In a world of super powers and magical beings, mutant kind has remained hidden for generations.
After manifesting an ability to read and control minds and developing into the most powerful telepath in the world, Charles Xavier dedicated his life to the understanding and education of mutant kind. As Professor Xavier, he formed the Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters where he helps young mutants control their fantastic powers. His dream of peaceful coexistence between mutants and humanity has long been the driving edict for his X-Men, a mutant peace-keeping force.
Randy Lander presents
Marvel Rebooted – X-Men
Issue #5 – Blue and Gold
by Wisdom Hillary Nnorom & T.C. De Witt
Ororo Monroe stepped out of the teleportation pad that linked the Muir Island campus to the main Institute in Westchester. She scanned her pass card to log her entry and walked down the main hall and passed some classrooms. The doors around the school were open allowing the warm Spring breeze to drift through the rooms and carry the murmur of teachers and students. Ororo could hear bits and pieces of lessons on geometry and history from the teachers the Institute employed; she heard a young, squeaky voiced teen giving an oral presentation on Henry David Thoreau and a professor explaining the divide of East and West Germany while the Berlin Wall stood. It wasn’t remarkably different here than the atmosphere of Muir Island, but she didn’t care much for the New York location.
It wasn’t just that the majority of the students here were American while the Muir Island population was much more European and Asian, but this old mansion felt too big — too imposing. It was three times as large, easily, than the Mactaggert Mansion in Scotland. There were many more students here too. As she passed the open classroom doors, she could see at least a dozen kids in every room. Most of the classes she attended has ten at most, and usually the same students.
Ororo was in her last year at the Institute — a senior, ready to take on greater responsibilities. In her four years at the school, Professor X had only let her lead one mission, a rescue mission in Russia. It had been a successful outing — dangerous, sure, and they had made it out by a nice mix of luck and the help of the far more experienced Mr. Wagner, but successful all the same.
The Professor had never let her take a team out again.
It wasn’t that he didn’t trust or believe in her and the rest of her team. It was that he was scared he was thrusting too much upon them too soon. She was ready for more though. She knew she was. She was confident in her ability to control the weather. She had logged more hours in the Danger Room than anyone. Well, second to Scott. Mr. Perfect still had the record, and he’d graduated two years ago. Even Logan said she was as good as anyone else on either campus.
As meta-humans and enhanced individuals grew in number around the globe, as the Avengers and the Fantastic Four put powered people in the spotlight everyday, mutant affairs had gone from scarce to frequent and more so over the past three years. Scott had his team here in the States, and they were great. They handled everything that was thrown at them with ease. But they were too busy. Wolverine and Nightcrawler dealt with the covert affairs the Professor kept from everyone, including, Ororo suspected based on the occasional tension between the two, Professor Mactaggert. Occurrences involving mutants were escalating. The mutants were going to be emerging from the shadows soon, and it was time for a second team that the Professor could trust. It was time for Storm to take on a leadership role.
Ororo approached Professor Xavier’s office and steeled herself.
* * *
Logan silently moved through the corridor of the facility, his bladed fists ever at the ready. He had made it this far without having to subdue anyone or rip anyone in half, but sooner or later, he’d come across some armed shmuck or nervous, sweating doctor. The sterility of the building allowed his senses to detect the doctors and workers nearby, but he was never this lucky. His blades remained out and prepared.
The Professor had sent him on this little snatch and grab under the stipulation that there’d be a minimal body count. The only reason Logan had agreed was because it had been forever since he’d been out in the field. In fact, if he was doing the math right, it had to have been three years at least since he had been put to any real use. Goddamn Summers had his damn “Blue Team” doing all the fun stuff, and the Wolverine had been relegated to training duties. A perfectly wonderful use of my skill and time, Logan snorted at the thought of it.
When this new mutant had crossed Charles’ mind in one of his Cerebro sessions, Logan was quick to snag the op, especially before Wagner could. Little blue bastard, he chuckled. Logan liked Kurt quite a bit; they’d been though a lifetime together — Kurt’s lifetime. But Logan was getting bored in that school. He needed to be away from the students and away from being some sort of mentor figure. That wasn’t him. He was a soldier, and he was thrilled to be back in the field on the hunt.
The scent of cologne hit his nostrils, and the Wolverine paused. He halted mid-step and took a sip of the air. His target, this Doctor Chan guy, was nearby. Logan took a step and peered around the corner to the next corridor. There were several doors with key pads. Logan slinked down the hall and let his nose guide him. He reached the end of the hall and the final door. He closed his eyes and let his sharp ears do their work. From the other side of the door, the Wolverine heard voices. The first was the voice of the man Logan had been hunting: Dr. Ernesto Chan.
“She has the ability to regenerate dead cells and living organism. So far we’ve seen her work with plants and little animals, but the possibilities of this are endless,” Chan stated.
“Incredible,” came the second voice. Wolverine knew a sycophant when he heard one. “Simply stunning.”
“I want to present her to Mr. Essex tomorrow,” Chan said, confidence dripping from his words. “I think he may like our little flower quite a bit.”
The brown-nosing second doctor laughed. “You know the others are going to be less than thrilled.”
“Oh, they’ll be furious. This will put me into Mr. Essex’s favor, and I’ll be putting every one of them under my heel.” Chan added lamely, “Except for you, of course.”
The two men moved toward the door. Wolverine slipped to the one side and lifted his fist ready to stick all three blades through the neck of the first one of them who spotted him. The door opened, and they walked right by him without a glance and down the hall still talking. Like a specter, Logan slipped through the closing door and into the darkened lab.
The room was half operating facility, half observation chamber. There was a single steel bed under a hanging florescent light fixture; a cart of medical instruments next to it, a sink with towels draped next to it, and a shelf of containers and boxes. The sharp smell of bleach stung Logan’s nostrils. He sheathed his claws and crept across the room to the opposite wall from the entrance where the entire length was a glass window to a room.
