X-Men Evolution NEXT

Sudden Death

The late night security guard stumbles onto the disastrous like scene, hold cell phone to his ear. He shows his untrained approach of the situation as he nervously stutters into the receiver, "Uh… uh yeah… I think um… I think a plane just crashed here. There's a lot of smoke and stuff. No… no I can't see if there's a fire or any survivors… but I think I hear movement. Well, it sounded like a plane crash, it shook the entire complex, the pavement looks all cracked, there's like, debris everywhere, and it knocked me off my bench. So, are you sending someone here to deal with this? I was kinda on my break and…" but before he can finish, a hideous roar sounds out from within the thick smoke.

It is a mixture of gurgling and screeching, piercing the air as the already nervous security guard flinches out of fear dropping his company issued cell phone to the debris littered pavement. He then stumbles not watching his footing and steps on the small device, crushing it under his uniform loafers. In a panicking manner, the skinny security guard drops to the ground trying to understand the result of his fear. He pants as realizes his cell phone no longer functions. Suddenly, another roar is heard, followed by a ground shaking thump. Nearby street lamps that light up the lot sway from the shudder. In an almost blink of an eye, a mutilated looking creature comes lunging out of the smoke toward the security guard. The creature appears as though it was once an over weight man, now with long scaly fingers and limbs. It's multi-eyed head spasms left to right with every lumbering step, drooling from it's deformed deranged, bearded grin. Stunned out of complete fear, the security guard gasps and falls backwards. The creature lunges out with it's left elongated arm reaching for the fallen middle aged man. In a sudden jolt, the creature's forward lunge in abruptly halted as another figure dives out from the smoke from behind and grapples with the monster. The guard yipes out at the sight of humanoid figure dressed in a shiny blood red and black outfit. Gripping the mutilated creature's elongated left arm with his left hand, Allan wrestles it away from the downed guard. He reaches around with his right arm grabbing it's scaly neck, struggling to keep it off balance as he grunts out loudly to the fearful man, "Go! Get out of here, NOW!"

In an almost whimpering pant, the security guard quickly picks himself off the debris riddled pavement and turns yelling in fear as he runs down the drive way. Allan plants both of his feet firmly to the ground solidifying his grip. Attempting to overpower it, Allan begins to pull against the creature's augmented strength, trying to rip off the left limb. Much to Allan's dismay, his body begins to feel heavier. His muscles start to strain a bit as he starts to lose his grip. Seizing the moment, the creature quickly pulls away out off Allan's hold and spins around holding it's elongated arms high. Feeling his weight suddenly increase a thousand plus fold, Allan's legs buckle, dropping him to his knees. The pavement beneath him cracks loudly as his right knee lands. Allan grunts fighting against this strange assault. Every inch of his body struggles against the increasing density. Glaring up at his gruesome opponent, Allan slowly turns his head to look around and spots Seth standing next to new cosmically deformed body of Sebastian Shaw amidst the hazy surrounding smoke. Utilizing the moment to catch his breath and survey the area, Allan realizes they had all crashed in what looks like a public warehouse storage lot. As the smoke clears, allowing the street lights from the towering lamp post to illuminate the area, flat roofed storage buildings extend off into all directions. All about, vacant and occupied lots form the backdrop of this horrific yet dramatic confrontation. Allan takes another deep breath then clears his throat mustering his strength. Just then Seth speaks out, "I don't know if I should applaud your determination, or pity you, Allan."

Remaining silent, Allan pears through the eyeholes of his helmet with a glare of angered determination as Seth continues, "You can feel it, can't you? Mr. Leland's natural mutant ability to rapidly increase a target's density, now augmented by the influence of the Kligroxu. Your bones must feel as heavy as the Moon right now. I bet your joints feel like they are about to snap."

Gritting his teeth while taking a deep breath, Allan grunts lightly, then replies as he droops his head looking down, "You know… you should've played your hand and pressed on, Seth, because I'm just getting started."

Allan suddenly raises his head and glares at Seth with red glowing eyes. Before Seth can react, bright red spark flashes from Allan's eyes as solid red beam of energy careens toward him at light speed. The beam strikes solidly against Seth's abdomen with a thundering crack. The sudden counter attack folds Seth up like a book knocking him away and towards several storage houses. Slamming into the reinforced walls of the storage buildings, Seth's body shatters the cement structures like toy blocks as he flies uncontrollably through the lot. An assortment of debris consisting of smashed brick, bent metal and stored personal goods riddle the area as they are now exposed from Seth's crashing trail. The sound of his impact echoes loudly surprising both Leland and Shaw. Taking advantage of the shock, Allan almost roars out, mustering his strength and presses his attack as he leaps into the air toward the overweight looking form of Leland. Raising his right elbow high, Allan says out loud, "You like heavy things, Mr. Leland? Then try one of these fat boy!" as he brings his right elbow down in an overhead attack.

With his weight now increased from Leland's power, Allan allows gravity to bring him bearing down like a meteor. Leland is astounded by Allan's sudden speed and ferocity and tries to stagger away, but is instead struck like rock being shatter by a hammer. Allan's right elbow smashes down against Leland's left shoulder with an eerie bone shattering crack. Allan's heavy gravity bearing attack causes the cement beneath Leland's deformed clawed feet to shatter explosively under the pressure, sending the over weight being deeper into the terrain nearly burying him up top his chest. Leland yells out in pain feeling his left shoulder area fracture under Allan's attack. Staggering onto his feet from his leaping attack, Allan fights against the extreme pull from Leland's density increase to maintain his balance. His arms and legs slightly shake from the strain, but Allan manages to keep himself somewhat upright. With Leland now dazed from his brutal counter attack, Allan feels his density slowly returning to normal. The strain on his knees alleviate just in time to turn and see Shaw charging headlong towards his position. The hulking deformed mass of Shaw vividly shows what was once a physically fit human male. Now sporadic protrusions of slimy scales either push up through his thinned flesh or simply tear thru. Shaw's old fashioned attire barely conceals his mutilated form as it stretches over his fleshy, scaled body. The multitude of outgrown eyes that nestle all about his spasming head each glare at Allan as he lumbers his assault toward the young cosmic being. Allan shuffles back readying a defensive posture despite the fatigue he still suffers from Leland's waning power. Bright sparks of red energy flash from Allan's form as he energizes his body. But then, much to his surprise once more, a large metal girder like strut rips up out of the pavement as though coming alive. The fifty foot steel girder rips out from it's solid foundation off to his left, almost coiling upward like a snake. Both Allan and Shaw stand surprised if not a bit confused, staring at the rising hunk of metal. The sounds of crumbling asphalt and ear splitting metal bending overwhelms the air. Allan shuffles back further, adjusting his stance for another defensive maneuver. He then seems to drop his guard as he hears a reverberating hum from the animated metal strut. Shaw is taken by surprise as the girder suddenly lunges at him like an attacking snake. The strike hits Shaw like a train as he is knocked back violently into some neighboring storage buildings. Several storage units collapse from Shaw's impact. Allan steps back a bit more watching as the metal beam continues it's assault arching upward, then diving back down onto Leland. The heavy beam hits the overweight displacer beast burying him and pushing him deeper into the damaged terrain. Catching his breath, Allan lets out a slight sigh of relief as he looks up to see large seamless silver sphere descending from the sky. A reverberating hum sound out from the truck sized sphere as it slowly comes to a floating halt twenty feet above him. Beneath the ominous silver sphere, an iris like portal slides open with the sharp sound of sliding metal. One by one, dropping out of the opening, members of the Brotherhood land around Allan position with determined expressions on their faces. They each take up defensive postures as though defending Allan's ground. Another reverberating hum sounds out as Magneto floats down through the portal and elegantly lands next to Allan. Also dropping through the opening and landing with acrobatic ease into a crouched position off to Allan's right side, Gambit grins and says, "Bonjour, Allan. Hope ya don' mind, but we had a feelin' Seth wasn't gonna play fair."

