With the Sentinels and the Franken-Troopers defeated, the X-Men and Avengers took a breather. “Clearly it’s not safe here,” Luke Cage said. “We don’t have the infrastructure ready to protect you all. I’m afraid you’re going to have to find somewhere else to go.” “More like you don’t want us around your baby,” Shadowcat said, scoffing.
Luke scowled. “Yeah, well if it was you, you’d do the same.”
“Well where do we go?” Rachel asked. “We could try the Baxter Building, but I heard Doctor Doom is on the Fantastic Four.”
“Er…well, only kinda,” Spider-Man chimed in.
Kid Omega turned his nose up, blood drying at the corners of his mouth. Kinda isn’t good enough. We don’t need another peni—er, ego—the size of mine around here.
“You’d think he was talking about small things,” Toad said, whipping his tongue about as a taunt. If you want to keep that, I’d quit reminding me what I just lost, janitor, Quire threatened.
“Enough already!” Cannonball yelled. “All’a y’all have taken this too far! How many of our friends have we lost today? Y’all are cracking jokes and acting like we don’t have to bury our friends—our family! What’s wrong with you?”
Talisman did not flinch at the outburst. “Alpha Flight has died and come back so many times that it makes it hard to have an impact.”
Kid Gladiator snorted. “The glory of death in battle carries honor! Death in old age matters little if only you are left to remember it.”
Layla look to the park across from Avengers Mansion wistfully. “If only Jamie were here. He would know what to do.”
“Jamie bit the big one, but are you sure he’s your best bet?”
Layla looked around, trying to place the voice. “Down here, ya height-ist!”
“And the rest of X-Factor,” Havok said, leading the X-Factor Investigations team onto the grounds of Avengers Mansion. “We were briefly informed of what is going on. Scott and Weapon X are taking on Cyttorak in Westchester. It’s our job to keep you guys safe…well, for starters.”
“What’s the other thing?” Kitty asked, skeptical.
Rictor shifted uncomfortably. “We’re supposed to ‘detect’ what happened to Wolverine’s head. Scott said you guys told him it wasn’t with the body. Scott wants to try to reattach things, basically, maybe bring Logan back if we can.”
“You think the head is all that’s going to take?” Rachel asked.
Lorna smirked. “Compared to dying one by one, it’s better than our other options.” “If that’s that, we’ll leave you guys to it,” Captain America said. “We just picked up on an anomaly headed toward Earth, something we need to deal with. You’re on your own.”
Lorna’s eyes fluttered at Havok. “See? Even Captain America knows when you’re being sexy and in charge.”
It happened in a flash, as soon as the Avengers disappeared inside their mansion. A siege of crows blotted out the sun, descending upon Shadowcat. She tried to face, but the crows, spiritual in nature, began to rip at her skin with their beaks. “My telepathy isn’t working!” Rachel yelled.
Kitty was gone, a spatter of blood inside a murder of crows.
“X-Force, don’t be stingy with your bullets!”
In a flash, Fantomex, Psylocke, Deadpool, Nightcrawler, and Deathlok emerged from a portal. “Alpha Flight called saying the Great Beasts were sending something after the time anomaly. The Captain Britain Corps alerted us to the same,” Psylocke said. Staring at the remnants of Kitty Pryde, she stopped speaking.
And then it happened again. The crows descended on another of their own—this time, the boy who would grow up to either save the world or rule it. Genesis.
“Uncle Cluster, no!” Genesis cried out as Fantomex unleashed every weapon he could fit into two hands. It was not enough. Genesis disappeared and a corpse emerged from the flock.
“X-Force! X-Factor! We can’t figure out what the anomaly is if these things kill everything first!” Rachel said through tears at the loss of her best friend. “Stop this thing—NOW!”
“You heard her!” Fantomex shouted.
The crows coalesced to form another creature, one with a skull for a head. “Try. Nothing can stop Ranark the Ravager…” That’s right! X-Force, X-Factor, and even possibly the Avengers are here to take on the spiritual mass of every crow in New England assembled in one spot and infused with mystical energy, controlled by Ranark the Ravager and fueled by the Great Beasts of the North themselves! Help X-Force and the Avengers top the crows! Side-mission: Help X-Factor find Wolverine’s head!
Kid Omega - Kipe XXXXX XXXX Kid Gladiator - marhawkman XXXXX X Cannonball - UncannyScott XXXXX XXXXX X Toad - Gibbering Fool XXXXX XXXX Talisman - Cable XXXXX XX Layla Miller - das_boot XXXXX XX Phoenix - History of Paper XXXXX X Ernst - Placebo XXXXX XXX
Location: Kansas City, MO
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Posted: 02-Feb-2012 at 10:18am
Havok let loose with a blast of plasma. The rings burst ever outward, momentarily scattering the murders of crows that had flocked together.
Lorna wielded her magnetic energies, ripping what little was left of the attack garden sprinkler coils out of the ground. She broke them down into smaller pieces and launched them forth as a barrage of bullet-like projectiles. Several crows were shredded as their entrails rained around the assembled X-People.
"Lorna!" Alex Summers shouted to his lover.
"Fearless co-leader?" she shouted back as she spun around and launched another set of fragments toward the murder.
"You're our best chance for finding an adamantium skull," he explained while dodging the crow assembled wing of the anomaly. "Maybe you should take Star and Rahne to Xavier's!"
"It's the Jean Grey School now," Lorna said as she flung the last few pieces of metal available (for most was gone due to the Hellfire Club's sentinels) between Talismanand Ernst scattering the crows that were flocking between the two. "But point taken!"
Rahne leaped to Lorna and Alex's side.
"Plan?" she asked in a huff, transitioning from her wolf form to her half-lupine form.
"You, me, Star and a date with a skull." Lorna said dryly.
A few feet away, Fantomex and Shatterstar were challenging each other to see who could take out the most amount of crows during a double back flip. Fantomex was winning by three crows.
"Star!" Rahne roared toward her comrade. Shatterstar missed two crows with the swing of his blade thanks to the distraction.
Layla stepped between Lorna and Rahne from behind. "I'm on this too. If Scott and Utopia can put Humpty Dumpty back together again, we can ask him about the identity of the murderer."
"No." Rahne growled.
"Yes." Lorna replied in an even tone as Shatterstar landed in front of them.
I'm with Lady Doom. Captain America already gave me the French Revolution treatment. Citizen Quire is at your service. Quentin telepathically called to the group from two yards away.
"And I scarred Steve Rogers in the possibly-for-life way so I concur. I'm getting Quire off this battlefield," Layla elaborated.
"Fine," Lorna replied. "Charge up, Star!"
Energy shot between the two ridiculously thin blades Shatterstar held in front of him.
Lorna and Rahne jumped through. As Quentin came up behind Layla, she looked over her shoulder and eyed him viciously. "Call me that again, and you'll be missing more body parts that start with a 't'."
Layla landed a punch on Quire's shoulder just as they began to step through Shatterstar's portal.
The Jean Grey School for Gifted Youngsters....
Quentin wondered if he left his stomach back at the Avenger's Mansion as he emerged out of Shatterstar's portal and onto the school grounds. He had been teleported thrice too many times within the last hour or so and once had been to another dimension.
"Rahne, be a good girl and see if you can catch Logan's scent. I'll search out his frequencies," Lorna commanded Wolfsbane.
"Yuir a bloody riot, Lorna." Rahne snarled as she made her way toward the steps of the Front Hall.
"I do what I can," Lorna grinned as she floated in the same direction.
I know about riots. I made Xavier step down and almost sent the U.N. into World War III. Believe me, the both of you are far from riots. Quentin telepathically scoffed at the two women.
"Watch ye tongue, boy," Wolfsbane snarled over her shoulder.
I don't have one of my own. I'm thinking of becoming a collector though. Quentin threatened. Now step back, the two of you aren't really needed. I'm the frickin' Phoenix now. I got this.
Quentin telkekinetically levitated himself up and in front of the School. A circle of blue flames lit around his head. Blue Phoenix raptors blazed within his eyes.
"Quire," Layla said warningly as she stepped toward them.
He turned his head and looked at the mysterious blond woman. She saw the flash of his Phoenix eyes.
I burn away what doesn't work. Clearly, the Jean Grey School for Gifted Youngsters no longer works. There will be nothing left but Wolverine's bones. Fitting.
Quentin stretched out his arms. Cobalt fire spread out from them, wingtips of the Phoenix. A wave of cyan eruptions rolled out over the school. The Jean Grey School was enveloped in an eerie twilight glow.
"Ye bastard!" Rahne screamed! "I will not let ye destroy evr'thin muh fam'ly an friends have worked for!" She sprung at Quentin with claws unsheathed and fangs slinging spit.
Lorna bolted through the air and smashed through the burning front doors of the school.
Wolfsbane collided with Kid Omega. As he smacked the earth with a thud the inferno engulfing the school subsided and left little smouldering wood or metal unscathed.
You wanna kill me. I can taste it in your mind. Quentin taunted Wolfsbane as he telekinetically flung her a few feet away from him. You know the taste. Like your poor baby coming out and your father sliding in.
"YE STAY OOTA MUH HEAD!"
Shatterstar made ready to launch with both blades at the ready. Layla stepped in front of him and put a hand out. "Wait."
A full Sapphire Phoenix Raptor rose up above Quentin as he climbed to his feet. With a clear and serene face he looked upon Rahne. She gnashed her teeth.
Phoenix fire scorches through falsehoods. It melts through lies and makes everything white-hot until only the true essence is left. Can you stare the Phoenix in the eye without flinching?
Wolfsbane screamed as Phoenix Fire cascaded over her body and mind. She felt all of her layers peel back. Her mind, naked and pink burst forth before her. All her secrets laid out and turning on her like maggots.
Your lover sacrificed his life for the survival of you and your unborn child. You dishonored his sacrifice by denying hm; by claiming another as the father. You tricked a dear friend and former lover into believing the child was his. You forced your way like an Alpha Female between he and his lover. How very, very progressive of you, Rahne. Then, because you hadn't pissed on the legacy of your dearest Wolf Prince enough, you left his child with no mother. You abandoned it like a Spartan cripple for the wolves. What have you to say for yourself, Rahne Sinclair?
"Lord, FORGIVE ME!!!!!!" Wolfsbane sobbed in agony.
Shatterstar shouldered past Layla.
Wolfsbane's body convulsed wildly as she transitioned from half-lupine form to full-on wolf.
You are forgiven, but you are also punished. You will remain in this form, unable to communicate in human language or experience human compassion, until you are again reunited with your son. You have been JUDGED. Live, Rahne, LIVE.
The Sapphire fire receded from Wolfsbane's body. She whimpered in her wolf form.
