Foundations Part 3
Caitlin looked at her watch. 12:30, almost show time. Walking
out of her door, she turned to her assistant.
"Dr. Sommers, it's almost time for you to meet with David's group. Winnie
Henderson and Annie Castalaine are waiting for you in the lobby," Mary
Sue informed her.
The dean smiled to herself. Time to go help David move forward. With
that, she stepped into the elevator and headed downstairs.
Adam took a look around at the facilities that the group was walking through.
True, he had been to college many years before and he had seen this campus
during the team's last visit to the desert. However, this was something
different. He wasn't here just as the researcher or team leader, but rather,
almost as a proud father.
Seeing this event happen makes all of our
work worthwhile. I hope it succeeds. I truly do. It has to...for all of
He snapped back to reality as the group walked into the library's lobby.
The facility's entry level opened in many directions that the young minds
here would explore at their leisure. Hearing the 'wows' and seeing the
awed looks on some faces, he knew that the world was about to become their
I'll definitely need to let Jesse, Brennan, Emma, and Shalimar
spend some time here if they wish to. David and Angie, thank you for this
"Hey, Adam. You okay?" Emma and Shalimar wondered.
He nodded, wiping away a tear from his eye. Around him, the girls...not
to mention Jesse and Brennan...were observing him to make sure he was okay.
"I'm just happy. You know how I feel about all of you," the leader assured
The quartet grinned and as one, embraced their mentor. This was a special
day for them as well.
As he prepared to turn things over to Caitlin, Dave observed the embrace
shared between Adam and the Mutant X members.
Here's to all of us. Hopefully,
we make this dream come true.
["Isn't that something?" Angie asked through their link.]
["Yes it is," he agreed, smiling and hugging her shoulders.]
For a minute, he allowed the scene to continue before starting. "Okay,
everyone. This is the main library here at the university. It is my pleasure
to introduce my colleagues, Winnie Henderson, who works on the Reference
desk, and Annie Castalaine, our Religion bibliographer. They'll be assisting
with the tour."
"Hi," Annie greeted pleasantly. "Welcome to our university. If you have
any questions once we get started, please don't hesitate to ask! We look
forward to seeing you and helping you with your papers."
Winnie waved and smiled shyly.
"Now, here's the woman who runs this fine place, Dr. Caitlin Sommers. Dean
Sommers?" Dave announced.
Caitlin continued, "Thank you, Dr. Dubois. Good afternoon, everyone. I
know you all have a lot to do this afternoon with the tour and getting
settled in, but on behalf of the University administration, I wanted to
greet you personally. There are going to be many challenges for all of
you in the classroom over the next four years as well as in the world.
You are a very unique group, and we have every confidence in you. All I
can offer you is the same advice I give to other incoming freshmen: be
diligent with your assignments, treat others as you would like to be treated,
and most importantly, if you have any questions, please don't hesitate
to ask questions of any of us. We're here to help you."
For a minute, she stood silently, allowing the students to soak her words
in before continuing, " Speaking now as a member of the community here,
you've met several representatives of different groups here and you will
apparently meet two others tonight. Remember, as you move ahead, we will
do our best to insure your safety and the learning experience that you
are entitled to. In exchange, we ask that you all utilize your...talents...safely
and not hurt others. You are paving the way for others such as yourselves.
All of you are vital in proving those who would view you as dangerous wrong.
It's all up to you. Thank you for your time."
"Thank you," Dave expressed, a smile on his face. "For the record, she
gave Angie, Karen, and me that same bit of advice when we started here.
Please, feel free to ask questions. Okay, let's get on with the tour.
With that, the group followed the three librarians and the dean into the
The new students, Max, and Mutant X discovered many things about the university
that afternoon. Most notably, that much of the history wasn't in a textbook-it
was a series of living experiences from others similar to themselves who
had attended school there, had visited there, or just passed through over
the previous 120 years. Benefiting from their shared experiences there,
Dave, Angie, and Karen told their stories.
