"Burning Touch" by Shaule Sachs (c) 1997 [WARNING: This is an ALTERNATE Universe that contains SOME of the elements and characters but not all of Forever Knight, X-Men, Babylon 5, and Highlander. This story does not fit into any of the mentioned Universes time lines. This universe began with "Days of Future and Past" and continued in "Journeys."] [Notes: (1) Forever Knight and its Characters are the property of Tristar. Marvel Universe and its Characters are the property of Marvel Comics. Babylon 5 and its Characters are the property of PTEN and JMS. Highlander and its Characters are the property of Rysher. No intentional copyright infringement is meant. (2) The concept of Natalie "Inferno" Lambert belongs to Tracy Morris and is used with her permission. Tracy Morris' "Inferno" stories at http://comp.uark.edu/~tsmorri/inferno.html (3) The concept of Nick "Crusader" Knight and Don "Dionus" Schanke are mine, please ask for permission before using. My previous fanfic can be found at http://zaxxon.freeshell.org/FanFic/ EndNotes] =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= My story begins on April 14, 1962. The reason why my story starts there and not later in life, like other people, is because I was born different from others. I was born with the x-factor. The 'X' in x-factor is a series of genes in a human cell that gives that person who possesses the x-factor, such as myself, powers or abilities outside the human norm. Since we carry this extra gene, we are called 'mutants.' In order to better understand Mutants, the various mutations are classified into three groups. The first grouping is simply those mutations that remain dormant within the body unlike the other two which become active around puberty. The second grouping is those mutations that only effect localized biological systems or organs like instead of normal skin, a person has scales. The third grouping is those mutations that are not not localized to a single biological system or organs. Such examples as the mutation to create energy beams, adapting the entire body to flight, and enlarged appendages and muscle mass for increased dextrity and strength. These groupings are then related to three classifications. The most common class is the gamma-class. It is estimated that about thirty- percent of all humans are gamma-class. Most do not even know they are gamma-class mutants since the genes in them are dormant. The next class is beta-class, they posses mutations of the secong grouping. Betas make up about eight percent of the world's population. The third and last class is alpha-class. The class I belong to. Alpha-class has mutations in both the second and third groupings. Usually, most Alphas' mutations that are localized, either protect or support the non-localized mutation. We Alphas represent only a half of a percent of the world's people. Professor Charles Xavier and Doctor Moria MacTaggrt, the two world-recognized authorities on genetic mutation and Mister Sinister, one of the X-Men's greatest enemies and mad-scientist, proposed that a fourth group of mutants exist. Called omega-class, Omegas are theorized to possess of an x-factor containing two or more distinct primary 'mutant' characteristics. So far, no omega-class mutants have been detected. The first indication of my being a mutant came when I was five. It was then that my Mother and I discovered that my skin is heat resistant. Even when my major mutant ability is inhibited, I can withstand amazing amounts of heat. I scared my mother very badly when I, impatiently, reached into the oven and pulled out a cookies while the rest of the cookies were still cooking. Still love those not quite baked. They taste best when they are not as gooey as batter, but not yet baked hard. Having done it before when my mother was not looking, I thought nothing of it. My mother, on the other hand, nearly had a heart-attack when she noticed that my hand was perfectly normal and not burnt like it should have been. After she calmed down, she told me not to do that again. That I should have waited until the cookies were completely baked. While I knew I that I had upset her, I simply put it down to my eating a cookie before having dinner. While I grew with others complaining of the heat of summer and the cold of winter, I did not seem to notice the gradual temperature changes of the seasons. I could feel sharp contrasts in temperatures. Usually the greater the change, the more I could feel, but the feeling never lasted long. I had worn coats during the winter in Toronto more out of respect for my mother and fashion. It was when I was twelve, again in the kitchen with my mother, when my primary 'mutant' characteristic showed. I do not remember what we were cooking, only that we need the frying pan. Unfortunately our old stove was slow to light up, so, once again my impatience took over and I lit the