She didn’t feel any different; just more tired than usual. However that was a given, seeing what she had gone through. Within the crystal that Tabitha grown accustomed to wearing was no longer her suppressed powers but Zeus’s. She knew that it didn’t technically make her a demigoddess… but Tabitha couldn’t help to smirk at the thought that she was now well matched against one!
Bruce tried to control his temper as he made his way through one of the halls of Metro Tower. When he found her, she smiled fully at first. However, seeing the scowl on his face, Tabitha immediately erased her smile and turned back to her upgrade job. He didn’t have to say a word; she already knew what he was upset about!
“Before you even start on me: save it! I already know what you gonna say!”
“… Do you enjoy putting yourself in danger?”
“Okay, first off, I had no idea what she was up to…”
“You went to hell; you had no clue how much strain you were putting yourself in?! Let alone the child’s?!”
“She called it Tarantula; how the fuck am I supposed to know that’s what they call hell?!”
“Whatever! The point is, you need to be mad at her, not me! But, yeah, we’re fine; thanks for asking!” she rolled her eyes. Bruce sighed heavily. Diana couldn’t stop talking about the entire mission; Clark and he were the very first ones she told! If anything, he could at least say that the woman was extremely proud of Tabitha. Had it not been for her pregnancy, even Bruce would be beaming about her accomplishment; how many Metahumans could say that they were blessed with a god’s powers… and mean it literally?
“If you weren’t pregnant, I’d strangle you!”
“And we all know that you’d be electrocuted before laying a finger on me!” she laughed. He smirked; she was right. She was always lightning fast; it made him wonder if her other abilities were heightened with her new godly source.
“How is the baby?” his anger was leaving him. Tabitha nodded and looked down at her stomach.
“He’s fine. Took everything like a champ! He’s definitely half-Martian! Kid’s tough as nails!”
“Just like his mother. Hopefully he won’t be as stubborn!” Bruce kept a straight face as Tabitha narrowed her eyes at him, “Oh… you said ‘he’. It’s been confirmed?”
“Figured that part of the future didn’t change. More than enough confirmation for me! I made the nurse mad, though. She asked me did I want to know the sex; told her I already knew! Think she thought I was just being a wise ass or something; don’t!” she warned as Bruce opened his mouth. He finally laughed.
“You walked right into that one! All joking aside; I thought we made a deal about you and your risk taking?”
“Bruce, you can’t expect me to just sit around here, doing this!” she motioned to the hanging wires from the ceiling, “Folks’ll wonder why I ain’t out in the field; I can’t tell ‘em I’m pregnant, remember?”
“What about welding? Heard you did some apprentice work with Hephaestus.”
“Yeeah… that’s still ongoing. But he did call me talented and said that the training shouldn’t be for long. I ain’t gonna be making weapons for the gods no time soon but… I’d be able to actually make weapons!” she beamed.
“That’s actually great. You know, with your enhanced powers, you might be able to learn even more things.”
“Huh… never thought about that. I mean, besides making weapons. Hey! You think... now that I got Zeus’s power… I could learn electromagnetism?” the thought occurred to her. Bruce gave it a long thought.
“I don’t know. It wouldn’t hurt to try.” he answered. She only nodded with a small smile on her face. Maybe it was time to go back to Dakota, she thought happily.
She knew that it had been nearly four years since the last time she entered the Gas Station of Solitude. She took a chance and hoped that Virgil and Richie kept it going; for all she knew, the two were probably away at college. Tabitha wished that she would’ve told John of her plans; he probably had a way of tracking Virgil down.
She was somewhat surprised to see Richie in his usual spot, tending to some gadgets. His blonde, short hair remained the same however, he was noticeably taller, even as he sat. She cleared her throat, which startled him. When he turned quickly, she gave him a wide grin. He studied her for a bit but when his eyes landed on her snow-white hair, he returned the smile; there was no forgetting that hair!
“Batman’s sidekick! Well… Martian Manhunter’s sidekick, now!” he noticed the change of outfit. Tabitha rolled her eyes, removed her mask and gave him a hug, “It’s been a while.”
“Yeah, I know. Kinda been busy with a lot!”
“I heard, Miss Monitor of Metro Tower! You’re lucky that we’re still here.”
“Really? So, no college?”
“Community college for now. How’s Reign and Blaze?”
“Busy on missions but they’re good! How are you and Virgil?”
“We’re fine. I, um, acquired some abilities…”
“… What? Oh… I didn’t know you were a Bang Baby.”
“I wasn’t. Well, not initially. I inhaled some of the vapors on accident. Took it a while to transform me because it wasn’t direct.”
“So… what powers you got?”
“To make it simple? I can control technology… with my mind.”
“Whoa! High tech shit! It suits you.”
“Exactly what Static said! You can call me Gear.”
“Cool! Control over technology, huh? That could come in handy…” she thought aloud. At first, Tabitha had plans on getting Virgil into the Justice League if he was able to teach her electromagnetism. However, she never planned on his best friend being a Metahuman as well; she would have to mention his name when she returned.
Virgil entered the building and cocked his head to the side at the two. His eyes immediately lit up.
“Oh, shit; look at you!” she noticed how he too had grown into an adult. His dreads were longer, able to be pulled entirely into a ponytail. He also had a noticeable tone in his physique and was a couple of inches taller than herself, now, “You two are men, now!”
“Four years would do that to you!” he gave her a hug. His statement reminded her of when she traveled into the future, “We have a lot of catching up to do!”
