The Xavier Institute for Higher Learning, Sub-Level 4. The tunnels running just outside the Cerebra Chamber….

 

Emma Frost cradled Forge’s gashed and bleeding head in her arms. She had managed to drag him away from the rubble and the fire. They were positioned around thirty feet away from the Cerebra Chamber’s rubble-filled entrance. The dog-sized mechanical dragon fly probe, which they’d affectionately come to call the Danger-Fly, twitched and hummed beside them as if stricken with Tourette’s syndrome.

“Bloody hell in a cliché hand basket,” Emma murmured to herself. Her sensible white pantsuit was now beige and charcoal from the dirty tunnels and the battle with Emplate. Forge was still weak and unconscious from Emplate feeding upon him. She kept probing his mind to check, but she feared any further exploration into his already damaged psyche could be disastrous.

Forge had already been dealing with the brain injury left to him by the traitor, Bishop. Emma Frost, the former White Queen, hoped Emplate’s attack hadn’t exacerbated his condition. Emma ripped another piece of fabric from her clean undershirt and tied it around a wound on Forge’s shoulder.

Emma tried to maintain the probes she’d sent into Forge’s mind while at the same time keeping her own psychic shielding up to maximum. Marius St. Croix had gone after the energy being formerly known as Quentin Quire. Marius had sensed him when the boy reached out to warn her of D.O.A.’s aim.

They’d forgotten all about Quire, the would-be revolutionary Kid Omega. To be honest, they had tried very hard to forget. If Marius found a way to feed on Quire or sync his abilities and combine that with the abilities he’d gleaned from Forge, Emma feared he would be unstoppable.

It had all started out rather simple. She and Forge were to strip the more expensive and harder to replace parts of the Cerebra device in order to rebuild the Chamber inside the Tomorrow Institute. This was supposed to result in far less headaches and vomiting than with the smaller portable unit she had. With a full Cerebra Chamber, Emma would be able to link to every mutant mind on Earth with relative ease.

But no, nothing was ever so simple in her world. She diverted a bit of energy from scanning Forge to scanning inside her own body. She sensed anxiety from the child within her, but other than that it seemed fine.

Energy crackled in the air a few yards away. Emma resisted the urge to turn diamond, knowing she would be psychically vulnerable to an attack from Quire or Emplate if she did so. The energy exploded in pink and red bursts that filled the entire tunnel with light. Emma noticed the distinct aftertaste of a magic generated portal.

As the energies dissipated Emma sensed six familiar and friendly minds.

“Miss Frost!” Emma heard the voice of her student, David Alleyne, calling out for her.

“Emma!” Jubilee’s high pitched cry could not be mistaken.

Over here,” she informed the two with her telepathy.

Jubilee and David both turned and headed toward her.

“Slide! Merc! You’re on look-out!” Jubilee shouted to the students behind her. “Pixie, get over here!”

“Get them out of here, Jubilee. You and I have stop Marius. Again,” Emma thought to her former student and current staff member.

“Nope,” Jubilee thought back. “You’re bleeding and possibly concussed. You’re out of the fight.”

David kneeled down and began to check Forge’s vitals. David was called Prodigy for a reason. Back when he’d still been a mutant, before M-Day, he had boasted the ability to telepathically absorb knowledge and skills from those around him. After losing his power, the Cuckoos had jumpstarted his brain and restored all the knowledge he’d ever absorbed. He had the combined scientific might of Hank McCoy and Charles Xavier.

“Slow pulse, but breathing normal,” David confirmed to Jubilee as he looked at Emma.

“I could have told you that,” Emma rolled her eyes as she finally released Forge into David’s care. “He was fed off of by Emplate. He’ll regain his strength, hopefully.”

Pixie landed beside the quartet. The Danger-Fly screeched and hummed at her feet.

“Oh, poor little buggy!” she gasped as she leant down to tend to it.

Jubilee turned away from Emma and Forge and addressed Pixie. “Take them to the medical bay and then come right back.”

“Quentin Quire is awake, and I believe Marius might already have him,” Emma interrupted.

“Q who?” Jubilee asked.

“Oh great,” Surge groaned as she walked past them and peered off into the darker corners of the tunnel. The light from the flames flickering off her hair made it seem sea green to Emma as opposed to its usual electric blue. “Not only do we have M-Dracula dude to deal with but that Magneto-wannabe too?”

“He’s an Omega level mutant, Jubilee,” Emma said darkly. “His mind is more powerful than the Professor’s and Marius might be syncing up with him right now.”

Jubilee’s eyes narrowed as the severity of the situation dawned on her. “Pixie, go!”

“Sihal Novarum Chinoth!” the young pink-haired girl incanted as she, Emma, Forge, and the Danger-Fly were swept away in a flash of magic lights.

“Surge, search the tunnels!” Jubilee barked. Surge flipped the bird and then was gone in an electric flash. “Mercury!” Jubilee shouted next. “Slither through that debris in front of the Cerebra Chamber door and report back if you see anything! David, see if you can piece together what happened here.”

Level 2 Medical Bay Zero of the Tomorrow Institute

 

Megan Gwyn’s portal opened in the center of the room. Forge screamed in agony as he thudded to the floor. Emma was able to transition into partial diamond form before landing. The Danger-Fly bounced off a shelf and Megan gently sat herself down with her wings.

“Um, sorry,” Megan blushed. “The space in this place changes, it’s hard to get it exactly right.”

The doctor whose med bay they had teleported into rushed to Forge’s side. She checked his pupils and then his pulse. “He’s in shock from the feeding but the wounds look superficial.” Dr. Cecelia Reyes confirmed as she continued to check him.

Her hands looked like a blur of dark angels in Emma’s blurry vision. Teleportation was very unsettling as it were. The effects had gotten worse since her pregnancy.

“I don’t believe he has a concussion.” Cecelia declared.

“Good,” Emma hissed. “Now I can get back in the-”

“Sihal Novarum Chinoth!”

Pixie was gone.

“Damnit!” Emma shouted. “I need to get back there.”

“Not before I check you out,” Dr Reyes pushed her glasses up on the bridge of her nose.

Emma relented to the Doctor’s prodding as she reverted to flesh. She began to wonder if her little jaunts through Pixie’s portals were really good for the baby. The last thing Emma wanted was to endanger her and Scott’s child. There were other children though, and Emma felt just as fierce a pull to protect them.

“Where are the Cuckoos? Why did they sever their link with me?” Emma asked Dr. Reyes.

“I haven’t seen them. I’d ask Danger but she sent herself into a sort of mechanical trance in order to repair her cloaking mechanisms. We received the distress call from her probe that accompanied you,” Cecelia informed Emma as she took her pulse and checked her eyes. She looked over Emma’s lacerations.

“You seem fine,” Cecelia reassured.

“Someone needs to bring Danger out of her repair-trance, immediately.” Emma ordered.

“No need,” the synthetic voice of Danger echoed through the room. The violet panels of the Medical Bay’s south wall began to move and shrink, before the techno-morphic Danger walked quite literally out of the wall.

Danger was tall and imposing, with a metal exoskeleton-like body filled with slinking organic cables. Her face resembled that of a depressed Jester, with ridiculously serious and sharp angles. She bent down and scooped up the Danger-Fly gingerly.

“Can you touch Emplate while he’s shifted betwixt dimensions?” Emma inquired of Danger with a frighteningly optimistic look.

“I am unsure, but we shall discover if it is possible.” Danger’s eyes glowed angrily as she coaxed the twitching probe. “I greatly look forward to the possibilities of this confrontation.”