THE ARCHETYPE ASSOCIATION
"Okay, guys," Bobby said over the Danger
Room microphone, "the object of this scenario is to
rescue everybody's favorite animatronic demographic unit,
the Mannequinov family."
"The what?" Will asked.
"It's a running joke," Logan informed him.
"What kind of trouble did they get into this time, Bobby?"
"Well..." the Danger Room darkened for
a moment, and their surroundings became a cityscape, lit by
twilight. A row of townhouses towered above them, and the
lights in most of them were out. "Little Svetlana
is growing up, and is outgrowing the vices of youth. She's
taken up a new hobby."
As Bobby spoke, an orange light started to glow from the
top floor of one of the townhouses. "That's right,
everybody," Bobby continued, "Svetlana is
now smoking in bed!"
"Why, that little tramp!" Warren exclaimed.
"Angel, see if you can spot anyone from the roof,"
Ororo said in a commanding tone. "I will start a small
rainstorm over the building. Archetype, teleport Wolverine
and yourself inside the building."
"I wish I could oblige, Storm, but I can't do that."
"What?" Storm asked. "Why not?"
"I'd explain, but we don't have time. Just trust me.
I can't teleport us up there."
"We're in trouble," Warren said.
"Oh, we can work around it," Will assured him.
"I'll get them out."
"How?" Logan asked.
"I'll just walk in and get them."
"Those aren't illusions, Archetype," Ororo snapped.
"Those flames will burn you."
"Yes, they will," he confirmed. "Would you
be so kind as to drench me, Storm?"
Ororo, Logan, and Warren looked at one another. Logan shrugged.
"Let's play along, 'Roro. He's got me interested."
Ororo looked above Will for a moment, and a small rain cloud
appeared over his head. A moment later, he was rained upon
with a virtual sheet of water.
"Thank you," he told Ororo, as he dripped upon
the 'ground'. "Keep an eye on the third floor."
He walked directly into the flames of the building.
"Bobby," Ororo said as he entered, "keep an
eye on his vital signs."
"Right." A moment later, he continued:
"His vitals have sped up. He must be in overdrive."
"Avoiding the flames by being too fast for them,"
Ororo realized. "Ingenious."
"He's on the third floor now. Now back on the second."
A few seconds later, one of the windows shattered as a chair
flew through it. Will stood at the center of the resulting
hole, flanked by the automatons representing the family.
"How will you get them down?" Logan yelled up to
Will grimaced for a moment, then glanced around him, scanning
the burning room. "There's nothing here that I can use
as a rope or ladder. Angel, can you haul them down?"
"I'll be right up." A moment later, he was picking
up the first of the robots. "How are you getting down?"
he asked Will on the next trip up.
"The simplest way of all," was the reply. "I'll
wait 'till after you're done."
Warren was able to take down both of the 'children' in one
trip, since they were somewhat smaller than the other robots.
"What about him?" Logan asked as he landed.
"He said he'd take care of himself," Warren replied.
"How will you get down?" Ororo yelled up to Will.
Will simply shrugged, and stepped off the edge of the building.
He hit the ground a moment later, was still for a few moments,
then got up with a groan. "That's gonna hurt in
"Uh... simulation over," Bobby said. "Report
"What was the idea with jumping?" Bobby asked Will
a few minutes later. "Ororo could have floated you down
on a gust of wind."
"Not without fanning the flames, she couldn't,"
"Why didn't you just let me carry you down?" Warren
"The flames were getting too intense. I could see that
you were flinching from the heat as you picked up the last
"Would you pull that stunt in combat?" Logan asked.
"That particular situation wouldn't exist in a combat
scenario. The only reason that I didn't just teleport everyone
down was that the distance that I was moving subjectively
was not the same as objective reality."
"Here we go again," Bobby groaned. "His explanations
always give me a headache."
"Try meditating. What you see in the Danger Room is
a very good illusion, but it's still an illusion - at least
while you're using holograms that give a deceptive idea of
distance. If I had teleported the two of us the fifty feet
straight up that that distance appears to be, I'd actually
be sending us into a solid wall, and we'd both be dead. I
can see past the illusions that this room creates, and I can't
resolve the differences between illusion and reality in my
"Why didn't you mention this during your session with
"Because the dimensions during that sequence weren't
altered. The distances between us stayed the same."
"We hadn't counted on this," Warren told Ororo
in a worried tone.
"I have a possible solution," Ororo suggested,
looking at Will. "When we have a scenario that involves
you, we will simply keep subjective distances the same as
those in the Danger Room."
"That could limit us," Warren observed.
"Not really," Bobby disagreed. "We can use
some old programs, back from the days before we used Shiar
"That could work," Warren conceded. "We can
do some sessions outside once in a while, too. We haven't
done that in a while, and I sort of miss it."
"So do I," Ororo admitted.
Logan stood up. "Me and the rookie have to get goin',
'Roro. We've got a hand-to-hand combat test today."
About an hour later, Xavier and Henry were interrupted from
their security updates when the door opened suddenly. "Charles,
you should come to the gymnasium... now."
"What is it, Ororo?" Xavier asked, concerned.
"The training session between Archetype and Wolverine
"It's turned into a brawl."
As Logan ducked yet another swing from Archetype, he tried
to figure out exactly when things had gotten out of hand.
The session had started smoothly enough, with Will following
Logan's lead through several katas. Will started out uncertainly,
lagging behind Logan by a few seconds as he watched the details
of the martial dance. As the cycle of the kata progressed,
however, Will caught up with Logan, his motions becoming smoother
and more precise in the process. By the end of the kata, he
was moving with complete balance and poise, his eyes closed
and his face impassive.
"Not bad," Logan complimented him.
"Thanks. I've been practicing."
"When have you had the time?"
"Oh no," he replied, tapping the side of his head,
"I've been practicing up here."
Logan couldn't think of any reply for that, so he gestured
for Will to take up his place on the mat. "Today's your
qualifier," he informed him. "If I think you're
good enough to pass, then you'll qualify for missions where
things are likely to get rough."
"As opposed to your usual missions, where you toss a
coin and the loser goes home, right?"
"Don't be a smartass. You're on offense."
Logan took a defensive stance, watching Will closely. The
man had been full of surprises the past few days, combining
techniques from a dozen different styles. Logan, who was one
of the best hand-to-hand combatants in the world, had to admit
to himself that he was impressed with the man.
"Will I be on offense through the whole match?"
"We'll be switching off. Your move, rookie."
Archetype didn't move. "Wouldn't it make more sense
for us to be in uniform?"
"We'll move on to that later. Are you stalling?"
"Not at all." He bowed deeply, and Logan, through
a reflex born of years of exposure to Japanese culture, bowed
back, lowering his head as Will had done.
Which prevented him from seeing Will, who continued the bow,
rolled forward, and hit him square in the face with both feet.
Logan staggered back slightly, allowing Will to get back
on his feet. Logan shook his head slightly, clearing it. "Not
bad," he said again, as he dropped to one knee and struck,
aiming for Will's midsection.
Will twisted, following Logan's punch, spun around, and drove
his elbow into Logan's left shoulder, following up with a
drum punch to the side of his head.
Logan hit the mat, stunned, but got up a moment later. "That's
it," he warned. "The kid gloves are off."
Will smiled coldly in return. "I wouldn't have it any
They both became a blur of motion for the next few minutes.
Logan, who wasn't fighting at anything approaching his maximum
ability, used the opportunity to study Will's style. He recognized
elements from tae kwan do, savate, and drunken boxing at various
points in the match. But while Will was able to perform the
motions, he seemed to have no spirit behind them. He wasn't
centered, as he was during the kata, but disjointed and erratic.
Okay, Logan thought to himself, I know how good
he is when he's calm. What happens if I piss him off?
Let's find out.
When Will came in for his next strike, Logan parried him
easily, sending him to the mat with a three-part combination
to the face and jaw.
"Enough games," he told Will, who spat blood as
he stood back up. "Time for today's lessons. Lesson one,"
he said as he punched Will in the abdomen, driving the air
out of his lungs and causing him to double over, "you're
the student, I'm the teacher. Lesson two," he continued
as he sent Will sprawling to the mat with a roundhouse kick,
"don't mess with teacher."
Will lay on the floor for a moment, unmoving, and Logan became
impatient. "Come on, get up. I didn't hurt you that bad."
Will got up, facing away from Logan, and slowly turned around.
His eyes were glowing brightly; his face, however, was like
stone. He took a defensive stance, but Logan saw an opening
and took it.
Archetype ducked the kick easily, responding with a combination
of blows to Logan's abdomen and chest, and finishing with
a punch to the side of his head.
Logan got up instantly. He had rolled with the final punch,
and wasn't as dazed as he had been the previous time. "All
right, rookie," he growled, "let's dance."
Over the next few minutes, Archetype did something that few
people in the world were capable of: he made Wolverine break
a sweat. They didn't let up, each landing blows which stunned
the other. Strangely, neither of them showed any signs of
fatigue. Logan knew that his healing factor kept fatigue toxins
from accumulating in his bloodstream, but Archetype seemed
to actually get better as they went along.