"Turn her back, Kid Bodega!" Shatterstar ordered as he plunged his sword toward Quentin's middle section. The blue Phoenix cried its raptor call in warning as its wings raised above Quentin.
"I'VE GOT IT! CUT IT OUT!" Lorna Dane shouted as she hovered out of the front doors of the Jean Grey School for Gifted Youngsters. The adamantium skeleton and skull floated on either side of her as she flew to the foursome. "Let's get back to Avengers HQ and make sure my boyfriend isn't for the birds."
Shatterstar stepped away from Quentin. The Phoenix fires collapsed around Quentin leaving only a small glow around his eyes and head. Shatterstar charged up his swords.
"What happened here?" Lorna said as she looked down at wolf Rahne. Wolfsbane howled bitterly.
"Rahne got what she deserved, and then some," Layla informed Lorna bitingly.
"We'll figure it out after," Lorna said looking at Quentin. Her voice contained both threat and warning.
"We're out," Lorna commanded.
The four mutants stepped through Shatterstar's teleportation portal.
(Talisman and Cannonball)
Edited by Kipe - 02-Feb-2012 at 10:25am
"I'm a prisoner. I have to be a prisoner. I'm a political prisoner. I'm not going to let them turn me into a criminal."
Location: United Kingdom
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Posted: 02-Feb-2012 at 11:37am
Layla sat in quiet contemplation in what had been the viewing room, back when X-Factor's headquarters had been a morgue. Longshot and Strong Guy weren't too happy at being torn from a fight, but Lorna had insisted. The skeleton of Wolverine lay on the surface of the table that had once been for the bereaved to have a final look at their loved ones before they were introduced to the crematorium. The adamantium had been burned clean, between the initial assault that took Logan's life, and the fire of Quentin's Phoenix manifestation, but Layla could swear she could still see the faintest trace of blood, now stained brown, clinging to the indestructible metal.
"So, we're safe here, right?" asked Strong guy for the umpteenth time. "You sprinkled that stuff over the door ways and wrote those things on the walls to keep the crow man out?"
"Yep, sure did," said Layla in a monotone, as she stared at the now completed skeleton.
"Can you bring him back?" asked Longshot, gesturing towards the bones. "I mean, he'd be without a soul like Guido, but he'd also be without skin and organs, correct?"
"Whaddya mean, 'like Guido'?" bellowed Strong Guy. "Go do your vision reading thing ya blork."
"Please, Longshot," asked Layla. "See if you can get anything from the bones that might tell us who the killer is."
"Okay," smiled the blond-haired mutate as he entered the viewing room.
"Guido, I'm sorry," said Layla, her head hung low. "I thought that I could save you. I thought that maybe it wouldn't change things, but look what it's done!"
"Ya didn't bring me back wrong, kid," sighed Guido. "All'a this stuff, me being more impulsive an' kissing St Croix... ya don't think that maybe it's on account of me havin' nearly died (AGAIN, I might add), that I'm doing that whole 'live life to the max' thing?"
"But, Bloodbath--" began Layla.
"But nuthin'," shrugged Guido. "Longshot and Shatty-buns were made in a lab somewhere, an' shouldn't have souls, but they were effected. Maybe I'm just lucky?"
"Maybe," said Layla, trying to give Guido a smile. Lord knows, if you have to justify this to yourself in any way you can, I'm not going to stop you, Guido, but I think that maybe we both know the truth, and I'm still sorry...
Sorry, couldn't help but over-hear
Quire, you have about two seconds to get out of my head or so help me--
What? You'll rip out my tongue? You're right though, he has no soul. Then again, some philosophers believe that you're not born with a soul, but that you grow one. You brought him back from the dead with no injuries... perhaps this is his journey now? To grow his own soul? You're welcome by the way.
Quentin cut contact with her as quickly as he had assumed it in the first place. Layla had to admit, he had a point, and who better to have as an authority on spiritual matters than the freaking Phoenix?
She tried to hold it back, but as she smiled at Guido, she also let out a gentle sob.
"Aw, kid, don't go cryin' on me... I'm no good when a lady cries... think we still have some of that ice-cream you like if you need cheerin' up?" said Guido, clearly looking uncomfortable.
Layla leapt up from her chair and dived on Guido, trying her hardest to envelop him in a bear hug, although due to his massive size, her arms didn't even reach an eighth of the way around him.
"You're gonna be okay, Guido, you know that?" she asked, as she felt Strong Guy place a giant hand gingerly on her back.
"Um... No, but I'll go on the word of the girl who "knows stuff", though," he replied.
"Ahem," announced Longshot as he re-entered the room.
"What did you find?" asked Layla, jumping down to the floor.
"Impossible..." said Layla. "You can replay powerfully emotive memories, and from what I know of Wolverine, who's angry all the time, he'd have been REALLY pissed about being killed... so why can't you sense anything?"
"Could be any number of reasons, I suppose," he shrugged. "Magic maybe? Or some really powerful psychic?"
"I'm going to assume you mean Talisman or the creature living inside of Ernst" grimaced Layla, storming towards the front doors of X-Factor Investigations. "Either way, I think it's high time I had a chat with those two..."
Ever wish you could receive life advice from one of your favourite characters? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and see whose sage counsel you receive!
Ernst looked up wide eyed at the Alpha Flight magician named Talisman. "That sounds like fun. I like to exercise. I'm pretty good at Just Dance." Talisman shook her head. "Not exercise deary. Hopefully this will rid us of Wolverine's killer and bring this nightmare to an end."
