Sitting in Tony Stark’s office on the SHIELD Helicarrier, Dani Moonstar recovered from the total surprise of him asking her to head up her own X-Team. A million thoughts ran through her mind, like little cars in a traffic jam. Mere seconds passed, while Dani felt minutes went by. Then she spoke.
“You have got to be completely of your f%#$&ing rocker, Stark, you…”
“Ms. Moonstar, would you kindly shut up and let me speak?”
“Alright then. I am asking you to head up your own team of mutant heroes in Europe. You would have full control, as long as any information regarding the security of the US gets filtered back to SHIELD. I’m basically bankrolling your own venture, here!”
“I heard you Stark, but why did you come to me with this?”
“Because Storm would probably not be available.”
” And I am? What makes you think that…”
“It’s simple, really…. Now, if you could just calm down for an minute, I will tell you”
Tony stark sat back confidently, while he poured coffee for himself and Dani. Dani felt like a fish, dangling on a hook, but could not help being intrigued. If only she could figure out his angle.
“You know about the Initiative, you know about the hero-teams. You also know that the mutants that gathered around Xavier’s institute were exempt from registering. That means there are only a few superhumans left that are not in the Initiative and thus not technically in the employ of SHIELD.”
Dani nodded and accepted the coffee Stark handed her.
“As you are probably also well aware, the world does not end with the US. Nine-Eleven might have been prevented if only we had listened to European sources. Whatever I’m trying here with the Fifty-State-Initiative is worthless without support abroad. I want you to be that support, Ms. Moonstar. I want you to be my eyes and ears in Europe regarding superhuman matters. Not as a spy, but as a force that is already in place, should anything happen that will affect all of us. You wouldn’t be working FOR me, you would be working with me!”
Dani looked him straight in the eye, and thought about how natural this sales pitch sounded. Anyone else would have come across as a used-car dealer, but somehow Tony Stark could make it sound grand.
“Again, why me?”
“Because you are the only mutant leader that is not otherwise engaged… Cyclops has his X-Man, Storm is in Wakanda, Cable and Bishop have disappeared, Wolverine has his kill-squad…. I remember you, Ms. Moonstar. I read every report on X-Men activity SHIELD has. You had the guts to go against Xavier and Magneto. You lead a huge team of adolescent mutants when you were a teenager yourself. You managed to train an Omega-level hero in the Initiative. You completely went against Gyrich’s directions and did what you thought was right to help that boy. You care, Ms. Moonstar, that is why I want you on my side!”
Ilyana smiled her special wicked smile at gunman holding a gun to her head. He was slightly wounded in his right leg from the bullets Ilyana had sent back with her axe, and he was squinting at her, as if there was something really strange about her. Illiyana thought he could not possibly see anything strange, but then realized that she now had to use magic to conceal the Dark child, the horned sorceress that was her true form. A smile appeared on the face of the gunman, no doubt not impressed by what he saw in the girl he was about to kill. “This can’t be happening” Ilyana thought, as she clenched her teeth in anticipation of the shot.
The smell of Brimstone announced the appearance of Nightcrawler, who grabbed the gunman, hoping that he could get him to lo0ose his aim before he fired his lethal shot. The shot went of, and Ilyana immediately went for her Axe. Kurt had trouble controlling the Gunman, who easily powered out of Kurt’s hold, and grabbed the mutant’s neck. Before Ilyana could do something, a man dressed in plain clothes dove for the gunman and knocked him to the ground. Kurt came loose and held his neck, which had been badly bruised. The blond headed man punched the gunman in the face, without any effect. He received a punch in his face himself, and a kick in the abdomen, followed by another uppercut on the jaw. The gunman was surprised that the man didn’t go down, and tried to put in another punch to the face. At that moment Ilyana came into the brawl, and slammed her Axe square into the gunman’s head. His face lost all color, and stared in disbelief at Ilyana, now in her full horned demonic form, as he realized half his face was missing. Then he dropped over, dead.
As both Ilyana and the blond man stared at the gunman’s dead body, Kurt recovered his senses. “We need to get out of here, NOW!”, he yelled, and grabbed both the blond man and Ilyana. The man managed to grab an ammo belt, some grenades and a machine gun, before all three disappeared in a black cloud of brimstone.