————————Common Room—————————

Julian checked the table that flashed up on his laptop screen. “Ha” he exclaimed, “What I tell ya brainiac?” he yelled to David Alleyne who was sitting in an armchair at the other side of the student common room. “I told ya, the Hellions beat all the teams in the field seasons and are top of the league this year”. He got up from the desk and walked over toward his rival, high-fiving his team-mate Brian Cruz on the way. “Seriously gene-joke, did you really think you and your bunch of lame @#$, no power squad would beat out my gang?” he said contemptuously. David, known at the Xavier Institute as Prodigy, just got up out of the chair and walked out of the common room. “Wuss,” Julian yelled after him.

Turning around he got the attention of his teammate Tag who was chatting up some girls at the sofa by the fireplace. “Hey Brian, go round up the rest of the crew and we can have a celebration in my room” he said. Lowering his voice as Tag approached he added “I snuck in some beers last time we went to Westchester”. Grinning Tag ran out of the room saying “Sounds good. I’ll go get the others. I think they’re in the canteen. Meet you at yours in about fifteen.”

—————————Canteen—————————–

“Hey Mel” said Santo, “You gonna eat the rest of that pie?”

“God, Santo, I haven’t even finished my meat loaf,” a dark haired Asian girl replied, “Oh fine take it.”

“Thanks,” replied the rocky mutant sitting across the table from her. After two years together the Hellions squad had become quite close, four of the current Hellions team sat round the table. Melanie glanced around at them. Rockslide was wolfing down food like there was no tomorrow, Refract was showing off using light constructed cutlery to eat his food and Wind Dancer was using her powers to eavesdrop on one of their rival teams, the Longshots that were also sitting in the canteen. She looked over at the other squad and noted not for the first how hot their team leader Daystar looked. “Hey Sophia,” she said, “Anything good?”

“From the sounds of it, Dust and Freeze Frame are planning to sneak over the walls to meet some guys they met in Westchester last week.”

“Huh. Sooraya has really come out of her shell since that Kiden girl joined her squad last year.”

“Wouldn’t you if you had to spend 24/7 with an ex-junkie?” Brendan chimed in waving his light constructed fork in the direction of the Longshots’ table.

Melanie was about to reply to that when she spotted Tag enter the room. He waved over at her and walked up to their table. “Hey guys, Julian has a bunch of beers up in his room. He wants us to go up and celebrate.”

“Celebrate what?” asked Santo.

“You mean you guys haven’t heard” he exclaimed “We won the field seasons league…again!”

“Awesome, you’re right this does give us a good reason for some hardcore partyin’,” cheered Refract.

“Cool, let’s go,” said Melanie. They all got up, Santo grabbing a handful of food, and headed toward the exit. “Hi David,” said Orchid flirtatiously as she walked past the leader of the Longshots. That earned her dirty looks from Kiden and the green skinned Flora.

“Uh, hi Melanie,” said a surprised David. That just earned him even dirtier looks from the same two girls.

————————-Hellion’s Dorm Room————————-

Julian heard the knock at the door and got up to answer it. As he opened it he barely had time to catch Sophia as she jumped up into his arms with an enthusiastic “Hi baby.” Giving her a quick kiss he sat her down and invited the rest of his squad inside.

“God you two make me sick,” said Orchid as she strutted into the room.

“Aw, you’re just jealous,” teased Sophia as she used some fine wind streams to mess up Melanie’s hair.

“Get off,” yelled Melanie. She fixed her hair and sat down on the edge of Julian’s bed. “Hopefully that won’t be the case in the near future if I have my way with Daylight,” she said.

“You serious?” said Brendan. “That Irish guy in the Longshots, with the glow in the dark hair?”

“It only glows when he’s overcharged and yes, I think he’s cute,” said Melanie defensively.

“Well have fun trying,” said Julian as he floated a beer over to his hand and opened it with his telekinesis. “From what I hear he’s supposed to be pretty tight with the Guthrie girl from Squadron X.”

“What, that hulking she-male!?” exclaimed Melanie.

“Yeah, apparently Mr. Summers caught him sneaking back from her dorm room a couple of weeks ago,” said Julian.

“Damn, how did that country bumpkin get her claws into him?” said Melanie.

“Forget it Megan. Why not just pick someone else to get your kicks with?” said Brian.

“Yeah, what about that golden guy in the Exemplars, emm … Elixir? He’s cute,” said Sophia.

“I’m sorry, what?” exclaimed Hellion to his girlfriend, annoyed she had just called another guy cute.

“Oh baby, don’t freak. You know there is only one guy for me,” she said, then after a pause she added, “Brad Pitt!” and burst into laughter at the look of distaste on her boyfriend’s face.

Santo groaned and said “Orchid is right. You two do make people sick,” He reached for a beer sitting on the table underneath the window when there was a sudden flash. He fell backward with a crash and a yell. Sophia and Julian covered their faces, blinded by the afterglow of the flash.

“What the hell was that,” said Orchid who had her back turned at the time. She got up and ran to the window where she was joined by Tag and Refract. She was just in time to see the large blast wave that was racing toward the building.

“@#$%,” said Brian.

“Hellion,” screamed Orchid, “Teke shield, window wall, NOW.” With practiced precision Orchid projected her teke and felt it mingle with that of Hellion’s as they had done so many times in training. She used both their energies to spread out a shield against the wall facing the blast wave. In the seconds it took to do this the wave hit. The impact nearly knocked her off her feet and she heard Hellion grunt behind her sensing the strain. She felt the wave pass and lowered the shield. Walking to the now shattered window she was joined by the now recovered other members of the squad. The sight that greeted them stunned them to silence. The once beautiful landscaped gardens of the Xavier Estate were lying in complete ruin. The walls lay in ragged chunks around the torn up ground. Some people were walking in a daze and in the distance they could hear some screaming. There were a few bodies scattered around the grounds and some trapped under large pieces of masonry. It was only when they heard a noise coming from the skies above them that they found their voices.

“Oh holy crap,” said Refract. “Those are goddamn freakin’ sentinels.”

“Okay squad. Cool it. We need to stay calm. I think it’s safe to assume they are the cause of this attack. We should get outside. We’ll have more room to manoeuvre in the open” said Hellion automatically going into his team leader mode. He and Orchid levitated themselves to the ground outside while Wind Dancer lowered herself down using her winds. Refract wove a ramp of solid light so he, Rockslide and Tag could get down to what was left of the gardens three stories below.