Disclaimer: Everything in this
whole story belongs to Marvel, and I am making nada off of
it. If I was, they could sue me, but I'm not. Please feel
free to archive\distribute\use as wallpaper. I don't necessarily
need to know if you intend to do so, but I would appreciate
it very much. BUT if you do, don't change a word without my
express permission or not credit me.
This part might be a little disturbing to those who are more
sensitive. There is a reference to a baby being killed, nothing
much more. Special belated thanks to Sunfire for doing all
the hypertext conversions for me and sending them so diligently
to Lori McDonald as well as putting up with my complaints\questions\requests.
More belated thanks to Vicki Lew for getting me on Lori's
page. Huge thanks to everyone whose written to me, I love
getting e-mail. Thanks to those who have taken the time out
of their day to read this, I hope it has made Gambit's hiatus
more bearable. Don't stop now! The best is yet to come!
P.S. This is the alternate reality bit. Marvel had the AoA.
I have the EoH (Era of Humanity). Up to you to judge which
The vidscreen clicked on in Moira McTaggert's office.
"Loading . . . ." The synthesised voice purred,
the monitor suddenly flashing into technicolor life.
"It all began with D-Day. With the creation of the Sentinels
by Bolivar Trask in 1993 PH, humans became more powerful than
mutants and set about to take their rightful place in the
world. A few scattered mutant groups attempted to put up resistance
but were crushed. Ever since, the Sentinels have maintained
a human utopia. Naturally these are not the same primitive
Sentinels of yesteryear - they have evolved, become sentient
beings with several ranks. Alpha . . . ."
The vidscreen showed a sleek, silver automaton, equipped
with lasers and gas.
"Beta. . ."
A squat robot appeared, its battalion of weapons gleaming
in the negon light.
The picture of a short droid materialised, sporting holographic
projectors and cattle prods.
"Yet not everyone was content with the status quo. Several
rebellions were started by certain men: Erik Lehnsherr, Nathaniel
Essex and Remy leBeau. All but the last have undergone reprogramming
and are now deployed in our MPF as spies or researchers."
McTaggert placed her silver booted feet on the table, leaning
"Computer? Show me the Zones and their leaders."
"Loading . . . . After D-Day, at the inception of the
Era of Humanity, the US was split into 4 zones - each under
a human ruler and named for that ruler. The Northern
Band down to what was Oregon on the west coast and New York
on the east coast is under McTaggert's control. The Traskian
Lands in the South are ruled by Bolivar Trask. The Western
Block is governed by Henry Gyrich, while the Eastern
Block is under Graydon Creed's control."
"Computer . . . End transmission."
Lit by a few negon bulbs, the warehouse was quiet. Deserted.
Huge boxes of weapons lay against the walls, casting shadows
across the cement floor.
"Split up. Jubes an' Logan go dat way. Mystique go wit'
de Icecube. Lila, come wit' me." The whispered instructions
were followed instantly, the small group splitting up and
"From here, fearless leader?" The young woman with
"From here, we set de charges while de others get de
weapons." The rebel leader handed her a small explosive
"Watch m'back while I set dis one."
"Anytime, honey." She muttered more to herself
than anyone else.
"Voila." He stood, admiring his work. An explosion
shook the warehouse, throwing him to his knees. A flash of
white light blinded him momentarily.
"Uh . . . Remy? How long did you set that charge for?"
"Two hours. Shouldn' have gone off."
"It didn't." She gasped, "*That* did."
He slowly turned around, " M****. It be McTaggert."
Before them were row upon row of gleaming silver robots.
Light glinted off heatproof vulcanadium armor plating and
laser weapons. The whir of synapses was audible as they watched,
waited for the rebels to make a move.
"Come out." The mechanised voice spoke, "We
have followed your movements here and we know that you are
currently in this storage facility."
"Well done, M'Sieu R2-D2. Go to de top o' y'class."
A glowing blade embedded itself in the Sentinel's chest-plate,
exploding on contact. Shrapnel flew in all directions, crippling
more of the automatons. A feral growl. A man-beast emerged
from the smoke. Claws extended and ripped through plating.
