Best of Two Worlds by SireesAnwar
Summary: Jarod, Miss Parker, Broots and Sydney stumble on a new Centre project involving people with special abilities. Miss Parker and team try to find as much as they can on their end while Jarod turns to his PHQ friends. Meanwhile, the Mutant X Team realized someone is trying to play Genomex again and they vow to stop it but who exactly are they going up against?
Categories: Crossovers Characters: Angelo, Broots, Jarod, Lyle, Miss Parker, Mr Raines, Original Character, Other Non-Centre Related Character
Genres: Action/Adventure, Drama
Warnings: Warning: Violence
Challenges: None
Series: Pretender Headquarters Series
Chapters: 4 Completed: Yes Word count: 15493 Read: 7373 Published: 22/06/05 Updated: 22/06/05

1. Two Worlds Collide by SireesAnwar

2. Haunting Memories by SireesAnwar

3. Strength in Ablities & Numbers by SireesAnwar

4. The Best of All Worlds by SireesAnwar

Two Worlds Collide by SireesAnwar
AN: Seems to me if the Centre can be involved in the Mirage project then they'd be mighty interested in the New Mutants. Takes place before my story Resurrection.


Two Worlds Collide

Jarod stared at the screen in front of him. It didn’t seem right. What the Centre was up to wasn’t possible. ‘Was it?’ Jarod scrolled through the endless seeming information he had received from Angelo. People truly thought Angelo wasn’t capable of thinking, let alone gathering and passing off information, and that would be their downfall. Angelo had been feeding Jarod information since his escape in 1996 and without the information Jarod wouldn’t know everything going on at the Centre.

Jarod reached out his arm feeling for his cell phone which was ringing on the table next to him.

~~~~~~~~~~

“That’s insanity, Broots!” Miss Parker stared at him from behind her desk. “What you’re describing couldn’t possibly exist.”

“Strange, I was once told a person becoming anything they wanted to be was impossible.” Sydney stood with his arms folded in front of him.

“Syd, this is like something from a comic book. It can’t be possible!” Miss Parker rose to her feet turning her back to them and staring out the window. She folded her arms and put one hand under her chin. ‘Could any of this be true?’

“Maybe you should ask HIM.” Broots whispered.

Miss Parker only turned her head, leaving her chin resting on her hand. She stared at Broots for a minute and then let her arms fall down to her sides as she said, “Fine. If it will make the two of you feel better, I’ll call him.”

Sydney nodded his approval.

Miss Parker hooked her cell phone up to the speaker system Broots had worked out for her. She hit 8 and then send. Miss Parker smirked to herself. Eight was his favorite number which was the only reason she had store his number in the speed dial number eight.

The phone rang and then there was a click from the line on the other end as it was answered. “Are you looking at what I’m looking at, Parker?” Jarod’s voice broke the silence in the room.

“Apparently so, Jarod.” Parker answered him.

“Miss Parker doesn’t think it’s possible for this intel to be accurate. What do you think?” Things had changed after Miss Parker discovered who was who at the Centre. Miss Parker had believed for years Mr. Parker was her father only to find out the Parker family had given a son up for adoption because he was a weak child, and as it turned out that man was her biological father. Sadly, Sydney and Broots uncovered the Parker baby birth certificate stating Raines was the baby given up which made him her father. It all took its toll on Parker but she regrouped. She had been having trouble being loyal to Mr. Parker but she couldn’t even bring herself to attempt loyalty to Raines though she played the part well. So now Raines and Lyle were running thing all because Mr. Parker disappeared after jumping from the airplane, which almost crashed but Jarod brought it in without anyone getting hurt, and then fled so Parker would have to bring him in. Sydney knew Parker was happy he had gotten away. Everything she believed changed on the island and Sydney was positive the relationship between Jarod and Miss Parker was different as well.

“Personally, I wouldn’t put anything past the Centre.”

“Are you planning on getting your friends involved?” Parker sat in her chair. She had never had any proof to suggest Jarod worked with other Pretenders or even other people, but all the times Jarod dropped out of sight for long periods and resurfaced just after something major happened, always made her wonder.

“Already sent them the intel. I think they will be useful in extracting these children.” Jarod stated. He knew Parker only wanted to confirm he had friends he turned to and he didn’t mind. He now knew if it came to it Parker would back him up.

~~~~~~~~~~

McKenzie stared at the screen in front of her. She was waiting on confirmation of the house revisions. They had decided to upgrade everything after there last mission which lasted far too long. They had suffered a lot, the destruction of two houses and a constant flow of uncovering the others. All the houses had since been moved leaving the others abandoned and wiped clean. There wasn’t even a speck of dust that could lead her father to them now, not to mention the Centre.

She hated thinking of Connor as her father but truly she had no choice in the matter. He was her biological father and that would never change, but in her heart she never had a real father and wasn’t sure she wanted anyone to try and fill the spot, especially Connor. He had been the one who kept her at the Centre. He had been the one who made her kill as a small child. He had been the one who had left her to Raines’s experiments. Granted he didn’t realize she was his child but to her it only meant he was a monster.

The screen to her left beeped. She turned to look at it and noticed an incoming message from Jarod. She rose to her feet and walked over to the computer, grabbing the mouse and clicked on the e-mail.

“Attached is something you might be interested in seeing. I plan on getting these kids away from the Centre and hoped you would be helping me. See you real soon. J” McKenzie smiled. Jarod was on his way. He wasn’t related to her in any way but she loved him like he was a big brother. She clicked on the attached file and a spreadsheet of information, lab reports, psychiatric charts, and endurance test reports arranged before her. “My God, what is the Centre up to now?”

~~~~~~~~~~

Nemesis sat in her office pouring over the papers and files that flooded into her computer and onto her desk from the upgrades and relocations. She never thought about moving twenty house locations and she hoped she would never have to again. The paper work alone was enough to bury her for months. She pushed her chair away from the desk and rose to her feet. She headed for the window knowing full well she would end up staring out into the gardens.

She didn’t want to think about the last few months or the work piling up on her desk. She wanted to take a break from everything that had happened and would happen but she knew it would never be over. She could tell by looking around at the nearly empty house which once bustled with people and team members. Now they were down to a skeleton team.

Michael and McKenzie were the only two who stuck around after everything happened. McKenzie was trying to deal with who her father was and the horrible things he was capable of. Michael wanted to be there for her. He seemed to be able to calm her and McKenzie knew he didn’t expect anything from her. They were as close as brother and sister could be even though they had no blood relations.

All in all, they were functioning well enough, mostly because Connor hadn’t been seen in sometime. That was always a good thing. Connor had done so many things in the name of loving his daughter. He had blown up the old Austin house with two operatives tied up and alert inside. He had destroyed the old San Francisco house nearly killing many of her team. He had kidnapped McKenzie and kept her drugged to prevent her from using her abilities. He had kidnapped Megan, Nemesis sister, and Emily, Jarod’s sister, not to mention all the children he experimented on and the lives he took along the way. He was more than a menace. He was evil.

“Nemesis.” McKenzie entered the office and saw the older woman, her aunt, staring out the window. It had taken time for McKenzie to get used to, the fact, her mother was still alive and was almost as horrible as her father. It was a bigger shock that Nemesis was her aunt. It had take time to adjust but McKenzie realized that her entire life Natasha had loved her and has searched for her. “We got a message from Jarod.” McKenzie walked over to Nemesis computer and pulled up the files Jarod had sent them. “You won’t believe this.”

~~~~~~~~~~

Jessie tinkered with the computer. He wanted their alert system to be functioning perfectly. They had woken up in the middle of the night too many times with a false alarm. The other looked like they would strangle him every time it happened and he had kept reassuring him he would fix it. The alarm sounded. “Not again.” Every time he thought he was close to solving the problem the siren would go off and scare everyone half to death. He was about to mass out and slam his fist into the machine just to teach it a lesson, but thought fixing the after affects wouldn’t be remotely pleasant. Jessie reached up to hit the escape button but noticed the beacon on the screen. It wasn’t a false alarm this time.

“I swear, Jess, if this is another false alarm…” Brennan swaggered into the room.

Shalimar was behind him. “My ears can’t take anymore.”

Lexa exited from Adam’s office. “Maybe we should have a visual alarm. Something quiet.”

“Guys, it isn’t a false alarm. I have a hit on information about genetic research. Looks like Adam’s work is being restarted. I have a few things coming through. Something about children, genetic mutations, and a center although center is spelled the French way with an RE.”

“Can you track where the information is coming from or going to?” Lexa walked up behind him.

“Well the first transmission of it bounced around all over the world and then settled in an e-mail receptacle in Denmark, but access to it is routed through the States. Whoever opened that account knew what they were doing.” Jessie typed away at the computer.

“So we have no way of knowing where we should look first?” Brennan asked.

“I didn’t say that.” Jessie punched in a few more keys. “If we were anywhere else we’d be stumped but were here at Sanctuary working with system’s Adam created and they got a hit of a possible lead.”

“Jessie, you know you’re going to have to explain.” Shalimar walked around and stood behind the computer he was working on.

“Adam created software to kind of tag something electronically when it is picked up. If the information isn’t split and sent in different direction we can pretty much pin point where it ends up, and in this case the person who received it must have thought whoever they were hiding it from wouldn’t be able to follow it as far as we were able to. Once received, the message was forwarded from Denmark to here in the States where it landed on the west coast.”