Before she mentioned about her real intentions of her visit, Tabitha decided to swallow her pride and tell Virgil everything. Richie and he listened attentively.
“So… I wasn’t there…” Richie solemnly asked. Tabitha shook her head.
“Don’t mean nothing now, though. Things can change. That future ain’t set in stone.”
“But… some are more than others…” Virgil gave her a glance. Tabitha blushed slightly, “I can’t believe it. You… and Martian Manhunter… with children! How excited is he about you being pregnant?”
“Uh… he left. Before I found out. So, guess it’s kinda safe to say that he don’t know.”
“Oh, Tabby… well, you have to search for him!”
“You know, that’s the best idea in the world! Let me go search for a shape shifting telepath so I can tell him he’s gonna be a father!” she looked at Virgil. He gave her a smirk.
“Okay, smart ass; I didn’t take all of that into consideration!”
“Have you tried telling him telepathically?” Richie asked.
“Yes; several times! So, either he’s ignoring me or… he’s ignoring me…” she couldn’t think of any other reason why J’onn wouldn’t respond. If he were as powerful as he claimed, it wouldn’t matter where in the universe he was now; Tabitha figured that he would be able to receive any telepathic message.
She finally fessed up and told the two about her true intention; while it was great to see them, she had other things in mind when she came to Dakota.
“Tabitha… you do know that electricity and magnetism are interrelated… right…?” Richie eyed her. She gave him a look and slowly shook her head.
“I don’t know what that got to do with…”
“It means I’ve been right this whole time! You’re basically made of lightning. Well, at the very least, you can conjure lightning at will. That’s part of the electric phenomena. You can already manipulate the electric field because of your DNA. A changing electric field can produce a magnetic field. I told you; you’re better than Static! You should’ve mastered electromagnetism a long time ago!” Richie tried to explain. Tabitha gave him a blank stare before looking at Virgil, who laughed.
“Lightning and electromagnetism go hand-in-hand.”
“Okay, but he lost me when he started talking about fields and shit…”
“Oh, my… didn’t you pay any type of attention in science class?!”
“No; I napped. And besides, that sounds a bit more advanced than the courses I went through!”
“It’s basic physics…” Virgil eyed her.
“Yeah, no. Never took it. That’s doc’s expertise! Wait…” she clicked on her communicator.
“Oh, my God; it’s time?!”
“It’s… what… oh, no! Hey: how come you never told me that I could control fields?”
“… Oh. You mean the electric and magnetic fields. Well, of course you can! I… I thought you knew that…?”
“Well, your abilities have more to do with manipulating the electric field but seeing that they’re interrelated, you shouldn't have a problem manipulating the magnetic field as well.”
“You mean… I could’ve been learned electromagnetism?!”
“Well… yeah. You don’t…?”
“No! What I gotta do to learn it?!”
“Well… it would be easier if I knew exactly how you trigger your powers. I guess…” Jamila thought for a moment, “Try to concentrate and push a different type of energy than you do when you weld. You can control the different degrees of electricity in order for you to weld or make things indestructible; try different degrees.” she tried to explain. Tabitha thought about what she said and slowly nodded.
“… Thanks, doc. I’ll call you back.” she ended transmission and looked at the two young men.
“Who was that?” Richie asked.
“That was… Blaze’s sister. She’s a physics professor.”
“Really?! Did she say anything helpful?”
“Kinda. Guess we’re just gonna have to practice ‘til I get it!”
She didn’t expect to practice for the rest of the day! However, it was something that she was grateful for. Tabitha learned that her being able to tap into Zeus’s powers had nothing to do with being able to learn electromagnetism… although it did boost her confidence. She heeded Jamila’s words, concentrating on different degrees of channeling her lightning powers. What Richie tried to teach her finally sunk in; she was surprised that it only took an entire night for it to do so. He taught her more on the properties of the electric and magnetic fields that were present all around them. She found that he was right; with the powers that she already possessed, she was better than Virgil was. Richie was more than confident that she would be able to learn Virgil’s powers; what he stressed to her was that it would be possible for her to enhance those powers!
Three days of “studying”, she finally caught a break. Although she listened to what Richie taught her, her mind wasn’t open to it. She believed that she needed to physically see the components of electromagnetism in order for it to work; whenever Virgil used his abilities, he produced a current. Whenever Tabitha tried, she might as well had just used her regular powers!
She had grown tired of the same results. However, it hit her suddenly. She tried to figure out what she was doing wrong. No matter what degree of lightning she performed, the results were the same. That was until one day, she simply decided that instead of pushing her powers out… she would try pulling them in. She never expected it to work; it sounded foolish to her! But as Virgil told her to concentrate on the can of soda they used for practice, she held her hand out and concentrated not on the can but the invisible fields of magnetic energy. Both Richie and Jamila stated that because electricity was a part of her, she was connected to both fields.
Did she expect to actually see the fields? She wasn’t sure. So much had happened to her that were possibly deemed unbelievable to the normal person. She was a superheroine. She dated a Martian. She time traveled. She was… carrying a half-Martian child; anything was possible! It still felt like a long shot! Tabitha took a deep breath and thought about everything she learned about electromagnetism and electric fields.
She showed no disappointment when there were no visible signs of the fields; it was only her slight hopes that it would happen! What surprised Tabitha was that… she felt it. Waves upon waves of energy flowed all around her, making her gasp slightly. Virgil looked at her.