Eyes gleamed with hatred.
"Takkke . . . that."
"Yeah. With extra cherries on top." Fireworks sparkled
from the hands of the young girl, contrasting sharply with
the green of the Sentinels' blasts, burning the sensors of
their eyes. "Hey, lovah." A woman came to rest beside
Remy leBeau. Her green eyes were bright beneath the tousled
brown and white hair.
"Y'can drop de act, Mystique." His voice was contemptuous.
"It never did impress me."
"Maybe this will." The shape-shifter metamorphosed
into a Sentinel. Laser blasts merged with his fiery blades,
knocking down the automatons.
"Now dat's a horse of a whole nother color."
He grinned, "Merci, beau-mere."
"You call me that one more time, boy . . . ."
The thermically-regulated air in the warehouse grew cold.
Frost formed on the Sentinel's armor, turning them into silver-white
snowmen. The knife Remy threw shattered one into tiny flakes.
"Nice one, Drake."
The young man blew his finger, "I'd say we just kicked
"Jub. . .lee." Logan's voice was quiet, painful.
Remy ran over to where the atavistic rebel was crouched over
a prone body. Blood seeped into the snow, dying it crimson.
He knelt and put a finger on the young girl's neck, attempting
to feel for a pulse. Nothing.
"Dead ?" Logan echoed, "Jub . . . lee dead?"
"Yes, mon ami." He turned to Lila, "Let's
teleport out of here."
"Now? What about the kid?"
"Now. Dere ain't not'ing more we can do f'r her."
"Sometimes, leBeau, I think you're colder than I am."
Bobby Drake shook his head in disgust, "I'll stay here
and give her a decent burial."
"Non. More Sentinels could come any second. I won't
have you endangerin' yaself f'r a corpse."
"Yes, sir." He nodded reluctantly.
"Take de weapons wit' us, Lila."
"Might be a bit of a strain, Remy."
"Dat wasn't a suggestion."
"I'll try." She sighed.
They disappeared, leaving behind them a little piece of everyone's
The lieutenant nervously pushed open the door to his superior's
"Haller? You wanted to see me?"
"Yes sir." The young man ran a hand through his
brushcut hair, "My grandmother died last week...."
"And you want leave?" Something akin to sympathy
passed over the grizzled face of the Sargeant, "Granted."
"No sir." Haller fumbled in his pocket and handed
the older man a piece of yellowed paper.
His eyes scanned it quickly, "Is this a joke?"
"My grandmother gave it to me on her deathbed. Said
it was important."
"You will forgive my skepticism, Haller. But this ridiculous
tale of another reality, of a man whose long been dead, speaks
more of fantasy than fact."
"I know this may seem . . . strange but I believe it
- her." Haller sighed, "I request permission to
use my powers and travel back in time to stop this cataclysm."
"Permission denied." The sargeant barked, "I
need better evidence to condone use of your powers. You know
the MCB's regulations."
" No use of powers except in such a case that it is
absolutely necessary.'" He recited, "I understand."
Saluting, Haller exited the room. Understanding and obeying
were two different things . . . .
The room smelt of smoke and must. Walls reached up into blackened
arches, remnants of tapestries fluttered like spiderwebs in
the gentle breeze. The thief walked silently through the entrance
hall, across the tiled floor which once must have been beautiful.
The floor with the picture of blindfolded justice.
"Hold it right there, mister." He felt cold metal
against his neck, "Ah have a gun trained on you."
With a sinuous movement, he turned off the image inducer
that was standard issue for all rebels.
"Relax, chere. It be me."
The woman slowly dropped the weapon, sheathing it in a holster
that hung at her side.
"How do Ah know it's you, Remy?"
"M'same untrustin' wife, neh?" He grinned, taking
her in his arms and kissing her on the lips, "Dat's how
you know, Sabs."
Affectionately, she traced the snake-like scar that ran parallel
to his cheekbone.
"How'd th' run go?"
"Fine. We appropriated' de guns from McTaggert
an' her flunkies." He replied, "Dey be in de cave."
