Kree Space, Above Aurini Four

As soon as Nee-Raa had informed him of everything she knew, Ronan ushered her out of the War Room again, ordering her to return if she received any new information.

The doorway slid closed and Ronan began to pace. He had been privy to events on a cosmic scale long before he had first encountered the superpowered citizens of Earth, but even he considered the current situation worth pondering.

It was a legend, a tale they told their children as they tucked them into their beds for the night. The Phoenix, that cosmic force of destruction and rebirth, flew through the heavens on a never ending quest. But the Phoenix, like all avian species, would require a nest, a place to roost and rest its tired wings.

Usually, the Phoenix chose a person, a host to act as its avatar.

But every once in a while, the Phoenix would choose to nest on a world instead. And on that world, the Phoenix would lay an egg, from which it could be reborn whenever its majesty appeared lost to the denizens of the universe.

It was a myth, but this was a universe where myths became real and gods walked the land. The Phoenix Egg was real, and within the grasp of the Kree Empire. The incubator of a cosmic force dedicated to evolution. But did so many people have to die, for the Supreme Intelligence’s dream to become a reality? If the X-Men did, if Pietro Maximoff did, would their deaths go unpunished? Could Ronan forgive leaving Luna without a father?

That was when Ronan saw light flash out of the corner of his eye and felt the tip of the blade on the back of his neck. Slowly, he raised his arms.

“Let him turn around, Psylocke,” said a voice.

Slowly, Ronan turned around and his eyes narrowed as he took in his assailants.

“X-Men,” he said, surprised.

“What, Ronan?” Rogue scoffed as she stood, beaten and bloodied behind Psylocke, whose blade remained at Ronan’s throat. “Were you expecting someone else?”

Ronan frowned at Psylocke, who held his stare, her eyes following his as he turned to address Rogue. “What is the meaning of this?”

“Ah think you know damn well, Ronan,” Rogue snarled. “You’ll be happy to know we took down your Brood Queen.”

“Good,” Ronan replied calmly. “And the rest of your teammates?”

“Looks like they’re none of your concern” Rogue said. “What you do with your own soldiers has nothing to do with me. But you had me drag my team into a god damn warzone for no good reason.”

“I don’t know what you’re on about, mutant,” Ronan replied coolly. “You were told exactly what you were going to be dealing with.”

Rogue crossed her arms and turned her head towards her shoulder as she walked towards him.

“Really? Ah think maybe something got lost in translation here.” She said, the sarcasm oozing from her lips. “Because we came here because we were told that you’d lost a planet to the Brood, and we were meant to help you get it back. But that’s not the truth, is it?”

Ronan remained impassive.

“Me and Psylocke had to take the Brood Queen’s mind apart piece by piece, Ronan. The Kree, The Shi’ar… the whole damn galaxy agreed to give the Brood this planet.” Rogue continued, until she was now nose to nose with Ronan himself. He could see the pain etched across her face, the anger that kept her going when she should have already collapsed. A single bead of sweat ran down Ronan’s forehead. “What did you want so badly that it was worth having my people die for it?”

“What makes you think I would tell you?” Ronan asked. “You cannot kill me. Not unless you want the entire Kree Empire after your heads.”

Rogue glared at him, before turning away. “Alright, Psylocke,” she said. “Stand down.”

Psylocke cast a glance to her leader and Ronan noticed Rogue nod, but not before Psylocke’s blade slid straight into his gut. Psylocke grimaced as Ronan reached out to grab at her, twisting the sword around in his abdomen. She let it fade away as Ronan fell. Rogue moved back into view, a hooded devil.

“Just be glad I didn’t bring Quicksilver, Ronan,” Rogue spat. “Or you’d actually be dead.”

Rogue whispered something into the X shaped clasp on her cloak. Darkness invaded Ronan’s vision, and when it cleared, the X-Men were gone.