Behind the glass was a small, teenage girl. She sat staring at a tablet reading. Her eyes lacked luster and life. Wolverine could tell by her dark hair and brown eyes that her skin had once been a caramel brown, now pale and sallow. She had not seen the sun in a long time.
Logan walked to the glass and tapped on it. She looked up at him with her deep-set, sad eyes. They widened in a gentle curiosity. She set her tablet aside and tilted her head looking at this stranger.
“Hey, I’m here to help you. Will you come with me?” Logan said expecting objections. None came.
“Okay,” the girl’s voice was meek.
He looked at the placard on the glass identifying the “Subject” as Vi-928-Chi-Xan. He scowled at the gibberish and looked at her. “What’s your name?” he asked.
She looked at him with continued curiosity. “Violet,” she said.
He quickly found the entrance to Violet’s cell and opened it. He held his hand out to the teen, and she hesitated for the first time, looking at it as though uncertain as to what an open hand offered this way even meant. Wolverine knew what she must have experienced. Tested by these doctors, poked, prodded. He clenched his jaw at his own fuzzy memories of striking hands and malicious fists, but betrayed none of his repressed anger. “It’s okay, Violet. My name’s Logan,” he said in as calming a voice as he was able, “We’re getting you out of here, and you’re never coming back. I promise.”
She took his hand, hers so small compared to his, and they moved to the exit. She eyed the medical gurney as they swept past it, fear causing her to tremble. They were quickly in the hall and hurrying down the corridor back the way Logan had come.
“That’s far enough,” a voice boomed and echoed around them as they rounded a corner.
Logan cursed under his breath. He had been too focused on the girl that he had been less cautious in their escape. Rusty. Damn school really had kept him out of the field too damn long. They had rounded a corner into an open cafe area in the facility where two dozen armed guards and Dr. Chan stood pointing weapons at Wolverine and the girl.
“I’m sorry, but we can’t allow you take her, we are not done with–” Doctor Chan was interrupted by the sound of Logan’s metal claws popping from his fists with a bloody SNIKT. “Oh!” Chan reacted in surprise that quickly turned to intrigue. “Oh?” He steadied the men around him with a lazy wave, though his eyes were locked on Wolverine. “Those claws. Fascinating.”
“Can you run?” Logan asked in a low voice.
“Stay behind me,” Logan said to the terrified girl.
The Wolverine rushed forward with a roar and sliced the first guard across the torso, splintering his gun and chest. Wheeling immediately on a second guard, the blades found the man’s rib-cage and lung. Throwing his weight on the third of the security men closest to him, Wolverine sliced the man’s abdomen open. It all happened in seconds.
“Fire! ” Chan shrieked unnecessarily as bullets flew about the place at the viscous madman cutting men in half and splattering the floor of the cafe with blood. Bullets whizzed in crisscross streams for Wolverine, but most missed. The guards were either not trained well enough for a soldier of Logan’s abilities or panicking in fear of the sudden ferocity of the man.
Wolverine yelled, charging through the men slicing them down. “Come on!” He cleared the way ahead and kept himself perpetually between Violet and any bullets looking for a mark. He took several shots to the body, but it didn’t slow him down. He reached out and yanked Violet aside, shoving her through a door — an exit to the side lot. A short sprint away was the fence line where he had entered. He charged through the exit after her.
Once through the door, Logan found more guards rushing toward them. An alarm had been sounded in the initial scuffle. These men had bigger rifles and moved much more adeptly; these were the real soldiers.
“I can’t take them all,” Wolverine growled to the girl. “Whatever your mutation is, now’s the time to cut loose, kid.” He rushed forward and launched an assault on the first pair of guards he met; others were closing in fast. His bladed fists slashed and struck with expert precision, but he was quickly becoming outnumbered. He turned on a single guard who had thrown his rifle aside and lunged at him with a baseball bat sized cattle prod.
The girl watched as her rescuer was electrocuted. He howled as lightning shot through his body. He shook from the attack but attempted to continue to fight the guards. His body was wracked with pain as tormentors electrocuted him again and again. His arms flailed and still found flesh to shred, but soon, he fell to the ground, flat on his chest.
“Violet! No!” Dr. Chan’s voice ripped through the night, but did little.
The girl had spread her arms wide, back arching, her body contorting as power tore from her small frame. A stream of darkness spewed from the fingertips of her left hand like a swarm of bees. The cloud spread from her in a ring, and washed over the guards. Their bodies disintegrated, the very molecules ceased to be, and the dust that remained flitted away in the wind.
The yard went silent. Wolverine looked up with wide eyes. The remaining guards that were out of the radius of Violet’s attack stood motionless, shocked. “Well, that’s a new one,” Logan said.
Chan regained his senses. “Don’t just stand there! Stop them!” he demanded, but the guards were terrified.
Violet looked scared too. She dropped her arms and was shaking, looking about at the damage she had just wrought.
Wolverine was now standing at her side. “Come on,” he said. “We can go.”
“No!” Chan shouted and stormed toward them. “No, you are not going anywhere! You cannot! She is unstable! She could kill everyone! She is mine! She is–“
Wolverine threw his fist up and popped his claws freezing Han in his tracks, the tips of the adamantium blades an inch from the doctor’s throat. “Wanna finish that thought, or keep your insides from becoming outsides?”
Han swallowed hard but said nothing more.
Wolverine lowered his claws and gave a nod to the girl. “Let’s go.”
Violet looked one last time at Dr. Chan but said nothing. Her eyes cut into him, and the man whimpered. He knew what she could do; he knew better than anyone. “How do you think she’ll be able to control what she can do? Who will teach her?” Han spit, “You?”
Logan smirked. Without looking back, he replied, “Better men than me or you will take care of this little girl, bub.”
Moments later, Wolverine and the girl were gone.
* * *
Charles Xavier sat in his metal chair looking kindly at the girl Logan had rescued. She was not as he had seen her in his telepathic visions courtesy of Cerebro. In seeking mutants around the world, Charles had found the child in the Essex complex just outside of Massachusetts. He had been horrified to find not only this young girl being held captive and near starved but to find that there was such a facility operating without his knowledge. He had seen her scared and weak, and yet now, only hours after being rescued, she was smiling softly and filled with a growing life. He had given his welcome to her and explained further what Logan had already explained — that she was at the school to learn about herself and mutant kind, that she could call these halls and floors her home, and that she was safe.
