————— The Lawn ————–

“Fire and ice Bobby!” yelled the X-Woman known as Rogue to her team-mate Iceman. Hearing her he sent a jet of condensed ice particles toward two large sentinels. Rogue met it in mid-air with her own stream of fire. As the two connected they formed a large steam cloud, providing the battling duo with a small breather.

“How you holding up?” asked Bobby as he landed off his ice sled, near where Rogue had landed.

“Ah’m fine Bobby” she replied, glancing from side to side making sure they were safe for a moment. “Have ya seen any of the others?”.

“Scattered. Scott has us spread wide, I think he’s trying to keep them from the mansion” replied Drake.

“Ah guess we’ll have ta manage then” she said taking off into the air again. Their steam screen was clearing, giving their position away. Flying upward, she scanned the grounds. There were students of the academy out here and they would most certainly need help. Her eyes alighted on some kids near the outer walls of the estate. What was left of them anyway. She flew over and landed amongst them.

“Miss Rouge!” a young boy exclaimed as he noticed her.

“Jeffery Garret what are you still doing out here?” said Rogue, annoyed to find a kid who could teleport still outside, yet relieved that he was ok. Around him were a collection of some of the younger kids from the school. She noticed one had a black eye, but decided now was not the time to find out it’s cause.

“Can’t leave the others Miss” he replied “Can’t teleport that many”.

“Miss Rogue what do we do, there are so many robots?” said another kid.

“Miss Rogue, are we gonna die?” said a little girl, tugging on Rogue’s green cloak.

“Oh for God’s sake” groaned Rogue. Grabbing the little girl she threw her on her shoulders. “Hold on tight ya hear?” she yelled to the little girl. “Garret teleport as many as you can inside the mansion, then hide somewhere and stay safe”. Seeing the doubt in the young boy’s eyes she bent down and put her hands on his shoulders. Looking him in the eye she said “Jeff you can do this, you’ll be a hero because ya have to be. Now what do ya say?”.

“I can do it Miss Rogue” replied the boy. She watched as he gathered most of the kids to his side and then closing his eyes, they vanished. There were now just three kids left, the little girl on her back and two others. Rogue glanced around looking for any sign of a sentinel preparing to attack them. At the minute they all seemed engaged with something else. Let’s hope it stays that way, she thought.

Bobby watched as Rogue herded some kids toward the mansion. He thought about his own squad, the Excelsiors. He hoped they were ok. He thought about going to find them, but then realised that he was the only X-Man left between the sentinels and the mansion in this area. He had best stay put. Firing a stream of ice at a sentinel he formed another ice slide and took off toward another robot nearby.

Sliding along his ice structure, Bobby barrel rolled to avoid a spread to pulse bolts launched at him from his intended target. Landing, he rolled along the ground sending jagged spears of super hard ice through the sentinel’s head.

“Oh yeah!” he yelled, as the robot crashed to the ground. Preoccupied momentarily, Bobby missed the sentinel approaching him from behind. The two storey high machine lifted its gauntlet and proceeded to blast off Iceman’s right arm. Knocked to he ground Iceman rolled to the side, narrowly avoiding another blast. He stood up and raised the stump of his right arm.

“Son of a bi …” the rest of his sentence was silenced by another barrage from the same robot. Focusing his powers inward Bobby reconstructed he arm and covered himself in a thicker layer of ice armour. Now twice the bulk he raised his arms toward the sentinel and extending the ice structure of the armour he reached out and ripped off the arm of the sentinel.

“Now! See how you like it”, he raced off on another ice sled. As he engaged yet another sentinel he failed to notice the pectoral plates of the damaged sentinel begin to open.

————— The Front Gates —————

“Hold on tight Alison, this might hurt” said Bishop, putting his foot down fully on the accelerator.

“Uh …. Bishop” said Alison from the passenger seat. “Bishop, WAIT!” she yelled.

“For what?” he asked impatiently, not for a second reducing the speed their car was travelling at.

“Just freakin’ stop!” she screamed, firing a blast of energy in front of the car. She gripped the side of the door as Bishop spun the wheel to avoid the crater that Alison had caused with her laser blast.

“What the hell has got into you?” yelled Bishop as he stopped the car.

“You were going to drive straight into the gates” she yelled back.

“We needed to get inside fast” he replied, “We would have been fine, the car is partially armoured”.

“Well I’m not” Alison fumed, “Besides you dolt, why use the gate when there are plenty of gaps in the bloody walls”.

Bishop looked at the walls as saw she was right, he shouldn’t have missed that. Instead of griping though he jumped out of the car and set off for the nearest hole. Alison was hot on his heels.

————— The Lawn —————

A stream of lava erupted out of a fissure that had suddenly opened in the ground. Arcing gracefully through the air it slammed into the chest of a nearby sentinel, taking it down to the ground.

“Nice shot Amara” yelled Everett as he flew by, synched into one of the nearby students flight powers. Everett made a great teacher and was often assigned to those kids with more uncontrollable powers. His ability to mimic the powers of others with his aura gave him invaluable insights into the workings of others’ powers. As he often had to deal with students of all ages Everett did not have his own squad. But he was happy with that, it meant he got to avoid all the teenage angst crap that Dani and Amara always seemed to be going on about. Beneath him Moonstar was shaping energy arrows and firing them at the robots. They were having absolutely no effect though, being only able to affect organic beings.

“Yo Amara, lend a hand to Dani would ya?” Everett yelled to his fiery team-mate.

“No problem” she yelled back over all of the noise. Moonstar was racing toward the stables, no doubt after her winged horse. She couldn’t see the sentinel locking on to her. Magma quickly raised a small lava spout under the sentinel toppling it. It’s pulse blast missed the intended target of Moonstar. She briefly stopped to stare and waved over to Magma, thanking her.

Magma watched as she ran through an archway leading toward the stables. Letting her get on with it she raised herself up on a molten pillar to get a better view of the area. Over toward the front of the mansion she could see Cyclops standing near the Phoenix Memorial talking to what looked like Polaris and Havok. Further away she could see Rogue and Iceman battling. Toward the front of the mansion a loud explosion sounded, drawing her attention. When the smoke cleared she could see Bishop and Dazzler leaping over a fallen sentinel aiming energy blasts at another one. Hearing another roar she saw two Blackbirds streak through the sky overhead. This was all out war!

“Snap out of it Amara” yelled Synch as he soared past her, directing energy blasts toward a sentinel that was aiming its cannons at her. Spinning in the air he pointed at another sentinel and pieces of its leg erupted into flame. Amara wondered how many powers he was linked into at the minute. Shrugging it off she descended and set off to finish off the sentinel Synch had just damaged.

As she approached it the sentinel began to do something weird. She stopped and watched it closely. “Hey Synch” she called to the airborne man, “What the hell is this sentinel doing?”. Everett looked down and watched as the chest plates of the sentinel began to open up.