Previously…

In the aftermath of the Phoenix coming to Earth and the death of Charles Xavier at the hands of Cyclops, the mutant race has been reignited after their numbers were reduced to scant hundreds by Wanda Maximoff, the Scarlet Witch. Now, it is up to the X-Men to rebuild.

While on a mission to help a newly emerged mutant named Eva Bell, the X-Man known as Rogue came into contact with the remnants of the Extinction Team, who had also come to help Eva. Due to the intervention of the Stepford Cuckoos, Eva escaped with Cyclops and Magneto leaving Rogue to bring the former X-Man and wanted woman Emma Frost back to the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning. When Rogue returned to the school, she learned that Hank McCoy/Beast was suffering from life threatening problems relating to his mutation. Rogue and Hank managed to stabilise his mutation before Rogue was given a new mission by Wolverine and Abigail Brand, the Director of S.W.O.R.D.

Tasked with assembling a team of X-Men to take on the interstellar menace known as the Brood, Rogue assembled a team of new faces as well as old. She recruited longtime X-Men Iceman and Psylocke as well as the experienced Russian hero Darkstar and Quicksilver, a former member of the Avengers and X-Factor.

Rogue and her team journeyed into space leaving the rest of the X-Men to deal with the ramifications of Emma’s arrival at the school…

The Morlock Tunnels, The Danger Cave

“Is this the right one?” asked the blue skinned Laurie Tromette as she fidgeted nervously at the controls and gestured for someone to double check the program which was designated v2.003 by the computer.

“Yeah, I think so,” Mercury said as she slithered past, her liquid metallic form coalescing into that of a girl with bright red hair as she solidified, her silvery skin continuing to betray her mutation.

“Alright then, let’s get started.” Laurie muttered, as she activated the program.

“You sure you don’t want to join in, Laurie?” Gabriel Cohuelo asked his fellow Light as holographic pixels reached out to touch the assembled young mutants. It now seemed as if they were onboard Asteroid M, Magneto’s former base of operations. Each mutant’s appearance changed as the holographic suite constructed by their former classmate David Alleyne came to life and projected a different X-Man’s costume onto each of them. Rockslide chuckled as the embarrassed Anole was left in little more than his underwear having been assigned Beast by the program.

“I’m good, thanks,” Laurie sighed, turning her head away from Anole.

“Don’t you think it’s about time you got over Wak-“ Gabriel began.

“That has nothing to do with it, Gabriel!” Laurie replied angrily. “You wanted to train. Can you please just do that?”

“Line up guys!” Hellion ordered as he floated over to stand beside Match, Armor and Surge, who had already done so. Across from them stood the winged Pixie, the lizard-like Anole, the behemoth Rockslide and Velocidad as Gabriel was known in the field.

No-Girl floated behind both groups with Mercury by her side, the Danger Cave having given the living brain Magneto’s helmet to wear and a purple cape that flowed out from behind her gravity sled. She began to issue telepathic commands to Mercury. Cessily carried them out as if she were metal being controlled by the Master of Magnetism. Strips of Mercury began batting away at Hellion’s telekinetic barrier.

“Victor! Watch out!” Pixie, dressed as Rogue yelled as an electrical burst hurtled towards her teammate Anole. Victor Borkowski dodged out of the way with the agility granted by his lizard-like mutation as the blue haired Surge or Noriko Ashida as she was more commonly known, whizzed past him, Storm’s cape billowing behind her.

“Watch it yourself, Megs!” Ben Hamill yelled back, his body covered in swathes of flame, watching as Megan disappeared in a flash of hot pink right before his flames touched her.

“Cool it, Ben.” Hellion said as he flew overhead, Mercury stretching after him. “We’re not trying to kill them.”

“Why does everyone keep telling me to cool it?” Match said, throwing his hands up in exasperation, the heat emanating from his body briefly intensifying, becoming more white-hot. “Just because I have fire powers doesn’t mean you guys have to bring it up every time you frickin’ speak to-

Ben was cut off as Anole’s prehensile tongue whipped past him, striking Hisako Ichiki’s glowing psionic armour.