“Thank you,” Violet said sweetly and pushed a strand of her dark hair behind her ear. She was a shy girl.
“May we discuss your wonderful gift?” Charles asked.
“Sure,” she replied and looked at him timidly.
“You can manipulate the cells in living things.” Charles looked at her with deep interest.
“I can disintegrate biological things,” Violet said with a slight hesitation.
Logan scoffed to himself from the sofa at the understatement. The Wolverine had been sitting to the side watching the Professor do his routine with the new recruit. XAvier gave him a glance to let him know if he wasn’t going to sit quietly he would have to leave.
“But I can regenerate matter too,” Violet added quickly. “Would you like to see?”
Charles smiled and nodded to her. “I would.”
Violet walked to one of the many shelves in Xavier’s office and to a small, sad looking potted plant that hadn’t been getting enough light tucked next to the many leather volumes. She lifted her right hand to the plant and a gentle glow materialized from her palm as she trailed her fingers through the stems. Xavier raised his brow in amazement as the plant came back to life slowly turning green and forming a pale red flower.
“Incredible,” Charles said breathlessly.
“I’ve been able to do the same on small animals,” Violet smiled proud, that she had impressed the Professor.
Charles touched his chin thoughtfully. The implications of such an extraordinary ability were huge. It was no wonder the Essex group was studying the girl. Wolverine’s description of the escape and what Violet had done was proof of her military capabilities; to be able to restore life? Even small animals? It was extraordinary, even by mutant standards. It was a very, very powerful ability. Violet could very well be proof of the next evolution in mutant kind.
Xavier broke his contemplation and smiled again at the girl. “How about we get you settled in? I have made arrangements for a senior roommate to show you around the school. I am always available to talk; whenever you need to see me, just let me know.” He took her hand warmly and guided her to the door; his chair’s wheels squeaked ever so slightly as he rolled along next to her. “I hope you will come to consider this your home, Violet.”
Violet looked back at Wolverine who was now lounging on the sofa. “Thank you, Mr. Logan,” she said to him. He waved without looking.
Students filled the hall just outside of Xavier’s office. They were heading to and from classes; some sat on benches chatting happily. And despite the occasional passing display of fantastic abilities between students, it was a school like any other. Xavier smiled seeing Violet’s wide-eyed expression.
“How long has it been?” he asked her.
“Dr. Chan and his people took me over a year ago, I think. Took me right out of my school and from my foster parents,” she said. The memory of it causing her to shake a little.
Xavier touched her arm to comfort her. “You’re safe her, Violet. You can learn and grow and understand what you are capable of. This is a haven for all mutant kind. I promise you, you have nothing more to fear.”
“Professor,” a voice came to them and Xavier turned to find Ororo approaching him.
“Ah, Ororo,” Charles said lightly. “I’m beginning to think we should just transfer you here if you’re going to be visiting so often.”
Storm offered a polite smile at the Professor’s good humor and gave a short glance at Violet before returning to Xavier. “I was wondering if you have a few minutes to discuss my request?”
“Of course,” he replied. He turned to another girl skipping over to them. “Violet, this is Katherine.”
“Aw, come on, Professor, you know no one calls me that,” the girl laughed and waved excitedly at Violet despite being right in front of her. “Hi! I’m Kitty. You’re Violet, right? I’m gonna show you around! You’re going to love it here!” Kitty looped her arm around Violet’s and continued exuberantly. “Come on!”
As the two girls walked away, Kitty speaking animatedly and Violet still glowing excitedly, Charles turned to Ororo. She had the same determined look on her face that she had had yesterday when she had visited the school. Storm wanted to graduate early, not just from Moira’s branch of the school but to the field. She had mastered her abilities a year ago only months after the incident in Moscow. She had become every bit the leader that Scott was to her fellow students overseas. Kurt had more than vouched for her; he believed she was ready to even take on the responsibilities he and Logan had been involved with over the decades, but Charles was not certain. He was not sure it was right to let his children become soldiers.
Charles had built this institute and brought in mutants to help them understand who and what they are. He never intended on training them for war against the world, and yet there had been battles. Logan and Kurt had been his operatives in the shadows — his black ops agents. Scott had lead Jean, Bobby, and Kitty into skirmishes with dangerous mutants and those with abilities who had threatened to do harm, or worse, expose mutant kind to the world. Yes, there had been reason to have fighters in a seemingly endless war, but the war had taken a turn. Magnus had vanished. Mystique had declared vengeance over a year ago and had not resurfaced since, and there were mysterious individuals such as Essex who had been a growing threat to Charles’ hidden world. He feared that by allowing Ororo to become involved in missions, allowing her to form a team of the overseas students, that he was admitting defeat. Was he prepared to go to war against the world that threatened his dream?
“It’s been over a year, Professor. You know I’m ready for this. I want to make a difference. I want to be out there doing what Scott and his team do. I want to be doing what Wolverine and Nightcrawler do. I can’t just keep playing in the Danger Room,” Storm said passionately. She was not mad, but he knew she was frustrated. “There are more and more events happening everyday, and we can’t let people like the Fantastic Four or the Avengers handle all of it. Sooner or later, they’re going to go up against a mutant, and the cat will be out of the bag. There will be no turning back.”
“I know,” Charles sighed. “I know.”
“At the end of the year, me, Betsy, and Shiro graduate. We don’t want to just leave, but if you can’t see that we’re ready to fight,” she stopped. He could sense that she was about to say something that she had been preparing to say for some time — an ultimatum. He had known she was building up to it yesterday, but he had not let her finish. He had cut their meeting short under the pretense that he needed to attend a senior lecture. Storm looked at him and let her courage make the statement. “If you aren’t willing to let us become full fledged X-Men, we are going to go out on our own.”