"Ah'm just glad y'all is okay." Sabrina leBeau
looked momentarily worried.
"Take more dan a couple o' alpha-class droids t'stop
me." Her husband rubbed a newly acquired bruise.
"Alphas, huh?" She cocked an eyebrow in surprise,
"Ol' McTaggert has ta be gettin' mighty worried, if'n
she's sendin' them after us rebels."
"Oui. T'ink we've struck too many times where it hurts
de most. Deir egos."
"Did . . . everyone make it back?"
Remy leBeau was silent, "Non."
"De kid. Caught between two Alphas; took one out but
de other got her." His voice was emotionless.
"Poor Jubes." Sabrina hugged him tighter, "She
was just a little kid . . . she had th' rest o' her life ahead
"She knew what she was gettin' into when she signed
"How can you be so cold?" She released him, an
accusing look on her face, "What if she was our daughter?"
"Never told any of dem dat it would be easy. Dat dey
might not die." He lit a cigarette with one finger, "Jus'
dat dey'd be fightin' t'make de world a better place."
"What have we really acheived, Remy? What have we really
done ta make it better?"
"Plenty." His eyes gleamed, "T'ought you felt
de same way."
"Ah did . . . Ah do." She looked at her leather-booted
feet, "Honey. . . there's somethin' Ah have ta tell you..."
"I'm afraid that will have to wait." A voice from
the archway said.
The couple turned around to face the speaker. Tall and slender,
with a cloud of jet-black hair and blue eyes, the woman was
an imposing figure.
"Unuscione." Sabrina smiled stiffly, "What
do you want?"
"I need to speak with Remy. Preferably in private. "
"Whatever y'have t'say, Sabs can hear it. Don' have
any secrets from ma femme."
Unuscione's mouth twisted, "One of McTaggert's dogs
tried to infiltrate our base. Naturally, we caught him and
are holding him for interrogation."
"I'd like t'deal wit' dis case personally." He
extinguished the cigarette by grinding it beneath his feet,
"He's gonna be sorry he was ever born."
"Remy!" Sabrina exclaimed, "You're soundin'
just as bad as th' humans. Ah thought we were meant ta be
better than them; ta find another way other than torture an'
"Dis is a war, ma femme. An' all is fair in it."
"Let me deal with this." She asked, "See if'n
Ah can get anythin' outta him without hurtin' him."
"Getting soft in your old age, Sabrina?" Unuscione
smirked, "Or maybe you've just lost your fighting spirit?"
"If he is really here ta spy on us, you'll see how
soft' Ah've become."
"See what y'can do, chere." Remy nodded his consent,
"If y'need me, I'll be right outside."
Sabrina kissed him lightly on the cheek and walked down the
hallways of the labyrinthine structure in which the rebels
lived. The door in which the prisoner was being held was bolted
and she unlocked it.Her eyes narrowed as she saw him, bound
with heavy iron chains. The prisoner was no man, but a boy
. . . .
David Haller saw the chink of light as the door opened. Saw
the angel who had opened it. Her cropped brown and white hair;
her green eyes; the black bodysuit which clung to her svelte
body; the heavy weapon strapped at her side.
"So, now McTaggert's sendin' boys ta do a man's work."
Her accent was strange, Traskian.
"I'm not here on behalf of the Emissary."
"Which is no doubt why y'all is wearing th' uniform
of a MPF lieutenant."
"I work for her, but I'm here on other business."
"What other business?"
"I have reason to believe that this reality is not the
real one; that somehow time was altered and it led to this
The woman laughed, "Ah'm sorry. We don't have a shrink
"I'm serious. Can I speak to the rebel leader, convince
him to help me?"
"You can convince me an' Ah'll tell him what you said."
"No." He said, "I don't have time to waste
"Ah usually don't have time ta waste with gene traitors."
Her eyes blazed, "An' Ah'm doin' it now."
"Please. I must speak with him."
The woman smiled thinnly, "Do you know who Ah am?"
