Familiarity, comfort, safety are the keys sensations Jean's heart is yearning for at this moment. She feels as though she is locked in some strange dream where she is just a helpless spectator of events she is creating. Everything seems so far away in her mind, a feeling of detachment from the rest of the world. It both scares and intrigues her at the same time. Yet she seeks a childlike level of comfort as she seamlessly streaks through the night sky. The night air feeds the dancing flames that encase her ominous bird like form as she aimlessly flies over quiet neighborhoods and towns. She can hear the dreams and ambitions of the sleeping minds below. It is a mixture of hope and regrets, lust and denial, truth and lies. The pattern of homes beneath her begin to look familiar. Jean follows the gentle curving residential road passing over houses she had known when she was younger. Finally she approaches a quaint cul-de-sac. The road ends but opens up into a wide circle court with five houses nestled into moderate sized lots. Slowing her velocity, Jean gently comes to a halt, just hovering a few feet over the road. Her ominous fiery birdlike form seems to draw back to her body revealing her slender form and flowing red hair. A halo of fire light still radiates from her form as she elegantly touches down in the center of the cul-de-sac. The pavement beneath her now bare feet sizzles from an intense heat she seems oblivious too. Turning her gaze to look upon the surround neighborhood, Jean spots many familiar objects. From the rusty old basketball goal that belonged to Mr. Foster's two sons, to the small tree house that her father had built with their neighbor when she was eight years old. Jean then quickly turns her eyes back forward and spots comfortable looking two level home. She steps lightly toward the property. With every step, the pavement beneath her feet burns, leaving heat scorched and molded foot prints behind. Jean steps up to the white picket fence that borders off the yard. Her expression seems dry as she stares at the three foot high front gate, then at the matching mailbox. Jean's head slightly tilts as she read the name, Grey, on the side of the white painted mail box.
Standing outside the Cerebro chamber door, Elizabeth nervously nibbles on her fingernails, staring at the closed circular door. Dressed in her newly redesigned X-man uniform, she unconsciously bounces her left leg as she waits. The loud humming sound of the rebuilt generator powering Cerebro echoes in the background. Also dressed in her stylized X-man uniform, Allison approaches with a curious demeanor. "Hey Betsy," Allison calls out, "what's up with you?"
Somewhat caught off guard, Elizabeth snaps her stare to Allison and replies, "Hmm? Oh.. um I'm on stand by."
With a confused expression, Allison asks, "Stand by? What for?"
Elizabeth shrugs her shoulders and explains, "Well, Miss Tessa and Miss Frost have linked their minds to that Cerebro machine in their." as she gestures to the chamber door and continues, "They are trying to locate that, Seth person. Professor Xavier is also in there with them, regulating their progress at the same time trying to find Jean. It is kind of a telepathic multitasking nightmare right now."
"And what's all that gotta do with you?" Allison inquires further with a slight grin.
Shrugging her shoulder again, Elizabeth answers, "Telepathic support, I suppose. The Professor asked me to wait here and said he would call me in when the time was right."
Just then the humming of the generator pulsates louder and continues in a near rhythmic pattern. Elizabeth begins rubbing her temples gently as she speaks out, "Bloody Hell."
Allison stares at her friend with concern and asking, "Whoa, Betsy, you ok?"
Continuing to rub her temples, Elizabeth looks at Allison curiously and remarks, "Miss Tessa and Miss Frost must really be putting a lot of psychic juice in their search. Honestly Allison, you don't feel that?"
"Feel what?" Allison chuckles and returns, "All I hear is that crazy generator Forge rebuilt. Almost sounds like a giant Cadillac above us."
Rubbing her temples with a slight grin from Allison's comment, Elizabeth tries to explain, but is politely interrupted by Ororo who approaches in her stylized yet dramatic X-man uniform. Her black flowing cape accents the rest of her black uniform and works in contrast to her long white hair. Allison smiles and nudges Elizabeth remarking, "Now that girl has style." as she gestures to Ororo.
Flashing a slight grin herself, Ororo lightly chuckles and adds, "Ahem, why thank you Allison. Now if you will, Logan and Sean just returned with Scott, and everyone is assembling in the hanger bay."
Allison grin widens as hints of light begin to dance around her. She replies, "Time to rock."
She then glances at Elizabeth and says, "Good luck Betsy."
"Good luck to you too, Allison." Elizabeth returns with a smile while rubbing her temples.
Both Ororo and Allison make their way towards the main elevator leaving the young purple haired telepath waiting outside the Cerebro chamber, staring at the reinforced door contemplating her role in the grand scheme.
Inside the chamber, Forge stands next to Charles by the main console, keeping a watchful eye on the monitors and making quick adjustments to maintain power calibrations. Charles dons his Cerebro interface helmet while also maintaining a constant vigil on the monitors. Taking a breath and swallowing nervously, Forge mutters to Charles, "I'm not going to lie and say this doesn't make me concerned, Professor. I hope those two know what they are doing."
Charles turns to look behind him, staring at the unique setup in the center of the Cerebro out cropping. Sitting back to back, each wearing renditions of Charles's interface helmet, Tessa and Emma concentrate. Their eyes shut as though sleeping soundly, several wires connect to their helmets and wind upward to a larger spherical unit that hangs above. Blinking lights seem to react to women's slight twitching as the generator hums in a more rhythmic pattern. With their faces partially look down and eyes closed, both Tessa and Emma speak in unison autonomously, "Sector five clear, moving to sector six."
