Chapter 6: Maddening Crowds

“Johnson, my office.” The carpenter set aside his tools and went to the foreman’s trailer office.

“Yes, Frank?”

“I’m sorry, Kid. Word came down from the head office. You’re fired.”

“What? Why? What did I do?”

“Nothing yet, but there’s a new company policy. No alphas on jobs.”

“But, sir, I’ve been working here since I got out of high school. I’ve never had an on the job incident. I’ve never had anything happen.”

“It’s not my choice. If it was you’d be on this job at least ‘til it was finished. But, I’ve got something for ya, Kid. There’s a job. It’s in North Dakota, but they’re willing to pay for transport and all. And they don’t care what you are as long as you’re good. I’ll call for you if you want it.”

“I’ll take anything. It’s not like there’s anything to keep me here anymore. Jody was killed by one of those FOH bastards last year. You know that.”

“Yeah. Sit down, Kid. Let me put in the call.”

"Hello. This is Nightwing Enterprises.”

“I’ve got a carpenter here. Heard you were hiring. You still got openings.”

“Yes. What’s his name and how soon can he pack to leave?”

“His name is Peter Johnson.”

“Why are you letting him go?”

“New company policy. He’s got TK. He’s gotta go. Sucks. He’s my best carpenter.”

“Don’t worry. He’ll be fine. Do you have any other people?”

“Not on this job, but our company has a lot of jobs in the area. I’ll let the other foremen know to call. Let me put him on the line with you.”

“Hello? This is Peter.”

“Hi, Peter. How long do you think it’ll take you to pack? And do you have tools to bring?”

“It’ll take me about two days to tie things up here. I’ve got to break the lease on my apartment…”

“No, don’t. We’ll take over the rent payments for the moment. We may need to send a recruiter to your area if we start getting a lot of calls. Do you have a lot of furniture to come?”

“It’s just a one room. There’s not a heck of a lot. Just my bed and dresser and my mom’s old table.”

“Okay, we’ll have the moving company at your home in two days. Pack your clothes and tools to come with you on the trip. There will be a car to pick you up at the same time as the movers get there. What is your address?”

“774 Elm Street Apartment 75C. Oakwood, CA.”

“Don’t forget to get the phone service disconnected. We’ll provide you with all you need until your things arrive. And there will be plenty of work. We’re starting a new community. Welcome aboard Peter.”


“What do you mean I'm being let go?" Adam Charles, CPA asked. Behind him, on his desk, was his award for most valuable employee.

"The head office decided that we had to let Alpha mutants go because they could be dangerous."

"Could be? Bob, I've never done anything to indicate I could be a danger to people. I've never hurt anyone!"

"You're a telepath. They're worried about security."

"But I've worked here for ten years. Bob? What is this going to do to my career? Oh, Christ."

"Listen, there's a company I heard of. Here's their number. See if they know of any place."


"You can't do this! I'll sue!"

"Try it, Honey. You're out. You're an alpha. You're out. Bottom line. I'm not going to have any of your kind working here."

"How dare you! Fine. I'll see you in court."

"It ain't going to court, Bitch. Get out." Betty Cade was furious as she stormed through the office. She slammed her things in to a box and grabbed her coat. She couldn't believe it. She just couldn't believe it. She'd been an architect in the firm for years.

"Betty. Here. They're hiring. No one knows for what, but they're mutant friendly."

"Thanks, Jimmy. I'll see you around."

"Yeah, you will."


Nightwing Enterprises was a new company. It was privately owned. That was all anyone seemed to know about it. Betty Cade had already called the ACLU. They told her they had too many similar cases and they would take her name and number and contact her. She knew that was bullshit. Don't call us, we'll call you. "Well, here goes nothing."

"Nightwing Enterprises."

"My name is Betty Cade. I was told you were hiring. What positions do you have open?"

"What's your field?"

"I'm an architect."

"Great. When can you be ready to move?"


"To North Dakota. We'll pay all relocation costs."

"What's the catch?"

"No catch. We're starting a new community. We're going to need architects to help us make housing plans and build the schools and businesses. We need all the help we can get."

"There's always a catch."

"Do you mind working with humans and mutants?"


"Then, no catch. Well, the current living conditions aren't the best, but we're working as quickly as we can to get everyone in to an individual apartment."

"You're setting up housing?"

"Of course. We did say all costs."

"Okay, okay, I'm not going to look a gift horse in the mouth. When do I leave?"

"When can you be packed and ready to go?"

"Give me two days."

"The movers will be there shortly."


