Chapter 3: Guilt
'There are chapters in every
are seldom read and certainly not out loud.'
- Carol Shields, The Stone Diaries
"Wake up my friend. You are going to be fine."
Remy tried to move but pain lanced through his entire body.
He tried to speak, but his jaw wouldn't move. Finally he was
able to squint his eyes open. They must be pretty swollen
he thought. Through a glass-like shield, a pale man with black
hair and a red diamond in his forehead smiled pointed teeth
"Who are you?" he wanted to ask, but it wouldn't
come from his wired-shut jaw. However the question suddenly
echoed in the room. Remy's bruised eyes managed to widen.
"It's the psionic shield." the man stated. "While
it protects you from all emotional energies outside of it
until you can return your shields to their normal levels,
it also allows your psionic power to express your speaking
Remy digested that information. No wonder he was thinking
"Alive, I believe. I put an anonymous call in to the
authorities, and they took her away. She was alive then ....
So, how are you feeling?"
The man laughed.
"I would hope so. You are lucky that I came to your
aid, M'Sieu LeBeau. I doubt even your stubborn will could
have held out much longer against the vast number of emotions
"Merci beaucoup. However, seems I be at de disadvantage.
Ya know my name, but I don' be knowin yours."
"The name is Sinister. Mr. Sinister. And I know a great
deal more about you than just your name. It seems an old acquaintance
of yours is an associate of mine." Something in Remy's
gut told him not to trust this man, and who he saw next convinced
"Now that didn't sound very nice, LeBeau. An' after
I just helped save your sorry cajun hide."
Wonderful. Don' get all mushy, Remy. You know he only
did it on orders. Ain't like you got to like him now. Ain't
like you really owe him.
At least that didn't echo in the room around him so he did
have some privacy, he guessed. They could be reading his unblocked
mind, of course. Didn't really seem to make much difference
one way or the other. It was hard to have much privacy or
choice about things while he was wearing an near complete
body cast as tubes ran in and out of his body. What was important
was he was alive. They'd saved his life. He would never have
made it out of that theater intact without help. He owed Sinister,
and Remy LeBeau paid his debts. Of course, the cynic in him
knew better than to believe that his good fortune was only
a random act of kindness. He knew there was a reason they
saved him, a specific price for his life. That didn't matter
either. Being alive and sane was what mattered. That was the
last time he'd ever put anyone else's welfare above his own.
Look what it had got him. Look what it always got him. From
now on, he only cared for himself.
He was a thief, not a good Samaritan. And most of his 'friends'
had always been the less than savory types, anyway. This was
the world he understood. It was the life he knew. He could
always charm his way through. All the while, a tiny voice
in the back of his head kept telling him the price he would
be made to pay would cost him things much more precious than
"Rest, my friend." Sinister smiled at him, and
Remy got a creepy feeling. "It will take awhile for you
to recover from the wounds those genetic inferiors inflicted
on you. You are lucky we discovered you in time. Complete
rest and some of my healing devices should make you like new.
Hardly a scar. Once recovered we can discuss your future.
After all, superior beings such as ourselves should stick
Little alarms went off in Remy's head, but he pushed them
down into the quiet darkness.
Sinister treated him like his very best friend, a beloved
son, all through the recovery. Remy'd spent his whole life
lying, being lied to, and wasn't fooled. The man wanted something.
But it was the first time someone had cared about him for
any reason in a long time. At least he wasn't alone. Sinister
told him that their kind had to stick together above the rest,
look out for themselves. That they were the genetic kings
destined to save the world. His work was advancing that along,
and he needed a man like Remy. A master thief to acquire him
information he had been unable to gain on his own. Things
supposedly impossible to obtain. A point man with skills and
powers his organization needed. An information specialist
and his right hand. Remy would be highly rewarded. Despite
his reservations concerning Sinister's philosophy, Remy was
intrigued. A chance to do what he did best and repay his debt,
no questions asked. Someplace to fit in. Challenges and risks
to overcome. Sounded perfectly fine for a while.
He was a thief, not a philosopher. What difference did it
make to him what Sinister wanted with the information as long
as he got his a cut? After all, he was watching out for himself
first from now on.
Once well, he agreed to joining the Marauders as it's point
man, promising to help Sinister out, pay him back. He stole
numerous papers, information and documents for the man. Sinister
was very pleased with the results, praising his skills and
paying him well for the services. Over time, Remy met or worked
with many of the other Marauders including Sabertooth. The
man was still about a likable as a splinter, but Remy put
up with it. It helped to know Creed continually complained
to Sinister about having to work with him. He didn't trust
Remy. There was a laugh. Essex finally told Creed to shut
up or maybe he'd find a better use for him. Maybe working
in the labs. Remy thought that pretty hysterical, but having
never seen the labs, maybe Sabertooth could sweep the floors.
