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"Smoke and Mirrors"

Smoke and Mirrors

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18
Chapter 19

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 is better!

Part 15

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 back.

"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 spreading out.

"From here, fearless leader?" The young woman with him asked.

"From here, we set de charges while de others get de weapons." The rebel leader handed her a small explosive device.


"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."
 [Thanks, mother-in-law.]

"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 some ice."

"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.

"She's dead."

"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 innocence.

The lieutenant nervously pushed open the door to his superior's office.

"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."

"Good. Dismissed."

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 o' her..."

"She knew what she was gettin' into when she signed up."

"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' killin'."

"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 world."

The woman laughed, "Ah'm sorry. We don't have a shrink here."

"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 with underlings."

"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?"

"A rebel."

"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.

She nodded.

"Then you can intercede on my behalf. . . make him listen to me."

"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' kid instantly."

"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 the chair.

"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 eyes intent.

"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' on."

"De kid has proof. I believe him."

"Is this about Tara? About our daughter?" She asked gently.

"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, Sabs?"

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 best interests."

"So, tell me,  chere'." The last word was a sneer, "Are y'still actin' in humanity's  best interests'?"

"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 16.

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 blocks!
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 imagination.

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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