The ground all around them slightly shifts and shakes, causing the member of the Brotherhood to stagger a bit. Magneto surveys the area with an intense glare. He looks at the steel beam and holds out his left hand manipulating the magnetic field around the girder, holding it firmly in place. In a commanding tone, Magneto asks, "How do we stop these creatures, Allan?"

Taking a breath behind his helmet, Allan glances at the tall cloaked man with concern, then reluctantly replies, "Their bodies are still mortal. Concentrate your attacks on the chests, and destroy the hearts. Then get clear of the implosion, the energy fallout can eviscerate you in seconds."

"Sounds like that would hurt." Gambit sarcastically adds.

Looking back with a confident nod, Avalanche remarks, "Don't sweat it, Allan. We got this."

A distant hissing like growl echoes out as Allan slowly looks upon each member of the Brotherhood with sincere concern. The ground shakes once more, staggering the team of young mutants. Magneto steps up and places his right hand on Allan's left shoulder and says with stern confidence, "We will hold these two off, you just go after Seth."

With that said, Allan breaths out while straightening his posture. A quick nod to his friends and he darts off in a gust of wind toward the trail of destruction to where Seth had crashed through. The distant roar sounds out again, followed by another rumbling shimmy. Gambit stands up from his crouched position stepping into a ready combat posture, at the same time extending his composite metal quarter staff. The sounds of shifting rock and scrapping metal follow the sight of the ground impaled metal beam being slowly pushed back out of the ground before them. Flashing a dashing grin, Gambit nods his head of approval saying, "Now this, is gonna be fun."

Struggling against the invisible forces of Jean's augmented telekinetic field, Colossus tries desperately to reach Cyclops with his left metal hand. Despite his monstrous strength in his organic steel form, the large Russian finds it nearly impossible to even inch forward. Jean focuses against his push and pushes back with her field. Colossus's feet drag deeply into the pavement as the telekinetic force slowly pushes him away. Following his lead, Havok quickly steps up next to the struggling metal mutant and yells out, "Let Scott go, Jean!" as he begins to energize his hands for an attack.

Also struggling, Cyclops counter grabs Jean's grip, trying to relieve pressure around his neck. It is almost a futile attempt against Jean's cosmically augment strength, but he manages to grunt out to Havok, "Alex… don't…"

But the sight of his older brother struggling for his life angers Havok, and Cyclops's pleads go unheard. Without concern for his own safety, Havok holds out both of his hands and unleashes his destructive glowing power to Jean's left flank. His energy blast rips through the air and clashes brightly against Jean's telekinetic force field. Although floating protected behind her force field, Havok's attack does slightly push she and Scott off the right. Sustaining his attack, Havok continues his barrage with a determined grunt. Jean physically releases Cyclops from the grip, but maintains a telekinetic hold, keeping him within reach. She turns her attention to Havok and gesture with her left hand. Havok's streaming sustained energy assault is suddenly redirected away as the red blast seems deflected off in 90 degree angle. Realizing his attack had been deflected, Havok quickly looks to where the energy stream is heading and sees it careening into an unsuspecting Boom Boom and Magma. He screams out, "Heads up!"

Barely getting their bearing from Jean's initial advance, Boom Boom and Magma fail to hear Havok's warning as they both look up to see his redirected attack head straight for them. The two girls are caught off guard and are unable to react. But just before the red energy blast strikes them, Wolverine dives out at the last second, tackling the two girls away of the destructive friendly fire. The tackle is quick, desperate, and rough on the two as they both yelp and grunt out. All three land against the crack pavement rather hard, but then look back at the deep smoking trench Havok's deflected blast created in the spot where Magma and Boom Boom were once huddling. In a nervous tone, Boom Boom mutters out to Wolverine, "Whoa… nice move…"

Not reacting to Boom Boom's remark, Wolverine stands back up and looks back to where Jean floats with Cyclops. He watches as Colossus quickly grabs Havok around the waist and falls back further to left, taking cover from another one of Jean's pyro-kinetic lash out attacks. Off to the right, he sees Rogue and Shadow Cat working their way around, also seeking cover. Damaged vehicles and burning homes light up the late hour in this once peaceful suburban cul-de-sac. Storm takes to the air kicking up large gusts of flowing wind. She focuses her influence over the elements creating isolated monsoons over the burning homes, slowly dowsing the ominous flames. With a deep rumbling thunder echoing across the sky, Storm gains altitude and consolidates the raging storms she had separately created into one large angry cloud above her. Storm's eyes glow with lighting like intensity as hurricane strength winds keep her aloft, flowing her elegant cape in an angelic manner. Bolts of lightning streak through the swirling cloud above her as she speaks out in a stern tone, "Jean, you must listen to reason! None of us want to hurt you!"

Keeping Cyclops somewhat immobilized in her telekinetic grip, Jean turns her gaze up at Storm and stares with cold expression replying, "That is because none of you can."

Trying not to seem surprised at Jean's near emotionless remark, Storm raises her hands to the sky and intensifies raging thunder cloud above her. Rumbles of deep thunder shake the air as the cloud slowly begins to thicken. Watching from the ground, Wolverine stares at the power build up Storm is manifesting. Just behind him, Cannonball and Berserker approach, keeping their head low. Their uniforms suffer minor scrapes and tears from their earlier dives for cover. "What's she hoping to do up there?!" Berserker asks out to Wolverine, "All she's gonna do is tick Jean off even further!"

Glaring back at the young mutant, Wolverine remarks, "She's buyin' us time, kid. You two work your way to Colossus and Havok."

"And what?!" Berserker asks out again.

Turning his glare out toward Jean, Wolverine replies, "The ball is in Cyclops's court now. Wait for his signal."

Unsure of what the plan is, the two young mutants bite their tongues and comply to Wolverine's orders and carefully make their way to Colossus's and Havok's position. Flames dance about the damaged riddled cul-de-sac despite Storm's drizzle. Looking back to the rest of the gathered mutants, Wolverine takes a breath and says, "Banshee, take the rest of the team and rendezvous with Rogue and Shadow Cat."

Approaching Wolverine, Banshee asks, "So what's the next move? We've thrown everything at Jean aside from trying to kill her."

"Not everything." Wolverine mutters out as he looks up at Storm.

