Sins of the Future #9: Revelation

March 11, 2015:

Rachel Summers (Marvel Girl) & Calvin Rankin (Mimic) get together to pool their knowledge of the future and alternate timelines to see what solutions they can come up with regarding Project: Centurion. Rachel reveals her history to Calvin including WHY she is here in the present. They also discuss Gold Team and Rachel approaching Scott about the potential of leading it.

Xavier Institute


NPCs: None.


Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

Rachel was sitting in one of the computer rooms, her eyes constantly scanning over the data from the 'Centurions' or Sentinels as many had already begun calling them. She had never encountered or heard of weapons with these capabilities before, in any era; it chilled her to her very core.

Mimic seemed of all the X-Men, one of the few who she could relate to the most given their histories. So she had called him here to join her with a brief telepathic message asking if he could meet in the lab.

Since there was no sense of urgency to Rachel's thoughts, Cal walks into the lab instead of blinking. He took the time to grab a six pack from the kitchen and as he arrives, one floats over to Rachel. Without saying anything, he moves to stand behind her and look at what she's studying. "Ah, those. I don't know if the different name and design is more interesting or troubling."

The cold one is accepted without hesitation and Rachel cracks it open telekinetically before grabbing it in her hand, "It's a lot of both. I thought the Sentinel who pursued me from the future was powerful but, these are more advanced than the Sentinels of my time or any other I've seen."

She highlights the neutralizer warheads on the screen and explains, "We saw these in action. Military F-18s used them on one of the mutants trying to attack this place. His name was The Inferno."

Rachel seems to be working from her own USB stick rather than the computer, "He had never before this day performed any serious actions against a major target, but he definitely fell closer towards the leanings of the Brotherhood. Now, pay close attention."

She begins playing an image on the computer, showing the F-18s approaching Rocket Red IV, Nate Grey and The Inferno. The F-18s fire off warheads which explode into cluster rounds with silver streaks in them. The Inferno, who was prior fighting Nate and Rocket then shields the pair from the blast with his fire before burning up as he was consumed by his own flames.

"He was literally burned alive by his own fires when the warheads hit him, his immunity to fire being stripped from him in an instant. I felt his final moments, his last thoughts. Whoever he was working with, their intent was to stop these Centurions before they could enter production."

She looks to Calvin seriously, "Have you ever seen anything like this?"

Cal twists off the cap from his own bottle and takes a swig as he watches the video. The six pack just hovers in place as he leans forward slightly. Once it ends, he reaches forward to play it again then stops it and zooms in on the warheads. "No, never. That doesn't mean much though. My own reality never had Sentinels. And the ones I visited, we were rarely in them long enough to learn anything except what we needed to do to set things right."

Rachel isn't exactly emboldened by that response, taking a long thoughtful drink of her beverage, "In the future, it starts with Mutants and then Metahumans and eventually, there's very little left. The Sentinels are the ones in control, they learn to adapt. They can even suppress our powers."

"Not many people know why I came here or why I was sent to the past." She knew of the listening devices and bugs that existed in the mansion and she also knew how to temporarily disassemble them all in their hiding places. That was exactly what she did.

"Can you keep this between us Calvin?"

"That was the case in at least one of the realities I was in." Cal agrees still studying the monitor until Rachel asks her question at which point he turns to study her. "I can't answer that until I know what you're going to say. If I feel it's something others don't need to know about, I won't tell anyone. At least until that situation changes. Fair warning though, I can't think of something offhand that the Professor shouldn't know about."

Rachel could appreciate Calvin's honesty more than anything else, in many ways it was better than promising to keep a secret with no intention to. She just wasn't sure exactly how to share her own seret.

"Most of the X-Men, outside of Cable don't know much about me other than I came from the future and I'm the daughter of Scott Summers and Jean Grey."

She sips at her beer, slightly nervous to even be sharing, "I wasn't just randomly sent back here Calvin, there was a lot more to it." A glance is given back to the monitors but she doesn't divulge further on that, "When I first arrived, I was supposed to prevent an event from occurring." She doesn't share what the event was, "I had arrived when I should have. It's just that, someone else or something else already prevented it. Yet, the Phoenix."

Yes, she mentioned The Phoenix, "It never left me then." Of course, the Phoenix wasn't part of her now, at least not in a cosmic sense; but she was always marked by it.

"I didn't know you were sent at all." Cal notes. "I assumed it was an accident. But coming back in time to prevent your future from ever happening makes sense. I'm pretty sure it's futile though. The timelines just split and a new reality is formed." That might even be what breaks the multiverse. Or maybe not. He's never managed to figure that out. "You were possessed by the Phoenix Force in your time? It never left you when? I'm not following."

Rachel seems even more nervous to admit this next part, "The reason I was able to travel through time is because we made a deal with the Phoenix for me to be its host in exchange for helping us to prevent our future from ever happening."

She finishes the beer, spinning it around in her hands, "Something else pursued me from my timeline, an extremely advanced Sentinel." She doesn't give the name of it but she looked back at those screens, a bit of fear in her eyes perhaps.

