X-men Evolution Fan Fiction ❯ Revolution ❯ Ch 16 and 17 ( Chapter 4 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

Chapter 16: Walking On Eggshells

While Logan and his team were in Alaska; at New York, Xavier had been conducting research. There had been an alarmingly high number of earthquakes reported through the world along with extreme heat spells and other inexplicable phenomenon. He had recently met with a representative from Shield who had gone to inquire about Lance. Avalanche had refused to speak with anyone and instead settled for yelling at Tabitha who hung around the other side of his newly assigned room's door pestering him about his fear of earthquakes.

As for Tabitha's own fear, it was gone. Just as whoever was out to brainwash Remy had treated him as an abandoned experiment, the same applied to Tabitha. It was as if a conclusion had been reached that brainwashing, or at least trying to brainwash, mutants was more trouble than it was worth. Yet Lance's fear was still present and he didn't want to talk about it, no matter how many times Tabitha assured him that it would go away if he faced it, just as it had happened to her.

Xavier passed by down the hall, which caught Tabitha's attention. She stopped pestering Lance for a moment before meeting his disapproving gaze. "You shouldn't be moving around so soon."

"Oh, relax; I'm still wrapped up like a mummy." She tugged on the collar of her pajamas to show the hem of her 'bandage body suit' as she called it. "I'm not going to fall apart and look," she pointed at the door. "I'm following the no explosions indoors rule!"

"I see that you are," Xavier decided to at least credit her for that. "Now if you don't mind, I'd like to speak to Lance."

"He doesn't want to talk to anyone," Tabitha frowned. To prove her point, she called out after knocking on the door, "hey Lance! The professor wants to talk to you!"

An exasperated groan of "go away," was the only reply.

"See?" Tabitha breathed.

Given that Lance had been exposed to Tabitha's insistence for so long, Xavier knew that he must be in a bad mood, he certainly sounded like it. Thus the professor decided to wait before trying to talk to him. He couldn't wait too long though, it would be up to Lance to help the earth release its pressure in a series of minor earthquakes to prevent the eventual occurrence of a major damaging tremor.

After Xavier was gone, Tabitha resumed her conversation with Lance, if you could call it a conversation given the fact that there was a closed door between them. "Where do you think all the elevators are?"

There was a moment of silence before Lance gave in and replied, "I don't know, where are they?"

Tabitha chuckled, "I'm asking you."

"I thought it was a stupid joke," Lance answered.

Tabitha was glad that he was at least still willing to talk to her. She knew what it was like to have an irrational fear and felt more identified than she would ever guess she could. Plus she had overheard about the problems with the planet's pressure. She didn't get all the details, but she knew enough. "No really, where are they? Xavier gets around so quickly. One second he's in one place, the next he's three floors up."

"I suppose there would be plenty of secret passages around here," Lance played along, hoping that the subject would stay away from his abilities.

"Want to explore them?" Tabitha asked sweetly and cheerfully.

"No," Lance answered flatly.

"Aw, c'mon!" She insisted, but got no reply. Finally, Tabitha sat on the floor with her back against the door and made random conversation, still receiving no answer.

A few more minutes passed and the door was suddenly opened. Tabitha, who was leaning on it, fell backwards and her back collided with Lance's legs. He leaned over her as she threw her head back to look up at an upside-down version of him. "Why do you keep talking to me? There's the part about what you overheard, but you don't usually run around playing the hero."

"Neither do you, but this is a necessity, and besides..." Tabitha got to her feat. She didn't like how her body was still sore and had to admit, in the privacy of her mind, that she still needed time to recover. "I know what it's like," her cheerful expression turned understanding. "What happened to me... I don't wish it on anyone. That's why I want to help you overcome it."

"By pestering me?" Lance frowned. He had at least dropped his denial when it was made clear that everyone understood that the fear was not really his.

"Maybe if I pester you enough you'll try to knock me off balance," she smiled teasingly.

Lance rolled his eyes, "I don't need an earthquake for that. Let's not forget you're banned from using explosives."

Tabitha stuck out her tongue, "don't push your luck; rules are made to be broken."