With a sneer of reluctance, Banshee signals the rest of the mutants to follow him. A loud crack of thunders pounds through the sky as bright thick bolt of lightning comes crashing down upon Jean. The bolt strikes loudly and brightly almost shaking the ground. Wolverine notices the wind pick up kicking up loose debris in all direction and forcing the remaining SHIELD gunship helicopters to back off. Another gesture of her hands, and Storm calls down another barrage of lightning. The bright streaks branch out from the angry cloud bombarding Jean's force field. The attack is enough to make Jean flinch and adapt her posture out of defense. The thundering sound is almost deafening as Storm relentlessly rains down more bolts upon Jean's position. Each strike of lightning creates a rippling effect against Jean's force field. The bolts seem to dissipate as they slightly dance around the invisible spherical shape of Jean's telekinetic bubble. Floating unraveled from Storm's dramatic attack, Jean looks up at her gesturing her hands to the sky. Ominous white fire suddenly ignites around her force field. So bright and hot is the flash of fire, everyone around her is forced to duck for cover. Having to squint his eyes, Wolverine can see only see the slender silhouette of Jean with Cyclops floating in tow as they slowly ascend toward Storm's aerial position. Almost blinded by the white hot fiery light, Storm fails to notice Jean's advance. However, feeling the oncoming heat, Storm backs away trying to gain a bit of safe distance in the stormy sky. Her last second decision pays off as Jean focuses her pyro-kinesis turning the swirling thunder head Storm had manifested into a massive ball of fire. It is a bomb like explosive ignition with enough concussive force to swat Storm out of the sky like a fly. Though still conscious, Storm is disoriented by the brightness and sudden force of the blast as she dangles toward the ground. Colossus quickly reverts to his human flesh and runs out to catch her. He shuffles underneath Storm and manages to gently catch her, avoiding any painful injury as she lands into his well defined muscular arms. Wolverine darts out to them asking out, "Is she alright?!"

Catching her breath, Storm answers out, "I'm fine, Wolverine. Thanks to Colossus." as she nods at the large Russian.

Putting her down onto her own two feet, Colossus back up and transmutes into his steel form, then gazes up at Jean. Both Storm and Wolverine share his gaze with concerned expressions. "Now what, Logan?" Storm mutters out.

With his eyes looking up, Wolverine replies plainly, "Now we wait. And hope that there is a human being still left in Jean."

Struggling with now leverage, Cyclops floats somewhat helplessly beside Jean. The invisible yet fiery force that keeps him afloat, also keeps him safe within Jean's force field. The sound of battle outside the field seemed muffled as though someone had turned down the volume on a television set. He glances around to see that he and Jean float nearly fifty feet off the ground, and seem to be gaining altitude slowly. Cyclops then looks to Jean and notices her reacting to some kind of sensation. Her eyes shut tightly with her fists balling up as she slowly turns her head left to right repeatedly. She mutters out, "I can hear all of them. Their thoughts are open to me. I can feel their fears, sense their broken dreams."

Taking the moment to calm things, Cyclops speaks out to her calmly, "Jean, please, listen to me."

"And what will you say that I have not already heard, Scott?" Jean quickly replies as she turns to him, "I hear everything. I feel everything. So much pain, so much suffering. It's almost… deafening."

Shifting his invisibly held posture, Cyclops straightens himself and adds, "That's not you, Jean. The creature, Nung, his power has latched onto you. You have to let it go!"

"What do you know of such things, Scott Summers?" Jean returns cynically, "If anything, this power has given me a higher clarity of thought. You don't see the world as I do. You never will, Scott. This world was given the gift of evolution. Nature gave mankind the gift of mutation through evolution. And what does this world have to show for it? More pain, more suffering, and endless betrayal. Our species has failed in its' endeavors despite evolution."

Cyclops watches as Jean reaches up grabbing her head as though in pain. Her eyes shut tightly while she grips her flowing red hair. Jean feels a push against her mind as Charles's voice speaks to her thoughts, "You must allow us to help you, Jean. Focus on Scott's voice. Do not let this power control you."

Speaking out, Jean yells, "Old man, get out of my head! I do not need to do anything! For once in my life, I am in control. I am no longer as weak as the rest of you!"

Although not hearing Charles's telepathic voice to Jean, he knows the reactions of a psychic assault all too well. Straightening his posture once more, Cyclops speaks out to her again, "Don't fight the Professor, Jean! He's only trying to help you!"

Deep within the Cerebro chamber, Charles grunts as his mind struggles sifting through the psychic chaos that grows within Jean's mind. Countless desperate voices echo from one end of her psyche to the other, each one emotionally torturing Jean's already fragile mind. With his eyes shut tightly as well, Charles speaks out to Forge who stands nearby, "Jean's mind… has becomes a cosmic sponge for emotional trauma… her telepathy has been augmented so much… she can hear and feel every thought on the planet… now that she has retained the creature Nung's essence… that power has been increased one hundred fold… Jean has now achieved Allan's level of cosmic awareness… and it's… driving her insane…" as he then gasps loudly opening his eyes wide.

Forge quickly moves up helping Charles stay up right from his disorientation. In a worried tone Forge asks, "Professor, are you alright?"

Taking deep breaths as though having run a hard mile, Charles replies, "Jean… has cut me off. With her mind now fused with Nung's essence, she is in agony, almost like she is only focusing on the negative emotions. Which in turn is fueling her rage and there by increasing her power with every outburst."

Hank's voice speaks out from the situation control room via com-link, "What can we do to help her, Professor?"

Frantically running his hands over the controls before him, Charles regains his composure and says, "We need to re-establish contact with the X-men. Forge, try to boost the power to Cerebro."

Swallowing nervously, Forge nods and replies, "Alright, I can try to push it to one hundred fifteen percent."

Charles glances back and sees him immediately begin opening side paneling to access power relays. Taking a further glance behind him, Charles checks on both Emma and Tessa. The two women appear in a near catatonic state with their eyes open widely. They are almost statuesque in their posture as their minds reach out beyond their normal limits.

Leaping through the gapping trail of destruction that has plowed through several storage warehouses, Allan lands lightly into a combat stance, slowly rolling his eyes and head left to right searching for Seth. His glare peers out intensely through the eyeholes of his blood red face plated helmet. Maintaining his position with vigilance, Allan takes a slight breath and mutters out, "Ladies?"

Responding telepathically, both Emma and Tessa speak in one voice, "Seth is near, he refuses to run."

"Good." Allan adds with an angered yet satisfied tone.

Then, Seth's voice echoes among the gutted out storage facility, "Speaking to your telepathic hounds, Allan? Quite the resourceful pair we make, eh? Using these pathetic meat sacks as tools to serve our needs."

Staying put, Allan continues to glare out as he replies with sarcasm, "Careful Seth, they can hear you. I wouldn't want you piss them off anymore than you already have."

"Like I care." Seth adds with arrogance, "Or like they could do anything about it."

Allan slowly steps lightly through the scattered mixture of debris. Riddled all around him are either discarded dust gathering memories of a family house hold or partially shredded corrugated moving boxes. Allan's carefully planted cross steps make no sound as he holds up a trained guard, turning to occasionally cover his back. With his eyes glaring out, Allan utilizes every enhanced vision he is aware of. In the near pitch darkness, his eyes shine out from his irises an ominous red, allowing him to see as clear as day. Allan shifts his guarding hands, turning with every other carefully trained step on the balls of his feet. "So, get me to understand you a little, Seth." Allan remarks with sarcastic confusion, "What could have possibly put you on this path? What, did you just wake up one morning and realize 'hey, wow, I am really screwed up. I think I'll destroy worlds for a living now'." he tauntingly adds.

