyes seemed.

"Jean tells me you’re a doctor." The voice was cultured but slightly slurred, as if the long fangs interfered with its speech.

Dana could only nod. Despite all of the bizarre things she had seen in her years with the X-Files, nothing had quite prepared her for a blue furry monster that acted like a medical professional. Had it been growling and slavering, or attacking her from the shadows, then she would have had some idea how to categorize it. But she didn’t have the slightest clue what she should make of her present circumstance.

"How long ago did this happen?" The creature split its attention between Dana and Jean.

Dana found her voice. "Approximately twenty-four hours." For Remy’s sake, she would have to take the practical approach and simply accept what she saw as being real and somehow rational. Solemnly she promised herself an explanation, later, when there was time to find it. "I’m Dana Scully," she added as she reached over to help the creature remove Remy’s blood-caked shirt.

It glanced up at her and bared its teeth. She blanched, but then realized she was seeing a smile. "Where are my manners? I’m Dr. Hank McCoy," he answered.

Dana found herself nodding. As long as a white rabbit with a pocket watch doesn’t go running by, I think I can handle this, she thought. Then, taking a deep, mental breath, she turned her attention to her patient.


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