Most of the rest of the Marauders impressed him less than
Sabertooth. They were muscle, enforcers. Little brains and
no style. They hardly spoke to him.
Except Arclight, who had a few interpersonal skills she was
more than happy to show him. Truthfully, they didn't really
speak that much either. But laissez les bon temps rouler,
they didn't really need to. It was just fun. She wasn't looking
for ties just explosive heat, and from what she'd seen and
heard, she bet he could help her with her quest. Never let
it be said he'd let down a damsel in distress.
Of course, this only made him more persona non grata with
the rest of the Marauders. How was he to know Arclight and
Riptide had a thing once. Wasn't his fault she decided Riptide
wasn't fulling his part of the arrangement.. That was before
he even showed up. Problem was, Arclight loved rubbing salt
into old wounds.
"How's the teacher's pet?"
"You think I'd be jealous of that cajun casanova just
because he's knocking boot with you, Arc?"
Arclight smiled. Why had she ever thought this dork was worthy
of her time? Oh, she remembered now. He was good at killing
people. Beyond that he could hardly keep up a decent conversation.
Loser. He'd never amount to anything. Now, she wanted to hurt
him for the fun of it. Besides, Sinister said to keep him
pissed off for missions. And he'd walked right into this like
a moth to a flame.
"Actually no, you're not that smart. But if you had
brains, you would be since he's way better than you ever were
... or will ever be."
"You little bitch!"
"Come on, loser."
Creed grinned breaking it up. Arc was doing her job well
keeping Riptide wound up. Frails'll do it to you every time.
Not to worry. LeBeau would eventually decide to move on giving
her a taste o' her own medicine. Probably just about the time
she started realizing she was falling for the cajun charmer.
Serve her right.
It was the only thing Sabertooth liked about LeBeau. The
kid was a natural born heartbreaker. He could do it without
even trying. It was the thing Creed hated about the cajun
too. If the kid had the killer instinct instead of being a
hopeless romantic, he could be devastating instead of just
dangerous. Boy was soft. He just hid it well. Sinister was
missing that. And that's why he didn't trust LeBeau . If he
had the kid's charm, he'd being enjoying it. Rending a person's
heart was just as painful, gory, and satisfying as rending
their flesh. Sometimes more. Sometimes much more.
Sinister entered the room as Sabertooth was pulling Riptide
away. He smirked momentarily. Another thing Gambit was good
for, keeping everybody charged up, usually without even trying.
Then he looked serious.
"That is enough. Save it for when you'll need it. And
you are going to need it soon."
"Yeah?" Creed grinned. "Bout time. I was getting
restless. Time for the hunt. Who's the prey?"
"A colony of genetically inferior mutants living somewhere
in New York. And that is the first problem. I must find them.
Where they live. All of them. Then you can hunt them in their
den and eradicate them."
"I could track them."
"On the streets of New York? I think the X-Men would
eventually notice a presence such as yours and mess things
up. You do tend to cause a scene sometimes. No. I think this
calls for subtly first. And subtle and sneaky is Gambit's
department. I'll send him in first to find out about the targets,
and then you can finish the job. He'll lead you right to these
'Morlocks", and I want everyone ready when the time comes.
Is that understood?"
The eagerness in their eyes told him they did.
Sinister had said this was important. He needed to find these
people. They were a previously unknown group of mutants he
wanted to track, study, along with all the rest. His gut kept
telling him there was something wrong about this, but he ignored
the feeling. He knew Essex only looked out for his own interests,
his quest for genetic material and knowledge, but Remy told
himself he owed the man, and he didn't know these people.
So what if Sinister wanted to keep tabs on them? He needed
to look out for himself. No one was going to do it for him
with out a reason he realized. Humans hated him just because
of an accident of birth, and no one else was going to really
be there for him. He wasn't good enough to justify the effort.
Agreeing to work for Sinister guaranteed he was helped in
getting well after Seattle, and the pinches had been pretty
interesting and profitable. Sinister watched out for him because
he needed him. They were using each other. That he understood,
and in the end, that's what he'd learned. The strong survive.
The weak perish. Look out for number one.
It took a few days and breaking into a very nice mansion
out in Westchester to get the information needed to know where
to start. Pretty damn good security, but not good enough.
Get in, get the stuff you want, get out . Quick, quiet, efficient.