Lance smiled, for a moment, truly amused, "we agree on that much at least."

xoxox xox xoxox

After the strange light came from the sky in Alaska, reports about it quickly flooded the media all across the world, and people feared a repetition of the event. At least the affected area was not populated as far as the public knew, but all the people from the anti-mutant group had perished and taken their knowledge to their icy graves. The Maximoff siblings were at the Brotherhood house watching the news on TV. "What do you think that was?"

"I don't know... but we need a new TV," Pietro commented at seemingly random. Noting the curious look his sister was giving him, he made a motion of disregard. "It's nothing, just those blue codes that keep popping up, must be interference or something." Going back to the more imperative subject, he became lost in thought about what that light could be. He wondered if his father knew.

"What codes?" Wanda asked curiously. "I didn't see anything."

"They blink really fast," Pietro realized that he was probably the only one in the whole house that had been seeing those strange codes, although now only he and Wanda were left there at the moment.

"I guess I must have missed them," Wanda concluded. Sometimes it helped to talk about trivial matters when one's mind was overloaded by the incomprehensible.

Changing the subject, at least from Wanda's perspective, Pietro suggested, "why don't you go visit the institute now? They must be a little better by now."

Wanda nodded, it's not like she had anything else to do and she did want to see how everyone was doing. "Are you coming with me?" There was something in the way he had suggested the idea that hinted that he wasn't.

"Later," Pietro confirmed her suspicions. "You go on ahead," he smiled as if to reassure her, but it was obviously fake.

The Scarlet Witch frowned as she turned down the TV's volume and crossed her arms, shifting her body on the couch to face her brother next to her. "You're hiding something."

Quicksilver sighed in defeat. He had gotten used to living with his sister and recognized that look in her eyes. She was stubborn, but also concerned. She saw through him and he knew that she wasn't going to drop the subject any time soon. "I was thinking that maybe our father might know something."

"Really?" Wanda's look held no anger, only curiosity. "But how would we contact him?"

Pietro didn't say anything, but he knew that Wanda's eyes read everything in his face. She would get this out of him, she was already on the trail. "I can contact him," he confessed.

Upset confusion overtook Wanda's features. She was angry, puzzled and hurt. "Why didn't you tell me?" She furrowed her brow and spoke in an accusatory tone. "Do you know how much I've been wanting to talk to him? For crying out loud, Pietro, you can't be childish enough to want to hog his attention! I know I was always daddy's princess when we were little, but-"

"Stop," the word came out harsher than Pietro meant for it to sound. Magneto had not exactly been the world's greatest dad to him either, but he had a certain level of respect for him. None the less, the more time he spent living with Wanda, the Wanda that was in control, the Wanda that wasn't a scared child or an enraged young woman, the Wanda that was there deep inside the whole time, the more he regretted what was done to her. But he couldn't break her deception; he couldn't hurt her like that. "He asked me to keep it a secret... you know that what he does isn't always legal," or rather most of the time it's not legal.

"Oh..." Wanda's anger faded as she reached her own conclusions. "He was trying to protect me... and so were you. But you don't need to shelter me."

Pietro nodded with a slight bitterness in his eyes, "I know... Listen, just let me try to talk to him first, okay? I'll let him know that you want to talk to him. Go visit everyone at the institute and stay there, I'll drop by later," if Magneto allowed him. Pietro didn't know what was going on but he definitely classified it as 'something big' after what he saw in the news and Magneto told him not to try to contact him unless it was for something big. Otherwise Quicksilver was to wait until Magneto contacted him.

xoxox xox xoxox

Away from prying eyes and ears, Pietro entered an old warehouse that served one of many temporary hideouts. At first glance, the location looked like a regular place to store cargo, but after hanging around for a few minutes among crates of unknown, and most likely unimportant, cargo, a large wooden box slid aside to reveal a secret passage, at the entrance to which stood Magneto. Stepping over to his father, Pietro noticed that the apparently wooden box had metal plating on the inside. "Come in," Magneto spoke and Pietro stepped closer. Once the young man was in the platform, the box's lid slipped back on and the metal platform beneath their feet moved down, commanded by magneto.

The underground area was nothing flashy, just a small empty room with metal plating all around. It would take a lot of strength and most likely a lot of noise to get through to the lower level, unless one was able to command metal as only Magneto was known to do. The father and son reached a secondary basement level much more spacious than the one above.