“So it’s close?” Lexa folded her arms across her. She hated listening to all the technical stuff. She just wanted to get out there and kick a little ass.

“Give me a little time and the electronic tag Adam’s program marked it with will pin point the final destination of the message. We can probably head out in an hour.” Jessie smiled at all of them.

“Does this mean the false alarms are over?” Shalimar leaned down putting her elbows on the work station and resting her face in her hands.

“That, I’m still working on.” Jessie cocked his head.

~~~~~~~~~~

Nemesis stood in the conference room staring at the big screen on the wall. She clicked the remote in her hand to change the screen and flip through the data they had received from Jarod.

Michael entered the room. “Jarod will be here soon. He just got into town.”

“Michael, look at this.” Nemesis couldn’t believe what she was reading. “Genetic mutations resulting in the development of super human abilities such as animal like characteristics, being able to channel elemental or environmental energy through their bodies, being able to change the consistency of their body, and extraordinary mental abilities.”

“Sounds familiar.” Michael quipped.

“I was thinking McKenzie’s mental abilities as well but this specifically says these children’s genetic structures were tampered with to cause these effects and McKenzie was born with her abilities, as was Elena.”

Michael turned away from the large view screen and to the small one on the conference table. He started searching through the information and then clicked off of it as Nemesis continued to scan through the files. He was on the search for something else. Something he knew he would recognize once he found it. Michael dug into the computer system’s tracking the splits in the data files they had been sent. He had meant the mental abilities sounded like McKenzie’s but all the abilities sounded somewhat familiar to him. He was positive the Centre was dabbling in something they weren’t prepared for but it didn’t bother him they would likely get burned. Screen after screen flashed past him as he opened and closed the search parameters narrowing down the field with each search knowing he would stumble upon it sooner or later.

Michael looked at Nemesis quickly. She wasn’t even aware to what he was doing. She was completely absorbed in the information she was reading. The Centre had definitely gone overboard this time. Michael watched as the files being displayed lessened and lessened with every input he added. Their computers were extensive and Michael knew it would take someone who didn’t know what they were looking for a lot of time to find what he was searching for. ‘658 matches.’ Michael read off the screen as he hit the access button and started narrowing the search again. This time 14 matches appeared and Michael instantly saw what he was seeking. He clicked on it once so it was highlighted. He now knew exactly where it was in their computers and he could delete it at any moment. Michael hit the escape button closing everything he had just done.

Michael turned back to the large screen Nemesis was staring at. He knew who was on their way. He had guessed correctly and finding the locator embedded into their computers only confirmed it. It had been awhile since he had dealt with them but he was almost looking forward to it, plus they weren’t a harm to them. Michael knew who they were and if they found the house Nemesis might be upset but it wouldn’t hurt anything. After all secret organizations sometimes stick together, plus Michael knew where they where their secret hideout was.

~~~~~~~~~~

McKenzie and Jarod walked up the front steps of the new San Francisco house quietly. He hadn’t said much so she didn’t say anything on the car ride to the house. McKenzie didn’t know if she had any biological siblings, even though it was highly unlikely, but she felt like she had a brother in Jarod, though Michael was equally protective. She loved having both of them around but it often felt awkward when she felt like she had to tell them what she was feeling and most of the time they already knew.

Jarod stopped at the top of the steps. “So I hear the house is kind of empty.”

McKenzie was reaching for the doorknob but instead turned to him and nodded. “You were here when Lily and Ally took off but it was after you left when Jeremy and Eddie left.” McKenzie sighed. “Jeremy decided he couldn’t take anymore of me and Eddie thought it best if he put some distance between us.”

“Before I left I got the distinct impression you didn’t mind if Jeremy left. But it also seemed like you didn’t mind having Eddie lurking around.” Jarod stared straight into her eyes.

“Jeremy felt something I didn’t. I thought I felt what he did but it turns out it wasn’t for him. I cared about him but I was drawn to Eddie. Of course, after everything that happened, Eddie’s attentions were less than welcome. I just wanted him to give me time and space but he pushed so hard. I just couldn’t take it anymore.” McKenzie looked down.

“And Michael?” Jarod watched her. He knew there was far more to Michael and McKenzie’s relationship than the friendship they claimed but wasn’t sure if they saw it yet.

“He’s still here.” She stated.

Jarod nodded. Apparently, she didn’t catch my insinuation. “I’m just glad you’re all right now.” He bent his knees and ducked down enough to look into her face.

McKenzie made eye contact with him again. “I’m dealing with things better than before but I’m not all right. I doubt I will ever be able to get over everything Connor did that hurt the people I care about.”

“You know, I do understand.” Jarod smiled at her.

She knew he did. The Centre had hurt so many people in the name of keeping him at the Centre. His simulations were used to hurt other and when Jarod had found out about it all, it broke something innocent inside of him. McKenzie definitely knew he understood, but she didn’t want to think about it at the moment. “Let’s go.” She tried to sound chipper as she turned and headed into the house with Jarod right behind her.

~~~~~~~~~~

Brennan punched in coordinates into the Double Helix’s computer system. “Are you sure this location is right, Jesse?”

“Yep. We hit it right on the head.” Jesse looked over computer readings for the Helix. He was now in charge of keeping things running and he took pride in his work. “The locator is still active.”

“This all seems a little easy.” Shalimar pulled up their destination on her screen.

Lexa was looking at the same things as Shalimar. “The satellite picture shows an estate, on an island with absolutely nothing out of the ordinary.”

“Like I said. Easy.” Shalimar stared at the screen. Something was definitely wrong with the picture in front of her. It was as if the picture itself hid something from her.

“We’re closing in.” Brennan said. “Going to stealth mode.”

Jesse watched the output of energy making sure it reduced to the proper levels. He was keeping the Helix and other systems running surprisingly well and he felt the surge of pride hit him.

~~~~~~~~~~

“Are you sure about this?” McKenzie stared at the reports of mutations in the subjects the Centre was experimenting on. “Control over elements, control over molecules, animal like abilities, mental powers.” McKenzie paused. “This doesn’t mean…”

“No. These people had their genetics messed with to create such mutations. You were born with your abilities just like Parker and me.” Jarod reassured her.

“How far back does this research go?” Nemesis asked. She was sitting at the head of the conference room table with her arms resting on the chair’s arms. She looked the picture of control and power.

“My guess is far.” Jarod flipped through the information on the main screen. “Look at some of these researchers. They have been working the same field for decades.”

Michael stood by the window waiting for the first indication that something was up and listening to the others work. He knew dealing with mutants meant the unexpected. He had to wonder who would be sent out here. He had met Adam Kane and knew the man was just that, a man, a genius, but a man. He had met other ‘new mutants’ as Adam had called them, but he wasn’t sure the same people would surface again. He stared towards the trees noticing the wind had picked up. He looked around thinking it was similar to the landing of an aircraft but nothing was visible.

Michael turned to look at the other feeling a twinge of guilt he had lead these mutants to them, but knew dealing with the mutants would be easier with Adam’s people involved. He turned from the window and walked across the room. He turned to Nemesis who suddenly took an interest in Michael’s actions. “I have something to take care of.”

