AoA: Sinister Legacy

October 26, 2017:

As the battle for Washington rages, a X-Men team attacks Ms. Sinister lab to attempt to free Nate Grey and defeat Apocalypse's Heirs leadership. (Emits by Nate)

The ruins of Washington, near the Pentagon Crater

Underground high-tech lab.


NPCs: AoA Ms. Sinister, AoA Northstar, AoA Aurora, AoA Gabriel Summers/War, the Shadow Thief/Pestilence, AoA Manifold (not seen), AoA Jean Grey/Death


Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

A few days ago the American Air Fleet left New York, heading south. 32 airships and a handful quinjets transporting about two thousand soldiers and sailors, humans and mutants. They are going to face an unknown number of Infinites, cyborgs and powerful mutants.

And the Shadow Thief, which means they have no chance. Unless the X-Men can remove the evil super-telepath from the equation.

Meanwhile the 'other X-Men', the visitors of that alternate, fabulous and utopic (for the AoA standards, that is) other Earth, have been sent via Gateway to the ruins of Washington. And Emma Frost is with them because Stryker is pretty sure they are going to be the Shadow Thief main target.

The rebuilding had been going at the other side of the Potomac River, so this place is a dump. There is a crater where the Pentagon used to be, and the National Airport is in ruins. But Cyclops (AoA Cyclops) gave them the coordinates of Sinister's 'orphanage' in the city and that is the first place they are checking.

As they arrive, they can hears air-raid sirens sounding at the other side of the river. Explosions. And thunder and lightning. The attack has started.

Jean can feel Nate close. Muffled by some kind of technological dampers. But he is down there. Too strong to be fully hidden, and pretty much impossible to hide from Jean anyway because their 'psychic wavelengths' are almost identical.

Lorna stepped out of the Gateway, she had ditched the battered leather and jeans she'd been wearing for the most part. Once more wearing the suit she'd had on when the X-men had arrived in this reality. Of course, she'd changed a few things, filled in the gaps that high school her had left. And reinforced the material with more metal down to the fibers—effectively making herself a suit of armor that clung to her every movement.

The suit was still green of course. She felt in this world no reason to stick to the shadows and try to play down who she was.

Especially, as now she was also wearing Magneto's helmet, or this world's version of it anyways. That remained the classic red it had always been and left her features in shadows. The helmet was a symbol, in part. A symbol of this world's Magneto. Of the hero that had helped to take down Apocalypse. Not of death as it had been in her world.

It was strange, to know that Jean couldn't speak with her mentally now. But at the same time it meant Emma Frost or any other telepaths that Lorna didn't want in her head couldn't get in either. Which was likely why Magneto had loaned it to her for this mission.

Jean arrived moments after Lorna X-men uniform, with a borrowed high-tech rifle of some kind since she wasn't sure just how effective her telepathy would be and she wasn't going to see herself rendered useless by The Shadow King.

"We need to move quickly." She announced as if it wasn't obvious, "We shouldn't be too far from the Orphanage where Nate is being held." She wasn't sure who would be taking point though or leading the way, "The sooner we can reach him, the sooner we can end this."

Emma Frost is tagging along, but doing her very best to not look as discomforted as she is. Her painted-on body suit is practical (at least in that it doesn't actively get in her way), in a bright purple, and her boots a contrasting pink, because she couldn't care less who sees her. She has been quiet and stand-offish for most of the trip, and whenever Lorna isn't looking there may or may not be a narrowed gaze cast in her direction.

But Stryker sent her. And so Frost is here. Through the portal and touching down where they should.

She knows the maps of the place they've arrived, and she glances down to a navigational device on her wrist before pointing in a direction. "It should be that way," she offers helpfully.

Rogue had her bodysuit on too, okay, well, it was halfway on… the lower half at least — cinched off by her belt around her waist while the upper half was just loosely laying down rumpled up around her hips and the back of her legs. On her upper body, Rogue had a dark grey tshirt on that she'd written 'Not Magneto's Wife - Ew' on the chest with a black magic marker. On her head she had a New York Yankee's baseball cap she'd found and some long black gloves on up to her elbows. Rogue's boots were up to her knees, black leather matching the black bodysuit leggings.

Marie's hair was just loose and laying down out of the ballcape on either side, brown/white and flowing about in the winds as she moved.

Rogue was quiet, didn't have a lot to say.