"Ah used ta be a spy as well; used ta work foh McTaggert
earthin' out rebels; do what y'all is doin'." She sighed,
"Then one day Ah was sent on a mission ta unearth th'
most dangerous revolutionary o' them all, Remy leBeau. Th'
man was a legend, practically compulsory study foh every cadet.
Ah was scared. Terrified, more likely. He'd been known ta
kill without much reason at all an' Ah was givin' him plenty.
Infiltrated th' base just like every sim Ah'd ever done. Should
o' known that he let me. Then everythin' went screwy. The
rebels surrounded me; caught me; were prepared ta kill me,
when he saved mah life."
"He?" David Haller asked intrigued.
"Remy." She laughed, "He was much younger
than Ah thought. More handsome too. Somehow you don't associate
good looks an' youth with a rebel leader."
"You're Sabrina Parker then?" Haller nodded in
recognition, "The cadet who went rogue. They always said
you were one of the best students the academy has ever had."
"Sabrina leBeau." She corrected. "An' Ah wasn't
one of th' best, Ah was *the* best."
"You married the rebel leader?" His voice was surprised.
"Then you can intercede on my behalf. . . make him listen
"Sugah. You'll be lucky if he doesn't kill you on sight.
You're lucky Ah didn't."
"But he saved you?"
"You're David Haller, right?"
"You led an expedition down in Old Orleans a couple
months back to destroy a rebel base."
"Down in th' base, there was a kid." Tears formed
in her eyes, "About one odd."
"I never saw a child." He shook his head in denial.
"There was one, in a safe-room hidden beneath th' surface.
When you blew up th' base, that room collapsed, killin' th'
"And why would that make Remy leBeau hate me?"
"Evah wonder where he got that scar of his?" She
stood upright, turning away so that he would not see her pain,
"She was mah daughter. His daughter. He tried ta save
her but it all happened too quickly. Walls fell in on him,
scarring his face an' his soul. Since then, he's . . . changed.
Sometimes Ah think he doesn't much care if he lives or dies.
Doesn't care bout anythin' 'cept his revenge."
"I'm . . . sorry." Haller's face was shocked, "I
. . . never knew. . . ."
"An' does dat give me back my daughter?" A cajun
accent asked from behind her.
Framed by light, the rebel leader stepped into the room.
He was far younger than Haller had expected; far more tired
and old, as well. Even in the gloom of the cell, Haller could
make out a livid scar on his face that divided it in two.
"No, it doesn't." He replied honestly, "I
wouldn't have commanded them to detonate the explosives had
I known a child would be there."
A knife flew past his ear, embedding itself in the wood of
"An' dat makes it all right? All de pain all right?"
Remy sounded bitter, "De great Haller decides t'say he's
sorry an' we're all jus' meant t'grin an' nod."
"I don't know what more I can say."
"Y'can start wit' why ya're here."
"I'm here because I need your help."
"My help?!" Remy laughed, "Y'expect me t'help
ya after all ya've done t'me an' Sabrina."
"Hear him out, sugah." She cautioned, "It's
amusin', if nothin' else."
"Fine, gene traitor. Tell me bout why y'want m'help."
Haller proceeded to tell him about the letter which his grandmother
had given him on her death-bed; of the alternate reality which
he believed was the real one; about the only way he could
save it. The rebel leader was silent for a long while, red
"An' what if I said dat I'm willin' t'help ya."
"You then believe it's true?"
"Seen too many crazy t'ings in my life t'care if it
is or ain't. De main t'ing is it's a challenge an' I can't
ever turn down a challenge."
"Sugah." Sabrina said, pulling him out of the room,
"We need ta talk . . . ."
" Bout what, chere?"
" Bout this mission - wild-goose chase - y'all is goin'
"De kid has proof. I believe him."
"Is this about Tara? About our daughter?" She asked
"Non. Why would it be?"
"Ah . . . Ah know y'all has been hurtin' since . . .
she died. Heaven knows Ah've been hurtin' as well." She
looked straight into his eyes, "But throwin' yourself
inta a fool's quest ain't gonna help matters none. You have
ta face reality."
