The resident house mouse curled up under the bed. Her mind flashed with images as she fell into a dream…
she saw her… her mother. She was just as she had seen her before in her dreams. A slender beauty draped in white. The visage turned as if to introduce herself.
"What about my father?"
"There were very few who had mapped out the expansiveness of mutant potential as I did. I had my pick of the litter, as it were. My research led me to one particular family tree, one with a vast expanse of physical and mental prowess, the blood of the most cunning and powerful. The Knightfalls. Of them, one stood out. His weakness for beautiful blondes made my seduction much easier." Her scarlet lips curled into a haughty smile. "In his genetics was written the future of the mutant race."
Sophia swallowed. "Q-Quintus..."
The visage of the woman and white turned from the girl. "I underestimated the danger of containing such power." The area darkened around them and revealed Alexandra awakening in her own bed, the truth dawning in her eyes. Her slender fingers drew up her gown to see a healing surgical scar across her formerly pregnant abdomen. She screamed in anguish at the loss of her child.
Sophia clutched her own abdomen, feeling the pain of her birth mother. Xandra turned back, a tear staining her fair cheek. "I don't know what happened. I don't know how I was so weak to have you torn from my own womb. But your very existence is my vengeance, my Brainchild. You are stronger than I ever was." The Mistress of the Mind stretched out her hand, her touch going through her little girl's face.
"Even though I can't hold you, this memory, this fractured consciousness lives on in you for a time."
"Where are you? There is so much I want to know!" Tears welled up in her eyes. "I need to find you!"
"As this shard of my psyche has reached you, I can only fear the worst. I was taken, my mind battered through a refining process called 'indoctrination.' They are so powerful, Sophia. My mind is formidable, but even I was no match for their machinations. They are cunning, and they will come for you and everyone else. I can imagine their offers will be seductive to you even as they were to me. A perfect mind, a perfect body, it was all I ever strove to acquire. But at what cost? An emotionless, soulless husk is all that remains consumed with the purpose of recreating all in its image. They rob their victims of everything it means to be human or mutant. We are no longer us but them, no longer capable of determining our own fate however limited such an undertaking is. You cannot relinquish yourself. I tried to gather as much information as I could before shattering my consciousness to elude their grasp. Its pieces hang within the astral plane in search of those who might contain it: you, my male clone, Jean. If my weakness can be of value to save you from their plot, I will succeed even in my failure." The woman gave a sad smile as she gazed at her daughter. "But no more dreaming of me, Sophia. It is time for you to awaken. It is time to become what you were born to be."
Sophia awakened on the floor with a gasp. She was quite certain this was no ordinary dream. Something within her seemed free. The teenager sat up, looking about her as she regained her sense of the present. She reached out, took a playing card, and held it before her face. She studied it with her analyzing blue eyes, shifting the card from visible to invisible. Milo had challenged her to understand her abilities. Tempest spoke of her future potential. But what was the exact nature of her ability? What makes something invisible? She pondered. What makes a thing perceived? The brain interprets signals from an image cast upon the eye through the optic nerve. It's possible her ability could effect the mind, but that had little explanation as to why her vision of colour was impaired while she was invisible. Colour is the result of frequencies of light picked up by the cones in the eye. What if she is altering the light and thus her, and others', perception of it? Light itself was a complex energy having the particle quality of matter and the wave quality of sound. To be invisible, she would have to be able to deviate both states. How else could this be used? Could she focus the light even as she disperses it to be invisible and so create a beam of more obvious light? She stared intently at the five of hearts. It was time to open her mind. Instead of turning it invisible, she imagined the light around it making it even more visible. After the slight smell of burning, the card burst into flames. Sophie gasped, dropping it and jumping back. She blew on it trying to extinguish the flame with eventual success but leaving a charred mark on the floor.
"Dammit." She tried to rub it off. "Of course, idiot. Concentrated light concentrates the heat. It's energy." The girl couldn't be too angry with her oversight and mess. Like a neanderthal, she had discovered fire, and her evolution was only beginning.
Cast of characters: