The Mindscape of Anna Marie
Rogue heaved as she became her astral self, her imaginary form reaching out for reality that wasn’t there anymore. Her mind blurred before the landscape took concrete shape.
Rogue saw her own brain before her, tendrils snaking upwards and striking down into the wrinkled pink flesh, cancerous grey growths emerging from the wounds, bubbling and boiling and bursting with blood, while leaking electrical impulses formed arcs and made desperate attempts to defend her from the parasite that lived within her.
Each arc was a memory, an experience that had made Rogue stronger, but each flash of light made her weaker, like alarm bells, blips on a machine to tell her she was dying.
Rogue could do nothing but damn the creature that had caused all this, as her memories whirred through her head faster and faster, as the Brood Queen clawed her way further into her mind.
That was until the caterpillars burrowed through her skull and began to pour out of the crevices the Brood tentacles had made. Very hungry caterpillars. One by one, the violet insects dropped down onto Rogue’s forebrain. They pushed ahead into the growths, eating away at the blood and the bile. They munched away and began to spin strands of glowing psychic silk over the wounds as they fattened.
They weaved magenta cocoons as they became pupae. After a time, the cocoons cracked and a throng of beautiful purple butterflies flew from the fissures. They flapped their wings and as Rogue watched, the tendrils began to shrivel away , buffeted by the resultant lavender gales. The winds carried a blood curdling shriek as far as Rogue’s ears.
The scene before her fell away and Rogue was left back in a familiar black void, the traditional sight that greeted her on the psychic plane.
“Rogue!” a voice called out to her, echoing and interrupted by psychic static. “Rogue!”
“Betsy, is that you?” Rogue finally exclaimed. “That was amazing, sugah!”
“I do my best,” Psylocke’s voice replied. faintly. “I’ve pushed the Brood Queen back, but we’re not done yet. I’ll need your help, Rogue.”
“Ah dunno what ah can do here that you can’t, Bets,” Rogue said. “Ah mean, ah’m the one who left the front door unlocked. Ah’m the one who let her in.”
“That’s the problem, Rogue,” she heard Psylocke sigh. “Haven’t you ever wondered why the Brood nearly always win over the mind of a host? The Brood have the unbridled ego of an entire race at their disposal. I’m an Omega level telepath now, but this is your mind. If we’re going to beat this one, I need you to believe.”
Could it really be that easy? Rogue knew that you needed more than just belief to win a psychic battle. But she had Psylocke ready to help her and she knew the others were out there fighting for her. Maybe she wasn’t ready to stop doubting herself but she didn’t doubt her team.
“Are you going to let someone else take control of your mind again?” Psylocke asked.
“Well,” began Rogue. “You sure liked my first lodger a heck of a lot more than you liked me at the time.”
“A lot has changed since then,” Psylocke said, as she appeared in a flash of magenta light. “You’re a leader now, for a start.”
“I guess I am,” Rogue replied. “Y’know what, Psylocke? You’re right. A Brood Queen? A Brood Queen’s got nothing on Carol Danvers.”
As if on cue, the ground seemed to shake and the Brood Queen roared as she materialised and thundered towards the pair of them.
“It seems she’s inclined to disagree,” Psylocke commented. She created a pair of psionic blades, throwing one of them to Rogue, who caught it and nodded to her teammate.
“Let’s take this monster.”