Jamie is of course with the group, but he has decided at least for the time being to be the sole Jamie. Sure he has mostly kept to himself this trip, but that's cause he saw all the looks he was getting from the natives of the dimension. Yeah something was telling him that his counterpart here isn't or wasn't a very nice guy. He didn't get any combat gear or anything, instead he has choosen his standard outfit. Hey the trench coat is a comfort blanket for him, he feels naked without it! Jamie himself is being silent for a change as well. What is there for him to say right now. Just listen to the orders and help when he can.

The orphanage building is a small place missing the top floor and with all the windows shattered. Cyclops said whatever was interesting there would be underground, of course. And certainly Lorna can sense powerful generators somewhere underground.

The entrance way down not obvious, though.

But the X-Men don't have long to search because their presence is obviously detected quickly. Suddenly the floor burst open, sending chunks of concrete and stone flying and shattering the building from the inside.

Gabriel Summers, Horseman War, hovers upwards clad in gold and red armor. "You should have taken the peace offer, foreigners," he states. "I have little time to waste with you, the humans are begging to be crushed. But we will kill you all first."

We? Yes. He is not alone. A man and a woman flank him. They are dressed in black Kevlar with red signs on their right upper chest. Their silver hair flows long and wild, and they are glowing faintly. Some of the X-Men would recognize them as the mutant twins Northstar and Aurora.

Lorna closed her eyes, trying to find her center and trace the electrical currents below ground… trying.. trying.. And then the floor burst open and Lorna threw her hands up defensively. A magnetic shield sparked to life around her instinctively, blocking the chunks of concrete and stone from smashing into her and anyone behind her. The shield vanished as she lowered her hands and spied Gabriel Summers floating above them.. alongside the two glowing twins.

Her eyes narrowed and she glanced back to Rogue. If anyone had a chance of taking out the Summers' brother above, it had to be her. Given that he'd already wiped the floor with her and Jean..

"Full of yourself today, aren't you?" Polaris quipped back, and lifted up off the ground with a shift of her powers. Who was on point for this fight? Jean? Her? Lorna didn't waste more time. "Rogue, want to try knocking this Summers asshole back into the ground?"

"We don't have time for this." Jean stated with a growl as she began to focus on raising telekinetic shields to protect those closest to her but she wasn't sure in this moment what she wanted to do.

She would wait and see how the other X-Men reacted before going on the offense, focusing her powers on the protection of her team-mates; silently wishing she had some of Scott's tactical expertise.

Emma listens to the exposition speech, and her lips curl downwards into a simple frown. "I'm not a foreigner," she mutters darkly as she looks to Gabriel, even as she moves to get her own arms up to block the flying chips off of Polaris's opening strike. Then, more loudly, more comes: "Also the humans are off-limits, and my dying was definitely not on this meeting's agenda so I think you administrative department might need a new hire."

Rogue looked to the enemies as they burst onto the scene quite literally and she just sighed and reached up to her hat and turned it around to face backward. Lorna's words were absorbed through her ear-holes and she slowly nodded her head. "Right. Gotcha. Okay… sure. Great! Just the thing I wanted t'do t'day… Smack the eve'ah livin' shit right outta some stuuuUUUupid people!"

All of this was said as Rogue waltzed her way over to part of a busted up road and she crouched and picked up a big stretch of asphalt… ripping it up out of the ground like it weren't nothing!

Rogue took to the sky a moment later! A 10 foot by 5 foot wall of road heading right for this Summers boy. "Always wanted t'bang a Summers. Now's my chance, I guess." Rogue quipped from behind her road-shield!

The concrete goes flying, sending debris everywhere of course, and well poor Jamie isn't fast enough to get out of the way of everything that is flying. Concentration broken, debris flies and hits him, that just means there is another Jamie now to worry about. Well hopefully just the stupid evil people have to worry about it, who knows how the dupes will behave.

"Yeah yeah yeah. You're just all talk, and no action. Come and get it." Okay Rogue has the one guy taken care of, hopefully. The Jamies are hoping to distract the other two. If there is one thing the one man gang is good for, it's a distraction, right?

Gabriel snorts when Lorna legates to Rogue to confront him. "Bold talk for copies," he grunts, raising his hands and sending a massive plasma blast to Rogue. The asphalt shield is pulverized, but at least it helps to lessen the impact on her body!

Yes, Emma might not be a copy, but she is just a helpless powerless human-wannabe, right?

Northstar goes for Lorna, hitting her at super-speed and aiming a dozen punches to her head. Well, a couple punches, which hit Magneto's helmet. So instead he grabs the helmet and tries to remove it.

Aurora flies down to Madrox and… stops, eyes wide. "He is a Madri priest. But they all died!"

