————— Canteen —————

“That man-eating mind witch” fumed Cheryl, as Orchid from the Hellions squad sauntered out of the canteen. She and the rest of the Longshots were sitting having a midday snack. “Who does she think she is?” she continued.

“Chill Cheryl, she’s not worth the air” said a dark skinned girl sitting across the table from her. “She just likes to act big. If she wants to put herself about then I say let her get on with it. She is just making a fool out of herself”.

“I guess you’re right Sooraya, but you” she exclaimed, pointing her finger at the blonde haired boy sitting next to her, “what were you doing flirting back?”.

“Hey! I wasn’t doing any flirting back. Beth would kill me if I was” he replied.

“Damn right she would. You just better keep your distance from that one because I don’t think she is likely to stop at just saying hello” replied Cheryl.

“Hey Dave” said an odd sounding voice from beside Sooraya “Why don’t you date them both. I mean if that hottie from the Hellions tried it on with me I wouldn’t say no”.

“Rain you had better not be serious. If Beth found out she’d pound David’s ass” warned Cheryl. This only got a gurgling laugh from her watery team-mate. She just shook her head at him and decided that it was not worth arguing further with a bunch of hormonal boys. She was so glad she was on a predominantly girl squad, even if David did lead them. “Anyway we have more important things to discuss, namely how we are going to get these two out of the grounds and into Westchester without being caught”.

“Well it’s easy enough for me to get out but I don’t know what Sooraya will do” said Kiden.

“What about having her just hold on to you while you freeze time. Or try holding only some things in place like you’ve been practising” suggested David.

“I don’t know, it puts a lot of strain on me and sometimes doesn’t have the effect I want” Kiden replied. Lately her powers to alter her personal time frame had become more refined. She had realised that she could manipulate other people’s time frames if she concentrated hard enough. Unfortunately David thought her concentration was the problem. He reckoned that with a bit more work they could have won this year’s field tournament. He would try and get Kiden to focus more in their next training sessions.

“I really think that’s your best bet if you don’t want to get caught” said Cheryl.

“Why don’t you come with us Cheryl? I’m sure the guys will have some friends that you could meet that might be interested” urged Sooraya.

Cheryl looked a bit dismayed at the idea. She was very self-conscious of how her mutation made her look. The chloroplasts in her skin gave it a green tinge and occasionally small blooms would appear along her arms or in her hair. She did not like the public outings the school had to the nearby town as much as some of the others. Plus she had a secret crush on their squad leader. She had been devastated when he had started dating Amazon the squad leader of Squadron X and even more dismayed when he had been caught sneaking back from her room in the middle of the night. It had taken two days for Sooraya and Kiden to convince her to get out of her bed and another week to get her to properly face David again. They had convinced her it was better to be his friend than to never speak to him again.

“Look, there’s really only one way we can know for sure if you are going to get away with this” announced Rain Boy. He turned in his seat to another girl sitting beside him. Blindfold, as she was known to the student body, never said much when she was with their group. She was often quiet and never really joined in socially with the team. Not that she wasn’t a nice girl or anything but she had an eerie quality to her. “Blindfold darling” crooned Rain Boy moronically in her ear “Look into your crystal ball and tell us, will these two floozies get snagged for jumping ship to check out the local talent?”

“Rain” exclaimed Kiden and Sooraya together at Rain’s use of words.

“Listen punk” said Kiden as she leaned in closer to Rain Boy’s containment suit “less of the floozies business or I’ll make sure you spend the next week in suspended animation”.

“Ok, ok” he laughed back.

“Anyway Blinkers” continued Kiden with her usual disregard for manners “Do you see us getting nabbed?”

A quiet smile appeared on Blindfold’s face. She opened her mouth to speak what the girl’s hoped would be their green light for tonight’s shenanigans but all that came out was a screech. The blind telepath dropped to floor of the canteen and convulsed before lying still. “What the hell just happened?” said Rain Boy who had jumped back in his seat from the shuddering girl.

“Quick check her pulse” said David to Cheryl who had been trained in first aid.

The green skinned girl leaned over and put her fingers to Blindfold’s neck. “She’s still breathing and her pulse is fine. But there is no response. David, I think we should get her to the infirmary”.

“Right, fine, let’s go. Dust can you and Kiden go and find Ms. Blaire and tell her what happened” said David.