“Victor! That’s disgusting!” she exclaimed as Anole’s tongue whipped back into his mouth.

“I guess Toad’s class was good for something. Go for it, Santo!” Victor smiled.

Distracted by Victor, Hisako had failed to notice Rockslide lumbering up behind her. She turned too late, seeing Santo’s craggy features turn to his closest approximation of a smile before his fist connected with her armour and she stumbled backwards. She was wearing Wolverine’s old brown and yellow uniform and as her armour went from a soft blue to an angry red she raised her right fist and caused a simulacrum of his claws to form.

“You’ll regret that.” She said.

“Bring it, Icky,” Santo replied, laughing as Hisako barrelled towards him, screaming with rage.

“Icky, Santo? Really?” Victor commented, leaping over the pair as Hisako began cutting chunks of rock out of Rockslide’s form only for Santo to reattach them.

“You try speaking with a mouth made of rocks!” Santo grumbled, before turning back to his fight with Hisako. “Talk about uptight…” he muttered as Hisako’s claws plunged right through to the other side of his body.

Suddenly, Pixie reappeared right in the middle of the battleground, blinding several of the combatants. Right as she was about to catch her breath though, Noriko started streaking towards her.

“Gabriel!!!” she screeched, ozone filling the air as Nori neared.

“Here,” Velocidad’s reply reaching Megan’s ear as he sped past before she turned to face the incoming Hellion and Mercury.

He and Nori became a veritable flurry of activity, both oblivious to the others as the fighting began anew. The pair ducked and dived as they threw punches, traded blows and occasionally kicked out at each other. Nori’s connected with Gabriel’s face, her gauntlet covered fist slamming into his cheek before she pushed her advantage by letting loose a set of streamers from her gauntlets that sent Gabriel skittering into Match’s line of fire, who obliged by sending a string of flames in Gabriel’s direction. Gabriel had founded himself cornered with Hellion and Mercury keeping Pixie occupied, Rockslide trying not to fall apart and Anole nowhere in sight as Match and Surge approached.

It was right at that moment that the power chose to fail, the fantastic environment the Danger Cave provided reverting back to it’s original dull metal surface, not even illuminated by any of the installed lights which were spread through the Cave. With a sigh, Surge turned away from Velocidad and approached the main console, Laurie stepping out of the way as she passed.

“Haven’t you two ever watched “Dumb Ways to Die”?” Gabriel asked the two girls as Surge began pouring electricity into the nearby generator.

“Do you shut up?” Surge retorted, not taking her eyes off the generator.

“No,” Pixie sighed as if the mere thought of it made her tired, much to the amusement of the other students. “He doesn’t.”

“Well this sucks,” Match announced. No-Girl chimed in with a similar comment. Surge glared at them both before Hellion stepped in.

“He has a point, Nori. Look at us. We’re hiding in the basement.” He stated.

“Most of you chose to come back to the school, Julian,” Surge said, cutting off the electrical flow from her gauntlets.

“The old school, San Fran, Utopia, here. It doesn’t matter where we go or what we do, we’re always the ones the X-Men leave by the wayside and now we’re letting it happen again. Half of them are on missions or recruiting new students and the other half gave us the day off so they could deal with Ms. Frost. Well, I’m sick of it. Seems like some of the others are too.”

By now the group had all surrounded Julian and Nori as they digested Julian’s words.

“What do you want me to do? We can’t stop Wolverine from smothering us in cotton wool. Not even those two can.” Nori replied, gesturing to Armor and Pixie. “Not until we graduate.”

“Umm…Sorry to interrupt but why bother?” Laurie interjected. “Why do we have fight? The X-Men are all doing what I used to do. Maybe we’ve done enough?”

The group remained silent for several moments, a couple of them turning to each other and trying to get a read on their fellow students. None of them seemed that willing to offer their opinion before Surge, whose temper was decidedly flared, turned away from Julian to face Laurie, quiet anger continuing to shape her features.

