Julio Richter’s return to consciousness was not pleasant. His head buzzed and prevented understandable thoughts from forming within. His eyes felt heavy, the world spun around him and the Mexican was slowly but surely coming to the conclusion that he had been drugged. It was an educated guess, to say the least.

It took time but Julio knew he was shaking off whatever goddamn chemical cocktail was being used to keep him under.

Feeling gradually returned to him, spreading out from the tips of his toes and his fingers like trickles of warm water. Almost as soon, Julio felt the sting of an open wound along his arm, the dull ache of a large bruise along his right cheek and the stab of a displaced tooth digging into his gum. Rictor felt the metal of blood within his mouth.

Rictor, there it was, the man’s true name, his mutant name, the name he’d lost his claim to on M-Day when he along with most of the world’s mutants lost their powers, their birthright as a result of the calamity.

Rictor rested his head against his shoulder as more memories flashed through his addled mind. He remembered leaving X-Factor with Terry. He remembered staying in a dingy motel with her as they made their way to San Fransisco. He remembered the metallic monstrosities that had torn the place apart. The Sentinels. He remembered it was no longer on his account.

Rictor snapped to attention as Theresa’s shrill scream echoed through the walls, reverberating through his skull. He hated this feeling, he was always the one who got captured, even when he could do something about it. Rictor stared concernedly through sunken eyes at the stark silver Sentinel that had entered the dimly lit room.

“If you’re gonna kill me,” Julio grunted. “Make it quick, you soulless metal bastard.”

“Negative,” said the Sentinel. “Termination not required. X-Gene Negative. You will be assimilated to aid in the destruction of the mutant race.”

Rictor groaned and threw his head back on the chair.

“Great,” he deadpanned. “That’s just great.”

Sudden tremors rocked the base.