X-Men Evolution NEXT

Diversion

Three miles above Bayville, Vanguard silently floats as though suspended in midair. He stares down at the serene night light blinking city with a calm disposition underneath his full face covering helmet. Closing his eyes, Vanguard lets the high breezy wind blow around him and through the eyeholes of his face mask. He remains still, allowing all his senses to reach out. But a feeling of frustration overwhelms him as he opens his eyes. It is as though his senses are surrounded by a layer of dense fog. The truth seems to be eluding him, yet it draws him out into the open, in the skies above Bayville. Jean had told him she was approached by other cosmic beings, but try as he may, Vanguard is unable to sense any of their presences, at least, not with out revealing his own in the process. Taking a deep breath, he looks up further into the starry night sky then breathes out muttering, "I guess it's obvious, no choice."

With another deep breath, Vanguard gently shuts his eyes and delves deep into his own mind. His body begins to gradually glow angelically as he holds both of his arms out to his sides. He breathes out and concentrates falling deeper into his mind, releasing all thought barriers and any subconscious limiters he placed on himself. Vanguard's tightened fists suddenly open wide out stretched with his arms as he feels the surge of prime energy radiate from within him. His sudden gasp echoes into the night sky as though the sky itself becomes one giant stereo speaker. Holding his body steady in the sky, he opens his eyes revealing his trade mark ominous red glow. Vanguard stares up at the starry sky with his glowing red eyes and lightly mutters out in an echoing tone, "There, I can feel all of you."

He then turns his glowing gaze down upon the city and adds, "And now, I can see all of you. Time for all of you to see me."

With his words gently whispering into the night sky, Vanguard's glowing body suddenly flashes brightly illuminating the sky and passing clouds as a bright white four corner star.

The sight of a flashing bright star in the dark night sky gets the attention of many, from distant passenger planes to the homeless community huddled in the dank corners of down town Bayville. The late hour manages to mask the cosmic light from the majority of the unsuspecting masses below. However, for the few that do see flashing symbol, a mixture of fear and awe stun them as they stare into the sky. Some of the few onlookers display religious hand symbols over themselves believing they are witnessing some spiritual sign. While others look at the glowing apparition as a sign of the inevitable, sharing mixed feeling of fear, skepticism, and bewilderment. Only one stares up at the star with contempt in his eyes. Standing out on the balcony of the high rise office building, Seth slightly sneers at the distant flashing display. He sighs out with a plain expression as Vex steps out on the balcony with him followed by Tessa. Being careful not to have contact, Tessa steps around Vex's glowing feminine body to get a better view of the display in the night sky. Her eyes widen at the sight and sparkle from the shine as an expression of pure awe washes over her face. With only a pair of shimmering eyes visible on her glowing complexion, Vex stares at the bright burst and remarks calmly, "The Vanguard warns us of his presence. His wrath will be unwavering."

Seth grins sarcastically and says, "This was not unexpected. Just stick to the plan, everything will work out. Now get prepared, he'll be here soon."

Tessa's eyes fill with fear as she takes quick glances at both Vex and Seth. She maintains her composure and slowly backs away into the common room from balcony. Seth looks back at her for a moment. Tessa smiles and bows her head just before turning to walk out.

Her expression turns concerned as she leaves the room and makes her way to the lower levels.

Across town, a struggle for survival ensues as the Brotherhood try fending off an unknown number of armored assailants. The attack is relentless and precise, but the Brotherhood stand their ground, in defense of their wounded and exhausted friends, Kurt and Evan. Avalanche manages to knock a few of the attacker to the street with his shock waves, but not for long as they are each equipped with thrust vectoring booster packs allowing them limited flight capabilities, keeping them out of his attack reach. Despite his sheer size and strength, Blob has been unable to make contact with his attackers. He did damage a few of their technology at the initial surprise assault. But just like against Avalanche, they adjusted their attack and have kept Blob at a distance, using sustained tazer projecting shocks to keep him in submission. Though not causing any visible damage to him, the electro tazer shocks are enough to keep Blob down on his knees, struggling and grunting out in pain. Quicksilver finds himself slowed down to a near snails pace until finally falling to his hands and knees panting heavily. He looks up at his armored opponent projecting some kind of yellow hazy beam. The beam seems to increase Quicksilver's weight a hundred fold, making it almost impossible for him to use his super speed. Off to his right, flipping and twisting in a dodging effort, Toad does his best to avoid multiple pulse blasts from his targeting attacker. Like a rapid firing machine gun, Toad's armored opponent fires a continuous barrage of sparking bolts from his right forearm that rain towards the limber young mutant. Finally seeing a quick opening, Toad manages to twist laterally in between the barrage of pulse bolts and spit a wad of his slimy onto the armored helmet of his attack, blinding him for a moment. Toad dives behind a nearby car to catch his breath and asks out, "Yo, who the heck are these chumps? Where'd they come from?"

Avalanche backs up next to Toad and says, "You got me, but they're kicking our butts!"

Suddenly, they both cover their ears tightly as a high pitch wining sound fills the air. Toad flinches and asks out, "Aw crap! What's that!"

Avalanche struggle to his feet to look around for the sounds origin. He glances a little up the street and says with a concerned tone, "It's Wanda!"