The generator picks up pace in another rhythmic pattern. Forge looks at Charles with a concerned expression. Adjusting his monitor readout, Charles returns Forge's concern expression with a more confident of not assured look as he says, "I understand you concerns, Forge. I had my doubts about this endeavor as well. But considering the alternative, their strategy seemed the most sound."
Turning his eyes back to his monitor, Forge double checks to make sure the generator is keeping pace. He raises his eyebrows and expresses, "Wicked, that's a lot of juice!"
Charles adjusts his interface helmet a bit and adds, "Indeed, a necessary means to allow the girls to dive into the mind of a higher being. Especially now that Seth will be on his guard. But with their minds now working as one, it will only be a matter of time."
Looking around the chamber, Forge marvels at all the modifications they had installed. It was as though they gutted out all of Cerebro's original components and replaced them with larger modules. Wires upon wires wind throughout the room, each connected to advanced circuit breakers at almost every turn. Coolant piping run near every console, ensuring Cerebro's new augmented processor does not over heat. With wires that resemble pipes and hoses protruding from their interface helmets, Tessa and Emma remind Forge of an H. R. Giger's alien painting. It gets even more disturbing when the to women speak in unison, "Sector six clear, recalibrating for sector seven."
Charles turns to face his monitor and resumes his own concentration. His expression goes serene as his eyes close slightly. Charles's mind reaches out with the help of the newly augmented Cerebro. Through years of experience, he is more than capable of multitasking telepathically, monitoring Tessa and Emma's intense search progress, and listening for any trace of Jean's troubled mind. Charles's serene expression slowly turns stone cold as he speaks out, "Forge, stand by to remap communication with the X-men."
Gathered in the main hanger bay, the mixture of young and older students wait for a possible excursion. They each don their own uniforms, some brandishing unique versions of the standard. Their faces are less than thrilled being told of the mission they are about to embark on. And the seriousness only grows when catch sight of Cyclops walking in from the locker rooms wearing a more conventional version of his usual X-man uniform which was tattered from his encounter with Jean earlier. He now wears a more combative outfit, with over the shoulder strap harnesses, short sleeve top and more protective padded boots. A far cry from his X-team driven outfit he always wore so proudly. And although Cyclops had always shown a level of discipline as an example for the other students, they all see a more serious side to his personality. Toggling a switch on a nearby wall panel, Cyclops activates the large circular turntable floor module, and slowly turns the X-jet around facing out toward the main launch bay doors. Nervous faces and low toned conversations mumble among the students, many in disbelief. Sitting and waiting, Amara glances around before speaking up lightly to her huddled friends, "Do you all think it's true?"
Jubilee asks, "Do we think what's true?"
"About Jean, you know, about her working with that Seth guy." Amara says.
Leaning back against the wall, Tabitha remarks, "Well, we all saw the photo they found. Seeing is believing. Not to mention the condition Scott came back in earlier."
Just in ear shot of their conversation, Ray speaks up, "That doesn't mean anything, girls. He could've had a scuffle with that Seth dude. Doesn't mean that Jean has turned to the darkside."
"He'd be dead if he tangled with Seth, Ray." Tabitha adds sarcastically.
Shrugging his shoulders, Ray replies, "You gotta point, Tabitha. But we always can't assume the worse."
Just then, Paige sits in and remarks, "Yeah, well, we can hope for the best, and plan for the worse."
Jubilee sits up and sarcastically replies to Paige's comment, "That's a little overconfident for someone who's never been in a fight."
Tabitha chuckles, "Cut the girl some slack, Jubes. I think right now, all of us could use a little pep talk."
As they sit back waiting, they see Cyclops, Wolverine, and Banshee carrying several duffle bags of gear into the X-jet. Amara can't handle the suspense any longer as she stands up and quickly approaches Cyclops asking innocently, "Scott, we're not really going out to fight Jean, are we? I mean, she's our friend."
Cyclops doesn't answer at first. He glances over Amara's shoulder, looking at the others and their silent need for an answer. He then back at Amara replying in a plain tone, "I don't know, Amara."
His answer only worries Amara even more as she just looks at him with innocence. Without another word, Cyclops turns and goes back to helping Banshee and Wolverine. Watching from another spot, Shadow Cat, Spike, Night Crawler, and Rogue catch Cyclops's short answer. "Whoa, this whole thing has Scott kind of spooked." Shadow Cat remarks in a low voice.
Night Crawler sits up saying, "Jean may be going through another power surge. Ve all know how that turned out."
Sighing out, Shadow Cat returns, "Even then, Kurt, Scott wasn't like, this worried."
"I gotta agree with Kitty," Spike adds, "Scott seems way too intense. Even during the mission briefing a few minutes ago. I guess that's the way I'd be if my girlfriend went insane."
"Jean is not insane, Evan." Shadow Cat quickly darts out, "She's just... losing control."
"Either vay, I'd feel a lot better if Allan vere here." Night Crawler mentions.
Shadow Cat notices how Night Crawler's comment slightly gets Rogue to react. Since the whole ordeal had started, Rogue has been a bit withdrawn and quiet. She didn't say a word throughout the short briefing and when they were told to assemble in the hanger bay. Deciding to break the ice, Shadow Cat shuffles closer and asks her, "Rogue, you still with us?"
Almost as though the question takes her by surprise, Rogue snaps her attention toward Shadow cat and replies, "Hmm? Oh... um... yeah, Ah'm fine."
Shadow cat knows her friend better than as she continues to inquire, "Are you sure? I mean, you're kind of quiet, like you're all spaced out or something."