Lorna cursed, hoping that she would've been able to help Rogue by playing shield at least with the energy blasts Gabriel was so fond of throwing around. Of course, at least, with Northstar, the man was hitting metal. Metal that was magnetized to her body and wasn't budging no matter how hard he pulled at her in the air. Her head rang from each blow— she didn't have super strength or durability after all.

And with a snarl, she shoved outwards with an electromagnetic blast of energy, trying to get back space to keep Northstar from getting in more punches. Still, she was insanely glad for the armor she'd forged.

Jean would start first with Aurora, due to her surprise which meant her mind was already distracted and then she would move on to Northstar.

Reaching a hand to her forehead, she focused her powers into trying to trick Aurora into thinking Gabriel was Rogue about to attack her and Northstar into thinking Gabriel was Lorna about to attack him.

She hoped that it would work, if even for a few moments which would in theory give her friends time for an opening.

Emma trots away from the fight, at least sideways from it. But even as she does, she keeps a keen eye on it. But even as she does that, she is looking for something else. A way around. A way towards the Summers that they actually came for.

They want to ignore her? OKAY. Let the other people attack for now, Frost is looking to tilt the table if she can by getting a new player sitting at it.

Okay was not expecting that, but her reaction to him does help explain the looks that Jamie has gotten on this world now doesn't it. "Any rumors of my death have been exaggerated." Hey it's all he can think of to say at a time like this. I mean really what do you say when you find out your double is that even the mutant Nazi people don't attack? Hey maybe he can play along or something, "And now you have ruined my planning. You will have to pay for that?" Evil people really do say stuff like that, right?

Northstar is blasted back, and ends pretty much in the same pile Rogue was blasted on, barely conscious. That armor saved Lorna from serious injuries, although she will still have some bruises later. And now Gabriel is flying to her.

When Jean attempt to sneak into Aurora's mind, she finds a shadow shielding her. « A no, little copy. This one is mine » the cold, creepy self of the Shadow Thief, who attempts to slither into the redheads mind through the link she opened into Aurora.

The silver-haired woman steps back, hesitantly. "N-no. I am a Prelate of the Elite Mutant Forces. You can't touch me, Madri." But judging by her expression, that might not be really true.

Emma can easily sneak down, as Gabriel left a big hole on the floor of the building. There is a sublevel there for sure, with metal walls and a certain lack of light.

Lorna skidded back in the air as she caught herself after having blasted Northstar … right into the pile of rubble Rogue was under. She cursed, she was going to hurt in the morning if she made it through this fiasco. And then War was coming for her and she dropped plunging down in a sharp dive to avoid getting smacked directly again. She needed to keep space between her and Gabriel if she was going to have a chance. Her electromagnetic blasts weren't going to slow him down. She knew that much from experience.

She also knew, she had to keep her magnetic shields up if she wasn't going to get fried by some classic Summers energy blast.

If she didn't figure out how to end this quickly, she was going to exhaust herself. With a twist of her features she spun around in the air, and reached for the metal in the area— anything and everything— and started to lob it in Gabriel's direction.

«Do be a dear and keep them busy upstairs, won't you?» The thoughts fly across the growing distance as Emma continues to descend into the sub level, offered up to the redhead upstairs. Her pale eyes take everything in from behind her assymetrically bobbed blonde hair. «Just let me know if it looks like they're starting to get bored?»

Jean allowed the others to handle the foes in front of their eyes as she tried to engage the Shadow King, trying to figure out where he was or how close he was to the group, « Yours? Do you control them? » She tried to assault the psychic defenses of The Shadow King with her own powers, probing for weaknesses.

'The Madri' just looks at Silver Haired Mutant before him, and he steps forward as she steps back. Both of him do so actually, and as they step forward they move their hands up and snap their fingers, suddenly there are now four more of them. "You have decided to interfere with my own plans. I can do whatever I want to you, who do you think will stop me?" Oh yeah Jamie is gonna need a lot of booze after this. Really why the hell is she scared of him, and why does he keep playing up with it.

The 6 dupes all step closer to Aurora, "Or you can leave now, and let me do what I am here to do." It's worth a shot, what's the worse that happens, she calls the bluff, and well Jamie has to fight her or something.

Gabriel certainly attempts to fry Lorna when he is closer, but the magnetic fields hold well against lasers and plasma, while throwing several hundred pounds of iron and steel at the dark-haired mutant soon force him to concentrate on his own magnetic field for defense, which also depletes his defenses. But which of the two can play this game longer?