Seth returns with light laughter, "Strangely enough, it was pretty much that simple. I'd say it was more of a reality check, really. I just got tired of coming up with hard solutions for other people's impossible problems."

Allan carefully steps over and around the scattered remnants of private property. He takes quick glances down with is eyes spotting old broken children's toys and knocked over retro style lamps. Seth arrogantly speaks out to him again, "So Allan, is this part where I give you my villainous monologue? Is this where you try to figure out my motives and what makes me tick?"

"I guess you can say that." Allan returns in a straight tone, then sarcastically asks, "Why, you in a hurry to be somewhere?"

"Well," Seth playfully replies, "before you showed up, I did have the best seat in the house to witness the end of this world. But you know, what the hell."

Standing his ground defensively, Allan listens as Seth voices out, "I was like you once, Allan, a great hero of my world. But where you had the opportunity to be raised in a nurturing home, I was discovered by my world's leading super power, and raised to believe in one way of life. Yeah, I fought the good fight. Until the good fight quit fighting for good. It was then I realized, there are no good guys or bad guys. Everyone is out to get each other in one way or another."

Allan slowly turns his head from left to right, scanning his surroundings with a glaring expression. Reaching out with his mind, Allan telepathically says, "Ladies, a little assistance. Seth is in cosmic stealth mode."

In one angelic voice, Emma and Tessa reply, "We are going to try something, Allan. Try not to be startled."

As though someone turning on a static sounding radio in his mind, Allan begins to hear an abundance of different voices, each one speaking out in incomplete sentences, like partial memories. Quick flashes of images follow the voices as unfamiliar faces fade into his mind. Allan hears Seth speak out once more, "You have to ask yourself Allan, what do people like us do when the world we risk our lives for turn their backs on you? What do you say when they take away the only thing that meant everything to you?"

With those particular words echoing out, Allan sees a face and a voice fade into his mind. His eyes widen as he realizes Emma and Tessa had bridged his mind to Seth's, allowing him to see and hear key thoughts as he speaks. Allan relaxes his mind, letting more telepathic information from Seth's unaware thoughts flow freely into his. He sees angry memories of betrayal, a build up vengeance, gruesome scenes of battle after battle. Seth was indeed, a hero of his world. A once upon a time selfless do-gooder, raised and trained by the United States government to be their ideal symbol power. They called him the Enigma, as he could not be classified due to the uniqueness of his powers. But that codename was also given to him to represent a truth. A truth that was hidden from him by his powerful benefactors. A truth he would later learn and haunt him for the rest of his life. Seth was not born on his world, or so it was believed. Discovered as an infant, sleeping peacefully in the center of a three mile wide crater, Seth was secretly hidden from the public. Tax payer money provided the best of care while scientist ran inconclusive tests to determine his origin. High military officials took notice of his attributes and steered all research towards Seth's development. And so began his assimilation. No expense was spared providing Seth with the best Earthly education could give, from combat strategy to simple arithmetic's. His mind was a sponge for information while his body honed his power. Seth quickly became legendary once unleashed. There was no feat he could not overcome. No tyrant or terrorist could stand before him, and his will was unwavering. His bravery earned the respect of other established super heroes, whom he all called friend. But one in particular captured his heart, and love soon followed. Seth's benefactors saw this as a threat to his duties, and orchestrated means to sever their bond. Through their actions, Seth came face to face with political intrigue and conspiracies. He had not noticed the abundance of social disorder looking down at the Earth from the skies above, and his mind could hear malicious intents. Seth set out to correct this oversight, first by addressing the world leaders. But his pleads and warnings go unheard, fueling the conspiracy behind him. Their thoughts, however, did not go unheard by his mind, and Seth began a global crusade to save his world, by any means necessary. His proactive approach raised an air of fear among the people, and the leaders of the world were left little choice but to react. Super heroes from around the world united to confront Seth in one last titanic clash, lead by his one true love. She had hoped to talk him down, but that would not be the case. Seth could remember her radiant beauty, even as she was trying to bring him down. Her flowing auburn colored hair and intense green eyes were usually enough to calm him, even in the worst of conditions. But as the battle between him and hundreds intensified, he showed no quarter, even to those he once called friend. One by one, the Earth's mightiest fell before the power of the Enigma. Only one stood alive among the mangled smoldering remains of the heroic army. Seth remembered her saddened expression. Tears continuously poured from her green eyes, as he knew he had broken her heart. Seth begged her to leave. But like him, she was also on a crusade to save her world, from him. In one last charge, she ignites her body in radiant light, and courageously advances towards him. Whether if he would have dealt with her as he did the others he will never know, for the moment was suddenly overwhelmed by a flashing explosion. Seth felt a blast of air before him, then he notices a large mushroom cloud rising high above. He remembers making eye contact with his love as she lunges at him, then the horror as her body begins to disintegrate. Seth reaches out to her in an attempt to hold her. A final blast wave shreds his stylized dark uniform off of his dense form as the ashy remains of her body sprinkle against him. Seth falls to his knees with a blank expression. However, not wanting to leave any stone unturned, the world governments continuously called down their greatest arsenals upon him. One after the other, orbital laser satellites bombarded Seth's position. With every painful blast, Seth's rage grew, thus signing his world's death warrant.

Allan takes a deep breath, then gently breathes out clearing his mind of what he just saw. A few seconds had past, yet he had witness nearly a life time of confusion, betrayal and anger. Pausing for a moment, Allan hears Seth speak out, "Do you think it's ironic you and I have to face off, or is it destiny?"

With a slight grin under his face covering helmet, Allan ignores Seth's sarcastic inquiry and asks softly, "What was her name?"

Allan's sudden yet striking question silences Seth. Dropping his guard and taking a more casual stance, Allan looks around him and adds, "It's a simple question Seth. Who was she? Pretty green eyes, auburn hair with a smile that could melt an iceberg. You're trying your best to forget her, aren't you?"

Seth pauses in the darkness of the gutted warehouse, then replies plainly, "Damn, Emma and Tessa are indeed a couple of clever bed warmers. They found a way to bridge our minds. I thought I felt something strange."

Allan sarcastically continues, "So, let me get this straight. Everything you've done, up until now, has been about how you screwed up and got your girlfriend killed."

"You're skating on thin ice, Allan." Seth replies in an angered tone.

"Well good," Allan remarks, "at least I know I'm getting somewhere."

Seth remains silent as Allan continues, "A remarkable resemblance this what's her name has to Jean, don't you think? Speaking of irony, I find it ironic that you turned Jean into your own cosmic time bomb, knowing the possible outcome of things."

"Funny you should mention that, Allan," Seth says, "since you're here trying to stop me when you should be out there trying to stop her."

Letting out a relaxed like breath, Allan replies, "What makes you think I don't have a couple of aces up my sleeve?"

Seth chuckles, "You mean those X-men losers? They couldn't fight their way out of an open shoe box."

Straightening his posture, Allan remarks playfully, "So I guess that means you should have nothing to worry about then."

"Indeed you're right, Allan." Seth adds as he steps around a far corner revealing his position, "I don't."

Allan turns casually to face Seth who stands across from him. Amidst the mangled remains of the storage warehouse they square off in, both Allan and Seth glare at each other through their similar stylized helmets from opposite ends of the gutted building. The distant thundering of battle can be heard as the two cosmic beings stand off silently. Allan then speaks up, "So, how about that name?"