Belladonna looked at the reports. She smiled. Their properties had all been rented and the hospital project was well under way. In fact, the town was beginning to fill up. It was great having people all over the country.


"Scott, have you seen the latest reports? The ACLU is…" Bobby stopped short when he saw the man in a pinstripe suit sitting in front of Scott's desk. "I'll just go back and see if the new kids have everything they need."

"Thank you, Bobby." Scott turned his attention back to the lawyer. "And you were saying?"

"We would appreciate any help your school could offer to my daughter. She was fired yesterday. The school system decided that all alpha mutants were a danger to the students and turned them out."

"She was a teacher?"


"Tell her and her friends to come to the School. We'll see what we can do. We will be needing more staff soon. Especially at the rate that we keep getting students."

"About that. Do you need help financially?"

"Any help is appreciated. Always. Thank you."

"Of course, Mr. Summers. Dr. Xavier is very lucky to have you running things."

"Thank you for saying so, Mr. Smith." Smith smiled. The young man in front of him was about the same age as his daughter. He couldn't help feeling as if he should be doing more. "Would you like a tour of the current facility?"

"Thank you for the offer, but no. Are the plans you have tacked up there for an addition to the school?"

"Yes, sir. We're planning to add a third level as well as a new wing."

"I have some contacts in the building supply arena. Let me see what I can do for you."

"Thank you." Scott took Smith's hand in a firm handshake. "Let me walk you out." As they went through the school Smith was disconcerted to see a young woman running through the hall and through the walls as well. "Kitty!" Scott called. She popped her head out of a closed door. "Did you get the computer lab functional again?"

"Not yet," she told him. "I'll get it done by the end of the day. I just need to track down a few lines of code."

"And Kurt?"

"Yeah, you know where he is?"

"Benny cut himself. He's in the lab."

"Okay. Thanks, Fearless." She waved and disappeared as Scott spoke again.

"Kitty, don't call me… Forget it. I give up."


"Fearless Leader. One of my friends started it when we were still students here and somehow it got leaked to the next generation." Scott shook his head as Smith laughed.

"Scott, have you seen Kitty?" Jean asked from overhead.

"She's looking for Kurt."

"Do you know where the new monitors got put?"

"They're in the computer lab. Or at least they should be. I thought you were taking care of that?"

"Oh, no, the big strong men had to do it."

"Meaning Logan got chivalrous on you and you just wanted to watch the rest of us suffer for it?"

"Watch it. I know where you sleep." She threatened lightly. "Okay. If you see Kitty, ask her to meet me in the Library."

"Of course, dear." Jean stuck her tongue out at him.

"Who was that?"

"My wife. The den mother."

"Ah, I see. I'm glad to see that everyone is so close here." Scott paused and turned. Smith caught sight of the flapping tail of a yellow coat. Scott pinched the bridge of his nose.

"I don't even want to know what she's done now."

"Jubilation Lee!" Logan yelled from the garage.

"She went to the den, Runt."

"Thanks, Slim."

"Do I need to know?"

"Nope. She's my kid."

"What did she do?"

"She's been riding my bike."

"She doesn't have a license!"

"I know that. And she picked my pocket to get the keys." Scott sighed.

"Guess I know who gets dish duty tonight," he stated as Logan disappeared. Smith grinned.

"Thank you, Mr. Summers. My daughter will call you tomorrow."

"Thank you, Mr. Smith. Drive safely. They're crazy out there."


Mystique looked down her nose at the new recruits. There was Sammy who was also a shapeshifter. Maurice who went by Preacher and had wings, much as Angel. Maurice’s wings however were a brilliant shade of red. Paula was a telepath. And Lena was a healer. She wasn’t sure why they’d chosen to go the mercenary route, but she was going to make sure they survived it. She wasn’t planning on casualties to slow her down. The main thing would be to keep Lena safe. She would be able to take care of any of the problems they encountered.

Rogue studied the new ones with bored disdain. She wasn’t sure they were going to survive it. Maurice especially seemed vulnerable. He was a perfect target. Maybe she could convince him to die his wings black so he wouldn’t be as easy to target in the night sky. At least his wings weren’t white. Sammy, well, he’d come in handy. And the healer would be good too. She wondered if the girl would be able to touch her without being drained. It was hard to control her absorption powers, but it was coming along nicely. She could touch several of her teammates with no ill effects. And there hadn’t been a problem when she met with the thief either. Too bad that one was married. She’d bet he’d be fun for a night or two. Beyond that, he seemed high matainence.

Destiny smiled to herself. The future was still dark, but this new group brought new possibilities.