Meanwhile Aurora frowns faintly at the 'Madri' threats. She looks scared, but she is also listening to someone. Telepathy, no doubt. "You are an impostor, of course," she decides. Then snarls, and bursts into a blinding flash of light.

« Oh, I trained most of these » explains the Shadow Thief, fending off Jean's attacks but not pressing too hard against her. « With old Essex approval and aid. Aurora was a particularly pathetic specimen before I tinkered with her mind »

Once Emma's eyes adapt to the shadowy conditions, she can see the first sublevel is just that… the first. A spiral staircase leads down to many more underlevels. Twenty, or more. It is a huge place, but only the deepest floors seems to have light.

Lorna continued the hectic flight in the air, picking up and throwing metal as she hurriedly found it from the ground to hurl at Gabriel. A snarl pulled at her lips as she gave into the all the anger and all the penty up rage she'd hand since they'd arrived. There was power below, something with a generator. It wasn't a city full of power, but it was something that Polaris could draw on to boost her own powers.

She took the chance to draw on it after hurling another crushed chunk of steel at Gabriel. She touched down, landing lightly and drawing her hand against the remains of the concrete and pulled on whatever electricity remained below, trying to draw it up to her and boost herself temporarily. She needed it.

Regardless if she managed to draw anything at all to herelf, she didn't stay grounded for long and took to the air again. Trying her best to keep Gabriel occupied.

An inward curse escapes Emma's thoughts as she sees the spiral. Of all the times to not possess the ability to fly. And so, she does what she must. « I'm downstairs, » she tells Jean, even as she starts racing down the stairs. « Are you holding your own up there? If so, I'm going see if I can find to our little missing sheep. »

A glance over the rail as she runs.

«I may need to go quiet for a little bit.»

Jean shifted her focus to the Astral Plane, acknowledging Emma briefly but not diverting her own attention. She would seek to battle The Shadow King within his own mind, whether or not it was a good idea was not something she was worried about as she manifested her consciousness elsewhere.

Flash of light, totally not good there, especially when Jamie wasn't expecting it. Now we have confused and blind dupes. "Okay which one of you let it slip that we were acting?" Really a dupe spending time in the Royal Shakespeare Company, would have made him a better actor you think. Of course it could be because Jamie just isn't that convincing as a bad guy. But whatever, Prime and his dupes are all staggering around temporarily blind right now. Maybe reabsorbing the dupes will help though, good thing he learned how to do that without touching them. He focuses for a moment and just lets them flow back into him. Doesn't really help since all of them also had the same thing.

Rogue was burried beneath rubble and some dumb person's body, but it wasn't a big deal to her, once she got her groove back she just shoved the junk up into the air and used her gravity-defying flight power to glide herself out from beneath it all like a shot out of a gun!

Rogue started coughing then and she adjusted the Yankee's cap on her head and then looked about to re-find that man who'd shot her with that energy beam. "Wise guy, eh?" She said as she shot again toward him, this time with just her fists extended and her knees together, flying at her full super speed to hit him like a damn hammer!

Levels and levels with only the emergency lights on. There are tanks of fluid in some, bodies floating inside. Dead or mindless to Emma's senses. Cloning banks? Or perhaps storage for specimens. The dust indicates no one has been there in years. Finally, she can hear the hmm of machinery, and she arrives a 'live' level.

Jean steps into the Astral Plane. Dangerous leaving her body there with at least two enemies still around. But Gabriel just got slammed from behind by Rogue, and the Horseman crashes hard against the side of a building, barely conscious.

Aurora on the other hand is… quite happy to see Jamie dupes disappearing into the main one. That gives her a real (and blind) target to grab and going up, and up, and up. So quickly Madrox can barely keep consciousness against the acceleration. She drops him off from a mile high.

Lorna felt the air crackle and hum with the temporary boost she'd stolen from a distant line that had been in the process of being repaired… It wasn't much. Her hands curled as she exhaled and recentered herself. Gabriel had to be handled and — Rogue came flying up and slammed the man back into the side of a building. Green eyes scanned the area for other threats and she spotted Jamie being hoisted up into the air by Aurora.

There. Polaris took off into the air after the two, ready to catch Jamie the second that he was dropped… and if she didn't drop him?

The green haired mutant charged after her, reading to blast Aurora if need be.. If only she could ensure that Jamie wasn't going to get hit too.. Hrm.

Jean was confident that Rogue, Lorna, and Jamie had things in hand while Emma descended below. She continued to seek out the Shadow King, hoping to defeat him where she was most powerful.

