'Generation X: First Contact' part 10

Disclaimer: Dawn, Glenn and Will belong to me, everyone else is Marvel's yada yada yada...

Author's Note: Sorry for the hold up posting this, but I've been busy what with school ending and all (tomorrow's my last day, hooray!). We're also getting our own link to the Net, so it could be a while before I can send the last two chapters. Well, as I said before, this chapter's a filler, with a red herring or two (I bet you'll be able to guess what they are after I'm done.) Since my last note was rather long I'll make it snappy. By the by, I'll send you details and/or spoilers if you really want, but I think it's more fun to let the story play out, don't you? You'll forgive me if the spoilers are rather vague, but I find that reading things for yourself is much more satisfying in the long run. Enjoy chapter 10, folks, because it's the beginning of the end for Dawn (at least in First Contact...)

Calm Before The Storm

My mother and father left about an hour later (after Will had explained his 'condition' to Mom, of course,) and I was alone in the infirmary. Glenn, ever the gentleman, had wanted to stay with me for a while, but Sean put his foot down. I was so weak I couldn't even keep Will in out plane of existence, so it had been declared that I needed rest, and lots of it. My dislocated shoulder was pretty uncomfortable, but fortunately my ribs weren't broken, only bruised and/or separated. Not that it was any more comfortable, but I could live with it. I had too many bruises to count, but they would heal as well.

"She needs rest, Emma," I heard Sean comment from the hallway. "Ye canna jus' go in an' try some invention on her, the poor lass is nearly spent as it is."

"Sean, we NEED to find out the extent of her powers," Emma retorted. "Now is the best time to do it."

"Why? Because she canna fight back?"

I wasn't sure I liked the direction this conversation was heading...

"No, because in her weakened state she's less likely to overload the device. We've already determined that she's an empath of phenomenal range as well as having a previously unrecorded 'medium' ability. She may have other, more powerful talents, and I for one would like to find them out before she causes anything worse then a tree's worth of kindling."

"Assuming she DOES have more powers," Sean put in. "What makes ye so certain that she will?"

"It may be minor compared to the others, but she will," Emma assured him. "Her tissue samples indicate she has a unique quality in her DNA, even for a homo superior. She may be a second or even third generation mutant."

EXCUSE me? WHAT did she just say?!

"WHAT?!" Sean exclaimed. "Wi' her father bein' like he IS?! There is nae way on earth he could be a mutant, let alone MARRY one!"

"The data indicates that it's from her mother's side," Emma continued coolly. "It IS latent, however. If it hasn't manifested by now it's doubtful it ever will. It's not as flashy as Dawn's medium powers, but it is by no means nonexistent. I believe it's..." I heard paper's rustling, "Rather, it COULD be empathy."

"That would account fer her high level psionics," Sean mused. I heard him sigh. "I suppose it'd be all right. Ye might as well bring Glenn in while ye're at it. Get it all over with quickly." He paused for a split second. "It'll nae hurt them, will it?" Bless the man, he was always looking out for our welfare.

"Not... much," Emma said. I could almost see her smiling. I could also feel Sean wincing in my mind, "Tis a necessary evil, I suppose," he sighed. "Very well, I'll fetch Glenn."

When Emma entered the room not only was she holding a strange helmet, she had the look of the cat who had eaten the canary.

Guess who was the canary.

"Hello Dawn," she said briskly.

"Hello, Ms. Frost," I said, then added mentally, A well placed bolt of lightening via Will would make me feel--

I cut myself off abruptly, remembering she was a telepath. I'd learned to shield my thoughts pretty well, but I didn't want to push my luck.

Meanwhile Emma was plugging the device into the wall. She rolled a little screen in and hooked it up as well. "Now we wait," she said.


"Sean and your little friend."

We didn't wait long, they arrived a millisecond later. Glenn looked nervous, and with Emma nearby it was understandable. I myself was sweating a little, not trusting Emma's "Not much," statement.

"This'll only take a second," Emma soothed. Of course, coming from HER it wasn't very soothing, but I forced myself to relax. Emma fastened the helmet part on my head and turned it on.

It felt like my brain had been dipped in ACID. As if THAT wasn't enough, the pain slowly--excruciatingly--spread through the rest of my body. As I stiffened in agony I could see Sean fidgeting. He looked very concerned, and his hands twitched as if he was about to tear off the device.

Then, mercifully, it stopped. Slowly my body unstiffened and my mind stopped burning. I could barely breathe, let alone talk.

My mind, on the other hand, was MORE then capable of getting the message across.

:THAT was NOT MUCH'?!: I screamed mentally. Emma winced and tried to calm me down with her mind. :Stop it!: I cried. :Get OUT of my head!:

"Calm down," Emma said. "It couldn't have hurt THAT much."