burner. Boy did I ever light the burner. The flashing flame leapt from my finger to the burner, and then rose to set the curtains on fire. The curtains then fell into the pan of cooking oil which splattered everywhere. The firemen who came to talk to my dad and mom wondered why the poorly designed kitchen did not catch fire before this. While my father and the firemen believed the fire was simply accident involving our old-fashion stove. My mother and I knew differently. Fortunately, the fire was small plus the firemen responded quickly so the long overdue remodeling of the kitchen was simple. We replace the curtains and the old, dangerous oven with a safer, modern one. The rest was untouched by the fire. For a long time after, my mother could not look at the new oven without giving me a funny look. Four months and several flare up of my mutant ability that my mother suggested that a special, private school would be better for me than the Toronto public schools. My father objected at first since he did not see the need of having me in a private school while my little brother, Richard, could go to Public school. Somehow, Mom convinced my father that I should attend Jefferson's Private School for Girls in Upper-state New York. It seemed a little strange to be going to a school in the States. There were a few schools in Toronto that I could have gone to. Jefferson's was far enough away from home that I rately saw my family. I found out late that Mom had some help with her decision of which school I should attend. Despite being a private school Jefferson had an exclusive student body. The student body was made up with rich or important American, Canadian, Mexican, and a few European girls. How I, a daughter of a common Canadian worker, got in to the School I would not find out for awhile. Most of the classes were boring with the exception of Science. Biology led to my fascination with the human body, its complexity, and its healing with Medicine. It seemed odd to be enrolled in a private school, especially one in the States. In talking with Professor Erik Lehnsherr I discovered the reason. It was the Professor Lehnsherr, himself, that sponsored my entrance. It was he that helped my mother convince my father that I needed /special/ guidance in order to deal with my powers and being a mutant. Professor Lehnsherr showed me that I was different from everyone else and that I had a responsibility to learn to control my powers. For Professor Lehnsherr is a mutant too. At times, it seemed that Professor Lehnsherr was the only one who understood what I was going through with my mutant powers. He was the one who showed me how I could control my powers through my mind. I had just finished my Master of Medicine in the Summer of 1985 and was debating whether or not to continue onto my Doctorate work or take a vacation when I first met Doctor Charles Xavier. Erik had mention his close friend Xavier from time to time and had described him to a "T," so I saw him before me spotted me. I was surprised to met Xavier since Erik had always called him an workoholic. After introducing himself, he invited me out for dinner so we could talk privately. Over dinner we talked about little things, school, life and such. When we finished, we went for a walk, or rather, I walked and Xavier pushed himself in his wheelchair. Xavier mentioned that he knew that Erik had shown me how to use my mutant powers and that Erik and he had shown others to use their powers as well. It was the first time I had heard the words 'mutant' and 'x-factor' used. After reaching a secluded place in the park, Xavier explain how he and Erik had gathered six youths together, each who possessed the x-factor, and formed a team to combat the fear of 'evil' mutants like the ones who attacked that army base that was in the News last year. Apparently, some terrorists using high-tech weaponry tried to take over an Army base that had nuclear weapon stored there. The terrorists were stopped by another group strangers using unknown means. Xavier told me the strangers were his and Erik's X-Men and that was their first field assignment. I admit I was fascinated but, as when Erik had suggested it before, I did not see myself being some kind of Captain America. Xavier told me about the success the X-Men had, and the few failures. How Erik, my friend and mentor, was the media-dubbed "Master of Magnetism," Magneto. How Erik led the X-Men in the field while Xavier oversaw operations from their base and coordinated their activities with the state and federal agencies. I could see that. Erik had repeatedly told me, "with great power comes great responsibility." Xavier then told me how all but the one he called Cyclops was captured by a living island out in the pacific and he was forming another team of X-Men to go rescue the first team. At first, I admit, I did not realized that Xavier