Talisman recited words in a language Ernst didn't understand and sprinkled somkind of liquid on her head. Ernst felt her head start to spin. The ritual was definately doing something. The world before Ernst was fading to black.
When the little girl opened her eyes the world was still black, but this time it was caused by a huge flock of birds. Talisman grabbed hold of Ernst to check on her condition. "Are you ok, is that presence in your mind gone?" Ernst smiled eerily and looked up at the female Shaman. "Yes I'm better then I have been in a long time. Thank you for ridding me of that dreadful little persona named Ernst." Talisman looked horrified. "No this can't be. I got rid of the intruder in your mind." "You still don't get it. Ernst was the intruder. Invented by Martha and placed in this half of my alien body so she can have a little friend. I had planned on merging my mind with Ernst's, for I was to weak to assume control. But thanks to you, this small frame is all mine. Now I need you to open a portal back to the school. I need to reclaim the rest of my fractured psyche." With a blank look in her eyes, Talisman opened a portal which Ernst stepped. As soon as the wrinkled girl was through, the portal closed and Talisman shook her head, unsure of what just happened.
Ernst has hidden outside the Jean Grey School. On the grounds, a bloody battle still raged between the X-Men and the unstoppable Sebastian Shaw. The school was engulfed in blue hoenix flame. "Obviously the work of Quentin Quire and Layla Miller. Carter is close by, I will need him if I run into those two Deus Ex Machina's."
Sending out a telepathic call, Ernst only had to wait and soon Carter was standing before her. The two children snuck into what remained of the school. Searching the ruins, Ernst hoped they would find Hisako alive. Or at least Alive enough to get what she needed.
"I can sense something under neath this rubble." Carter was very excited to help. Perhaps she will keep him around after this, Ernst thought. Using her enhanced strength. Ernst easily lifted to heavy debris away. Underneath lay a barely awake Hisako. A small psionic shell around herself.
"Don't just stand there, help her to her feet Carter. You are safe now Hisako, you can lower your shield now. Good her defenses are down, Carter, place your hand on her head. I need you to channel the fragments of my mind from her body into mine." With ease, Carter was able to pull the remnants of Cassandra Nova, buried in Hisako's mind out. Along with the fragment in his mind, Carter was able to transfer both into the small frame of Ernst. Finally Cassandra Nova was whole again.
Hisako's head was killing her and she was bleeding from her nose. "No it can't be you. We stopped you, damn you Nova." "Thank you for your service Hisako, now say goodbye." With a blast from her hand, Hisako's mind was erased, leaving an empty shell. "Carter, you stay with me. I will need your help to find the invader from the future. I can not have them stand in the way of my plans for the future."
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Posted: 04-Feb-2012 at 12:32pm
"Man, I'm really hating this day," muttered Toad to himself as he dived into a dumpster to avoid the murderous murder of crows.
He peaked over the edge and watched the ensuing battle. Kid Gladiator and Cannonball were wantonly blasting through clusters of crows, raining blood and feathers down upon everybody. Teh Kid he could understand, but Sam, he was just becoming more and more reckless since he saw his sister killed.
Meanwhile, he'd lost sight of Quire, Layla and the wrinkly kid.
"Bang bang! Bang bang bang!" laughed Deadpool nearby, "like shooting fish in a barrel! Black feathered flying fish in a gigantic airy barrel!" then he caught sight of Toad, "hey Frog Man, enjoying the show?! Come out and join the party!"
Beyond Deadpool, Mort saw Ranark hurling Ms Marvel through a wall and gutting Daredevil. What could he do?
Protecting the mutilated corpse of her best friend, Rachel surveyed the scene: some of their group had left to find Wolverine's head, the others were battling the abomination that had killed Kitty and Genesis. It called itself Ranark, and although it appeared to exert some psionic control over the crows it was invisible to her psi-scans. As the others took the fight to the creature, Rachel found herself unable to muster the strength to join them. All these deaths had knocked the fight out of her, and Kitty's had been the last straw. Restricting herself to telekinetically knocking away those crows who flew too close to them, Rachel cradled Kitty's corpse.
Kubark was getting bored of smashing crows. He'd quickly lost count of how many he'd destroyed and still they were everywhere. But after seeing Sylvie teleport back to the base he had an idea. He quickly flew down to grab her and pulled her over to Doctor Strange.
"Am I correct in thinking you were once the greatest magic wielder on this planet?" Kubark asked of Doctor Strange.
"Yes, but," Doctor Strange replied hesitantly. "even if I wasn't exhausted, I don't have the level of power required to oppose something like Ranark anymore."
"That's why I brought her." Kubark said with a gesture towards Sylvie Lushton. "Unless I'm mistaken, she has the power you need. Now I must do battle with this 'Ranark'." Kubark said as he flew off and hit Ranark with a flying tackle.
OOC: votes for Ernst and Toad
Skrulls rule! Now you can learn to read skrull: http://marhawkman.deviantart.com/gallery/30658027#/d1mujcm
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Posted: 05-Feb-2012 at 2:48am
Sam had a shocked look upon his face as it seemed that eyes had been cast his way as to be the person possibly from the future causing the murder of those in the present day. It boggled his mind that after all he had done over the years to prove himself it wasn't enough. It was never enough.
"Ah'm innocent! Ya think ah'd actually kill mah own sister! Y'all sick!" The crows and other threats were ignored as Sam moved off from the others. The will to fight had left him, his sister was now dead alongside Josh and now even those that had been like a second family to him didn't trust him.
