2010-02-07: How To Save A Life



Special Guests: Reverend Shay, Kevin

Summary: Jericho does a favor for a contact. The favor changes his life. Again.

Date: February 07, 2010

How To Save A Life

Rating: PG

Special Note: The extras were run by Belenus, who has offered to ANYONE who wants a specific style scene, or one tailored to your own character upgrades and whatnot, to please contact him. However, any upgrades must first be approved by staff.

The helicopter that picked Jericho up from the school was black and unmarked. The grim-faced men in suits piloting it were also non-descript. If it were not for the call from an old 'friend' in the government who has helped Jericho rescue a few mutant children from bad situations that would have put them on the public radar in ways embarrassing both for mutants and the government, this would look like a kidnapping. The plane waiting at the local airport is also unmarked, against FAA regulations. A Gulfstream jet, sleek and luxurious, inside and out, it has a familiar face waiting just inside the door. Special Agent White. If the Matrix design team needed a reference model, they would have picked him. He nods, "Doctor. Let's get underway." His tone is calm but there is a hint of urgency to it.

"Of course." Jericho's come along because he knows, when he gets those calls, that there's something big and they need his help. Not just because of his mutation, but because of his skills. Only a few people have the particular set of skills necessary to deal with specific types of things. He, Dr. Samson, and that's about it. "So, what's the issue?" He asks, adjusting his clothing lightly. He's wearing a custom-tailored shirt and pants with a tie.

Leading Jericho to a seat, the Special Agent buckles in and hits an overhead intercom button. "Go." The plane begins moving down the runway at once. He looks back to the mutant doctor and says, quietly, "This one is … bad. Messy. And I don't see a good way out." He clears his throat and his look of professional detachment returns. "Keven Michael Shay is a fourteen year old boy with what, until this morning, could have considered an amazing gift. He could heal by laying on hands. A mutant, of course, but his father doesn't see it that way. His father is Reverend Bradley Shay. Advisor to the President, leader of the Coalition of Moral Americans, head of the Electric Church (which, by the way is big enough to have its own national cable station now) and billionaire several times over. He's a power-player in Washington and his son's powers were bringing millions a week into his 'ministry' that he is donating back out to 'right thinking' politicians.

"Moral Americans? Are you sure he's not going to object to me being brought in?" Jericho asks, a little smirk on his face. He's fairly open about himself. Mutant. Gay. Liberal. Ah well. Not that matters. He's a Doctor. "Of course, I'll do what I can anyway. Any idea what changed that I need to be involved in it?" Of course the guy has an idea, or he wouldn't have brought Jeri in in the first place.

Opening a netbook and clicking a few keys, the Special Agent says dryly, "I seriously doubt he's going to let his objections override the chance that you may be able to help, Doctor. And he wants to talk to you. He's …seen your file." Given how restricted that information is, it indicates that the good reverend has major, if not global, connections. And there is a faint hint of apology in White's tone. 'Not my choice' it seems to say. He turns around the netbook to show an overhead view of what looks like a compound on a blue water bay somewhere. Dozens, if not a hundred still forms lay on the ground around the outside of several buildings. "At 11:33am this morning, Kevin decided that he has a purpose. To 'cleanse' humanity. This is his first effort." He clicks another button and the same scene is shown in infra-red. The bodies are not radiating heat.

"Ouch. Healer turned destructive. Either cellular or genetic degradation. Thank goodness my son understands the difference in right and wrong." Jeri says, rubbing the bridge of his nose. This could get bad. "Well, I'll see what I can do. Hopefully my husband's not left a widow after this." He says with a nod, continuing to look over any information shown to him.

Nodding grimly, Special Agent White says, "We have a prototype S.H.I.E.L.D. bio-filter field projector ready for you. His abilities already eat through containment suits. As our first team discovered. Doctor, the compound is at the edge of the Miami harbor. If this boy's genetic control powers go viral there, the currents and the gulf stream air flow will have whatever he does global inside a week. We have a sniper positioned about four miles away and we've restasked an orbital defense platform but his father … loves his son." There's an ironic tone at that. "And has enough pull that we've called you in first. But if you can't pull this off or it looks like he's out of control when you meet him, we're going to end him and nuke the site from orbit. Immediately." Which means this might indeed be a suicide mission. "Ready to meet the good reverend?"