“I… is this what you feel? All of the energy?”
“Pretty cool feeling, huh?” he smiled at her, “I think you’re about to have a breakthrough!”
“… Yeah.” Tabitha still had her hand extended out, letting the energy flow all around it. She looked at the can, concentrated more and attempted to pull at the energy. The can vibrated and wobbled on the table; before long, it sprang itself towards her hand. The men widened their eyes as she wrapped her hand around the can and crushed it. A broad smile appeared on her face as she let out a small laugh.
“Holy shit… I did it! W-What?”
“Tabitha… do you realize what you just did?!” Richie continued to stare at the can in her hand.
“Uh, yeah! I ain’t a complete idiot! A bit slow but…”
“You didn’t produce any currents!”
“… Was I… supposed to…?” she gave Richie a look.
“I… I guess not. I’m not sure. I’m so used to seeing Static in action! You produce a current with your lightning powers; I assumed that it would be the same for your electromagnetic powers!”
“That doesn’t matter! What matters is that… you did it. You now know electromagnetism!” Virgil casually put his arm around her shoulders. Tabitha could do nothing but beam.
She was proud of her new ability although she still had no idea why Richie was so impressed by it. Aside from the fact that she conjured no physical stream like Virgil, she didn’t believe that it was the huge deal Richie made it to be. Regardless, Tabitha stayed longer to train more on her new feat.
She was giving the two farewell hugs when Clark’s voice entered her ear.
“I hope I’m not interrupting. Spider-Man is looking for you. It didn’t seem like an emergency but I wanted to give you the message as soon as possible.”
“Oh… okay. Thanks! I’ll see what he wants and then come back to Metro Tower.” she informed. She waved at the two young men before teleporting herself to New York. Tabitha made a mental note to give Peter a number to reach her personally; every time they were together, something usually came up to where she would forget to do so! She was on the rooftop of a building and scanned her surroundings; the Statue of Liberty was to her left in a distance so she knew that she would have to turn around and head to her left to reach Peter and Mary Jane’s apartment. If he weren’t there, she would stop by The Daily Bugle.
Her thoughts were interrupted as she heard the telltale sign of things going awry: screams. Tabitha had a hunch to follow them; she was certain that she would be able to handle whatever it was quickly and have time to see Peter. She wondered if Peter would be there as well; with all that she’d gone through, she felt that it would be nice to be able to team up yet again!
She saw the remnants of civilians running away from whatever the menace was and decided to make her presence known, doing a Lightning Cloud from the building. As she scanned the area, she smiled as she saw Peter in his Spider-Man gear.
“…Sgt. Lyght…?” she was glad for the use of her alias. Although the last thing on the crowd’s mind was the identity of the superheroine, Tabitha wanted to play it safe. His question also made her realize that she couldn’t go by that alias any more: she needed a new one!
Tabitha thought of something witty to say; it would be something that he would do! Her eyes concentrated not on him but the dark skinned woman beside him. Her white hair stood in a Mohawk and seemed to flow down past her shoulders. She was dressed in a black leather suit, which hugged her slim body. Where Tabitha thought her navel would be was a silver “X” buckle. A cape, she wanted to sigh; the woman’s matching black cape hung close to her ankles. The two locked eyes for a moment before a small smile appeared on the woman’s face.
“Tabby, watch out!” Peter warned. She turned and her eyes widened as she saw of all things, two cars flying towards her. For a quick moment, she even saw the possible culprit; a few yards away, a man in an all red suit highlighted with deep indigo trunks and a flowing cape. What made him stand out wasn’t the colors or even the cape; it was his helmet. From a distance, the red with deep indigo trim helmet only revealed a dark void where a portion of his face should be. However, Tabitha had no time to think about that. She knew that he was responsible for the cars torpedoing her way as it looked as though his outstretched hand was guiding them.
She cursed herself for jumping in without accessing the situation first; even if she was to do a Lightning Cloud out of the way, the cars were approaching at such a speed that they would surely hit Peter and the other white-haired woman. She doubted that she would escape fully; she would possibly be scraped, herself. It was clear that whoever the man was, he was controlling the metal objects; it may not had mattered what she did.
It was then that she remembered her newly found ability. Tabitha stood her ground, narrowed her eyes at the incoming barrage and concentrated. With Virgil and Richie, she only practiced on a single object but Tabitha was sure she would be able to control this! I can do this, she silently breathed as she stretched her hands out towards the vehicles. Underneath his mask, Peter’s eyes widened as the cars abruptly stopped in their path and dropped to the ground when Tabitha lowered her arms.
“Well… that’s a new ability!” he mused. Tabitha lifted her arms, raising one of the cars. She spread her hands apart, dismantling the metal pieces from the car. She pushed out as hard as she could and made the objects fly back at the man at a quicker rate. She knew that he would be able to do the same but she needed to be quicker. Tabitha also knew that her plan meant she would be wounded in the process; not by much but she hoped it would be enough to distract him.
Before he could raise an arm up to stop the metal swarm, Tabitha did a Lightning Cloud through them. She was close enough to see the look of surprise in his bluish-grey eyes; even as metal parts scraped her, she couldn’t help but to give him a small, knowing smile. Tabitha charged up as her fist connected to his nose, one of the rare vulnerable spots on him. With the lightning infused, it was enough to send him back a few feet. The stings of the metal were enough to remind her to take control, seeing that the man was definitely stunned. She lowered her hand and the metal objects fell back to the ground.