“On it” they replied. David picked Blindfold off the floor and began walking with his team toward the canteen door. Just as they got there it was flung open in front of them, knocking both him and Cheryl to the ground. He looked up and was surprised to see a very angry, red faced Prodigy, leader of the New Mutants squad.

“Where is he? Where is that arrogant son of a ….”

“Hey idiot! Watch what you’re doing” interrupted Rain Boy.

Surprised at the interruption David Alleyne noticed for the first time that he had knocked people over. “Yeah …. um sorry guys. I’m a bit agro at the minute. My bad” He reached down to help Cheryl up as Rain Boy picked up Blindfold and handed her back to David who had pulled himself off the floor.

“Who were you yellin’ about?” asked Kiden, never missing an opportunity to get the gossip.

“Who do you think” snapped David “Hellion, I want to challenge him”. Kiden then noticed that the complete New Mutants squad was behind Prodigy in the corridor. They were all looking pissed about something and were all in their field season uniforms. Wallflower and Mercury were leaning against the doorframe and she could see Groundhog, Wither and Bubble behind them.

“Challenge them for what?” she continued.

“None of your business junkie” said Laurie as she walked in and stood beside Prodigy.

“I’m sorry, what did you just say” said Kiden angrily as she walked up and faced Laurie. Ever since Kiden had come to the mansion, after being rescued by the X-Men from her abusive father, she had not been able to live down the fact that she had been a regular user. Clean now, she got very angry when some of the students who had never gotten to know her leapt to the conclusion that she was still an addict.

“Hmm, all those drugs must be affecting your hearing” the New Mutant snapped back. Laurie didn’t even have time to flinch as Kiden’s hand slapped her hard across the face.

“You’ll pay for that” screamed Laurie as she launched herself at Kiden.

“Bring it on” yelled back the young street girl as she ducked a punch aimed at her. Prodigy and Rain Boy leapt in and separated the two girls holding them back from each other.

“Kiden” shouted David “we don’t have time for this. In case you’d forgotten Blindfold needs medical attention”.

“Sorry Daystar” replied Kiden, using her squad leader’s codename.

“So she just dropped down screaming?” asked Prodigy.

“Yeah but how did you … oh, never mind” said Daystar realising that Prodigy had absorbed the information from his teams minds.

“We don’t know what happened we are just on our way to the infirmary” said Cheryl from behind David’s shoulder.

“Until you lot got in our way” said an irate Kiden.

“Guys come on, enough” said Daystar “Just drop it”.

“Well, I hope she’s ok” said Prodigy as he walked past Daystar and across the canteen with Wallflower at his side. Just as Daystar was about to get the others to leave they were all blinded by a sudden flash. He adjusted his eyes to the light and could see through the glass wall of the canteen. He stared in amazement as the wave of energy and debris raced toward them. Quickly throwing up a shield he managed to cover his team-mates. Feeling the wave hit, his legs buckled and he fell to his knees, eyes closed as he took the strain of the blast against his shield. Feeling it pass, he stood up and looked around. All the glass that had made up the walls and roof of the canteen had been shattered and was lying in a thick pile around him. He thanked whoever was watching over him, as the glass would have torn them to shreds if he had not been so quick off the mark. He quickly checked that his team-mates were alright. Seeing them uninjured he looked to where the majority of the New Mutants had been standing in the doorway.

Bubble had managed to expand a protective layer of his skin into a sphere large enough to protect himself and Groundhog. Looking at the glass shards embedded in the plastic like substance that was his mutation, he was glad that it was tough enough to withstand the carnage that had just swept over them. “Alan you Ok?” he asked the team-mate he had managed to save.

“Yeah, I think so Jason. A bit shaken, but I’m fine now” he replied.

“What was that do you think?” Jason asked.

“No idea but we should make sure the others are ok”. Alan looked to where Wither and Mercury had been standing. As he expected Cessily had protected her boyfriend Kevin by extending her metal body to shield him from the blast and the debris it carried with it.

“You two ok?” he yelled to them.

“Yeah we’re fine” called back Kevin “Can you see what happened to Laurie and David?”.