Rogue cracks a slight smiles and says, "Sorry 'bout that. Ah just... get nervous when Allan takes off like that."
"He'll be fine, Rogue." Shadow Cat tries to assure, "I doubt he'd go after Seth if he didn't know what he was doing."
Sitting nearby, Colossus adjusts his stylized uniform and jumps into the conversation, "Kitty is right, Rogue. Allan has always come through in the end. He will do so this time around as well."
"Like Mr. McCoy mentioned before," Spike adds with a smile, "working miracles is one of Allan's powers."
Sitting next to her and placing his left hand gently on her right shoulder, Night Crawler also remarks, "We're all worried for Allan, Rogue. But we also all trust him."
Glancing at her friends sitting around her, Rogue smiles back at them and says with an air of confidence, "Thanks guys."
With that said, They take a few moments to glance around at the their other friends. They see Iceman sitting on a crate nervously bouncing his right leg with Cannonball sitting just off to his left with his eyes closed trying to visualize his practiced flight patterns. Cyclops's little brother, Havok, sits with his eyes shut as well. However, his mannerisms indicate he is visualizing the perfect surf. They then spot Storm and Dazzler walk in just as Wolverine speaks out, "Alright, let's mount up! The Professor just relayed Jean's location, we're movin' out, now."
They all stand from their spots and adjust their uniforms accordingly and start to board the X-jet. With a nervous expression on her face, Shadow Cat approaches Wolverine asking, " Logan, where's the Brotherhood? Aren't they coming with us?"
Snapping her a friendly grin, Wolverine answers, "Not this time, half pint. Magneto has other plans for them."
Rogue inquires, "So, where exactly is Jean?"
" Connecticut," Cyclops remarks in a stern tone, "she went home."
With their mind linked as one, Tessa and Emma focus out. Their psychic search pulses out in an invisible wave. Charles adds his own efforts helping them remain on track, sifting through the other minds they detect. Cerebro's boosted power source allows them to detect not only mutants that use their powers, but the minds of others as well. With the help of Forge, they had turned Cerebro into one giant telepathic aiding radar. So sensitive is the new system, Tessa and Emma can hear the distant echoing thoughts of sleeping travelers in passing jumbo jets. But now they concentrate on finding one. And with every boosted psychic pulse, they push the envelope of their own abilities, determined to deliver their own level of vengeance. The physical strain on the bodies are gradual, and as a special feature to reflect this, Forge and Hank had installed padded hand grips on both their chairs for them to grasp onto should the strain of their minds become too unbearable. Although their facial expressions seem serene in their search, with their eyes shut gently, their bodily reactions show otherwise as both women grasp the hand grips tightly. Another push with their mind into the telepathic waves of thought allows them to reach out even further. The effort shows physically with their grips, both Tessa and Emma crack their knuckles and shudder a bit. But with their telepathic push, they feel a familiar sensation. A set of thoughts trying to exist beneath the noise of the echoing thoughts of the world around it. A bit of concentration allows the united mind of Tessa and Emma to steer closer and listen. A voice is heard, followed by a level of arrogance, "Another one bites the dust."
A overwhelming sensation of satisfaction if felt as both women draw closer to the presence. An image forms before them of a male figure looking out over a city scape. Tessa speaks out with cunning grin, "Hello, my love."
Snapping his attention to her, Seth quickly turns his head toward her voice. Although wearing his full face covering cobalt blue helmet, the two women can see they his eyes are surprised to see them. Standing a few feet from him, Seth sees a somewhat translucent visage of Tessa's astral form. Trying not to sound surprised or at least nervous, he replies, "Tessa, hello."
"Marveling at your work, I see." Tessa remarks, "Awaiting the chaos you brought upon this world?"
Slowly glancing around, Seth takes a step forward and inquires, "So, how is it you found me, may I ask?"
Despite her glowing apparition, Seth can see her grin as she replies, "You underestimated me, darling."
"Me as well." Emma's voice adds.
Seth quickly looks up at a higher platform that sits few feet to his right and sees Emma in the same glowing form as Tessa. In a boastful manner, Seth speaks out, "Well, well, now this quite the surprise I must say. You two are a lot more resourceful than I gave you credit for. I find that very sexy. So, what now?"
"Now," Tessa returns, "it is time to pay the piper, my love. You promised me eternity."
Chuckling behind his dark face plate, Seth says, "Indeed I did. No hard feelings I hope, ladies."
"Quite the contrary, Seth." Emma adds, "We are simply here to return the favor."
With a curious expression, Seth watches the glowing astral forms of both women point their face to the sky. Back in the Cerebro chamber, both Tessa and Emma release their grasp on their chair hand grips and unison, open their exotic looking eyes wide speaking nearly in one voice telepathically and verbally, "WE FOUND HIM!"
Standing in confusion on the top of the high rise roof, Seth watches as both images of Tessa and Emma fade from his sight. Just then, an distant thundering echoes out followed by a growing sound of wind. Before he can react to the sound, Seth is suddenly struck from behind in a loud thud that shatters nearby building glass windows. He arches back from the blow as he grunts out in pain and is thrusted forward at blinding speeds. Seth's field of vision blurs from the speed as he is forced out of the city limits. He partially regains his bearings and manages to turn to face the rear attack. As he turns, he is struck again across the left side of his face. The blow pings off his helmet turning his head. A second strike quickly follows the first clocking Seth on the right side of his face. Almost immediately, a third strike hits like proverbial hammer under his chin. With each strike, Seth grunts out, stunned at the painful punishment he endures. Before he can react to the attacks, he suddenly feels a strong firm grip around his ankles. Without hesitation, Seth feels himself being spun with like lasso. Wind rushes through the eyeholes of his mask at speeds of a gusting tornado. The grip on his ankles release and Seth feels his body being thrown at uncontrollable velocities. The attack happens in a manner of seconds as Seth fails to regain he is bearings. He hits the ground in a loud explosive sound, kicking up rock and dirt in all directions. His dense body slides and drag across the ground forming a deep trench almost two hundred yards long. Seth yells out from the pain he feels as his body comes to a grind halt. He catches his breath while lying nearly limp in the damaged terrain and looks up for his attacker with angered yet painful eyes. As his vision clears from the dust and debris, Seth notices Allan in his shiny black and blood red Vanguard uniform looking down at him from the sky. Floating a few yards above, Allan chuckles behind his face plated helmet, "Hey Seth! Didn't catch you at bad time, did I?"
Shuffling his posture a bit while keeping his eyes on Allan, Seth sits up and remarks in a low tone, "Those clever girls."
Waking up from the wining sound of the smoke detector, Jonathon Grey quickly sits up in his bed and taps his wife saying, "Honey wake up, the smoke alarm is going off. Get down stairs fast."
With groggy eyes, Jonathon's wife quickly gets to her feet slipping on her robe and makes her way down the staircase, oblivious to the trail of burned out scorched footprints that trail through her house. Jonathon grabs his cell phone and starts his way toward the stairs, but then notices the odd tracks trailing up the steps and through the halls. With a nervous yet curious expression, he follows the trail back up the steps and through the hallway. The trail leads into one of the rooms. Jonathon quickly stares into the room and sees Jean standing silently naked, looking at the picture resting on the dresser. He calls out, "Jean? Sweetheart, what are you doing home?"
Jonathon lets his eyes scan the situation a bit, noticing Jean's feet sizzling the wooden floor beneath her. He also notices objects slowly starting to float about in the room as she calls out to her again, "Jean, why don't you put something on and come outside with us."
Gently picking up one of the pictures with her left hand, Jean blankly stares at the frame photo and asks, "Do you remember when we took this picture, daddy?"
Glancing at the photo of Jean and her younger sister sitting on a park bench swing, Jonathon replies, "I do Jean, we took that almost eight years ago at the park."
Jean's eyes stare coldly at the image as she continues, "What do you remember about the day?"
Taking a moment to reflect, Jonathon replies with a nervous disposition, "Well, the day was sunny with clear skies. Your mom made us all tuna fish sandwiches for a picnic. It was pollen season, but everyone was happy to be out, especially you and your little sister Sara. You two played on the swings almost all afternoon."
"We... were happy." Jean lightly repeats while staring blankly at the cheerful framed photo, and adds, "I... cannot... remember."
Slowly roaming her eyes across the room, Jean gazes aimlessly at every trinket asking, "This was my room, wasn't it?"
Jonathon remarks calmly, "It is your room, Jean. It always will be."
Gesturing out with her right hand, Jean focuses on the pile of plush stuffed animals lying on the bed. An assortment of overly cute, colorful and fluffy characters begin to float about. Jonathon steps back looking around at the now orbiting soft toys. Jean reaches out and gently grab one particular stuffed animal and stares at it with a somewhat disturbed expression. Jonathon notices her expression. With a near innocent tone, Jean asks, "This one... was my favorite?"
Looking at the stuffed panda bear in her hands, Jonathon replies, "Yes, it was. Don't you remember? You fell in love with the panda bears the day your mom and I first took you to the zoo. You never went anywhere without your bear since that day."
Jean's expression slowly turns from baffled to agitation as she tries to understand. She begins to breathe deeply as she mutters out, "What... did... it... feel like? I cannot recall."
Seeing his daughter's disturbed agitation, Jonathon speaks up, "Jean, it's ok. Calm down and just come outside. Everything is going to be fine now, your home."
Staring blankly again into her room, Jean starts to lightly rant, "It's so small, all this is so... insignificant. It feels so far away... yet something within me yearns for it. But I feel nothing..."
Much to his surprise, Jonathon flinches as each stuffed animal suddenly combust into a small flashing fireballs. Jean's eyes begin to fill with tears as she asks out, "Daddy... why was I born? Why am I what I am? Was I created to suffer, to cause suffering, or to witness suffering? I feel nothing for anything, yet I feel everything around me. I feel surrounding confusion, anger, and fear. Some belong to you. You're confused about what you are seeing. You were angry about me becoming a mutant. And for the first time in your life, you fear what I've become." she then reaches up gripping her red hair as she adds, "And that you should, daddy. I am... not safe."
Jonathon tries to take a step forward, but is halted by the sudden burst of flames as the framed photos on the dresser flash before him. He calls out in earnest, "Jean, tell me what's wrong!"
"Everything." Jean simply says as pyro-kenetic fire begins to dance around her slender body.
The heat becomes unbearable as Jonathon watches Jean's room engulf in an ominous blanket of fire. He nearly loses his footing as he stumbles and tries to back away. Jean turns to face him with her now glowing yellow eyes with her voice angelically speaking our, "BEHOLD WHAT YOU HAVE BIRTHED, DADDY."
Jonathon stares back at her with fear while trying to avoid being burned. Waves of fire spiral and flow in all directions from Jean's form as her former childhood room burns all around her. Just then, Night Crawler teleports into the near inferno. With quick reflexes, the blue furred mutant shuffles to Jonathon's position and remarks sternly, "Hang on!"