"As ready as I'll ever be." Jeri says with a firm nod. He knows he may be in over his head. This kid seems to be doing a survival of the fittest thing. "How broad is his field?" He asks, simply as he gets ready to put on the field projector. If he can get close enough to powershare the kid, he'll probably be immune, but that'd take time to get to. "Alright. Ready."

Handing over what looks like a sleek utility belt, the Special Agent says, "It's pre-tuned. We think he's deadly out to about a mile." Which would basically make the boy an Omega-level mutant gone bad in the worst way. Quite capable of ending the world. White stands and offers Jericho his hand. "The reverend wants to talk to you alone. Good luck, doctor. If you pull this one off … well, you'll prevent an anti-mutant scare that will make 9/11 backlash look like a cheerful holiday at the beach. And we'll owe you. Big time."

"It's what I'm here for." Jeri admits with a nod as he puts the belt on. Dealing with Daddy Dearest will be harder than the kid, in Jeri's mind. He relates to teenagers. It's what he does for a living. Though, with a hyperreligious upbringing, it might hamperhow he sees things. "I'll do everything I can to make this work out in a way that's beneficial to all of us."

After the agent has gone, there is a pause for a few moments and then a thin, almost cadaverous man in a very expensive suits enters the cabin and sits opposite Jericho. "Doctor Mayfair. I understand you're the best man for this job." His expression and tone leave no doubt that he finds /that/ idea extremely distasteful. "You are going to talk my son down from this spiritual crises, reinforce his loyalty as a son and assure him that this …incident… was the work of Satan and not him. That using his powers to help people, under my guidance, of course, is God's will. And you are going to do quietly and never speak of this to anyone. Ever."

Jericho raises his eyebrow expansively. "I'm sorry sir. I was brought here by them. I will do what I can to bring your child to safety and to do what I think is best for this country and my people. Convincing your son that his problem stems from theological perspectives is not something I'm going to do. I am a doctor. I treat the symptoms and the causes. I will find out what caused him to do this and convince him to stop. Perhaps to seek out better training than you can provide. Fortunately, I am a trainer for mutant gifts like your son's and might be able to help there. As far as your God and Satan thing go? I'm not touching it in either direction. If that upsets you, I'm sorry. But if you want your son to come out of this without being wasted by a nuclear weapon and starting a war, then you need to see it from my standpoint instead of making demands of my time and ability."

There is a moment where Reverend Shay's face betrays complete fury. An insane rage. His glare at Jericho is so heated that if he possessed any kind of powers, the mutant doctor would probably be blasted where he sits. After that all to revealing glimpse of his mind, he sits back and snorts, expression composed as though nothing had happened and arches an eyebrow. "Doctor. I am a man of great means and many friends. There are so /many/ things in your life that are delicate. Family relations, adoptions, 'marriage', your little students at that …school." He shrugs and says, "It would be a shame if all those things came under massive scrutiny, wouldn't it? I have to live under that spotlight all the time. Which is why I know you'll understand a need to keep this quiet." He looks overhead, as though checking to see the intercom light is out and his voice goes flat. "Look, leave God out of it. I don't care. But I want my son back under my control."

There's a nod from Jericho. "Fortunately, my marriage and adoption will prove to be as clean as the snow. I always live my life as if it is under scrutiny. I have been a prisoner of war, myself, and know what can become of any particular regime getting too powerful, no matter what type." He says with a saccharine smile as he looks out. "I will do what is best for your son." He leaves it at that. Who is the Reverend to tell anyone what's best for them. "Mental health is my priority. Mental health leads to physical health in many ways." He stands, runnig a hand through his graying hair. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a job to do."

With a weary head shake, the Reverend stands and says, "Fine. As you wish. But understand this: pulling the trigger on that little bastard will cost me a hundred million a year. And if that happens, you better hope you die with him. Because I /will/ hold you responsible." With that, he stands and stalks back to the front of the compartment, apparently unwilling to sit with Jericho for the duration of the flight. Said flight lasts another two hours and then the doctor is whisked away from the Miami airport in a caravan of black SUVs. Apparently subtle is not something these gentleman can do. There are police cordons set up a mile and a half from the compound and new vans are reporting about a 'possible gas attack by jihadists'. All of their communications stop working as White blankets the area in radio silence other than his own equipment, lets Jericho out of the car and says, "Good luck."

With the Field Projector turned on, Jeri nods. Cracking his neck, he stretches a little. Time is of the essence, so he breaks into a fast run. He can run, when necessary, nearly 200 miles per hour. Thus, he does his best to head towards the child with the quickest possible route. He may take a little, but he's going to do his best to get there without straying.

The road to the private estate is deathly quiet, even the birds and insects that would normally be flying are dead on the ground. Several cars are wrecked or just stopped in and along side the road, their passengers obviously (and probably instantly) dead. It gets worse in the compound itself. There are bodies everywhere, looking like it really was a gas attack. In addition to the servants and staff of the attached business offices, there are the remains of a what looks like a black ops team in full hazmat gear with silenced machine guns. They are just as dead as the others. An animate small figure can be seen through the glass walls of the house, which is built to resemble a post-modern cathedral, all soaring walls of glass and arches. It looks like the monument of ego to a man who thinks of himself as the next best thing to God. But not a home. Too sterile and cold.

Jericho shakes his head softly and can tell what one of the root causes is, here. When a family cares too much about the son being able to get them money, there's no love there, aside from the love of money. Seeing the boy through the glass, Jeri does things properly. He goes to the front door and knocks loudly, opening the door before he goes inside. He does open it and calls out, though, "Keven? Hey, buddy. What happened here?" He asks, letting him know, well in advance, that he's there and he's not trying to sneak up on him.

The boy doesn't /look/ like a killer. Thanks to his father's guidance (and complete control of his grooming and wardrobe choices), Kevin actually looks a bit angelic. Slender and long-boned, suggesting he'll be tall some day, pale skin and watchful brown eyes under a mop of curly black hair, his features are fine but obviously still blurred and emerging. Whoever his mother is, she must make up for in looks what his father lacks. He's wearing white slacks and boat shoes and a white t-shirt that contrast strongly with sun-browned skin. His voice is a bit cool and entirely too serious for his age when he asks, "Are you here to kill me, too?" The power coming off of the body is almost visible and the air around him churns with it. Tendrils stretch out invisibly and Jericho's protection field starts glowing softly golden as it deflects attempts to reach the doctor and rewrite his DNA. Probably fatally.

"No, son. I'm a doctor. For people like us. I've come to see if there's anything I can do to help you." Honesty always works best with children. After all, when you talk down to them, they know it. They may not know it on the surface, but deep down, they can sense it. Jeri displays a big grin as he kneels down. He IS a big man. He extends a hand, despite the field. "My name is Dr. Jericho Parker-Mayfair. But you can call me Dr. Jeri if you want. Or just Jeri. Most of my kids at work do. You can shake my hand if you promise not to hurt me. You promise you won't hurt me, and I promise I won't hurt you accidentally, ok?" He says. His heartbeat is wild and fast right now, knowing there's something there.

Kevin flinches a bit at the word 'son' and considers Jericho dispassionately. "my dad doesn't believe in doctors. He believes in God. Do you believe in God? I'm his Hand here on earth, you know." His tone is quite serious. "Dad says my job is to heal those people who deserve it. Good, moral, Christian people. But he takes money for it. I found that out. And you know, the people he has me fixing? I saw some of them on the Internet. Drug guys. Dictators. Bad people. I don't think there /are/ any worthy people." That last is said in a sad, quiet tone. One thing is certain. The boy is disturbed.

It's worse than Jericho thought, in all honesty. "I'm sorry he's done that to you." He says, shaking his head softly. "I'm going to be honest with you, Keven. No. I don't believe in God. I believe in good people and bad people. And some good people believe in God. And some bad people believe in god, but think they're good. Do you understand?" He asks, kneeling so he can stay as close as he can to eye level. "See, my son, Jared is a healer too. And much more." He says, nodding. "Keven, what determines how your Dad sees people as good?" He asks, seriously wanting to know.

Kevin continues to watch Jericho. He frowns slightly and says, "I can't /see/ you. You know, inside. The little bits." He frowns and that field of light holding back Kevin's powers goes from soft gold to a deeper orange. The air between them practically boils with power. He considers Jericho's words and says, "That's bad. Atheists are going to hell. Like sodomites and heathens and people who don't buy American." He doesn't seem to honestly understand a word of that. Just parrots it. For a teenager, his mentality seems stunted. Perhaps even kept immature on purpose to make him more malleable. "And your son is a healer? But you don't believe? I don't understand that." His last question gets a frown, "It's /supposed/ to be people who live by the Bible. But really, it's about who can give him money and stuff. I've been figuring it out. He lies. A lot. So I started listening for God on my own. And you know, he finally told me what to do. Start over. Nobody is worthy so we should all go. And then he'll start

Kevin continues, "So I started listening for God on my own. And you know, he finally told me what to do. Start over. Nobody is worthy so we should all go. And then he'll start again. And do better."