As they walked around, several of the mutants could feel what their guides
said. Martin felt the spiritual vibrations of those individuals. Mika heard
the animals and insects around them. Lana could see and hear some of them
The latter sighed. This is truly a special place. As they passed
by the side of Old Main, she smiled at Clark. "You know what happened here,
"Yeah," he agreed, recalling their earlier adventure there. In the Social
Sciences building just diagonally left to them, the GSA had attacked the
class, forcing him to come face to face with Professor Dubois's resident
Dark Child and the threats surrounding them even here. On their right stood
the palm tree under which he had spilled the beans about himself to her...trusting
her with his secret and his heart.
"It's going to be great, Clark," she assured him, hugging him tightly.
Then she realized that everyone was looking at them. "Sorry."
"No problem," Dave grinned warmly, waving it off. "Clark and Lana already
have a story of their own from here...as do Adam and his team. Remember,
all of our stories are important here, and we need to contribute something
to the whole. In those cases, the GSA tried to put a halt to things, but
with everyone's help, we overcame the threat. Right, Adam?"
"Absolutely," the former geneticist agreed. "Listen to what he's saying,
people. Our ability to work as a team is what will keep us alive against
the GSA. While you're going to school here and training with us, be alert
and respect those around you."
"Right on," Shalimar affirmed.
"And that includes us as well," Emma added, thinking of Alicia Fallone.
Karen looked at Dave for a moment, recalling how many turns their friendship
had taken over the years.
He's right. Maybe things didn't work out exactly
as we had anticipated or hoped at first, but they worked out for the best.
It was just as Caroline said to him, 'Now, you're a part of something bigger.'
She rubbed her daughter's arm to emphasize that point.
Mika didn't say anything but simply chose to rub her mother's hand. Having
grown up around this place, she knew her mother's intent.
"Okay!" Angie cut in, speaking to the entire group. "Who wants some
pizza before our next stop?"
A collective cheer went up from the group. Maybe they were special, but
they were still normal in that respect.
Dave, Angie, Eve, and Adam exchanged wry looks as they led the group over
to the pizza parlor. This was going to be a lot of fun...a lot of work,
but with a lot of fun along the way as well.
(Additional note: This scene takes place about two weeks prior to "He's
[A month later....]
Clark and Lana walked out of the Economics Building on a Friday afternoon.
Their classes had proven to be challenging as advertised between quizzes
and the amounts of assigned reading. Still, they were enjoying themselves
and getting to know the other "special" ones like themselves. Heading for
the Student Union, they observed the constant activity of the students
running to class or just to get to another place in general.
"It's something, isn't it?" he asked.
She exhaled deeply and smiled. "It is. But, I really think we made the
"Yeah? I might remind you of that one after Adam's training session tomorrow,"
She chuckled. Maybe the others found them to be difficult, but she enjoyed
the chance to test herself. It's the chance not to be the fairy princess
anymore. Emma had really been a great help in that regard, getting
her to relax and not worry about outside tensions. "We'll see."
As they descended the stairs, the duo saw Michelle, Mika, and Samantha
sitting at a corner table.
"Hi," he greeted. "How's everything?"
"We just handed in the essays for Dr. Messenger," Michelle shrugged. "Mine
was okay, I guess. She really helped me."
"Mom warned me it would be hard at first. I don't know-with Uncle Dave's
guidance, it wasn't that bad," Mika added.
"That class he gave over in the library along with Professor Castalaine
made a difference for me. I think my paper's going to be okay," Samantha
said. Looking up at their two friends, she asked, "Want to join us?"
"Sure. Thanks," Lana accepted, pulling out a chair and sitting down. After
Clark did the same, she asked, "Mika, I don't mean to be intrusive, but
why do you call Professor Dubois, 'Uncle Dave'?"
"That's okay. He's always been like an uncle to me, I guess. He and Auntie
Angie are my godparents. Mom and Dad are the same for the twins and Deirdre,"
Mika answered with a shrug sipping on her coffee.
"Sounds good to me," Clark indicated, twisting the top off of a Pepsi.
"Sorry for being so abrupt. It's been a long week," Lana apologized, feeling
a bit flustered.
"It's okay. We're all going through the same thing," Mika said reassuringly.
"Well, it's almost time to meet Uncle Dave over at Social Sciences. Shall
"Sounds good. See you guys in Astronomy," Lana concluded.