Seth glares and returns plainly, "Rachel."

Holding his right hand in a downward angle, Allan focuses his absolute control over the energies around him and slowly forms a red glowing katana blade. The weapon extends out from his right hand flashing out with a white washing echo. Keeping his eyes on Allan, Seth holds out his right hand and forms a katana blade of his own, glowing an intense starry yellow. Both Allan and Seth stand in the darkness with bright energy halos radiating from their bodies. Underneath their face plated helmets, their eyes begin to glow with angered intensity. Debris all around them start to slowly float about as though gravity no longer exists. A build up of unknown energies dances throughout the dark warehouse sending sparks of light in different directions that briefly light up the inside of the damaged structure. Almost in unison, both Allan and Seth bring their glowing weapons to bear, stepping back into attack stances. Sharing Seth's glowing glare, Allan speaks out with his voice echoing angelically, "I hope she was worth it."

Both holding up their glowing energy blades vertically, Allan and Seth charge towards each other at blinding speeds. The titanic forces in which they propel themselves creates hurricane like winds blowing heavy debris in all directions. Both cosmic beings elegantly spin and slash their weapons at each other with all their strength in mirror like fashion also striking up damaging winds with their swings. The swords clash with the brightness of an exploding star sending out a circular blast wave so massive it shatters the remaining warehouse and neighboring building like houses made of play cards.

Gasping as though having cold water thrown at them, Emma and Tessa open their eyes at the moment Allan and Seth had clashed. Both of the women's eyes open widely, glowing an intense ominous red with surprised expression. Forge draws back out of concern as he remarks, "Holy cow! What just happened?!"

Unsure of what to do, Forge reaches up for the main power line cup link in an attempt to free the two catatonic telepaths. Charles quickly darts out, "Forge, no! That could kill them!"

At that moment, Hank lumbers through the main Cerebro chamber door and stops short at the sight of both Emma and Tessa. The two women sit with their backs up right and arched. Their faces seem frozen, mouths open, eyes glowing, in a surprised expression. Hank also notices their breathings are quick and short. Swallowing, Hank says, "Those two are more than knee deep in it now."

Looking up at the abundance of wires trailing upward then dropping his gaze down to the catatonic telepaths, Forge breathes out, "What's happening Professor?"

Charles adjusts his Cerebro interface helmet and looks back at Emma and Tessa replying, "They have linked their minds to two higher beings, there by making themselves more involved in the conflict that rages over there. We cannot sever the connection, or their minds will be lost to whatever level of existence they have attached themselves to."

Hank moves closer to check the two woman's heart rates and says, "Their hearts are beating feverishly. I hope they know what they are doing."

"As do I, Hank." Charles adds as he returns his attention to his tedious task of trying to re-establish contact with the X-men.

Standing up after checking on Emma and Tessa's vital signs, Hank steps up next to Charles and says, "I lost all communications with the X-men in the control center. What ever is happening over there, it has gone beyond the conventional."

Charles pauses for a moment closing his eyes. He takes a short deep breath and opens his eyes looking down. Charles's expression is somewhat saddened as he responds to Hank, "Everything will work out in the end, Hank. I have been assured."

Charles returns to his task as both Forge and Hank glance at him with concern.

Scattering in all directions, the combined forces of X-men and SHIELD agents fall back, running for cover from another pyro-kinetic lash out from Jean. The attack strikes out trailing inextinguishable flames like rapidly growing tree branches. Floating high above, Jean seems to orchestrate the attack with slight gestures of her hands. She watches with a cold expression as her friends flee from her fiery assaults. With her mind reaching out, Jean can hear and feel the confusion, fear and the build up of anger towards her. Cyclops struggles within her telekinetic hold, also watching helplessly. He turns his attention towards Jean and speaks out, "Look at what you're doing! This can't be what you want!"

Returning his stare, Jean remarks, "And who are you to tell me what I want, Scott? I can, however, hear what you want. I can hear what everybody wants. Even now, at this very moment, all your wants and needs are in conflict. I felt the growing distrust when I manifested. It festered in all your minds and slowly turned to fear. The same kind of fear normal humans have for mutants. It was only a matter of time before I was betrayed."

The ground below, Wolverine assists Havok as they drag an unconscious Iceman away from the chaos. Looking back up the once suburban street now turned battlefield, Wolverine sees Banshee's small group of X-men dive for cover again from another whip lashing like fiery attack. The intense attack strikes hard sending team members in different directions. Banshee is quick back onto his feet checking on the condition of his young team. Dancing flames sprinkle the immediate area as he scrambles over to Shadow Cat's side to check her. Barely conscious from a bad tumble, she groans out trying to roll onto her back. Banshee carefully picks her up saying, "Easy lass, I'll get you out of here."

But just as he hoists Shadow Cat onto his shoulders, he hears a rush of wind coming closer. He quickly turns to look and sees another lashing fiery attack heading straight for them. The pyro-kinetic attack whips out like a tentacle, burning the damaged asphalt as it waves towards the two mutants. Banshee realizes he is caught flat footed with no chance to reach cover. At the last second, he takes a deep breath then roars out with his mutant hypersonic voice. With all the air in his lungs, Banshee directs his sonic voice at the fiery tentacle and manages to slightly redirect it a few feet to his right. The flames somewhat splatter all over the rough terrain spreading more ominous fire in the area. Sprinkles of fire litter onto both Shadow cat's and Banshee's uniforms as well. Rogue darts over to them and calls out, "Hey, you two alright?!"

She starts to pat out the tiny particles of fire on their uniforms. Banshee coughs a bit, trying to catch his breath, then replies, "We're not dead yet. But I'm getting Kitty out of here, you get the others. We have to fall back."

Glancing up at Jean and Cyclops floating above, then back at Banshee, Rogue complies with silent nod. With another deep breath, Banshee lifts Shadow Cat over his shoulder and steps into a run down the gutted suburban street. Rogue shuffles back to where the rest of his team had dove for cover. She takes quick glances up, looking out for more fiery attacks from Jean's kinetic aura. Sliding and rolling over debris scattered all over, Rogue manages to find Boom Boom, Magma, and Dazzler, huddled in a small burned out crater, tending to minor wounds they had endured. Rogue rolls into the crater with them. She slides down and catches her breath asking, "How're ya'll doin'?"

Clearing her throat, Boom Boom sarcastically replies, "Let's see… we're fighting a war against one person… and we're getting our collective butts whooped. Besides that, I think we're all dandy. On the other hand, if things get worse, I won't have to worry about not doing my homework."

Rogue cracks a slight grin at Boom Boom's comment. Magma carefully wraps piece of cloth over a small laceration on her right leg and remarks, "Jean is really trying to kill us, isn't she?"

Reaching over to help her with the make shift bandage, Rogue says, "Ah'm not all sure she knows what she's doin', Amara."

"This really sucks." Dazzler huffs out as she blows her blonde bangs from her face. She adds, "This is not how I envisioned saving the world would be like. So, I can assume plan 'A' and 'B' went down the drain. Do we have a plan 'C'?"

Sharing Dazzler's frustration, Rogue returns, "Ah hope so. Ah think Wolverine has got somethin' cookin'. Right now we all need to fall back a regroup with the others."

