Chapter 5: The More Things Change

“Can they actually do this?” Scott asked as he looked down at the cancelled insurance policies.

“Yes. According to the registration laws, non-disclosure of mutant status when you purchased the insurance counts as a pre-existing condition and is grounds for cancellation,” Xavier told him. “That means all medical and life insurance policies for mutants can be cancelled.”

“This is the first step isn’t it? Things are going to be getting nasty soon. I was right. We do need to set up a vegetable garden in the back. We can even grow wheat and the like. We can use the types of food production as a part of the history classes. Are the plans for the expansion on track?”

“The contractor called me today. The costs will be increased because his men will have to be on campus with mutants.”


“It’s a daily surcharge of one hundred per member of the crew on the campus.”

“That’s extortion.”

“And perfectly legal under the new laws.”

“I could have sworn that the law only covered the actual registration and who had access to it.”

“It does, but it also says that the knowledge can be used to remove or control for the mutant threat.”

“In other words, we’re screwed.”

"In general, yes. We need to step up our campaigns. And I think we need to make ourselves a little less defensive and a little more offensive.”

“But the X-men have always been known as protectors of mutants and humans.”

“They’ve also labeled the team as terrorists. I doubt seriously that anyone considers us protectors. The papers have done a wonderful job of only reporting the negative news about us. You’re wedding was a positive story. But that is not connected with the X-men. That is only connected with our public campaign for equality.”

“I’ve noticed. Damn. We’re going to have a bunch of refugees soon. And we barely have enough room for them.”

“What makes you say that? We’ve been getting a steady flow ever since the beginning of the registrations. What’s caught your attention?”

“I see a bunch of parents turning out kids because they are no longer covered under their parent’s insurance and they won’t be an asset to have around much longer. I can see parents worrying that having one mutie child means they’re going to lose their coverage, their retirement, their jobs. They’re gonna move to protect themselves first. It’s a natural instinct, especially with something like this.”

“Not all parents are neglectful.”

“And not all parents have enough money to support or care for the special needs of a mutant child. Like red quartz glasses, or feeding an increased metabolism. When they’re that poor, they’re going to send the kid to the streets to do whatever they can to bring in money.”

“You’re thinking that they’re going to send their children on the streets to deal?”

“Steal, trick, deal, wash dishes. It doesn’t matter, but there are kids that are going to not be going to school. And there are going to be drop-outs that don’t want to deal with the hell of being a mutant. I have a sick knot in my stomach that says it’s not just going to be the insurance companies for very long. There’s going to be lay-offs and soon. You know that.”

“Scott, the path before us is becoming clearer. Do you see that? If the society won’t take care of us, we’re going to have to change the society. If it takes force to do that we will. But we need to remember and draw strength from not being alone.”

“Reverse segregation. Like Magneto and his island?”

“No. I was thinking more along the lines of overthrowing the government.”

“I thought that was Mystique’s look out.”

“She’s a terrorist. I was thinking of an army.”

“You are not going to use children to fight this battle. No, the school remains what it always was, a safe haven. I won’t let that part of the dream die.”

“The school will remain. I’ve spoken with Emma Frost. She’s been expanding her academy as well. She’ll be in a position to aid us if we become over-run with children. I wish there were a way to gather children from father away.”

“Besides recruitment speeches in high schools?”

“Yes, besides that,” Xavier returned the smile.

“I don’t think we need to worry about that end of it. I think they’re finding their way to us well enough. What do you think of the new military policies?”

“I think they’re fools.”

“Medical discharges. I have to wonder if they’re only getting rid of the ones they can’t control.”

“Like telepaths, you mean?”

“Yes. And I wonder if maybe they aren’t just transferring them in to some other place.”

“My you’re suspicious.” Xavier smirked.

“Old habits die hard.”


“Damn, this is not good. Belle! Did you see the latest reports on the military discharges?”

“Yes. Most of the Assassins that were there are heading back to their home guilds. I don’t like this Remy. I don’t trust this at all. We need to up our speed. I wish we could skip more classes.”

“Don’t worry, chere. At the rate things are changing, I’m not going to have to worry about them.”

“What? You didn’t tell me you were having trouble in class.”

“I’m not. It’s just a premonition. I think they’re going to discharge all the alphas on their rosters.”

“You can’t be serious.”

“Chere, I can blow up a building. They aren’t going to want me on campus because I’m a danger to the other students.”

“Shit. I could do more damage with a grenade launcher.”

“Yeah, but they don’t care about human killing machines.” She stuck her tongue out at him. “I was thinking of dropping out. I can learn from books just as well as anything else. And that means I can devote more time to our projects. Raising capital and the like.”

“I don’t want you to walk away from this. Damn it, you fought hard to get in. When I met you you could barely read.”


“Non. I’m not letting you walk away from this. You’re staying in school. Don’t make it any easier on them. If nothing else, it’s a bad political move because your family has a lot of clout. And so does mine. To throw out someone named Boudreaux-LeBeau, they’ll have trouble.”

“We’ll see, chere. I’ll stick it out. But we’ll have to work some of this stuff rather quickly. We need to decide which parts are the most important and what needs to be done first.”

“Scare up capital so we can put in more bids. We’ll start investing in some almost foreclosed properties and collect rent from the owners. Maybe we should get ourselves an apartment building or two. Then, we need to start on the hospital and school in North Dakota. The tribe decided to take our deal. They don’t give a damn if we’re blue with yellow polka dots, they need the hospital and they don’t particularly care for the federal government.”

“Okay, I’ll start getting the labor. Do we have the permits we need?”