“We’re Wakandan war criminals. Victor got his arm chopped off. Pixie got part of her soul torn out. Hellion lost his hands to a bunch of Sentinels from the future. And half of us got disowned way before a busload of our friends got blown to bits because they used to be mutants.” Surge said. “We’ve got choices. Not fighting just isn’t one of them.”

 

Kree Space, above the planet Aurini Four

Ronan the Accuser, former ruler of the Kree stood as his pained eyes stared at what was in front of him. Battle reports from the planet below his ship streaming across rectangular holographic windows which all painted a similar and dire picture. The Kree forces on the ground were in dire straits. Every time the Brood infected one of his men, Ronan knew that the Kree Empire had lost a soldier and that the Brood had gained a new one. Omni-Wave Projectors, which had proven effective against the Brood in the past were being kept as a last resort as they had a similarly fatal impact on the planet’s native flora and fauna. Perhaps why the Brood had wanted to nest here. Brood were hardy creatures and bombing had also proven ineffective. The fact that the conflict could have been avoided only made things worse…

Ronan turned his tired eyes away from the screens as the group of Earth mutants walked in. Despite their superior firepower, the Kree were losing on the ground where it mattered and Ronan had been forced to call in outside help in the form of the heroes known as the X-Men. They were five in number and Ronan had met several of them. Rogue and Psylocke, he had encountered years prior when Earth had been temporarily turned into a prison planet. Indeed, Psylocke had managed to wound him during that encounter. There was also the Avenger Quicksilver, the ex husband of Ronan’s former wife, the Inhuman princess called Crystal. The other two he recognised from his files as the cryokinetic Iceman and Darkstar, a powerful Darkforce wielder.

“X-Men,” Ronan announced with weariness in his voice, approaching the mutants as he let the displays behind him flicker and die. “The Kree people are grateful of your willingness to assist.”

“Always happy to help,” Iceman offered.

“I appreciate that this isn’t particularly easy for any of you given our mutual past but I must be blunt.” Ronan said, as a new projection of the world below appeared in between himself and the X-Men. “You’re required to eliminate the Brood Queen nesting on this world. We’ve managed to narrow down her location but there are Brood including Firstborn firmly entrenched across the planet. We haven’t been able to get near her and the fact that she’s made her base of operations in one of the planet’s wilder regions doesn’t help a great deal in finding an exact location. She’s coordinates the entire Brood army telepathically and needs to be taken out of the equation for us to engage in an effective counter-attack.”

“Firstborn?” Darkstar asked, her blonde hair held back by a black tiara.

“Ugh, I hate those ones.” Bobby muttered. “I can tell you about them on the way.”

“Forgive me,” Ronan said, raising an eyebrow at this exchange. “But how many of you have actually faced the Brood in battle before?”

Darkstar looked slightly sheepish as Rogue stepped forwards towards Ronan.

“Ah wouldn’t have brought this team if ah didn’t think they could handle it,” she told him, catching his gaze and holding it.

“I hope so. My men are dying, X-Man.” Ronan uttered solemnly. “The combined information of the Kree and Shi’ar on the Brood has now been made available to you. I suggest you go through it before you depart.”

Rogue looked as if she was about to say something but thought better of it, turning to walk away. Ronan had just undermined her in front of her team. He didn’t have time to mend her wounded pride though. If her team was as good as she believed them to be then no words would change the ultimate outcome. If they failed then Da’ast them all.

Rogue and her team began to file out of the room, Ronan’s last words and subsequent silence having been taken as a cue for the mutants to leave.

“I’d like to borrow Quicksilver for a moment, Rogue, if you wouldn’t mind,” Ronan said as the mutants reached the door of his War Room.

“Fine. Not like ah can stop you, is it?” she replied as she walked through the door.

The others followed after her. Quicksilver cast a momentary glance back at Psylocke, who had paused at the door.

“Telepaths,” Ronan remarked, as Psylocke left the room. “Incredibly nosy lot.”