Well crap, that wasn't what he was expecting. Sure Jamie could possible get out of this, make some dupes, and just keep adding weight. But that doesn't help when she is flying him up into the air. Cause what happens next, will be Jamie and the dupes going splat. Of course she ends up dropping him anyway, and it doesn't matter what he does now. So he goes falling, and falling, and he is hoping one of the wonderful flyers that are with him manage to catch him.

Rogue wasn't really interested in just knocking Gabriel down and giving him a chance to recover, no, she went WITH him into the building and when the chaos and crunching sounds of breaking rock and <whatever> happened around the two of them, Rogue just got more angry. The southern belle had a lot of anger pent-up inside of her, she often had to talk to the Professor when it was becoming too overwhelming, but she hadn't had that outlet since coming to this f'd up future hell.

So no, Rogue's pent-up anger was being released on Gabriel… in the form of punches to his face, neck, chest and… most specificlly his nose. Rogue was screaming the whole time she pummel-attacked the man, like a rage-infused beast! She was sick of these a-holes trying to hurt her friends, and this was how she tried to show it.

When Emma finally gets to that bottom level - before, really, as she runs and runs down those stairs, surveying each with a scan for something - anything - of promise.

There's nothing.

Not until that bottom level, when Frost finally finds something moving. She catches her breath for a moment, but not too long of one. Just long enough to where her lungs stop burning just a little, and then she sets her jaw and begins walking determinedly towards that mechanical sound.

«Grey? Are you there?» she asks, sending her thoughts racing ahead of her.

Like before the Astral Plane of Washington is strange. Bleak and dark, like most the areas of this world, but also infused with a presence and a dense telepathic field. Which now is obviously not the Shadow Thief influence, but something else and much more powerful. The evil telepath is not presenting battle, though. He is not quite here.

In fact he has travelled down, to the place Emma has walked in. It is a large chamber-lab, and there is a woman there. Pale skin, dark hair, dressed in leather. "Emma Frost," she greets, standing up her chair. Monitors behind show the battle for Washington. Sentinels fighting cyborgs. The Avengers fighting Famine and Cannonball. Human soldiers struggling against mutant troops. Hard to say who is winning. "I see you have recovered your powers, how interesting?"

The woman seems quite calm, but suddenly her expression changes. Startled. "Gabriel! He is dead."

« Emma » that is Nate's telepathic voice, coming from a closed cylinder at one side. There are two there, and the mind on the second is sleeping. « Eden. Manifold. They use him for teleportation. He is not willing » explains Nate. Between the cylinders there is a glass cage maybe a yard across. A deep shadow writhes inside. That is the Shadow Thief's anchor to the physical world.

And while Lorna decides if she wants to save Jamie or blast Aurora, Rogue vents her rage on War, who is almost unconscious and can't use his powers to protect himself. A couple punches with super-strength and Gabriel Summers dies, skull crushed.

It would seem that Lorna's mind was made up for her as Jamie falls and she whisks in at a sharp dive to save him. She flew fast, magnetic fields crackling with hints of green at the edges of her vision as she made to catch him with both arms rather than risk something giving way by catching him by anything metal on his person.

Of course, that leaves her hands occupied, but she didn't really need to use them to direct blasts of energy at Aurora.

But it was safer to return Jamie to the ground first. Which she does, as quickly and carefully as she possibly could— he might get a bit jostled around as she dropped him from a safe height up before twisting around to face the last mutant standing still topside.

Although the Shadow Thief has been strangely reluctant to confront Jean directly and has limited to protect the Prelates, his trail in the Astral Plane is quite obvious. He is anchored down there, and apparently not to a living vessel like the Shadow King does. And he is gathering energy to attack Emma while she is distracted talking to Essex.

Jean's search for The Shadow Thief continued through the Astral Plane, searching desperately for signs of The Shadow King until she was finally able to catch a hint of the villain's trail. Following the trail through the twisted Astral Plane, she tried to focus on her target as she banished curious thoughts about what had decimated and twisted the realm of thought so much.

When she spies the Shadow King, she doesn't hesitate or give him a chance to finish gathering psychic energy to attack Emma; she strikes quickly and directly.

In the physical plane, she was one of the least capable of the X-Men in a direct confrontation, but here in the Astral Plane? Her power was only limited by her mind as she fired what were meant to be devastating psionic bolts of energy wreathed in flame towards the Shadow King, "This ends now. Your reign is over."

Dead? Bad news for Gabriel Summers. Good news for Emma Frost.