Nemesis nodded and returned to the others.

~~~~~~~~~~

The Double Helix set down on the estate where a large mansion loomed. Brennan looked out the Helix’s window at the house they had set down in front of. “Who are these people?”

Lexa had moved to the front of the Helix to look out. “I don’t know but I have a bad feeling about this. Something tells me we’re expected.”

Jesse’s hands flew over the computer. “I’m not getting any heat signatures from inside the house or the property.”

“Not possible, Jes, I can smell them.” Shalimar stalked around in the Helix. “They’re definitely there.”

“Why aren’t the sensor’s working, Jesse?” Lexa questioned.

“They are. Look.” Jesse showed them the screen of the surrounding area. All four of their signatures were showing up on the screen but nothing from the house of the property registered.

Lexa nodded her head. “They’re blocking it.”

“What?” Brennan looked puzzled and upset. “How is that possible? They don’t even know we’re here.”

“Maybe they aren’t keeping us out, but rather anyone who would try to look into there backyard, so to speak.” Jesse turned to all of them.

“So are we doing this or not?” Shalimar was pacing but stopped to stare at them.

“Let’s do it.” Brennan got to his feet and went back to open the rear hatch.

Next Chapter...
Haunting Memories by SireesAnwar
Haunting Memories

Jarod slammed his hand down on the table. “We need to get into the Centre fast. They’re hurting these children!”

“We all understand that Jarod.” Nemesis leaned forward in her chair. “We are just saying time might be our ally. If we’re not prepared to go in there then we could be leaving one of us or even you behind when we escape and none of us want that to happen.”

McKenzie put her hand on his arm trying to show she sympathized with his concern. She immediately pulled her hand away when her world spun. She braced the table and then her entire stature changed as though she was about to leap threw the air, or pounce on someone. She could feel surges of energy, a feeling of being invincible and the strange sensation she wasn’t even there anymore.

Jarod and Nemesis immediately noticed the change in her. Jarod didn’t know what to do to help her but he moved closer to her than he had been. Nemesis instantly went to McKenzie’s side. “What’s wrong, Mac?”

“We have visitors.” McKenzie surrendered to the feelings and suddenly went from looking lost to looking formidable. She turned on her heals and walked out into the hall that lead into the entry way.

Just as Nemesis, McKenzie, and Jarod entered the foyer three figures walked through the locked front door like it wasn’t there.

McKenzie felt her senses heighten and she could smell everyone in the room. She wasn’t sure what to make of it but something told her these three were like the children at the Centre.

Nemesis pulled her gun and pointed it at the intruders. “Don’t move!” She yelled, but a surge of energy from the tall dark haired man shocked the gun and she dropped it. She instantly knew they weren’t a match for the three of them. Nemesis shook her hand as she watched the blonde one and McKenzie stare each other down. Both of their demeanor’s were feral in nature but Nemesis knew only the blonde actually possessed such powers.

The blonde lunged first and McKenzie landed on her back flipping the blonde over her and then jumping to her feet. McKenzie whirled around as the blonde’s eyes flashed yellow and narrow like a feline’s.

Nemesis held back the urge to help McKenzie and noticed Jarod hadn’t moved. The tall dark haired man’s hands were still crackling with electricity and Nemesis figured the shorter man with lighter hair was probably the one that enabled them to walk through the door.

McKenzie backhanded the blonde and sent her into the wall where she looked up stunned. McKenzie was just about to lung again when the dark haired man spoke up. “Enough.” Electricity crackled from his figure tips.

McKenzie spun around and made eye contact with him. Her connection to the blonde seemed to fade as her connection to the dark haired man strengthened. McKenzie let out a groan as she tucked her arms to her chest.

“Stop,” Michael commanded as he stepped out of the passageway directly under the staircase. “You’re hurting her.”

The tall one’s finger’s fizzled out the electricity that had been there and McKenzie dropped to the floor breathing heavily.

The blonde jumped to her feet and walked around towards her friends. “Michael?”

Michael was checking on McKenzie but when McKenzie nodded she was all right, Michael turned to the blonde. “Shalimar.”

“What’re you doing here?” Shalimar smiled at him.

“I work here.” Michael eyed her.

“You are behind the research on New Mutants?” Shalimar’s face twisted with a feeling of betrayal.

“Actually, we are behind the information being leaked about the people responsible for the research. So, no.” Michael looked around the room. Something told him someone was missing.

McKenzie got to her feet knowing what Michael was thinking. She pointed next to Jarod. “She’s there.”

A brown haired woman flashed into existence next to Jarod, but it didn’t even startle him. “How did you know that?”

Shalimar came around Michael and stared at McKenzie. “She’s psionic. She has to be. It’s the only explanation for her mimicking my powers and being able to sense you.”

“Actually, I am what you call telepathic.” McKenzie patronizingly said to Shalimar.

Shalimar smiled a bit and then moved on. “That’s Brennan Mulwray, Jesse Kilmartin, and Lexa Pierce. I’m Shalimar Fox for those of you who don’t know me.”

Michael cleared his throat. “You’ve met McKenzie.” Michael indicated McKenzie who Shalimar had spared with. “That is Nemesis and Jarod.” Michael pointed to each person.

Brennan put out his hand which made McKenzie jump. He instantly felt bad but continued on with what he was saying. “We told you our full names and you give us first names and aliases.”

“I go by McKenzie. My last name is something of a debate.” McKenzie spoke up.

Michael, Nemesis and Jarod stared at him.

“Well?” Brennan said.

Nemesis stepped forward. “I don’t give my real name for a reason.” Nemesis crossed her arms.

Shalimar turned to Brennan. “Michael doesn’t remember his last name so he goes by Angel.”

Jarod eyed them. “My story is long and painful so I’ll just leave you with, I never had a last name.”

“What? How could you never have a last name?” Jesse asked.

McKenzie walked forward a couple feet. “When you grow up in a facility after being stolen from your parents and told they were dead, you don’t get a last name. It tends to get overlooked.”

Nemesis stepped out into the room. “Why don’t we go into the common room?” Nemesis walked ahead of all of them.

Once they were all settled in the common room Nemesis began. “Who you are really after is The Centre. They have been doing research on people for decades and we have been trying to stop them for years now. At one point all of us were at The Centre or worked with them. I was trained as a child to kill as was McKenzie. We both believed The Centre was there to help but we both learned the truth early enough to get away. Michael is believed to have been trained at the Centre, but without his memories there is no way to know. And Jarod was at the Centre for 33 years. He escaped in 1996. Jarod was kidnapped when he was three and taken to the Centre where he was told his parents were dead. Jarod is what we call a Pretender; he has the ability to become anyone he wants, a doctor, a lawyer, a pilot, a fireman. It doesn’t matter what. He can become it. This is why the Centre took him. The rest of us were taken or approached for similar reasons.”

“So the rest of you were stolen as children?” Brennan stood behind the couch Lexa and Shalimar had parked themselves on. Despite the invitation to sit down he felt uneasy trusting complete strangers who seemed even stranger than normal.

“Sort of.” McKenzie looked devastated at the very thought of it.

“What does this have to do with genetic mutations?” Lexa to Brennan and then back to the man she now knew as Jarod. The Dominion had mentioned, long ago, a man by the name of Jarod whose mind was that of a shifter. He was able to retain knowledge and thereby change his identity. His only draw back was his need for family. Lexa related to him long ago because of her need to help her brother. She thought the Dominion horrible in their definition of a flaw.

Jarod rose to his feet. “The Centre has been working on genetics for decades. They have been playing god with people’s lives to give them the Pretender ability, or telepathic abilities. They have just recently moved into another field which is genetic mutations. I went through hell as a child and I refuse to let the children undergoing these experiments now, go through anything like what I did.”

“What’s the problem? Let’s just go in there and get them out.” Brennan spread his arms out. “What are we waiting for?”

“Like us, the Centre is spread out over the globe and we aren’t even sure the children are in the Centre located in Delaware.” Nemesis said.

“So you all have to do your thing and find out where the kids are before anything can be done?” Jesse asked. He had planted himself against the wall next to the couch. He always felt better knowing he could go through a wall if necessary. Jesse realized Michael and Nemesis had looked at one another. He knew what they went through to pin-point locations for their work and if these people really did work on a global basis, chances were searching would taken longer than normal.

“Yes.” Michael said. He stood at Nemesis side as though he wasn’t just her lead operative but her protector.

“I have an off topic question.” Lexa waved a finger in the air. “Who the hell funds your global network?” She prayed these people had nothing to do with the Dominion.

“I do.” Nemesis state plainly. “I removed funds from the Centre to finance the upstart of our public face but the profit from that foundation and anything we come across legally is put back into keeping us going.”

“Oh.” Lexa looked at her. “Wait I have another. When we got here did you know we were out there?”

Michael smiled slightly. “Only, I did.” Nemesis glared at him in obvious frustration.

“How?” Jesse was more than curious about the man who simply stood quietly by with his hands clasped behind his back.

“I knew you were coming so I watched for you. When the winds exhibited aircraft landing qualities I realized I mustn’t be able to actually see your craft.” Michael stated. He had come to the realization, the moment these mutants arrived; they were no harm to them. Michael was sure they would make better allies in the future.

“How did you know we were coming?” Jesse was becoming more and more impressed with these people and their operation by the minute.

“I’d like to know that myself?” Nemesis turned to him.

“I met Shalimar and Adam many years ago. Once I learned about the nature of the Centre’s work, I assumed Adam or his people would be interested and watching for it as well. It wasn’t hard to find the tracer you tagged the e-mail with. I simply left it in the computer long enough to bring you here.” Michael looked to everyone in the room.

Nemesis shook her head. “You never cease to amaze me.” She turned to the Mutant X team. “You are welcome to stay here until we find out where the children are.”

“All right.” Brennan said reluctantly.

~~~~~~~~~~

McKenzie had been given the job of showing their guest to rooms. She had put Jesse and Lexa in rooms next to each other, because she could feel the emotions brewing between them. Shalimar had been next and now she walked down the hallway with Brennan behind her.

She could sense his desire to say something and finally she stopped and turned towards him. “Just say it.”

“I scared you earlier when I put my hand out. I’m sorry.” Brennan looked down at her.

“No problem. I had just never felt anything like what you obviously deal with on a daily basis.” McKenzie said and started to turn from him.

He stopped her by grabbing her arm. “In the common room, when I asked if all of you were stolen as children you said sort of. What does that mean?” Brennan looked down at her.

McKenzie stared up at him. “It’s nothing. Bad memories.” She tried to shrug it off.

“I have bad memories, why don’t we share?” Brennan was obviously trying hard to get into her head.

“I know about your bad memories. When that thing happened in the foyer I was connected with you. I saw a lot.” McKenzie said as she walked to the next door and opened it to Brennan’s room.

Brennan on purposely baited her. “Well, if you know my bad memories. I think it only far you should share yours.”

“I don’t want to share.” McKenzie walked into the room. “There are towels in the bathroom, like I told your friends. You can wander but locked or sealed off places are forbidden, whether you can walk through wall or not.”

“That’s great. Why don’t you want to share?” Brennan questioned.

“I don’t like talking about it.” McKenzie walked to the door.

“Come on, you know you want to.” Brennan ran after her and grabbed her arm, preventing her from leaving the room completely.