Tabitha put her attention back to the man, who she found was lifting his hand up. She thought that he was going to use the destroyed car to attack her and tried to retaliate. Tabitha was caught off guard as she felt her amulet tug painfully at her neck. She watched in slight horror as she was forcefully pulled towards him. He gave her a curious look, studying her face at first. Tabitha noticed that he was stronger than he appeared as he wrapped a hand around her neck.
“You are no child of mine but it’s clear that you’re a mutant. Who are you…?” his voice had a slight, foreign accent.
“It’s ‘Metahuman’! And I ain’t the one throwing shit at innocent folks! Who are you?”
“Oh… you’re not one of Charles’s students. Seeing that we share a common trait, I will tell you. They call me Magneto. And, you are…?” his eyes only glanced at hers before looking at her amulet. Tabitha smirked as she began to charge up.
“A distraction…” she released all of her energy, surprising Magneto. He immediately let go of her and was greeted with a swift kick to the side of his helmet. Tabitha looked to see that Peter joined in on the fight. A sudden gust of coldness hit her back and Tabitha looked back. The other woman had taken to the air, her eyes turned into a milky white as a blizzard formed in the surrounding area. Tabitha couldn’t help but show an impressed look; the woman controlled the blizzard to the point where it was starting to blind Magneto however had little effect on her visibility.
She took that to her advantage as she began a series of Lightning Clouds towards him, each time hitting him with force.
“Go for his helmet, Tabby!” Peter’s instructions were slightly muffled through the howling winds of the snowstorm. She did as he told her and soon, she heard a hard clanging noise. As the blizzard started to cease, Tabitha used her magnetic ability to seize the helmet. She didn’t question why the helmet was so important; at first glance, it appeared to be ordinary. Before she could do anything, Magneto let out a frustrated grunt. Her eyes widened as she actually felt the powerful surge of energy emanating from his body; she did a Lightning Cloud away from him before he released a massive magnetic pulse wave.
She took in a deep breath and threw her arms out, hoping that she would be able to stop the wave. The pressure caused her to shake before she pushed it back towards him. The move was enough to let his guard down as he was knocked away by the force. She didn’t want him to get another chance to retaliate; Tabitha did another Lightning Cloud and pulled Magneto up by the collar. She charged up, feeling Zeus’s power merge with hers and shocked the white-haired man unconscious.
“… Unbelievable…” Peter breathed out beside her. She looked at him and smirked.
“What? I didn’t kill him!”
“It’s not that. You just knocked out Magneto…”
“No one has ever defeated him, alone.” the other woman had a slight African accent, “You are the first…”
“Well, I wouldn’t say ‘alone’! If you hadn’t blinded him, think this would’ve been a stalemate…” Tabitha shrugged.
“So… calling you Sgt. Lyght or Nikki is out the question, now! New look… new powers…” Peter looked at her. Tabitha let out a laugh.
“I guess so!”
“…… the Bronze Wraith…” her unborn child stated. It took Tabitha a moment to understand before she finally nodded.
“It’s… the Bronze Wraith, now…”
As Magneto was taken into custody, the three made their way away from the crime scene.
“Any idea why that guy was causing so much chaos here?” Tabitha glanced at the two.
“I have no idea. If I did, I would much rather explain it at the mansion. I am Ororo, by the way. Some know me as Storm.”
“Oh… you’re… inviting me to dinner…?” Tabitha gave Ororo a look. She laughed.
“It’s not that type of mansion! I would like you to meet someone. Well… someone would like to meet you!”
“So… you know who I am…”
“Only on paper. You’re… protected.”
“Wait… what does that mean?”
“There are only three ways to get in contact with you: through S.H.I.E.L.D., through the Justice League or by force. S.H.I.E.L.D. has no jurisdiction when it comes to the Justice League. And we would never use force to contact you.”
“Right, cuz there’s other ways to contact me…” Tabitha pointed towards Peter. Ororo smiled.
“This is also my first time meeting him.”
“I take it he ain’t invited.”
“Afraid not.” she gave Peter an apologetic look.
“It’s okay. Go with Storm. I’ll be waiting when you get back!”
“Oh, okay. I’ll call ya…”
The two landed in front of a massive red brick mansion where a few children warmly greeted Ororo. A couple glanced Tabitha’s way before running inside.
“Welcome to Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters.”
“This… is a school…?”
“In more ways than one. Professor Charles Xavier founded the school in order to train and teach mutants.” she took notice that Tabitha cringed at her words.
“Wait. Those kids. They’re…”
“Yes. Everyone inside is. I’ll let you talk to Charles before giving you a tour.” Ororo led the way inside. There were more children inside however there was a mix of teens and young adults. She tried to keep from staring as they made their way down a hallway. Tabitha stopped dead in her tracks as a large blue and furry man made his way out of a room. She didn’t want to call him a man; he was more beast than anything. Although he was no taller than she was, his ape-like physique made her a bit wary. Ororo smiled and embraced him.
“It is good to see you, Ororo.” Tabitha was caught off guard at the deep and polite voice. She felt a slow blush form on her cheeks as “Henry” looked at her, “A new student…?” his blue eyes studied her. There was something about the other white-haired woman, he noticed. Ororo released the embrace and turned to smile at Tabitha.
“No. This is Tabitha.”
“Ah! Well, the professor will be elated about this bit of news!”
“Tabitha, this is Dr. Henry McCoy.”