«Good! One moment, dear,» she tells Nate, who has helped her make sense of what is here.

"Oops!" the blonde exclaims in response to the woman's horror as Gabriel Summers finds (or doesn't) his skull crushed in, shrugging and contorting her features in a pantomime of contriteness with fingertips partially obscuring her open mouth. "Did they break your friend?" Pouting, she offers her hollow condolences. "So terribly sorry about that."

Then? Then her lips curl upwards into a heartless smile. "Unfortunately for you and your half-penny cohorts, I've done a bit better than just recover my abilities."

She looks, over her shoulder as she feels the weight of something unseen come closer. And promptly ignores it.

And with that, her boots pound heavier against the floor as she starts racing towards the biggest problem in front of her—that swirling dark of Shadow King's anchor, her pale form shifting to one more translucent and glittering diamond beneath the purple of her bodysuit. It is with a great deal of relief that she finds her lungs stop hurting. Her heart stops trying to pound its way out of her chest. Her concern melts away. All told, she feels very good, and very focused.

And very ready to break some stuff.

Jamie was caught by Lorna, yay for team X-Factor! Of course after that well no comes to the problem, he has no idea what to do! So of course he has decided to wander around and try to find the others. Sure he would like to help Lorna fight off the evil stupid flying lady, but he can't fly! So now he just goes and looks for others. Of course it can't hurt to have a few dupes by his side, just in case. So a few snaps of the fingers and now the Jamie is joined by 4 more. And he starts heading in the last direction that he saw the others.

Rogue stood up over Gabriel's now dead body and she looked down at him for a second or so before then looking at her gloved hands, they were stained in dark blood.

She went to pull the right one off first and then tossed it down onto Gabriel's face (or what was left of it), followed-suit by the left soon after. Her hair was a mess with dust and debris after crashing through the building's exterior wall and it was caked over her face— which was also speckled with splash-back blood from the man who'd tried to kill her with some laser beam only minutes ago.

Rogue sighed a breath and she just turned around, boots crunching on the disaster-zone that was the ground they'd landed on and she shot back into the sky, bursting back out through the hole in the building that she and Gabriel had created moments earlier.

The angry southern belle rushed through the air on a curving arch that would take her around the entire perimeter of the area, with her knees together and her bare hands down by her thighs, Rogue flew at tremendous speed while her eyes scanned… everything, looking for a new target or just watching for now.

"Give up now and you can still leave in one piece!" She shouted as she flew at the other woman, and stretched out her hands to send a blast of electro-magnetic energy at the woman.

The Shadow Thief reels at the telepathic fire. An entity of pure psychic energy he likes to claim supremacy in the Astral Plane, but in truth he is only near invincible when he has been feeding extensively in the negative psychic energy of people.

And he has, because he has the terrified population of Washington at his mercy. But he has also been spending much energy lately, so he is hardly at his best. And Jean genuinely scares him. Like most bullies, he is a coward.

Which is why he was attacking Emma. He pounces into her mind and slams his astral self into a diamond wall.

Then Jean is burning him, and his scream of pain can be heard by all the minds in a hundred yards radius.

And then Emma smashes against his containing chamber, shattering his astral form.

Claudine Essex herself seems shocked at Gabriel Summer's death, but her expression darkens when Emma mocks her, and then growing cold as she recovers control. Her own telepathy is a terrible force to behold, and Jean can see her coming like a giant claw of steel and fire. And yet even that strength slides harmlessly against Emma's diamond wall.

The Shadow Thief, Horseman Pestilence, trapped between a fire hammer and a diamond anvil, is shattered and unconscious He falls slowly into the deeper Astral, his grip on reality fading to nothing. Two down.

The pale woman snarls, "that was, unexpected, Frost. And irritating," and she hits the diamond woman with telekinesis, pulling her off the broken machine and trying to push her against a distant wall, where she can't do more harm.

Meanwhile, up there, Aurora flies down in a hyperspeed blurr to see what has happened to Gabriel, and seeing Rogue over the corpse makes the mutant woman go pale. "Mon Dieu… y-you killed him," and now angry Rogue is looking at her!

She bolts, to grab her brother and attempt to escape. Fortunately she is considerably faster than Rogue. She hopes! Unfortunately she runs into Lorna's blast. It is marginally better than being punched by Rogue, but still strong enough to knock out the Prelate.

Another one that has been kicked off from Emma's mind is Nate. Ouch. But now he feels Jean too. « Jean… » he manages to whisper. He feels unfocused, or probably drugged, which is exactly what he has been the last few days.