"Kevin, how do you know whether people are good or not? How does your father know?" Jericho asks softly, still not backing away, no matter how scared he is at the moment. "What if your father thinks people are good and they really aren't. Who are we to judge? Yes, there are some people that are truly evil out there. Adolf Hitler was an evil man. But he BELIEVED he was good. So did his people." He explains. He's going to have to get legal people involved in this, he's sure. But, freedom of religion makes it very hard to do so. "Are you sure it was God who told you that?" Jeri may be an atheist. But he has read the bible. "You know… he hasn't told people to kill in years beyond counting, according to the bible. Instead, he tells them to love each other. Not hurt each other. Hurting, according to the bible, comes from the other one." He explains. "But to ME…"

"To me, it seems as though you may have misheard something." He does notice the field around him deepening. "Keven, can you pull that back, please?" He asks. "Your power is trying to get at me. I'd really like to NOT have that happen, if we can avoid it. I'm tougher, stronger, and faster than most people, but that doesn't mean I can handle what you've got."

Kevin looks away, over the glass back walls of the house and towards the deck that projects out over the bay. "C'mon. Let's go outside. It's always cold in here." He starts walking for the back exit, where the deck with an inset pool projects out like a balcony. Or a huge pulpit. As he walks, he says, "It had to be God. I mean, I get my healing from God. So if God tells me to do something, it has to be right and good. And dad says he's a prophet like in the old times. But /I/ think he lied. Because he can't do anything but talk. I'm the one that God picked. So he talks to me." The hot Miami air is a sharp contrast to the sterile air conditioned chill of the house and the sunshine is bright, making the boy's white clothing shine brightly. "And I want to know who you are. Inside. I like you. Maybe I can help fix you." He frowns. "But then we're just going to die anyway." He shakes his head. "That doesn't seem good." The field is still orange.

"Kiddo… do you want to know the truth as -I- see it? Your dad will tell you different, but I'm a doctor, so I've been to school to see things from a scientific perspective, rather than a religious one. But I don't think God or Satan had anything to do with this. Have you heard the word mutant before?" Jericho offers a half-smile as he nods. "Sure. We can go outside. I like it outside. I can run so fast out there that even cars can't keep up with me." He winks. "If I let you see me… by taking off this shield, will you promise NOT to kill me?" He asks the boy. The first step in getting the trust is to give trust.

Kevin gives Jericho a surprised look. "You're a mutant? But dad says mutants are the spawn of Satan and they should all get stoned. 'Cause the Bible says they're witches." He grins broadly and says, "It would make him /mad/ that I'm talking to you." And then, "Ok. I don't want to be alone anyway. We can go last." And the implications of that sweetly delivered last line may be terrifying.

"Your dad actually knows I'm talking to you. You know what? I bet that I can share your power. My power lets me share powers with other mutants. Only other mutants. I can't share with aliens. I can't share with mutated humans." Jeri explains. "And with that, you'd get half of my powers. And part of that is to KNOW other mutant powers." He grins. "See… I don't think I'm a bad person. I help kids like you who don't know how to deal with their powers. I help them learn and grow and become capable, healthy adults. We have kids with so many powers that it's not even funny. Even my son, the healer, is a mutant." Noting the field change, he nods, taking the belt off for now. That'll let him be seen. He offers a hand. "Want to feel what it feels like?" He asks.

The boy considers Jericho for a moment and then nods again. "Okay." And then, "So you think I'm a mutant? Why would God do that? Make me into something he hates?" And then after a pause as he teaches out to put his hand in Jericho's hand, he says, "Maybe that's why dad tells me I'm evil and bad and unworthy." His power flows between the two of them and Jericho can sense what the boy has done around them. The very air boils with half-constructed viruses that are so virulent that any one of them could wipe out millions, if not billions. And he seems to be tinkering with a good dozen of them at the same time, fitting together strands of genetic material like building blocks. His powers reach out towards Jericho, examining him on a genetic level as, at the same time, Jericho's powers let Kevin see /himself/ clearly for the first time. There is a stunned silence.

