Remy follows Eric outside into the beginning of a promising
spring morning. A stray cloud momentarily darkens the sun,
then moves on. In the distance, more clouds form a grayish
haze on the horizon. He wonders briefly if the weather is
natural or a reflection of Storm's concern for Rogue. He falls
in with Eric's comfortably meandering stride. They walk in
Their haphazard path eventually leads to the lake, where
Eric settles his long frame along the grassy bank and stretches
out. Remy fidgets, digging the toe of his boot into the loose
pebbles along the shore. His frustration manifests in a sudden
kick that sends the stones scattering across the grass.
"Is she gon' die?"
"We all die--eventually."
"Dat ain't what I mean an' y'know it, Lensherr."
"Don' play games, mon ami, not about dis."
"I do not 'play games', LeBeau, I evaluate situations
and consider appropriate courses of action to achieve desired
"Dat sound like somet'in' de old Magento would say."
Eric closes his eyes with a heavy sigh.
Leaving Remy with the feeling that the understated comment
is not so much a response to him, as it is one man's admission
of surrender to destiny.
"However, we are here to discuss more immediate concerns."
Remy flicks his wrist, sending a pebble skimming across the
"What's goin' on wit' Rogue an' de collar?"
"You know that the Genoshans designed their slave collars
to inhibit mutant powers."
"They later modified those collars to allow varying
degrees of inhibition, providing greater control over a mutant's
A flicker of remembrance darkens Remy's eyes.
"Y'know what dey did to Rogue wit' one a those collars?"
Eric's jaw tightens.
"I know only what I have been told. Unfortunately, the
Genoshans modified the collars in more ways than were initially
"The collars include a bio-electrical contraceptive
to prevent the random creation of--genetic undesirables. Those
are the Genoshans' words, not mine."
Another flick of the wrist. Another stone skims the water
as Remy considers Eric's words.
"Why ain't Storm been affected?"
"Rogue's physiology creates a unique situation. In effect,
her absorption powers are interacting with the biological
elements of the collar. The collar has been responding by
increasing production of the contraceptive to toxic levels."
Toxic levels. Remy drops casually to the ground, pulling
his knees up to his chin. He tries to keep his voice calm
as he again seeks an answer to perhaps the most important
question in his life.
"Is she gon' die?"
"Not if she agrees to treatment."
"By lettin' Moira cut her open?"
"Dr. McTaggert believes the radical approach would be
most effective. Which is why she's adamant in recommending
a hysterectomy to eliminate the possibility of future malignancies."
"Why don' Logan--"
"The problem is gender-specific."
Remy flops onto his back with a frustrated sigh.
"What does Henri t'ink?"
"Henry has been experimenting with preventive chemotherapy
with mixed results."
For a long time, neither man speaks, each lost in his own
thoughts. Eventually, the distant, gray haze evaporates beneath
the full sun of mid-morning. Still, they remain silent, letting
the warmth of the new season chase the last chill of winter
from their bones. A hundred thoughts run through Remy's mind,
all returning, inevitably, to the same point: he and Nicola
were both wearing collars in New Genosha. If the collars contained
birth control, how did she become pregnant? And if she became
pregnant, what if Rogue--?
...the Genoshans modified the collars in more ways than
were initially apparent...
There are moments in a man's life when he sees his past revealed
with a clarity never before experienced, as if a divine hand
intervenes and rearranges the pieces of the cosmic jigsaw
into a coherent whole. Remy LeBeau experiences that moment
now. Specific images click through his mind, significant images
if he can connect them and understand their relevancy to each
other. Rogue in the Danger Room, then in bed with him. A flash
of Nicola. Rogue. Danger Room. Bed. Nicola. A glimpse of Sinister's
Lovely young woman. I have such plans for her.
...modified the collars...
Rogue wearing the collar in the Danger Room. Nicola wearing
the collar in the camps. Rogue wearing the collar in bed.
He silently berates himself. A thief is supposed to notice
Important details like the difference between a smooth metal
collar and one that has a well-defined chip added to it.
Continued in Chapter
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