Beneath the rafters of the one-time slaughterhouse, a lean
figure leaps with feline grace from the wooden beams to a
steel catwalk, and lands silently. Another time, he might
be grinning with self-satisfaction at his uncanny agility.
In another place, he might give in to the fleeting joy of
being airborne as he swings over and drops down to another
But this dawn, the echo of Rogue's scream races through his
mind even as he races through a maze of corridors as familiar
to him as the rooftops of New Orleans. Except for letting
her know that he's here, he hasn't responded to Rogue. He
did, however, ask Jean to strengthen his psi-link to her,
effectively allowing him to "eavesdrop" on her thoughts.
He's disturbed by what he finds. Through the sometimes incoherent
muddle of grief and exhaustion comes a clearer picture of
Rogue's mental state: she's remembering the other times she
was about to die.
So much for goin' out in a blaze a glory. Not like when
I was rescuin' Maddy. Left to drown in the waters of San Francisco.
Put up a helluva fight, though. Did Wolvie proud that day.
In the back of his mind, Remy knows that somewhere far below
Wolverine is making his way through the depths of the building.
He also knows that Mystique chose to take the direct approach,
morphing into a Genoshan guard and walking through the front
door. So far, the Genoshans seem to be preoccupied with the
air strikes. None of the internal intruder alarms have sounded.
Never knew dyin' could hurt like hell. 'Cept for the first
time. Takin' that blaster. All the other times, with Rachel
and the Beyonder...with Forge...snap o' the fingers an' it
The young Cajun flattens against the corridor wall, listening
for activity. Nothing. All he hears is the quiet crackle of
static in his headset. Once in a while, Scott or Forge's voice
breaks the silence, updating everyone on the progress of the
Cold beads of sweat break out on the back of his neck. He
knows this place. Intimately. It's the corridor leading to
Sinister's main operating lab. There's only one more room
he has to pass through to get there. The morgue. It's easy
to look for a distraction, anything to grab onto except the
memories of this room. Even if it means responding to Rogue.
Least this way ain't as stupid as gettin' sucked into
the Siege Perilous. Still kickin' mahself over that screw-up.
>>Dat all de X-men expect from you, Rogue? Nothin'
but dyin'? Dat no life at all.<<
>>Moot point now, sugah.<<
>>Not if I c'n help it.<<
>>Mah hero.....hmph!....oh....God almighty...<<
A minute passes. Then another. Silence. Remy frowns. He can
still sense Rogue, but her thoughts now focus on the basics
of what she is feeling: hurt, cold, tired. He alerts Jean
to the change, and takes small comfort in Jean's response
that she is monitoring Rogue's condition closely.
Remy steps through the doors to the morgue, and immediately
reels from the odors. Not the stench of decay, but the bitter,
antiseptic assault of preservatives. The glare of overhead
lights on stainless steel sinks and gurneys. The long wall
to his left where Sinister's specimens were stored. As long
as they were usable. Before being sent to the pits.
One drawer along the wall draws his attention as clearly
as if marked in flame. First, because there is a name instead
of a number written on the placard. Second, because it his
name. Short and to the point: "LeBeau, Female, Fourth
Generation Original". Remy flips through the attached
medical chart with trembling fingers. He doesn't need McCoy's
background to understand what's been going on. A wave of nausea
washes over him. Lungs, removed. Extensive testing of nerve
tissue for regenerative properties. Detailed entries of how
the infant was successfully removed from its dead mother.
He manages to reach a nearby sink before his knees give way,
before retching. His fingers tighten on the steel rim, and
he feels a long-buried hatred stir. He's barely aware of the
steel beneath his fingers turning red until he hears voices.
Familiar voices rising and falling, first quietly setting
up a joke, then loudly delivering the punchline. The same
raucous laughter that has haunted his days and obsessed his
He steps into the shadows as the New Genoshan guards enter.
He grabs two long, sharp pieces of steel from a tray. Snap
of the wrist, and the guards are on the floor with the steel
embedded in their necks. Not dead, just momentarily paralyzed.
Remy's heels crackle against the linoleum floor as he takes
his time walking over to the guards. He gets a perverse sense
of pleasure, of revenge, at seeing the horror of recognition
in their eyes.
"Mornin', mes amis. T'ings maybe not so funny
He squats down to their level.
"Gon' be even less funny."
His eyes reflect the unnatural gleam of stainless steel and
flourescent lights as he studies their uniforms. Standard
issue. Bullets criss-crossing their chests. Guns slung tight
to their thighs. Steel card keys in their back pockets. All
kinds of metal strapped to their bodies. He grins. A spark
of energy crackles across his fingertips.
He brushes the metal buttons of one guard's uniform, sending
a spark across each--one at a time. The guard jerks at each
burst of energy searing his skin. Remy's thumb flicks the
top of the other guard's zipper. He cries out as the energy
ripples down the metal teeth. Remy's grin broadens. Now, he
knows how to exact his revenge on these two.
In moments, the two guard find themselves roughly hauled
across the floor, bound, gagged and thrown into two of the
empty drawers. Side by side. With expert skill learned on
the back streets of New Orleans, Remy rigs a tripwire. From
a nearby outlet, across the doors, through the legs of the
steel sink and finally, to the guards' zippers. It will be
a painful death, even so, somewhere in the darkest corners
of Remy's soul, part of him whispers that it still isn't enough.