It was not a threat. It was a plea. Ororo did not want to abandon the Professor or his cause, but she knew it was time to be a part of the cause as more than just student. It was time to come off the bench. Charles looked at his dear student and smiled, impressed by the young woman before him. She was not the little girl he and Logan had saved in Cairo anymore. She was Storm, an X-Man if he had ever seen one. It had been hard to let Scott graduate and take to the field. It had been difficult to allow Jean, Bobby, and Katherine to participate in field operations with Cyclops, but they remained close to home. Their incidents had been in the States. Storm and her team would be involving themselves in Euro and Asian affairs. So far from home. Charles was not certain he was ready for this, but he could see just how ready she knew herself to be.
“Ororo,” he said, “do you know that I think of you as my daughter?” She blushed, but he went on. “I do. Scott is very much my son, and though all of the young men and women I bring to this institute are my responsibility, it is you and Scott that I truly see as my children.” He reached out and touched her arm. “My heirs.”
She smiled at the sweetness of it all. “Professor,” she said, a soft crack in her voice. “You changed my life — gave me a life.”
They looked at one another for a long while, a father looking at the daughter who had somehow grown to become an impressive young woman, and the girl looking at the man who raised her, guided her. There was no need for words between them and no need for telepathy. The respect and love was as strong as anything that could be said or thought. Ororo touched Xavier’s hand on her arm. She nodded at him, and he smiled in return, a sad and proud smile. There was an understanding in that moment that both of them fully appreciated. Scott had spent two years after graduating honing himself and the others who were skilled enough to be a part of his team before actively involving the X-Men in events around the country. Ororo was to graduate at the end of the year, but she was ready now — more ready than Scott had been. They both knew it was time.
Charles looked at Storm and exhaled. He shrugged and shook his head with a wry grin, “Well, Scott called his group “Blue Team”. Any idea what you’ll call yours?”
Ororo smiled in return. “Gold.” He shared her smile for a moment, but it turned sad. She squeezed his shoulder to reassure him. He looked into her face. She assured him, “I know how difficult this is going to be. You forget how long I’ve been here? What I’ve seen? Kurt has prepared me — you have prepared me.”
“Can’t a father worry about his daughter?”
They hugged, and as they did, though Charles knew just how incredible she was and what she could do, he nonetheless worried about what Storm might face in the future and how that might test her character.
* * *
The day had turned to night, and as the students tucked themselves to sleep int he dorms, a small group was still very much awake.
Apprehensively, Violet glanced around at her new classmates. They were tucked away from the school in a lovely grotto across the back pond; she could still see the glow of the school’s windows through the low-hanging branches of the large oak trees around them. It was late in the night, and the students of the Institute had decided to enjoy a little revelry out of the dorms. Violet was surrounded by a couple dozen kids around her age. There were a few cans of beer some of the boys had swiped from one of the teacher’s stashes, and a few kids were trading turns playing music, though not too loudly. They didn’t want to tip off any teachers. Their was laughter and rough-housing. It was all so normal. And many of them appeared quite normal, but Violet knew better. These were mutants, all of them.
Over the course of her first day at the school, she had seen many students displaying their abilities. It was endlessly wonderful. For the year she had been in Chan’s cell, she had only ever been poked and prodded to use her own abilities. Watching Angel hover around, Lee crack off tiny sparklers, and Jon Starsmore making psionic flames dance in his palms had been an absolute delight. Violet had watched from a distance, too shy to approach any of them. For now, she was content to just observe; she searched about for a familiar face and found Kitty.
“Vi!” Kitty squealed and waved. “Come here!” She quickly took Violet’s arm in hers and clung warmly. She pointed at the two boy in front of her. “This is Ha, and this is Mondo.”
“Hey, new girl.” Ha winked and lifted his beer to her. He was wearing a dark jacket and putting on his best bad boy attitude.
“You’re such a dork.” Kitty rolled her eyes.
“So, what can you do?” Ha asked bluntly. “Wanna see my trick?”
“Oh Christ–” Mondo groaned and quickly pulled his shirt over his nose.
Kitty began to protest, but before she could utter a word, Ha lifted his chin a spit a stream of liquid between his teeth. It hit a nearby cluster of flowers, and they withered away from the acid.
Violet coughed half in amusement the other half in disgust. The acid breath smelled terrible.
“Dude! Ha, you dick!” Jon shouted and threw an empty red Solo cup at the laughing Ha. “You showing off for the new girl?” Chamber snapped his fingers and a stream of psionic flames zigzagged through several legs and cracked Ha in the butt.
Ha leaped off the ground with a squeak and a laugh. “Shaddup, Chamber!”
“Come on, guys,” another girl admonished the boys. “You’re gonna get us busted.”
“Show her what you can do, Katy,” Jon nudged the girl.
“Katy! Katy! Katy!” the group cheered.
“All right, all right,” she waved at them all. “Just shut up.” It got quiet and Katy smirked looking at them all. “Such a well behaved group. And I haven’t even started yet.”
Kitty bounced with her arm still looped her around Violet’s and held her tight. “Watch this. Katy is like the Professor.”
“Like the…?” Violet began, but Kitty giggled.
“Who would like to volunteer to be my latest victim?” Katy asked with a wicked glint in her eyes.
“Do me!” Ha shouted and snorted with laughter.
“Don’t be gross,” Lee snapped a spark of static at him hitting him in the butt again.
“I’ll give it a go,” Jon said and stepped up to Katy.
“Alright, Chamber.” Katy extended her hand and wiggled her fingers in Jon’s face. She stared unblinking into his eyes, and he stared back, a strange passive expression slowly creeping over his face. Katy made a fist and Chamber’s eyes closed. He stood motionless.
“What did she do?” Violet whispered to Kitty.
Katy spoke to Chamber, “Try moving, Jon.”
He did not move an inch, save for his lips. ” I can’t.”
“Ha is a jerk and always will be,” Katy said.
There was an instant of silence. Then, Chamber repeated, “Ha is a jerk and always will be.”