Alan looked over across the direction he had last seen Wallflower and Prodigy go. Not seeing them there, he looked around the walls and nearly threw up when he saw their lacerated bodies smashed up against the metal supports for the canteen’s ceiling. “Oh God” he cried “Kevin I think they’re dead”. This brought the heads of both the Longshots and the remaining New Mutants around to look at him. He shakily lifted a finger and pointed in the direction of the still forms of Laurie and David.

Cessily and Kevin ran toward them, and kneeling down, dragged the bodies away from the wall. Alan could see multiple shards of glass sticking out of them. There was no way anyone could have survived that. He watched as Cessily dropped Laurie to the floor shaking her head and beginning to cry. He walked over and put his arm around her and he wept into his shoulder. Passing her to her boyfriend Kevin he grabbed a torn table cloth and laid it over his friends bodies. He turned and stared at the Longshots who were stood there at the exit of the canteen, staring in disbelief at what they were witnessing.

“Guys we have to go find the teachers” said Alan as began to walk toward the exit. As he approached the gathered Longshots he heard Daystar tell Rain Boy to take Blindfold on to the infirmary while he stayed to help the New Mutants. Alan appreciated the gesture. All he wanted was to get someone to deal with this so he could go and grieve in his room alone where no-one could see him.

Daystar watched as Groundhog walked toward them after putting the table cloth over Wallflower and Prodigy. He turned to say he was going to stay and help and ordered Rain Boy to take Blindfold for him. After holding out Blindfold to be taken from his arms he noted that the rest of his team-mates were staring over his shoulder and not at the two dead students anymore.

“Uh boss. I think Blinkers there isn’t the only one who needs a little TLC” he heard Rain Boy’s liquid like voice.

“Why what do you mean?” asked David turning around to look at his team-mate. He gasped in shock as he saw the large shard of glass embedded in the chest of Rain Boy’s containment suit. Some of the watery substance that made up the young mutant was leaking out through a large crack in the main body of the suit and Rain’s watery features were looking a bit worried. He must have been outside the shield but behind it when the blast struck “Ok buddy don’t panic we can get you to the infirmary as well. Dr. McCoy will know what to with that crack. Can you hold yourself together until we get you there?”

“I think so but we need to get a move on” replied Rain Boy.

“Groundhog” David yelled at the departing student “If you’re going looking for Ms. Moonstar take Dust with you to find Ms. Blaire”

“Yeah, sure, come on Sooraya” he agreed.

Daystar watched as they left and then took a deep breath before deciding what to do next. He needed to get his two injured team-mates to the infirmary quickly. He was very worried about Rain Boy as his containment suit had never been breached before. Its creator, Forge, had said that it was highly durable. Obviously not enough, thought David. He was just about to set off when a loud noise started. It seemed to be coming from all around them and sounded like rockets firing or something. He looked through the metal framework of the canteen and staggered back in horror as multiple large sentinels landed within the grounds of the Xavier Estate. Wondering what Daystar had jumped at Kiden, Cheryl, Cessily, Kevin and Jason ran up to join him.

“No stay back” screamed Daystar “They haven’t spotted us yet!”

“Who hasn’t” shouted Kiden as she ran past him into the open ground outside the canteen. She stopped abruptly as the sentinels that stood easily three stories high started scanning the grounds. Their beams washed over Kiden and three of the robots looked in her direction. “Oh crap” she said before diving back into the marginally safer remains of the canteen, narrowly missing being shot.

“Damn, they saw you didn’t they” asked Daystar, “Goddamn Kiden when I say stay back I mean it.” He looked at his two injured tam-mates one unconscious and the other leaking his very essence onto the floor. He quickly made a decision. “Jason and Kevin I know you’d rather stay and help but your powers are not going to be much good against sentinels. Can you help Rain Boy take Blindfold to the infirmary and find out what is going on if you can”.

“Sure I guess but aren’t you going to come too?” asked Jason.

“No. The rest of us are going to stay here and keep these sentinels back while you guys get to safety. When you have had a good head start we’ll come join you. Now go”. He watched as the two New Mutants ran over to his stricken friends and helped them toward the exit. Just then one of the sentinels grabbed hold of a portion of the metal framework and ripped it away. Raising a shield Daystar protected the remaining mutants under it from the falling debris. “Ok guys lets buy the others some time” he said before racing out into the open firing blasts of energy from his hands as he did so. The others looked at him before quickly following suit.