Their fight could likely have continued for several hours
if Xavier and Ororo had not intervened. "That is enough,
gentlemen!" Ororo said in her command voice.
"Tell it to him, 'Roro!" Logan shot back,
as he ducked a blow which powdered the concrete wall behind
"Charles, can you do anything?" Ororo said, her
face concerned. "If Scott sees this, Archetype will never
gain his trust."
"I agree." Xavier replied. Archetype! he
projected. Stop this at once!
The response that he got was an incoherent jumble of images
and emotions. He 'saw' a trench filled with the dead bodies
of soldiers holding rifles and combat knives. The view shimmered,
to be replaced by endless columns of soldiers carrying spears
and large rectangular shields, marching in perfect cadence
underneath a stone arch. The image shifted again, becoming
a samurai slashing his way through a forest of enemies single-handedly.
"I can't get through," he finally said in exasperation.
"Then we do it my way," Ororo said grimly. She
raised her hands, her eyes went completely white, and a lightning
bolt hit Archetype, stunning him for a moment.
Will turned slowly and looked Ororo up and down. "Oh,
puh-leez," he asked in an amused voice, his eyes
dimming, "did you actually think that would hurt me?"
"Well," Ororo said, somewhat defensively, "I
thought it was worth the try."
"You get points for effort," he assured her. "Well,
coach," he asked Logan, "do I get pass muster?"
"Yeah, you pass," Logan told him grudgingly. "He's
qualified for field work, Chuck."
Xavier nodded. "Warren will brief you on the Blackbirds
this afternoon," he told Will. "Now hit the showers,
both of you."
"Yes, sir," Will said, flicking Xavier a
"And I want to talk to you after lunch," Xavier
Will blinked. "Am I in trouble?"
"Not yet, but you're working on it."
Will rubbed his jaw as he opened his locker. "You throw
a mean right, you know that?" he asked Logan.
Logan shrugged. "I've had plenty of practice."
He looked at Will's hand, which was rapidly swelling up. "You
"I broke it on that last punch. It'll heal up in about
half an hour," he replied as he took off his clothes
with his left hand.
"Sure you don't want Hank to look at it?"
"Nah. There aren't any open wounds, so I should be fine."
He grabbed a towel and went into the showers.
"You know, between your tattoos, your hair, and those
scars, you aren't exactly going to get any undercover work."
"This from the walking Brillo pad? I've had cats that
had less body hair than you do."
"Don't get cute," Logan said as he followed Will
into the showers. "Can you tell me something?"
"What happened to you back there?"
Will leaned against the tile for a minute. "Has Rogue
told you guys any of what happened to me in Ireland?"
"Can you take what I'm about to tell you on faith?"
"Sure," Logan shrugged.
"I told Rogue about an experience that I call the Chorus.
Well, the Chorus is sort of like my own personal soundtrack."
"You'd better run that by me again."
"Remember when I told you that I can see trends that
lead to the future?"
"I don't see them as much as hear and feel them. The
different variables that affect the future manifest themselves
to me as notes of music. By listening to the tune, I can make
an educated guess as to what the next movement is going to
be. Sometimes, though, the Chorus becomes so loud that all
I can do is just follow it along for a while. That's what
happened when you clocked me."
"So you weren't fighting me, as much as you were going
along with the song."
"Right. I don't think I would have hurt you, but I was
doing my best to take you down."
"If you'd been fighting anybody but Rogue or me, you
would've done it."
"That's good to know. At least now I know I can hold
"By the way, I added a laser sight to your pistol. It's
small enough to not be a problem, but with your aim, I think
you'll need it."
"Thanks," Archetype replied dryly. "Is it
a standard laser sight?"
"Yeah, nothing fancy about it."
"I've got an idea. Think Beast could fiddle with it
"And do what?"
"Well, I was thinking that the beam could give us away.
Since my vision extends into the infrared, why not give me
a laser sight that puts out an infrared beam?"
Logan blinked, then grinned. "I like it!"
"Thanks. Well," he said, wincing a bit as he wiggled
his broken hand, "I'd better go catch up with Angel.
See you at lunch."
"Okay, I thought it would make more sense for us to
start from the back and work our way forward, since it'll
be a while before you do any pilot training."
"If ever. I'm still not sure that your systems are shielded
as well as you think," Will told Warren.
"We'll see. This is Blackbird Gold, our new plane. Forge
designed and built her, and shows up every once in a while
to patch her up and do tests."
"I notice she's a forward-swept wing design. How does
she handle below Mach 1?"
"The stabilizers are a custom design. She's smooth as
"And top speed?"