“Oh. N-Nice to meet you, Dr. McCoy…” she stuck her hand out. His large hand covered hers completely although his handshake was not as firm as she expected it to be.
“Only students and professional colleagues address me as such. Please, call me Henry or Hank. It is a pleasure to meet you as well.” he gave her a small smile.
She didn’t want to be rude; she noticed that he held her hand longer than usual. The small blush started to travel up more as she realized that he was studying her. He gave out a pondering noise as he leaned more into her. Tabitha’s eyes widened as he simply sniffed, the blush that she tried to hide was fully noticeable.
“Henry!” Ororo laughed.
“Forgive me. My mutated state gives me superhuman, animalistic senses. You give off an assortment of scents and… I wanted to make sure. Are you aware of your… delicate condition?” he asked lowly. The question made Tabitha smile, nearly laughing.
“Yeah… I’m fully aware!”
“Then, congratulations! This is Professor Xavier’s office…”
“Hank…” she noticed that he placed his hand gently on her back.
“I appreciate the gesture and all, I really do. But, I’m just pregnant… not injured! Just got done whooping up on some guy named Magneto; I think I can handle walking!” she gave him a wide smile. Henry gave her a surprised look, switching glances from her to Ororo.
“She fought Magneto?”
“Yes. She has his abilities…”
“Amazing.” Henry breathed out.
“I-I had a bit of help…” Tabitha eyed Ororo.
“We shouldn't keep the professor waiting much longer, then…” Henry knocked and opened the door. Tabitha was amazed at how spacious the room was. It reminded her of one of Bruce’s numerous dens in Wayne Manor; the room was large enough to hold a small class of students. The floors were hardwood with a burgundy Persian rug that spread out making sure that every single piece of furniture touched it. Filled to the brim on the two side walls were cedar bookshelves; a cozy fire hearth divided the left side’s shelves. An elegant chess set was a few feet in front of the fireplace while towards the windows was a large desk. Two accent chairs that matched the shelves were in front of the desk along with a glass circular coffee table.
While the room amazed her, the man who approached her left her speechless. She knew that she was looking into the steel blue eyes of Professor Charles Xavier; what surprised her was that he was in a wheelchair. The wheelchair itself was astounding to her; a stainless steel mechanical chair whose wheels weren’t even standard: instead of spokes, there were large Xs.
“Everyone is a Metahuman, huh?”
“A… Metahuman? Oh, you mean a mutant?” Charles asked. He noticed that Tabitha cringed at the word, “What is it about the word that you don’t like?”
“It’s an… insult…”
“Really!” Tabitha noticed that all three widened their eyes at her, “Are you ashamed of who you are? Or rather, what you’ve become?”
“… No. It’s just… I…”
“You were told that the word is demeaning. That it signifies being a… freak.”
“How’d you…” Tabitha pondered for a moment before a smirk appeared, “You’re telepathic…”
“That I am. In my opinion, masking the word ‘mutant’ is more of an insult than the word itself. We are long since removed from the days when being called a mutant meant someone was a… monstrosity. At least, that is what I would like to think for the most part. There are those who judge a book by its cover. However, being called a Metahuman compared to a mutant… wouldn’t make any difference there.” he explained. It made sense to her. She thought about Henry for a moment and felt bad about him intimidating her, even if it was only for a quick moment. She knew that regardless if he called himself a mutant or a Metahuman, some would call him a freak.
“Don’t be! We clearly live in two different worlds. The people that you surround yourself with stress to the public that they have ‘super powers’. People are more willing to accept that term rather than ‘mutant’. Do you know what the word ‘meta’ means?” he looked at her. Tabitha slowly shook her head, “Technically, it’s a Greek prefix that means beyond. Whoever coined the term, wanted people to know that they were beyond human. Which is true. However… it can be taken out of context very easily…” he gave her a smirk. Tabitha bit her lip as she thought about it. The first thing that came to mind made her shudder in disgust.
“That ain’t who I am. I never thought that I was better than humans. Hell, I’m still a human! Just…”
“A mutant?” Charles laughed a little, “For someone not to accept the word, it means that they’re not willing to accept who they truly are. Either that or they truly believe that mutants are a bad thing. The point that I like to put across to anyone is that there is nothing wrong with being a mutant. How you control your powers and what you do with your powers is the most important thing.” he finished explaining. She gave it a thoughtful nod, “Well, you certainly didn’t come here to be lectured! I am Charles Xavier. It’s very nice to finally meet you, Tabitha Lyght.”
“About that. You've been watching me? Why?
“Curious about your abilities. We know that you’re technically property of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s, at least your DNA strand is. It fascinates me that there’s a living, breathing elemental Steve Rogers. Don’t worry; I don’t want anything extreme like a sample. Just study you. Understand your powers more.”
“I dunno. Ain’t nothing special about me… well, aside from the obvious!”
“You handled Magneto with more ease than anyone has in a long time. Eric is a very powerful mutant, no matter how misguided.”
“So, you know him, know him…”
“We were old friends.”
“W-Wow! So… do you know why he was throwing shit around?”
“We plan to find out. So, would you let me study you? The choice is yours, of course.”
“I just… don’t want any over charged clones running around… again!”
“For that, I would need a sample and that is something that I don’t want.” he gave her a reassuring smile, “It could possibly be an enlightening experience for you. After all, you just recently learned electromagnetism.”
“I… guess. When you put it that way!”
“Good! Would you like a tour of the school, first?”