wanted me, a simple fire tossing mutant, to join the rescue mission. He explained that he knew I could do more than a lighter imitation and with my continuing education while not saving the world, I could serve as the team's field medic. Reluctantly, I joined. My new teammates and I became the second group or second string of X-Men. We were a very colorful group. Ororo was from Africa. Since she could control the weather we called her Storm. Her control of the weather came at the price that the weather control also controlled her thus the weather would literally influence her moods and vice versa. Nightcrawler already had a code name when he joined the team. Kurt Wagner was a circus performer in Germany for years under that name. His high spirits mirrored his acrobatic actions. He reminded me of a blue fuzzy version of Errol Flynn when he practiced his fencing. The only problem I and the others had with Kurt was when he teleported somewhere he left behind the smell of brimstone. Piotr ("Peter") Rasputin was an artist who wished to make the World a better place. He missed his younger sister, his older brother, and his parents that he left behind in Russia. We called him Colossus, because of his height and the fact that he could cover himself completely in an organic steel. Yet for all the destruction on the battle that Peter caused, he had a gentle heart, an overgrown teddy bear. Sean Cassidy, an old friend of Xavier, joined us. We named him the Banshee cause he could use his voice as a sonic weapon. Despite the pain that came from loss of his wife while working for Interpol, Sean still used those connections to help us out of some tight jams. We never really got to know Thunderbird very well. His sacrifice during our second mission has never been forgotten. To this day, I regret that I did not take the time to get to know him better. The last to join us before we went after the original X-Men was Logan from my own country of Canada. How to describe Logan? It was Logan they had in mind when they thought of animal magnetism. He was the oldest of the team, both in physical age and experience in the field. Code named Wolverine for his animal attitude and his indestructible claws and skeleton, Logan would have made a great field leader if was not such a loner. In the beginning of our relationship, I wanted something more than his friendship but as time went on I realized it was simply the sense of danger that Logan gave off that I wanted back then. Eventually, Logan married his long-time girlfriend Mariko Yashida and spent half his time in Japan with his wife. After burning down the training hall, Logan and the others started calling me Inferno. It was a fitting name since I could control and create fires of various intensities. A few weeks after rescuing the original team, Thunderbird was able to stop Count Nefaria from escape at the cost of his own life. Soon after, the team began to grow closer to one another. Like the original team, we had become a family. No longer did we hide behind our code-names, Storm became Ororo, a friend who went shopping with me. Kurt Wagner, Nightcrawler, and I discussed religion. Piotr Rasputin, the idealist Russian, would paint us and show his work to us. Banshee, Sean Cassidy, would tell us stories of his homeland of Ireland and help us with our training. We looked after ourselves. From the original team, Iceman, Angel, Quicksilver, and Beast decided to take some time off since they been active since the Vanisher attacked the Army base. Magneto and Professor X decided to place Scott, aka Cyclops, and Jean, aka Marvel Girl with us. Since Magneto was injured in the rescue and wished to spend some time with his children, he and Quicksilver took some time off to be with the Scarlet Witch of the Avengers, Magneto's daughter and Quicksilver's twin sister. Professor Xavier and Magneto decided to place Scott as our field leader. On our third outing with Scott and Jean, we ran into Sentinels. The Sentinels are three-stories high, artificially intelligent robots, which we later discovered were created by the United State Government to combat the "mutant menace." Their size, intelligence, and adaptability make them most dangerous foes the X-Men have faced. Although surprise was on their side, we were only able to defeat them through Scott's leadership and teamwork. A few weeks after our initial confrontation, the Sentinels returned, prepared. They showed their intelligence by not falling of the same tricks twice and by taking Scott out first. Without Scott's leadership, Logan went off on his own, Sean tried to organized us but failed, and to make a long story short, we were captured. We were imprisoned in an experimental space station. We were able to escape with the help a radiation storm that disrupted the systems. Unfortunately, that same storm also made leaving the station next to