“There was a wave of giggles and laughs.
“Aw, come on!” Ha protested but was laughing too. “I’m awesome!”
Katy leaned closer to Chamber and spoke quietly into his ear. Violet could not hear what she was saying, but a moment later, Chamber spoke again in a stoic voice.
“And Katy is the prettiest girl I’ve ever seen, and I promise to worship her”
Some of the kids hooted and whistled.
Katy shrugged playfully, “That’s all you had to say, Jon.” And with that, she released him to a round of applause.
Chamber smirked and looked around with a little color in his cheeks. He waved at the others with a yeah-yeah, and Violet laughed too, but she sensed he was a little embarrassed by the admission.
“Violet?” Mondo said next to her and Kitty. “How about you?”
“Oh,” she replied shyly, “I think I’ll just watch. I’m sure there are others here with better mutations.”
Lee shook her head. “We’ve seen it all. Trust me, it gets old.”
A floating head popped up in front of Violet. “I heard you got to fight your way here next to Wolverine!” The head was attached to a long grey neck that connected to the shoulders of a boy several yards away.
The grotto filled with murmurs and impressed chatter.
“Damn, she must be good.”
“Come on! Show us!”
Violet looked down bashfully and then at Kitty who was grinning and nodding. The kids cheered Violet on; her gaze found Chamber who shrugged and smiled encouragingly. He raised a hand as if to say, “It’s your call.” Violet bit her lip. What harm could it do? She let go of Kitty’s arm and took a step forward. The crowd cheered and clapped as she stepped to the center. Raising her right arm and closing her eyes, the group fell silent.
From the tips of her fingers, Violet felt the gentle pulse of energy that crawled from her chest, crept down her arms, and caused the tingling sensation from her heart to the tip of her tongue. The grotto spoke to her, and she heard it with her open right hand. She felt the quiet force of the blades of grass at her feet, the leaves swaying from the trees and bushes, the buds of young flower in garden bed around tree trunks. She gave the power a nudge, and a wave left her, touched the grass, and Violet brought the life out of the blades like she had the potted plant in the Professor’s office; the grass grew instantly, growing into long stalks around Violet.
The kids reacted with claps and cheers. “She controls plants?” someone asked over the group. “Boring!”
“No,” someone else shouted. “Look!”
Violet had felt life energy from the pond. She guided her hand to the pull of the fish within and pushed. The tiny young fish that had been added by the Grounds Club felt Violet’s power and rapidly aged into full adults. Two leaped from the water splashing. A small group of tadpoles zipped through their life cycle, and soon frogs hopped into the now tall grass. The trees grew heavy with leaves, and flowers bloomed around them all. A nest of eggs advanced through their life cycle and became full birds. Violet had made the already lush grotto overflow with life.
There were laughs and cheers, and Violet felt a thrill from impressing her new friends. If they like this, she thought and dropped her right hand. She lifted her left arm and smiled excitedly anticipating the response from the others.
The damp heat that started behind her eyes made her sweat. The warmth weighed upon her shoulders, and she pushed the boiling energy that fluttered like bees under her skin through her fingertips and out at the life forces before her. The grass withered, the fish turned over dead, the frogs dried and cracked like clay. The grotto decayed. Violet waited to hear the glee from her classmates but no cheers came. Violet opened her eyes.
The group was staring at the new girl in silence. Chamber and Kitty were closest; both looked at Violet with deep concern. The others began to murmur; voices met Violet’s ears.
“She killed everything,” someone whispered.
“We need to go.”
“What is she?”
Her heart began thumping. She had messed up. She had scared everyone. This was a mistake. “I can fix it,” she said, her voice trembling. She raised her healing left hand, but the group recoiled.
“Easy,” Chamber said cautiously.
“Vi, just… just don’t do anything,” Kitty said.
“I can fix it,” Violet repeated and pushed with her hand. The grotto went from desert to green once more in a flash, but she pushed too hard, and the yard shifted back to life too quickly. Several of the kids lost their balance as the ground shifted; one of the trees grew too thick and was uprooted, falling toward Mondo and another girl.
“Hey!” someone screamed.
Others were beginning to panic.
“I’m sorry!” Violet pleaded and threw her left hand out to stop the tree. The blast escaped her too harshly, and the tree was vaporized. The beam stretched too wide, and clipped Ha’s shoulder as he attempted to dodge. His arm went black, and he screamed.
“Violet, stop!” Chamber shouted and fired a blast of his psionic flame right at Violet’s feet.
She stumbled back. Her heel caught a branch and she fell, arms flailing. A blast from her left hand erupted powerfully, and she watched in terror, her world slowing to a panicked crawl as she watched the dark blast soar toward Katy and Lee. They would be vaporized, and there was nothing she could do.
Kitty cartwheeled directly in front of the energy wave and grabbed the two girls tightly. The wave washed over all three of them and did no harm. Kitty’s mutation had phased the three of them into intangibility.
Violet looked around in a panic. What had she done? What was she? Dr. Chan was right! She was a danger! Anger and fear overwhelmed her. Guilt gripped her, and her mind clouded. She was losing consciousness, though the pulses of her energy continued to pop from her hands. She was spinning wildly. A guttural moan came from her throat as the energy took hold of her.
“Get out of here!” Kitty ordered the kids near her.
“She’s not in control!” Chamber shouted and rolled under a wave of energy. He wasn’t sure if it was healing or killing, but it didn’t matter. “Get everyone back!” he ordered Kitty and leaped over another blast and pointed to Mondo, “Mo! Get Ha out of–“
“Jon!” Kitty yelled desperately to Chamber but too late. One of Violet’s blasts struck him center-mass.
Psionic flames erupted from his chest.
* * *
Logan’s eyes flew open. He leaped out of bed with his claws out, the Professor’s voice was echoing in his head — shouting for him.
The children! Get to the back plot! Now!
The Wolverine did not need any further prompting; his instinct kicked in immediately. He raced down the hall, his bare feet pounding on the wooden floors. “What is it?” he shouted to Charles, wherever the man was.