Toad stands up to look and sees two armored attackers focusing their weapons at her. Emanating from their weapon housings, a high pitch sonic blasts along with sharp bright flashing strobe lights severely disorient her. The attack is so severe, Scarlet Witch loses control of her hexing chaos wave. The wave pulses out like water ripples in the street, bending lamp posts, warping bricks on the side of buildings and setting fire to nearby cars. She tries to cover her ears but to no avail as the sonic blast seems to bypass any physical means of protection. The flashing strobe lights prevent her from seeing correctly and are painful to even glance at. Scarlet Witch struggles and stumbles to stay on her feet, but the sonic blasts have begun to affect her equilibrium as well, and she falls onto her back. The sight of her struggle angers Toad as he leaps out of his protective spot and charges towards her attackers yelling out, "That's not cool yo!"

But as Toad breaks cover, his attacker manages to finally wipe off the slime splatter off his armored visor and takes aim at the frog hopping mutant. Avalanche sees the imminent attack but is unable to react in time. And just as he is about to call out Toad's name to warn him, the gun toting attacker suddenly screams out in pain. A bright electro shocks dances around his crimson armor causing him to spasm a bit just before dropping to the street. Standing behind and above the down attacker, Ray catches his breath. His hands spark with his bio electrical powers as he looks down at the unconscious armored trooper. Ray glances up at Avalanche and says, "I got your back."

Avalanche acknowledges Ray comment and turns to help Scarlet Witch and Toad. With their attention on the disoriented Scarlet Witch, the two armored attackers fail to notice Toad bearing down upon them. Quick on the take, Toad spits out two globs of his sticky slime. So focused on helping Wanda, Toad accurately targets the attackers weapon housings. His slime gums up the sonic blasters cutting off their attack. The two armored troopers pause out of confusion giving Avalanche an opening as he calls up two solid rock pillars from beneath them. The pillars slam hard into their armored torsos sending the two men into the air and crashing down violently into the street. Toad quickly picks Scarlet Witch off the street and hops her to safety. Avalanche's eyes suddenly widen as he says with a slight grin, "That's it! Everyone, switch partners fast!"

Toad hops Scarlet Witch back behind the car he was taking cover behind and gently places her down. She sits up and braces herself against the side of the parked car as Toad looks over at Avalanche saying, "Huh?"

"Just do it, and do it fast!" Avalanche remarks.

Without another word, Toad quickly leaps into the air arching towards Quicksilver's armored attacker. Catching him in the corner of his eye, the crimson armored trooper turns his attack at Toad aiming the energy beam he had on Quicksilver over at the leaping Toad. The beam increases Toad's weight in the same manner it to Quicksilver, turning him into a heavily thrown weight. Toad kicks out with both legs as he careens toward the attacker and slams both feet into his armored chest plate. The attack knocks the trooper into the street in a loud crash, smashing the street into cracked trench of rubble. The trooper falls unconscious from the heavily weighted impact and lays slumped in the damaged street underneath Toad's feet. Toad's expression is both surprised and pleased as he looks back Avalanche with a smile. Returning his smile with a grin, Avalanche calls out, "You see? They can adapt their weapons to counter our abilities, but not all at once."

With that said, Quicksilver gets to his feet and with a grin of his own, darts in a blurring speed to Blob's relentless attackers. They maintain their submissive tazer shocks keeping him on the ground and at a distance. But in an instant, both armored troopers are engulfed if contained whirl wind. They brace themselves, trying not to lose their footing against the wind. Dust and particles surround them as the miniature tornado whirls over and around them. The sounds of tinkering metal and ripping clothes are heard within the fast winds. Suddenly the whirlwind quickly dissipates as quickly as it appeared and the two troopers find themselves stripped down to their boxers. Their thick crimson armor scattered around them in uncountable pieces. Both brawny nearly naked men are taken by complete surprise as they look at each other, then over at a chuckling Quicksilver, who just stands a few feet from them dusting his hands off. With smirking grin, Quicksilver remarks, "Now this is gonna hurt."

Baffled and naked, the two men turn their heads back to Blob and see the large young mutant stepping up and back swinging his right hand at them. Both men grunt out in pain as Blob's massive open hand slaps them off the street, over Quicksilver's head, and against nearby damaged parked cars. The impact from the landing renders both stripped down troopers unconscious as Quicksilver and Blob high five each other. Their teamwork celebration is cut short as multiple pulse bolts rain around them. The shots barely miss Quicksilver as he flinches from the attack while others glance and ricochet off of Blob's super dense skin. The Brotherhood regroup around Blob and look up above them. Three crimson armored troopers utilize their vectored jet boosters and hover over the young mutants. Toad sneers up at them saying, "No fair man! They outta our reach!"

Stepping around and in front of them, Scarlet Witch stares up at the air born attackers and states with anger in voice, "Not out of mine."

She holds up both of her hands above her head gesturing to the armored troopers. Gritting her teeth, Scarlet Witch opens her hands wide letting loose her chaos hex wave toward the attackers. The hex sets off a chain reaction among the hovering troopers as their vectored jet boosters housed on their back seems to sputters, back fire, then suddenly explode violently. The troopers are flung like rag dolls from the detonating jet packs in different directions and crash to the street below like smoldering firewood.