“No, I don’t.” McKenzie said pulling her arm away from him.

“It isn’t healthy to keep things inside. Spill.” Brennan continued.

“What is your problem?” McKenzie’s anger surged. “What part of I don’t want to talk about it don’t you get! You have no idea what my life has been like. I already know from connecting with you earlier you had trouble dealing with your powers and a horrible step-father. Big deal! Try being an assassin at the age of five. Try being locked in a dark room for days on end without anyone to talk to. Try dealing with a father who would lie, steal, destroy, and murder anyone to get to you!” McKenzie realized he had forced it out of her. She had obviously walked into the room on her rampage and now she was backing away from him and the pure shock on his face.

“McKenzie.” Brennan reached out to her; the shock on his face was evident. He had wanted her to spill but he had no idea the extent to which she had suffered. His childhood wasn’t perfect but if these people really lived like the way McKenzie had then he was grateful for his childhood.

“No.” McKenzie felt empty. She had been holding so much inside of her and now it was surfacing. This man was drawing things out of her she wanted locked up. She wanted to hate him for it but she could only be sorry she had screamed at him. She turned and ran from the room and through the hall.

Lexa walked out of her room the very moment McKenzie past. “What the hell’s wrong with her?”

“Damn it!” Brennan’s voice yelled from the room down the hall. Jesse had come into the hall, along with Shalimar, just in time to hear Brennan. All three of them headed to his room.

“What’s up?” Shalimar looked at an obviously emotional upset Brennan.

“I baited McKenzie in to spilling information about herself.” Brennan plopped down on the bed.

“Good. We need all the information we can get on these people. Granted Shal knows this Michael guy but these people are hiding something big and I want to know what it is.” Lexa looked around the room making sure they weren’t being watched.

Brennan shook his head. “I think these people are cautious. I think they are afraid. McKenzie informed me the Centre turned her into an assassin at the age of five, and her father kills people to get to her. I mean who does that to a child?”

Jesse shook his head. “I thought my family was dysfunctional.”

~~~~~~~~~~

Shalimar glided into Michael’s office. “It has been a long time Michael.”

Michael looked up at her. “Yes.”

“Still involved with that Lily woman?” Shalimar all but purred at him.

“No.” Michael stated as he went through files he had connected to out of the Centre.

“Are you only going to give me one word answers?” She sat on the edge of his desk.

Michael stopped what he was doing. “What exactly do you want?”

“I want to catch up.” Shalimar smiled at him wickedly.

~~~~~~~~~~

Raines stared at Willie from behind his desk. “Send him in.” Raines wheezed.

Willie opened the doors to Raines’s new office and waited as a tall man with dark brown hair entered the room. He looked harmless enough but even Willie knew the fact of this man. He was a killer… and it didn’t matter who he tortured… he even harmed his own daughter.

~~~~~~~~~~

Broots ran into Miss Parker’s office. “Miiiiss Paaarker.”

“What?” Parker had been going over the information on her desk about what the Centre was currently up to. She didn’t want to have to deal with Broots’s antics.

“Your fath… Mr. Parker had Mr. Cox and Mr. Raines, now Raines has a guy named Connor. Actually now he has Lyle and Connor… or maybe he doesn’t trust Lyle as mush as we…”

“Broots! Get on with it.” Parker wished he would learn to get to the point.

Broots swallowed hard. “I thought you’d want to know more about him so I went to talk to Lenny in personnel. He was telling me Connor worked for the Centre years ago, but was let go or left rather after killing at least thirty Centre operatives.”

Miss Parker’s eyes reflected her surprise. “And Raines asked him back?”

Broots nodded. “This may have something to do with the new projects Raines is working on. Connor once worked as a watcher for a child named McKenzie.”

Miss Parker nodded. “McKenzie Calhoun. I remember her. She worked as a sweeper before fleeing the Centre. What does she have to do with any of this?”

“Well, apparently Connor used McKenzie to kill a Centre liaison before he handed McKenzie over to Raines. That’s where it gets interesting. According to Naomi in archives Mr. Raines has been pulling old DSA’s. She gave me some copies.” Broots held up the silver disks.

“Show me.” Miss Parker moved away from her desk so Broots could set up the DSA.

As soon as the DSA started Miss Parker spoke up. “Broots, there’s no picture. Fix it.”

“Miss Parker, the DSA is like that. Just wait.” Broots nodded at her.

The whimpering of a child was clearly registering on the DSA’s sound. “Cree craw toads foot…”

“McKenzie?” Jarod’s voice whispered.

“Jarod?” Miss Parker said.

“Jarod?” The young McKenzie’s voice whispered back. Suddenly a light shown through a grating as Jarod brought the flashlight up to the room. The young girl in the light shielded her eyes. “Too bright.”

Jarod turned the flashlight away from her. “I’m sorry. I forgot your eyes are sensitive.” Jarod finally made his way through the grating as he plopped himself down in the dark room. “I brought you something?”

“What?” The little girl got excited as she made her way over to Jarod and sat down next to him.

Jarod smiled at her. “Nothing fancy.” Jarod held up the origami swan he’d made and handed it to the young McKenzie.

“What is it?” She looked at him. Her face seemed so trusting and so very young. Jarod had obviously taken to visiting her, and Miss Parker had to wonder how long it was before they were discovered.

“It’s a swan made out of paper. There are real swans out there in the world but I’ve never seen a real one.” Jarod looked away briefly into the darkness.

Young McKenzie reached out her hand and took Jarod’s. “Me either.” She frowned. It hit Parker like a ton of bricks. The age difference between McKenzie and Jarod made them so different but the innocence made them the same. Neither one of them had seen the things most took for granted. It stung a bit knowing she had helped track him. Jarod smiled down at the young McKenzie and McKenzie smiled back. “Jarod? Do you know who your family is?”

“No, I was told they died.” Jarod swallowed hard.

“Raines says no one wanted me except him.” Young McKenzie looked as though she was about to cry.

“He’s lying. I bet your parents are looking for you.” Jarod tried to reassure her.

“What if I don’t have any family?” McKenzie seemed struck by the thought she was alone in the world.

“Then I’ll be your family… your big brother.” Jarod squeezed McKenzie closer to him.

“Did you think we wouldn’t find out you were interfering with my project!” Raines’ voice broke through the silence that seemed to engulf Jarod and McKenzie.

McKenzie’s face contorted with horror as Jarod tried to get her to follow him out the grating. “No! My fault!” The little girl seemed intent on taking the punishment for Jarod.

“Is this why your abilities haven’t shown up? You are supposed to be using your sixth sense but instead he sneaks in here to play the big brother. NO MORE!” Raines snapped his fingers and lights came on. The grating was visible and Jarod was being followed back into the room.

“No!” McKenzie screamed as she shielded her eyes. “Please don’t hurt him. Please Mr. Raines. I’ll do what you say. I’ll stay in the dark. I’ll try to sense people. Please don’t hurt him!”

The sweepers had cornered Jarod in the room and knocked him out. They drug him out of the room but before Raines shut the door he turned back to McKenzie. “Jarod won’t remember any of this and neither will you!”

The DSA ended and Broots noticed the tears in Miss Parker’s eyes. Sydney noticed them as well. “Parker?”

“I’m fine.” Parker waved them off. “Raines was trying to jump start the girls abilities by keeping her in a dark room.”

Sydney nodded. “Take away one sense and another will surface.”

“I knew McKenzie and she never seemed to have any special abilities.” Parker looked to Sydney.

“That’s what this file says.” Broots dropped a file infront of Miss Parker.

“Failed.” Miss Parker read the big letters across the folder. She opened it and began reading. “Raines had both Jarod and McKenzie’s memories wiped and then tried to start from scratch with McKenzie.” Miss Parker read on. “Her abilities never surfaced.”

Sydney came around the desk and looked over Parker’s shoulder to read the file. “My guess is the trauma to McKenzie’s brain, during the wiping of her memory, delayed her abilities by years. It is possible they will never surface.”

“I’d bet my cute little ass Jarod knows where she is and Connor’s here to find both of them.” She looked up at Sydney and then to Broots.

Next Chapter...
Strength in Ablities & Numbers by SireesAnwar
Strength in Abilities and Numbers

Shalimar walked out of Michael’s office looking more than pleased with herself. She had been attracted to him the first time they met and seeing him again only made her want him more. It was nothing like how she felt about Brennan, but if he could display his interest in McKenzie, she was going to flirt with Michael.

“What are you doing?” McKenzie saw her exit Michael’s office and decided to confront her.

“I was talking with Michael.” Shalimar smiled wickedly at her. “The door wasn’t locked so I figured I could go in.”

“Who are you trying to bait?” McKenzie asked harshly.

“Excuse me?” Shalimar looked at her with mock confusion trying to hide her surprise.

“You already know I can get into your head. Don’t pretend I’m wrong.” McKenzie glared at her.

“I didn’t appreciate the intrusion when Emma was around and I don’t appreciate it from you. Back off.” Shalimar went around McKenzie bumping shoulders as she passed.

~~~~~~~~~~

Michael and Brennan stood in the armory gathering weapons. “I don’t think I need a gun. I’ve got these.” Brennan let the electricity from his fingertips spark up.