Hey look Jamie did something right for a change! He decided to go looking down into the caverns or whatever the heck they are. And hey he got here just in time to see the Mime Lady toss the Diamond Lady at the wall. So what is the Madri to do now, well he can try and help out the Diamond Lady! The Dupes just run over and brace behind Emma. What's the worst that could happen? One or two of them get hurt or something? He can always make more to replace them. Not the ideal solution but hey it works for Jamie dang it.

Rogue's long perimeter flight came to an end with her landing on the edge of what used to be the Pentagon's southwestern corner. She landed solidly with both feet planted on the ledge and lowering down into a crouch, her wild hair falling down around her shoulders and the black X-Men jumpsuit (which she only half wore still) settling around her waist again.

Rogue wiped her hands off on her grey tshirt and then reached into a pouch on her leather belt that was wrapped about her waist, she pulled out her cigarette lighter and a hand-rolled cigarette she'd made herself with some home-grown 'stuff' in it that she'd pilfered on a scavenging run.

Rogue saw Aurora make eye contact with her, she didn't do nothing… didn't chase her or pursue her nothing, if Aurora wanted to run off with her sibling's body? So be it. She put the cigarette between her lips and lit it, then saw Aurora get blasted out of the sky by Lorna and that just made the southern gal wince, and then shake her head. "Serves'em all right." She muttered, kicking her feet out and coming to sit down on the ledge of the building.

Alas, Emma has not yet developed an immunity to telekinesis. While she is delighting in smashing the Shadow Thief's anchoring vessel into smithereens, smashing things with her sparkling and rock hard fists. Without access to her psychic gifts, she doesn't know that Shadow Thief is no more. And so she keeps smashing until she's grabbed up by the proverbial scruff, relocated, all to pin her from moving. There's a growl of impotent fury, and it doesn't abate as her crystalline form is about to be intercepted by one of the !Madri.

She's not certain if she's fast enough, but she tries to revert to her softer flesh to minimize the damage. To him anyway, since she has to go back to feeling and hurting to do it.


Jean returned to her body from the Astral Plane, "< Don't worry Nate, I'm coming. >" She directed her thoughts towards her alternate-reality son before descending into the hole to join Emma, who seemed to have things in hand.

It wasn't a huge deal with her telekinesis, practically flying directly towards the Containment Chamber Nate was being held in as she tried to free him; nothing else a concern.

Lorna descended from the sky as Aurora tumbled to the ground from her blast. She didn't bother doing anything further to the two knocked out twins, rather she zoomed after Jean as the telepath went for where Nate was below the ground. Her gaze circled around the area, immediately noticing the containment chamber Jean went straight for, assuming that must be where Nate was being kept.

Her teeth grit together, and with her hands raised, she reached out. If it was ferrous metal at all, she was ripping it open. If not? She was reaching for the largest source of metal she could grab to throw at it.

Rogue was puffing on her homemade cigarette when she saw Lorna stalking past down below… she watched the green haired beauty moving on a mission, so she decided to join her. With a push off of the building, Rogue dropped all the way down to the ground and landed on her booted feet on the ground a few feet behind Lorna.

She put her cigarette back between her lips and walked at a fast enough clip to catch up/remain slightly behind, Lorna's left side, she'd smile at her friend then, but otherwise remain unspoken, following her on her continued rampage.

Essex steps back when the Madri horde runs into the chamber, "more… copies. Jamie Madrox is alive too?" Obviously the other Madrox was appreciated… by the bad guys. She releases the now human, unconscious Emma because she can feel Jean coming.

When the redhead attempts to rip the containing cylinders with telekinesis, the pale woman forms his own telekinetic barrier, blocking Jean off. "Amazing, it is the same psychic signature, only not as strong," she comments.

Not as strong as Claudine can summon. Now Jean realizes she is channeling and adding Nate's power to her own… and someone else too. Jean's own power!

Lorna magnetic powers are not barred by the telekinetic force, and Nate's prison has plenty of steel. Tearing it apart is easy enough. A Nate covered in wiring and tubes falls to the ground, drugged into the barely conscious.

That takes a good chunk of Claudine's power, but hardly all of it. "Fine then… so much violence will be responded in kind. Eden, bring Death."

The Last Horsemen is portalled-in by a disk of light. Clad in a black bodysuit, yet wreathed in red cosmic flames, with the eyes just pools of golden light. Horseman Death is Jean Grey. Who was dead and buried five years ago.

And the younger Jean Grey can hear the deathsong of the Phoenix in the other woman's mind.