Looking around, the members of the Brotherhood stand victorious. Ray shuffles out of cover from where Kurt and Evan also lay, and approaches them with a smile. "Now that totally rocked guys!" he states.

Avalanche returns his smile and says, "That was pretty cool."

Scarlet Witch smirks while rubbing her ears and remarks, "Speak for yourself."

But as the others chuckle at Scarlet Witch's comment, Blob looks up with a concerned expression and says, "Uh… guys, I hope that 'switching partner' plan works for the rest of them." as he points up.

They all look up and see ten more crimson armored clad troopers drop descending out of the night sky. Avalanche steps up and orders out, "Don't give'em an inch!"

But before anyone can take action, Ray calls out, "Lance, wait!"

With a confused expression, Avalanche and the others notice a large build up of dark clouds forming above the buildings and descending troopers. Deep rumbling of thunder drums all around the area as large sparks of lightning branch out toward the armored troopers. Like sharp hot knives, the bolts of bright lightning stab into each of the trooper's thick armor piercing the jet packs from behind. Simultaneously, the electrical sparks detonate the fuel and electrocute the troopers inside the armor sending each one of them crashing to the street around the Brotherhood. In almost a few seconds, what the Brotherhood thought was going to be another long fight is brought to an abrupt dazzling end. A gust of wind blows all around them and they see Ororo gently touch down in front of them. She looks around at the downed troopers with a stern expression as Toad says, "Whoa, um, are they dead?"

Ororo glances at Toad with a slight grin and replies, "No, but when they wake up, they'll wish they were."

At that moment, Hank darts into the scene lumbering in like a rushing gorilla and asks them in earnest, "Are all of you alright? We caught sight of the battle after we saw Allan's sign."

Avalanche looks baffled as he asks, "Allan's sign? What sign?"

Hank points out to the distant night sky to a shining four corner star. The Brotherhood stand confused and shocked they hadn't seen that earlier. Scarlet Witch mentions, "Um… we were kind of fighting for our lives. We didn't notice that."

Looking at them with concern, Hank then asks, "So, none of you know what that means?"

They respond silently shaking their heads while Hank looks back at the sky.

Ororo quickly kneels down to check on both Evan and Kurt. They are awake, but exhausted. Evan has a few minor cuts and bruises while Kurt looks as though he had the wind seriously knocked out of him. Sirens and horns are heard in the distance and Hank shuffles over to help Ororo carry and support Evan and Kurt. Glancing back up at the glowing four corner star in the sky, Hank says, "We best get back to the Institute. I parked the car around the corner."

Blob raises his hand and mentions, "We ain't all gonna fit, Mr. McCoy."

"Then we'll have to improvise. Now let's go before the authorities show up." Hank adds, "Ororo, if you would please, cover our escape."

Nodding and gently handing Evan over to Blob, Ororo turns to face the street raising her hands above her head. A gentle breeze picks up then dissipates as the air in the area begins to get a bit humid. In a ghostly manner mist builds up and the immediate street corner where the battle had taken place is now blanketed in a thick layer of fog. Ororo hears police cars approaching the scene, but then slow to a snails pace when they notice the fog. Ororo can see the dim blinking of red and blues lights through the fog. She slightly grins as she follows Hank and the others away from the scene.

The sound of her beating heart echoes through out her mind as it pounds like a symphony drum. Her breathing gets deeper and louder only to be overwhelmed by the beating of her heart. Jean feels as though her eyes are can see everything, yet feels trapped. The air around her seems to get thin as she gasps for breath. She knows there is air, but now she feels it's not enough. Anxiety strikes her and begins to enter a panic state. She tries to call out a name, but she finds herself without voice. Jean reaches out to feel her way through the confusion set before her, but then finds her body without form. She cries out for help, trying to force whatever form of sound she can make, yet she goes unheard. Hopelessness begins to fill her mind. Just then she looks above her and notices a single four corner star within arms reach. But without form, Jean cannot physically touch it. She just stares up at the shining light, trying to understand its meaning. Her mind starts to calm as the light sparkles above her. Tiny pulses of light seem to tickle her being, further calming her panic state. The light from the star gets brighter, giving her a warm sensation of contentment. No longer does Jean feel endangered, or alone. Her breathing slows as well as her pounding heart beat. With calmness, Jean finds her being materializing, and now she can see her own body. As she looks up and around her, she notices a single glowing horizontal slit with a friendly smile beneath it. Jean feels the warmth of a welcoming hand gently take hers and she is lead to a feeling of absolute comfort. With soft yet wide smile, Jean allows herself to be lead to this feeling. But she cannot help but look back for the shiny four corner star. She glances back to see if it is still present, and sees it now surrounded by many other different stars. Many of which do not shine as brightly, while others only shine a light that agitates hers. Jean suddenly feels as sense of danger. The other smaller stars seem to crowd the single four cornered star trying to challenge its brightness. The single star does not move and remains unwavering brighter than the others. Jean smiles as she feels a mixture of pride, courage and humbleness from the single star. The other smaller stars, however, do not seem to be moved and continue to crowd the single four corner star. But just as the cluster begins to move in, the single star suddenly flashes brightly. The bright shine of angelic light absorbs the other stars as flashes out all over. As Jean is lead away, the light shines by her causing her to squint. The sounds of echoing voices reverberate by her as the light flashes. The distant sounds of battle and screaming are heard all around her as the feeling of desperateness and fear strike her heart. Jean's heart begins to pound again, but the warm hand guiding her holds firm, and a loving gentle voice speaks to her, "It'll be alright, Jean. Just stay with me. I promise I won't let you go."