“Spare me,” Quicksilver said. “What is it that you want?”

“If you survive-“

“There’s no question of that.”

“I want you to-“

“No.”

“I am speaking, speedster! Let me complete a sentence for Supremor’s sake!”

“I am not going to ferry your love letters to my wife, no matter what power you pretend to control.”

Your wife?”

“Crystal had our marriage annulled while I was being impersonated by a Skrull. As far as I am concerned, we are still married.”

Ronan struggled to remain impassive as he spoke his next words, his breath almost catching in his throat. “Good. She may no longer be by my side but I still have a duty to her. I’m glad you feel the same. You will have to be good enough for the both of us. You must care for Crystal, Quicksilver and be the father Luna needs.”

“Are you done giving me orders?” Quicksilver asked as he crossed his arms.

“No. I am not. I have a counter strike to prepare and your team has an important part in making sure it will be a success. We must each play our part in the grander scheme of things, Quicksilver and not sully ourselves in our own selfish whims. You would do well to remember that.”

Quicksilver stood still briefly then harrumphed before whizzing out of the room.

Satisfied that he was now alone Ronan moved back to his previous position, the blue skinned fingers of his right hand running over the section of armour he wore on his left forearm. He felt for the button, pressed it and activated the communications link. Again, a holographic projection took form in front of him. A giant mass of green, a glow emanated from the creature’s eyes and mouth and tentacles flowed from the top of it as the massive disembodied head floated in a bio tank faraway on the Kree homeworld of Hala.

“They have arrived?” The Supreme Intelligence enquired.

“Yes,” Ronan replied. “They’ll soon be on their way.”

“What of the telepath?”

“As in the dark as the rest of them. My defences held.”

“Good. Earth’s heroes have always proven themselves far too meddlesome for anyone’s good. Proceed as planned.”

The Jean Grey School for Higher Learning, Main Building

Emma Frost heard whispers not thoughts as she was escorted through the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning. Her escort, Joanna Cargill was clearly enjoying this. She held her by her by the shoulder as they made their way down the hall. A few of the children she recognised as she passed them in the hall, chief among them Sooraya Qadir, the Afghani mutant called Dust. Emma turned to look back at her former student but Joanna tightened her grip and forced Emma to continue moving forward.

Ever since Scott had ripped the Phoenix Force out of her any control she had over her life had disappeared. Her mutation failed her. She was transferred twice and both times been attacked by the resurgent Purifiers, having to rely first on the Avengers and then on Magneto and Scott to protect her. With no place to go, Emma had accepted Scott’s invitation to join him and listened as he talked of rescuing new mutants and training them to face the world. She seemed to be the only one who was aware that their powers weren’t the only thing that was broken. Emma’s faith in Scott, the faith that had led her to stay by his side when so many of the others had left had been shattered.

So here she was, moving forward literally as well as metaphorically while Cargill or Frenzy as she was known in the field painfully clutched at Emma. They were nearly there and this was the last chance Cargill had to rub salt into the wound.

“You’ve been unusually quiet, Cargill.” Emma remarked, as they turned down another hallway, this one seemingly devoid of man, mutant or anything in between.

“Figure that’s been driving you nuts, Frost, hasn’t it? Dying to know exactly what I want to say to you?”

“I don’t care for any word that comes out of your mouth actually.”

“Yeah?” Joanna asked, a malicious snarl crossing her ebony features as she turned Emma around to face her before shoving her into a nearby set of lockers, a sharp metallic clang ringing out down both ends of the hallway. “I’m not a peasant for you to crush under your heel anymore, Frost. You’re nothing but a piece of trash now, and if you want me to take out the garbage-“

“Miss Cargill,” A new and softer voice commanded. “Stop.”

Frenzy turned to face the voice to find Dust, clothed in a black abaya and niqab veil, her bright brown eyes betraying her concern for Emma and her fear of Cargill.

“Get to class,” Cargill ordered.

“Today’s classes have been cancelled,” Sooraya reminded her as she tentatively stepped towards the two women.