"Both Blackbirds can do Mach 3. In emergencies, Mach
"Rogue had mentioned that this one has V-TOL capability."
"That's right. Let's go inside." They climbed the
ladder that led into the belly of the plane. "Offensive
and defensive systems are on your right."
"You carry offensive weapons?" Will asked with
some surprise. "I thought you considered yourselves a
"We do, but it doesn't hurt to be prepared. Most of
our offensive systems are anti-aircraft missiles, but we have
a few mutant-specific systems."
"Dampening units?" Will guessed.
Warren nodded. "The effect's sort of like a concussion
grenade. Hank came up with the idea during our days in X-Factor."
"Where would I sit?"
"Over here," Warren said, pointing to a row of
seats across from the Electronic Countermeasures station.
"We listened to your suggestion, and placed you away
from as many critical systems as we could."
"Good. What's the other plane like?"
"Inside, the configuration's pretty much the same. Outside,
just picture a really big SR-71."
"How did Xavier swing that?"
"He has a lot of contacts that he doesn't let anybody
know about - not even the senior team members."
"Makes sense. What you don't know, you can't reveal."
"Jean used to tell me about people who come and talk
with Charles in the middle of the night, then leave before
daylight. We've never asked him, but we think that Charles
may have had connections with "Kelly" Johnson, the
man who designed the SR-71, and hired him to design a larger
"I'm sure the fact that Xavier is Old Money helped."
"I know it did. I've used some of those Old Money connections
myself, and Emma Frost is the embodiment of the Old Money
"I haven't had time to really get any connections started,"
Will mused. "Maybe I should start planning that in."
"I still show up at the occasional dinner party. I'll
wrangle invitations for you and Rogue one of these days."
"I'd appreciate it. Time for lunch," he said, glancing
at his watch.
"Let's get going, then. By the way, I heard your workout
with Logan got a bit intense."
"I have the feeling that Xavier is going to rake me
over the coals for that." Will said ruefully.
"How's the hand?" Logan asked as Will and Warren
entered the kitchen and sat down.
"Good as new," Archetype replied.
"I heard you gave Wolvie a run for his money,"
Rogue told him.
"If he'd gotten any nastier, I would've popped my claws,"
"You gave him the Blackbird tour, Warren?" Xavier
Warren nodded. "He's got the basics down. We'll go into
more detail later."
"After your conference with me, Will, you have perimeter
"Lunch is ready," Ororo said, as she and Bobby
brought over two large bowls, one containing spaghetti and
the other, sauce, meatballs, and sausage. She then looked
at the table, frowning. "I forgot something."
"We left the bread on the counter," Bobby supplied.
"I've got it," Will said, glancing at the counter.
His eyes flashed, and the basket of bread appeared on the
"Thanks," Bobby said, sitting down.
"Is perimeter detail done in or out of uniform?"
"With the exception of Bishop, we do it in civilian
clothing," Ororo told him. "It reduces the risk
of having to answer difficult questions if someone sees us
from the road.."
"Any off-limits places that I should know about?"
"Devil's Rock, near the west end of the gardens,"
Xavier informed him. "I'll explain why later."
"I just walk along the perimeter and look for anything
"Just let out a psychic 'yell' if you encounter anything.
I think that would be more dependable than a communicator
in your case."
"Don't be a hero, in other words."
"I can live with that."
"Why didn't you tell us that you could do that?"
Xavier demanded as Will entered his study.
"Why hello, Xavier, I'm doing quite well, and yourself?"
was the response.
"Just answer the question, Will," Jean said in
a weary voice.
"Because I didn't know that I could," he snapped
irritably. "You all seem to think that I have an idea
of how my powers work. I hate to disillusion you, but I don't
know much more than you do."
"Can you at least tell us what happened, from your point
of view?" Ororo asked.
"All right," he said tiredly as he sank into a
chair. "This is the best I can give you in the way of
"I don't dream the same way as I did before my accident.
I used to just have normal dreams, dealing with my life and
"That doesn't happen anymore?" Jean asked.
"No," he said, shaking his head. "Now, all
my dreams have some sort of meaning, or agenda, behind them."
He glanced at Xavier. "You want to know how I was able
to hold my own with Wolverine? Ever since I started training
with you guys, I've been having dreams about war. Do you know
what lucid dreaming is?"
"Yes. It's a state where the dreamer is aware that he
or she is dreaming, and is able to affect the outcome of the
"Almost all of my dreams are lucid dreams. Lately,
they've been taking one of two forms. In one, I'm somewhere
in the Far East - I have a feeling that it's not a real place,
but instead, a synthesis of various places in the world. I've
been getting my brains beaten out pretty regularly by an old
master who appears to be about ninety years older than God.