:You've never tested that thing, have you?: I demanded. :Well, HERE'S what it FELT like.: I linked her mind to my memories of the pain and she stiffened. Petty? Ha! I was ANGRY!

"I... see..." she murmured, going pale as a sheet. "I'll... numb the pain section of your mind if I ever do it again."

:Then you'd better do it to Glenn, too, because it's going to feel just as bad with him as it did with me.:

Emma nodded dully and hooked up Glenn. When she turned it on she concentrated, and Glenn showed only the slightest sign of discomfort. Emma took it off of his head and pushed a few buttons.

After a second of computation or so the computer beeped and printed out a page of information. "Ah, here we are," Emma said as she scanned the page. "Designate: Embers, Dawn. Advanced empathy and telepathy, medium capabilities, and subtle, sub-talent of... charisma?"

"Huh?" I said intelligently.

"You're very likable." *I* knew THAT. I did. Really. Well, it explained a lot... "Now where was I? Of yes, latent, specific metamorphic capabilities."

"And what does THAT mean?"

"Ye'll have a specific form or physical quality ye'll be able to manifest," Sean informed me. "Like Rahne Sinclair; a werewolf."

Werewolf? Just when I thought I'd seen it all...

"Lovely," I said aloud. "Anything else?"

"No, that's it," Emma announced. "Now on to Glenn. Designate: Keaton, Glenn. Enhanced strength, speed, vision, agility, flight, healing factor, light and radar distortion, and... oh my." She smiled. It was something that made me very, very nervous. "THIS is certainly an interesting development."

"What?" asked Glenn, a pang of panic going through him. Evidently Emma felt it as well, because she laughed and said, "Oh, nothing serious. You just happen to be an External, that's all."

Sean's jaw dropped, but he quickly pulled it back up.

"Why? What's an External?" asked Glenn.

"It means ye canna die," Sean told him.


"My understanding is that Externals will live forever if their heads are nae separated from their bodies," Sean told him. "They dinna age very fast--if at all--and c'n recover from almost any wound that t'would be fatal t' the rest o' us. Meanin', what with yuir healin' factor, ye're more r less immortal."

"Uh..." Glenn's mouth fell open, and his eyes assumed a rather glazed look. "Uh..."

"I take it tis a wee bit t' take in at one time, aye?" Sean said. Glenn nodded his head vaguely and sat down on a cot.


"Glenn?" I said, worried.

"...Ferever, huh?" he said at last.

"Aye," Sean said.

"Wot am I gonner do ferever?" he wondered aloud, the glazed look still in his eyes. "Yer'll all die ventually, an' I'll be alone..."

"Glenn, SNAP OUT OF IT," I said, giving him a telepathic shake.

"Huh?" he said, looking startled. "Oh, sorry. Anyone else hungry?"

It NEVER ceased to amaze me how quick on the rebound he was.

"*I* am," I declared. "What's for... what is it? Lunch?"

"Well, 'tis more dinner then anythin', but lunch'll do," Sean said. "I'm nae certain if ye should have solids, so we'll jus' have t' start ye on chicken soup."

"SOUP?!" I exclaimed. "And here I was hoping for FOOD."

"Chicken soup IS food, Dawn," Glenn enlightened me.

"Yeah, then riddle me this, Mr. "Of The Narrow Valley", if it's supposed to be CHICKEN soup, then how come there's never any chicken IN it? All there is water and noodles, it's like eating--"

:Dawn, shut up. No one wants to hear your rantings,: Will sent. He ALWAYS knew exactly when to show up.

:Buzz off, Will,: I retorted. :Go talk to George Burns or something.:

:Eh. Tried it. All he does is tell bad jokes that nobody gets.:

:He's a comedian, you dip! That's what he's SUPPOSED to do.:

"Achem." Ms. Frost cleared her throat impatiently and I rolled my eyes. "Fine, I'll knock it off," I said. "Will, get lost."

:Whatever you say, Dawny.:

"And quit calling me Dawny!"

:See you later...:

"'Dawny'?" Sean asked.

"What my stupid cousin calls me," I explained. "You know, the one who slapped Ms. Frost and my dad almost killed? Again?"

"Aye, I remember him." Sean and Emma turned to leave. "I'll get ye that soup now."

:Glenn, when you get the chance, can you sneak me up a sandwich or something?: I asked.

He considered it. :Only if you eat all of your soup,: he thought at me.

:Hey, you're NOT my mother!:

:No, but I CAN get you a sandwich. IF I want to, that is.:

:FINE! I'll eat the stupid soup!:

:Good.: As he left the room I stuck my tongue out at him. Immature, heck, I wanted some REAL food!

