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Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14


Written by Elena Zovatto
Last updated: 01/02/2007 02:01:11 AM

Chapter 4

A stunned silence had fallen upon the group with the Jedi's revelation. Gambit stared incredulously at Nomi for a full minute before he managed to find his voice.

" So ... y' tellin' me dat apart from bein' a mutant ... I be one o' those few who c'n use ... this 'Force' dat y' tol' us about ? " he stammered in disbelief.

She nodded in affirmation.

" That's exactly what I'm telling you. And you've managed to develop your talent quite well so far, considering that you've lacked the proper training ..."

" I ... I don' know what y' talkin' about ... only 'talents' I got are t'ieving, an' blowing things up ..."

Remy's voice was thick with denial, but his eyes bore a hunted look, as they darkened in remembered pain.

" Are they indeed ? " Beast asked.

Gambit whirled toward the source of the question, then drew himself up straight.

" What's that s'posed t' mean ? " Remy asked defensively.

Hank sighed, and shook his head slowly.

" Oh, come now, Gambit. Do me the honour of granting me some credit ... I've long suspected that you had other abilities, but I always presumed that they were psionic in nature... However, I was never able to reconcile the emergence of biokinetic charge with psychic abilities in the configuration of your X-factor. The powers are simply too dissimilar -- after Miss Sunrider's little lecture, however, the possibility she has presented seems intriguingly plausible. "

" Remy, whyevah didn't ya tell us ? " Rogue asked in a hurt voice.

His murmured response was barely audible.

" Got m' reasons ... how ? An' how long have y' known, Hank ? "

Beast's voice held no accusation in its tone, but rather friendly concern.

" Well, I haven't known so much as suspected, " Hank admitted, " but it has been for a long time. Cerebro's inability to locate Storm due to interference while she was accompanying you was one clue -- and from her descriptions, your skill at talking your way out of trouble goes far beyond being the possessor of a silver tongue ... "

Nomi, who had been listening closely, nodded in recognition.

" Mind-manipulation through the Force ... an advanced talent, and one not easily developed. If you've managed to come that far on your own ... with training, you should be able to realize the full extent of your abilities. And judging from that piece of information, they're considerable. If you're willing, I can help you with them. "

" How ? An' excusez-moi, but what's your angle ? What d' y' want from me in return ? "

Gambit was uneasy, instinctively suspicious.

The Jedi calmly regarded the young man in front of her. Though she had not probed his mind, still she could feel his deep-seated fear and self-hatred like a cold slap in the face. She would have to be careful with him ... clearly, he had been deeply wounded mentally and emotionally at some point in his past, and had yet to fully recover.

* More likely than not, the training may be a help to him in more than control of the Force ... *

" To answer your question -- I am a Jedi Knight, and it's my duty to help others who have the talent. My time may have passed me by, but I won't abandon my responsibilities. Should you accept my help, it will take time, but I believe the discipline you've developed in the control of your mutant powers will speed your progress with the Force. "

She paused briefly before continuing.

" As for my 'angle' as you put it, what I get out of this, is the satisfaction of knowing that I did what I believe to be right -- helping you. From what you have told me, your world is in danger -- and you will need every resource at your disposal to defend it and yourselves. And regardless of your decision, whatever it may be, I'll help with that too, for the same reasons. "

Nomi had spoken quietly, but there was no mistaking the steely intensity of her voice.

Silence filled the room. The others looked at Gambit expectantly. His empathic senses were urging him to trust the Jedi -- but he no longer trusted those instincts. How did he know that she wasn't subtly manipulating them somehow -- from her claims, she had the power to do just that ... Once before, he had sought help in the control of his powers, and the blight of the price he had paid for that 'help' weighed more heavily on his soul with each passing day. He was torn, wanting to trust her, yet his fears of a new disaster on his conscience held him back.

Apparently, his fears were noticed, as Nomi's soothing voice broke into his reverie.

" I understand your distrust, " she began gently, " and I won't make any claims on you. There is no 'price' to be paid here -- no one is forced to become a Jedi. You may not even want to be one, and that's fine -- it's a choice you'll make for yourself when the time comes. But if you decide that you want my help, Remy -- you'll have it. "

When the Jedi finished speaking, a ponderous silence descended for what seemed like an eternity before Gambit announced his decision.

He took a deep breath.

* Can' believe I'm doin' dis ... *

" D'accord, chère, " he said softly.

