Glow followed Xavier and Scott down to the lower levels of the mansion with some trepidation. Storm and Wolverine had supposedly gone to a different level to be in the control booth. They reached a huge set of metal double doors. Scott stood off to one side and looked into a device. The device emitted a beam of blue light, scanning his retina.
"Access cleared. Welcome, Cyclops," the Danger Room's computer declared. The doors opened and the three saw a giant almost rectangular room covered in strange metallic equipment on all sides, including the ceiling and the floor.
"Whoa," Glow's eyes went wide and she hesitated before taking a step inside the room. "What is this place?"
"A training room," Cyclops told her. "The room is equipped with holographic projectors everywhere. The object of the Danger Room is to defeat the programmed scenario in as short a time as possible while taking only minimal injury or preferably, none at all."
"Since this is your first time in the Danger Room and you really aren't using it for training per say, the program called up will be extremely low level. But just in case, Cyclops will remain in with you," Xavier told her. "I'll be up in the control booth with Storm and Wolverine."
"Don't do me any favors," Glow whispered as she stepped farther into the room, Cyclops on her heels.
"Are you sure you don't want to change into something else?" Xavier asked. "I could have Storm get you a suit."
Glow looked down at herself. She was dressed plainly, in blue jeans, a dusky rose t-shirt, a denim jacket and white canvas sneakers. "Nothing here that can be hurt by my power. I'm fine."
"Very well then. I look forward to seeing you exit with your true eye color." Xavier backed his wheel chair out of the doorway and the entry automatically closed behind him.
"Don't be nervous. Storm will warn us when she punches up the program," Cyclops advised. "Since you're just using this to output your excess energy, she's probably just going to put us in a terrain setting with trees and whatnot for you to blast."
"Gee thanks. A kiddied-down holodeck program," Glow said sardonically. "Honestly, how old do you all think I am?"
Cyclops shrugged. "Early twenties. You don't look too much older than some of our senior students."
"I'm forty-five cutie," she informed him. "Had my birthday this past April. Don't talk to me like I'm three again. I'll start taking it personal."
"Hey down there," Storm's voice came over the loudspeaker. "Are you two ready?"
"Ready, Storm," Cyclops told her.
"I'm activating program 1.049," she told them.
"What's that?" Glow asked Cyclops.
Before he could answer, the air in the room began to shimmer. The holographic projectors hummed to life and suddenly they found themselves in the middle of a very empty Central Park
"You're kidding right?" Glow couldn't believe her eyes.
"This is your session Glow. Disable the program by disabling the targets," Cyclops said to her.
"What targets?" she asked incredulous.
He pointed to a few benches and some trees, an empty horse carriage.
"Oh, you've got to be kidding me," she mumbled to herself.
Glow activated her nimbus and lifted herself until she was floating in the exact dead center of the illusion. She curled herself into a tight ball. The yellow nimbus glowed brighter and brighter until Cyclops had to turn away. Her body crackled with white and blue energy. Without warning, she suddenly unfolded, thrusting her arms into the air above her and pointing her toes straight down. Electricity flowed from her body in all directions. The illusion began to shimmer and then crackle. Parts of the real wall behind the hologram could be seen as Glow systematically began to shut down the individual projection panels.
"Fascinating," Xavier murmured.
"Of course, the object of the Danger Room is to disable the program in the shortest amount of time possible," he barked a short laugh.
"You mind letting us in on the joke?" Wolverine asked.
"She's not defeating the scenario. She's defeating the Danger Room itself, burning out the panels that project the hologram," Xavier said, pointing to a schematic on the computer console in front of him. "She's moving in circular sweeps and she's leaving Cyclops' panel untouched somehow."
"She has incredible power if she considers this the extra energy," Storm watched in awe.
"What amazes me is not the raw power, but the intensive control she has over it." Xavier scratched his chin in thought. "I wonder..."
"Wonder what?" Wolverine asked, never taking his eyes off the woman in the room below them.
Xavier never answered him.
"Excuse me Cyclops, but would you mind moving over?" Glow said. She'd floated slowly down to the ground. "The panel you're standing on is the last one active and I've still got some juice left."
"Sure thing," he said, obligingly moving.
Glow pointed to the last little patch of Central Park green and a slow stream of yellow electricity coursed out of her. The panel flickered, went into static and then died just as she cut off her energy feed. Glow's nimbus faded away entirely.
She turned to Cyclops. "Well, I feel better. Don't you?"
She walked past him and to the doors that were opening. Xavier, Storm, and Wolverine were on the other side of it.
"I think I broke your room," she thumbed back over her shoulder at the completely disabled Danger Room.
"I'm pretty sure you did," Xavier said. "It will give us something to work on for a while though."
"You'd better go get Jubilee and Bobby," Storm pointed to the elevator. "They've been waiting for you upstairs on the main level."
"Coming?" Glow turned to Wolverine, sliding her hands into her back jeans pockets.
He saw her true eye color for the first time. Her eyes were a clear, startling blue.
"Yeah, sure." He walked just a bit behind her as they headed out.
"Did we have to take this one?" Jubilee complained. "It's funny looking. We could have pulled up in the Mustang."
"I think the Jeep is cool," Bobby said in protest.
"I think you both are going to give me a headache," Logan stated as he stared at the red light in front of him, willing it to turn green.
"I think you're holding up bravely," Sara ruffled his hair and then turned around to face the teens sitting in the back seat. "I'm going to stop at that Sears Storm mentioned and pick up my stuff really quick. After that we've got a free day. Anywhere you want to go?"
"The Gap!" "The Arcade!" was the simultaneous answer.
The light finally changed and Logan floored it to beat the next one.
"Logan can drive... oh sure. I should have known that wasn't true," Sara snorted.
"We're here," Logan announced, pulling into the parking lot of the mall and taking the first available space. "And in one piece I might add."
"Come on kids, Grumpy can catch up with us," Sara unbuckled her seat belt and stepped out of the jeep. The young man and woman followed her lead. Logan kept silent, locked the car and followed the other three. Once inside the mall, Sara shrugged off her denim jacket and tied it around her waist.
The group gathered around her as their unofficial leader. "All right. I need to do my shopping so you two can go to The Gap or the Arcade or wherever while I'm running my errands. We meet back here in an hour and a half. We'll go to the food court afterwards for lunch and then decide what to do with the rest of the afternoon."
"Sounds good to me," Jubilee waved, and was off. Bobby trotted after her.
"Remember be back here in one and a half!" the orange-haired woman called after them.
"And where am I supposed to be going, Ms. Social Director Ma'am?" Logan asked her sarcastically.
She gave him a crooked smile and leaned into him slightly, bumping him with her hip. "You can either follow them, follow me, or do your own thing. Whatever makes you happy. Whatever you decide I promise though, I'll buy you lunch since I ate your breakfast."
She walked away, fluffing out her mane of hair with one hand. Wolverine shrugged and followed her, telling himself he had nowhere better to be.
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