Rogue senses a faint tickle in her mind, helping her fight
back from the brink of unconsciousness as yet another piece
of steel invades her body. A new knot of cramps tightens her
muscles. Again, tears sting her cheeks as something warm and
wet trickles down her thigh. She tries not to wonder what
it might be. Sweat dampens her face and neck, plastering her
hair against her clammy skin.
She tries to focus through a haze of nauseating agony, tries
to turn her thoughts to something other than the basic sensations
of pain and no pain. She's already run through the multiplication
table five times. Practiced the relaxed breathing Storm and
Wolverine taught her twice. Started to review the basics of
picking a lock, then caught herself. The last thing she needed
now was to be thinking of him. To be thinking of the father
of her baby. Her eyes light again on the Mendel charts.
"Why Scott an' Remy? Why--augh--me?"
"In the Summers' DNA, the X factor is inexplicably located
on the Y chromosome, ensuring that the potential for mutant
expression will always be present in the male offspring."
"Bright Lady, are you suggesting--predictable--mutations?"
Sinister spares Ororo a curt nod.
"Perceptive, still, you merely glimpse the scientific
"I do not understand."
Eric's eyes narrow angrily as he responds in a tight voice
to Ororo, explaining Sinister's vision. A vision that too
closely parallels that of another man's decades ago. In Germany.
"Not just predictable mutations, Ororo, controllable
mutations. Genetic engineering at a level that surpasses the
Sinister scoffs at the cold fury that colors Eric's brief
"We do the same for cattle and grain, do we not? Is
our species less deserving of the benefits of controlled breeding
than lesser creatures under our dominion?"
Sinister bends lower to concentrate on the delicate surgery.
Rogue grunts at the sensation of a hard pinch that eases into
the feeling that her insides are being pulled inside out.
"What about Remy..?"
Sinister drops an instrument onto the tray and deftly selects
another without looking up.
"The Acadian's DNA possesses invaluable stabilizing
agents, ensuring that the engineered cells do not disintegrate."
"Ah remember...Riptide's clone..."
"An unfortunate attempt to replace LeBeau's DNA with
a substitute. Disappointing results, to be certain."
Sinister gives Rogue a coldy appraising look.
"Obviously you do not have as high of a pain threshold
as I had anticipated. However, your genetic material
presents an excellent opportunity to perfect my technique.
Especially since long-term studies confirm that your DNA will
complement LeBeau's. Now, if you are compatible with the Summers'
His voice trails off as he emerges, his deathly face lit
with an eerie excitement, and carefully transfers something
from Rogue's body into a carefully prepared test tube. Rogue
strains at her manacles to see what he's doing then gives
up, exhausted. She lets her head drop back to the table with
a tired sigh. Again, she feels the tickle of Jean's mind touching
hers, soon joined by the other X-men. Her only thought is
that they're too late.
Continued in Chapter
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