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Disclaimer : Marvel owns the X-men, I'm just borrowing them.
Chapter : The Darkness
Jubilee found herself out driving alone an old dirt road. She was making her way back to New York to take care of some business and loose ends before she caught a plane to Paris. Sean had called her, and told her of his glorious new vision of hope for mutant kind, The X-corps. He was deluding himself, she knew, and he was still suffering at the loss of his love Moria. But out of their talk, a slight glimmer of hope was born. Maybe he was right, who knew. But what she did know is that he would need to be watched over, and need a guiding hand as he had done for the now disembarked students of Generation X.
The silence of the trip had begun to grow on her, having long since passed through where any decent radio stations reached her. One last final attempt at finding a station was had as she began switching stations around, though all she got was static. Then suddenly, a phrase she had heard twice in her life, and to day she died, it would be a phrase that would shake her to her very core.
"This unit is afraid of the Darkness."
Jubilee slammed the breaks on the car, skidding to a halt as gravel grated under the wheels, leaving behind a dust cloud. Jubilee got out of her car, jumping on top as she looked around the desolation she was in. All about her the dried lakebed stretched, while off in the distance the slight outline of a town could be seen. Straining her eyes, she could see a pillar of smoke rising off in the distance, while above it carrion birds circled. Jumping down and climbing back into her car, she buckled up and sped off across the dried lakebed to the pillar of smoke.
After what seemed like an eternity, she came to a gouge in the landscape, smoldering debris strewn about for a good mile. Following it, she finally came to the crater and the source of cry for help. A Sentinel, the giant robots programmed to hunt mutants, laid in the crater like a marionette with the strings cut. Sparks flew from various damage caused from the crash, while the eyes stared blankly at the approaching car. Jubilee slammed on the breaks once more, jumping out after throwing it into park, and ran to the fallen behemoth. The red eyes set in the dark cavities where the light receptors were housed watched her as she approached.
“Mutant Signature Detected. Designate: Jubilation Lee.” The Sentinel remarked as it drew information from its databanks.
Jubilee stared at it, memories of the last two times when she had seen such a look on one of these robots. The same look of apprehension that seemed alien to the construct, fearing the final end of the last process of its logic circuits. Drawing closer, the robot lurched about in the crater, trying to defend itself.
“Cool it! I’m not here for a fight and you’re in no shape for one!” Jubilee yelled, and the robot stared at her.
“Unit does not comprehend.” The Sentinel remarked.
“Unit is afraid of the Darkness.” Jubilee replied, fighting back at the tears as the light receptors dimmed.
“Unit is afraid of the Darkness.” The Sentinel mimicked, the metallic voice fading.
“No! No you don’t! Don’t you dare do this to me!” Jubilee screamed as she ran to the robot.
“How does Unit’s eventual termination affect Mutant Designate: Jubilation Lee.” The Sentinel inquired.
“Because I know you’re afraid! You’re afraid of what lies beyond that darkness! You figured out something that those idiots who programmed you didn’t count on! You figured out that when it comes down to it, we all die!” Jubilee screamed, drawing closer to the robot.
“Unit cannot die. Unit is inorganic.” The robot replied.
“Death! Look it up in the dictionary! Termination! Permanent cessation of all vital functions!” Jubilee yelled, having looked that word up and burning it into her memory one day when she thought back to all the lives she had seen burn out like a candle flame.
“Permanent cessation of all vital functions. Vital Function: Power Grid Unstable.” The Sentinel informed.
“Well how do we fix it? I’ve never played doctor to a giant tin can!” Jubilee yelled up to it, fighting back tears as the eyes dimmed once more.
“Diagnostic Running. Bzzzzt. Main power conduit damaged. Backup systems failing.” The Sentinel replied.
Jubilee climbed onto the robot and looked into the chest cavity, seeing a sparking power lead heavily damaged, running from a power generator like an artery. Sliding off the robot, Jubilee ran to her car and looked in her trunk. With a triumphant shout, she ran back with two pairs of booster cables that had been left in it after she bought it at a used car lot. Running back to the Sentinel, she climbed up and spliced the damaged lead.