Staying too long, getting too greedy, that's what got you
But knowing where the tunnels were and knowing your way around
them were two different things. He hung around subway stations
watching them come and go to get food. Waiting for the right
circumstances, he 'accidentally met one of the members who
frequently came out to scavenge. He knew the feeling of living
day to day, and felt a pang of sympathy.
Number one, Remy.
Her name was Starbright because she glowed in the dark. She
was young, naive, trusting, and friendly. And even pretty
in a unique sort of way. He saved her from some gang members,
and she didn't stand a chance against his charm. She invited
him down and showed him around. Much to initial dismay of
Callisto, but he charmed her too.
"No threat me. I'm just an outcast mutant like de rest
After a week or so, he could have walked every cavern blindfolded.
Starbright was a very good guide. She really was a sweet kid,
and he kept telling himself Sinister watching them was no
big deal. Sinister tracked mutants all over the world as he
identified them. It was part of his research into mutant genetics.
So why did this seem so wrong?
"Dis is it. It's an obscure entrance attached to de
back caverns. Never hardly used. Sinister can easily use it
ta keep tabs on dem." Remy lit a cigarette. "Didn't
know you did surveillance work, Creed."
"Don' get smart, cajun. Lead us in so we can see how
close we can get. We'll know how to set the equipment properly."
"Could have set it myself."
"Sinister wants us all to know how to get in here to
do anything that needs to be done."
They walked in and out without a hitch.
"This is perfect." Creed growled slapping his hand
on Gambit's shoulder. "No problems encountered. Nice
Remy raised an eyebrow at the praise.
"Told you he's good." Arclight smirked at Riptide.
He knew something was wrong. All his defenses told him something
was up and to be careful, but when he got to the destination
Sinister sent him to, he suddenly knew the eerie feeling wasn't
about his welfare. The pinch was a piece of cake. Much too
simple to have sent him halfway across the country for. That
feeling of dread was back in full force.
Sinister gave the orders and sent the muscle out. They meant
nothing to him save being good goons and killers. He was keeping
their genetic codes on hand in case he needed that kind of
army in the future. LeBeau, on the other hand, had proved
to be an invaluable asset. When Creed told him that he'd met
the boy before, Essex was pleased to be able to learn some
things about LeBeau's mutant powers prior to him awakening.
The charging ability although impressive surprised him some.
Why use mostly that when the empathic ability was so strong?
Didn't matter. He'd help the boy expand his powers in time.
Once he owned him. Amoral by virtue of his upbringing and
nature, LeBeau was more ideal for his purposes that he could
have imagined. His thieving skills were outstanding, and he
was able to acquire documents Sinister had been trying to
get at for awhile. Not to mention, the boy had excellent underground
information contacts even he didn't have. He needed LeBeau
out doing this work for him. This reason would have been enough
not to send Remy in with the other Marauders, but he had a
number of other reasons for Gambit being out of the picture.
LeBeau was a thief by nature not an assassin. Mass murder
was not his forte like it was with the others. LeBeau really
wasn't out to kill people. Oh, he'd killed before in self-defense
and was a top notch fighter, better at hand to hand than most
of the marauders. And his aim, charging ability and unorthodox
methods were impressive in battle, but it wasn't his style.
Still, Sinister was sure once the battle insued, Gambit would
protect himself. That was always Remy's number one concern.
So Sinister doubted the Morlocks could take Gambit unless
by accident. But it wasn't the Morlocks he was worried about.
Arclight has done her job too well. Riptide might well take
the opportunity to vent his jealousy at Gambit by betraying
him during the battle and pretending Gambit just got unlucky.
Sinister definitely couldn't risk that. LeBeau was indeed
a useful ally, but even more important, he was an exceptional
source of genetic material and potential.
Essex nearly fell on the floor in shock when he finally determined
Gambit's paternity, and genealogical potential. He had to
double check the tests. Gambit came from a very powerful genetic
line he'd been tracking for well over two generations. And
he thought the man had never strayed from his wife and children.
But of course, he couldn't watch someone morning, noon, and
night over a lifetime. Despite the impression he gave off,
his vast knowledge on the subject, and his tracking techniques,
Essex didn't know every mutant born nor every potential line
for mutation. It was absurd to believe any one, even Apocalypse,
could keep up with all the infinite possibilities. But as
individual mutants, especially powerful ones, were tracked
down, he collected data on them and their families. Checked
genetic factors and theorized possibilities while back tracking
along those family lines. He tried to identify other potential
mutations along that family tree. He also kept genetic material
on outstanding normal humans to add to the mix as well.