"Absolutely. But we'll be in class tomorrow as well, right?" Samantha asked,
her brow arched and a humorous smile on her face.
"See you all later," Clark told them as he and his two female companions
headed back for the stairs.
As they left, Michelle grinned. Thank you, Emma.
Two hours later, the dinner plates were being cleared away in the Dubois
condo. Dave, Angie, Francesca, and Eve enjoyed having the three students
over for dinner once a week. It gave them a chance to talk outside of the
"How are you all doing?" he asked them.
"We're all right," Clark replied. "Just trying to get ready for your midterm."
"Don't be in too big of a rush," Angie advised, casting a humorous verbal
slap at her husband. "One never knows what kind of an impression that will
make on a professor's ego."
"I don't know, Angie. Maybe that enthusiasm might wash off on their classmates,"
"Michelle and Samantha are enjoying your class, Dr. Messenger, as am I,"
"I can tell," the former messenger mentioned, sipping on her coffee. "Keep
up the good work."
Dave looked at the clock. 6PM. Hmm...I hope everyone's in place.
"Excuse me," he said, walking into his study and checking the computer
to make sure the settings were right. Okay, we're looking good so far.
Entering the chat program, he saw that Miri was already online.
Dave: Hey, Short Stuff. How are you?
Miri: Hi, Uncle Dave. I'm fine. Dad will be back in a bit. Everything okay
back there? Mika sent.
Dave: Hang on.
Walking back into the other room, he said, "Clark, Lana, want to come in
here for a minute? Miri's online if you want to talk to her.
Lana grinned and walked quickly into the other room. I hope she's okay.
Sitting down in front of the computer, she typed, Miri?
Miri: Yes, who is this?
Lana: This is Lana. How are you?
Miri: Oh wow! I'm great! Hey, I'll be out there in a couple of weeks to
see Uncle Dave and Auntie Angie. Would you and Clark mind introducing me
to all of your new friends?
Lana: As many as we can manage! Clark says hi by the way.
Miri: Great. Wait a minute. Hey, Chloe just came on.
Lana: I see that. I'm going to talk to her. Hang on. Is she going to be
[Dorm Room, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY]
In her dorm room, Chloe sat typing away on an email message to her father.
Classes were going okay, but she wished that her last exam had gone better.
At least the student newspaper likes my columns. She signed off,
wondering what was going on with her friends. Lex Luthor sent occasional
emails to say hi. His messages always had something subliminal in them
and it was hard to tell where he was coming from in them. One of these
days, I need to figure you out, Lex.
Staring at the picture on her bureau, she studied her friends' faces.
Pete was doing all right out at UCLA. Clark and Lana were making some progress
at Arizona under the Duboises' tutorage. Those must be interesting classes.
Then her computer speaker beeped at her.
What the? She looked at the screen to see a little screenshot in
the corner. It said: Message from Lana: Hi! Wanna talk?
Talk about perfect timing! She logged in and typed: Hey, what's
going on? How are you doing?
Lana: We're okay here. Professor Dubois is letting us use his computer
to chat with you. His classes...are well...interesting to say the least.
Chloe (after allowing herself to chuckle): I'll bet. Classes here are a
challenge. I hate Algebra! History's proving to be a bear. Arrrgggh!!!
Lana: You should take it from Professor Dubois. He makes it interesting.
Chloe: History interesting? That would be a first. So, how's our resident
Lana: He's right here. Hang on.
Just before Clark was going to start typing, Dave motioned to him. "Let
me ask her something please."
He handed their host the keyboard.
He typed. Hi, Chloe. Do you have a set of headphones with your computer?
Chloe: Sure. I can plug them into the speaker. Why?
Dave: How about a microphone?
Chloe: Yeah, why?
Dave: Plug them in if you would.
Chloe: Okay, now what? Then she saw a message on the Chat screen.
Lana invites you to do a voice chat. Click here to accept. Sure!
As she clicked, her chat screen configured the computer. What's going on?
Dave: Do you have everything on?
Chloe: Yes, why?
Then over the headphones, she heard Clark. "Hi, Chloe. Can you hear me?"