She looks up toward the voice that guides her and see Scott's gentle smile underneath his red glowing visor. Jean smiles back at him, but finds her eyes wandering back to the bright lights behind her.

In a loud gasp for air, Jean sits up quickly with her eyes wide open. Scott almost jumps back onto his feet out of surprise as he yipes out, "Whoa!"

Looking around frantically, Jean breathes out and finds herself sitting up in one of the many infirmary beds deep beneath Xavier Institute. Scott chuckles and sits himself beside her. He caresses her cheek saying, "It's alright, Jean. You dozed off there for minute."

Jean slightly smiles and asks, "How long was I asleep?"

Shrugging his shoulders, Scott answers, "Barely five minutes. Why?"

"It felt longer than that." Jean mutters out.

Scott rubs her shoulders saying, "Look, you've been pushing too hard trying to interface with Cerebro. Part of me thinks you almost fried your brain. So you're going to sit out for a while and rest. I'll be back to check on you in a few minutes."

With a quick kiss to her forehead, Scott stands up and head out the door. Jean suddenly calls out, "Scott."

Stopping halfway in the doorway, Scott looks back as she continues, "I think… no I feel… that Allan may be in danger. I can't explain it, but deep down, I know something terrible is about to happen."

Scott's expression turns somewhat stern then softens as he smiles and tells her, "We'll handle it, Jean. Just get some rest."

Jean takes a deep breath and watches Scott exit the room.

Walking steadily to the command room, Scott let's his mind try to comprehend what has been going on this long night. As leader of the X-men, he had always tries to be the one with the level head. But lately, he feels as though he is way over his head. And now, more than ever, begins to doubt his own ability to get through these troubles. He knows in times of crisis, the others look to him for reassurance, especially when the Professor is absent. Scott takes a deep breath just before entering the command room to clear his mind of all his doubts and fears. Just as the command room door slides open, Alex calls out down the hall, "Scott!"

His loud voice startles Scott, who was trying to get a steady mind set. Quickly turning to face Alex, Scott clears his throat and calmly asks, "What's up Alex?"

"We need you up stairs, bro." Alex remarks, "There's something going down out front."

Hearing the serious tone in his brother's voice, Scott nods to acknowledge Alex's comment and follows him to the access elevator. A quick trip to the ground floor of the mansion and doors slide open to the sounds of gathered and loud conversations. He and Alex quickly walk their way towards the common area by the front door and see a few of the young students gathered talking up a storm. Confusion and concern fill the air as one after the other, the students step up to Scott asking earnest questions. "What's going on?" "Are we under attack?" "Should I call my parents?" "Do you need my help?" "Are we in trouble?"

Raising his hands signaling them to calm down, Scott says, "Hold on, hold on, I just got here."

Alex taps Scott's shoulder and points out the door saying, "Dude, the front gate."

Scott takes a breath and says, "Everyone stay here, I'll check this out."

As he heads out the front door, Alex follows just behind him. Scott tells him, "Alex, stay inside."

"No way, bro." Alex objects, "I'm stayin' right behind you."

Scott slightly smiles at Alex and calls out, "Rogue, Kitty and Bobby, you're with us. Everyone else, stay put."

Keeping his eyes closed, Scott reaches into his pocket and switches out his ruby quartz sunglasses for his sturdier gold colored visor. Without another word he briskly walks out the front door followed closely by Alex, Kitty, Rogue and Bobby. The five X-men jog their way top the front gate where they see both Allison and Sam standing their ground. Allison holds her left hand in front of her pointing her finger like a gun out by the gate. Scott notices a few figures standing outside the entrance as Allison's left hand glows and sparkles. She speaks out to the crowd, "Look, I don't know who any of you people are. I just can't let you in. Now back off, and quit getting' pushy!"

Another voice speaks back at her from the small crowd, "We have injured people, you have to help us!"

Scott recognizes the voice and calls out to Allison, "Holster your power, Dazzler! We know them." as he and the other X-men approach.

Thumbing the gate control panel, Scott opens the stylizes entrance and steps up to Allison saying, "These are Evan's friends, the Morlocks."

Allison quickly drops her glowing hand and slightly grins out of embarrassment. She looks back at the small gathered mass and says, "My bad, um… mikasa sukasa?"

As Allison steps back, Scott steps up to the Morlocks and asks, "Where is Callisto?"

A taller dark haired woman steps through the crowd cradling a small ragged clothed child in her arms. A dark gray colored eye patch covers her right eye as she looks back at Scott and says, "I'm here, now are you gonna help us?"

Scott steps up and takes the unconscious child from her arms and asks, "Of course we will. But tell us what happened."

Catching her breath, Callisto tries not to get emotional and replies, "We're not sure. But… we were attacked, by some kind of… monster."