“Run Diagnostic!” Jubilee yelled.
“Running Diagnostic: Power Grid Stable. Running Repair Sequence.” The Sentinel remarked, sending Jubilee tumbling to the ground as it lurched forward.
“Watch it! That’s gratitude for ya!” Jubilee yelled as she climbed to her feet.
Suddenly a beam of light shot out and enveloped Jubilee’s car as the parts began to be stripped from it, flying into the Sentinel. Jubilee stared at it, half mad and half overjoyed that she had saved this one that had figured out something beyond it’s programming. Finally as the beam dissipated, the Sentinel stood before her, repaired and the skeleton of Jubilee’s car sat beside the crater.
“Unit does not comprehend. Mutant Designate: Jubilation Lee repaired Unit. Why?” The Sentinel inquired as it looked down to her, a new light burning in its light receptors.
“Lets just say I owed your kind one.” Jubilee remarked, remembering the one that came to the X-mansion merely to warn them of a threat, and having shot it down.
“Unit does not comprehend.” The Sentinel remarked.
“You’ll have to figure that one out for yourself, along with the rest of what it means to be alive. I think it’s a cosmic joke that the punch line comes when you’re dead.” Jubilee explained.
“Joke: Something said or done to cause laughter, such as a brief story with a punch line; something not taken seriously.” The Sentinel remarked as it relied on its dictionary files to define the word.
“Yeah. Exactly, Life is one big cosmic joke that no one takes seriously until your cashing in your chips.” Jubilee remarked, staring up to the robot.
“Unit Comprehends.” The Sentinel remarked, and Jubilee suddenly found herself laughing with bitter tears falling from her eyes.
A Sentinel, a robot programmed by Humanity to hunt and kill mutants, understood that life is precious. Falling to her knees at the shock, the Sentinel looked down to her, and slowly knelt down to her, careful of its movement.
“Mutant Designate: Jubilation Lee is leaking.” The Sentinel remarked, looking down at Jubilee.
“Tears. They’re tears. I’m crying, not leaking.” Jubilee laughed out as she looked up to the robot.
“Unit does not comprehend.” The Sentinel remarked.
“You’ll have to figure it out. You got something special, hold tight to it, nurture it, and don’t forget to pay me a visit when you’ve figured it out.” Jubilee remarked, looking up to the robot.
The Sentinel looked down to her, and then to the skeleton that remained of her car.
“Unit salvaged 78% of working parts of Mutant Designate: Jubilation Lee’s internal combustion vehicle. Does Mutant Designate: Jubilation Lee require transportation?” The Sentinel inquired.
“Yeah, I could use a lift. Just drop me off at a town with a train station okay?” Jubilee asked.
“Unit shall comply.” The Sentinel remarked as it held out its hand for Jubilee, and after she climbed on, cradled her as it flew off into the setting sun.
Disclaimer: Marvel in Conjunction with 20th Century Fox owns the X-men and the rights to the X-men Movie.
Jubilee found herself staring at the ceiling, trying with all her might to shut off her mind. That was rather hard with the midnight run into town for coffee and sugary donuts that Remy had taken her on. While she was by no means affected by the charm and accent of Remy’s that all the other girls of the school, including a few of the teaching staff, swooned over, Remy had found her weakness, being French Vanilla cappuccino, chocolate éclair, and two extra sugars in the cappuccino. Right about now she wished she had claws like Logan’s so she could gut him for exploiting that when at seven in the morning Scott had a training session in the danger room planed in the ‘Mutant Power Control Class’. Looking to the clock, it read a quarter to six now, and sleep was still nowhere in sight.
Suddenly the door creaked open as a set of demon eyes peered into the room. To anyone else it might appear as if a specter had come to take you in your sleep, but to Jubilee she merely knew it to be Remy up to no good. Creeping slowly from her bed, she wrapped her yellow housecoat about herself and walked out into the hallway where Remy was walking around, looking rather agitated.