“That would be nice…”
Tabitha expected Charles to accompany her on the tour however Henry was her guide instead. She didn’t mind it; he was very articulate and knowledgeable and she learned a lot from him.
“Are you a professor? Here?” she couldn’t help but to ask.
“Yes, I am.”
“Huh. Figured! I bet you teach history…”
“Actually, the sciences and mathematics. Biochemistry and genetics is more of my calling however, I found only a select few have a deep understanding of it. Quite difficult to teach if one’s not willing to learn.” he glanced at her as they walked through the courtyard. Their tour found its way outside towards the back of the mansion.
“Are you… interested in becoming a professor here?”
“W-Who, me? Ha! What would I teach? I don’t know nothing…”
“I don’t believe that. You wouldn’t be an efficient engineer if that was true.”
“I can learn; I can’t teach what I’ve learned. That means I gotta explain it and I can’t. That’s just how I work. Besides, I wouldn’t have the time. So… thanks but no thanks!” she gave him a smile. Henry nodded.
“Your child. It isn't fully human, is it?”
“Nope. He’s half-Martian.”
“Fascinating! I didn’t think that it was possible. Oh… the Martian Manhunter is the father…”
“Why am I surprised that you know him…?”
“I know of him and even that is vaguely. It’s rumored that he is in the top three of the most intelligent beings on the planet if not the universe. Although, it’s not a fair assumption; seeing that he’s alien, it should be a given for his intelligence. Is it true that he’s the last of his kind? Well… not anymore, if it’s true!” Henry beamed at Tabitha who slightly blushed, “While I’m pretty sure that it’s possible for humans to conceive… how is it that you are able to carry, if you don’t mind me asking?”
“Well… I’m not technically supposed to be able to. Something about my body’s natural defenses against foreign objects! My friends came up with a potion that calms my insides down and lets the baby… do what it’s supposed to do! See; told you I can’t explain shit!” she shook her head. Henry chuckled.
“That’s quite alright! I understand and it’s the most astounding news! I would like to meet your friends.”
“I think I can arrange that. Well, at least with doc… um, my best friend! Hey… you don’t have any actual human professors here, do you?”
“Do you think Mr. Xavier would give my friend an opportunity if I can talk her into it? Maybe not full time, though. She’s a physics professor already.”
“You are the epitome of southern hospitality! That will be something Charles and yourself should talk about.” he informed her. Tabitha simply nodded as they walked through the courtyard. Her attention suddenly went to a man who made his way towards the two. He had a rugged look about him, as though he was much more comfortable in the wild. His jet-black hair stood in slight spikes on the sides, giving him a devilish, animalistic look. It was weird to her but that man looked more like an animal than Henry did!
“Logan…” Henry greeted him casually. She actually liked that he greeted everyone in the same manner. What surprised her was Logan didn’t return the greeting; instead, he slightly glanced at her with his nostrils slightly flared. For some reason, the look made her entire body tighten up especially when he smirked at her.
“Hmph. Sorry, doll: I don’t bang pregnant chicks…” he nearly growled. Her eyes widened at him.
“The way you’re looking at me. I’ll have to decline. Maybe when the kid pops out…”
“Excuse you?!” his rudeness and assumption angered her. She knew that she wasn’t looking at him in that manner; why would he say something like that, “A-A-And, how’d you know… oh. Okay, what is with you people with sniffing?! What are you, some kind of animal?!”
“You don’t know the half of it, sweet cheeks…”
“Sweet chee…” she automatically made her hands into fists and glared at him. The move only made him smirk even more.
“Oh; I was wrong. You wanna tango… not the horizontal limbo! In your condition?”
“Wanna see how my condition helps me kick your ass?”
“Cute. Now, this I have time for!”
“Can it, fur ball; I wanna see how tough she really is!”
“Tougher than you think, ‘sweetheart’!” Tabitha prepared to charge up.
“Let’s go, bub!”
“Logan, that is definitely not a good idea…” Henry tried however Logan already exposed his adamantium claws. Tabitha’s eyes widened at the sight but before he could reach her, she stuck her hand out, using her recent ability. They were both surprised as Logan stood paralyzed inches away from her.
“Wha… let go of me!” Logan growled. Tabitha shot a look at Henry.
“Why can’t he move…?”
“Logan’s bones were reinforced with adamantium, along with his claws.”
“I’m gonna assume that’s some type of metal!”
“Yeah; she’s a smart one!” Logan eyed her. Tabitha narrowed her eyes at him before she lowered her hand quickly, making his body slam into the ground.
“You gotta lot of nerve to talk shit when I control your body! I wonder how far away I can hold ya!”
“How ‘bout you let go of me and play fair?”
“How ‘bout… no! You were gonna cut me!”
“Would've hurt a little bit…”
“Ya know, I got all the energy in the world; I can hold ya all damn day!”
“Tabitha, please. Release him.” Henry sighed out. She hesitated before she released her control over Logan. He grunted and glared at her but kept his distance.
“Whenever you want to fight for real… come find me…”
After her tour, Tabitha found herself roaming the hallways with Charles.
"I'm sorry about Logan."
“It's okay; not your fault. Guess I should've ignored him."
"It's pretty hard to do that with him! However, it's one of the reasons why he's a part of this team." Charles explained. Tabitha nodded slowly. Someone whose bones were infused with one of the toughest metals in the world who could also unsheathe metal claws would be a valuable asset to any team.
She thought about her experience since being in the mansion and gave Charles a look.
"I got a question for you. Are you able to tap into anyone's brain?"
