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Location: Xavier Mansion
1407 Greymalkin Lane, Salem Centre, NY, 10274

" Cyclops."

Scott drew his attention away from his screen. He suddenly realised that he had not been paying any attention at all to what had been on the screen in the first place.

I must be feeling tired...

" Yes, Beast. What is it?"

" Ms. Cooper, is on the line."

Cooper! Finally, we'll get some answers... After all the waiting, they would finally be rewarded with the knowledge they so desperately needed.

" Put her on, Hank."

Beast's fingers flew over the keyboard.

" Transferring the signal to the holographic projector..."

Cooper's image appeared in the middle of the conference table.

She looked stern, and her face was lined with worry and stress. It seemed that she was having a difficult time over in Washington. Cyclops felt sorry for her, but he doubted that his team looked any better.

" X-men. I'm sorry I wasn't able to contact you earlier... but I was wrapped up in a lot of bureaucratic red tape."

" Val," Beast sought her attention. " Do you have information for us about the Professor's kidnap?"

Her brows furrowed in something akin to anticipation.

But of what...?

" That, and more. I've got a video of the whole thing made by an amateur - until the glass came crashing down, anyway. I'll send it over to you..."

" Receiving now," Beast informed them.

" But I have a bigger problem for you."

Everyone present was surprised. They had not seen anything on the news to suggest another problem. What could Cooper mean?

" Just a while ago, the entire mutant population in the ' Mutant Alley' district here in Washington was wiped out... and I mean literally wiped out."

Wiped out...? " Val, what do you mean by ' wiped out'?" Cyclops was puzzled over her phrasing.

" I mean that we've got probably a hundred mutants in vegetative state down there, and we can't understand why."

" All right, Val," Cyclops rose from his seat. " We'll investigate."

" Thanks. And good luck in finding Charles."

" Thank you."

Her image winked out.


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