Kitty quickly asks, "Evan, Kurt and Ray went to visit you earlier. Do you know what happened to them? And about the Brotherhood?"

"I don't know," Callisto says with sadness, "I only pray they weren't there when the others stayed to give the rest of us time to escape."

Scott glances around at the small gathering outside the estate gates and says, "Alright, let's get your injured to the infirmary. Tell us the rest when you get inside."

The X-men spread out to help the few injured Morlocks. While she helps support one of the injured Morlocks, Kitty looks back into the sky and calls out, "Rogue, look." as she points up into the southern sky.

Rogue glances up with a concerned expression and sees a bright four corner star shining among the star blanketed sky. The injured Morlock that Rogue carefully supports smiles at the sight and tells her in a weakened tone, "It's the omen. It guided us here."

Rogue take a quick glance at the injured Morlock, then turns her gaze back up at the star. In a calm manner, she says, "It's Allan, y'all."

"What does it mean, Rogue?" Kitty asks with concern.

With deep breath, Rogue stare up the star and remarks, "Ah wish Ah knew, Kitty."

Scott shuffles up to them and glances up saying, "Come on team, one thing at a time."

With that said, the X-men lead the displaced Morlocks back to the main house.

High winds blow at the top of the tall office building as Donald hoists Remy's beaten body out over the edge. Remy lightly grunts out in pain as his broken limbs hang like wet noodles. His face and parts of exposed body show signs of dried blood. Donald grips Remy by his bruised neck with his exposed cybernetic arm, dangling him over the side, readying to drop him at any moment. With cocky grin, Donald remarks, "I only wished it was me who did this to you. It must have been fun beating you down the way he did. Even with my superiorly advanced cybernetic body, I would never dream of challenging the Enigma the way you did. You die a stupid man, my Cajun friend."

Although struggling in Donald's tight grip on his neck, Remy grunts and manages to crack a grin. He chuckles a bit as Donald grows curious and asks, "May I ask what is so funny? You are about to die."

Remy manages to mutter out, "Jus' thinkin'… mon ami."

Donald raises his eyebrows with a curious expression as Remy gruntly adds, "Yo… body… It like dat all over?"

With the last of his strength, Remy grits his teeth fighting the searing pain of his broken right arm as quickly reaches up and grips Donald's exposed cybernetic limp. Remy's hand glows as her kinetically charges Donald's arm. A surprised expression washes over the tall blonde man's face as he sees his arm suddenly flash brightly. He releases his grip on Remy's neck letting the X-man drop over the side of the building. Donald draws back and panics as the glow spreads over to his chest, then to his legs, finally to his head until he glows all over. He pants and struggles with fear in his eyes as Remy's power does the inevitable to him and detonates. Donald's body explodes from the inside out as though he had swallowed a bomb sending burned flesh and shards of metal cybernetic body parts in all directions on the roof of the office building.

Falling somewhat gracefully, Remy's limp body slowly spins head first toward the street below. He grins with his face in the wind excepting his falling fate. The fall seems to go forever. But just as Remy readies himself for the afterlife, a familiar voice speaks to him, "Goin' my way, gumbo?"

Remy opens his eyes while he falls and smirks remarking, "Oui, if you be de angel a'death, den I bein' Peter Pan."

Deep, back inside the holding chamber of the plush office building, Wolverine sits with his back against the wall with a sneer on his face. Colossus sits Indian style nearby in his human form while Banshee paces back and forth. Emma stands elegantly silent keeping her intense eyes on the door. With a sarcastic smirk on his face, Banshee remarks, "This plan of yours, it better be a good one, Emma."

She glances back at him and replies, "Well, it is a plan. Whether if it is a good one, we'll know soon enough."

Just then, the chamber door slowly opens. Tessa steps through with the same demeanor as Emma and speaks, "Seth wishes to speak with you, Emma, alone."

"Apparently, I am at his disposal." Emma remarks with bitterness.

Tessa adds with same tone, "As am I."

Emma follows Tessa out the door glancing back into the chamber. Wolverine nods at her as she leaves the room and closes the door. Colossus looks at Wolverine and Banshee and asks, "Now what?"

But just Wolverine can answer, an echoing scruffy voice speaks out to them, "Nnnnnow, we plllllayy."

Wolverine quickly stands up into a defensive stance and peers around the room. Near the entrance, Sabertooth and Ku-Uma materialize into chamber. Colossus gets to his feet and transmutes into his steel form as looks upon the hulking mass of Ku-Uma. The being stands nearly twelve feet tall with an eight foot shoulder width covered head to toe in thick dark blue armor. His deep low tone voice speaks up from beneath his ominous armor, "We are only to contain them, young one. The Vanguard must know they are here."

Sabertooth sneers at his new cohort and remarks, "I ain't gonnnnna killllem', mmmuch. SSsso back off."

"I've no interest in your petty blood vengeance, but comply to the Enigma's plan." Ku-Uma tells him.

Sabertooth turns his glare back at the three X-men and begins to lumber towards them. Wolverine extends his sharp metal claws and readies himself for a fight, while Banshee and Colossus step back into defensive postures.