"There's nothing wrong with mutants, Kevin." Jericho says, looking at the world around him with new eyes. It amazes him, honestly. "Mutants are simply the next level of evolution to human beings. Yes, I'm sure your dad says Evolution is wrong. It's a theory, just like anything else." He moves along, walking along with Keven, trying, actually, to deconstruct some of the viruses around him. "This is an amazing power." He says simply. "Mine is different, but I like it. I think your dad is not the good man he says he is, Keven." He offers, shaking his head. He's extremely sad at this. "If he says things like that about you… maybe he's not the best dad in the world for you." That's where his thoughts go, right now. "You deserve the chance to have the love that most kids do. This power is strong. With the right environment, you could be such a force of good in the world. But right now, killing all these people… isn't good. Some of them ARE good people."

The young mutant watches Jericho take apart the viruses and doesn't protest. He seems distracted and his power is focused inward at the moment as he maps and charts his own potential and his own faults. He looks up at Jericho and says, "Do you think he knew I'm a mutant?" The question seems terribly important to him. And then, quietly, "I don't think you're a bad person. And if you're not…." He blinks and for lack of a better word, Jericho's enhanced awareness of the genetic material around them allows him to see the boy's genetic code /flash/ and rearrange itself spontaneously as his will, for the first time, can focus on himself, thanks to the mutant teacher's power sharing. His knees give out and he starts to slump to the deck as his whole body readjusts for a second to whatever he did.

"Kevin!" Jeri shouts, seeing him fall. His first response is the same as it would be to any falling child, no matter how dangerous. It's to reach out and grab… to hold and comfort. "What did you do? Are you alright? Do you feel ok?" Safety comes first of course. Then, he can continue. Looking over with his new senses, he tries to see what happened. "He knows you're a mutant, kiddo. He's just… I think he's only interested in the money you can bring him. I'm sorry, but that's how I see it. I may be wrong. I'm not perfect." He shakes his head, hiding his anger.. his pure rage at the hatred the man has taught an innocent. "I work at a school with lots of people like us. Some of them come from families who tell them they're bad. I do my best to teach them that they're not. And to give them the love and support they need." He doesn't add the 'that you need' to the end of it.

Kevin is limp for a moment after he's caught and then he opens his eyes. His smile is infinitely sad and knowing. There is a maturity and awareness in his eyes that was lacking before. He says, "Look. Inside me." And Jeri will be able to tell that Kevin optimized his DNA from the ground up. As smart/fast/healthy/power-aware as he's going to get, he is now. And it's not enough. His power, even when he's at his ultimate potential, is still going to keep outgrowing his ability to keep it from acting on his impulses and whims. It might even be worse now that he's removed the roadblocks on a genetic level that were impeding it before. His expression is trusting and almost serene. "Doctor, I think …and I /can/ think, now… that I've got to make a choice. And soon. Either try to shut down my …gift… or shut myself down. And I don't think I can do either alone. It's too powerful for me fight myself. 'Cause if I don't, I'm going to hurt people. You're right, my dad is bad. But I don't want him to die. Or

Kevin continues, "But I don't want him to die. Or you. Or your son. Or anybody. Not when I'm thinking straight, at least."

"We had a student recently… who gave up his powers for good. To save people around himself. Many of ours consider him a hero now." Jeri admits, holding tightly to the boy. He still holds half of the power within himself, and it's still too strong. "With your powers, can you tone it down? Until you're able to control it?" He suggests, offering that handhold. "Whatever you do, don't shut yourself down. Your life is more important than your powers. And if you want, I'll do my best to help you find a family that isn't bad." He's scared moreso than ever now. Not because of what Kevin can do, but because of where this is headed. A thinking teenager with the ability to see all of this knows… "What do you want to do? And what can I do to help?"

Kevin grins a bit. "Being a hero would be nice." He shakes his head, "Look at the way my power is put together. It is going to be all there is of me. It's changing me the way I change people when I heal." He might lack the vocabulary to describe replicating and dominant DNA but Jericho will be able to see that the boy's X-gene expression has a lot in common with cancer. It really will eventually make him into a non-sentient bio-reactor, pumping out genetic material into the world as random viruses. As dangerous as he is now, it's only going to to get worse. He rests a hand on Jericho's arm. "I'm stronger now. Especially with you working from the outside. If we blend in parts of you that aren't me at all, it might act like, um, walls. And I can keep myself from focusing on it again another way." His power coils out of him spreading in a mandala like pattern, infinitely complex tendrils that reach towards both his own and Jericho's DNA. "Share. And keep it from sneaking past me."