"They would have to be in a certain proximity however I have a program that can help. You want to locate someone?"
"... Yeah. He's telepathic, too so..."
"Oh! Then, it may be simpler than I expected. Who do you want me to contact?"
"... He doesn't know he's the father."
"He kinda left before I found out."
"I see." he nodded politely before closing his eyes. After a moment, his forehead furrowed before he opened his eyes, "Maybe not as simple as I hoped! Follow me."
The two were in the basement of the mansion. Tabitha was surprised to see not a regular door but a circular, steel one in front of them. Charles placed his hand on the keypad and the door rolled open, revealing a long walkway wide enough for his wheelchair to fit. At the end of the walkway was a small console that housed a stainless steel head piece.
"Meet Cerebro. Eric and I created this device in order to detect other mutants. Henry enhanced it so that a telepath would be able to do so worldwide. The Martian Manhunter seems to be a bit out of reach but Cerebro should help." he placed the head piece on. Tabitha jumped back a little as what she thought was just a wall came to life. Silhouettes of people swarmed on the walls, nearly stretching as far as the eye could see. She took the time to look at them and noticed that there were quite a few who were in red.
"The red ones. They're mutants?"
"Yes. And there's your Martian." the words made her blush. She looked where he was pointing and saw that J'onn was vibrantly colored. He would be, she smirked. Her heart pounded with anticipation. It had been so long since she spoken to him; now it looked as though not only would she get in contact with him but he would finally know that he was going to be a father, again.
He was at his desk when the feeling started. Nothing that alarmed him; only a minute prick at his brain. The first time it appeared, he ignored it; it was possible that he was working a bit too hard. Or at the very least, was trying not to think about her as much; maybe he was trying too hard.
Moments later, the prick was more noticeable. It made him furrow his brow; he literally shook the feeling away.
"You okay, Jones?" a desk sergeant looked at him. He gave the man a smirk and shook his head.
"I'm fine. Slight headache."
"Working too hard, eh? Go home; I'll look through the files."
Tabitha gasped as Charles groaned when the images became distorted. He snatched the head piece away and she caught him just in time as he fell out of his chair.
"Oh, my God; what happened?! You okay?" she looked at him as he winced in pain.
"That... he has to be the most powerful telepath in the... universe..." he breathed out.
"He... blocked me completely. I'm used to... people using devices to block telepathy. But he did it... without even trying..." he sighed as Tabitha helped him back in the chair. He gave her a weary, apologetic look, "It's safe to say that Martian Manhunter... doesn't want to be found."
"Thanks for trying. I'm sorry..."
She spent a couple more days in the mansion, allowing Charles and Henry to run a few tests on her, getting to study her DNA strand. She was highly thankful that the man kept his word; it just gave the two joy to be able to look at her blood samples as well as watch her tap fully into her abilities. As part of the deal, Charles took her to see Eric in his underground, metal-free cell.
"Henry mentioned that you spoke to him about teaching?" Charles asked suddenly before they entered the building. Tabitha laughed and rolled her eyes.
"I knew he was gonna twist my words around! I wanted to know would it be alright if my best friend could teach once in a while. Like a special guest professor? I mean, she ain't like some super genius but... she helped with the potion that keeps my baby from killing me. She also teaches physics in college."
"That sounds interesting. Give her my contact information and I'll speak to her." he nodded. As they made their way towards the solitary cell, they were patted down by guards. Guards with ice and plastic guns, Tabitha noticed. One of the guards cleared his throat impatiently, drawing her attention. He pointed at her necklace.
"No metals..." he stated.
"Oh! Sorry..." she gave the necklace to him. She looked at Charles' wheelchair, "Uh... do I gotta carry him in or..."
"Oh, I'm not visiting him right now. I'm confident that we both want to know the same thing and that Eric will give you the answers you need." he told her. She gave him a nod as a walkway slid towards the plastic cell in the middle of a platform. Eric looked up from his chair and watched as Tabitha and a guard made their way towards the door. He smirked past her at Charles before putting his attention on her. She was in plain clothes, a simple t-shirt and jeans while her hair was wrapped in what looked like another t-shirt tied into a tight bun in the back.
"So, you are one of Charles' students..."
"I ain't a student of no one's." she knew that she would usually glare at those who were villains. She gave him a simple glance before looking around the cell. There was no metal anywhere; they made sure that Eric wouldn't take advantage at all. Her eyes landed on a chess table in the middle of the room.
"I suppose you'd like to start a game with me?"
"I... I ain't no good but...I guess." she shrugged and pulled up a chair. Even the chess pieces were plastic, she realized. Eric sat across from her and waved a hand towards her.
"You're white so you go first..."
"... I knew that..." she said sheepishly and thought about her first move. She moved her pawn and it was Eric's turn to think, "I hope you ain't tryna distract me. I wanna know a few things."
"You or Charles?"
"Both, I guess. Why were you attacking me and my friend?"
"It wasn't personal but the three of you were in my way. Or at the very least were trying to stop me."
"Stop you from doing what?" she wasn't surprised that he made a quick move.
"Destroying a cure for mutants."
"What...?" Tabitha was no longer interested in making a move.
"I have my sources. And they said that an independent company was not only tinkering with a cure but have successfully manufactured one. It is your move, my child..."
"B-But... wait... I ain't your kid!"
"You might as well be. You remind me of my oldest. You are like me."
"I'm nothing like you!" she barked and made a move. Eric laughed a little.
