Spoilers: "A Breed Apart"
Author's Notes: I was watching "A Breed Apart" again today and remembered several of the questions that came up involving that episode—most notably how only the Mutant X members were the ones going through the "mutant growth spurt." Then this little idea hit me, and here ya go. I hope this answers that particular question. Enjoy!
Summary: Sometimes, evolution just needs a little nudge. Adam is about to play god once again.
He sighed and looked over the charts again. They were all due for another physical soon, and those were never fun. The actual process itself wasn't so bad, but it was trying to convince them that they needed this check-up that was. They never cooperated. Instead, they'd come up with some excuse to get out of it. Brennan's last one was that he had set up a meeting with a New Mutant—quite legitimate—until Adam found out that he had gone out cruising for girls. Now, Adam doesn't believe one excuse that any of the team can come up with.
Adam was trying to think up a way to get them all to acquiesce when his e-mail chimed. He glanced over at it, grateful for the interruption. He narrowed his eyes when he saw the return address. He'd never seen it before, but knew it was from Genomex. His first thought was it was a virus or that it was a tracking bug. He pulled up the virus scan software and scanned the e-mail and the system that comprised the e-mail network. When he found no trace of anything suspicious, he opened the e-mail.
What he found inside surprised him. It was from a janitor at Genomex. Adam had always thought that the janitors weren't allowed their own e-mail address with the company, but apparently he was wrong. He shrugged it off and began to read through the message.
You don't know me, but there are rumors that someone called Gabriel Ashlocke is starting a mutiny. I checked and found out that he is in a stasis pod and that you put him there. They say he is the most powerful New Mutant ever, and I thought you deserved to know. Don't write back.
The Unknown Cleaner.
He gasped aloud and backed away from the computer, as if it had burned him. He sat heavily down on the bed behind him and tried to calm his nerves. If Gabriel was back, everything he had worked for was in jeopardy. Everything he had accomplished was in jeopardy. Zero-point-zero would destroy it all. And there was no way to stop him.
But then, Adam suddenly had an idea. He rushed over to the area reserved for chemical use and began to hunt through his vials. He now knew exactly what to do to stop Gabriel, and all that was involved was a few simple injections into his children.
"Hey, Adam!" Emma said cheerfully as she flopped down on the chair. It was time for her physical, and she was the only one willing to go through with it right away. The others were sitting together in the recreation area, trying to concoct believable excuses. Emma had volunteered to go in first because she knew the importance of the examinations.
"Hey, Emma. How are you feeling today?" Adam asked, coming over to stand by her. He looked her over, gently pushing on one of the bruises along her abdomen.
"Fine. Hey, ow!" Emma swatted his hand away and gave Adam a look that could kill.
"Sorry. How'd you get that bruise?" he asked, turning back to the computers behind him.
"Sparring with Jesse. He got a little. . .into it," she said, grinning at Adam's back. She and Jesse had just recently been practicing in the dojo when he hit her hard in the abdomen. He instantly apologized and went to help her, when she hit him right back in the abdomen. She shook her head at the memory of that day. He had been angry for days about it!
"I see. Well, be careful for a while and no sparring until that's healed."
"Yes, mother." Adam just rolled his eyes but said nothing further. He turned on the computer's scanner and watched as the yellow beams swept across her body, noting anything and everything. When they were finished, he looked over the results.
"So, how am I doing?" Emma asked, coming up behind him.
"Great, as usual. Now, there's just one more thing. . ." Adam said, squeezing past Emma and going over to the opposite counter. He carefully removed a vial of amber-colored liquid from the rest and prepared an injection.
"What is that?" she asked, her eyes flitting between him and the needle.
"This will keep your powers from mutating, in some ways."
"What do you mean 'in some ways'?" she asked, looking skeptical.
"I mean it will prevent your powers from doing more harm than good to you. It won't affect them and will allow them to become stronger, but only to a point. Understand?" Adam explained, motioning for Emma to sit down again.
"Yeah, I get it. Well then, shoot me up!" Adam grinned and gently pierced the tender skin in her arm, then pressed the plunger and watched as the contents emptied into her. One down, three to go.
"Okay, all done. Send in Jesse next." He turned away and disposed of the needle and began to reset the equipment for the next physical.
"Okay!" Emma said cheerily and left the lab, holding a cotton swab to the crook of her elbow. A few minutes later, Jesse came sulking into the lab, obviously not happy at being there. The fact that he said nothing was a clue to Adam that Jesse hadn’t come up with a believable excuse, instead opting to pout about the whole thing. This could be a long fifteen minutes.
"How are you feeling?" Adam asked, coming over to the side of the bed to perform the visual observation.
"Fine," Jesse said gloomily.
"Uh-huh," Adam said, restraining the childish urge to roll his eyes. His children could be such, well, children sometimes. He poked lightly at a bruise that covered Jesse abdomen dead center.
"Ow!" Jesse cried out, jerking in surprise at the pain.
"Let me guess, sparring with Emma?" Adam inquired, a knowing look in his eyes.
"Yeah. Remind me never to be chivalrous again." Adam chuckled lightly and soon Jesse joined in, his sulkiness forgotten.
"Okay, well, you look fine on the outside. Just take it easy a bit with the sparring until that bruise heals. Let’s see about the inside." Adam walked over to the computer console and typed in a few commands, watching the yellow beams scan over Jesse’s reclined body. A second later the results popped up on his screen and he began looking them over.
