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Location: Unknown

He had been in this cell for several hours now, Charles calculated. And still, there had been no indication of what his captors meant to do with him. There had been no sign of them since he had first been thrown into captivity.

He felt like a captive animal. Here he was, thrown into a barred cage, uncertain as to what the future held. Captive, he would be expected to do whatever his captors wanted.

I wonder if they will ask me to sit and beg... he thought, with great irony.

He peered through the iron bars. He had time on his hands. As it was such, it might do him good to examine his surroundings more closely.

That which first attracted his attention, of course, was the monstrosity that had first confronted him when he was into the room. The strange machine towered menacingly over him. He felt, to a certain extent, a measure of awe. It was, on first sight, ugliness personified, resembling a computer turned inside out, with its wires and cables and computer chips on the outside, rather than in. Its creator had certainly paid little or no attention to conventional aesthetics.

And yet... it can be beautiful, he thought. But that beauty could only lie, in what was noticeable only on close examination, in its practical and minimalist design. Even the wires and cable, he noticed, that on first sight had seemed so amateurish, had been run in a way that contributed to the overall design.

The designer had not been a professional artist. Nonetheless, he had created a work of art.

Even if it was difficult to appreciate.

Charles felt a presence at his side.

" Do you know what they want with us?" he asked Magneto.

His companion shook his head slowly, uncertain.

" I would not speculate too much, but my instincts tell me that it has to do with that - " with a nod of his head, he indicated the giant.

Xavier nodded. Magneto was correct. Why else imprison them in this room? Reason would indicate that the purpose was to prevent any escapes down the long corridors of this building. Their usefulness, then, lay in this room.

His eyes swept over the machine once more. Was there any clue, or hint, that he could get from the machine itself? He saw past the cables, saw past the wires and computer chips, saw past the metal body... and finally, in a hidden corner, as if the designer had not wanted it to be seen, he saw it.

With a chilling of his blood, he grasped the meaning of it.

" Magnus..." he whispered. " Look that way..."

Magneto followed his extended finger, to the little corner of the machine. To Magneto, the machine had never struck him as beautiful. Instead, he thought of it as primal, and deadly. And looking in the direction Xavier pointed, he saw fitting justification for his suspicions.

A single helmet, and a single chamber.

Helmet... a chamber... Xavier's mind raced. There could have been many other, less threatening, uses for a helmet and a chamber. But it could not be coincidence that those very two things were found in the same room as the world's most powerful telepath and the Master of Magnetism.

" Magneto..."

A harsh whisper floated across to the pair. Magneto jerked his head in its direction. It came from the cell next to theirs.


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