About fifteen minutes later Sean arrived with the soup, As I'd expected, it was ninety percent liquid with one sliver of actual chicken, and the noodles were limp. Anyway, to condense a pointless story, I DID eat the soup and Glenn DID bring me a sandwich. Whatever you say about the guy he can make a FANTASTIC ham, honey, and chip sandwich (it tastes better then it sounds; TRUST me.)

Well, after that things got pretty dead around the infirmary, so I did the only logical thing I COULD do. I fell asleep.

I slept for a few hours and woke up at about one in the morning. I couldn't go back to sleep (not to mention the fact that being in bed for more then a day had made me a little stir crazy) and I needed some fresh air. I climbed out of bed and walked right out of the room. I couldn't think of anywhere else to go, so I climbed the ladder to the roof.

It was a clear night, and the stars were shinning brightly. I just sat and admired them for I don't know how long. It could have been hours or it could have been minutes, but it didn't matter. It was (pardon the "Zen-master" talk) like I felt a connection to the night, and it was healing me just to be outside. The pulse of life surrounded me, and all I had to do was reach out--and touch it.

With mental fingers I gathered the night's existing wind currents and focused them around me. I was swept into the air, where I performed multiple barrel rolls and the like. Thick rain clouds swarmed over head and a gentle rain started to fall. It felt wonderful, even better then it had the first time. By the time I came down to earth again it was nearly dawn (pardon the pun) but I wasn't tired at all. I alighted on the roof, rain still cascading from the sky.

"You're not supposed to be up," came a voice. "In fact, you're not even supposed to be out of the infirmary." I turned around to discover Everett perched on the peak of the roof, still in his pajamas.

"Yeah, well, I was awake and I was bored," I said, crossing my arms in front of me. "Besides, I feel FINE now. What's YOUR excuse?"

"I saw you flying," Everett replied, sitting down, oblivious to the rain. "I was curious as to what you would be doing up so early."

I looked at him in disgust. "Are you ALWAYS so cheerful?" I asked as I sat down beside him.

"Yep. One of my biggest flaws." I rolled my eyes and punched him lightly in the shoulder.

"What IS your mutant power, anyway?" I asked him.

"I can synch myself with any mutant powers within a limited area," he informed me.

"What are you doing, quoting from an owner's manual?" I inquired. "All of you guys sound like you're reciting everything you say from a "How to be a Mutant" guide."

"Well, after a while the novelty wears off and it seems pretty run-of-the-mill to discuss your powers," he shrugged.

"Heh. You forget, I'M the human Ouija board, remember? I doubt I'll EVER get used to somebody popping into my head and saying "Hey, heard your call, need some help?" What REALLY freaked me out was when Will stopped by to cheer me up AFTER I heard he'd died."

"Well, one of the first time I used MY power I blew out every window for eight blocks, AND grew an extra foot or so and gained a hundred extra pounds of muscle."

"Yeah? Well *I* turned PURPLE."

"Almost got kidnaped by the Phalanx AND had to save Paige, Angelo, and Monet."

"Almost got dissected and/or experimented on some weirdo while I was at boarding school. PLUS my hair turned blue and white, PLUS I found out my best friend was a mutant, PLUS got assaulted by every thought and emotion in Oklahoma, PLUS flew cross-country with my friend, all in the same day."

Everett looked at me. "You win," he agreed with mock seriousness.

"Darn straight." Everett laughed and almost fell off of the roof.

"Can you knock off the rain?" he asked, trying to regain his balance.

"Sure." I gestured and the clouds dispersed. "Hey, what time is it?"

"I'm not sure," he admitted. "I don't wear a watch to bed. Unlike you, who wears a leather jacket when you're staying in the infirmary for several separated ribs." I gave him a kick in the shin, which he ignored.

"At least I'M not on the roof in my PAJAMAS," I snickered, tugging his plaid sleeve. Everett looked at my damp clothes and sopping hair, which looked like a... well, imagine a damp blue skunk stuck to your head and you'd have a pretty good idea what I looked like. "You might want to get cleaned up before Emma or Sean see you," he suggested, changing the subject.

"Yeah," I agreed. "I guess I AM kind of a mess." But I didn't get up, and neither did he. We just stared at the horizon as it grew steadily lighter.

"Right after the sun rises," I amended.

"Right," Everett nodded.

The sun rose slowly, painting the sky with pink and golds, Maybe it was my imagination, but it seemed more beautiful that morning then any other. Maybe it was because for once I was truly at peace with the world, or maybe it was the pain killers Emma had given me that were making me light headed, but either way it was a sight to remember, and no matter how much darkness I've had to witness or endure in my life, I always have.

TEASER: Next chapter Dawn and the others go to a dance at the Hellfire Club and something not TOTALLY unexpected happens. Cutesy, yeah, but it has a twist you won't believe at the end...

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