They all stand up with the exception of Magma, who receives a helping hand from Rogue to get to her feet. One by on, the girls carefully shuffle out of the crater and begin to follow Rogue through debris field of scattered flames. Despite her slight limp, Magma manages to keep up, but then stops in her tracks. Rogue looks back and sees the young mutant staring at the ground with a worries expression. "Hey," Rogue calls out, "Magma, snap to, let's go!"

Turning her head left to right, with her eyes fixed toward the ground, Magma remarks, "Something is not right, guys."

Sighing out, Boom Boom says as she gestures around, "Girl, what was your first clue?"

Magma returns with a worried tone, "No I'm serious. I just got this very uneasy sensation."

Rogue stares at Magma and just about speaks out herself. But her attention is caught by the odd sight of various chunks of burning street debris beginning to float about. The sight also catches the other girl's attention as more debris becomes airborne. They notice this event happening all over the area. Dazzler nervously remarks, "Uh… floating stuff really doesn't worry me. My worry is, why aren't we floating with it?"

The ground begins to tremor slightly beneath their feet. Rogue quickly turns her attention to Magma who looks back sharing her concern. With a sudden gasp, Magma yells out to her friends, "RUN!"

The ground begins to quake with a bit more intensity. The sounds of deep terrain shifting and cracking cement fill the air. All around, the gathered members of the X-men and SHIELD personnel stagger and stumble against the rumbling ground. Almost losing her footing on some loose gravel, Rogue maintains her balance and asks out, "Magma, what's goin' on?!"

Also staggering against the growing quake, Magma replies with a fearful expression, "I... I'm feeling lava build up under us, all over! It just started all of a sudden! We have to get out of here, now!"

But as they all turn to start running, a loud deafening crack echoes from the ground. A violent jolt shakes the heavily damaged street knocking nearly everyone off their feet. Deep fissures suddenly open up spewing hot steam like a geyser into the night air. Then without warning, glowing red hot lava explodes out from the fissures. The ground quakes with a harsh shimmy following the geyser like lava flow. Out of instinct, Magma turns and transmutes into her fiery form. She focuses her power over the molten earth, trying to keep it from harming her friends. Her concentration becomes unsteady as she notices spewing chunks molten rock beginning to float the same way as the burning street debris. Glowing flows of lava seemingly bleed freely from the open fissures in the street, followed by more deep earth trembling quakes. The sight of super heated liquid rock spraying, floating and crawling across the now destroyed suburban street forces everyone to drop their defenses and run. Wolverine starts calling out to Colossus and his group to fall back. Doing his best to protect his young friends, Colossus uses his organic metal body to shield them from the burning sprays of molten lava. Huddled behind him, Cannonball, Berserker, and Jubilee flinch and cover there heads at the sounds of shaking earth. Wolverine watches a flow of hot lava slowly begin to surround their position. With frustrated and angered expression, he says, "Dammit, Pete can't move without risking the other three. He's usin' his body like an umbrella."

Agent Danvers asks out, " Logan, how the hell did this happen?!" as she points out toward the sudden volcanic scene.

Stepping back from the intense heat and lava splashes, Wolverine replies, "Ya got me, lady!"

Storm takes a breath and remarks, "It's Jean. Her powers are starting to extend out, affecting the elements, I can feel it."

"So can I." Magma quickly speaks up as she, Rogue, Dazzler and Boom Boom, come stumbling and shuffling over the street debris.

Another thundering quake causes them to flinch. Wolverine quickly looks out toward where Colossus and the others are. He then turns around saying, "Magma, Storm, you two gotta get out there and help them get clear."

Storm nods replying, "I'll cool the molten rock around them the best I can. Magma, clear a path so they can run."

With nervous stare, Magma swallows and says, "I'll try." As she and Storm break cover moving out.

Taking to the sky once more, Storm rides the winds holding her hands high as she calls another thunder cloud to manifest heavily cooling rain over the four trapped mutants. White steam and billows from the slowing flowing lava as it sprays on top. Magma grits her teeth focusing her power to subside the growing flow of molten rock. It is as though she struggles against another will for control of her birth element. She manages to assert enough control to give her trapped friends to run free from the danger. Cannonball doesn't waste time once clear of the splashing lava as he propels himself into the air away from the heated position. Staying close, Colossus keeps Jubilee and Berserker cover with his armored body while they run through Magma's cleared path. Storm keeps up her concentrated monsoon attempting to cool off the on coming flow of lava. Wolverine and Agent Danvers watch as they young X-men run clear from the close call. A sigh of relief is short lived for Wolverine, however. Agent Danvers speaks out in a demanding tine, "I don't understand, Logan. How is Jean Grey able to do this? Our intelligence never said she had power over the surrounding elements."

Tending to some minor scorch wounds on her right arm, Dazzler sarcastically remarks with a smirk, "I guess that means you super spy guys aren't all that intelligent."

Carol Danvers returns her smirk with one of her own, but then turns her attention back to Wolverine waiting for his answer to her question. Rogue speaks up in turn, "Jean's been cosmically augmented. There's no tellin' what she is capable of."

Carol stares back at Rogue with a curious expression asking, "And what would you know about that kind of stuff? Oh… wait a minute… right, your boyfriend… Speaking of whom, where is he? We could use his help right now."

Rogue falls silent allowing Wolverine to speak up, "Vanguard is dealin' with another problem."

Then another quake violently shakes the ground almost knocking them off their feet. The smell of burning and melting asphalt fill the air, followed by the emanation of steam from Storm's heavy rain fall. Clearing her throat, Carol asks, "So Logan, what's the next move going to be?"

Wolverine straightens his posture looking out over the chaotic scene. All about, burning and glowing debris of rocks and magma float like weightless balloons. He shifts his eye upward looking at the silhouettes of both Jean and Cyclops as the float high in the sky encased in within Jean's glowing pyro-kinetic force field. Taking a breath, Wolverine replies, "Our next move is up there, floating with her."

Cyclops looks down at the carnage with grave concern for his friends and teammates below. He turns his attention back to Jean remarking, "Look at what you are doing to them! You can stop this, Jean! You don't have to do this!"

With a somewhat serene expression on her face, Jean calmly replies, "It is what has to be done, Scott. You can't feel what I feel, nor can you hear the voices of the suffering. They need to be cleansed with purifying fire."

Cyclops watches as she suddenly reaches up with her hands, gripping her red flowing hair dramatically as though in agony. Jean begins to struggle against her thoughts. Crying voices call out for mercy almost from all directions. She feels their fears and pain with every cry. Then finally she senses dying thoughts of despair that causes her heart to sink as she begins to cry. Frantically shaking her head in her gripping hands, Jean cries out in pain, "OH GOD! What's happening?! So… much … pain…"

Her body glows brightly causing Cyclops to flinch and shut his eyes. Struggling against her invisible hold, he speaks out, "Jean, listen to me! Focus on me! You absorbed Nung's essence, his power… you have to let it go!"

"NO!" Jean cries out, "That creature was a threat! I had to destroy him! I released him!"

Maintaining his focus, Cyclops adds, "Think about it… the pain you're feeling is coming from the dying voice of the world Nung's essence was sustaining… "

"Shut up, Scott, SHUT UP!" Jean continues to cry out, "You know nothing! You betrayed me once, I will not let you do it again! I am no longer weak!"