"How am I looking, Adam?" Jesse called out from his chair.
"Perfectly healthy, as expected. Now, there’s only one little shot left. . ."
"Whoa, a shot? That’s new." Jesse glanced at Adam warily as he filled the syringe with the amber liquid.
"Your powers are becoming stronger, Jesse. This will just help to make sure that they won’t hurt you as they continue to grow," Adam explained, stretching the truth just a bit.
"Oh. That makes sense."
"Yes, it’s funny how that can work sometimes," Adam said dryly, pressing the needle into Jesse’s arm, earning a glare from him. With another shot administered, Adam began to feel a bit better. If Ashlocke really was coming back, at least two would be prepared.
"Would you send Brennan in? Drag him in, if you have to."
"Sure," Jesse said, heading out of the lab with a cotton ball also pressed to his arm.
Several minutes and several loud protestations that could be heard throughout Sanctuary later, Brennan came stumbling into the lab, obviously having been shoved through the doorway.
He instantly began to weave an excuse to get out of the physical, and Adam once again restrained the urge to roll his eyes.
"Hey, uh, Adam, I have this meeting with a New Mutant that wants to get into the Underground and I figured, you know, I could go do that, since it is a bit more important. . ."
"On the contrary, your physical is very important. Besides, I’m sure he or she will understand perfectly if you explain that you were fifteen minutes late because you needed to get your annual physical," Adam explained reasonably, grabbing hold of Brennan’s elbow and guiding him toward the examination chair.
"But-" Brennan began to protest, but was cut off by Adam.
"Sit," he said sternly, and Brennan complied, though obviously not happy about it.
Adam quickly ascertained that there were no outward injuries, which was rather rare for Brennan, and told him such. His only response was an impassive grunt, and this time Adam gave into his impulse and rolled his eyes.
He completed the internal diagnostic, even though the entire time Brennan sat with his arms crossed, glaring at some unknown point on the wall. Foregoing telling Brennan that he was perfectly healthy—he had a feeling that Brennan already knew that, Adam grabbed another syringe and filled it with the amber liquid, then came over by Brennan and held it up in the light while reaching for his arm.
"Whoa, whoa, whoa! Needle!" Brennan said in alarm, nearly falling off of the chair. "That’s not part of the physical!"
"You’re right, Brennan. But it has become necessary," Adam said, reaching for Brennan’s arm again, only to have it jerked away.
"Why is it necessary? Can’t you just do a little magic and use like, a hypospray or something?"
"Have you been watching Star Trek again, Brennan?" Adam asked, narrowing his eyes. The last time Brennan had watched Star Trek he had become rather upset at having to go through a standard physical, insisting that Adam use a tricorder-like device instead. Adam told him he would, if they really existed.
"No," Brennan said, not meeting Adam’s eyes.
"Uh-huh. Anyway, in answer to your earlier question, it is necessary because your powers are beginning to become stronger. You’ve noticed it, haven’t you?"
"Yeah, I guess so. I never really thought about it before," Brennan replied, understanding beginning to flush his face.
"Well, this," Adam said, shaking the little syringe for effect, "will keep your powers from hurting you while they become stronger. It’s a safety measure."
"A safety precaution against myself. Nice. Well, get it over with," Brennan said, sticking out his arm. Adam pierced his vein, and Brennan winced slightly.
"Here, have a cotton ball," Adam said, pressing it to the place where the needle had been.
"Thanks, I think," Brennan said, getting up and heading out of the lab.
"Oh, Brennan! Could you please send Shalimar in?" Adam called after him.
"Yeah, yeah," Brennan said, wandering off toward the recreation area. Adam shook his head and sighed, preparing for the next and final patient.
Said patient soon appeared on the chair, slightly grumpy but resigned to her fate.
"All right, let’s just get this over with," she said tartly.
"Yes, let’s," Adam agreed.
And so began the physical observation, both doctor and patient ready to get the whole ordeal over with, and it hadn’t even begun.
"How’d you get all the scratches?" Adam asked, poking gently at one on her arm.
"A sparring program decided it didn’t like me too much and liked to use its nails," she said nonchalantly.
"Shalimar, you know you’re not supposed to turn off the safety controls when you’re in a sparring program. It’s dangerous and you could be seriously injured!" Adam said, admonishing her once again about her choices when it came to sparring programs.
"They weren’t completely off," she said in defense, but still shrugging the matter off. She was alive, and that was all that really mattered.
"We are going to have a long talk later," Adam said, obviously annoyed and disappointed in her.
"Okay," she said, a bit of her edge having disappeared at the tone of his voice.
The rest of the examination was passed in relative quiet, except for the hum of the machine as it swept yellow light over her body.
"You are, as expected, perfectly healthy," he told her, heading over to the counter that had one more syringe and the vial of amber liquid resting on its cool, black surface.
"This is the point where I get that new, special shot?" she asked, sitting up to try to glance over his shoulder.
"Yes, it is. I assume you talked to the others and understand why I’m giving this to you?"
"Yep, so I don’t manage to blow myself up or something equally less funny," she replied, holding out her arm. He smiled at her reassuringly, and stuck the needle in her arm. He could only hope that this would advance their powers, making them better prepared to fight against Gabriel, if it ever came to that. He could only hope that it never would.
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