Various machines, some finished and others incomplete, were stored all around. There were weapons, vehicles and devices so strange that Pietro couldn't guess what they were for, but they looked like they came out of a science fiction movie. The light bounced off the metal all round, keeping the room extra bright and making anyone who knew about Magneto's power feel surrounded, which was the truth.

Magneto motioned towards a small table littered with blueprints. He rolled up one of them out of the way and offered Pietro some of the coffee he had been drinking. "Not that you need any caffeine in your system." The comment from his father as Pietro poured himself a cup reminded him about how he was forbidden from drinking coffee when he was younger. Magneto try to regulate his sugar consumption too, because the boy didn't need to be any more hyper, but it was impossible to try to keep such a fast moving child from obtaining and consuming all the sweets he wanted.

"So..." Pietro began after taking a sip of coffee. He paused and made a displeased gesture, searching for milk, or sugar, or cream, or anything. Magneto liked strong coffee, but Quicksilver didn't like it so dark and bitter. He pushed the cup away after finding nothing to make the drink more tolerable. "I take you haven't been here looking at blueprints and drinking," 'terrible' he mentally added, "coffee, have you?"

"Actually," Magneto sorted through the blueprints, looking for a specific one. "I have." He extended the blueprints on the table with a warning look that seemed to scream, 'spill coffee on this and I'll kill you.' "Do you know what this is?"

Pietro looked at the blueprints before him. All the blue prints on the table were related to the same thing, but this specific one depicted the outer appearance of the main feature. The word 'Revolution' was printed in bold capital letters on top of the large sheet of paper. Examining the picture, Pietro could only identify it as, "a satellite?"

"Yes," Magneto confirmed. "Or at least it started out as a satellite... a very advanced satellite weapon code-named Revolution. But the original blueprints were never completed. They were stolen by an anti-mutant group and modified; this is one of the later versions."

"Then there's a satellite weapon out there being controlled by anti-mutants?" Pietro was alarmed to hear this. He knew the situation was critical, but he didn't realize that mutants were the target. Generally, madness was easier to deal with when the mastermind was trying to take over the world as a whole, rather than concentrating all efforts on a specific group.

"Not exactly," Magneto voiced. "We mutants are not the primary target anymore, but a prominent one none the less."

Pietro tried to push his mind to absorb the shocking new information. "Then who is in control of the satellite?"

To be Continued

xoxox xox xoxox


Chapter 17: Program

The suspense grew, as Quicksilver listened to Magneto's explanation. "The anti-mutant group built the satellite. I allowed it, looking to let them complete my work and take it from them. But they lost control over the core programming and the satellite launched itself into orbit. Its cloaking device makes it impossible to locate and even if it could be tracked, it moves very quickly and has a vast defense system. As for the one who is in control... no one is. It wasn't so bad before it activated, but Mystique managed to steal a space pod from a smaller Shield facility and made her way to the satellite. She apparently never returned, but her visit must have triggered something, because now the core programming is on the attack."

Magneto continued, "I don't think Mystique is in control of the satellite; she's either a prisoner or dead. If any sentient mind was in control, Revolution's actions would be much more effective. You see, the core programming is defective and the AI doesn't always make logical choices. It can follow a plan and suddenly abandon it when the procedures don't go as expected, it's not very good at coming up with counter measures and it doesn't always know who it should be targeting. But in some instances, everything clicks into place and the program actually executes as it should... such as with what happened in Alaska."

Pietro stared at his father in disbelief. He swallowed his shock and finally found his voice, "you're telling me that there's a doom's day weapon of mass destruction in orbit and it's being controlled by a faulty unpredictable computer?"

"And if it manages to debug its systems we'll be in big trouble," Magneto confirmed.

"Can't we just throw a virus or anti virus or something at it?" Pietro suggested, though he knew it couldn't be that simple.

"We would just be feeding the program and who knows what might happen if that thing integrated a virus or anti-virus into itself. Far from shutting it, down it might make it a more dangerous opponent," Magneto warned. "Short circuiting it would also be extremely difficult as it can discharge the energy back towards the planet and I'll likely get killed before I get close enough to dent the metal. Plus a new level of its master defense system would activate in the case of physical damage, so messing with the armor would be counterproductive. As it stands, the only way to shut it down is to reach the master computer and unplug it, so to speak."