Walking through halls of the upper floors, Emma and Tessa pace themselves as they make their way to the main audience chamber. Several masked armed guards pass them preparing for some kind of imminent attack. As one guard passes the two women, Emma stops for moment and looks back at the passing masked man. She takes a glance at the way he casually walks and slightly grins. Tessa speaks to her, "Emma? Let us stay on schedule please. We cannot keep Seth waiting."

Emma turns her eyes to Tessa as they both share coy grins. Both women walk into the main chamber looking dramatic as a breeze from the air condition units blow through their capes. Standing somewhat in the center of the room, Seth stares up at the bright glowing star still in the night sky. "Is there any reason why you brought Emma here, Tessa? Or is this one of your kinky games you like to play?" Seth asks as he looks out the large open window.

"Not tonight, my love," Tessa replies, "tonight I would like to try something new."

With one single thought, Emma and Tessa combine their telepathic efforts and focus an assault at Seth's mind. The attack is sudden fierce as Seth grabs his head as though being physically attack. He falls back grunting in pain trying to cradle his head as Emma and Tessa press their psychic assault. Tessa glares at Seth remarking, "Tonight is about a lesson. Beware a woman scorned, my love. Because karma is a bitch, and so are we."

Seth struggles holding his head, while Emma and Tessa assault his mind in any which way they can, through memories, past pains, and loss. His mind overwhelmed by what seems like a psychic tsunami.

Staggering back away from Sabertooth's wide swing attack, Banshee stumbles and falls unto his back. Thought the attack could have killed him in one swipe, it was not meant for him as the elongated claw careens toward Wolverine. Quickly shuffling back to also avoid the attack, Wolverine slashes back with his own metal claws. His counter attack is dead on as he thrust forward with both sets of claws, stabbing them into Sabertooth's hulking warped upper torso. Wolverine presses his attack trying to dig his claws deeper while Colossus charges in to grapple Sabertooth's right arm. Though possessing sufficient strength, Colossus finds it very difficult to fight against Sabertooth's newly acquired cosmic physique. With one swipe with his left elongated left arm, Sabertooth lashes out at Wolverine, swatting him away like a fly. Wolverine's claws slide out of the muscular chest as he is knocked away revealing a mixture of reb blood and yellow glowing ooze. Sabertooth's strike send Wolverine flying back against the far chamber wall. Striking the wall rather harder than he expected, Wolverine has the wind knocked out him, and he slide down the wall slumping to the floor. The impact was so sudden Wolverine's claws retract out if reflex as he almost loses consciousness. Colossus struggles to subdue Sabertooth. He manages to swing the cosmically enhanced wild man's right arm into a reverse arm locking hold. With Sabertooth's arm held tightly, Colossus pushes off with both his feet trying to push the large beastly man into brick laced chamber wall. But as he pushes with all his monstrous strength, Sabertooth's arm locked limp starts to spasm violently. Loud cracking sounds are heard as Colossus realizes Sabertooth's arm is fracturing purposely. The metal Russian loses his mighty grip as the arm suddenly goes limp. Colossus steps back with a hideous expression on his face. He watches as Sabertooth slowly turns to face him with his severely boned shattered right arm hanging like a wet noodle off his shoulder. Sabertooth begins to laugh as his arm spasms again with cracking and gurgling sounds. Both Colossus and Banshee cringe at the sight as Sabertooth's right arm re-assembles itself to full form. Using his reformed right arm, Sabertooth back fists Colossus across his metal jaw sending the young Russian spinning and flying backwards onto the chamber floor. Colossus tumbles and rolls from the attack until comes to a sliding halt against the far wall a few feet from Wolverine. Sabertooth lumber toward Wolverine's position with a drooling grin on his mutilated face and grunts out, "That alllll you lllossser's got!"

Wolverine struggles to his knees, still recovering from having the wind knocked out him. But keels over as pants, it seems Sabertooth's last strike took more out him than he expected. Stepping up and looking at him, Sabertooth speaks in a cocky tone, "Guess yyyou ain't the best at wwwwhat you do, eh runt?"

Wolverine tries to muster his strength. He grips his right fist tightly with his back turned to Sabertooth. Fighting his pain and fatigue, he extends his right set of claws for one last slashing attack. But as his three sharp adamantium claws slowly cut out of the skin of his fist, his painful expression turns baffled. Unbeknownst to Sabertooth, Wolverine sees that his claws glow a pulsating red. A tingle of energy seems to course through his right arm, then to the rest of his body. In a very subtle manner, Wolverine feels his body feel more rejuvenated that he ever felt, and he slightly grins. A voice echoes through his mind with a comforting yet confident tone saying, "Gut the bastard."

Without a second thought, Wolverine spin around swinging his right glowing claw in a upper cutting manner. His speed and ferocity takes Sabertooth by surprise as the three glowing claws slash deeply up into his hulking body. The attack slashes into Sabertooth's body like a warm knife cutting into butter, slashing him from his groin all the way up to his drool dripping chin. Banshee's eyes widen as he watches Wolverine yell out like animal. On the other side of the chamber, Ku-Uma is also surprised at Wolverine's attack and starts to charge forward. Banshee turns to look at the armored being just as a voice echoes in his mind as well, "Just say stop."

Unsure of he had just thought he heard, Banshee steps into a defensive posture and yells out with his hypersonic vocal chords, "STOP!"