Scram, Qadir,” Frenzy warned. Sooraya briefly came to a stop at her words before deciding to come closer again, drifting instead of placing feet on the ground as she began shifting to her sand-form.

“It’s fine, Sooraya. I’m quite capable of handling the likes of Joanna Cargill.” Emma assured her, fighting the dull pain spreading across her shoulder and upper back.

“Why are you the one shoved up against the lockers, then?” Joanna sneered.

“Because I’m not resorting to the behaviour of a playground bully to reaffirm my status as a member of the X-Men. Unless you’re in the mood for a reprimand from a senior member of the school’s staff, I’d let go before you make me late.”

Sooraya stepped out of the way as Cargill let Emma go. Emma quickly recovered and gave Sooraya a smile as she passed the young mutant before striding down the hall. Cargill followed after her as Dust watched on.

“Like I said, Qadir,” Frenzy said, as she briefly turned back to look at Dust. “Scram. If I see so much as a grain of sand, you’ll regret it. And don’t ever tell me what to do.”

Sooraya made eye contact and held Frenzy’s hard stare before molecule by molecule she carried herself back the way she had come, a living sandstorm riding on the air. Then, she was gone.

“Frost!” Joanna bellowed as she turned her attention back to Emma, who had stopped halfway down the hall.

“Yes, Joanna dear?” Emma mocked, as her lips formed a smirk.

“I didn’t say you could move. I’m your escort, remember?” Joanna reminded her as she marched up to where Emma stood.

“Yes,” Emma agreed, her expression unchanged as she gestured to the door she stood beside. “And this is the Staff Room. Your duty has been fulfilled and your services are no longer required.”

Satisfied, Emma twisted the doorknob and entered before Joanna had a chance to react, the door closing firmly behind her.

Sunlight from large windows flooded into the room decorated with brownstone pillars and pictures of days long since past. The centrepiece of the room was a long silver coloured table. On the other side of it, away from Emma and sat beside each other were Logan and Pryde. Emma walked over to them and sat opposite them in the chair that had been provided for her.

“How is Henry?” she asked as she sat down.

“I’m sure Hank will appreciate the concern but that isn’t why you’re here,” Kitty reminded coolly.

“I would very much appreciate clarification, Katherine as to why I’m here actually,” Emma stated. “I wasn’t informed what this meeting was about.”

It was things like this that made Emma so aware of the loss of control her actions had been suffering since the day the Phoenix had consumed her and several of her teammates. Like her former prison cell and Scott’s safe haven every facet of Emma’s life in the Jean Grey School up until this point had been up to someone else. Where she went, where she slept, the food she ate, the clothes she wore….It infuriated Emma to no end. The White Queen would take her life back.

“We’ve made a decision,” Kitty announced. “I can’t say I’m exactly thrilled but…

“You get to stick around,” Logan said.

“Just like that?” Emma asked.

“Of course not,” Kitty replied, the distrust in her hazel eyes flaming up once more. “There’s terms involved. You’ll be staying at the school and won’t be allowed to go anywhere else without supervision. Likewise for communication. You won’t be serving as a member of the X-Men, just as a junior member of the school’s staff under Logan and I.”

“So, I’m still very much a prisoner,” Emma said.

“You ain’t got any idea how many strings we had to pull to get you this deal, Frost. So suck it up,” Logan replied. “After what you did during the whole Phoenix-

“I did nothing you aren’t,” Emma stated. “But my legal status hasn’t changed has it? I’d assume my standing among the X-Men would have changed even less so.”

“Wolverine has everyone here on their knees having their thoughts policed?” Kitty shot back, her tone of voice incredulous.

“My question still stands,” Emma said, her eyes remaining on Logan.

“You’re nothin’ but trouble for anyone but us. You got a clue how many people have been tryin’ to kill you? You’re real lucky these new Purifiers ain’t packin’ the punch they used to or you’d be dead right now.” Logan said simply.

“It’s nice to know the lengths we went to to become mutant celebrities weren’t a waste,” Emma noted. “But what makes you so willing to bring a target like me to your school?”

