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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 9

Dana quietly set the file she had been reading down on the desk and tipped her head back, stretching the tired neck muscles. She rubbed the base of her skull, where a headache was threatening to start, then straightened with a sigh. She glanced to her left, through a large plate glass window that gave her a clear view of the infirmary. Remy was still there, unconscious, as he had been since they’d brought him in five days before. Dana wasn’t quite ready to be concerned by that. He was continuing to improve-more rapidly than she was expecting, in fact, though how much of that was due to the advanced medical technology and how much to Remy’s unique physiology, she had no idea.

Dana fingered the sheaf of papers before her thoughtfully. These people seemed entirely willing to share information with her, and still, she could sense that there was so much that she didn’t yet know and that no one seemed willing to explain. Even Jean was, at times, politely resistant to Dana’s requests for an explanation for various things. And then there was Hank McCoy, who was quietly driving her batty with his long-winded explanations, which, while fascinating, never told her exactly what she wanted to know. Take the infirmary, for example. Some of the technology was downright astounding. Their ability to clone living tissue, including blood, was years beyond what she had seen and read about. Hank had provided her with a set of schematics and a detailed text describing the process, which he said he had written for his own reference. He had explained to her that the equipment was "Shi’ar technology", but then had flatly refused to explain what "Shi’ar" was. It was frustrating.

Dana pushed herself away from the desk and stood, wincing as she stretched. She wasn’t willing to refer to it as "her" desk or "her" office, but that was effectively what the little room was. As soon as she had started asking Dr. McCoy for information, beginning with Remy’s medical history, the whole household had seemed suddenly determined to give her a private workspace. They had brought in a desk and chair, computer, lamp, files and just about everything else she could possibly want. The sight of Rogue carting in the steel desk with the awkward ease of someone carrying a large empty cardboard box had brought home forcibly to Dana just how strange these people were. She had cursory files on all of them now, which gave her a good idea of what their mutations were. Much of what she read she found too fantastic to believe, and yet, all she had to do was ask for a demonstration to see that it was true.

She walked to the door and stepped out into the infirmary proper. It was about time to check on her patient anyway, and she needed to work out the kinks a bit. She crossed to the one occupied bed and checked the large flatscreen display above the head. Vital signs were nearly normal, as was the trace showing brain activity. Dana reached over to touch the screen, bringing up a new window with additional information. She could have done the same thing from her desk, but she found it somehow more appropriate this way.


Dana glanced down in surprise. Remy’s eyes were open, their strange and intimidating color at odds with the confusion written there.

"Good morning," she said automatically, then quickly checked her watch to make sure. It was hard to keep track of time in the underground laboratory.

Remy blinked rapidly and started to sit up. "Where...?"

Gently but firmly, Dana pushed him back onto the bed. "Lie down. You’re at the Xavier Institute."

He relaxed somewhat at that, sinking back against the pillows. Dana picked up the specialized red penlight that was supposed to be easier on his sensitive eyes, and began a cursory exam. "Can you tell me your name?" she asked. That was always the first question.

"Remy... LeBeau." His breathing was shallow, pained, but he watched her alertly.

Dana touched the screen over his head, calling up the names and dosages of the drugs currently being fed into his I.V. Almost all of them were either much less or much greater than she would expect for a "normal" man of Remy’s age and weight. But, as Hank had explained, that was the usual for mutants. Most of the time, their mutations changed their physiology drastically enough to alter their responses to various pharmaceuticals. Unfortunately, Remy was extremely susceptible to narcotics, which meant that most serious pain medications made him delusional.

"How... long have I been out? What happened? Jean--?" He started to sit up again, and Dana again caught him and pushed him back onto the bed. She was somewhat annoyed by how quickly he was trying to get up. He could very easily rip open his sutures and undo most of the work she and Dr. McCoy had done. She suppressed a smile at her own reaction. Having to deal with the patients was her number two reason for not practicing medicine.

"Jean is fine," she told him, figuring that that was probably the most important answer. "And you’ve been unconscious for approximately five days." Dana straightened and crossed her arms, watching warily as he digested the elapsed time. Fortunately, the answers seemed to satisfy him. He didn’t seem inclined to try to get up again. That suited Dana. She didn’t feel like trying to fight him, and Hank had warned her that, once awake, Remy would stay in the infirmary exactly as long as it was physically impossible for him to leave.

"I’m going to see if I can find Dr. McCoy," she told him. "He said that he was going to someplace called the Danger Room." Although the name sounded suspiciously like a dance club, she sincerely doubted that that was what it was. Hank didn’t seem the type, blue fur notwithstanding. "I’ll have to call Professor Xavier to get the number."

Remy gave her a quizzical look. "Didn’ anybody give y’ a combadge?"

Combadge? "No."

He frowned. "Figures. Scottie gets paranoid ’bout security."

"I noticed," she commented dryly. She was no longer personally escorted to and from the medlab each day, but on her one exploration of the underground complex, she had discovered that the featureless metal doors would not open for her. She had encountered Ororo in the hall almost immediately, effectively ending her excursion, and she still wasn’t certain if it had been a chance meeting or not. Somehow, she doubted it.

Remy didn’t smile, but she caught the flash of humor in his eyes. "Did dey show y’ de computer system?"

Dana nodded and gestured toward the office behind her. "There’s a terminal back there."

He rolled his eyes, though she noticed that he was very careful not to move his body. "Nevermind. I’ll do it m’self." He raised his voice slightly, though even that wasn’t much. "Cerebro, where’s Hank?"

Dana glanced around involuntarily.