Much his and Ku-Uma's surprise, Banshee's voice slams hard against Ku-Uma, halting his charge and sending him sliding back to the front wall. Banshee feels his throat and notices a warm sensation. The voice speaks to him again, "Hold him there."

Taking a deep breath, Banshee releases another sonic attack against Ku-Uma with one simple word, "STAAAYYY!"

Ku-Uma can only brace against the assault, disoriented and confused by the sudden power level he was not expecting from these mutants. Wolverine staggers to his feet after his deep cutting attack and watches Sabertooth's severely gutted body stumble back. A deep gurgling groan comes from the beastly man as blood and yellow ooze gush out of the seemingly fatal wound. A flashes of light pierce out of the bloody gash. Sabertooth falls to his knees as his body spasms. The light peels out off his body in the form of a hideously screeching glow orb. Sabertooth's body slumps lifelessly to the chamber floor in a pile of mutilate flesh and bones. Colossus and Wolverine watch in horror as the glowing orb seems to scream in a multitude of monstrous voices. Suddenly, a voice echoes through Colossus's mind, "Grab it."

Gritting his teeth, the large Russian mutant charge up to the screeching orb and grabs the beach ball sized screeching orb with both of his metal hands. The voice speaks to him again, "Throw it at the big guy."

Colossus looks over at Ku-Uma and sees that he is being held back by Banshee's hypersonic voice. He gets a firm foot hold while gripping the glowing orb. The screeching orb weighs like a lead ball to Colossus, but he none the less lobs the bright round object towards the disoriented Ku-Uma. One singular thought speaks to all three X-men telling them, "Duck."

Without question, Banshee, Colossus and Wolverine dive for cover as the screeching orb hurdles toward the armored Ku-Uma. The glowing orb slam hard into Ku-Uma broad chest shattering his thick breast plate. The light dissipates from the impact knocking Ku-Uma to the floor in a loud thud. He struggles to his knees, seemingly not affected by the attack. But just as he is about to retaliate, he clutches at his chest. The sounds of bending and cracking metal echoes throughout the chamber. Ku-Uma grunts out in pain as his armor starts to crack. Streams of light shine through the cracks. Suddenly, Ku-Uma's hulking body begins to cave in, as thought suck in from his insides. He yells out in more pain as his armor shatters in brilliant burst, then gets sucked back against caving in body. The three X-men cover their eyes as a final bright burst of light seems top finish off Ku-Uma. His body implodes forming a small compressed metal ball no larger than marble. The chamber is suddenly silent, with only the sound of small bouncing metal ball. One by one, Banshee, Colossus and Wolverine get to their feet. The expressions on their faces are one shared look of confusion. "What just happened?" Colossus asks innocently.

Banshee chuckles and says, "Don't know, laddie. But we did good."

Wolverine grins as he looks down at Sabertooth's sizzling remains and remarks, "Its Allan. He's here."

Colossus reverts to his human flesh and asks, "Are you sure?"

Holding up his right red glowing claws, Wolverine adds, "I'm sure, kid. He gave us a fightin' chance. And now he's given us a window for escape, let's not waste it."

"You get no argument from me." Banshee says in relief.

All three of them quickly approach the opened chamber door, and quietly sneak out into the dark corridor.

His mind now flooded with every painful experience he had ever suffered, Seth grips his head while crouch on his knees from the combined psychic attack of Tessa and Emma. Sweat drips from their fair cheeks as the strain to sustain the relentless attack begins to wear on the two women. Emma grits her teeth as she says, "Quite a different experience being down on your knees, isn't it Seth?"

Just as Seth seems to be submitting to their assault to his mind, he suddenly stops struggling. Emma and Tessa continue their assault, but then look baffled as Seth looks up at them with a sly grin. They both concentrate with more intensity, trying to bombard Seth's mind psychic blasts, but not it would seem their telepathic efforts no longer affect him as it did at the beginning. Almost in blinkof an eye, Seth darts toward them reaching out with both of his hands. Tessa and Emma suddenly find themselves locked in his unbreakable grip, their throats held in his merciless palms. The two women gasp for air, but only gag and struggle. Seth holds them close to him as he laughs and remarks, "I commend your efforts, ladies. A great show of cooperation on your parts I must say. Come to show that there is no honor among thieves."

Seth slowly increases his grip, further cutting off both thier air supplies. Flashing his villainous grin, Seth continues to boast, "Honestly ladies, did you think I wouldn't have expected such betrayel? I didn't live this long just to let a couple of hot looking bed warmers such as yourselves defeat me with a migrain. And as you can both see and feel, I don't have a problem crushing the life out of helpless, beautiful women." and he begins to tighten his grip.

"But I do." another voice says in a stern manner.

Seth looks up out of surprise to see one of the masked Hellfire gaurds standing next to them. He is unable to react as the guard darts out his right hand at Seth's wrists striking in a glancing yet effective manuever. The guard's opened handed strike to Seth's upper wrists causes him to release his grip on both Tessa and Emma. Both women gasp for air bracing thier throats. The guard siezes the moment of surprise and immediately strikes Seth across the jaw with his solidleft fist. The blow sends Seth careening backwards into the main chamber and crashing into solid marble desk on the other side of the by the sudden attack, Seth shakes his head as gently rools off his back in the rubble. The guard steps infront of Tessa and Emma facing Seth in a squared off standing up, Seth lightlyfumbles throught the marble rubbles while rubbing his jaw. With his right hand he wips a small hint of blood from his lip and says, "Well, I must say,I was expecting a much more dramatic entrance from you, Allan."