impossible because of that same radiation. We decided that Jean Grey had the best chance of successfully piloting the only remaining shuttle that only had a radiation shelter in the bay. The rest of us, packed into the lead-shielded radiation-shelter. Jean was able to use her telekinesis to shield herself from the radiation and she used her telepathy to keep in contact with Scott who was a pilot, and Frank Taylor, an NASA expert that Professor Xavier knew of. The experience drained Jean and the rest of the team. It was one thing to know that the ignorant feared us but to know that the U.S. Government had feared us enough to construct the Sentinels was another. The dynamics of the team changed with that knowledge and as we matured. These chances were reflected in the changes of our uniforms. Gone was the blue and gold uniforms that everyone wore. Instead we chose or own uniforms. The changes in uniforms arranged from minor like Scott's, who simply up-graded the technology in his uniform, wore yellow shorts over a blue spandex, and yellow gloves, to Storm's, who's uniform consisted of silver, knee-high boots, black biniki top and bottom, and a large cape that covered her when she was not flying. The new uniform I made for myself was a red outfit and black boots with a red mask in the shape of two flames. Xavier's reaction to the changes was mild compared to Erik's. When Erik found out, he lectured us on uniformity, obscurity, and the need to protect our families. Jean went a step further by changing her code-name from Marvel Girl to Phoenix as well as changing her uniform to a red outfit with green seams and green sash which emphasized her narrow waist, and on her upper chest was a golden phoenix emblem on black background. Time went on, as it must. We spent our time by saving humanity from itself. Since our official cover was that of Xavier's School of Higher Learning, the professors compelled us to study for degrees in our chosen field. I did not complain, my medical studies gave me something more to contribute to the tem. When we were not saving the world and studying, we were learning to control our powers better. We were all amazed at the level of control that Jean had developed with her power when she was able to handle Firelord by herself, but then Spider-Man had been able to defeat Firelord by himself too and he was not a mutant. So much happened during that year that it is impossible to list them all. Only some the events remained in my mind. Such as when the X-Men went out into outer space and saved the universe, the Shi'ar Empire, and the M'Kraan Crystal. We were captured by Mesmero, placed in a circus, and were freed by Magneto. Professor Xavier left us to join his beloved Lilandra on the Shi'ar Throneworld. Erik took over the base side operations with Cyclops still the field leader. We battled Alpha Flight for Logan's freedom. We fought Proteus, Doctor MacTaggart's son, when he went wild. We welcomed the New Year's 1987 with Katherine "Kitty" Pryde joining us with the code-name Sprite. We called her Sprite because of ability to turn herself intangible. Since Kitty was only fifteen, I took it upon myself to be her friend and to be a sister to her. Ororo's maternal instincts were raised when she saw how young Kitty appeared. While there was only about ten years separating me from Kitty, there was almost thirty years separating Kitty and Storm. In addition to Kitty joining us, Allison Blaire, the famous singer called Dazzler, joined us too. One thing in Life that is constant is change. With Sprite and Dazzler's addition to the roster, Jean and Scott had decided to take some time off. In addition to changes in the team, there were changes occurring in the world, such as the unsuccessful assassination attempt on Senator Kelly's life that we, X-Men, stopped. The disbanding of Alpha Flight that forced us to expand into Canada as well. Of course, there was the constant battles with those who would cause destruction or tyranny such as the Juggeraunt and Doctor Doom. With all the thrill of the life of an X-Man also came the chills. The biggest chill came when we, X-Men, found out that vampires do exist. Not only that vampires in general exist but the Count Dracula of legend and lore existed too. Count Dracula is one of the most ancient and therefore powerful vampire. Our knowledge of the Count came when Dracula had come to make Storm his bride. According to Storm, thousands years ago he had tried to find a bride. He pretended to be a healer as he searched throughout the Roman Empire for a woman who's evil would match his own. In the late first century. Dracula, then known as Qa'Ra the Ancient, found such a woman, or rather a girl. Divia was the beautiful daughter of some Roman General. Divia had everything that Dracula wanted in his bride, except >>>MARK<<
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