"Kill them all," murmurs Claudine.

Lorna glared beneath the helmet at Essex, her lips pulling back in a silent snarl. "I am no copy." She didn't have time to get out much more as she crushed the containment chamber Nate was being held in further as if to just get her frustrations out. She still levitated off the ground by a few inches. Her anger such that it kept her alert and on edge, pushing the magnetic fields that surrounded her wider than they usually were.

As the last Horseman came about, covered in fire.. Her eyes widened. It was hard to not immediately see how very, very, badly this could all go.

A curse escaped her and she moved as soon as Claudine's orders left her lips. Lorna flung her hands out, directing the scraps of the containment field in a defensive wall of metal around Nate protectively. He was down and clearly didn't look like he was getting up anytime soon. He was in danger of getting caught in a stray blast or .. well, something. Beyond that? In a battle of telepaths and flames, she was very, very thankful she had Magneto's helmet.

Jean allowed the shock to fade from her features upon seeing herself, or rather another version of herself as the final horseman they would encounter. She felt like, she should have known but there was no way she could have known.

Looking between Miss Sinister and Eden, she shook her head, "There's been enough death for today. You won't relent, I know you won't." She was looking at Essex when she spoke, before looking at the older version of herself, "If you're Jean Grey, you're strong enough to fight this, whatever hold they have over you. You have friends waiting to see you again."

She was unsure what the others would do, but she focused her energies into a singular psychic attack, more force then she would use against most foes; only the most inhuman and dangerous.

Essex had put them all through so much pain, so much misery. She was responsible for the deaths of untold and Jean was sure she would continue.

Even though she was not in the ethereal plane, as she called upon her reserves of energy; the ethereal fire that spoke of her connection to the Phoenix surrounded her.

"I'm sorry, Claudine." She unleashed the full force of her psychic powers on Miss Sinister, intending to do whatever it would take to stop her and insure the people of this world could be safe.

Rogue stood near the entrance to the room and she watched Lorna helping Nate, which seemed to be in order… She then saw Jean and Emma doing what…ever it is that those two with their brain-games did. That semeed to be in order.

When the Horseman Jean was summoned though, thats when Rogue reached up to pluck her mostly-finished cigarette out of her lips and she just sighed. "Crap. I shoulda stayed outside." She muttered.

With a huff, Rogue flicked her cigarette butt off in a random direction and then announced to everyone. "I got this. I know her weakness…"

Rogue looked at Horseman Jean and raised her hands up to cup her mouth. "Hey, Mean Jean!" She shouted. "You're not popular anymore!" She added, then lowered her hands and grinned, proud of herself. "That should take care of it."

Rogue released a sigh and looked to her version of Jean, hoping that the Nice Jean would be able to handle this, right? Right…?


The moment Jean touches Jean psychically; they are one in the Phoenix. In the (psychic) distance Claudine cries in surprise and alarm. And in the (psychic) distance Nate Grey laughs bitterly, for he hates the cosmic firebird.

Minds merge, memories are shared.

Five years ago Jean Grey and Scott Summers led a few thousands survivors from Apocalypse's Holding Pens to freedom. And then the Human High Council bombardment began, and it looked like all they could do was to die free.

Desperate, yet hopeful, Jean reaches to the sky to try to stop the bombs, and cried, begged, to any god, spirit or demon still looking at her dying world for help.

And from an incommensurable distance the Phoenix responded.

But then Havok shot her in the back, and she burned, falling to the ground, dying.

The bombs exploded, New York was consumed in fire. From the top of Apocalypse's tower Magneto and Rogue held their young child and said their goodbyes. Then died in the fireball.

Dead but not dead, Jean awakened and screamed. *NO*. And pushed against reality and time with all the might of the Phoenix, unraveling the last few minutes of the end of the world.

The bombs destined to destroy the Eastern Seaboard were stopped, and destroyed. But such feat, turning back time, was too much even for the Phoenix. And it slept inside dead Jean Grey for a while.

Until Claudine Essex and the Shadow Thief found her chrysalis and took her to the labs under Washington. They bound Jean/Phoenix with Celestial technology and astral chains. Until today.

« Sister » says the older Jean, her tattooed face rising to look at the other, younger Jean.

And Jean can see starts consumed. Shattered planets. She recoils, and rebels against this fate that was so quickly coming. « I won't be Death »

There is light and flame. Somewhere in the (physical) distance Claudine Essex is screaming in pain.


(OOC note: there will be epilogues for those interested!)

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