Lexa grabbed a gun, checked it, loaded it and then stuck it behind her back, under her jacket. “I’ve always been one to play with toys.”

McKenzie entered the room and went to Michael’s side. “Nemesis gave us the mission. Apparently these children are being held in a facility not unlike Donoterase.” She handed out handheld computers to everyone detailing the mission and its location. They wouldn’t be too far from the Centre but far enough reinforcements would be a problem.

They looked over the plan. It was all pretty simple and even the delayed Shalimar didn’t have a problem with it.

~~~~~~~~~~

They dropped into the bowels of the Centre facility from a vent access Jarod had pointed out to them. They had all paired up. Shalimar and Michael, Lexa and Jarod, and Brennan and McKenzie. Jesse stayed behind in the Helix, which Jarod and the HQ team were rather impressed by, to help with site surveillance. Now that they were in the tunnels the teams split up to survey their own section. All had an objective.

Lexa and Jarod were in charge of finding the security post and changing the visual feeds. Once complete, they were to move in and find the children in their section and meet back at the point of access.

Lexa and Jarod walked quietly through the darkened corridors towards what Jarod was sure was the archives department. He had figured out the rotation of the staff and had figured with Lexa’s ability they’d be able to get in and out quickly.

They came to the security depot near the central brain of the facility. “This will feel strange but as long as you keep thinking of keeping yourself out of sight it shouldn’t be a problem.” Lexa gently took a hold of Jarod’s arm and they shimmered out of existence.

They both slipped in together and headed to an empty work station where Jarod quickly accessed the information they needed.

Lexa walked the room distracting the right person at the right time so they wouldn’t see the shift in the feeds. Lexa waited for Jarod’s chair to move before she joined him in the hall barely missing a young man in a suit who seemed to be missing a thumb.

“That was different.” Jarod looked at her.

“Who was that?” Lexa held out her hand and wiggled her thumb. She could definitely see his yumminess especially in that suit. He was good enough to eat.

“And that was Lyle. Lyle sports an interesting tattoo on his arm of a snake eating its tail. He got it while he was in Cambodia.” Jarod shivered with disgust.

Lexa turned her attention from the doors Lyle had entered back to Jarod. She looked a bit disgusted knowing enough about Cambodian symbols to know exactly what Jarod was referring to. “Good to know.” She shivered. “Let’s find the kiddies.”

~~~~~~~~~~

Shalimar and Michael were looking for the information access port on the project and Michael knew the likeliest place to find it was in a big wigs office. They would then be joining Lexa and Jarod in springing the children.

Shalimar looked as professional as possible, as she made her way past a few sweepers. Michael and she decided their best course of action was a secretary who would undoubtedly be able to distract the sweepers, and Shalimar did a fine job. Michael had taken the more secretive route to sneak past the sweepers. Shalimar walked up to the main office and took a sniff. No one was home so she walked in. She walked up to the office desk and quickly jumped up onto it. She reached up and opened the vent letting Michael drop down onto the desk.

Michael didn’t waste anytime. He pointed to the files across the room and Shalimar quickly went and searched through them. Michael searched the desk and surrounding area, and finally decided on the computer. It only took him a few moments to pull up the information and upload it to a PDA like thing him pull out of his pocket.

Michael turned returned to the vent from which he came and Shalimar latched it behind him. She was about to walk out when Raines entered dragging an oxygen tank. Just as Michael described. He eyed her for a moment. “Sir, the files you requested.” She handed them over. She’d made a point to grab inbox files from the assistant’s desk outside and knew this man was waiting on them.

Raines took them from her and she walked out of the office quickly. She rounded the nearest corner and entered an empty room. She sighed, feeling relieved to be out of the lion’s den. She jumped as a hand touched her shoulder but when she turned it was Michael. “Now the children.” Michael stated.

~~~~~~~~~~

Brennan and McKenzie needed to find the lab and destroy what they could before returning to the rendezvous point in the access tunnels where they’d split up. Michael had made sure their destruction of the lab would be timed with their departure because it would draw attention.

McKenzie slipped into the lab in the coat she’d found. She was sure people would recognize her especially since she’d worked at the Centre. She had no idea how much, just yet. She walked over to a lab station and pulled up some information on the research. She needed everything they could find on the experiments.

“Hey,” and lab technician called to her. The man made his way to her, “are you the temp?”

McKenzie looked to the man. “Yes.”

He eyed her a moment before his expression changed to surprise. A surge of electricity engulfed the tech and he dropped to the floor. Behind where the tech had been standing Brennan shrugged at her. “Luckily everything is very separated here.”

She turned her attention on the computer and began her quested for information. File after file blinked onto the screen and was sent to her PDA. The uplink to their satellite sent all the information she wanted back to the house instantly. McKenzie continued through the files, looking up occasionally. “They’re monsters.” She stated as she found experiment logs.

“What?” Brennan moved in behind her and leaned over her to see the computer screen.

McKenzie almost liked the close proximity but now was not the time nor the place for such thoughts. “They’ve been messing with these kids’ genetics… their brains… their immune system.” McKenzie swallowed. “Some of these kids died rather painfully.”

“I thought Genomex was bad.” Brennan shook his head.

McKenzie gasped. “They have a project on me.”

“Why?” Brennan put his hand on her back to support her.

McKenzie could almost feel the electricity that ran through him. “They are trying to recreate my abilities and learn to control them.” McKenzie typed frantically. “They’ve already instituted the project. They’re working with psionic abilities to perfect it.” She shook her head. “I can’t believe their doing this.” McKenzie scrolled threw the information until she found the research notes. At the bottom next to “Project Manager:” it read, “Connor.”

McKenzie pulled away from the computer like it would bit her and ran straight into Brennan. “We have to go.” She shook her head.

“What’s wrong?” Brennan grabbed her arms a leaned down to look her in the face.

“Connor is my father.” She seemed pale from the shock.

Brennan grabbed her hand and they ran out of the lab just as the series of computer malfunctions started to overtake the information already gathered by the researchers. They headed down the corridor and just missed the sweepers running towards the labs. “That was fast.” Brennan looked at her.

“Too fast.” McKenzie grabbed his arm and they ran through the corridors.

Brennan turned the corner and saw the sweepers who fired shots at them. Brennan instantly returned fire with his blasts and headed towards the downed sweepers. “It’s not nice to point guns at people.” He said as he walked over them.

McKenzie stopped. “This is a trap.”

“We have to get out. We can just stand here.” Brennan tugged on her arm.

“There is no point were surrounded.” McKenzie looked at him, horrified.

“I don’t know. I think I can handle it.” Brennan smiled at her.

“Yes, my thoughts exactly.” A man in an expensive suit, with dark brown hair and dark eyes stared them down. “Which is why I researched your kind.” He snapped his fingers and a sweeper turned a nozzle at the end of the corridor. The sprinklers above them came to life drenching both McKenzie and Brennan in water.

~~~~~~~~~~

Michael and Lexa waited at the access point while Jarod and Shalimar took the children to the waiting cars. Michael looked down the corridors. “Something’s wrong.”

“Brennan would have called in.” Lexa looked at him.

“Not if his com was taken.” Michael informed her.

“Maybe your coms are obvious but ours aren’t.” She held up her hand and wiggled her fingers.

He nodded. He understood. The ring was their com. He should discuss such a thing with Natasha.

“Lexa?” Brennan’s voice penetrated Michael and her conversation.

“Brennan, where are you?” Lexa was worried. She had come to think of the Mutant X team as her family and she wasn’t willing to loose any of them.

“McKenzie and I have been captured by her father.” Brennan sighed. “We’re locked up in some room. They turned the sprinklers on us so I’m not grounded.”

Lexa heard a door open on Brennan end. “Let’s go.” Lexa turned to Michael. “Brennan and McKenzie have been captured by her father?” Lexa was puzzled as to why her father would hold her against her will. Her first thought was McKenzie was a traitor, but dismissed the idea when Michael’s face changed instantly to concern. She had come to realize he didn’t tip his hand often but something about McKenzie’s father made him worry.

Michael’s expression changed enough to indicate whatever was happening couldn’t be good. “Connor.” Michael turned and gestured for her to follow him back to meet up with the others.

~~~~~~~~~~

Shalimar turned to see Michael and Lexa heading towards the rigs without Brennan and McKenzie. She walked forward. “Where’s Brennan.” Michael walked past her but she didn’t let Lexa blow her off. She grabbed her arm. “Where’s Brennan?”

Lexa stared at her and then looked to Michael who’d made his way over to one rig now housing children. He grabbed a com out of the rig for Jarod and him and sent them on their way. Michael turned to see Shalimar shaking her head. He tossed the other com to Jarod who immediately put it in his ear.

“Brennan can fry anyone who gets in his way.” Shalimar put her hands on her hips.

Lexa knew how close Shalimar and Brennan were despite how much they fought their feelings and tortured each other with other men and women. “Shal, they turned the sprinklers on them. Brennan isn’t grounded.”

Shalimar pushed away from Lexa. “We have to do something.”

Jarod turned to her calmly. “We will. We won’t leave them in there.”

~~~~~~~~~~

Jesse was keeping in close contact with Nemesis back at the house who seemed to have better intel on the facility than he could get from the Helix’s sensors. Now he was listening to Lexa and Brennan and knew exactly what was happening. “Damn it.”