Fumbling with the microphone, she responded, "Yes! Clark, is that you?"
"Yes, it's me," he responded, a smile crossing his face. "How are you hanging
"Well, as I was telling Lana, classes are going okay. I miss you guys though,"
she told him.
"It isn't the same without you here, Chloe. That's for sure," he stated.
"You ought to come here for a visit."
The reporter smiled and her eyes sparkled. They haven't forgotten me.
Oh come on, Chloe, of course not. "Sure, Clark, maybe you can send
somebody up here to pop me down there and back."
"We'll see what we can do," Dave's voice chuckled in the background. "Meantime,
don't keep Miri hanging, okay?"
"Right," Lana said, enlarging the first chat window and typing Miri, can
you do a voice chat?
Miri: Sure. Why? Is Chloe chatting with you?
Lana: Yes. Jump in. I'm sending the invite out now.
Miri: Cool. Hang on. She grabbed her father's headset, plugged it into
the speaker, and asked, "Hi! Anyone there?"
Is that? No way! "Miranda?" Chloe's voice asked through her earphones.
"Is that you?"
"Yeah. Chloe, how are you?" Miri inquired.
"I'm feeling better now. Thanks!" Chloe responded. "Are the others still
"Right here," Lana assured her. "Where were we?"
"You were about to let me type," Clark cracked, kissing her cheek.
For the next three hours, the four kids were having fun catching up on
things, cracking jokes, and reassuring each other.
Watching this scene, Dave and Angie smiled contentedly. This connection
was important to their young friends. Certainly, there wouldn't be a problem
in letting them do something like this on a weekly basis?
Not as far as I'm concerned, Dave mused. Looking at his wife, he
could see that she agreed with him. It was settled: they would have this
as a set chat time for the students.
["Come on," Angie urged through their link. "Let them have their conversation
"Okay," he agreed, joining her and their other guests in the front room.
Things were working out for the best after all. Perhaps this will work.
One can only hope.
(Additional Note: This section takes place about a week after "He's
Gone". For Mutant X fans, it is to be treated as spoiler space since it
is an alternate beginning to "A Breed Apart")
Lionel Luthor stormed into Genomex. Once again, Lex had defied him in going
out with the Sullivan girl. My son was meant for better women than that
poor trash. Reaching his office, he sat down and allowed his rage to
cool a bit. Best not to let the underlings see you out of control.
For several minutes, he sat there, staring off into space, contemplating
what might have been. He had intended to send his son out to the countryside
in order to teach him the lessons of Empire. Instead, the latter had fallen
prey to the wiles of the conquered, falling to their meager levels and
ignoring the glory for which he was meant.
It's time to teach you a lesson, Lex. And what a bitter lesson it will
be indeed. One's friends make you weak. It's time to learn you can't defy
Looking around him, he thought about what his friend, Mason Eckhart,
contemplated in this very chair and in the room here. Granted, the pictures
and effects, which he had added since acquiring the facility, livened things
up a bit, but the area still echoed his colleague's sterility and coldness.
Then his mind shifted to the jail cell where his friend, Stuart Dubois,
rotted for the alleged crimes against his children. You were too obsessed
with the genocide of new mutants, Mason. I, on the other hand, will turn
some of them to my advantage. Fight fire with fire. Along with Lex's friends,
I will take down Stuart Dubois's freakish offspring as well. I promise
you, Mason, they will pay for what they did to us all.
With that, he left the office and headed down to the genetic research
area. There, he found the rows upon rows of stasis pods. What a waste.
Still, they can be put to use particularly a certain one.
Dr. Harrison, the chief researcher, approached him. "Mr. Luthor, can
I be of some assistance?"
"Yes. This is where the new mutants are kept for future study, are they
not?" the businessman asked.
"Indeed. Why?" the slender, gray-haired man asked.
"I want to revive one. I believe he is designated Patient 0.0," Lionel
Harrison fidgeted with his glasses for a second. He wants to revive
a new mutant? Why? "We have other new mutant GSA agents."
"Not like this one," the new administrator asserted. "Take me to him."
"Very well," the other man conceded, leading him down a corridor into another
area where the earliest new mutant children of Genomex rested in their
pods. Pressing a button, he caused a circle of the containers to spin slowly
into position. After a minute, they stopped and one snapped open, releasing
the gases within.