Location: PA, USA
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Posted: 05-Feb-2012 at 11:59am
As the spirit crows began to assault the heroes Talisman tried to simply command them to stop. Her ability to control the creatures, however, was outmatched by the Great Beast and she was unable. She soon noticed though that when they were slain by her allies the control of the beasts was broken. A large portion of the birds had been slain and now she embued their lifeless forms with spirit energy and reanimated them into zombie crows under her own control. She turned them on Ranark and devoured him with his own weapon.
But the people she had suspected her turned out to be innocent. She still suspected one of the adults, perhaps the former villain Toad, yet the choices were being narrowed down and she had to think that perhaps the power of young Quentin Quire had driven him mad... Toad Quentin Quire
Dr. Strange looked at Kid Gladiator, perplexed by the girl he had been brought. “Sylvie Rushton? The fake Enchantress? What use is she to me?”
“It is my belief that the most underused among us have some kind of inherent power that you can use to save us,” Kid Gladiator responded.
Strange stared at the girl. “Perhaps if I tweak your powers, we can blow the center out of Ranark and his crows.”
“Blow his head off. Got it,” Sylvie said. She snapped her fingers.
Strange shuddered as brain matter and Mohawk splattered all over him. “What did you do, girl?!”
Her eyes wide, Sylvie looked aside shiftily. “Ooooh, you said Ranark, not Kubark. My bad.”
Strange grabbed the girl by her shoulders. “Do you realize what you’ve done?!”
“Before anything, we need to locate its center, and we can’t do that without the power of the Phoenix. If we can burn away crows with a raptor…” Cannonball suggested.
“Get them back here!” Deadpool pouted. “I wanted to see the Lady Gaga concert, too, but they went off without asking.”
“They went back for Wolverine’s skull, you moron.”
The new voice came from above, parachuting out of a Warlock-shaped plane as she sent an arrow through three crows, skewering them. Dani Moonstar was quickly joined by the rest of the New Mutants. “Scott sent us. We’re his ‘loose ends’ team, and we’re here to make sure you guys don’t become just that.”
“Then go! Take care of that!” Fantomex shouted. “Find the others and Wolverine! If we can correct this, then maybe… maybe… I don’t know, just do it!”
“Fantomex admitting he doesn’t know something?” Rachel asked. “Now you know it’s bad.” *************************************************** Dropping out of the Warlock-jet, the New Mutants and remaining X-Men joined Layla, Omega, and the X-Factor agents that accompanied them on the mansion grounds, trying their hardest to ignore the sounds of a Cyttorak-powered Shaw still pulverizing the X-Men a mile and a half away. “So you found it?”
“Yeah, whole lot of good it does us,” Polaris said. “What does it matter?”
“My theory? Of all of us, Wolverine could tell when someone’s mannerisms changed, even if it was the same person across time,” Dani explained. “It’s our job to figure out how to piece him back together again.
“And it’s our job to make sure that never happens. PHOENIX!”
The mansion grounds lit up as the Shi’ar Death Commandos touched down. Krait flew at Cannonball, knowing that only his field could disrupt that of the invulnerable mutant.
“Ya missed me!” Sam yelled gleefully, but suddenly he gasped as he found himself staring at his legs. His lower half of his body was separated. Krait had bisected him. Sam passed away as Krait swung back by, carting his legs elsewhere so that his Eternal healing factor could not kick in.
Phoenix’s eyes powered up. Though Quentin held the Force, she hated the Commandos for slaughtering the Greys. “DIE!” she screamed, flying into a telekinetic fury.
I’ve got this one! Kid Omega thought, flying upward, but he was met by a new, female Blackcloak with the anti-Phoenix staff. In his arrogance, Quentin thought he was invincible. Instead, he was met by a threat that was more than capable of grounding him—for good. The anti-Phoenix symbol burned right through him, shredding his telekinetic cocoon.
Blackcloak hissed. “When the Phoenix is what does not work, it is we who burn it away.”
“Fight, New Mutants! Avenge Sam!” Dani shouted.
So the fray began anew… Defeat the Death Commandos! Find a way to piece together Wolverine skull and body. What will it take to bring him back? The answer is the key to the game! With Pixie, Shatterstar, Polaris, Havok, and the New Mutants on your side, will even they be enough?
Toad - Gibbering Fool XXXXX XXXXX X Talisman - Cable XXXXX XXXXX Layla Miller - das_boot XXXXX XXX Phoenix - History of Paper XXXXX XX Ernst - Placebo XXXXX XXXXX X
Carter escorted Ernst out of the ruins of the Jean Grey School. Hand in hand they made their way to the Juggernauts battlefield. Any outsider looking at the two young children may have thought the scene adorable. As they walked, a psychic wave washed over the two telepaths. "Did you feel that Carter? They actually managed to take down the great Quentin Quire. I sense they even eliminated the Eternal and the alien as well. Now is our moment. However we need re-enforcements."
At the battlesight, X-Men lay motionless all over the ground. Ernst could see the Spider and She-Hulk still attacking the Juggernaut. She could also see Mystique, now wearing the Tallus, ordering around several new faces. A female Prime-Sentinel was holding her own pretty well. There was also a young black female with a face tattoo just like Layla Miller. However her uniform was similar to Magneto's and she was brandishing a rather big laser rifle. There was also a black man in a dark blue cloak. His eyes was glowing and he seemed to be concentrating hard.