Jericho nods succinctly and does just that. Keven may not be the most able-minded person, but he's been using these powers longer. Jericho is deftly adequate at following the lead of others in areas where he's not expert. He reaches his own version of Kevin's power out to feel and block anything from getting away. "Just make sure that you live through this. Anything else… well.. is secondary to life. Ok?" He asks, closing his external eyes and letting himself picture the energy flow internally.

Kevin nods as well. "Yea." The boy turns his power inwards and it is like watching evolution in reverse. Or evolution at war. Cell by cell, strand by stand, Kevin's mind reaches out and combines packets of Jericho's DNA, lacking his own particular expression of the X-gene and blends them with his own, with that particular gene isolated and removed. The net effect is an incredibly fast and painful form of gene therapy. Kevin's body ripples and changes and his breathing stops and starts for long seconds at a time as various systems stop functioning and then restart. His mutation, like all life, seeks to survive. And when it starts to lose the battle in it's own body, it tries to go viral, sliding through that link between Kevin and Jericho and even attempting to become airborne as a virus. Which, in effect, it is at this point. The boy trusts Jericho to handle that part, focusing on constructing a new person out of himself, locking that ability away.

War, Jeri understands. He may not always be a front-line combatant, but he knows what to do. When you see enemies that are going to cause problems fleeing to get a better vantage point, you reach out and destroy them. If they're trying not to hurt, just to live, you let them. But this… this power is not helpful. The power is trying to take over the boy and trying to take over the world around him. Dr. Parker-Mayfair will NOT let that happen, no matter what it takes. He keeps a tight grip on Kevin as necessary, to keep him from sliding away. If he sees the boy out for too long, he'll step in to correct, but if he doesn't have to, he leaves it to the expert. "You're doing just fine, Kevin. We'll make it through this. I promise."

Kevin is just at the edge of hearing that and his smile is faint and distracted. "Make sure my dad puts me someplace warm, okay? And tell him I love him. And thank you. For saving me from being bad." It's a child's way of thinking, but then again, that's all he's been allowed to be. But what he does next is an act of sacrifice worthy of any adult. He focuses all of his power inward in a sudden storm of changes, causing that borrowed DNA to overwrite his own even as he regresses the DNA that controls his sentient mind to a point where it would never be able to even subconsciously take advantage of his powers. His grip on Jericho's arm tightens. "Someplace warm." And with that, the last of his conscious mind slips away, overwritten by a simpler code. Alive and aware but lacking volition and will. Blank. Probably for the rest of his life.

The portion of the boy's DNA that was warring with Jericho outside the body suddenly coils and strikes, seeking a new host. Even as Kevin fades, his powers flare and start to fade as well. Jericho has just seconds to chose. Try cleaning his own genetic structure, remove his own barriers and hope his power is strong enough to override this invader or not. And see what happens.

"Nononono! Don't do this to me." Jericho says, directly to Kevin. Alright. Doctor's training goes into overdrive. Screw that that's going on around him. He can deal with that later. Right now, the goal is to bring Kevin back. He grips what he has control of and takes Kevin's genetic structure as best he can, bringing him back before he slips away. What he does, instead, is simply make one little change in the X-Gene. Enough to stop the powers from being in there. The kid can live without them. And damnit, he'll sacrifice himself to keep the kid alive if he has to. Looking at the warring genetic code around him. "Look, I'll let you do what you want to me when I'm done. Let me bring him back. Let me keep him from dying. Then, I'm yours. Ok?" He says. Sure it's not sentient… is it?

The X-virus that is Kevin's power didn't start off as truly alive. Or sentient. But when the boy turned his powers inward, the changes were so sweeping and so comprehensive that by some alchemy of his own and Jericho's powers and the rapid evolution of that gene, making changes that would take millions, if not billions of years, awareness, dim and selfish arose. An instinct self-preservation arises as the virus senses, on a telepathic level, the offer being made. And it makes a counter-offer. It will bond with Jericho's own DNA, laying dormant but being passed onto his future children. The boy can be repaired but the cost will be that Jericho's bloodline will act as carriers for their own potential competition. An expression of the X-gene so pure that it might one day exist without the need for humans or mutants at all. All of this communication happens on an instinctive level below rational thought or speech.