"Wow..." It was a short, but very fitting expression. "What's the plan?"

"None," Magneto's reply took Pietro by surprise, which plainly showed in his expression. The older Maximoff elaborated, "I haven't been able to come up with any plan that holds a decent success rate. For the time being I'll leave Shield and the X-Men to handle this."

"I don't think the X-Men know the full story," Quicksilver commented.

"Shield does," Magneto assured. "And if Charles wanted, he could get the story out of them. Frankly, I wouldn't mind if you pass certain bits of information along. There's no need to tell them the full story."

"An out of control satellite made by anti-mutants," Pietro recited, purposely leaving Magneto out of the story. "I'll give them the message and the warnings."

"Speaking of warnings, I don't recommend watching TV. Listening to the radio should still be safe enough. Don't go on the internet either," Magneto warned.

Pietro frowned, 'don't go on the internet?' He might as well be telling all the youths in the city to go jump off a cliff. "Can I at least text?"

"Yes, you can text," Magneto couldn't help it but to let out a breath of impatience, but enough with the blogs, the world doesn't need to know what you're going every minute of your life. Really now... 2:30pm leaving school. 2:31pm at home, having snack. 2:32pm watching TV, can't wait for summer vacation..." and by the time summer vacation arrived, Magneto had stopped exposing himself to the possible brainwashing threat carried by the visual digital media of the world.

"It's not like any of that is a secret anyway..." Pietro half-argued, half-stated. "Besides," a thought occurred to him. "I can see codes when I look at the TV, but they haven't taken over the internet yet."

"You can see them?" The detail caught magneto's attention. "What do those codes say?"

"A bunch of gibberish?" Pietro replied unsure.

Magneto looked exasperated. "Write it down, if you're fast enough to actually see them and don't have any inexplicable thoughts in your head, then you're most likely safe. Those codes affect the subconscious with hidden messages paired with radioactive waves. We can't escape the radioactive waves any more than we can leave the planet without Revolution blowing us up, but if we could only fight the program..."

"It's like brain hacking?" Pietro concluded, to which Magneto nodded. "Okay, I'll write down the codes that I see, even if I don't understand any of them, but they blink really fast, even for me. Slowing down the image won't work, will it?"

"No, because the codes are not part of the video image, but an outside transmission," Magneto voiced.

A moment of silence passed between them and before he was given a review of the instructions and sent on his way, Pietro brought up the subject of his sister. "About Wanda, she wants to talk to you." Seeing Magneto's suspicious expression Quicksilver added. "She's not angry, she just misses you." There was a hint of bitterness because he knew it was all due to trickery.

"Keep her away from the TV," Magneto commanded. "Her memories were replaced, but she might end up going back to how things were if the brainwashing breaks the seal in her mind. Her mind is too full of layers; too complex for the brainwashing, but it can still undo the changes and turn all her memories, real and fabricated, into a jumbled mess. She would be worse than before. The mental seal is strong, but it's best not to risk it."

Pietro nodded, "got it." He didn't insist on it any further because it was obvious that Magneto didn't want to see Wanda now.

xoxox xox xoxox

Pietro went to the institute as he said he would. He shared the carefully selected details he heard about from Magneto with Xavier, who decided to bend his personal rules and take a look into Quicksilver's mind. He learned as much as Pietro knew about the situation, confirming that his words had been truthful, safe for the omission of Magneto's part in the creation of Revolution. Warnings were passed around and the only one who watched TV was Pietro, who kept his eyes on it constantly, waiting to see some codes to take notes of. Xavier hoped that showing the codes to Forge might help.

The channel was suddenly changed from a race car show to a drama, as Wanda took a seat next to Pietro in front of the TV. "Hey, you're not supposed to be watching TV!"

"I'm not," Wanda leaned back on the couch at closed her eyes. "I'm only listening, so it's harmless."

"But I don't want to watch that," Pietro complained.

"If the code transmission comes, it'll be the same on every channel." Wanda reminded him of the theory that stood.

"I'm not going to sit here watching dramas all the time." Pietro had a stubborn look in his face that quickly changed to foreboding when he saw Wanda's expression.