“I’ve got my assistant working on that.”

“Ooooh, an assistant. I’m jealous. Unless I kill off Henri, if I want an assistant I have to take on an apprentice.”

"Then maybe that’s what you’ll have to do. See if you can find yourself a cute one, okay?”

“Male or female?”

“I really don’t care. You know that.”

“Short, tall? Young, old? Red head?”

“Red-head, definitely. Our age will do. And somewhere between my height and yours I think.”

“Let’s see. I think Mystique’s daughter is free.” Belle put her hands on her hips.

“I knew I shouldn’t let you meet with a female. I told you. It’s the hormone thing.”

“What? You’d rather I found a boyfriend?”

“That could be interesting,” Belle considered. Remy rolled his eyes and pulled her close for a quick kiss. “A big, strong boy chile to protect us both.”

“Oh, right. That’s going to happen.”

“Big and muscled not a turn on?”

“Let me think. Um. No. Not particularly. I tend more for blondes.”

“Who can still beat the shit out of you.”

“Ow, Hey, what was that for?” He rubbed his shoulder. “Okay, okay. Let’s see. We’re looking for a relatively intelligent red-head who’s somewhere around our height, with fighting spirit and the slightly bent morals needed to be a proper apprentice and a partner in crime.”

“That sounds just about right. Barring that, find us a street-rat to adopt and train.”

“Okay. I’ll keep it under advisement.”


//You know, this would be a lot simpler if you could convince Storm to take up thieving again. My skills are so rusty that they’re obsolete.//

//Just pick the lock and get us in.//

//And I don’t carry lockpicks in my headdress like Miss Stormy does either.//

//No, just in the left hand inner pocket of your leather jacket when you decide to go out on the town sometimes.//

//No fair peeking in my pockets. How am I supposed to hide your surprises?//

//I’m a telepath, Sweetheart, you have no secrets.//

//Great. Then what am I thinking right now?//


//We’re in.// Jean and Scott slipped in to the air shaft from the basement and climbed up. //This is the only reason we didn’t force Storm to do this right?//

//And I know you really wanted to practice.//

//Right. I hate this. I’m not that good.//

//Just make sure we stay quiet. I’ll take care of the guards while you rewire the cameras.//

//Just to let you know, this isn’t what Charles was planned on me doing.//

//That’s what you think.//

//Oh do tell, Goddess of Gossip.//

//Did I say something? Three guards. They’ve doubled the forces.//

//Mystique has been hitting them pretty hard.//

//Why didn’t we just buy the information off of her?//

//Charles is afraid that if we do that the government will catch on to our alter egos.//

//Wonderful. We could try to find the thief that took it in the first place.//

//The King of Thieves? He’s no more than a legend. He’s supposed to be over 100. Three, two, go.//

//Got a fix. They’re still functioning, they just aren’t going to see you. Just don’t let the camera catch you.//

//Camera neutralized. Feedback loop initialized. For both hallways. Let’s go. Keep it quiet.//

//Gotcha. We’ve got a new guard on the hall.//

//Is he readable?//

//He’s doing his rounds. He won’t notice us. Are you ready for the cipher lock?//

//Hopefully the code’s the same as it was when you picked the clerk’s mind. If not, yes, I think I can get us in. It won’t be pretty though.//

//I can keep them from hearing anything.//

//Okay. Turned away. Let’s go.//

//Did it work?//

//We’re in. I’m scouting for cameras. Shit, I was worried about that.// Scott took careful aim and knocked loose the wires connecting the camera to the security room. //Hurry.// He picked the lock on the file cabinets and Jean grabbed the files and opened the link to Xavier. He took the transferred information and fed it directly to Cerebro. //Gotta go. We’re running out of time.//

//Just one more file.// Scott shoved the files back in to the cabinet and locked it after himself. They scrambled out of the hall seconds before the camera feedback ended. //I hope they don’t register our powers.//

//We’re out of towners.// On the streets, they looked like a couple out on an evening stroll through the monuments. It was warm enough for the moonlit stroll and if they were doing that they were either tourists or locals. They were ignored.

//Let’s get home. I never want to do that again.//

//Liar. You’ve still got a rush from getting away with it.//

"Have I told you how much your skin looks like the cherry blossoms?” Jean giggled. “Or how beautiful the moonlight makes your hair look?”

“Stop it.”

“Why should I? The sap patrol isn’t around to claim they’re falling ill because of insulin shock.”


“Mama, do we have ta take down anotha one tanight?”

“Stop whining, Rogue.”

“Ah’m bored.”


“Well, Ah am. We keep doin’ tha same thing and it ain’t workin’. They’re just as slimy as they were before. They’re like big bugs. Ya can’t squash ‘em well enough ta kill ‘em. We need ta do somethin’ more.”

“Girl’s got a point, Mystique. The FOH is just getting stronger. We need a new approach.”

“Which is why we’re going after the weapons suppliers tonight.”

“Really? Cool.”

“I thought you’d like that.”


“Sir, the new reports are in. There are forty applications for admission to the island. The building is on schedule. We can house twenty of the applicants at the moment.”

“Let me look at the applications.”

“Of course, sir.”

“And bring me the plans for the food production areas. We can’t feed them all off of what the island is currently producing. I want a status report on medical supplies. Did the Brazilian president’s office return our calls?”

“Not yet, sir.”

“Call and tell the secretary to schedule us an appointment. We’ll meet with him as soon as possible.”

“Colombia called us. He can meet you tomorrow.”

“Good. I’ll get ready to go then. The applications before anything else please.”