Cyclops stops his struggling and floats freely in front of Jean with a plain expression. He takes a deep breath and lets it out to clear his mind. He reaches up and carefully takes off his sleek visor keeping his eyes shut. "You're right, Jean," he remarks, "you aren't weak. You never were. Everyone's mind is now an open book to you, and you can sense them all. All their fears, ambitions, dreams and lies, they're no longer hidden, even mine. But if you believe I betrayed you in any way, obviously you didn't get the whole story."

Letting his visor float away from his hands, Cyclops drops his arms continuing, "I'll admit, I gave into moment of weakness. But if that is all you saw in my mind, then you need to dig deeper."

Jean stares at him blankly yet, curiously. "A deep mind probe of my level could be fatal." she adds, "What do you expect to accomplish?"

"In truth, I don't know." Cyclops replies, "I just noticed your mind has been avoiding my deep thoughts all night. You plan on killing me anyway it seems. And I won't die with out you knowing the truth first. Unless… you're afraid."

Bringing her face close to his, Jean glares in anger remarking, "I fear nothing…"

Cyclops straightens his posture and adds with sincerity, "Then take it… I won't resist you."

Jean draws back in silence, her expression blank as she stares Cyclops. Floating and being held at her mercy, Cyclops hold himself upright and confident with his eyes shut. Jean's expression softens as she floats a few feet away from him. Try as she may, Jean cannot help but feel Cyclops's sincerity, and the truth in his words leaves her speechless. Slightly raising her chin, she says calmly, "Show me your eyes, Scott."

Taking a deep breath, Cyclops pauses for a moment, reluctant to open his eyes at first. He softens his expression realizing how he could no longer harm Jean with his concussive optic blast at this stage of her power growth. That thought frees him of that fear and he opens his eyes to gaze upon Jean. A quick red sparking flash signifies his eyes are now wide open, however, Cyclops feels a gentle push against his uncontrollable power. The red hue of light slowly fades as Jean's fair complexion comes into clear view. With her absolute control over her birth ability, Jean holds back Scott's blast internally. A slight smile comes over Scott's face. In an angelic tone, Jean speaks out him, "Look at me."

Turning his eyes toward her, Scott suddenly gasps loudly as he feels a rushing sensation wash through his mind. His brown eyes widen staring somewhat upward in a near catatonic state, feeling Jean dive her conscious mind completely into his. All around them, the swirling force field of telekinetic and pyro-kinetic energy begins to glow even brighter than before. From the ground below, the retreating teams of X-men and SHIELD agents cover their eyes from the near star flashing sight. The free flowing molten rock seems to slow as the scattered ominous flames slowly dissipate. A frustrated sneer forms on Wolverine's face as he mutters out, "What the Hell is goin' on up there?"

Stepping up while looking up, Rogue stares into the light without covering her eyes and replies calmly, "Scott is makin' the connection."

"Then it's the moment of truth." Wolverine adds while glancing at Rogue.

The once serene setting of the self storage lot is now a scene of a dramatic battle. Multitudes of strange sounds echo out, ranging from loud metal bending to hideous roars. A police barricade is formed just outside the drama with fully armed police in riot gear. Hovering over above, two police helicopters shine spot lights into the fray keeping track of the action below. Shockwave after shockwave is felt, as though the ground has come alive. The heavily armed police officers prepare to move in, with hope of breaking up what they were told was some kind of mutant riot. Just then, before they can cross the barricade line, Magneto floats down just in front of them. He nearly drops to his knees but manages to maintain his unsteady balance. Breathing heavily and somewhat out of breath, he peers out his battered helmet and states, "It is not safe for any of you to be here! Fall back and set your barricades further away!"

Out of fear, the police point their weapons at Magneto. Their reaction doesn't surprise him in the least, and before he can speak up, the ground rumbles just behind him. Magneto quickly turns to see the mutilated Leland charging out from the chaotic scene. In a stern town, Magneto speaks to the law enforcers, "Officers, I need to borrow your vehicles."

Raising his hands and gesturing them out at Leland, Magneto asserts his control over the magnetic fields lifting five of the parked police squad cars into the air. Police officers stagger at the sight and stumble back as they watch their shiny new vehicles float into the air. The five floating cars suddenly jolt forward careening towards the charging Leland. One by one the flung vehicles smash into the over weight looking cosmic monster, halting his lumbering charge. Magneto maintains his counter attack, magnetically holding the crushed cars against Leland's deformed body. Glancing off to his right, Magneto spots Scarlet Witch standing up from a nearby pile of warehouse rubble. He calls out to her in earnest, "Wanda, quickly ignite the fuel!"

Regaining her bearings from a previous attack, Scarlet Witch takes a breath looking over at the struggling cosmic monster. The sounds of bending and tearing metal dart out as he is pushed back from Magneto's five car assault. She then spots the leaking mass of gasoline pouring out from the punctured fuel tanks. Without a word, Scarlet Witch focuses her chaos wave at the smashed cars massed against Leland. Her fear and rage increases the potency of the gasoline and surrounding air a hundred fold thus igniting the full fuel tanks. A bursting explosion strikes Leland hard as the five cars detonate all around him into metal filled fireballs. Staggering from the blast wave, Scarlet Witch stares at the fiery carnage and mutters, "Did we get it?"

Magneto then turns his attention back to the fearful if not baffled riot police and politely remarks, "Officers, if you will, please vacate the area and allow us to save this world."

Unsure how to respond to him, the riot police grab their equipment and begin to fall back away from the battle scene. Magneto slightly grins and sighs out in a low tone while shaking his head, "Stubborn humans."

An echoing gurgling roar regains his attention as he turns to look. The fuel fed flames from the fiery explosion slowly subside a bit revealing an only stunned Leland, standing firmly in place. Magneto's expression becomes furiously stern as he stares at the monstrosity. In gust of blurring speed Quicksilver steps up to Magneto stating, "We lost track of the other one."

Looking behind his son, Magneto sees Toad and Blob come lumbering up as well. A sudden thundering quake pounds the ground. Looking off to his left Magneto sees Avalanche focusing a massive shockwave towards Leland. The trailing quake ripples the earth violently causing hard rocky sediments to thrust upward from under ground forming large rocky spikes that collide into Leland's dense form. The attack manages to stagger the beastly creature backwards a bit more. Scarlet Witch regroups with the other Brotherhood gathering near Magneto and asks out, "Father, how do we stop that thing? We've thrown everything we've got at it!"

Looking over the condition of his battle worn young team, Magneto sighs out and says in a commanding manner, "Then we change tactics. We must combine our efforts."

Leland roars out among the fiery ripped up terrain. He regains his bearings and notices Scarlet Witch and Blob break off from the rest of the gathered Brotherhood. He turns his attention back to the main group watching as Magneto, Avalanche, Quicksilver and Toad charge towards him valiantly. Magneto begins to voice out orders, "Quicksilver, Toad, keep him off balance!"

Following without a word, both young mutants charge into the fray. With acrobatic ease, Toad leaps and somersaults over Leland's mutilated multi-eyed head and spits his slimy bile with pin point precision over the monster's deranged looking eyes. The attack somewhat blinds Leland momentarily, but long enough for Quicksilver to gain enough momentum to form a heavy tornado like funnel with his super speed. The massive gust of wind envelopes the large mutilated man and staggers him backwards some more. Just then, Magneto commands out, "Now, Avalanche! Immobilize him!"

