————— The Phoenix Memorial Statue —————
Cyclops unleashed a crimson blast at a nearby sentinel. To his left Havok, his brother, destroyed a small group of sentinels with some of his cosmic energy. His wife Lorna Dane was wreaking chaos among the larger sentinels, pieces of metal flying everywhere as she tore them apart with her magnetic abilities. On the other side of him, Bishop and Dazzler were firing blast after blast of energy into the endless ranks of mutant killing machines.
Even with all this firepower, they were barely making a dent in their ranks. He was fast losing ground to the robots, already all present X-Men and staff had been pushed back from the walls. They had lost lives and these things were still coming. He had no idea how to finish this, it was overwhelming and everyone was depending on him. He didn’t know what to do and every time he tried to come up with a solution all he could think about was his wife Emma.
“Scott, what are we going to do?” yelled Alex over to him.
“I’m thinking, I’m thinking!” he yelled back. Everyone was relying on him, and he couldn’t do it. The only thing he had come up with in the last ten minutes was if Polaris could command enough power to destroy them all. She had said no and he had thought of nothing since then.
He glanced around the battle seeing how some of the others were getting on. Wolverine seemed to be making his way toward them which was useful. He couldn’t see Shadowcat and Colossus, and Forge was still in the air above them. Rogue and Iceman were still fighting somewhere to the west of the statue. Quite a bit away there was quite a lot of commotion as Cannonball blasted through groups of robots, backed up by his sister Husk. Nearer to him swathes of sentinels were going down to the awesome power of the combined actions of Magma and Synch. Synch was tearing them all to bits using multiple powers. One hand was shooting jets of flame the other exploding balls of light. His voice was screeching, frying sentinel wiring.
His eyes widened with realisation. The answer was Synch. He could help end this.
“Polaris, I need you down here”, he yelled at the green haired woman. She heard and finished dealing with her current sentinel by magnetically crushing its head. She flew down to Scott and immediately saw that he had some idea in his head.
“What is it?” she asked, “I already told you I can’t wield enough power to take them all out”.
“I know, I know”, Scott replied “but what if you could double that?”
“What do you mean?” she asked.
“Synch, if he linked into your powers couldn’t he be used to bolster your own power?”
“I guess so. I could siphon off what energy he produces to increase my own output. With it I could possibly manage a large enough EMP wave that would take out all these sentinels”.
Scott smiled but then stopped as he watched a frown creep over Polaris’ face. “What’s wrong?”
“That amount of energy. I don’t know if I’ll be able to handle it”.
“Handle what?” asked Alex Summers who had approached his brother and wife. He had noticed them talking and had come over to see what it was about.
“Scott has an idea that might be able to end this in seconds”, Lorna told him.
“But it’s dangerous, if Polaris links with the power that Synch copies from her then she might not be able to hold it”, explained Scott.
“Then the answer is no, we will find another way”, said Alex abruptly.
“Alex there have been enough deaths already, if I can end this now then I want to try”, interjected Lorna, giving Alex a dirty look. Tell me what I can and cannot do she thought, has her husband forgotten who he was married to.
“Lorna I really think…” began Alex, but Lorna had gave him that look that said if he finished his sentence he would have a lot more than an army of sentinels to worry about.
“I want to try it”, stated Lorna looking at Scott. He nodded his head then yelled to Bishop and Dazzler. Quickly explaining the plan he sent them to get Synch and bring him here. This was a long shot thought Scott but it was their only one.
“Scott, the kids are out here” said a rough voice next to him. Scott turned and saw that Wolverine had made it to the statue.
“I know I have seen some of the other squads, but we can’t get to any of them without compromising the students inside” he sighed.
“I’ve told my lot to get inside” said Logan. “Not that they will listen” he added under his breath.
“Go back over to them if you want Logan, we have a plan in motion to finish this” replied Scott. He briefly explained what he had in mind to Logan.
“No I’ll stay here. You will need all the help you can get to give Lorna and Everett the time to pull this off”. With that he leapt back into the fray.
Polaris began to lift into the air when she felt a hand on her shoulder. It was Scott, “Listen Lorna, I know I’m asking a lot and if you feel that it is too much then … then drop it. I don’t know what we all would do if we lost you, what Alex would do”.
“I know Scott” she said putting her hand on top of his, “I’ll be careful”.
Cyclops watched as she rose into the air, lifting two sentinels nearby and slamming them into each other. He was about to get back into it himself when he noticed Shadowcat approaching him, phasing through the sentinels as she came.