"To protect everyone here, we.." She has to correct herself, "..the Phoenix transported my pursuer and I into a far off time. That's why I was missing. What seemed like months for all of you, was years for me."

A beer drifts towards Rachel as she uses her telekinesis to snag it, "What happened to me during that time, it's not important." Except for the fact she may have been the longest host of the Phoenix Force without ever succumbing to darkness, "The Phoenix was ready to bring me back, because I think what I had to prevent was near."

"Then, somehow, they were able to capture us. The Phoenix and I." She sighs, "By they, I mean the people we've been calling 'The Sisterhood'."

"You used that term the other day." Cal points out. "The Sisterhood. So you know them. And they followed you here? They have time travel capability, obviously." He's mostly talking to himself as he puts everything into place. "Okay, correct me if I'm wrong… In your timeline, you made a deal with the Phoenix Force to prevent your timeline from happening. In exchange, you would serve as its willing host. So you came back in time to here. But so did one of your Sentinels. The Phoenix Force then moved you ahead in time again to keep the Sentinel from causing problems. I assume you destroyed it there. Then you were about to come back to this time when this Sisterhood caught you. That right so far? Then what happened?"

Rachel nods in response to Calvin, "You're pretty much on track but The Sisterhood didn't follow me here. They're too well established, I didn't even really remember them until recently."

She stood up from her seat and looked towards Calvin with a smile, "It was as if they knew we would be returning." The paradoxes of time travel; every little event causing ripples. It's possible they knew when Rachel would return because she had returned only for that future to be erased when they took her before her second arrival in the past.

"They ripped her from within me, she resisted as much as she could and then she was gone. Whether fled or taken or destroyed I don't know."

She activates her telekinesis with some intensity, simply focussing on it and causing the golden phoenix shaped symbol to appear over her left eye, "I've been marked with this since that day and this."

Rachel turns her back to Calvin and using her own powers, the upper half of her top begins to dissolve away showing him a tattoo of a phoenix across her back.

After a moment her clothing re-appears and she lets the phoenix symbol fade, "I don't think she's abandoned me. She brought Cable to me, to rescue me and then returned us here." Considering Cable lacked his timeslide ability at the moment and he had been able to rescue her it was worth considering.

She points at the Centurions, "These are what I'm here to stop." Her memories were fragmented due to the trauma she had suffered, "It's been coming to me slowly but I feel it. It was her final gift to me, a chance to prevent my future or anything like it from occurring."

Rachel settles back down on the chair and sighs, she had never shared this with anyone, "I'm sorry to burden you with this, I don't think anyone else could understand. Not my mother or my father."

"You're better off without it." There's not the slightest bit of doubt in Cal's voice when he says that. "The Phoenix Force is known and hated in one reality after another. It's gotten your mother killed in several of them." And he'd rather not have to kill yet another Grey, thankyouverymuch. He returns his gaze to the monitor and finishes his beer. "No, they probably couldn't. It's all very confusing if you haven't actually experienced it for yourself. And even then… I've met another you once before." he tells her in a voice that's distracted as he concentrates on the Sentinel problem. "You were a member of a team of heroes called the Avengers. You were a witch of some sort and cast magic. Still a telepath though." After a moment, he looks back to Rachel. "Would you like me to probe your memories and try to open then back up to you?"

Rachel had heard this talk of meeting other versions of her, but it often made very little sense to her but it did sometimes trigger fragmented memories, "It's possible you met another me or just another Rachel Summers who wasn't actually me since my parents seem to have a love of the same names regardless of time or space."

Time travel hurt her head, she even theorizes, "Anything is possible." Including it possibly having been her, although that was unlikely.

"You can try if you like, just be careful."

"You look like her. But there was no indication that she was from her future or had ever encountered the Phoenix Force." Cal tells Rachel and shrugs slightly. "You get used to meeting people who have never met you before and who might be wildly different from the one you knew." Pause. "Well, no you don't. But it becomes familiar after a while." The Spider-Man of that reality was not just a woman but a lesbian. Go figure. He sets his empty beer bottle in the six pack which floats down to the ground. "OKay, lower your shields and let me in. Since you're also a telepath, and a stronger one than me, why don't you hitch a ride and help."

Peering into the fragmented parts of Rachel's memory is like staring into a hurricane, amnesia and damaged memories were one thing but many of her memories seemed to be 'metaphorically' sealed away behind a swirling vortex that occasionally seemed to spit out a scene or an image.

Rachel does what she can to assist Calvin but it's as if she hits some kind of mental block, she wasn't meant to know all of these things.

Still while Rachel cannot continue, Calvin can.

Memories appear like doorways down an unending hallway, any door he opens containing what might be described as a traumatic memory if you were keen on understatements; perhaps Calvin had experienced terrifying things as well.

He sees encounters with alien races, battles side by side with the heroes of alternate universes before a dark presence seems to be pushing him out of her mind.

Finally, he stumbles upon something; a battle strewn across a ruined wasteland. Rachel fighting against a highly advanced sentinel that displays properties similar to the Centurion models, the thing that had pursued her from the future.

