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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


Written by NicoPony
Last updated: 05/06/2007 06:22:13 PM

Chapter 12

Rogue sat in a chair beside her adoptive mother’s bedside. It wasn’t all that long ago that their roles were reversed. Mystique lay under an oxygen tent, tubes ran into her nose and mouth. A machine regulated her breathing. Her skin had a purplish, bruised look. She had yet to regain consciousness. Bobby stood beside Rogue, looking down at Raven’s still form.

“She doesn’t seem to be getting any better, does she?” Bobby asked.

“It’s early yet,” Rogue said firmly.

“Yeah, but Hank said she’s got a regenerative healing factor. She should be repairing herself, right?”

“I dunno. I didn’t think she could be poisoned either, but turns out I was wrong,” Rogue stood and walked to the door. “You comin’ with me?” she asked.

“Coming where?”


“What? As in: Cleveland, Ohio? No way, why? What’s in Cleveland?”

“An entrance to one of Sinister’s labs. I seen it in Death’s head, ” Rogue said, tapping a finger to her temple. “It’s the closest one.”

“You’re kidding me,” Bobby said. “Sinister’s got a base in Cleveland? What for?”

“It’s the location of several foremost medical centers in the world, for one,” Rogue replied.

Bobby pondered this for a moment as he followed after Rogue. “Rogue, we’ve lost Omega Sentinel, Cable and Mystique are out of commission, and Lady M’s defected or has been possessed, and I trust Sabretooth about as far as I can throw him...There’s not much of our team left.”

“We’ll just have t’make do,” Rogue replied.

“What d’ya mean, ’make do,’?” Wolverine asked as he appeared out of the shadows with Storm just behind him. “That’s insultin’.”

Hank pulled a sheet over the body of Arclight and pushed the gurney from the holding cell. Her body was deteriorating at a rapid pace, and was beginning to smell.

“Dance on her grave for me, will ya?” Sabretooth growled from a nearby cell.

Hank paused before the doorway to Sabretooth’s prison. “These bodies will be incinerated. There’s not going to be a grave.”

“Enh, that’s just as well,” Sabretooth said. “Sinister probably cranked out another one an hour after that one croaked.”

“Do you know very much about Sinister’s cloning process?” Hank queried.

“This ’n that,” Sabretooth replied.

“Do you, by chance, know of an entrance to Sinister’s laboratory?”

“Nope,” Sabretooth said. “All the ones I knew about got destroyed. Why? You gonna go door to door selling Girl Scout cookies, or somethin’?”

“It concerns me, Victor, that Sinister has in his possession eight teenagers, who at one time were affiliated with this institution. And that he is conducting some sort of experimental research on them. And that two former X-Men happen to be in his employ. Not to mention the heinous acts his Marauders have committed in his name, and to what end? Is that reason enough to want to seek him out?”

“So, is that the long and short of it?” Sabretooth asked. “Because it occurred to me, Mister Smarty-Pants McCoy, that if anyone’s got a chance at improving the current ’no-more-mutants,’ our-race-is-doomed-to-extinction situation, it’s flippin’ Sinister.”

Hank stared at Sabretooth for several long moments. It bothered him that Creed was able to see through him so easily. “If you’ve no intention of being any use, then I’ll be going,” he said, as he began to wheel Arclight’s body away.

“Hey, doc,” Sabretooth said, and Hank paused. “You want t’get in with Sinister? The solution to your problem is layin’ on that cart.” Creed pointed a clawed finger at the sheet-covered corpse. “But you gotta act fast, before it decomposes and destroys the key entirely.”

“What ’key’ are you talking about?” asked Hank.

“All them clones have got these key chips put in their lower spine. Lets Sinister know where they’re at, but also lets ’em open one of those tesseract doors.”

“Are you certain?”

“Well, they can pop in and out whenever they like, just like Sinister. ’Cept the portal only opens for the one that’s got the chip. No tag-alongs. It senses body mass, or something. ”

“Which would explain Random’s rather unique method of transporting the children away from the Institute.”

“I can’t speak fer Random or Gambit or whoever else is calling themselves a Marauder these days. They ain’t clones,” Sabretooth said with a shrug, and sat down on the bare mattress in his cell.

“So there isn’t any other way in?” Hank asked.

“Not that I know of.”

Hank cast one last look at Creed before walking away; the squeak of the gurney wheels echoed down the hall.


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