"What if he's right? What if dis ain't reality or anyt'ing
close to it? What if de real world is better dan dis
world o' pain?"
"An what if it's *worse*?" Desperation filled her
green eyes, "What if you an' Ah have nevah met in this
other world - if'n it even exists?"
"M'sweet, y'know dat I love an' would do anyt'ing f'r
you; but ain't it selfish t'put our happiness in front of
dat of de whole world's?"
"Ah don't give a damn bout bein' selfish."
She said angrily, "But Ah do care bout you bein'
a *fool*, Remy."
"Sabrina! What is wrong wit' ya?"
"Ah don't like mah husband goin' off on pointless missions
. . . Specially not those that are McTaggert's traps."
"De boy seemed genuine enough. Like ya did." Remy's
mouth set, "I may hate him, but dat don' mean dat he's
wrong bout dis alternate reality."
" Seemed?'" She sighed, "Hon, even aftah you
saved me from your troops - before we fell in love - Ah was
feedin' information ta McTaggert."
"Que?!" He grabbed her arm, "Y'betrayed me,
She nodded, "Ah ain't proud o' it, but we were all but
brainwashed in th' academy. Taught that no matter how much
it went against everythin' we believed, we had ta act in humanity's
"So, tell me, chere'." The last word was
a sneer, "Are y'still actin' in humanity's best
"No. O' course not." She looked hurt, betrayed,
"Ah . . . Ah wouldn't. Couldn't. Not after what they've
done ta me. Ta you."
"Fine." He nodded curtly, "Dat be fine."
"Why Ah'm tellin' y'all this is that Haller can't act
against his programmin'. He won't." Her eyes narrowed,
"You'll have ta watch your back every second."
"Or take someone along wit' me t'do so?" Remy grinned,
"Up for a fool's quest, Sabs?"
Slowly, she nodded, "Ah don't like this, sugah, but
Ah'm comin' along anyway."
"An', ma femme. . . .?"
"Don' worry. If de pup betrays us, he'll have a lot
more immediate t'ings t'worry about dan savin' reality."
"Ah don't doubt that, Remy."
They reentered the cell where Haller was waiting impatiently.
"So? Now that the conference is over, what is your decision?
Are you with me?"
"When do we leave?"
"How does now' sound?" Haller smiled.
He felt the familiar tugging of the chronal energies on his
body, enveloping him, sucking him into the time-stream. A
few immeasurable moments later, the MPF lieutenant and two
rebels blinked into the moment where time had diverged. The
moment of the death of Charles Xavier.
Continued in Chapter
1. MCB = Mutant Control Board
2. For those of you who haven't read earlier episodes of this
story, Rogue's name is Sabrina Parker. (NOT MARVEL'S NAME!!!
MY NAME FOR HER!!!)
3. The US was split into 4 zones - each under a human ruler
and named for that ruler. The Northern Band of States down
to Oregon on the west coast and New York on the east coast
is under McTaggert's control (who in this reality is pro-mutant
supression). The Southern band of States runs all along the
southern coast (excluding California) up to Arizona on the
west and North Carolina on the east coast and is under Trask's
control and are known as the Traskian Lands. The western block
of states comprises Kansas, Nevada, Utah, California, Colorado
and Nebraska and is under Gyrich's control. The eastern block
is made up of Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee,
Virginia, Philadelphia and Ohio and is under Graydon Creed's
control. Generally if you get a map of the states and draw
a line between the two boundaries of either the northern or
the southern blocks, any state above the northern and below
the southern is included in that block, divide the remaining
states down the middle and you get the eastern and western
4. MPF - Mutant Peace Force (An elite group of mutants sent
to police their own.)
5. Negon = neon + argon
6 ***** - Five-lettered French swearword. I leave it to your
In Smoke and Mirrors 16
* David Haller has to stop . . . David Haller?
* Will the Future Imperfect revert to the Future not-so-perfect?
* Will Sabrina's prophecy about her and Remy not loving each
other prove true?
* Will Lobdell show up as a cameo appearance?
* Am I EVER going to finish this story?
Find out next time in Smoke and Mirrors!
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