Aurini Four, The Brood Queen Nest

“Kill…

All sentient species had their own variations of that one word. They all knew death just as they all knew life. The Brood were no different from any other species in the galaxy in that respect. Much as they tried to forget it when it came to attempting to exterminate the Brood. The Skrulls, the Shi’ar, the Kree, the Humans…they all had more than their fair share of the galaxy’s blood on their hands.

Killing was something the Brood knew only too well. For them, the very act of reproduction was bound up in the death of another sentient being.

But that had as much to do with culture as it did with survival, with evolution. The Brood were a necessary evil perhaps, but the rest of the galaxy made no mistake. The Brood were murderers who would happily see the death of them all for their own perverted pleasure. The Brood Queen would certainly take joy in the deaths of the Kree, those who had unfairly attempted to wrest this planet away from her.

They were not the only target of her ire, however.

The X-Men were once again proving themselves more than a nuisance. They had escaped from their imprisonment and flashes of species wide memory had filled the Queen’s subjects with rage at every subsequent death the mutants had perpetrated.

And yet, the Brood Queen was spreading her influence in gentle soothing waves, attempting to placate the creatures around her.

She saw the Firstborn, fruits of the womb of the Brood Empress herself, sent here to protect the lower ranking Queen from all that would do her harm. She could not see into their minds but she could see them through the eyes of her own progeny scattered throughout the vast underground chamber.

She watched through the eyes of her scientists as they ran a multitude of tests on the Chosen, the few Brood who, since their arrival on the planet, had begun to exhibit unearthly abilities. It was a curious phenomenon, one the Brood had barely had a chance to begin studying before the Kree had rained down upon them.

Yes, the Queen grieved her children, but this… this was something new, this could change everything.

She watched through the eyes of the five Chosen now, as their powers reacted. Command over flame, telekinesis, super speed, invisibility, energy projection…Strength and vitality coursed through their every vein, their genes twisted at the whim of some higher power.

And the Brood Queen wanted it. How badly she wanted it. Wanted the power this planet refused to give her.

Her progeny would bring the X-Men to her, she would take from them what she wished and then…

“Kill…

Because this time, they had evened the odds.

Because this time, the X-Men were most definitely the prey…

Aurini Four, Location Unknown

Bobby Drake was unsure of a lot of things when it came to his relationship with Kitty Pryde, but there was one thing he was entirely certain of.

They both really hated the Brood.

The X-Man known as Iceman haphazardly fired another blast of ice down the cavernous corridor, while simultaneously attempting to maintain the ice shield he had constructed around his position. No easy task when his powerless teammates were caught right in the middle of the raging battle between himself and the army of homicidal aliens vying for the honour of impregnating them.

The Brood, Sleazoids as Kitty called them (and really what was sleazier than the sentence Bobby had just thought?), kept coming, their tendrils whipping around them wildly as they fired beams of red energy from their weapons. Which reminded him, was Kitty his girlfriend? If he got out of this, they really did need to sit down and-

“Damn!” He cursed as a stray energy blast sailed past him.

“Bit too close for comfort, Bobby!” cried Rogue, as she leaned over the unconscious form of another of Bobby’s teammates and friends, Darkstar.

“I’m doing my best!” He yelled

“I suppose now wouldn’t be a good time to comment on all of your untapped potential, “Quicksilver said wryly, as he shielded himself and the unconscious Psylocke from blaster fire against Bobby’s ice barricade.

“You can bet your sorry ass it isn’t!” Bobby retorted. The beams were coming faster and thicker, it was taking everything he had to hold the onslaught back. ”Either of you two have any bright ideas?”

“Psylocke’s waking up!” shouted Quicksilver.

“And how does that help?” snapped Bobby, as he fired off another rapid succession of blasts before diving back down into cover. Psylocke’s eyes did indeed seem to be flitting open, and she began jerking away from Quicksilver’s grip. “Sorry, it’s just, no offense to Betsy… but you’re all still powerless.”

Not giving his teammates time to reply, Bobby shot up again. His eyes widened. This time, he cursed for real.

From the back ranks of the Brood burst forth new entities, larger than their fellows. Their hides were green instead of the Brood’s traditional brown and armoured plating covered their arms, legs, elbows, knees and shoulders along with the crown of their heads. Their prehensile tails snaked behind them as they stalked forward, their clawed hands digging into the dirt. The Firstborn let out a ferocious cry as they hit the battlefield.

“Rogue,” Bobby cried. “We’ve got incoming!”

Bobby knew better than most what this particular variety of Brood was capable of. They moved with a speed and gazelle like grace that an ordinary Brood could only dream of. Their uncanny agility had them bounding over the front lines. Each movement held a purpose in it, and all eyes were on Bobby and the X-Men.

This was the moment Iceman had been dreading ever since Rogue had asked him to come along. The X-Men had only survived their last encounter with the Firstborn by having Bobby freeze an innocent woman solid, tricking them into killing themselves in the process. Bobby knew they couldn’t rely on that trick twice.

Iceman spread his arms wide and let a wave of wintry white fly forth from both hands. He felt his legs weakening and he reverted back to human form as he created a last line of defence. A wall of jagged ice spikes grew between the X-Men and the Brood, buying them precious seconds…

It wasn’t enough. The Firstborn flipped and spun around, using the spikes as poles to propel themselves forward. They reminded Bobby of Spider-Man or Hank, whenever he managed to pull himself away from his experiments. Several of the spikes snapped under the weight of the Firstborn, but not once did they flail, not once did they falter. They merely twisted in mid air and allowed a limb or a tail to latch on to another ice cold support.

The water dripping from his form, his hands shaking, Iceman forced himself to concentrate and launched one last desperate attack. He propelled the moisture around him forward, sending forth a cryokinetic blast that should have frozen one of the aliens solid. Instead, a glow surrounded the Firstborn and then it teleported, reappearing a few feet away. Only now did Bobby realise the other Brood had stopped firing their weapons. The Firstborn raced forward. Within seconds, the X-Men were surrounded.

Rogue came up next to him and tensed as Bobby tried to find some fresh angle from which to continue an assault, without trapping one of the others under a foot of solid ice.

“Bobby,” she said quietly, gently touching a gloved hand to his shoulder. “Don’t.”

He turned to her in disbelief.

“I-I can do this, Rogue,” he assured her. He grimaced as his legs wobbled. “I just-

“Ah know what you can do, Bobby,” she replied. She gestured behind them. “That ain’t the problem.”

The Firstborn breathed heavily onto their backs, a vile stink emanating from its breath that Bobby recognised as fresh blood. Its compatriots formed a small circle around Bobby and the others but made no move to attack. They were in control again. The X-Men were out of options. Bobby’s escape attempt had failed.

Quicksilver hauled Psylocke to her feet, as Bobby sagged, defeated.