They are being attacked. They are being hurt, Logan. Please, hurry!
The mansion shook ever-so-slightly, and a bright beam of light rippled through the windows facing the back acres. There were students in the halls and peering out of their doors. Logan raced past them, and a few shouted after him with a “What’s going on?” while others laughed. “Looks like the sophomores are pulling their prank before the seniors this year!”
“Back in you rooms! Now!” Logan growled. He wasn’t a babysitter. He was a soldier. If this was just some goddamn kid pulling some prank, he might have no choice but to sharpen his claws on the punk. “I want that cabin in the North woods you’ve been promising me,” Wolverine growled to the Professor.
The night was crisp. Wolverine felt a blast of cold air on his bare chest as he sprinted through the servant’s entrance in the back of the kitchen. He was ready for a fight. He had been itching for another since he had torn through the soldiers rescuing the new girl. Adrenaline was pumping through his veins, and he was even smiling darkly despite knowing that there were children in danger. He was honestly hoping for some mutant dickhead attacking the school. Someone real tough. Give me a reason to hand out punishment. His claws were primed. As he raced closer and closer to the back grotto, the air grew dry, and his sharp senses told him what he was approaching, the thrill was snatched away. “Damn,” he growled. He knew what this was.
Kids were screaming; one was slumped on the ground, yellow flames leaking from his body. Kitty was phased and attempting to get closer to Violet, but the constant waves of healing and destructive energy was like hurricane winds causing Kitty to barely keep her footing on the ever-changing surface of the grotto. And then there was Violet in the center of the madness. Her eyes were black, mouth slack, arms stretched out and turning in place, a dark moan escaping her lips. Wolverine saw a trio of students huddled behind the line of large stones along the pond shore. “Stay there! Don’t move!” he shouted to them. They nodded in terror. He turned his attention to Violet. He wasn’t sure how to handle this. He looked to Kitty, “What happened!”
“It wasn’t her fault!” Kitty yelled. “She lost control!”
“Clearly!” Logan grunted and crouched low to stay out of the range of the energy waves.
“We just need to calm her down!” Kitty continued.
Wolverine looked at Violet, and he cringed. Her body was contorting grotesquely. Every pulse of her dangerous power caused her to twist and bend. Her own abilities were killing her. He looked to the fallen kid. “Who’s that!” he shouted.
“Jon Starsmore!” Kitty’s voice shook. “One of the beams…”
“Yeah, I got it.” Logan did not need more. He squinted at the boy, and he could not tell if his chest was moving from labored breathing or the waves of heat coming from the psionic flames spilling from his body or the energy of Violet rolling over them all. He had to hope that the kid was still alive.
“What are we going to do?” Kitty shouted.
Wolverine looked all around them. There was no way to get to the girl. He couldn’t make a dash for her. If the destructive wave hit him, he couldn’t be sure he’d survive. The clearest way to her was from above, but there was no way for him to do that either. Maybe if he could get in a tree. He silently wished Summers was here. As annoying as the boy scout was, he knew how to conceptualize and execute a plan in a heartbeat.
“Mr. Logan,” a weak a terrified voice cut through the whirlwind of powers all around them — a tiny, sorrowful whimper. Logan squinted through the dust and debris to Violet. She was looking toward him. She was speaking to him while her body continued to flail and whip about. “Mr. Logan, please…”
“You gotta calm down, girl! Control it!” he hollered to her.
“Mr. Logan, please,” the small little words touched his keen ears. “Stop me. You have to… stop me…”
He grit his teeth. He didn’t know what to do.
The wind howled with sudden strength — a new, direct wind rushing down on the scene that flattened Wolverine to the dirt. A roll of thunder echoed from the black clouds that were swarming above that lit up at the same instant as a flash of white lightning cut through them. The bolt of thick, sharp electricity reached out from the heavens and skewered the out of control Violet like a mighty spear.
Violet’s power hiccuped for an instant and she dropped to her knee; the scene fell deathly silent. Logan, Kitty, the other kids looked to the sky. Floating there among the frothing clouds, white lightning crawling over her form, Storm had come. Violet looked to the sky, and a wave of anger flared within her. She erupted with power once more.
* * *
Ororo had been laying in her dorm on Muir Island listening to Betsy’s steady breathing but unable to sleep herself. It had been an amazing day. Tomorrow, she would tell the others that Gold Team had become a reality with Professor Xavier’s blessing. Professor MacTaggert would finalize her clearance and show her how to operate the global Cerebro system that Scott used for his team’s work in the west. Mr. Wagner would be returning from his work in Hong Kong in a few days to familiarize her with the Blackbird. Everything she had been working toward was coming to fruition. How could she sleep with a heart so full?
And then she felt her skin crawl, the hairs on her neck rising. She sat up. Something was wrong. She couldn’t say what it was, but somehow, she sensed trouble. Recounting it later, Betsy would explain that in her sleep, she had acted as some sort of conduit for residual telepathic energies that were present in Storm from her visit with Xavier earlier in the day. Ororo would like to think she was that keen to the Professor that she simply sensed his panic from across the Atlantic and knew there was trouble in Westchester. Whatever the case, Storm leaped out of her bed, grabbed her leather jacket, and raced from the dorms to the teleportation room
Moments later, she was ripping through the air toward the light show across the back pond. In an instant, she evaluated the scenario: Wolverine ducked behind cover and hesitant how to approach the threat who was launching waves of destructive energy from her right hand, while simultaneously sending a wave of reconstructive energy whipping about with her left hand. Kitty phased and attempting to reach the girl screaming, “Violet!” Students were scattered around the garden hiding in terror, and a student in a heap on the ground “bleeding” fire. Storm had no idea who this girl was, but it was clear she needed to be stopped.
Storm rocketed like an eagle at her prey, fists forward and the rush of hurricane winds projecting her like a bullet, the speeding air on her ears deafened her. She twisted around one of the energy pulses and collided with the girl plowing her into the earth. In the moment the girl hit the dirt and mud, and a crater began to form around them, Storm looked her in the eyes. The madness behind the two black orbs was chilling and complete. Whoever the girl was, she was out of control — feral. Storm hesitated in surprise of the darkness.