Her eyes were still closed as she asked, "what did father say about me?"

"He can't see you now... He's busy with research," Pietro half-lied.

"I've been having nightmares," Wanda confessed, taking her brother by surprise. "I thought that if I talked to him I would be reassured. I guess I was being selfish, thinking of my own problems when there's so much going on."

"Nightmares?" Pietro questioned. His attention was not on the TV anymore, but on Wanda. He was supposed to be looking for codes, but he didn't like the current program and didn't feel like watching it.

"Not the inexplicable fear kind of thing," Wanda assured. "I don't think I'm being targeted for brainwashing. I'm alright as long as I'm awake, but the nightmares are so real, yet so blurry. It's terrible; I'm in a dark lonely place, trapped. I keep calling for our father, but he doesn't come, he left me there and you just watched on. Then I see... I see..." She saw herself hating them, hurting them, killing them... "I don't want to see myself hurting those I care about, even in dreams." Her eyes were still closed, but a few tears escaped her.

Pietro wasn't sure how to react, "for how long has this been happening?"

"Since the start of summer," Wanda revealed. "I didn't want to bother you, so I never told you. I'm not a little girl; I shouldn't be frightened by nightmares. I don't trust Xavier or Jean enough to let them go into my head to try to calm me, so I thought talking would be enough."

What was he supposed to say to that? She was happier with the false memories; it was torture for her to think of the reality that she still thought was an illusion. "I'm sorry," Pietro voiced sincerely. "You may not understand this, but believe me, I'm telling you this because I think it's best, maybe not right, but best." Wanda didn't understand what Pietro was saying. How could something that wasn't right be the best? "Forget those bad images and focus on the nicer pictures, you'll be happier that way."

Wanda nodded, "I'll try." Anyone would think that Pietro was only stating the obvious, but the feeling of a deep hidden meaning clung to his every word.

xoxox xox xoxox

"I really miss the cold," Kurt confessed as he and Kitty hung around one of the institute's study rooms. The place was full of book shelves, but that was not what brought them to the location. They only wanted someplace quiet to talk without interruptions.

"I kind of like miss it too," Kitty agreed. "I'm still in shock about what happened and about all the things Magneto told Pietro about the satellite. I know Magneto can't be completely trusted, but if he wants us to like stop Revolution because it's a danger to him too, then this time he's probably telling the truth, right?"

Kurt nodded in agreement. "I think it's in his best interest to tell the truth this time."

There was still a detail that bothered Kurt and Kitty knew what it was. "You're worried about Mystique, aren't you?"

"She was alive," Kurt stated, as if trying to make it more believable to himself. "But she could be dead by now."

"Or captured," Kitty reminded, though she in truth didn't think it was too likely. How long could a person last as a prisoner of a crazy satellite program? Would the program even want to take prisoners? Yet Mystique was strong and just when they thought she was gone forever, she somehow managed to return and surprise them. "We shouldn't reach conclusions," for better or worse, "until we know for sure." Yet it wouldn't do Kurt any good to get his hopes up for nothing. "Rescuing her," she admitted, "would be like..."

"Next to impossible," Kurt finished. "It's okay; you can say it, it's better to be honest about the situation. That's not the biggest problem though, Revolution is."

Kitty nodded, "and we'll conquer it just like we have faced every other problem." She smiled, trying to remain optimistic. She didn't know how they could solve this, but it wasn't the first time the X-Men had found themselves in a seemingly hopeless situation and come out of it. "We'll get trough this like..." she blushed slightly, "together."

"Right," Kurt smiled. He might not have everything he ever wanted in life, but as long as he had Kitty, he felt that he had everything he could ever need. "Together..." The world was in danger, another apocalypse was imminent and it felt like something out of a movie, but Kurt still managed to find a small moment of peace in Kitty's eyes as he drew her closer.

They fitted comfortably in each other's arms, eyes slowly closing, faces losing distance until their lips met again. The affectionate moment was blissful, but short, as suddenly the entire structure of the institute vibrated with a force different from that of an earthquake and alarms went off following the echoing sounds of distant explosions. Kitty, Kurt and the others rushed to meet up and find out what was happening. They hurried to the strategy room where they might find Xavier and the other instructors.

To be Continued