"Carter, lend me some strength. It is time to end this fight." A psycho-kinetic blast erupts from th small pair and connects with Shaw's helmet, sending it flying. Now exposed, Ernst takes control of Juggernaut's mind, putting him to sleep. "He may still be useful to us. But he needs to be put out of commision for now. Weapon X, please come forward I have a proposal for you all."
A quick mental scan tells Ernst everything she needs to know about the interdimensional team. The Prime-Sentinel is named Val Cooper, a mutant hater on her world. The tattoo'd girl is named Shard. She comes from a future where Magneto has dominated and Mutants where the M tattoo as a badge of honor. The man in the cloak is aptly named Cloak and he is the Sorceror Supreme of his world.
"I wish to aid you in completing your mission, and I believe I may know a way to do this. Your team can teleport correct. Take us along with the other surviving residents of the school to the body of Wolverine. I believe he is the key." Cloaks eyes begin to glow and darkness envelops the group. In an instant, they reappear in the X-Factor headquarters, along with the others pulled from the fight with the crows.
Everyone looked confused and horrified to once again see the skeleton of Wolverine. "It is time to end this chaos people. Talisman, Layla, and Rachael; between the three of you, you have the power to revive our headmaster. I suggest to do this. Because if you fail or refuse, Weapon X has no objection to eliminating all of you to ensure they find his killer." With that, Weapon X readies their weapons and flex their muscles, eager to strike.
"Just try it Nova. Yes I know who you are." Layla Miller activates her forcefield, confident she has nothing to fear from this group. However a blast from Shard's rifle shatters her forcefield and sends her flying back into Toad's arms. "And that wasn't even full power." Talisman readies herself and prepares to strike magically. However, Cloak reveals the Eye of Agamotto underneath his cloak. The glow of the amulet shined out of the darkness and sent Talisman backwards as well.
Ernst smiled broadly. "As you can see, Weapon X is more then ready to deal with your abilities. Now, lets stop playing games and figure out who is behind all of this."
Location: United Kingdom
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Posted: 08-Feb-2012 at 11:14pm
"Cassandra Nova," grimaced Layla, staring Ernst down. "I've heard about you. Heard how to take you down, too."
Ernst smiled at her, and was about to say something patronising when she was smacked across the face with Shard's rifle.
"Guess the troops are turning on you, huh?" grinned Layla, as Polaris entered the room, via a Havok-blasted hole in the wall. Cloak turned and started casting a spell, but Monet flew down through the skylight and clocked him across the jaw, knocking him out cold.
"How?" asked Ernst.
"Telepathy," grinned Layla. "Not mine, but that of my dear team-mate Monet, of course. Since you already took the most powerful psychic out of play, I'd guess that they're somehow a threat to your plan to kill us all, Ernst."
"Well, Rachel would be more powerful than me, technically," replied Monet. "And don't think this means that I like you, Layla. I just happen to like creepy little girls with the faces of old ladies even less. Especially when they've killed people."
"You really think that Ernst is the killer?" asked Talisman.
"She's ONE suspect," replied Layla, coldly. "I heard you magic-types aren't too keen on the Phoenix Force either. Maybe you should go outside and fight off the Shi'Ar. Earth-based magic is more likely to keep them off balance long enough for us to pull this off. Besides, we don't need Rachel turning this into a grudge match. She's one of the few people still alive that I feel like I can trust..."
Layla turned away from Talisman, and ventured into the room that stored the remains of Wolverine. Lorna followed her, the green-haired woman grimacing as she looked on the remains of the supposedly unkillable mutant.
"This needs to be sorted out, and now," said Layla quietly. "Monet, can you bring Rachel here? I think we might need her power."
"You can't POSSIBLY be thinking about using your power on--" began Monet, before being cut off by Havok.
"St. Croix, just get your ass out there and grab Rachel, okay?" he said, concentric rings of energy flowing from him.
With a mock salute, swiftly followed by an obscene gesture, Monet flew out of the headquarters of X-Factor Investigations.
"Okay, Lorna," began Layla. "I know you don't know me too well, but here's the deal; I can bring the dead back to life, but they're kind of missing their soul. Ish. But I think that might just be temporary. I need you here to help me bring Wolverine back, and then restrain him if he tries to gut us all like fish, okay? Oh, but before that, you need to use your powers to magnetically fuse his spinal column back to the base of his skull, okey dokey?"
"I thought Wolverine said that you knew stuff?" asked Lorna. "And what do you mean, 'without a soul-ish'? They either have one, or they don't!"
"You rang?" said Rachel, as she entered the room, practically boiling over with anger and psychic energy.
"Yes," replied Layla. "I'm bringing Wolverine back to life. Lorna's going to help, and so are you... Rachel, I need you to use your psychic time power to bring the mind of Logan from the second before he died into his body. And also, you need to telekinetically create a few things too."
Rachel raised her eyebrow in suspicion. "A few things? Like what?"
"Oh, nothing too major," replied Layla. "Clothes, mostly. I think I can live without seeing Wolverine naked. Oh, and maybe some skin, muscles and organs too. Yeah, that'd be pretty spiffy. But only if my power doesn't work right."
"Uh... what?" asked Rachel. "Slow down there, Layla..."
"No time," replied Layla, placing her hands on Wolverine's chest. "We're doing this now!"
Layla felt her power erupt from inside of her as Lorna secured Wolverine's spine to his skull. She'd never attempted a resurrection like this before, and she was pleasantly surprised as she realised that she could feel tissue growing underneath her hands-- and then tried not to vomit as she realised that it was EXPOSED tissue that she'd just been touching.