As the moment passed, the girl’s two hands reached for Storm’s face, and Ororo regained her senses. She grabbed the girl by her wrists, but the strength was more than she expected. The fingers of the destructive left hand scratched for Storm’s cheek, inches away and pulsing. Storm yanked the arm back and hollered as pebbles of sleet hammered down from the clouds she controlled above.
The girl winced and shielded her face from the cutting ice. She raised her hands to the pellets, and as the right hand evaporated the ice, the left melted it, and steam swirled about the small impact crater she and Storm had created.
“Storm!” Kitty cried from nearby. The waves of the mad energy were still rippling the garden surface while Storm’s gale whirled all around them. “Storm, she can’t control herself! She doesn’t know what she’s doing!”
“She’s mine!” Wolverine roared as he came flying from out of nowhere and at the girl. He was a meter away from tackling her with his wide arms, when the girl spun on him and threw her destructive wave into him. The Wolverine’s skin melted from his body. Muscles and tendons shredded from the blast, and Storm saw the glint of bloody metal. His entire right side from shoulder to thigh was obliterated. The roar turned to a scream of agony. Storm reacted expertly and sent a wave of wind and rain against Logan. He tumbled through the air like a rag doll and from anymore of the horrible power. He rolled across the mud and rocks landing unconscious near Kitty who was horrified by the sight of the mangled hero.
Ororo tore off her jacket and leaped into the air soaring directly at the girl. At the last moment before impacting with the girl, Storm reached out, grabbed the left and more dangerous arm, forced her jacket around it, and yanked the girl around into a hold, pinning the girl’s arm around her back. It was a gamble, but her hope was that the jacket’s thick material and the pain of the arm being wretched back would keep the girl from getting off anymore waves of this energy. A heat was already developing through the leather.
Storm then grabbed the right arm and pointed it forward, using it like ray gun. “Kitty! Phase!” Storm ordered. The healing beam of the girl’s right hand hit Logan. His body took the full force of the blast and was once more tumble across the garden. However this time, as he rolled, his body was healing more rapidly than even his healing factor had ever done. Once Storm was satisfied Logan was well enough, she jerked the girl’s body hard and pointed her healing blast directly at the boy on the ground; Chamber’s body flopped about, but the flames ceased spilling from his chest.
A warmth was growing in Storm’s grasp on the girl’s left arm — a warmth that was starting to burn the skin on her hand and arm, the jacket deteriorating as the power pulsed through it. Despite the pounding rain and ice upon her, it was hot to the touch. She let go of the right arm and put the girl into a headlock. She yanked the girl back hard twisting her restrained arm into her back as aggressively as she could — attempting to snap the bone. “You have to stop!” Storm screamed in her ear.
The girl trashed about, but Storm held firm. The pulse of her left hand was growing more intense between her body and Storms. She craned her neck and the black eyes of the girl found the solid white eyes of the X-Man, and a whimper came from the girl’s mouth, “Kill me.”
Storm exhaled as though she’d been punched in the stomach. The plea had been childlike, weak. The powerful, dark moan quickly returned, but Ororo could not un-hear that plea. She didn’t know what to do. She couldn’t kill a child, no matter how dangerous she was. She gripped the girl tightly and launched herself into the sky, rocketing through the ice and rain. She tore through the thick clouds and broke through the top of them into a crisp, serene calm high, so very high above the mansion. There was only the sound of the girl groaning as the pulses of energy continued to erupt from her uncontrollably and Storm’s anxious breathing.
She would not kill this girl. She pushed them higher and higher, the air thinning around them, no real plan other than to get the girl away from the others — away from anything, and this far up, there was nothing. The sky grew clearer and clearer, the stars shining brighter. The girl was sobbing now, and the pulses of energy had stopped. Storm ceased their ascent, and they hung there, floating in the silence. She was no longer squeezing the girl. She was hugging her, and the girl was hugging her back, crying into her shoulder.
“Shh,” Storm said gently. “It’s okay.”
The girl shivered; Storm did not feel the cold. “I’m sorry,” the girl said weakly.
With a wave of her hand, Storm drew a warm Southern breeze up to them. “What’s your name?” Storm asked.
“Violet,” the girl trembled still.
“I’m Ororo. Are you okay?”
Violet cried. Storm soothed her by squeezing her closely. This was not an enemy. This was not a monster. This was a mutant who did not understand her powers — could not control herself. She was confused and scared. She was no different than any of them had been. She was exactly the sort of person who belonged at the school. A child like this was why the Professor had created his institute.
Storm tilted the girl’s chin up to her and wiped away a tear. “It’s going to be fine. You’re in control now, right?”
Violet nodded, she was still ashamed.
“We all lose control. You should hear what Scott did in his first week down there. And my friend Sunfire has ruined the bathroom at our campus so many times, we make him go outside now.” Violet gave a tiny smile at that. Storm said, “You’ll learn. That’s what this school is for. You’ll learn.”
“If they let me stay,” Violet said sadly.
“They will. You’re one of us. Always will be. And we welcome and protect our own. Always.”
Violet looked at Storm with gratitude. “Thank you,” she said.
“Hey,” Storm said and pointed with her chin, “Look at that.” In the distant East, the sun was rising over the Ocean. The clouds had cleared, and the wide open sky was melting from purple to red and hints of orange and yellow. It was beautiful. Storm shifted so Violet and she were floating side by side, arms around waists. Ororo looked at Violet and said, “If you ever get overwhelmed again or just want to get away, you call me, and we’ll watch one of these. Not sure if you know it or not, but they happen everyday.”
Violet’s eyes sparkled with the rising Sun.