He reaches the operating room and glimpses Rogue. Even though
her head is turned his way, there is no flicker of recognition
in her eyes. Nothing through the psi-link to acknowledge his
presence. He glances away from the blood pooling beneath her
body. Several cards drop into his palm, ready to be charged
with kinetic energy. A sudden burst of smoke momentarily distracts
Kurt's sharp whisper cuts the air even as his tail wraps
tightly around Remy's wrist, forcing the Cajun to drop the
trio of cards from his hand. With his free hand, Remy grabs
Kurt's throat. His eyes blaze crimson.
"What de hell y'tink you doin'?"
"Sinister considers himself a man of science, nicht
"As a scientist, he would know to sterilize a room before
performing surgery. If you cause an explosion, mein freund,
you contaminate the room and expose Rogue to infection."
Kurt feels Remy's muscles relax, and he releases his own
grip on the distraught Cajun.
"You gon' teleport--eh?"
Remy glimpses a flicker of red crosshairs across Sinister's
body. He jerks around to see Mystique taking aim, and immediately
whispers a sharp warning across their closed-communication
Sinister's hand rises. The scalpel gleams as it descends
towards Rogue. Mystique fires, shattering the glass of the
observation booth. Remy catches Kurt's flurry of German epithets
amid the sudden clang of the alarms and stench of sulphur
as he teleports into Sinister's lab. Remy quickly forces the
doors, and follows close behind.
Sinister responds to Mystique's attack with his own powerful
blast, striking her hard in the shoulder. While Sinister is
distracted, Remy uses his bo staff to sweep his feet, then
shove him away from Rogue. Quickly, Kurt steps into Sinister's
place. Remy immediately approaches Storm, but she stops him
with a shake of her head.
"No, see to Rogue first."
Remy spares a quick glance over his shoulder. Just enough
to see Kurt's eyes fill with tears.
"Gott en Himmel..."
And hear Mystique's contempt reply.
"Do you honestly think 'God' had anything to do with
this? I'm taking her out of here. Now!"
"She has open wounds, Mystique."
"Fine. You close her up while I watch your back. Can
you handle that?"
Wordlessly, Kurt quickly snaps on a pair of gloves. He scrounges
a supply of sterile saline solution and washes Rogue's body
quickly before quickly stitching the worst of her wounds closed.
Sinister rises to face Remy, his skull-colored face turning
chill. Remy rubs his thumb across his fingers, letting the
energy build up. Dimly, he hears a scream somewhere in the
corridor, followed by an uproar of shouts and heavy footsteps.
Sinister's gaze pierces his. Remy flashes a predatory grin.
"Y'help ain't what it used t'be, Sinister."
Sinister coolly appraises Remy, slowly scanning him from
head to toe.
"Apparently, neither are my clones."
The dig hits home, giving Sinister the opening he needs to
snap a hand out to the Cajun's throat. Genoshan guards appear
in the doorway and observation booth and immediately take
aim on the intruders. Amid the click of dozens of trigger
being pulled back, no one hears the unmistakable snap of two
Genoshan collars being unlatched.
"Release him, Sinister."
Sinister's eyes lock with Eric's. The tension in the room
"Merely because you request it?"
Eric's voice remains calm, but no one in the room misses
the audible power emanating from within.
"Because I demand his release."
A sudden, almost imperceptible change in the air sends the
gauges of several machines into wild fluctuations. A blue
aura gathers around Eric.
"Because if you do not accede to my wishes, I
will destroy this place and all of the information within.
Your life's work will be nothing."
Sinister's grip on Remy eases.
"I have known men such as you, and outlived them."
"And I have known creatures such as you--and crushed
them beneath my heel."
In the same instant that Eric's magnetic pulse increases
throughtout the room, Sinister's hand flashes to a hidden
wall switch. As the Genoshan guards fall beneath Eric's assault,
Sinister succeeds in escaping, leaving a series of explosions
sparking through the room in his wake. New guards arrive in
response to the continuing alarm, and open fire at random.
The sudden spray of bullets ignites flammable liquids, filling
the room with smoke and flames.
Kurt looks up as the massive array of machinery hovering
over Rogue begins to short circuit. He surveys the room for
help. Mystique occupies herself with returning gunfire, enjoying
the heat of battle. Storm uses her weather abilities to try
and control the flames. Eric rises through the ceiling, an
angry god intent only on pursuing Sinister. Finally, Kurt's
eyes light on Remy's.
The Cajun's mouth suddenly goes dry.
"You must take Rogue out of here. At once."
"We do not have much time. Now, while the others have
distracted the guards. I can teleport Mystique and Storm.
Rogue's system may not be able to handle the stress."
Remy swallows hard, then nods in agreement.
For a moment, as Remy releases the adamantium from Rogue's
body, he feels her eyes watching him. Understands through
the psi-link that her thoughts of dying keep her from thoughts
of grief. Until now. His own heart aches in response to the
simple thought that they are parents who have lost their child.
Again, he clamps down on his feelings. He quickly dresses
her in a lab coat. When he takes her in his arms, she slumps
wearily against his chest. For the Cajun, the moment is bittersweet.
He has a fleeting thought that at least Rogue didn't flinch
when he touched her.
Continued in Chapter
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