The feedback is starting to affect Calvin, his own thoughts slowly becoming disjointed as he's trying to unlock and make sense of the fragments of Rachel's locked mind.

Within the psychic realm a hideous looking alien beast appears, then millions more. The planet is burning and Rachel is doing it as Phoenix, but she was not a 'Dark Phoenix' as Calvin had encountered before.

Suddenly Rachel screams out loudly as the flood of traumatic and locked away memories becomes too much, "Stop! I can't take anymore." She looks positively pale.

Calvin could sense it though, he had helped her remember something that might help, maybe multiple things.

Cal doesn't usually go hunting for memories in someone's mind. There's more powerful and more skilled telepaths for that, such as Jean and the Professor. Still, he's had years of experience so know what he's doing. Especially after it turns out that Rachel can't really assist, he treads cautiously and takes his time. Such fragmentation and what seems to be deliberate blocks are not what he was expecting. And even though Rachel is not helping, she can feel the startlement and then the intense burning hatred he feels when he sees she's encountered a certain alien race. The Brood. That she's using the Phoenix Force to incinerate one of their planets gets nothing but the most extreme satisfaction, even joy, in response. It's an image he'll savor forever. He's even tempted to linger until she calls a halt to things and he carefully withdraws. "Are you okay? That… was not what I was expecting."

Rachel takes a deep breath before nodding hesitantly, "Yeah, I'm just not used to memories coming back like that all at once." The truth was she barely understood the significance of many of the things she had done, the Phoenix had definitely made good use of her as a host.

She begins to stare at the screen, "We're training to fight Sentinels but the Danger Room isn't going to be enough. If we face these Centurions, they can neutralize our powers. In the future, we used weapons, real weapons to fight these monsters."

If only she could remember more, "This isn't just a threat to the X-Men Calvin, it's a threat to the future of Earth itself." Sure, the rest of the galaxy would go on, but Earth.

"This Earth." Granted, it's now Cal's Earth too but it does put things in perspective. Not that he'll defend it any less arduously. "That's Lunair's power. She summons any weapon she can think of. It should give us an advantage in dealing with them. We'll need to make sure everyone learns to use actual weapons in addition to their powers. But more than that, we need to recruit others to our cause. The Fanastic Four. SHIELD. We must not stand alone."

Rachel nods, "I agree, entirely, maybe not so sure on the SHIELD thing but we're going to need to start actual combat training without powers." She just had this bad feeling about SHIELD, call it a gut instinct but she /loved/ Sue & Reed; once upon a time they may have been her mother and father in law. Not that she would ever tell them that.

"What we really need to do first though is maybe look towards helping get the teams in order. Berto and Red Team are doing a great job, but there's been no real team building or even formation until recently. The X-Men have the benefit of great leaders like my father and it's obvious he's going to need to focus on the Blue Team and help get them working as a team."

Another sip is taken of her beer, "Gold Team seems fairly neglected though, especially with the intended purpose." In her time, other X-Men may have stepped up but this wasn't her time, "We really need to work on that, I get the feeling Doctor McCoy is more interested in his lab work. Between the pair of us, we could help to build an exceptional team of X-Men. Maybe the best in any reality or future."

"He is, first and foremost, a scientist." Cal agrees. "And a damn good one. As for Gold, I think a lot of people are leery of being in the public eye. Most of Red are kids. They're more comfortable jumping into the deep end and hoping for the best. Blue is how things always were, maintaining the secrecy most X-Men were familiar with. In my reality though, there was no real anti-mutant prejudice. The X-Men were public just as any team of powered humans were. So since I got here, it just seemed that the secrecy went directly against our goal of good relations. But habits die hard, as I'm sure you know."

Rachel twirls the bottle around in her hand again before taking a drink, "I wish there was no prejudice anywhere, I would toast to that."

"It's hard for people to want to take that step towards the new 'Gold' team without a leader either. I'm hoping to approach Cyclops about this."

She hadn't referred to him as her father in this serious conversation, it would have seemed odd but so would calling him Scott, "Someone has to take the initiative and I'm willing to do it but I think I'd need support. You see where I'm going with this, right?"

"If you want the headache, go for it." Cal tells Rachel. "I decided a while ago I didn't. It's one thing if there's already a group of people who are enthusiastic about it. But I've already got a lot on my plate and don't really have the time to work on convincing everyone too."

Rachel couldn't help but smile as his response, "Enthusiasm doesn't always come instantly, sometimes, you need to help people along." Another sip of her beer is taken before she floats the empty bottle back to the six pack, "So I get the team going and together, we mold them into truly Amazing X-Men. Deal?"

"Deal." Cal assures Rachel. "I'll leave it to you to let Lunair know that her power might end up being the most important one we have available. I should mimic her and start practicing with it myself so I can figure out what the limits are."

Rachel slips the USB into her pockets, "I plan to, we're going to need her and focussed if we're going to defeat these enemies. I'll do what I can to help train her away from the silly and more towards the deadly." Before she leaves she turns to Cal and says softly, a grateful smile, "Thank you for listening. It meant a lot. "

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