“Scott” she panted, obviously out of breath from the exertion of the day,
“Kitty, it’s good to see your ok. Have you any news from anyone else?” he asked.
She began to cry. She looked at him through watered eyes and took a deep breath. Scott felt something cold inside him, whatever she was about to say it was not going to be good.
“Scott, its Hank. The jet he was flying, it … it was the one that was shot down”. She started crying again and through choked sobs added, “He’s dead”.
Scott stared in stunned silence as Kitty delivered her grim news. Hank McCoy was dead; one of his dearest and closest friends was gone. The fact shook him to his core. Hank had been a constant with the X-Men; been there from the start and had probably singlehandedly saved the life of most people in this mansion. He suddenly couldn’t focus, and for the first time that day Scott Summers, fearless leader of the X-Men, thought they would lose. Polaris and Synch were their only hope.
“Scott, are you okay?” asked Shadowcat, wiping tears from her eyes.
He shook himself, trying to get a grasp on what was going on. He tried to put the reality of Hank’s death to the back of his mind but it wouldn’t stay. He put his head in his hands. Now is not the time to lose it Scott he said to himself. He would have to mourn later. He lifted his head to tell Kitty he was alright, but saw that she had already gone back into the fight. Silently he chastised himself, if everyone else could handle this then by God he would as well.
“Cyclops, we got him” said a voice from behind him. Scott turned around to see his brother Alex being dropped from Synch’s arms as Everett himself came in to land. “I’ve explained the plan to Everett already”.
“And I’m willing to give it a try” interjected Everett. He flew past them and got to Lorna. Together they flew behind Scott and Alex and hovered just behind the Phoenix Statue.
“Ok Scott here we go” said Lorna, smiling and crossing her fingers.
“We will provide cover to give you both the time to do this” said Scott. He and Alex turned and began blasting away at the robots, making sure none came anywhere near the two figures behind them.
“Ok Everett, you got my signature?” asked Lorna, looking at the young man beside her.
“I’ve got ya” he replied. He began to gather his newly gained magnetic powers, channelling them into regular pulses that he fed to Polaris who had already gathered as much power as she could herself. At first she felt fine, the extra power Synch was feeding her was adding to hers comfortably. She built it inside of her letting it gather and churn.
“More” she yelled to Everett who was glowing green with magnetic energy now. She felt the increase instantly, obviously Everett had been holding back a bit. She was worried at first but she adjusted and the energy began to flow more easily. More and more the power building in side her felt like it was straining against her body, begging for release. So strong was the urge that she accidently let a small burst of energy flash from one of her hands.
It was immediately reabsorbed by Synch. Suddenly she felt a massive surge in the energy feed that was coming form him. Again without meaning too another burst of energy slipped from her hands. Again Everett absorbed it and the power he fed her jumped up again. She turned to Everett, sweat was beading on his forehead and he looked like he was trying to do something.
“Everett slow it down, the rate is too high” she yelled.
He turned to look at her and yelled back “I can’t. I can’t stop absorbing it, it keeps feeding into me and I can’t stop the channel I’ve opened to you”.
He sounded panicked, this was not going smoothly. She thought that letting some of the energy go would stop it. She aimed a small blast at a sentinel with the thought that she would destroy it. But the energy did not get far. It was immediately absorbed by Synch again. And then the energy feed increased again, a scream emanating from Everett at the same time.
She turned to look at him again and saw he was crunched over still floating in mid air, obviously in agony. “Synch what’s wrong?” she yelled. All she got in response was another scream.
“Lorna what’s going on?” she heard Alex yelling from below.
“I don’t know”, she yelled down to her husband. She suddenly felt a rip of pain tear though her and she screamed.
“Lorna!” Alex yelled up at her, frustrated that he could not get to her to see what was wrong.
Then without her say, magnetic energy began pouring out of her and straight into Everett. The increase in his uptake was too much for the young man and he unleashed a powerful surge of energy straight into Polaris. She herself couldn’t stop pouring energy out and with every cycle the power returned to her was increased exponentially. She looked at Everett through pain filled eyes and watched in astonishment as the young man began to change. It started in his extremities and worked its way upward along his arms and legs. He was slowly becoming this glowing green figure, a being of pure magnetic power. Then to her horror Polaris noticed small particles drift off Everett and become absorbed into her body. She was draining him completely and she couldn’t stop.