"Are you saying that you don't enjoy being a mutant? That you would rather be cured?"
"I wasn't... born this way." she finally made a move.
"I see. You have remarkable abilities. Why would you want to give them up?"
"I've... been with 'em for so long; they're a part of me, now. I don't think I could imagine life without 'em. But... what if someone wants to be cured? Who are you to deny that to someone? I met this girl, she couldn't be no older than me. She can't touch no one. At all. Ever. That's fucking horrible; she never asked for that! If she wants to be normal... by God, let her!"
"If only it was that simple. By the way... I don't know your name." he looked down at the game and captured Tabitha's pawn. She grumbled and thought about her next move.
"Tabitha, I can tell right now that you play too aggressively. Sometimes a good defense is the best offense."
"Well, I don't play that often so..."
"Practice makes perfect. Tabitha... the humans want to wage war on us. They'll start with the promise of a cure. It's strange that a mutant didn't produce the cure. Oh; I'm pretty sure that a mutant was used for it."
"I admit that's kinda fucked up. But... I don't think it would've been forced on anyone."
"How long before it would? Do you even know about the struggle between humans and mutants?"
"I guess... Charles was right. I'm kinda protected because I'm part of a group that's praised. We're known to protect mankind. I mean, there's some folks who don't like that there's a large group of superhumans who can pretty much do what they want and get away with it... if they went that way. But, for the most part, we're loved. So, no; I don't know the true struggle."
"You're a part of the Justice League. You're right; you're not like me. You choose to hide who you are, just like Charles' group. You should be proud of who you are. Why hide it?"
"Because of people like you who like to hurt innocent people!"
"I oppose those who oppose mutants! There is nothing 'innocent' about them! They're looking to exterminate us! And mutants like you and your group are turning a blind eye to it! You have human friends; do they know what you are?"
"Yeah..." she glared at him; the very thought that anyone would hurt her friends, particularly Jamila, again started to boil her blood.
"People who accept mutants are safe from my wrath, if it makes you feel better."
"But those people are far and in between. Face it, Tabitha; the only thing that humanity believes is that anyone who is different should be punished or destroyed. We are different and therefore, we're the threat."
"No. You're the threat: I protect the humans from people like you!"
"There's no need to be upset over the truth. You may not see it now but believe me, it will happen. There will be a war between us and the humans. No matter how much your group will try to deter it... it will happen. I only hope that you choose the right side."
"What side is that?"
"The one that opposes the extinction of mutants. We are the most dominant species. And yet we have to hide who we are."
"Just because we have powers don't mean we're dominant. Just means we're special. I don't like that I gotta hide who I am. But I also don't like when people run away from me cuz I'm different. It's never happened but I don't wanna go through that."
"However, once you put that mask on, you're considered a superheroine. That doesn't strike you as odd? Contradicting? What is the difference between the Tabitha sitting before me... and the Tabitha that puts on the mask and costume? She is one in the same." he looked at her. Tabitha stared at him for a moment before putting her eyes back on the game. She didn't want to admit that he could be right. There was no difference between herself and her superhero personas. Her powers existed no matter what; even her personality stayed the same. She disguised her voice only to throw people off. However, there were quite a few villains who knew who she was. Even Peter asked her once who she was hiding from.
She shook her head slightly and made her move.
"I think ya tryna distract me from the game, now! Look... if you ever get outta here... I won't come after you! But if you interfere with my job then you'll have hell to pay!" she gave him a look. Eric smirked.
"I'm looking forward to it..."
She stretched out on one of the love sofas in the main recreation room. She surfed aimlessly until she found what looked like a soap opera; she ignored the fact that it was in Spanish and concentrated on their expressions and movements. They all had the same story lines, no matter the language, she shrugged in her mind. She caught some basic words she remembered from school: bueno meant good, muerto had to do with death; several irate women called people pendejo and puta but she had no idea what it meant. She assumed something bad due to the expressions of the people being called that!
Bruce was surprised to see Tabitha instead of one of the bilingual members; he had no idea that she knew Spanish! He sat on the arm of the sofa and watched with her.
"What's happening?" he asked. She shrugged and stuffed her mouth with a handful of potato chips, "What do you mean, you don't know?" he laughed.
"I dunno what the hell they're saying! Ain't no subtitles. It looked intense. Pretty sure that someone's pregnant with another guy's baby or someone who everyone thought was dead came back in town; usual shit for soaps!"
"Everything go okay in Dakota? You've been gone for a while." he mentioned. She sat up fully and motioned for a soda can on the table. Bruce widened his eyes as the can flew to her hand. She gave it a slight lift towards him before opening it, "Everything went very well!"
"Took a side trip to New York; P needed my help..." she figured that she would tell him before he found out from elsewhere. Bruce narrowed his eyes at her.
"As in, fighting when you're not supposed to..."
"As in I kicked the guy's ass and didn't break out into a sweat! I had help but still; it was over with before it began! I stopped an invisible wave... and threw it back at him!"
"An invisible... you can control magnetic pulse waves?! Huh. You can control every aspect of the magnetic field."
"I guess so. Impressive?" she asked honestly as she took a sip of her soda.
"Very!" he smiled at her. She gave him a smile back before going back to the soap opera. The two sat in silence as they watched the scenes unfold before a commercial break.
"...... There's a cure for me..."
 Now a phrase commonly connected to Wolverine, the origin of the saying goes back to X-Men Vs Street Fighter video game.