"Mutant designate: Beast is in the Danger Room." Professor Xavier’s voice seemed to materialize out of the air around them. Dana cocked an eyebrow in silent question.

"Professor gave de computer his voice. Cute, neh?"

"That was a computer?" The voice hadn’t sounded digital at all.

Remy didn’t answer, but Dana didn’t really need him to. His silence was assent enough. And why had the computer called Hank "Beast"? It struck her as being highly prejudicial.

"Cerebro, voice link t’ Beast." He closed his eyes, and Dana could tell that he was quickly becoming exhausted.

"You don’t have to do this-"she began when the computer interrupted her.

"Communication status: Unavailable due to Danger Room safety level exceedance. Override status?"

Dana pondered that pronouncement curiously while Remy uttered a faint "Oui." Apparently, the computer also understood French, and after a short pause, she heard Hank McCoy’s voice.

"Beast here." There was a note of curiosity in his voice. He also sounded out of breath, which left Dana wondering even more about that "safety level exceedance".

Remy gave her a flickering grin. "’Parently somebody forgot t’ give Agent Scully a combadge, Hank."

Dana couldn’t help but smile at the moment of surprised silence on the other end of the connection. Then, in the distance behind Hank she heard a female shriek of "Remy!" Rogue’s voice immediately cut into the communication channel. "Remy? Is that you?"

His grin deepened. "’Lo, chere. Did y’ miss me?"

Dana ducked her head, trying not to laugh. For the last three days-ever since she’d been allowed into the infirmary-Rogue had fussed over him with a bizarre combination of fierce protectiveness and schoolgirl uncertainty. Dana had quickly discovered that Hank was far more successful than herself in shooing the hovering young woman out of the way, and Dana wondered if that was because she was a stranger at the mansion, or simply because she was a woman.

"Sugah, ya just stay right there. Ah’m on mah way!" Dana heard laughter in the background. It conjured visions of Rogue, rushing out of wherever she was in a flurry of excitement.

"I daresay Rogue will arrive before me." Hank’s voice, too, was full of amusement. "Doctor Scully?"

"I’m here," Dana replied. Remy had closed his eyes once again, apparently resting. A faint shadow of his smile remained in place.

"Do you think you can make them behave until I arrive?"

Dana glanced at Remy, only to discover that the lines of pain in his face had smoothed out and his breathing had become calm, steady. She felt an odd stab of affection for the man who now slept peacefully before her, and smiled. "I think I can manage that."

Charles suppressed a weary sigh as he leaned back in his chair. It was a conventional wheelchair-far less comfortable than his hoverchair-but seemed like the most prudent choice for the nonce. Dana Scully’s time and attention had been almost completely taken up with Gambit since she’d arrived, and it had seemed unwise to try to explain the whole truth to her while so much else was occupying her mind. She was well aware that they were hiding things from her, but she was willing to wait until Remy’s condition improved before pursuing the answers. Charles had been pleasantly surprised by their unexpected visitor. She was intelligent, observant, and, most importantly, objective. The X-Men strained her credulity, and yet she accepted what she saw without prejudice. Her experience was untainted by the moral, philosophical and political conflicts that raged around the existence of mutants. In this world, that made her unique in her utterly unbiased view. Very soon, it would be time to start showing her the world beyond the mansion. Charles found himself almost looking forward to it.

An electronic chime interrupted his thoughts. Cerebro was signaling an incoming call, and the tone indicated that it was coming from off planet. Charles smiled. That would most likely be Lilandra. Despite the circumstances that had brought her to Earth, and the fact that she needed to spend most of her time on her cloaked ship, they had managed to find some small time together.

Lilandra’s image materialized before him, somehow solid despite its translucence. She smiled in greeting, but that did not erase the deep concern in her eyes.

"Lilandra? What’s wrong?" he asked.

Her smile faded. "I am downloading our current information about the location of Racth’zai ships in Earth space for you, Charles. They’re beginning to spread out their picket lines, and we will be discovered soon if we do not leave."

Charles stared at her in alarm. He knew this alien race was gathering ships around Earth, as yet undetected by anyone on the planet, as far as he knew. But Lilandra’s expression implied that the situation was far more desperate than he’d believed.

Lilandra shifted her grip on her staff. "I am going back to Chandilar to raise the fleet. These creatures are a threat to us all, though I don’t know if I will be able to convince others of that."

Charles felt a small measure of relief. "When will you be back?"

She shook her head. "I don’t know. I am the Empress, but mine is not the only voice that must be heard." She paused, her face settling into grim lines. "I must tell you this, Charles. I won’t set my people against the Racth’zai until I am certain we will eradicate them. We have been studying their ships, and they are highly advanced. It will take time to gather what we need to oppose them."

Charles understood what she was saying, but that didn’t keep his stomach from knotting up into a cold, hard ball. "And until then?"

She looked at him sadly. "Until then, we must remain invisible or they will be waiting for us when we return. I promise you, Charles, we will return as soon as we can." Her image flickered, and she raised a hand. "Goodbye, my love."

Lilandra dissolved into static and was gone. Charles stared at the place where she had been and fought the desire to feel betrayed. Lilandra was doing what was best for her people, for the untold billions that populated a hundred planets in a far distant portion of space. Sacrificing one planet to buy the time the Shi’ar Empire needed to defend itself was a sad but acceptable cost from that perspective. The only problem, in Charles’ view, was that it happened to be his planet.

Charles pressed his lips into a thin line. "Cerebro, open all comlinks." He was taking a slight risk by including their resident F.B.I. agent so precipitously, but the time for subtlety had just passed. It was time to make the Racth’zai threat public.


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