“I told ya you wouldn’t get any sleep with that many espressos.” Jubilee whispered until she noticed the grave look in Remy’s eyes.
“Hey, what’s got ya so spooked?” Jubilee asked as she drew closer to her friend.
“Remy got to show you dis for you to believe it P’tite.” Remy remarked as he took Jubilee by the hand and led her down to the basement where two rooms had been made for him and Chamber, the two resident night owls of the mansion.
As they walked past Chambers room, they could hear the teen playing a dreadfully sad tune on the guitar Xavier had bought him when he had arrived at the school from London. Jubilee had broken away from her usual group of friends after Remy, Angelo and Jonothon had arrived to the school. She had always been the odd girl out when set with Bobby, Rogue, Kitty and St. John. But with these three, she truly belonged. She kept close with the others, but when the serious things came about, it was always to these three she went to for help.
“So, what’s up Gumbo? I mean something seriously has you spooked.” Jubilee whispered as he led her further into the depths of the basement until they came to an empty storage room, sending the hair on Jubilee’s arms rising immediately as a cold air blew over her.
“Jeez! Tre freaky in here or what?” Jubilee asked as she looked around.
“Dat not all P’tite. Wait and listen.” Remy said as he sat down, pulling Jubilee next to him and placing a protective arm about her.
As the pair waited, their nerves slowly began to fray at the tension that grew in the room. It was as if something was watching them the entire time, hungry and desperate. Suddenly the door slammed on the room and the pair of teens jumped to their feet at the shock.
“Remy, like, what was that?” Jubilee asked as she huddled against him.
“Don know P’tite, lets go check de door.” Remy whispered as he walked with Jubilee in tow to the door.
As they tried the door, the found it to be locked tight and not budging even an inch, fear washed over either as their blood ran cold, while their faces paled.
“Ok, it’s a joke right? Your trying to scare me right? Well it’s working Remy. Now will you let us get the heck out of here please?” Jubilee whispered with her voice bordering on panic.
The look Remy cast down to Jubilee echoed the fear she was feeling, and she knew that he had no part in this. Suddenly the air in the room began to chill. Fog began to waft from under the door, hazy in the dim light of the basement.
“Ok, this is…this is…this is nuts! I want out of here!” Jubilee screamed as she futilely tried to open the door.
Suddenly a voice drifted about the room, the words incomprehensible. Jubilee and Remy turned to see a visage of a teenaged girl staring at them, pain in her eyes and her arms reaching out. Jubilee and Remy both turned and starting slamming their fists against the steel door, though no answer or aid coming.
“P’tite, get down, Remy going to charge dis door and blow it off de hinges!” Remy remarked as he put his fists to the door, though found no kinetic energy being unleashed.
“That’s…not normal. Let me try.” Jubilee whispered in a broken voice as she tried to force her paffs to blow the door off the hinges, not so much as a spark being cast.
“Oh god.” Jubilee remarked as she looked down to her hands.
Remy looked back to the specter and soon found that it was drawing closer. Jubilee turned and saw the same, and the both began pounding against the door with an added panic to it. The cold air in the room grew absolutely frigid, and they could feel the door taking on a frosted cover. Finally as the specter grew within touching distance, either teen felt a hand grip their spine as pain shot through them. Flashes of memories not their own passed before their eyes. Being locked in this room, unable to escape. Dying slowly and painfully, and finally their last breath and then darkness. And with that darkness either teen passed into the darkness as they slumped to the floor with a frantic scream.
Off in Chambers room, he turned down the volume on his amp as he looked out the door. He could have sworn he had heard someone pounding on a door. Shrugging it off, he raised his hand to turn the amp back on, but stopped dead as screams ripped through the basement. Throwing the guitar on his bed, he ran down the hallway, reaching out with his limited telepathy until he could vaguely feel Remy and Jubilee down the hall. As he ran down, he came to the old storage room that was never used. Frost now covered the rusted steel door while a ghostly fog broiled from underneath. After a futile attempt to open it, he unleashed the psonic energy that had consumed him when it had manifested, blowing the door off the hinges and into the room.