Jean watches with a mixture of satisfaction, anger and relief, as Night Crawler disappears in his trade mark puff of smoke with her father.
Outside, Night Crawler and Jonathon materialize out in the cul-de-sac next to the other gathered X-men. Slightly staggering from the sudden disorientation of Night Crawler's teleportation, Jonathon gets his bearings and looks around asking, "What just happened? Where's Jean?"
"Sorry, Mr. Grey," Cyclops remarks as he approaches, "but we had to get you out of there."
Jonathon glances around to sees his wife rushing to him with worried eyes and hugs him as she cries out, "Jonathon, is Jean really in there?! What's happening?!"
Looking for answers, Jonathon turns to Cyclops and Wolverine asking, "Scott, Mr. Logan, what's happening to my daughter?"
Unsure of what to say, Cyclops answers, "She's losing control, Mr. Grey. I don't know how else to put it. But we're here to help her."
Glancing at the gathering X-men, Jonathon can see there nervous faces as they move into their trained defensive positions. "It looks more like you are all getting ready for a war." he remarks.
"We're gonna try and talk her down, John." Wolverine adds, "I promise, we'll do everything we can not to hurt her. Now you and your wife need to get to safety." as he gestures Banshee over to escort them away.
Trotting up to them, Banshee inquires, "Is there anybody else in your house?"
"Just Elaine and myself." Jonathon answers adding, "Our other daughter Sara is sleeping over at a friend's house."
Banshee nods in acknowledgement, then gestures them to follow him away from the scene. The Greys reluctantly comply, but not before Jonathon grabs Cyclops by his right upper arm saying, "Help Jean, Scott. Please."
A deep rumbling is heard from inside the Grey's residence. Bright flashes and the smell of burning fills the air. Cyclops nods with little confidence to Jonathon, then watches as Banshee ushers them further up the street to safety. Turning his gaze back the quaint house, Cyclops takes a nervous breath as Wolverine remarks, "Let's just hope Jean does everything she can not to hurt us."
The ground shakes reflecting the drama that unfolds inside the house. Clearing his throat, Cyclops calls out, "Everyone stand fast and hold your fire. Let me try to talk to her first. If we can avoid a fight, let's try." as he glances at his assembled team standing near by.
Off to his left and right, spread out in a convexing arc are the mixture of X-men and new students. They stand nervous and fearful yet ready for the impending task ahead. Another rumble vibrates from the house send a slight shockwave that rattles nearby homes, setting off car alarms and shattering streetlights. The growing chaos awakens neighbors as they step out of their homes trying understand what is transpiring in their usually quiet neighborhood. Rogue looks around at the awoken bystanders and remarks, "We can't do this here, Cyclops. There're too many people 'round."
Also looking at the somewhat crank, curious neighbors, Cyclops says, "We'll have to divide the team, and get these people clear."
Just then, the sound of helicopters echo closer to their positions. Blinking landing and search lights appear over the skyline of trees and suburban homes as Wolverine somewhat sneers and says, "I was wonderin' when they'd show up."
Cyclops looks up and sees seven SHIELD gunship helicopters hover above. The hard whipping blades of the vehicles kicks up dust and small debris as they begin to encircle the area. Then an amplified voice speaks out from the lead gunship, "Attention, a state of emergency has been declared for this immediate area. For your own safety, you are ordered to leave the premises. Please take what is with you, get in your vehicles and leave the area. Attention..." as the amplifies message is again repeated.
Several shouts of protest are heard from the bystanders, but after seeing the gathered group of mutants standing in the street with a high-tech black jet parked a few yards behind them, the bystanders quickly rush to their various cars or vans and begin to evacuate. One gunship descends and deploys a small group heavily arms troopers. They are lead by a blonde woman who dons the same uniform, but not the protective helmet as the other troops. She signals them to take up defensive positions just behind the X-men. Wolverine leaves his position and approaches the woman saying, "Agent Carol Danvers, not that we're ungrateful to have the cavalry show up, but you people are way over heads here. Take your men and fall back."
"Not happening, Logan." Carol darts back, "Colonel Fury sent us here to make sure this goes down without a hitch."
Growling out, Wolverine yells out over the chopping wind of the helicopters above, "I'm tellin' ya, you got no clue what's in that house!"
Unmoved, Carol remarks back, "And you do?! We've been monitoring the situation, and we can see this has escalated even beyond your control!"
Confusion begins to overwhelm the X-men and younger members. The sight of awoken innocent bystanders fleeing the scene with heavily armed SHIELD helicopters flying above only adds to the already tense moment. Cyclops divides his attention, watching the unknown power growing in the Grey's house, to trying to keep his team from coming unhinged, to watching Wolverine argue with agent Danvers in background. Cyclops begins to get lost in the chaotic moment. His vision becomes tunneled as the surrounding noise seems to fade off into a distant. A gentle voice speaks out to his mind, "Scott."
Cyclops's attention slowly turns back to the house. All the noise and voices are almost muffled to him as his vision peers across to the home. The voice calls out to him once more, with a more seductive tone, "Come closer."
Amidst the confusion that has now ensnared the team, Cyclops slowly takes steps toward the house. As though entranced, he silently succumbs to the gentle beckoning voice in his mind. Gusts of winds blow dust and small debris all around causing some of the X-men and younger member to cover their eyes. In the back, Carol and Wolverine continue to trade words. "Your gonna get your men killed if don't listen me!" Wolverine states.