Nemesis voice came back over the com. “What is the problem?”

“McKenzie and Brennan were captured.” Jesse turned to the screen to look at the woman who reminded him a lot of Adam. She had shown him how to get into the houses visual feeds for the mission.

“McKenzie is very resourceful. I have no doubt she and your friend will make it out just fine.” Nemesis was oblivious to the emotions Jesse was feeling about losing Brennan.

Jesse watched her move around the room. She seemed so cold. “Michael didn’t seem to think it would be so easy for them. He’s setting up a rescue as we speak.”

Nemesis turned to the visual feed. “Why?”

Jesse scoffed at Nemesis. “You’re kidding right? To get them out, of course.”

“I’ve seen Brennan’s abilities and I know McKenzie’s. They should be fine. It was the reason the teams were picked. Strength in ability.” She seemed more worried than before. Nemesis reached over and hit something on a panel Jesse couldn’t see. She stood tall and looked up slightly. “Michael, what’s happening? Why haven’t you vacated the area?”

Jesse made a few adjustments of his own. Now her feed and their com feeds would work together. He looped her question again to make sure the other had heard it. He was beyond interested in what was surprising their new friends.

~~~~~~~~~~

Michael had waited before reporting in to Nemesis but now he could hear her clearly in his ear.

Lexa shook her head. “You are so kidding me? Why wouldn’t we go after our people?”

Michael simply glanced at her before turning his attention back to the com. “Connor has captured McKenzie and Brennan. I believe it was a trap.”

All of them could hear the gasp from the normally calm seeming woman. “Connor’s at the Centre?”

Jarod walked over towards Michael. “Nemesis, I believe Connor leaked such information knowing we’d go in after the children. I doubt he anticipated our new friends but if he is as smart as you say then he would figure out Brennan’s weakness is water.”

“Jarod, he’ll kill them.” Nemesis’s voice seemed almost distraught now.

“We won’t let that happen.” Jarod stated as he turned to the others. “We can’t keep the connection opened. They’ll be looking for us.”

~~~~~~~~~~

Jesse shook his head. “I’m going out there.” The computer beeped and he turned back to the panel. “Guys, two helicopters just took off. I’m reading eleven heat signatures.

“They’re taking them back to the Centre.” Michael voice stated over the com.

“We’re on our way back to the Helix.” Shalimar wasn’t nearly as calm as Michael but she was hiding it well.

~~~~~~~~~~

Brennan paced back and forth while McKenzie sat against the wall with her head in her knees. Without looking up she spoke. “Do you have to pace? I need to think as much as I can before he drugs me.”

Brennan turned towards her. “That man is your father.”

McKenzie’s tear stained face looked up at him. “That man tried to control my abilities by keeping me drugged. That man made me kill a man when I was five. That man killed two of my friends to get to me. He’s a monster.”

Brennan knew she was going to shut down on him if he didn’t get her moving. “McKenzie, you have to fight him.”

McKenzie got to her feet quickly. “Fight him? You are kidding? I’ve fought this man for a while now and all that has come of it is me being locked up and him fleeing when Michael comes to my rescue.” McKenzie leaned against the wall. “If I don’t cooperate, he’s going to hurt you.”

Brennan’s face contorted. He walked over to her. “McKenzie.”

She tried to keep him away from her but he persisted and she gave in as he wrapped his arms around her. “Don’t worry about me. Worry about yourself.”

“Touching.” The door to the cell opened and Connor, two sweepers, and two orderlies entered the room. “Very touching. And my dear you are correct. If you don’t give in to me; I will hurt him.” Connor smiled at her like he was so sort of loving father.

Brennan stepped between them. “She’s not going to give in to you!”

“As suspected. Mr. Mulwray, these fine gentlemen are hear to escort you to your next appointment here at the Centre.” Connor smirked.

The sweepers headed towards him. Brennan took a fighting stance. He made a quick kick to one sweeper and was headed for the other when a shot rang out. McKenzie screamed as the bullet hit Brennan in the shoulder and he slammed into the ground. McKenzie tried to make her way to him but the orderlies held her back as the sweepers dragged off Brennan. McKenzie fought as hard as she could but the orderlies pinned her against the ground and stuck a needle in her arm.

“You must calm yourself, my love.” Connor squatted next to her and brushed his hand across her face.

“Monster.” McKenzie stumbled out as she drifted off.

~~~~~~~~~~

Shalimar, Lexa, Michael, and Jarod all approached the entrance of the Helix and slipped in quietly. Michael went to the cockpit and sat next to Jesse looking over the controls. “Simple enough.” Michael looked back to Jarod and then rose to his feet, gesturing to the pretender to check out the systems.

Jarod replaced Michael at the helm. “Very efficient.”

Jesse shook his head at Jarod. “Do you know what you’re looking at?”

“Mostly.” Jarod shifted. “Do you have a manual?”

Jesse reached down and grabbed the manual from below the paneling and handed it to Jarod. “What do you need that for?”

“To learn to fly the Helix, in case I’m needed.” Jarod went back to reading the manual.

Jesse just looked to a rather shocked Lexa, and shrugged. Lexa turned to Michael. “Let me guess, you already know how to fly this thing.”

Michael raised his left eyebrow. “I am an accomplished pilot; your craft should not be difficult.”

Jesse shook his head in slight disbelief. “Well I could use a co-pilot if we plan on going after Brennan and McKenzie.”

~~~~~~~~~~

McKenzie’s head felt heavy and normally she would know it was a side-effect of the drugs but it took her a moment to come to that realization. She tried to focus her mind and her eyes but neither one was cooperating with her. She knew she was lying on her side so she pushed herself up a bit and pushed herself along the floor until she hit the wall. The blurriness of her vision wouldn’t tell her where the door was which was beyond frustrating.

She heard the door before the blurs registered. She watched as a large blur was tossed into the cell with her and then the creak of the door closing registered in her ears. At least now she knew where the door was. She moved slowly around the walls of the cell as she moved closer to who she assumed was Brennan.

As she got closer she could hear his breathing which seemed more labored than she liked. “Brennan.” She stumbled out as she reached out and touched the blurry form infront of her.

Brennan gritted his teeth and groaned. Connor had put him through a lot. Testing how much electricity he could take and then drenching him with water. He was drugged with something that made his veins burn and he distinctly remembered being brought back to life with paddles. Water was never far behind. His bullet wound was cleaned out quickly and more than likely not sufficiently, but he was trying to make his appendages work for him when McKenzie’s hand touched him. He hadn’t really realized he was sore but then it seemed too normal to hurt this much. He didn’t like the sensation.

McKenzie realized she’d hurt him and pulled her hand away. She planted her back firmly against the wall behind her. “I can’t see you.”

Brennan turned his head to look at her eyes which seemed a blue as they always were but didn’t appear to be focusing on anything. “What… did they… do?” He struggled to sit up while struggling with the pain.

McKenzie leaned down a bit and then shook her head. “They drugged me with something. It knocked me out cold. How badly did they hurt you?”

Brennan looked to her and remembered how afraid she was they would harm him to get to her. “Not too badly. My shoulder hurts a lot. Sadly, I’m not bulletproof.”

“I’m sorry he shot you.” McKenzie whimpered slightly.

“When I met you, I never took you to be weak.” He looked at her waiting for that moment the anger would win out over the fear.

“Weak?” McKenzie leaned against the wall. “It isn’t being weak to deal with all of this… it just is. It hurts me more to realize Jarod dealt with similar stuff on a daily basis for 33 years.”

Brennan sighed as he let the wall behind him support him. He didn’t have the energy to fight with anyone now and he had no intention of moving around. It would just hurt, and there was no telling how much more they’d have to deal with. “That would suck.”

McKenzie smiled. “I’m glad you’re all right.”

“Funny, me too.” Brennan actually laughed which seemed strange to McKenzie knowing he’d undoubtedly been tortured by her father. “McKenzie, they took my com ring.”

McKenzie turned her head to look at the blurry image of Brennan. “It’s okay Brennan.”

“Jesse won’t be able to find us.” Brennan coughed a little and then sucked air through his teeth.

McKenzie knew now Brennan was definitely hurting. “Michael will find us.”

~~~~~~~~~~

Broots came running into Miss Parker’s office. “Miss Parker.”

She looked up from her desk where she and Sydney were going over some information about the current projects the Centre was apparently working on. “Broots?”

“They captured McKenzie and one of the mutants while they were breaking out the children being experimented on. Security seems to think there was a team of the mutants working with McKenzie, the Centre ghost and Jarod.” Broots sat down in the chair across from Miss Parker nervously. “They’ve only been here a few hours.”

Miss Parker rose to her feet and headed for the door. “Show me McKenzie.”