Tears accompanied her screams as her fellow X-Man was completely absorbed into her being and then the power that had been building stopped. She felt no pain; it was as if the whole world had stopped. She looked down and saw Alex’s worried face looking up at her. The energy was still there, contained within her she could feel it. It was more than she had ever held before. She raised her hands in front of her face and gasped. Everett was not the only one to have changed. She too seemed to be composed of pure green energy. There was nothing but her shape left. She opened her mouth to shout down to Alex but no sound came out.
She could feel the energy she was made of pulse. She knew she had enough power now to finish this. One giant EMP pulse would sweep out across the grounds taking out every single piece of machinery for miles around. She looked at Alex again. If she did this then it would take everything she had and without a physical form she would not be here when the dust settled. She let herself float down to hover in front of Alex, and held out a green hand to cup his face. She mouthed three simple words to him before backing away.
“No Lorna don’t, please don’t do it” he yelled, desperately trying to plead with his wife not to do what she had set her mind to. “Please don’t leave me!” he screamed at the green figure.
Spinning in a circle Polaris took one last look at what had been her home for years. It was devastated and there were bodies everywhere. She had to end this; she was the only one who could. Gathering her energy she focused it into a sphere somewhere inside her. Closing her eyes she released it sending a massive wave of magnetic energy sweep across the ground. It passed over her weeping husband, and her fellow X-Men fighting on the ground. It passed through all the sentinels either shutting them down or making them crash from the skies. It swept over the remains of the estate walls and down toward the town of Westchester shutting the whole place down.
Alex looked up at where his wife had been floating. He saw her still there, although her energy form was somewhat paler, less defined. Her face though was perfect as always. He saw her look down and she smiled. He felt like his heart was tearing in two. She kept smiling, holding his eyes and then she began to dissimilate. It was as if the wind was carrying the last remnants of his wife away. Her last silent words came to the fore of his mind and his began to cry again.
“I love you too”.
————— On board the Blackbird ————–
//Systems malfunction//Systems malfunction//Systems malfun…
“I hear you” Forge yelled at the dashboard of the jet he was piloting. Correction, had been flying until that massive EMP wave had taken out all the electronics on the jet. He desperately pulled on the stick trying to bring the plane out of its dive. It was slowly correcting its angle but the ground was much too close.
He was still hitting the failsafe button in a desperate hope that the secondary emergency systems would cut in before it was too late. “Engage, please engage” he pleaded with the machine. Suddenly the lights flickered back on and he immediately threw the stick fully back, and hit the thrust. The jet took a drastic lift and then hit the ground. The nose had managed to lift enough so that at first it crumpled but then it let the rest of the jet slide along the ground. Thank God I strapped myself in thought Forge.
The shaking stopped and Forge relaxed. Apart from a few bruises he had come out of that beauty of a landing unscathed. Then he heard a new noise, like the metal of the plane was being ripped apart.
“Comrade Forge, are you there?” he heard the unmistakeable Russian accent of his friend Colossus.
“I’m here Piotr. I’m fine” he called back. He heaved a sigh of relief and wondered how many others could say the same.
————— The Phoenix Memorial Statue —————
Scott stared in astonishment at the spot of air that had been occupied by Lorna Dane Summers only moments ago. He had watched as her body had broken up and drifted away. The attack was over, but somehow he felt the worst of this was yet to come. He began to head toward his grief stricken brother when a pink flash appeared in front of him. It was one of his students from his own squad the Corsairs. The young girl called Blink.
A pink hand grabbed his and before he could ask where Clarice was taking him they vanished through one of her teleportation portals.
————— Somewhere Inside the Mansion —————
His feet pounded along the corridor, the same one that he had ran along earlier. The one he had run away from his hidden wife along so that he could fulfil his duties as an X-Man.
He had just been yelled at by Quill of the Corsairs for something and had discovered that half of his student squad was either comatose or dead. Then another student had mentioned something about the telepaths and it had clicked in his head. The telepaths.
He reached the door of the room he had hidden Emma in earlier that day and slammed it open destroying the lock in his fear and worry. He stared at the bed where he had left her.
Emma was gone.
Coming Soon: Amazing X-Men #4 – Bones in the Graveyard
The X-Men begin to deal with the horrible events they had just lived through while realising that the attack was a small part of something much larger. Coming to terms with the decimation of their friends they begin to investigate what exactly provoked this attack. And more importantly who! Guest starring Storm.