"That better not a be direct threat, Logan." Carol sternly remarks, "Because I also have orders to incarcerate the lot of you if none of you cooperate."
In a final attempt to talk sense to Carol, Wolverine suddenly stops as Charles's telepathic voice speaks to him, " Logan, I have lost contact with Scott's mind!"
Quickly turning away from Carol, Wolverine glares back to the house and notices Cyclops walking slowly towards the front. In a scruffy loud manner, Wolverine yells out to him, "Cyclops!"
But his call seems unheard. Much to Carol's surprise, Wolverine darts out into a hard sprint toward Cyclops. Catching sight of Wolverine's desperate charge, Rogue turns to look to where he is running to. Her eyes widen when she sees Cyclops approaching the front yard like a zombie. She then calls out, "Scott! What're ya doin'?!" as she also runs after him.
She is immediately followed by Shadow Cat and Night Crawler. The three X-men break into a quick run closing the distance faster than Wolverine. Rogue reaches out and manages to grab Cyclops by his left shoulder halting his slow advance into the front yard. Shadow Cat phases through him and steps in front to get a better look at his expression. She nearly gasps as she remarks, "Whoa, Scott's like, totally out of it."
Night Crawler braces Cyclops's right shoulder and says, "Come on, let's pull him back."
Rogue nods as she braces Cyclops's left shoulder and starts to help her brother. But just as they start to back away from the house, a loud glass shattering rumble strikes. In a brilliant burst of white fire, the entrance to the house explodes outward, obliterating the entire front porch. Shards of debris shoot outward from the blast knocking the nearby four X-men to the pavement. The loud blast catches everyone of guard, forcing them to take cover. Some are caught off balance and are also knocked to the pavement as splinters of burning wood and shingles rain down upon them. Recovering from his dive for cover, Wolverine looks back up at the gutted front of the house and mutters out, "Oh no..."
As everyone around slowly tries to pick themselves up or gather their thoughts, a ominously fiery glowing female figure slowly steps out onto the now destroyed front yard. Her steps burn the ground beneath her feet as white and yellow flames dance over her slender form. And eerie silence fills the air despite the background noise of the gunship helicopters hovering above. But just before anyone can react, Wolverine yells out desperately, "Everybody, fall back now!"
Seth grunts out again as he slammed face first into a solid cliff. The mountain side cracked severely and shatters from the assault causing a massive rock slide. Allan draws back away from the falling destruction and floats in mid air watching as thousands of tons of rock and dirty collide onto Seth. Unable to react from his disoriented beating he had received, Seth braces for impact and is swept beneath the crushing wave of the collapsing mountain side. The sound of colliding solid rock and sediment is almost deafening as it settles at the base of the desolate slope. Loud cracking and ricochets are covered by the billow dust and debris cloud that follows. The impact is so massive and sudden, trees in the nearby forest a few hundred yards away are flattened like toothpicks, then dusted over by the blanketing debris cloud. The noise and rocks settle, leaving only a hazy fog like atmosphere. Slight grunts and shuffling is heard through blinding dust field. With slight gesture of his hands, Allan parts and clears the dust from the path as he descends to rocky ground below. Gently touching down, Allan clears the air around him revealing Seth's predicament. Somewhat buried up to his neck in several tons of crushed mountain rock, Seth looks at Allan, glaring through the eyeholes of his now cracked cobalt blue helmet. He struggle a bit, managing to shuffle his limb slightly beneath the ground. As he does, the ground tremors from his strength. He then stops out of frustration and glares back up at Allan remarking, "Alright, I'll admit it…. that really hurt. Satisfied?"
Glare back down at Seth, Allan plainly replies, "Hardly. You like the NFL?"
Seth is becomes baffled at Allan's question and returns, "What?"
Just then Allan takes a wide step forward with his left leg and swing kicks his right foot upward like a football field goal kicker. The air whips loudly as Allan's titanic kick swings out, push dust and wind like a hurricane. The kick strikes Seth in a loud thundering impact under his chin. A shockwave rings out from the attack moving and shattering nearby rocks and boulders. Seth is literally ripped out of the rocky terrain as his head whips back from the kick. Allan's violent attack sends Seth back into the air tumbling out of control a hundred feet away and crashing once again into the now exposed solid mountain core. The impact of his body striking the mountain again causes another slight crumbling rock slide. Seth's dense body bounces and ricochets off the jagged terrain before rolling and tumbling to a halt. The falling rocks shatter all around him as he begins to gain his bearings. Allan leaps into his vision, landing about thirty feet from his position. Seth rubs his jaw underneath his helmet and sarcastically remarks, "Not very heroic of you, Allan." as he slowly lifts his helmet and lightly spits out a few pebbles that made it into his mouth and adds, "Kind of beneath you to kick a man whiles he down."
Allan hops from rock to rock making his way to Seth's downed position. Quickly reaching down with both hands and grabbing Seth by the chest of his dark blue uniform, Allan yanks him up to look him in the eyes to say, "You're no man. And this isn't business, this is personal."
With a violent jerk and a firm grip on his uniform, Allan spins Seth off his feet and throws him once more into the solid rock face of the mountain core. Seth smacks into the exposed granite like semi truck colliding into a wall. Rocks and debris fall and trickle off the cliff side. Allan continues his relentless assault charging after Seth at blurring speeds following up with hard thrusting left kick into Seth's mid torso. The kick causes Seth to grunt out loudly in pain as he is pushed deeper into the solid surface. His dense structure cracks the rock wall severely forming a human like indention in the mountain rock. Allan's merciless thrusting kick hits with the power of a asteroid impact as it quakes the entire mountain, moving it slightly a few feet east. Seth has no time to recover as Allan reaches in grabbing once more by the chest of his uniform and yanks close remarking, "That was for little Sally."