Broots didn’t want anything more to do with any of this but he knew Miss Parker was far more than serious. He jumped to his feet and scurried after her.

~~~~~~~~~~

“Jes, tell me we have a location on Brennan and McKenzie.” Lexa stood over him as the rear hatch was opened by Shalimar.

“I have the last location of Brennan’s com ring but that doesn’t necessarily mean he is still there.” Jesse turned to Lexa and the others.

Michael rose to his feet. “A location is simply a starting point. We’ll find him beyond that.”

Jarod rose to his feet. “Then what are we waiting for.”

Next Chapter...
The Best of All Worlds by SireesAnwar
The Best of All Worlds

Brennan sat leaning against the cold wall. He’d lost his shirt in the torture session, but didn’t care at this point. McKenzie was leaning against his chest which actually hurt but he was trying to comfort her while they experienced this ordeal together.

McKenzie shifted against him. “Brennan, my vision is returning.”

He rubbed his hand along her arm. “That is good news. I wonder what they gave you.”

“Something to suppress my ability I’m sure. That is normally my father’s goal.” McKenzie rested her hand on Brennan’s chest. He tried to hide the discomfort it created but she knew he was hurting. Strangely enough, he actually felt better when he was helping her and she knew it. She shifted a little next to him, trying her best to be careful. She felt safe with him despite where they were. Her mind wandered back to where they were and how strange it was her father and the Centre had left them locked up together. There was something more going on. She was sure the Centre they had ulterior motives in keeping them together.

“We’re not going to be able to stay like this, are we?” Brennan kissed the top of her head.

She turned her head to look up at him. “Doubtful.”

“I’m sorry I pulled your history out of you yesterday.” Brennan squeezed her a little.

McKenzie shook her head and sat up slowly. “Forget it. I’m just sorry I yelled at you. It was just a lot of things I’ve been avoiding. Don’t like talking about them.” She kneeled at his side.

Brennan sat up slowly with gritted teeth. “You’ve got nothing to be sorry for.” He cupped her face in his hands. She was a beautiful woman even after everything… he could still see it. He leaned in and kissed her. She didn’t resist but rather leaned into the kiss.

The door to their cell opened again. “I am so glad you two like one another because we’ve got big plans for you two.”

A sweeper entered and grabbed McKenzie. Brennan reached out for her but another sweeper kicked him down. “Don’t fret, Mr. Mulwray. You will have plenty of time with my daughter. I promise.” Connor turned and left the cell.

Plenty of time with my daughter? “What does that mean?” Brennan was curled up on the floor wishing he could prevent any harm from coming to McKenzie, but now he was sure he had broken ribs.

~~~~~~~~~~

Lyle smiled as he headed through the corridors of the Centre towards the laboratory where they’d be testing a new drug on Connor’s daughter. Connor for a change, had managed to capture his daughter, which the Centre was happy about, even if he missed out on Jarod. Now their fertility project could get up and running. Connor had succeeded in giving his daughter the first dose of the drug which had hit her hard. Lyle had visited her and found it amusing that it had knocked her out. He wasn’t one to force a woman but he’d been tempted. He had no doubt she’d be a good time. Of course, he wouldn’t have the pleasure but if everything went as planned the mutant would. They had discovered long ago and natural conception was the best way when dealing with the mutations.

Lyle got in the elevator and pushed the button which would take him to SL-27 labs, where days earlier the drug had been perfected. Raines, his father, wanted candidates found for the project. Once he’d brought the Genomex projects up, Raines had been determined to breed a mutant with a Centre work of art, as he called them. Lyle, for the most part, thought them freaks, but none of this was up to him. Connor, being the good little Centre lackey, he’d become, offered up his daughter as the mother in the trials of the project. Raines seemed fine with it considering McKenzie’s abilities.

Lyle was now walking through SL-27 where he ran into Parker. “What do you want?” He seemed more annoyed than surprised to see her.

“No dear brother, the question is what sick twisted things are going on down here?” Miss Parker got as close to Lyle as she could. “What are you up to?”

Lyle leaned back a bit staying impassive about her accusations. “If you are working for the Centre, you are going to have to learn we do things for a reason.” Lyle walked around her.

“The Centre always has their reasons.” Sydney stated behind Miss Parker. Broots and he had followed her down to SL-27 as they’d been told to, but Broots was still having trouble with Parker’s direct approach. He’d rather she simply sneak around as they did in the past.

“So McKenzie’s abilities have nothing to do with this place?” Miss Parker knew full well woman had been held in SL-27 while they were pregnant. She remembered the birthing table with shackles. She wasn’t going to sit by and watch it happen again.

Lyle stopped in his tracks and turned to eye Parker. “If you’d like to see McKenzie, then by all means follow me.” He continued on his way, now with Parker, Broots and Sydney following him.

Lyle walked through the doors of the lab with his newest entourage close behind. “Connor, I see you’ve started phase two of the project.”

Connor turned towards them, all smiles, which faded the moment he saw the company Lyle brought. “What are they doing here?”

“I wanted to let Parker in on how we are helping your daughter.” Lyle turned to his sister. “You see, Parker, McKenzie has become increasingly irrational and we have been working hard to find a way to cure her. She’s become paranoid and frequently hallucinates. We are trying to make her life better.”

Connor walked forward. “My daughter has suffered enough from her abilities. I’d rather she didn’t have them than she suffer with them.” Connor had decided Lyle was especially good at what he did and was beginning to like working with him.

Miss Parker crossed her arms. “Noble of you.”

Sydney stepped around Parker. “May I see her files?”

Connor’s eyebrow rose. He clearly wasn’t appreciating the inquisitiveness of these people, but Lyle stepped in. “Of course.” Lyle directed him to the files over on the desk. “As you can clearly tell, she’s had no hope with normal methods of treating her illness.”

Sydney was actually surprised by what he was reading. “She does seem to be rather troubled.”

Miss Parker crossed the room and snatched the file from Sydney’s hand. She looked it over. Syd was right, she did really seem to be disturbed, not that one could tell, McKenzie was out cold on the table in the center of the room. She had no doubt that whether she was troubled or not she’d be trying to escape. She had to be drugged. Miss Parker noticed the dates on the file. “So the moment she left the Centre she became irrational?” Miss Parker walked over to Lyle and pushed the file at him.

Connor smiled slightly. “That is why we believe she fled the Centre.”

“Because there is never any other reason to run from the Centre.” Miss Parker turned and head out the door, but stopped. “Sydney, Broots, let’s go.” Then she continued her journey out of the lab. Sydney strolled after her while Broots run quickly out of the lab.

Lyle turned to Connor. “By the time she get anywhere with this everything will be set in motion.”

“McKenzie’s already been given the rounds of the fertility drug.” Connor stated.

Lyle smiled at Connor. “Now we just have to help Mr. Mulwray in the libido department, put them together and what do you get… a Centre creation.”

~~~~~~~~~~

Shalimar, Michael, Jesse, Lexa and Jarod headed through the vents Jarod had brought them in until they’d reached the last signal location of Brennan’s com ring. “We’re in SL-27.” Jarod looked to Michael.

Lexa was crouched down like the others but it was starting to make her mad. “What does that mean?”

“It means we’re 27 levels underneath the ground.” Jarod looked back at her.

Shalimar was behind Lexa. “I smell death.” She looked back at Jesse and then she looked to the others.

“Welcome to SL-27.” Jarod looked to Shalimar. He knew the horrors of this place. He also knew the things that happened there still hung in the stale air.

~~~~~~~~~~

Miss Parker paced the corridor. “Who was the mutant that was brought in?”

“Is.” Broots corrected her.

“Well?” Miss Parker knew they were running on little time to stop whatever the Centre had planned.

“I don’t know.” Broots looked at her.

Parker tossed her hand in the air in frustration. “Then what do I keep you around for?”

“Because I know where he’d being held.” Broots smiled and gestured for her to go first.

~~~~~~~~~~

Brennan was still lying on the floor, now with his eyes closed as the door opened. He wasn’t sure how much he could take but hoped McKenzie was returning just as he had. The sound of high heels clicking along the floor told him his hopes were dashed.

“What’s wrong with him, Sydney?” A woman voice broke through the silence that he was beginning to find deafening.

Brennan heard the footsteps come closer to him. He opened his eyes. “Who are you people?”

Miss Parker grabbed Sydney by the shoulder and pulled him back. “I’m Miss Parker, Sydney, Broots.” She gestured to both Sydney and Broots. “And you are?”

“Brennan Mulwray.” Brennan forced himself to get to his feet. He needed to fight back or something bad might just happen.

“And what exactly are you?” Miss Parker eyed him.

“Got a piece of metal. I’ll show you.” Brennan smiled at her.

“Sorry, handsome, fresh out.” Miss Parker smiled at him. It was hard to believe a man so beautiful was different from any other man.

“It’s a pity he puts on a good show, Parker.” Jarod stepped into the room behind her. She turned to see his gun leveled at them.

From the wall to the left of her, Miss Parker watched as a man and a woman walked into the room by walking through the wall. She seemed surprised despite the files that told her it was possible.

Broots looked horrified. “Miss Parker! They came through the wall.”

“I saw Broots.” Miss Parker glared at him.

The blonde started to go to Brennan side. Miss Parker tried to block her but changed her mind with the woman’s eyes changed to look something like a cats. “What the hell is this, Jarod?” Parker turned to look at him again.

“Shalimar, we have to catch up with Lexa and Michael. Hurry.” Jesse toned. He wanted to get in and out. He still had problems with the things he’d experienced at Genomex and he was having trouble even being in this place.

“I’ve got it, Jesse. You man the wall.” Shalimar let Brennan lean against her. She was obviously strong because she didn’t seem to slow down with the bigger man putting any weight he could on her. The shorter man Shalimar had called Jesse put his hand against the wall and Shalimar, Brennan and he disappeared through the wall as quickly as they’d appeared.

Jarod smiled at Miss Parker. “Aren’t my new friends just wonderful?” He smiled as he kind of hoped backwards and then shut the three of them in the cell.