Lionel stepped over to survey the sleeping man's face. He seems so at
peace. If the computers are right, he'll be the perfect instrument of vengeance.
"This is Patient 0.0?"
"He is," Harrison stated, allowing a bit of nervousness into his voice.
At that moment, the patient's eyes snapped open. "W...Where am I? Who are
"I'm Lionel Luthor, the new administrator of this facility, and you are
Gabriel Ashlocke, are you not?"
"I am indeed," the new mutant replied. "But why would you need my help?
These sheep hate me."
"I believe we can help each other. You see, I have some people I need to
eliminate," Lionel told him.
"And, what does that have to do with me?"
Lionel frowned. This one is going to be trouble. I'll have to keep an
eye on him. "I believe you know one of them-a certain biogeneticist
who used to work here: Adam."
Ashlocke's face betrayed a tiny bit of rage before he regained his composure
and allowed a cocky smile to form on his face. The little man doesn't
know why I was imprisoned in the tube there nor does he care. He'll be
the perfect instrument. Meantime, I'll make Adam pay for what he did.
"I'll be glad to help you deal with him. Now, can I get something to eat?
Forgive me, but I've been asleep for so long."
"Absolutely," Lionel agreed, leading his liberated ally toward the main
part of the compound.
As they walked off, Harrison trembled nervously. At the first opportunity,
he would need to find out more about Ashlocke before he was the doom of
The sunset had painted Sabino Canyon in an array of colors. Once the night
had settled across the desert, its creatures came out to play. One being
stood on the plateau staring at the lights of the city far below.
"Intolerable," Eckhart groused. "This is intolerable."
"What is, Mason?" Ali wondered although he already knew the answer. I
need to break him of this obsession with the mutants.
"What else...?" the former administrator asked impatiently.
"Patience, my apprentice. Subtlety will win the day here not the direct
approach. We aren't powerful enough yet to take on Brabant and the others."
"Then what do we do? Those freaks need to be eliminated for everyone's
sake," the fledgling argued, vamping out.
Ali nodded. I need to teach this one patience. "And they will be, Mason.
Give it time. Tomorrow, we leave for Toronto. Our allies are now ready."
"Yes," the former Janissary stated. "Come, we need to hunt." With that,
he streaked off into the night sky.
Eckhart grinned wickedly. Someday, Adam, I will have you and those pets
you love as children. Someday. Having affirmed that, he followed his
master toward the Old Pueblo.
Across town, Nick walked into the El Gato Negro and took his usual place
at the bar. In the six weeks since Ali and Eckhart had made their appearance,
it had been too quiet. Several times, he could have sworn that his senses
had picked up on the Janissary and his fledgling. However, when he had
gone to intercept them, they had vanished without a trace. Something
needs to be done before the Community and the new mutants are drawn into
a war. I'll have to get a hold of LaCroix. As much as I hate to admit it,
I may need his help.
"Pride goes before a fall, Nicolas," Janette advised, putting a glass
of wine in front of him. "LaCroix will want to know about the activities
of the Enforcers and the Renegades. Perhaps you two can trade information,
That's a good point. "Considering what we're all up against, that's
worth pursuing, Janette," he admitted.
"How are Dubois's students doing anyhow?" she asked.
"They're fine with both college and with their powers. A couple of times,
they've already helped some of our kind stay unnoticed," he noted, sipping
on his drink.
"At least they know how to stay unnoticed," Tracy mentioned, joining them.
"Unlike their professor."
"He's stayed out of trouble the last few months, Trace," Nick disagreed.
"Coordinating all of these things with me has taken all of our time."
"Yeah, leaving me and Schanke to deal with extra paperwork on those nights
you take vacation," she groused.
"Vacation isn't just for mortals," Nick pointed out.
"True," his partner indicated, lowering her voice to a whisper. "Still,
I wish you would get this stuff settled with the Enforcers so that Vachon
and the others can relax. This city's like a powder keg, you know."
"I know," he sighed. Don't I know it. "Well, I guess we have to
get back on the road. Crime never sleeps."