Sinister had been tracking specific families like the Summers
since he'd first meet Scott Summers and Jean Grey. His files
were as complete as anyone's could be considering the amount
of time involved. But bastards like LeBeau proved most annoying
since it usually took them manifesting their powers for him
to find them. And Gambit's charging ability had not originally
intrigued him enough for him to find the boy, and he'd hidden
his empathy well. Not to mention, Candra's messing around
in New Orleans always interfered with his equipment. He was
glad that Gambit had lost control of his empathic abilities,
or he would have never known how powerful the cajun was or
spent the extensive effort and time the blood tests usually
took to determine Gambit's lineage. Especially if he had never
run across that line before, it would be impossible to determine
anything. However what he found made it all worth the trouble.
It couldn't have worked out more perfectly. Suddenly that
experiment he'd conducted all those years ago just to see
if it would work was way more useful than he had ever imagined.
And despite verifying a theory, he'd thought that experiment
had been practically useless. It didn't result in exactly
what he expected. Of course the problems with that experiment
would definitely prove a hindrance to the results he wanted.
He supposed everyone needed a challenge.
It had seemed like any other day when it started. Pleasant,
slightly cool. But for him it would be the one day of his
life that would remain etched in his brain forever. The day
he realized he'd sold his soul for self preservation. He would
then and forever be like Lady McBeth, looking at his hands
and always seeing blood.
Remy didn't return straight from the pinch. He couldn't.
Halfway across the country, he felt screams of death. The
number of them increasing their affect on the astral plane.
He knew then but tried to deny it. It drew him to the Morlock
tunnels. It was long over by then. Dead bloody bodies littered
the caverns. This was genocide, Auschwitz, Buchenwald. And
he had been the train engineer that delivered them. Men, women,
children. He picked up the body of a small girl and wept.
I never meant he thought, cried.
But a voice in his mind mocked him back.
No, you never cared. You didn't want to know. Ignorance
is no excuse. Just following orders no defense ... Look out
for number one, Remy ... Thief. Cheat. Liar. Murderer. Do
you really deserve to be alive in place of this innocent?
Innocent ... Starbright.
He had to know. He ran deeper into the tunnels, climbing
over bodies, nearly swimming in blood. He opened his empathic
shields and searched for her. Nothing. She was gone. Fourteen.
Sweet. Innocent. Dead. All because she trusted him. He sat
down in despair. How many tombstones could have the same epitaph?
More than he'd want to admit.
"I'm sorry. I'm so sorry."
The huge Morlock was barely alive and screamed in rage as
he leapt at Remy. Remy instinctively jumped easily out of
the way. If the guy grabbed him, he'd probably kill him. He
deserved it. But the Morlock was bordering on death himself.
"I don' want ta hurt ya, mon ami. Let me help."
But the Morlock only attacked again, and again, he dodged.
A growl came from a side tunnel and Sabertooth leaped. The
two mutants rolled over and over. Sabertooth had made a mistake.
This Morlock was more than a match for him in strength.
He picked Creed up and slowly started choking him. Sabertooth
couldn't break loose but started clawing viciously. Both would
be dead in minutes.
"No! Stop! No more killing!"
Remy threw a card that separated the two and tried to get
Creed's right hand flashed out and ripped his chest throwing
him against a wall. His and the now fallen Morlock's blood
trickled across the rocks as he blacked out.
He woke up back at Sinister's with 37 stitches in his chest.
So much for helping Creed. Sabertooth sneered at him.
"If Sinister didn't want you alive, I'd have left you
there, traitor. You're part of the Marauders. You're suppose
to be on our side."
"You killed dem! You killed dem all! Why?!?"
"They were inferior."
Remy sat up clutching his chest to look at Sinister approaching
him with some of the other Marauders. Arclight was missing.
That was ok. He couldn't look at her after what she'd done.
"You wouldn't have wanted to die with them, now would
Sinister regarded him steadily as the Marauders eyed him.
Remy squared his jaw.
Stupid to die for nothing now.
"Non." He got up and watched the group.
"But we're square, Essex. I be getting ya what ya wanted.
An I don' like bein kept in de dark. I'm out."
He painfully moved toward the door expecting to be attacked.
He had two sets of cards charged and ready. Then he heard
"You'll return Remy. You have nowhere to go. You are
one of us ... Superior, a survivor, protecting only yourself.
You know it."
Sinister laughed again as he opened the door. He turned to
stare and felt a chill of fear run through him at how close
to home that was. Then he kept going. Walking at first, then
riding his bike as fast as it would go, trying to never look
back, ... or remember. He'd been running from himself ever
Continued in Chapter
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