"Oh god," cried out Rachel, clutching her head in her hands. "It burns, it burns, it--"
Rachel stopped talking and began to let out an inhuman scream.
"RACHEL!" cried out Lorna, reaching out to her friend.
"LORNA, DON'T YOU f**kING DARE LOSE FOCUS NOW, DO YOU HEAR ME?" screamed Layla. "She's been the Phoenix for crying out loud! Rachel can pull through this and survive, she's not really in pain or on fire, she's just feeling Logan's final moments and--"
There was a flash of light and Layla felt a wave of energy wash over her, gently at first, but then suddenly it surged strongly enough to knock her off her feet, along with Lorna, Rachel and Alex.
"NO!" cried out Layla. "We were so close!"
"Close... to... what...?" came a familiar gruff sounding voice from the coroner's table. "An' why'm I naked an' on a slab?"
"Rachel, we did it!" whispered Layla excitedly, before turning to Logan. "Wolverine, who killed you? Tell us and we can end all of this!"
"Killed me?" asked the Canadian mutant. "What're you talkin' about, Miller?"
"But... But I thought..." stammered Layla.
"I couldn't do it," replied Rachel. "I tried to pull him back just as he was attacked, but the pain... the burning... I couldn't stand it, not without the Phoenix Force. I was in too much pain to focus properly, and I think I just panicked and went back too far... maybe an hour before he was killed... I'm sorry, Layla."
"Dammit..." muttered Layla, before turning back to Rachel. "In that case, make him a uniform. These Commandos killed Quentin. That's all the kids from the Institute dead now. We're going to avenge them."
"I'm pretty sure I'm meant to be leader here," said Alex.
"Oh hush, you know it makes sense," scolded Polaris.
"Someone killed the kids?" growled Logan. "And the same person killed me? Well, now I'm pissed off..."
"Let's go, team," said Layla, marching towards the battle between the heroes and the Death Commandos. I'll be sure to avenge you, Quentin...
Ever wish you could receive life advice from one of your favourite characters? Send an email to email@example.com and see whose sage counsel you receive!
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Posted: 09-Feb-2012 at 11:04am
At this point in time Toad was just going with the flow. Just moments ago the creepy wrinkled kid Ernst what kind of name is Ernst anyway?) showed up with a reconstituted Weapon X, and had a tense stand off withLayla and Talisman before they were forgotten about. The group seemed to move on...to bringing Wolverine back to life!
To think, less than twelve hours before the most stressful part of his day had been unclogging one of the boy's toilets after Kid Gladiator had used it. Now he was marching to battle alongside a hodgepodge of mutant heroes, extra dimensions travelers and a reanimated (and potentially soulless) Wolverine.
The wall and half the ceiling exploded as the Shi'ar Death Commandos unleashed a devastating volleyof energy blasts. The one known as Warshot fired his advanced weapon in short succession, capping three members of Weapon X. Mystique, She Hulk and Val, in the head before they could even react. Their corpses vanished before they even hit the ground, to be replaced by more extra dimensional travellers. Toad barely caught a glimpse of them before they were encased in a forecfeild, along with the rest of their team. Presumably this was a trap utilized by one of the Commandoes. Either way, they were out of the game for now.
"No matter how many times I kill them they keep coming back!" growled Rachel, hurling an avalanche of debris at the commandos in a rage.
Warshot and Hpyernova were taken down by the attack, whether they survived or not was unclear. The others remained standing though, and charged in for the attack. One leapt in fornt of Toad, a six limbed insectoid creature that seemed quote agile.
"Finally, someone on my caliber!" exclaimed Toad with a grin, as he leapt into battle.
Location: PA, USA
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Posted: 09-Feb-2012 at 1:18pm
As the heroes regrouped around each other during the raging battle, they eyed Talisman suspiciously. Did the outsider come to destroy the mutants? Why? She smiled a wicked smile. "So you've figured it out," she said with a snicker. "I'm guilty."
One minute she was deciding how to fight the battle and the next she was suddenly in a great void. Soon Elizabeth Twoyoungmen realized she had been shunted into an astral projection of her own mind. She heard in a distance her own voice speaking of guilt and letting out a laugh. But the laugh sounded like it was right behind her...
Cassandra Nova stood before Talisman. "Fool! You've released me from my tomb and now I will repay you with your destruction!"
"Give me control of my mind!" screamed Talisman as she fired magical energy at Cassandra. But the blast deflected off the psionic shielding that protected the astral form of Nova. Talisman was out of options and her own friends would soon kill her after her admission of guilt. Nova was laughing as she began to grow larger, her own mind crowding out that which remained of Elizabeth.
Quickly Talisman reached into her Sacree bag that she had inherited from her father and from countless generations of shamans that existed to protect the world. Nova laughed. "There is nothing you can pull from your bag of tricks that can stop me!" Talisman pulled out...the bottom of the bag.
"What the?!" said a shocked Nova.
"When I fully pull this bag inside out, and we will both be drawn inside of it. There is no power on this earth that will get us out," Talisman said. But she hesitated, because she could feel another presence behind her.
Rachel Grey had come to visit. "What are you doing Elizabeth? I could tell you weren't yourself," she said.
"Tell them I'm innocent, Rachel. This is the only way! Now get out!" With the last of her remaining mystical energy, she forced Rachel out of her mind and pulled the bag inside out as Nova let out a scream. OOC: Disregard the bold above. I'm actually innocent...