"Yeah and neither do we," she groused, putting the glass down and leaving
a five dollar bill with Janette to cover the cost. "Thanks."
"My pleasure," the lady of the night replied as they left. Be careful,
Nicolas. You are treading on thin ice with this one. Listen to your partner.
She knows of what she speaks.
Max sat on the roof of the Congress Hotel overlooking the city. Beneath
her, the lights shone and the cars zoomed up and down the thoroughfares
as they always did. Even the birds seemed to fly by blissfully unaware
of how things were changing. Those adjustments were occurring even in her
own life. The day job wasn't working out. Maybe delivering messages for
Jam Pony had worked in the future, but she was tired of it. She knew Original
Cindy wasn't happy here with the town or with how things were going with
How lucky most of them are. They just go on with their lives day in
and day out. They'd freak if they really knew about the kind of crap that's
going down around them. At least, things are going okay with those new
mutant kids. I'm glad someone's making a difference with them. Maybe this
time, Adam and Mutant X can prevent the Pulse from taking place.
Then she heard the door creak open behind her. Assuming a defensive
posture almost immediately, she was relieved to see Dave standing there,
observing her movements. "What are you doing here?"
"You're not the only one who needs to meditate, you know," he pointed out
walking over to share the view. "Nice vantage point."
"Thanks," she accepted. "So what are you really doing up here?"
"I figured that this is where you go to think. After that, well, I followed
your aura up here," he explained.
She cracked a smile. Sometimes, this guy's too much. "So you're our resident
psychic bloodhound, huh?"
"To quote a friend of mine: 'I have many skills'," he quipped. "And you're
right, I do have an alternate motive for being up here. I wanted to offer
She glared at him. Usually when people offered things, they wanted something
in return. "Okay, what's the deal?"
He put his hands up defensively. "Hey! Chill out. No strings, I promise."
"Great. So what is it?" she asked.
"Since your arrival, you've been a great help to us all, Max. I know it
hasn't always been easy for you here, but when we've needed you, you've
been there for us. I just spoke with Adam and the others and there may
be something to offer you. How would you like to go to college?"
She scoffed. Me? In college? Yeah right, that'll be the day. "Look,
I appreciate the offer, Dave. Really, I do. However, I can't see myself
at the university. Not yet anyway. Umm...there was something though."
He replied, "Sure. What is it?"
"I would really like to join Mutant X. No offense, but I can learn more
from Adam and the others than in the classroom," she requested.
He shrugged. "You understand if I disagree with the second statement, Max,
but the offer will be there when you're ready to take it. Meanwhile, you'll
need to talk with Adam about that request. Okay?"
"Sure. Thanks," she told him, returning to her vigil.
He smiled and turned toward the door.
As he opened it, she called, "Hey, Dave!"
He answered, "Yes, Max?"
She smiled warmly. "Thanks to you and your wife for being so nice to me.
I know I'm not the easiest person to deal with, but you guys have been
He grinned. There's more to her than just the drone. "It's our pleasure.
Just remember what I said. Have a good night." With that, he departed,
leaving her to the vigil.
She looked out on the city once again, but this time, it seemed a little
brighter. Perhaps I might make it here after all. Hopefully, Adam will
let me join the team. Meantime, I can help everyone and keep learning something
in the process. Looking at her watch, she saw it was 11:30. Hmm...almost
time to meet up with Logan. She grinned to herself, thinking how he had
arranged for a gourmet dinner for tonight.
Things were definitely looking up, but for how long? One could never know.
All they could do was live for the moment, and deal with the future as
THE END (for now)
(Thanks for reading this piece and for your interest! Now, that you've
met the U of A's special freshmen and I've set up all of the events, now
it's time to set the events in motion. In the next piece, "Sins of the
Fathers", Dave and company set out for their class reunion as well as their
families' gathering to celebrate Miri's homecoming. What happens will shock
everyone as the GSA spoils both parties. Stay tuned!
If you want to keep up with the Dubois Chronicles, go to my site at http://dante6.fanspace.com/dubois/dubois.html
and sign up for the DuboisChronicleUpdates group on Yahoo Groups.
Thanks again for your interest!)
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