Gritting his teeth with angered determination, Avalanche yells out loudly as he focuses a massive earthquake around Leland's position. The ground violently rumbles as the ground under Leland's grotesque feet shatters and caves in. Avalanches lets out another grunt like yell as he localizes his quake trapping Leland up to his overweight waist and holding him firmly in the ground. With roar like grunt, Leland speaks out in anger, "Commmmmendable efforts, meat! But you only prolllllllong the inevitable."

Raising his elongated hands highs, Leland focuses out with his power. As sudden jolt is felt by all four heroic mutants as they feel their weight increase rapidly. Quicksilver and Toad are immediately grounded by the sudden attack, and they both grunt out falling to the ground like sacks of potatoes. Avalanche and Magneto try fighting against Leland's odd attack, but then give in as they feel the excruciating strain on their bones and muscles. Feeling the increase weight bearing on them further, Magneto feels they are only steps away from their bones shattering like dried twigs. Mustering his strength with a deep breath, he grunts then yells out, "NOW!"

With his attention fixed on the downed Brotherhood member around him, Leland fails to notice Blob standing yards away, holding a large steel girder over his shoulder. In a loud grunting yell and with all his strength, the massive young mutant throws the solid large shard of metal like a javelin at the immobile Leland. Quickly following his throw, Scarlet Witch focuses out with her chaos wave at the lobbed girder, removing any atmospheric friction thus increasing it's speed exponentially. Leland tries to adjust his posture out of defense, but then realizes this is where Magneto wanted him. He quickly looks down at the cloaked mutant and catches the old man grinning at him. Magneto asserts his magnetic control at the girder, increasing it's velocity even further. The metal beam streaks toward Leland at speeds beyond sound. Then in a violent collision, the girder strikes Leland dead center on his chest in a loud earsplitting crack. Leland tries to yell out, but realizes the beam did not just strike him, but penetrated through his chest and out his back, splattering his glowing blood and entrails in all directions. The beam sits embedded in Leland's beastly chest as he struggles relinquishing his power over the Brotherhood. Toad slowly stands up staring a blobbing mass of gurgling body matter in front him and mutters out, "Yo, there goes my lunch. And we haven't even had breakfast yet."

Avalanche slowly gets up onto his feet, breathing out a sigh of relief after suffering a density increase assault. He suddenly flinches at the sound of hideous gurgling. The eerie sound of dripping matter puts horrified expressions upon each of the Brotherhood's faces. Scarlet Witch rushes over to help Magneto onto his feet. With sudden gasp she remarks, "It... it's still alive!"

Each regaining their bearings, the members of the Brotherhood pick themselves off the ground and regroup over near Magneto's position. They watch as Leland continously gurgles and spews puss like glowing blood from the massive puncture wound with his arms flailing almost uncontrollably. Avalanche grunts out in frustration, "Man! What's it take to off these things?!"

"How 'bout a lil' creativity." Gambit quickly adds as he silently lands cat like on the back end of the impaling steel girder.

Gambit then turns his attention to the struggling Leland and gives him a sly wink as he focuses his own mutant power, kinetically super charging the heavy metal beam. Flashing a conniving grin, Gambit playfully remarks, "Oo ye yi." and quickly hops off rolling for cover.

Magneto follows his lead as he darts out, "Everyone back away, take cover!"

Scrambling away from the impaled Leland as far as they can, each member of the Brotherhood dive for cover, seeking protection in blown out blast craters and huddling behind toppled building debris. They each frantically cover their heads awaiting a cataclysmic outcome. In a bright flashing burst, the energized metal beam detonates dramatically, sending out a ring like blast wave that seems to ripple the terrain all around. Shards of metal and cement debris ricochet off of denser surfaces as they streak by at uncontrolled high speeds being blown from the explosion. An outward bursting of primal energy marks the physical demise of Leland. A short sense of relief is shared among the members of the Brotherhood, but then a vacuuming sensation overwhelms their moment victory. They begin to notice the same debris that was blown from the explosion suddenly begin to be drawn back. Magneto yells out in earnest, "It's the implosion! Grab hold of something!"

Gripping any sturdy object within reach, the team of mutants holds on for dear life. As though a miniature black hole had opened up before them, the air and any loose debris begins to be sucked back to where the large mutilated mutant once stood impaled. It is a harsh vacuum, pulling everything to its center with force of a compact hurricane. Gripping with all their might, each member of the battle worn Brotherhood grunt and yell out, trying to anchor themselves against the force at the same time trying to hold on to each other. They each close their eyes and flinch at the rush of wind against their faces. Then, as dramatically as the implosion manifested, it suddenly dissipates in an instant, dropping what ever debris it was drawing towards it, including the Brotherhood. Slowly picking themselves off the ground, they each breathe heavily with their hearts beating fast out of fear. Magneto looks to Leland's last position and notices only compressed like sphere shape, the size of a volley ball made of the various debris that was sucked into the vacuum. Toad staggers to his feet and approaches the odd sculpture remarking, "I'd rather not go through that again, yo."

Dusting herself off, Scarlet Witch asks, "What just happened?"

Stepping up to the debris riddled sphere, Magneto answers plainly, "It was a localized absence of space, time and energy."

"Well, is it dead at least?" Quicksilver inquires.

Looking around the spot, Magneto replies, "By our definition, yes."

Glancing over at Gambit, Avalanche sneers and spurts out, "So what's the deal? You help out at the last second? Where've you been the whole time?"

Taking a deep breath, then slowly extending his composite quarter staff, Gambit steps back into a defensive posture. Looking over past Avalanche, he answers in a calm manner, "Keepin' an eye on that one." as he gestures toward the trail of damaged warehouse storage units.

Turning to where Gambit gaze stares off to, the Brotherhood see the over muscular form of Shaw standing in shock at the sight of his now dead colleague. Blob steps back still catching his breath and remarks, "Man, it took everythin' we got to put the first one down! I got nothin' left!"

Magneto sees the tired faces of his team and tried to muster his own strength. Shaw lets out a hideous echoing growl, only to have it overshadowed by the distant sounds of another titanic battle only two hundred yards away. Thundering clashes and bright bursts of light signify the desperate battle between Vanguard and the Enigma. With every energy bursting clash, a rippling shockwave is felt through the air. The battle illuminates one side of the nightly horizon as police, rescue and news helicopters begin to hover over trying to get a birds eye view of the drama below. Staring up at the sky above the helicopters, Magneto notices strange weather anomalies stirring in the clouds. Hints of red and yellow glowing energy mix into the softness of the clouds, followed by small sparks of dancing white flames that swirl in and out of the unnatural weather build up. He looks off into the opposite horizon and sees another distant glow, where the strange weather anomaly seems to originate. A slight earth tremor is felt bringing more concerned expressions over the members of the Brotherhood. Another bright flashing, air rippling clash is heard and felt. Shaw growls out again and begins to advance toward the battle battered Brotherhood. Magneto glares at the advancing mutilated creature and states to his team, "What ever the cost, we hold him here!"

With those stern words, each of the Brotherhood members step into another combative stance and ready themselves.


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