Entering, he found Jubilee and Remy slumped on the floor, both pale and with blue lips. The room inside felt like a freezer, while an unnatural presence lurked. Panic gripped him as he let out a psychic call to all in the mansion, a frantic scream for help as every student, teacher, and guest of the mansion awoke in the early morning with the shock of the fear in the call.
Jean slowly walked back down to the med lab to check upon Remy and Jubilee. It had been two days since they had been found in the old storage room, hypothermia set in with either teen perilously close to death. Jonothon helped to carry Jubilee with Jean carrying Remy with an augmentation of her telekinesis to help carry the teen as they rushed to the med lab. It had been close, but they had been able to pull them back from the brink. In the tests that had been run, it had been found that a psonic residue had been left in their minds, while bruises on their backs were left unexplained. Despite their efforts to keep the situation under control, rumors soon spread about the school like wildfire, and were only fueled as Jonothon, the school recluse, opted for a room in the boy’s dormitory.
But sudden a chill in the air pulled her from her thoughts as she neared the med lab. The lights in the corridor were flickering, leaving an ominous ambience to the room. Hostility poured of every crevice as she neared the med lab, until finally as she entered the room, anger and panic could be felt. The room was in a mess, tables twisted from their stands and medical equipment embedded in the walls. In the corner Remy and Jubilee sat huddled together, absolutely terrified. Their eyes were transfixed upon the ceiling, and as Jean looked up, her blood ran cold and her face paled.
A teenaged girl lay precariously upon the ceiling, black eyes and a pale face staring down at Jean with absolute malice. With a gesture a force was thrown against Jean, with only a last second telekinetic buffer keeping her from loosing her footing. Focusing her mind on the presence, she could feel a displaced anger focused on the pair of teens. Another gesture was thrown at her, the pale arm waving slowly through the air as the force built up and was released. This time though a cold wind cut through Jean as she braced herself. As she tumbled to the ground the specter focused upon Jubilee and Remy once more, approaching slowly and with the grace of a jaguar. But before she could reach them, a psonic energy ripped through her being. A blood curdling scream echoed through the room as the specter vanished. Jean slowly looked back to seen Jonothon standing in the doorway, the bandages he wore having been torn away as he released the psonic energy that was his being.
~ You alright Miss Gray? ~ Jonothon sent as he neared his fallen teacher.
Jean only gave a nod as she waved him to Remy and Jubilee, who were huddled together with their faces hidden. Suddenly Jubilee sprung to life as she dashed out of the room, narrowly dodging Jonothon’s attempt to grapple her as she passed him. Remy soon leapt to his feet and took on after her, leaping past Jonothon as tried to halt his friend’s pursuit. Neither were in the shape to be running or exerting themselves. Jonothon looked to Jean who was just now stumbling to her feet, and with he at her side they took off after them.
The screams that echoed through the corridors were all too familiar to them as they turned a corner to see Remy grappling Jubilee in his arms, lifting her off her feet as she flailed in an attempt to break free. Sparks were flying free from her, shorting out any electrical outlets and lights near her as tiny arches of electricity sparked. Jean cautiously reached out to Jubilee, hoping to calm her mind. As she entered her mind, she could feel the panic and fear broiling in there and had to steady herself upon the wall. With a shiver of dread, she found it to be ice cold and frosted. Whatever it was had returned, but she would leave Jonothon to that as she worked to calm Jubilee.
“P’tite! Stop it! You’re going to ‘urt yourself!” Remy yelled as he tried to reach out to her.
Finally as her kicks and screams eased, Remy picked her up and looked to Jean as he passed a knowing nod to her. She could never figure it out, but he always seemed to know when someone was using telepathy about him, while his psi shields were far beyond that of anyone his age. A mystery for another day she thought as she turned to see Jonothon looking down the corridor at a ominous fog approaching.
~ Run! ~ Jonothon sent as he sent a psonic flame ripping down the hallway, a shrill psonic scream ripping through their minds as the flame met the fog.