Rock of all shapes and sizes rain down against their indestructible bodies, cracking and shattering off their helmets and shoulders. Without hesitation, Allan grips Seth's uniform with one hand, ripping him out of the mountain indention , and swings him over his head, slamming Seth down to the hard rocky surface as though throwing a sack of dirty laundry to the floor. Seth land flat and hard on his back cracking the granite beneath. The impact almost knocks the wind out of Seth. Allan gives him no time to recover as he releases his grip and kicks Seth again with his right foot. With his head facing Allan position, the kick strikes Seth solidly between his right neck and shoulder, sending him sliding across the crumbled remains of the mountainside like an out of control sled. He grunts and yells out as he as he begins to tumble and roll hard until finally coming to a rough grinding halt against some jagged boulders. Seth hasn't had a chance to react to the pain he had endured from Allan as reach up to his right shoulder area rubbing it with groan. Seth looks up from his back and sees Allan glaring down at him standing over him. "That was for Nung." Allan says calmly.
Mustering his strength, Seth kicks up at Allan with is left leg in an attempt to fight back. Allan is quick on the up take as he blocks Seth's counter attack at the same time grabbing hold of his left ankle. In the same manner as he did when he slammed Seth on his back, Allan again swings him off his back and over head. Slamming Seth violently into the rock terrain again in an earth shaking pound, Allan grunts out, "This..." as he pulls Seth's leg swinging him over his head again, then slamming down on another rocky spot shattering the terrain in a near explosive manner adding, "…this…"
Still gripping Seth's left ankle, Allan then spins him around like a tornado. Releasing his grip, Allan launches Seth into the air at a speed that breaks the sound barrier. Allan quickly leaps off the ground matching the speed Ina matter of seconds he catches up with Seth's uncontrolled position and spins to his right laterally. Allan's spin warps the air as he swings his right leg downward against Seth's stomach. Allan adds again, "…and that…" with his right heel striking solidly thundering out into the sky.
Seth yells out in pain once more as Allan's attack literally folds him like a book sending back down to the shattered mountain remains like a crashing nose diving jumbo jet. Hitting the ground at super sonic speeds, Seth dense and battered body creates a crater scattering mountain rocks and debris in all directions. He impact echoes for miles as the dust and debris settles. Seth rolls onto his knees to look up and see Allan looking down at him from the top edge of the crater. In a calm manner, Allan continues, "… was for Rogue."
Rubbing his stomach and coughing a bit, Seth remarks sarcastically, "Leave anybody out?"
Dropping down into the crater towards Seth, Allan approaches remarking in a mocking tone, "It is a long list, Seth. I hope you're patient."
Seth gets to his feet fast and shuffles back defensively keeping his eyes on Allan. Chuckling, Allan asks, "Still got some fight in you, even after taking a beating like that?"
Taking a breath while cradling his sore stomach, Seth replies, "Not really. But that's why I always keep a couple aces up my sleeve."
Shifting his hands underneath his cracked cobalt blue helmet, Seth lets out a loud echoing whistle. The sound reverberates into the sky angelically. Allan steps back looking around the inside of the crater. He begins to feel several power build ups around him as distant hissing and roars echo out. The air suddenly turns cold and thin. Slowly fading into view, two severely deformed humanoid figures appear in the crater with them. Allan looks at both creatures to his left and right, standing twenty feet away. Seth takes a breath and boasts, "Forgive me, Allan, I do not believe you met my esteemed colleagues of the Hellfire Society." as he gesture to the two deep breathing elongated monstrosities.
Nestling in their chairs deep within the Cerebro chamber, both Emma and Tessa open their eyes gasping in unison. Fear fill their eyes as Tessa speaks out in shock, "They wouldn't have… how… how could they?"
Allan steps into a defensive stance turning his eyes left to right staring at both creatures as Seth adds, "You see, Allan, I do try to at least hold up my end of the bargains I make. Mr. Sebastian Shaw and Mr. Harry Leland here wanted power. Not the kind of power they were expecting, but then again, you don't always get what you want."
Look them one at a time, Allan notices the elongated features of their limbs, the bile dripping drool from their deformed mouths, and the multitude of deranged staring eyes protruding from their spasming heads. Allan remarks in a low angered toned, "So you fused them with Kligroxus."
Seth breaths out with a chuckle, "Give some credit here, Allan. I didn't fuse anything with anybody. It was their own greed that made them ideal vessels for my space traveling friends. Now if you'll excuse me, I have world to see destroyed."
Seth stakes a quick step back, then leaps into the air darting through the sky at blinding speeds. Allan takes glance up following Seth with his eyes, then stares back at the deformed Shaw and Leland. Both creatures prepare to charge while Allan braces for his defense. But then in a loud thudding jolt, Allan also leaps into the air arcing through the sky after Seth. A loud thundering boom sounds out as they both break the sound barrier in a matter seconds. Allan cuts loose increasing his velocity as he cuts through the sky altering wind patterns and parting thick clouds. Much to Seth's surprise and dismay, he is tackled from behind by Allan in a rough bear hug. Maintaining their forward momentum, the two cosmic beings spin and tumble through the sky as they begin to pass over a more densely industrialized city. Struggle as he may, Seth finds himself in the grip of Allan's precisioned full nelson lock. Grunting out to Seth, Allan mocks, "Can't let you leave the party too soon, buddy! Especially after introducing me to your friends." as he hold Seth firmly spinning around to look behind them.