~~~~~~~~~~

“Get the drugs ready for Mr. Mulwray.” Connor commanded from the viewing section he and Lyle had set up. The last thing he wanted was to put his daughter through this but it was necessary because of the instability of Brennan Mulwray’s DNA and he was rightly sure McKenzie and Brennan wouldn’t simply comply and so a push was necessary.

A bolt of energy blasted into the doctor, sending him to the ground. Lyle and Connor looked to the brunette that walked into the room. “I’m thinking the show was cancelled. I hate when that happens.”

Michael walked in behind her with his gun pointed at Connor and Lyle. He simply stared at them willing them to act against him so he would have the opportunity to shoot them.

Connor smiled at Lexa. “Very impressive. We could use someone like you.”

“Not really interested in someone who tortures innocent people including his own daughter. You really are a sick son of a bitch, aren’t you?”

~~~~~~~~~~

Shalimar leaned Brennan against the wall out side of the lab. “Bren, I’ve got to help get McKenzie out of here. Can you hold on for a while?”

Brennan nodded to Shalimar. He wasn’t in the mood to talk about anything but he was very willing to help them get to McKenzie.

Jesse smiled. “Good ‘cause were almost home, bro.” Jesse fazed through the wall next to Brennan.

~~~~~~~~~~

Lexa was finding it hard to control the sweepers in the corner and the two men across the room. The two men’s faces contorted in surprise as Jesse stepped through the wall just behind her. She knew what was happening. The hairs on the back of her neck tickled her whenever Jesse fazed.

Jesse went to McKenzie’s side. “I’m not a doctor but I’ll see what I can do.” He looked through the file which hung at the end of her gurney. “I don’t get this.”

Jarod burst through the doors. “McKenzie.” He went to her side and first grabbed her wrist to check her pulse.

Jesse looked up at him. “She’s been drugged.” He handed Jarod the charts. “You’re a doctor aren’t you?”

“Whenever I need to be.” Jarod skimmed the chart and then turned to Connor and Lyle. “What the hell were you two up to?” Jarod waited but no response was forth coming. “Lyle? Don’t make me play with you the way you played with me?”

Lyle glared at Jarod. “I don’t think you have time for that, pretender.”

Connor stepped forward slightly. Michael held his weapon firm and Lexa flexed her hands. “That won’t be necessary. I can tell you what I gave her. It was a drug to help her mental problems.”

“I haven’t known McKenzie all that long but I’d say the mental problems are coming from you.” Lexa quipped.

Jarod turned his attention back on the charts. “Fertility drug?” He looked at the vials. “And a new one I’d wager.” He was sure of it. “You’d actually impregnate your daughter and keep her down here? Connor who’s the father? Do you even know?” He nodded to himself as he mumbled through ingredients to make possible drugs. “It will be awhile before she’d awake.”

The sweepers behind Jesse looked to Lyle who gave them a slight nodded. One sweeper grabbed Jesse while behind them the room erupted in several more sweepers. Lyle and Connor ducked for cover as did Lexa and Michael.

Connor’s voice rose above the sounds of fighting. “If my daughter is harmed, I’ll gut whoever did it.”

Lexa cringed at the mere thought of a father like him. She rose from her hiding spot and shot a few blasts from her hands. Michael followed with his Desert Eagle. From across the room Lexa heard what she knew had to be Shalimar fighting to get rid of the newest sweepers.

Connor and Lyle watched in amazement as one blonde woman, who had entered behind the new batch of sweepers, seemed to be strong enough to take them all on. “Do you see her eyes?” Connor looked to Lyle who nodded his response.

Lexa shimmered out of existence and made her way over to Shalimar. She shimmered into existence just behind a sweeper. She tapped on his shoulder and waited for him to turn towards her before hitting him and knocking him out.

Jesse was fighting off sweepers with ease. He massed out a few times before the sweepers landed punches and listened as the sweepers hands cracked once they slammed into him.

Not one of them saw the move Lyle made towards Jarod who now had a gun in his back. “Stop, or I’ll shoot him.”

Lexa, Shalimar, Jesse, and Michael stopped in place and stared at Jarod. Most of the sweepers were down and the few that weren’t, nursed injuries of one kind or another. “Why don’t I believe you?” Shalimar growled at him.

“Believe what you want. Jarod might be important to the Centre but they’d rather have him dead than out in the real world.” Lyle sneered at her. Jarod’s face showed his disgust of Lyle. Shalimar noticed how tense Jarod jaw had become. He was angry he’d been put in the position to comprise them all.

Lexa wanted desperately to hurt Lyle but knew she’d be putting Jarod’s life at risk if she disappeared. They all watched as Connor shimmered with blue electricity and hit the floor. When Lyle turned to look at Connor, she vanished moving quickly to one side taking out a few sweepers as she went.

It was only seconds later Lyle, too, was engulfed in electricity. Shalimar had taken down a couple remaining sweepers, as did Jesse and Michael, but turned just in time to see Lyle hit the floor and Brennan fill the doorway with one hand still sparking and the other reaching up above his head to a metal door hinge.

Jarod turned and thanked Brennan before he ran past him and disappeared into the corridor.

“Where is he going?” Lexa looked at the others truly puzzled as to why, now, Jarod took off.

Michael’s eyebrow rose above his left eye. “He had unfinished business.” Michael lifted McKenzie off the gurney and turned towards Brennan. “We must leave.”

Shalimar ran over to Brennan and helped him follow Michael. Jesse took the lead providing them with alternate routes to get through the corridors of the Centre, while Lexa took out any sweepers from the back.

~~~~~~~~~~

Jarod opened the door to the cell he’d locked Miss Parker, Sydney and Broots in and waited for them to exit. “Since when do you come to our rescue?” Miss Parker snapped at him.

“Since you were the one that sent me the information on the children.” Jarod smiled at her. Maybe just maybe she’d changed her mind about whose side she should be on.

Miss Parker suppressed a smiled and then whispered. “Good luck, Jarod.” Sydney and Broots stood surprised as Jarod and Miss Parker seemed to share a moment of admiration for one another, though Sydney believed Parker had deep feelings for Jarod as he did for her. Problem was she rarely showed the side she worked hard to hide from Jarod, who saw it anyways. Now she seemed opened to the idea that she wasn’t destined to return Jarod to the Centre.

Jarod smiled at her. “Thank you, Parker.” He turned and ran off.

~~~~~~~~~~

McKenzie awoke startled. She tried to fight who ever was next to her. Her vision was slowly restoring itself again and now the voice registered in her head. “McKenzie! Stop you’re home.” Nemesis’ hands tried to hold her down.

She relaxed against the bed she was in as she realized she was in the house infirmary. She looked up at her aunt. “Brennan?”

“I’m actually better than I thought I’d be.” A voice from across the room stated. Nemesis moved so McKenzie could see Brennan who got up from his own bed and headed over to see her. “You were right. They came and got us.” Nemesis stepped back to give them privacy and to talk to the others.

“That will teach you to doubt my powers, won’t it?” McKenzie smiled warily at Brennan.

Brennan took her hand in his. “I know what they planned to do. McKenzie…” He shifted looking rather uncomfortable.

“But they didn’t get the chance, Brennan.” McKenzie sat up slowly and pulled him into a hug.

“I would love to have kids someday, but never like that.” Brennan squeezed her against him.

“Me too.” McKenzie laid her head on his shoulder letting a few of her tears stain his shirt.

~~~~~~~~~~

Shalimar walked up to Nemesis. “Her father was willing to sick a drugged and revved up Brennan on her to impregnate her so he could create a special child.”

Nemesis nodded to Shalimar. “I didn’t think the Centre would sink that low. Your,” she looked to Shalimar, indicating new mutants in general, “DNA is sensitive. The easiest way was for a natural conception and since they figured it wasn’t going to be willing…” She couldn’t believe Connor would allow McKenzie to experience that, but then again she never thought he’d try and kill her. Guess I don’t know him that well.

Shalimar shook her head as she turned and left to find Jesse.

Michael and Lexa walked up to Nemesis’ side. “They have grown close.” Michael stated.

“She understands him because of her initial connection to him.” Nemesis observed, knowing full well they had shared an ordeal none of these Mutant X team ever experienced before.

Lexa moved to block their view of McKenzie and Brennan. “You should know there is an organization called The Dominion. They know about pretenders and are interested in their abilities. They are just as bad as the Centre.”

Michael smiled at her. “I wondered when you would say something.”

Lexa looked shocked. “You knew about that?”

Nemesis smiled at Lexa. “Michael informed me that I know Adam Kane. So to answer your question, yes, we knew.”

~~~~~~~~~~

McKenzie, Michael, and Nemesis stood on the lawn of the San Francisco House watching the Helix leave with the new friends they’d just discovered. Michael held onto a still cooping McKenzie.

McKenzie’s eyes misted over. Her connection to Brennan was strong and would last for a long time even if McKenzie told him he should give into his feelings for Shalimar. Michael and Nemesis turned and headed back into the house while McKenzie watched the Helix disappear into the sky. “Goodbye.” She whispered into the wind.

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