In abright flash of angellic light, the guard'soutfit transmutes into Allan's Vanguarduniform. Dull colors give into shiny blood red and black. Seth continues, "But then again, you hero types are a sneaky bunch."

Allan shakes his head with a dull expression peering out of his shiny helmet and remarks in a sarcastic tone, "This has got to be a joke, right? I'm actually looking at an evil version of me. Can existence get any more lame?"

Seth smirks and says, "Needless to say, you're not unique anymore."

"It's funny your name is Seth," Allan mentions, "that was the name my parentsgave the baby they first miscarried years before I was born."

"Where I'm from, we called it irony." Seth remarks.

Allan replies, "Where I'm from, we call this a cliche. I'm here, what now?"

Seth rubs his jaw lightly and chuckles, "I know myself better than anyone. A little push here, a little tug there maybe enough to get your attention. But to attack your stature as the Vanguard, it was just enough to make you feel important."

"So you drew me out," Allan mutters out and looks around. One by one, the other cosmic beings materialize into the main chamber and begins to surround he, Tessa and Emma. Allan slowly glances around him, spotting every being that now glares at him.

Seth walks over to table and picks his stylized helmet up and puts it on casually. "I knew you couldn't resist, Allan. I mean, your duties as the Vanguard superscedes everything, right" Seth remarks with a sarcastic tone.

Allan helps Emma and Tessa to their feet and focuses his thoughts to them, 'Don't say anything, just listen. All Hell is about to break loose. When it does, turn and run out the door and don't look back. Find Wolverine and get back to the mansion as fast as you possibly can.'

Tessa and Emma both stare at him with wide eyed fearful expressions. Allan Slowly turns to face Seth as he speaks out, "So all this, all the drama and show of power, has nothing to do with me. You drew me out, because you knew I couldn't resist the mystery of why I can't sense your presense. And it drew me out, away from her."

Seth chuckles and says, "And now you're not there, to protect her."

With that said, Seth signals Vex standing nearby with a nod. Vex's body glows brightly as she raises her hands high and speaks out, "TAKE HIM."

Allan quickly glances back at Emma and Tessa and yells out, "Go!"

Both women break out in to a desperate run to the door as loud thundering and energizing sounds fill the air. Emma glances back for a second to see the horde of cosmic creatures leaping and charging toward Allan's position. She catches sight of Allan leaping toward them as well. And in a defening clash, a flash of bright sun like light fills the air. A rubble of a thousand earthquakes shatters the room behind the two women as they dive out into the hall. Dust and debris block thier vision but the rubbling sounds continue to build. Emma gets to her feet and helps Tessa to her's saying, "Keep moving, like Allan said." and they make thier way to the emergency stairwell.

Back at the Xavier Institute, Scott tries to understand what has transpired with the Morlocks. Callisto only has vague recollections of what happened as a handful of them were on the run. Scott takes a breath and worries if Evan, Kurt and Ray were caught up in that mess as well. But Just as he is running several scenerios through his young tactical mind, Forge quickly steps in and mentions, "Scott, external sensors are picking an unknownpower signature that's off the chart."

Glancing back at him, Scott asks, "Where?"

"I think it's out front." Forge says in worried tone.

Scott's expression turns stern as he orders out, "Forge place the mansion at Defcon Three." as he then thumbs his communicator, "X-men, suit up."

Like clock work, the yougn team of X-men bustle about they way they train to do so and regroup with Cyclops on ground level. "Alright team, nothing fancy out there." as says to the assembled heroes.

Cyclops looks up and sees Jean also suited up and approaching. He steps to her and says, "Not this time Jean."

"Scott, I'm still an X-man, " she remarks, "I'm not going to let you guys fight alone."

Sighing out, Cyclops nods and says, "Ok, just stay close to me." he then looks to his team and orders out, "Let's go."

Following Cyclops's lead, the X-men charge out the front door and quickly spread out into defensive positions. But as they prepare themselves for a fight, they see instead two unique individuals standing in the driveway. One seems to glow with fire from his head that almost looks like hair and a long staff with balls of flames busrting from both ends of the weapon. The other beings looks like an artificial humanoid. Metal plated segments with joints and armor covering vital areas of his body topped with a crown like helmet. The being of fire steps forward and speaks in a stern tone, "I am Firlord, this is my comrade Gabriel the Air Walker."

Cyclops stands his ground as he squares off and demands, "Ok, what do you want here?"

Pointing his flaming staff at Jean, Firelord states, "We have come for the starchild. Surrender her, and none of you will perish this night. Do it not, then you will risk your planet's existence. How do you comply?"

Looking back at Jean, Cyclops's expression turns from stern to deep worry. Jean returns his expression but remains silent. Her heart begins to pound in fear as she watches Firelord point his weapon at her. Cyclops looks over at his team mates and sees they are ready for action. He then turns his nervous look back to the two beings before them. Firelord asks out once more, "How do you comply?"


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