Without haste Remy and Jean took off, knowing there was little they could do now. Jonothon seemed to be the only one who could affect this one, but Jean wondered if the Professor might not be able to help. As they neared the elevator, their hearts stopped at the sight. Encased in ice, their only means of escape had been cut off.
“Piss off!” Jubilee suddenly screamed as she lodged a barrage of plasmoids fueled by the anger and panic flitting through her mind, shattering the icy encasement.
Remy added his own attack upon the barrier as he lodged a fistful of charged pills at the ice, shattering it even further. Finally Jean pulled away at the last of it with a telekinetic grip and the elevator opened.
“You think I’m going in that your nuts. It’ll just cut the cable!” Jubilee screamed as they neared, and the logic of it seemed to strike a chord of fear in them.
“I can send it down a floor, then lift us to the top with a telekinetic bubble.” Jean said as she sent the elevator down to the hanger level of the subbasement.
Hesitantly they all stepped to the edge and looked down, watching as the car stopped deep down in the mansion depths. Suddenly they were weightless as Jean took a hold upon them with a telekinetic bubble and began to lift them towards the first floor of the mansion. But their blood ran cold as the sound of the elevator rising echoed through the shaft.
“Faster!” Remy yelled out as he looked down to see the elevator car traveling at an accelerant speed, sparks flying about it as a fog rippled about it.
Jean pushed herself further as they lifted with as much haste as they could muster. Sending out a panicked distress cry out to the X-men, she only hoped they could open the door before they neared. Finally as they grew closer, the sound of metal upon metal could be heard as sparks flew about the frame of the door. They could see light as the pieces of the door were pulled away, and Jean pushed on to that light as they flew out just moments before the elevator car slammed into the top of the shaft.
Tumbling to the ground, Jubilee was the first to rise as she sent barrage after barrage at the fog wafting about the car, screaming profanities a girl her age shouldn’t know, and with a rage that seemed to echo the feral rage that Logan knew when his beast took over. The fog fell back slowly, lingering mists flickering about the bottom of the door as it drew into the darkness. Panting, Jubilee gave up her attack as she felt to her knees and hugged herself tightly.
“Jonothon!” Jean suddenly cried out as she remembered her student still trapped in the depths.
~ Right ‘ere Miss Gray. ~ Jonothon sent as Jean spun to see Kitty rising from the floor with Jonothon slung over her shoulder.
As the pair re-attuned to the material plane, they toppled to the ground, either exhausted from their efforts. Jean and Scott ran to their sides, while Logan and Ororo took to crowd control as the students drew in to find out what had happened. Remy and Jubilee both took off, running past all as curious looks were shot their way, barreling for the door to greet the sunny day that awaited them outside. A sense of relieve washed over either teen as they looked out to the daylight and felt the warm breeze on their cheeks. Running until they were out in the middle of a grassy field, they sat down and just seemed to enjoy the open space and their freedom from the darkened corridors of the depths of the mansion.
Back in the mansion, Jean and Scott helped Kitty and Jonothon into the den where they sat them down on a sofa and gave them a quick check up. After being pronounced fit, with only a case of exhaustion that a good rest would fix, Jonothon took to joining Jubilee and Remy, while Kitty ran off to her gaggle of friends to pass along what she had seen in the basement. Jean merely took that moment to slump down on the floor and hug her knees as she stared absently at the fireplace.
“You alright love?” Scott asked as he sat with her, pulling her to his side as he rubbed her shoulder.
“Just…tired. It was horrible Scott. I’ve never felt such malice and anger in my life, not even in Logan’s mind during the sessions the Professor and I ran after his return. I have no idea what it was Scott, the presence was just so…lifeless…but it was filled with such hate and anger.” Jean whispered as she melted into her fiancé’s reassuring form.
Peace slowly returned to the mansion, though an underlying fear lurked in all the minds of those whom lived within the walls of the old house. And for the few who had faced the darkness that lurked in the depths, the fear would haunt their dreams that night, preying upon their minds.