When I wake up, I usually remember what I've learned during
the night. That's how I was able to do so well against Wolverine."
"What's the other kind of dream?" Jean asked.
"I'm sitting at a desk in a massive tower. It's circular,
and the desk, and me, are floating in midair. The tower is
nothing but books. There's no entrance, and the tower goes
down, and up, as far as I can see. I can travel to any place
within the tower, pick up any book, and find the knowledge
that I need to solve whatever problem that I have. I know,
Xavier, beyond a doubt, that all the knowledge within the
collective consciousness is contained in that library. I also
know that, given enough time, I can learn all that
"So that's how you view the collective consciousness?"
Xavier asked. "As a gigantic library?"
"More like the ultimate multimedia experience. Maybe
an example would help. Let's say I want to learn about architecture.
I think about architecture and start floating up or down to
a specific area of the library. When I get to a certain point,
I find that a certain book is glowing. I take the book off
the shelf and open it. I sort of dive into the book, and someone
that I know has something to do with architecture - let's
say Frank Lloyd Wright - is standing next to me. He starts
instructing me in the basics of architecture, and let's me
know how I'm doing. Time really doesn't really mean anything
to me while I'm dreaming, so I can learn as much as I want
to until I decide to take a break."
"Do you ever know how far along you are in your studies?"
"My instruction is usually chronological in order, so
I can usually make a good guess. I can leave a bookmark in
the book when I leave, so I can go back later to where I left
off." Archetype looked at his watch. "I'd better
get outside. My watch starts in ten minutes."
"How will you be proceeding?" Ororo asked.
"I'm just going to run the perimeter. I'll compress
distance when I'm visible from the road, so that no one sees
Xavier nodded. "Let someone know if you run into trouble.
We'll signal you when your watch is over."
See you later, then." He got up and started walking
towards the door.
"By the way," Xavier said, "Jean, Betsy, and
I will be testing your psychic defenses while you're out there.
Just do your best to get us out of your head."
"Right." Will shut the door behind him as he left.
"Opinions?" Xavier asked Jean and Ororo.
"He was telling us the truth," Jean said. "Nobody
could make up something like that and expect to be taken seriously."
"You realize, of course, that he has the potential to
become one of the most intelligent people in history,"
Ororo put in. "Immortality and ultimate intellectual
access - I'm starting to decide that Valerie was right, Charles."
"So am I," Xavier admitted.
"When do you want to hit him?" Jean asked.
"Let's try at about two-thirty. You'd better let Betsy
Will went up to his room, changed into hiking boots, jeans,
and a black shirt. He put on his wrist sheath and slipped
another knife into one of his boots, then went outside and
started jogging towards the front gate. Once he reached the
gate, he turned to the left and headed towards the southwest
corner of the estate.
Once he was out of sight from the road, he increased his
speed, keeping himself down to about five miles an hour, a
speed that was just slow enough to be taken as a wind sprint
if seen in a glance. The terrain started to pass by at a more
acceptable pace, and soon he reached the edge of Breakstone
Lake. As he turned towards Spuyten Dyvil Cove, he decided
not to walk on Jean and Cyclops' property without their permission.
He slowed down, concentrated, and teleported to the other
side of the cove. He then continued skirting the edge of the
small mountain which housed the Blackbirds and their runway,
heading back towards Graymalkin Lane. He slowed down again
when he got within visual range of the road. Once he was hidden
behind the wall, he stopped for a moment to do a visual sweep
of the area.
A few moments later, he dropped to his knees as the worst
migraine headache of his life hit him like a hammer. He glared
up, where he could see the astral forms of Xavier, Betsy,
and Jean looking down at him. "You're doing this, aren't
you?" he spat.
This is only a minor attack, Xavier's voice said inside
his mind. What will you do if there's a major telepath
going up against you?
"Oh, I don't know," he growled, "how about
GET OUT OF MY MIND!
The force of that one thought was like a cannon shot, snapping
the three telepaths out of their concentration. They all caught
the image of an immense tower, windowless and impregnable,
and heard a door slam shut as they were hurled back. An instant
later, they all found themselves back in their bodies.
"How ... did he do that?" Betsy gasped.
"A pure, undifferentiated psychic wave," Xavier
said clinically, "then a solid mindshield. I have to
admit, it's a solid combination."
"What's he doing now?" Jean asked.
Betsy looked out the window. "He's back on his patrol."
"Well, I think that we can now put psionically attacking
him on our list of dumb things to do."
"Make sure to underline it."
Continued in Chapter
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