X-men Evolution Fan Fiction / X-Men Fan Fiction ❯ BurnOut ❯ Chapter 5 ( Chapter 5 )
[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
Moira MacTaggert was losing the ability to read the figures on the computer screen she'd been staring at blankly for the last five minutes. On average she'd been getting less than four hours sleep a night for the past two weeks and it was starting to get to her. Hank McCoy, in a rush as always, charged into the lab and sat down at his terminal.
“How'd it go with your harness?” Moira asked him, walking over to his desk.
“She seemed to be adjusting to it when I left.”
“Do you think it'll hold her?” she asked, slicing the “t” in “it'll” in two with her sharp Scots brogue.
“The cable is threaded with synthetic adamantium, so I doubt it will snap, but the vest isn't secured. The front can easily be detached.”
“Charles didn't want her to feel padlocked. He wants her to recognize it's her choice to wear it.”
“Yes, I know. What I don't understand is why he's so insistent I complete work on this,” Hank's thick indigo fingers grasped a slim circlet just large enough to fit around Jean Grey's head.
“The neural disruptor - the prototype is ready?” Moira plucked the device from his hand and studied it.
“I was up all night finishing the circuitry.”
“It can disable her?” Moira asked.
“With a 500 volt shock to her brain, it could kill her.” Beast answered. Moira did not respond. Her eyes glazed over and her face seemed momentarily frozen. Beast surmised correctly that she was receiving a telepathic message from Xavier.
Moira, come to the terrace, quickly. Jean may have lost control…
* * * * * * * *
Jean Grey lowered her sight from the winged man to see the sparks in her eyes reflected in the shiny surface of Scott Summer's ruby quartz visor. Remaining aloft, Warren looked away as she descended into Cyclops' reaching arms. Angel's eyes settled on Moira MacTaggert and her two assistants steering a gurney as they quickly emerged from the mansion followed by Hank McCoy. Along the side of the rolling bed hung a cage-like set of steel bars. Steel or some sort of adamantium-steel compound Warren guessed - he'd heard Hank was synthesizing new super-strong materials.
Narrowing his view of McCoy, he observed a slim, circular, metal object in Beast's hands. What were they about to do to Jean? Warren was brimming with anxious energy, he felt like he was going to explode. His eyes darted back to her. She was swimming in the air. Scott, holding onto her left shoulder and arm, guided her down onto the gurney. One of the assistants held her legs while Moira clamped the metal frame into place, locking Jean's body to the bed. Then the other assistant handed Dr. MacTaggert a syringe.
Before he knew how horrified he was or what he was doing, Warren was there. The needle, millimeters from Jean's skin, was a microsecond from his grasp. Suddenly something hit him, hard. He was in the lawn, fifty yards from the terrace and Jean. But he wasn't even scuffed. He glowed. Then another blast, an optic energy beam, shot from the eyes of Scott Summers. It was so slow, Warren thought. He jumped fifteen feet into the air easily avoiding Cyclops' attack. He flew straight back to the terrace, but he was too late. Jean, Moira, and the medical team were inside. The Professor and a recently arrived Logan were moving towards Scott. Warren saw a red flash in Scott's visor. He pulled-up at the last moment and barely evaded the beam. From 100 feet above, he heard Xavier.
Warren, come down. Scott will not fire at you again. We need to talk about Jean.
Scott was almost trembling. They were in Xavier's office. Warren had never imagined Summers could appear so angry and aggressive while revealing such vulnerability. Scott was ready to kill him. Warren saw an altered reflection of himself in Cyclops' visor. Was everything Scott saw distorted? Xavier sensed the hostility in the room coming to a boil. He tapped the minds of the two young men, slowing their hot anger until it became smoldering resentment. Then he made them feel heavy. Scott sat stiffly, hardened like a rock.
“What were you doing? Were you trying to get her to break out of the harness?” the words cracked out of Cyclops' mouth.
Warren ignored him. “Professor Xavier, why are you chaining Jean to the terrace?” he asked.
“So she doesn't kill herself,” Scott answered, aiming the words like knives.
Warren turned and faced him directly, “She won't. She just has to burn off all that energy. She needs to release it, she needs to fly.”
“Professor, you're destroying her. I watched her try to contain it. She was straining. You can't keep holding her back…”
“We are not restraining her. All of us combined couldn't stop her if she wanted to break away. Jean is recovering from a traumatic experience, which has left her in a highly sensitive emotional state. She chooses to limit her mobility right now, Warren. She doesn't want these intense surges in her abilities to cause her to loose control.” Charles stated calmly.
“You think she needs you to get out of that harness? She can break off the tether any time,” cried Scott.
“There are different types of tethers,” Warren responded.
“There are,” Xavier agreed. “But Jean Grey wants to be tied to the Earth and her identity. She wants to remain the young woman we all know and care for so deeply rather than transforming into some alien being, with overwhelming and perhaps uncontrollable powers.”
“She'll still be Jean. I know it. When she was suspending me our minds were linked…” Warren tried to explain.
“That's how it feels for everyone she connects to psychically. You weren't really inside her mind. Not the way I've been! You don't know anything about her. We have fought for each other's lives! I love her!” Scott shouted.
“We all love her,” Xavier said, mentally reining in Scott's animosity. “Warren,” he continued, “Jean is a telepath. And when her powers are amplified the effect she has on others, especially in extreme situations, is very powerful. The intimacy you feel you have with her may be more one-sided than you think.” Xavier felt Worthington's defiance dissipate. He was getting through to him. “Jean's planning to attend the University this fall. Doesn't she deserve a chance to go to college and enjoy life like the other students? Do you realize that if she loses control the consequences could be fatal? Think about what's at stake.”
“I was just talking to her. I didn't intend to harm her recovery or upset anyone, I just couldn't watch her being locked in cage. I understand what you're saying, Professor. I'm sorry.” Warren relented.
“Under the circumstances, I think it would be better for Jean if you stayed away from the Institute for a while,” said Charles.