“You’re not the only one of us who built up a reputation, Frost,” Logan replied, briefly hardening one of his hands into a fist, not even bothering to unsheathe the razor sharp adamantium claws contained within. “An’ I think you know why.”

“I’ll help you bring in Scott if I can Logan-“ Emma started.

“No. This ain’t about Scott. Can’t be about Scott,” Logan said dismissively. “Much as I’d like it to be. This is about the kids. Kids like that girl back in Australia who Rogue has on her conscience because the Cuckoos made sure she couldn’t help her. It’s people like those two you should be thinkin’ about. Eva Bell didn’t even get a chance to make up her own mind. That’s on you.”

“You think I don’t?” Emma asked as Logan got up from the table.

“I ain’t doubtin’ it,” Logan told her as he made for the door. “But you can’t do squat to prove it from a jail cell. You’re here. So you’re better off makin’ yourself useful.”

With that, Logan stood and left, leaving Kitty and Emma alone.

“I suppose there’s nothing else to be done except for me to be shown to my quarters,” Emma mused as she rose to her feet.

“Ooooh…Believe me there’s plenty,” Kitty told her. “You’ve been assigned English and Mutant Literature, no way are you being let anywhere near Ethics…”

“English and Mutant Literature? But those are Paige Guthrie’s classes.” Emma said confused.

“How do you… Nevermind, Paige left.” Kitty said, clearly not wanting to say more.

“Why?” Emma asked.

“That isn’t your concern.” Kitty said, her voice calm but with more than a hint of quiet anger.

“My students are always my concern,” Emma corrected, favouring Kitty with a glare.

“Paige stopped being your student a while ago.” Kitty reminded her.

“Well then perhaps I should also take Robert’s Accountacy class as well? If you want me to remain focused solely on my present ones.”

“How do you know he’s not here?” Kitty asked, narrowing her eyes as she did so, suspicion playing across her face.

“This isn’t a telepathic return to form,” Emma said, a smile crossing her face once more. “I haven’t managed that yet. He paid me a visit last week. ”

“What?” Kitty exclaimed.

“Don’t worry, “ Emma said, her assurance empty. “All he did was ask if I could help Angel. How is our dear Mr. Worthington these days?”

The skies of Aurini Four, approaching the Brood Queen nest…

Pietro’s eyes danced from screen to screen as he took stock of the constant stream of diagnostic data, watching for updates while simultaneously keeping an eye on the world flying by the shuttle he was currently operating. As the pilot and his team’s keenest mind, Pietro had to stay alert to any and all incoming threats. They’d managed to make it this close to their destination in large part thanks to him and Pietro reminded himself that his skill might get them to the surface. If he remained focused.

However, his conversation with Ronan kept running through his mind. He had talked about Crystal being his wife but he hadn’t seen either Crystal or their daughter since the Inhumans had returned to the Blue Area of the Moon. When they got back to Earth, Pietro would have to rectify that.

First, he had to survive. Everything seemed fine but Pietro’s eyes flashed to his compatriot sitting next to him. Braddock had her eyes closed and both hands pressed to her temples, a radiant magenta butterfly aura pulsing in front of her. Pietro was thankful that in addition to his robust psychic defences he had had the foresight to bring a telepathy blocker. His experience of telepaths was not particularly pleasant. Braddock had given him no reason to trust her and given his own secrets, he had no intention of allowing her into his mind.

Then, she began to frown and though it was barely noticeable at first as the frown became more pronounced so to did the butterfly aura become brighter, the psionic energies making up the shape jittering. Finally, she let out a breath Pietro hadn’t known she had been holding and fell back into her seat, her hand rubbing her forehead.

“Betsy?” Rogue called out as she made her way up from the back of the shuttle flanked by Iceman and Darkstar. Drake had iced up at this stage and Laynia had her Darkforce at the ready.