Seth's eye widen in shock as he notices Shaw and Leland in hot pursuit, speeding at both he and Allan in fit of savage rage. Holding out his hands, Seth yells out, "Shaw! Leland! NO, back off!"
But his yell goes unheard as Shaw and Leland roar out flying at them in speeds beyond sound. Both creatures are blinded with ferocious blood and power lust as they collide into Seth and Allan. Caught in the middle of the impact, Seth yells out in pain as he literally caught between a rock and hard place. So sudden and violent is the impact, the collision disorients all four cosmic beings and they fall limp from the sky to the street below, shattering the pavement as each crash with the sound of a wrecking freight train.
Wolverine yells out, "Keep moving! Fall back and take cover!"
He takes glances around, trying to pin point everyone's face and position. But with the ongoing chaos emanating from Jean's power, he is also force to fall back blindly. He watches as Magma and Bezerker barely dodge a wave of pyro-kenetic fire, both diving into tucking roll. The look of the unsure faces from the students catches his attention, not knowing if they should attack a dear friend or not. Just then, Carol taps her com-link and orders out, "Gunship 2 and 3, prepare a salvo, neutralize the target."
Wolverine quickly looks up at the hovering heavily armed helicopters, then back at Carol yell out, "No, don't!"
But his words come too late as the gunships move into position aiming their weapons at Jean's ominous glowing form. In a loud display of superior conventional firepower, the gunship pilot unleash deadly explosive munitions. Flashes of rocket flares dart out toward Jean in a repetitive pattern as multiple high detonating warhead bear down on her. Jean's expression is serene, looking up at the attack as though she is gazing up at the stars. With slight wave of her right arms, the darting rockets explode prematurely in mid flight. Using the same arm, Jean gestures another wave at the gunships. Much to everyone's horror, the gunships suddenly burst into balls of fire, dropping dramatically out of the sky. The burning vehicles crash violently into the pavement below scattering more fire and burning debris in all directions, forcing the team of mutants and SHIELD troopers to duck for cover. Wiping out from Jean's glowing slender form, another wave of pyro-kenetic fire arcs out, Wolverine notice it careening towards carol and his position. Without a second thought, he dives into Carol forcing back. They both tumble further back avoiding the scorching tentacle like wave of dancing flames. Wolverine rolls to his feet while Carol fumble onto her back grunting out. She looks to her last position realizing they had just missed being burned alive. She quickly gets to her feet and looks back at scene. Surveying the situation, Carol mentions, "She's routing us, Logan. Almost like she is keeping us away from something."
Also surveying the scene, Wolverine adds with a glare, "From what though?"
He continues to peer into the fray with a sneer. Fires illuminate the once dark suburban street that is now riddled with smoldering debris. Flames move about like water lashing out and melting the pavement. Looking past Jean, Wolverine then notices Rogue, Shadow Cat and Night Crawler still on the ground with Cyclops. He begins to see that all of Jean's lashing out had been aimed away from their position. Wolverine then points out, "She's keepin' us away from them. Away from… Scott."
Quickly tapping his 'X' communicator, Wolverine calls out, "Rogue, anybody over there, get on your feet and drag Scott outta there!"
Slowly getting to her hands and knees, Rogue groans out, pushing herself off the hard pavement. Shadow Cat does the same as she asks, "What hit us?"
Night Crawler pulls himself up and shuffles over to Cyclops to check his condition. He sees that Scott is stirring, but seems to be drifting in between conscious and unconsciousness. But just before he can get the leverage to move him, Rogue and Shadow cat are suddenly pushed by an invisible force backwards. The attack is quick and sudden as they both gasp out. Both girls crash through what is left of the white picket fence that one bordered off the Grey's yard. Looking up from where the attack cam from, Night Crawler finds himself looking up at the glowing ominous form of Jean. Holding on to Cyclops, Night Crawler quickly teleports them both from her sight. In a absolute calm manner, Jean gestures out with her left hand. A telekinetic ripple pulse out from her palm and warps the air. Night Crawler suddenly rematerializes pre-maturely just off to Jean's left, but within her reach. Grabbing him by his prehensile tail, Jean holds up Night Crawler forcing help to yipe out, "OW! Jean...!"
Without a word, Jean pulls Cyclops from Night Crawlers hold, then tosses the blue mutant off the side casually. Night Crawler on the other hand is taken by surprise by Jean's cosmically enhanced strength, and is unable to correct his himself as he lands hard on the hood of a nearby car. Night Crawlers limp body smashes the hood of the sedan deeply knocking him out cold. Not bothered by her actions, Jean holds Cyclops close with somewhat fascinated grin. A quick glance over her shoulder allows her to notice Wolverine trying to tackle her from behind. And with a quick thought, she deflects his charge with a telekinetic force sending Wolverine flying off to his right and through the neighbor's front window. He careens through the double pane glass window ripping the molding and seals as he crashes. Wolverine smashes into hard dinning room table and slams hard against the far wall, having the wind severely knocked out of him. Jean turns her attention back to a bare conscious Cyclops. Her face shows a strange expression of content yet confusion as she remarks with a reverberating tone, "You are the key to all this. I sense it now, Scott. You can free me of the pain, free me of this burden. Yes… a sacrifice… yours… your sacrifice will free me of this… prison… this prison of flesh."