The last hour had been an eventful one, taxing her powers to their limit. Her effort to restore Wolverine with the help of Lyla and Lorna, in the hope of finding out the identity of his killer, had left her exhausted, and it was only with great effort that she could impede the assault of the hated Death Commandos. Drawing strength from emotions she had though long buried, Rachel hurled whatever was lying around at them. She wasn't sure, but it looked as if she had accidentally flung Toad towards them as well.
Taking a moment to look how the others were faring, she noticed the evil Ernst had contained all this time had finally broken free: Cassandra Nova. As a fellow telepath, Rachel noticed Nova was engaging Talisman in some sort of telepathic duel. She established a mindlink with the mystical mutant, but it was broken almost immediately. The violent feedback threw Rachel on her back;as she lifted her head again, she could see the catatonic Talisman lying before her. Had Nova won?
Edited by History of Paper - 09-Feb-2012 at 4:23pm
With another series of blasts, Hypnernova almost sliced Layla Miller in half. She should have seen this coming, but nothing had been clear to her, not since Jamie’s death. She had known how it was supposed to be and then—nothing.
In a flash of lightning, Hypnernova was smashed to the ground at the hands of Mjolnir. The Avengers arrived on the scene just as X-Force bodyslid in, the Extinction Team arrived by Pixie-portal, and X-Factor came in through one of Shatterstar’s gateways.
“Take. Them. Down!” Cyclops yelled, just as Captain America’s voice screamed, “Avengers Assemble!” Guido sheepishly looked around. “It’s clobberin’ time?”
In seconds, the Death Commandos were dispatched.
“Thank the Askani, you’re here, Dad,” Rachel said, grabbing her father as the action settled.
Cyclops held her back. “Not yet, Rachel. We’re not done here yet. We’ve figured out who did this.” He gestured to the newly-revived Wolverine. “Emma pulled it out of Logan’s head the split-second his brain came back online, but before his psi-shields did.”
He looked at Toad. “We suspected you, Mortimer, because we didn’t think tigers could change their stripes.” He sighed. “We were wrong.”
Talisman was next. “Ranark’s appearance and your inability to act as a magical stopper around him gave us pause, but I’m afraid you’re not the killer either.”
Ernst looked to the ground. “You. You’ve done terrible things. We found Hisako brain-dead. Cassandra Nova, you won’t be let off the hook for your crimes. However… you are not the killer we’ve been looking for…isn’t that right, Layla?”
Layla’s eyes widened. “Me? What do you mean?”
“It shoulda been obvious, darlin’.” Logan popped his claws as he walked forward. “Emma caught me up. All this about preventin’ a future from happening and that action leading to all o’ this? Makes sense, right?”
Layla shrugged. “I still don’t get it.”
“S’called the Butterfly Effect, ain’t that right?”
Cyclops nodded. “We sensed the presence too late in the game. Emma, Cassandra—untether future-Layla’s mind.”
At once, Ernst and Emma peeled at the layers that held future-Layla’s mind from that of her present self. She shrieked as her psyche, only in control for the death of Wolverine and hiding out ever since, was flung forward into her future.
“Oh god,” Layla said, throwing up. “I…I did all of this, didn’t I?”
“Why did they pick you, girl?” Logan asked.
“Because—because I think future me knew stuff. I knew what had happened, the full story, more than any of them did because of all that knowledge from before. So I knew more about the past than anyone. I could…I’m speaking like I’m her. I’m going to be sick again…” Layla shuddered, dry heaving for a moment.
She started crying. “I used me. This is all my fault…”
“Good news. You won’t be going anywhere,” Captain America said. “A lot of good men and women and children died today, Layla. And we know your body did it, even if your mind didn’t. I think you can find a way to serve your penance.”
Fantomex looked down the barrel of his gun as Layla fell to the ground.
“YOU MONSTER!” Cyclops yelled. Thor raised his hammer and Cap his shield. Wolverine’s claws popped further out as he snarled.
“In a moment, the timeline will rearrange itself so that Layla never came back. I’m the only me in the multiverse. If Layla is dead in my present, she is not alive in my future to come back.”
“I don’t expect you to,” Fantomex said.
Cyclops nodded. “What are we talking about?”
Fantomex sighed. “An unknown assailant was forced to relocate his/her mind to the past in order to temporarily remove Wolverine from the board. His lack of presence prevented the ire of the Phoenix as Jean chose him knowing that you were happy with Emma. This lack of worldwide destruction prevented Shaw from getting loose and cutting a deal with Cyttorak, leading to a Sentinel strike on the Jean Grey School. As soon as these things don’t happen, said unknown assailant will put Wolverine’s head back with his body and allow him to live again. Everyone wins, and a terrible future doesn’t happen—and the only reason it doesn’t break into an alternate timeline is because I am involved as a temporal anomaly that only exists in one reality.”
Captain America looked at Cyclops. “Makes sense to me.”
“Good,” Kitty said. “Because I’m famished.”
“Dibs on the potato salad!” Cannonball shouted.
“You guys want in?” Kitty said to Cyclops and Captain America. “With Logan on vacation, we could use some hands in the kitchen.”
Kid Omega stood back in the background as he watched from afar. It’s coming.
I know, Future Quentin thought back at the entity. And as soon as it’s gone, I can put Wolverine back together. It’s too bad, what happened to Layla Miller. She would have been hot stuff in the future, if I had to guess…
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