Even though it's beneath the level. Jericho can feel that there's a deal being made between himself and the thing. "Yes. I accept. Now, let's save his life." Jeri says firmly as he reaches out again to the child, continuing his work before. "Help me." He says to the… whatever it is. Intricate, yet forceful. He presses, doing everything he can to save Kevin's life. "I told you I wouldn't let you die. And I told you I would help you get out of this mess." He says, bringing that will that kept him alive for eight years without the powers he knew and loved. That will that keeps him pushing to keep his kids safe. Students and children alike. That will that allowed him to face his demonized husband and then accept him back without qualm. This is who he is, and what he does. It's time to do it.

The X-virus pauses and decides, in its own dim way, that the deal is good. Jericho is a much more durable and versatile host. And with a little optimization, even better. Thus the virus uses its power, Kevin's power and opens it to Jericho, letting the doctor's will and knowledge guide the repair and undoing of the boy's mental suicide attempt. Too much of his original DNA has been overwritten to allow him to go back to the way he was, but sentience? That can be restored. Even if it is a distraction from survival. And while Jericho's power works, the X-virus changes his own genetic structure. Fixing, cleaning, editing here and there and then slipping in to the strands, bonding and subsuming and giving up that dubious gift of thought. Who needs it? If it makes you sacrifice like this, thought is contrary to survival.

As Jericho's will and his own disembodied power flows back into him, Kevin gives a shuddering gasp and his eyes open. Eyes that have gone from honey brown to a clear blue. He tries to shout. Something seemed so important about him /not/ being able to think like this again. And then it's gone. He smiles up at Jericho, his features changed slightly and now perhaps oddly familiar to the mutant. "Ah… did we win?" There is no trace of his own powers within him and as Jericho's shared version fades away, he senses the X-gene the boy carries is different. And Jericho's. Along with much of the rest of his genetic structure. But he's both alive and thinking. And no danger to the world. So it's a win. Perhaps for both of them.

There's a bright smile from the doctor as the boy wakes up. "We did. It's not in you anymore. It's in me." He says. He doesn't know his own changes yet, but he'll find them out soon enough. He moves to stand, reaching up to brush a hand through his hair. Those that know him may note a few differences there, but he can't see it yet. "And if you want, I'll still try to find you another family. One who won't try to use you. Not that he can anymore." He says, nodding softly as he offers his arms down to the teenager, in an effort to lift him up and carry him if he wishes. "Your dad is going to be VERY pissed off at me." He says, forgetting the kid doesn't know much about bad language, probably.

Kevin uses Jericho's arms to get up but then stands on his own, his stronger looking jaw setting a moment as he says, "I don't think I'm going to be much use to him anymore, Doctor Parker-Mayfair. I doubt he'll care. But …." He swallows and says, "I'm going to have to face up to what I did while I was … sick. The police…." Which is when Jericho's discarded shield belt chimes and the communicator and spy device hidden inside crackles to life. "Doc? Get out of there. The Reverend is going to cover his loses. You've got a orbital kinetic weapon headed your way. It's going to take out everything within a mile in about a minute and a half. Run!"

As the belt chimes, Jericho looks to see if there's a way to respond. "The kid's fine. Gave up his powers. He's safe." He says, shaking his head. "Come on, Kevin." He says, moving to pick the boy up. "We have to get out of here. Your dad's trying to kill this area. And you if he has to." This, of course, pisses the doctor off even further. As soon as he can, he picks Kevin up and runs like hell to the other end of the area. Beyond where any teams are waiting. With his top speed enhanced even further… well… He can get away easily enough, even carrying another weight.

The boy just makes a startled noise as he's scooped up and then things are moving too fast for him to even follow. As Jericho's hasty exit gets them back to the police barriers, what looks like a meteor flashes down from the sky. An orbital kinetic weapon, a telephone pole sized needle of heat-resistant alloys with a core of depleted uranium dropping from orbit at several times the speed of sound. The impact throws everyone off their feet and the compound and everything within half a mile of it suddenly vanishes, vaporized. Clouds of steam rise as the bay fills the new inlet. All the evidence is covered. Special Agent White gives Jericho and Kevin a strange, unreadable double take and lifted eyebrow as he hustles them into waiting vans. The good doctor saved the day. And the world. What comes next? That's just post script. For now.

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