* * *
Charles looked across the infirmary to the group of kids around Violet’s bed. Kitty had brought balloons and flowers and was showing off the card she had asked Piotr to draw. Katy and Lee were giggling over some of the other “Get Well” and “Welcome” cards Violet had received in her two days in observation. One was from Mondo, which the girls giggled at the most. Jon, healed fully from his injuried, was standing just behind the girls messing his hair up to give him a windswept look, a move Charles had used once upon a time. He smiled at the youthful exuberance.
“–and I’ll bring you whatever homework we get tomorrow, but you’ll be back by Monday, so no more sympathy after that!” Kitty said playfully.
Violet smiled and looked at her new friends. She bit her lip nervously. “How’s Ha?”
“Oh, he’s fine,” Katy blew through her lips.
“To be honest,” Katy lowered her voice, “None of us were all that sorry to see him hurt in the first place.”
They all laughed, all except Violet who still looked ashamed she had hurt anyone.
“Don’t worry about,” Jon smiled kindly. “Three months ago his mutation flared because of the flu and he puked a hole through Mr. Guff’s desk. Melted it to the ground. It still smells like ass in the Math hall.”
Everyone laughed this time. Violet looked through them and caught Professor Xavier’s eye. He was seated just outside the doorway across the room observing with a smile of his own. He nodded, and she nodded back, thankful. He turned and rolled down the hall.
Charles had asked Violet to remain in the infirmary for the weekend just to monitor her natural rhythms and ensure whatever medicine or formulas the Essex people had put into her were cleared. She was doing very well — proving to be a very normal teenager, despite her torturous upbringing. He was pleased to see the other young students welcoming her so openly, proud of his school.
Professor Xavier had a great many thing to be proud of. Ororo had already proved herself an incredible leader by safely resolving the events of Violet’s first night in the mansion. He knew Storm would continue to prove herself an impeccable leader to the Muir Island and European mutants. Scott had reported another successful mission with Jean and Bobby out west. They had been following a lead on Mystique, and though they had not found her, they had found another one of her Morlock encampments. Moira was reporting wonderful marks for all the students on the Island, which would make an exciting Quiz Bowl this Spring. And Nightcrawler would be back from his Hong Kong trip tomorrow with an update on the Eastern seaboard. Things were going swimmingly.
“Don’t you look like that cat that ate the canary.”
Charles turned his chair to find Logan seated in the picture window facing the back acres. He had healed from his injuries too, thanks to Ororo’s quick thinking. Xavier even thought Logan looked a little less worn — maybe a few less wrinkles at the corner of his eyes.
“I have every reason to be pleased,” Charles said plainly.
“Ya know, you think that, but you’re kinda a deluded dumbass, Chuck.”
Charles frowned. “What’s on your mind this time, Logan?” he asked and crossed his arms.
Wolverine tapped the side of his head, “Why don’t you take a look?”
“You know me better than that.”
“I need some space from this shit, Charles,” Logan said, his voice tired. “Every time you add another stick-a-dynamite to this pile, I know we’re one step closer to seeing it go off.”
“But surely your healing factor could handle it,” Charles said sarcastically.
Logan tilted his head unamused. “Either you let me start smoking in here, or you let me build a cabin in the North woods.”
Xavier chuckled. “It’s yours, Logan. Take every acre you want. You’ve more than earned it.” And he meant that. There was no one in the world Charles trusted more. For decades they had built this School and brought mutants to their haven. He worried at times that the Wolverine would need to leave to satisfy his true nature, and he had left before on some private sojourn, but he had always returned. Charles feared that one day, Logan would leave and never return, as Magnus had. For now, Logan seemed content. Charles aimed to keep him so. “And the land will be off limit to students, of course.”
“Good,” was all Logan said in reply. He got up. He removed a cigar from his shirt pocket and put it between his lips. “If you don’t have any assignments, I’m going to home depot.” And he walked away without a word from Charles.
Professor Charles Xavier rolled to the window and stared out at the yard. It was a peaceful and serene day, and he smiled inwardly. He could hear classes in progress from down the corridors — sensed the calm of the school. He cherished the calm knowing that it was precious and that any moment, it could all be taken away – the dynamite could explode. But for now, there was peace.
Continued next time in Marvel Rebooted X-Men #6
* * * * * * *
Active Characters in the Marvel Rebooted X-Men Universe
Professor Charles Xavier – the world’s most powerful telepath and founder of the X-Men
Logan/Wolverine – healing factor, adamantium skeleton, and skilled hunter/fighter; former Weapon X and Black Ops agent for Xavier
Kurt Wagner/Nightcrawler – line of sight teleportation; rescued as a child by Charles, Logan, and Magnus; Black Ops agents for Xavier (Eastern hemisphere)
Alex Magnus/Magneto – master of magnetism and estranged friend of Charles
Moira MacTaggert – brilliant geneticist and Head Master of the Muir Island Institute for Gifted Youngsters
Raven Darkholm/Mstique – shape-shifter, leader of the militant Brotherhood of Mutants
BLUE TEAM: Operating out of the X-Mansion in New York and involving themselves in mutant affairs Stateside
Scott Summers/Cyclops (Team Leader) – concussive optical blasts, master strategist
Jean Grey/Marvel Girl – telekinetic/telepathic
Bobby Drake/Iceman – create and control ice
Katherine “Kitty” Pryde/Shadowcat – phase shifting
GOLD TEAM: Operating out of the X-Mansion on Muir Island, Scotland and involving themselves in mutant affairs overseas
Ororo Monroe/Storm (Team Leader) – weather manipulation
Betsy Braddock/Psylocke – psionic blades and skilled fighter
Shiro Yoshida/Sunfire – plasma blasts and flight; immunity to radioactivity
Piotr “Peter” Rasputin/Colossus – organic steel form
STUDENTS of the Xavier Institute for Gifted Children:
Jon Starsmore/Chamber – Possesses a furnace of psionic energy in chest
Jubilee Lee – generate pyrotechnic energy
Katy Ariel – Voice Based Manipulation
Mondo – absorption and replicating of materials ingested
Honjo Masamune/Ha – produces poisonous saliva, martial artist and sword skills
Angel Salvadore – winged flight
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