" If those be y' terms ... I'll do it. "

Nomi nodded gravely, knowing that even this tentative acceptance was difficult for him.

" Thank you for your trust -- you'll find that it's not misplaced. I promise you that. And in the meantime, " she said, her tone becoming brisk, " I have something to give you. "

She turned toward Bishop.

" There was a small box in the pod -- would you bring it here ? "

When he returned to the room, the Jedi took the box and, sensing Bishop's lingering mistrust and seeking to allay it, informed him of its contents before she opened it.

" There is a weapon inside, like the one that was on my belt. "

The time-tossed X-Man stiffened at this, but made no move. The woman had told him something which was to her own disadvantage, if she was planning to attack. It was unlikely that she intended harm, but still, he was prepared for it as she opened the small container.

To his surprise, she slowly drew out another cylindrical object, rather than a blaster. Slowly, the Jedi stepped back a few paces from the table around which the others were gathered. Holding the object in both hands, she hit an activator switch on the handgrip. Suddenly, with a snapping hiss, a meter-long blade of amethyst coloured-light burst forth from the cylinder. Bishop and Deathbird both watched with wary interest, as neither had ever seen this type of weapon before, and all listened intently as the Jedi spoke again.

" This is a lightsaber ... the traditional weapon of a Jedi Knight. It can deflect energy beams, cut through any material -- except the blade of another lightsaber. Anyone can use a blaster, but to use a 'saber -- well -- demands an entirely different level of skill, a certain finesse. But it has another purpose, as well. "

She turned off the light-blade before continuing.

" It's much more than just a weapon. For a Jedi, the lightsaber can also act as a focus for his concentration when manipulating the Force, improving his control. Every Jedi makes his own lightsaber when his training is complete. Until such time as you choose to return this one to me, Remy, or until you make your own -- I want you to have it. "

A sad smile passed over her features.

" It was my husband's. "

Remy slowly got up from his seat and walked over to her. Solemnly, he accepted the weapon. After a close examination of the lightsaber, he turned it on, testing its balance. Considering that it was a blade of light, it didn't have a weightless feel to it -- it was as if the humming power of it had somehow become substantial. He was accustomed to using a rapier, and this two-handed grip was going to take some getting used to ...

While Remy examined the light-sword, Nomi turned to the others.

" I completely understand your reasons for disarming me initially -- that was only sensible, until you could determine whether or not I was a threat. I hope I've proven otherwise, " she smiled, and then continued.

" If I have, I would like to have my things back -- at least my 'saber, anyway. Chances are, I'll be needing it fairly soon. "

" Under the circumstances, " Beast mused, " I am inclined to agree. We still do not know the nature of the threat we face, but we could surely use all the help we can get -- and I'm certain that had you wished to harm us, you would have done so already. As such, I see no difficulty in returning your weapons. "

" Ah guess Ah know more 'bout Miss Nomi than anyone else here, " Rogue stated.

" Ah'm sure we can take her at her word. "

The others agreed, and although both Bishop and Deathbird were reluctant, even they had to admit the truth of the others' points.

" I'll get your things now, " Bishop offered brusquely.

An impish grin lit up the Jedi's features, and her eyes twinkled mischievously.

" Oh, don't bother -- allow me ... "

A look of concentration flashed across her face -- and to the astonishment of almost everyone, both blaster and lightsaber appeared at the door, before gliding to their usual positions on Nomi's belt.

Except for Rogue, who snickered, the others stared at her open-mouthed.

" You could have taken them back at any time. " Deathbird said accusingly.

" So I could have, " Nomi agreed with a small smile.

" I hate to break this up, " Trish interrupted, " but shouldn't we be getting back to the business at hand ? Namely, fixing this bucket of bolts so we can go home, and find out just what the story is behind that spaceship ? "

" A point well-taken, human ... it is time we resumed our repairs. I suppose it would be too much to ask that you be familiar with starship engineering, Jedi ? " Deathbird inquired with imperious sarcasm.

Nomi refused to rise to the bait.

" Give me a multitool, a fusion-cutter, the proper system diagrams, and just point the way," she replied smoothly.

" Remy -- come with me. While we're going to be too busy to begin the physical training for a while, I might as well teach you what I can while we work ... "

" Ah'll take mah turn at the helm. Joseph, sugah, why don't you join up with Beast an' Trish. They could use a little extra help ... "

After a few minutes of organization, the eight castaways went to their respective tasks.


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