“R-R-Rogue…We have a problem.” Braddock said, her breathing ragged. “The amount of psionic muscle the Brood are employing…I can’t cloak us. They couldn’t get into my head either but I can’t-”

At that something slammed into the left side of the craft sending the three standing members stumbling into each other. Pietro struggled to try and regain control of the shuttle as it started veering sideways, the engine groaning under the added strain. Rattled, Pietro saw Psylocke take action beside him, her hands glowing as she made use of her telekinesis to right the shuttle before unstrapping and making her way to the others in the back. Pietro stayed at the controls a moment longer and the ship wobbled again.

“Quicksilver!” Rogue shouted. “Get back here!”

Psylocke continued to try to keep the shuttle steady as Pietro unstrapped, seeing nothing but empty sky from the cockpit. Whatever it was chose to bang into the side again, forcing Pietro to grab into his seat to stay upright as Psylocke clutched her head and winced.

“Would you hurry up, please?” she exclaimed as Pietro made his way to her and the others. He noticed for the first time the sizeable dent made by the first impact. Pietro could appreciate the protection the telekinetic field Betsy was projecting provided.

“Laynia,” Rogue said turning to Darkstar once everyone was close enough together. “Can you get us to those coordinates?”

“I’ll do my best,” Laynia said, taking a deep breath as she focused. Shadows in her hands flowed outwards and engulfed them all.

As Pietro watched the blackness pass over him he experienced a brief sensation of weightlessness before he stumbled out of the darkness again. They’d emerged in some manner of forest with gashes marking the trees around them. The opaque sap oozing out of them almost seemed to shine. Sunlight on the other hand barely made through the leafy trees. The leaves were a comforting green but their shadows gave the place the eerie effect that night was already upon them, though not nearly as dark as the night Pietro had just experienced.

“Good job,” Rogue said as she placed a hand on Laynia’s shoulder to Pietro’s right, having both managed to stay upright. Darkstar smiled briefly before Rogue turned her attention to Betsy who brushed Drake off as she got up off the ground.

“I’m fine,” she said as she flicked a loose strand of her purple hair out of her face. “I’m f-

Everyone’s head turned as they heard the sound of their shuttle crashing into the planet’s surface. They were far enough away that they couldn’t feel the ground shake but though the area they were in was untamed and full of dense undergrowth Pietro could tell it hadn’t been that far off.

“We would have had to crash that thing anyway.” Bobby said weakly. “We couldn’t have landed it.”

“Ah’ll be sure to tell the Kree that when ah call it in,” Rogue said sarcastically before becoming serious. “You think that was a Firstborn?”

“I can’t be sure but I don’t think they were that strong.” Bobby said. “And the Firstborn I fought couldn’t fly. Teleport? Yes. Fly? No.”

“So this is something else then.” Pietro interrupted. “Something the combined intelligence of the galaxy’s two largest interstellar empires have never come across.”

“Are we sure it wasn’t native?” Darkstar questioned while gesturing to the marked trees. “It might be what made these marks.”

“We would have been warned,” Pietro retorted. “The Brood are fighting a war. It would be only natural for them to be territorial.”

“They’re not animals, Quicksilver,” Psylocke warned, still shaken. “They’re much worse than that.”

“Either way, it means we need to get this done ASAP and get away from the crash,” Rogue said. “Pietro, you and Laynia take point. Bobby and Betsy ‘ll guard our rear. If that thing was Brood then they already know we’re here.”

Pietro soon managed to fall into step with Laynia. He saw Rogue pull her hood over her head, covering herself as well as she could.

They all knew that Rogue was the most vulnerable here. He had his speed and Laynia and the others had their own advantages but Rogue’s power was worse than useless against Brood and taking power from the rest of them would only make them more susceptible to becoming infected. Until they made it out, she would have to rely on them to keep her safe and they would have to rely on her to keep them all safe. Pietro wasn’t sure how happy he was with that situation but if they were to work as a team from here on in, he thought of it as a better test than most.

Nothing left but to launch themselves into the fray.

Next: No more misleading teasers! This is it! The X-Men vs The Brood! For real this time!