“Charles Xavier didn’t create a superhero team. He created something much more. It was 1986 when I first met him and I was thrown into a strange hectic world of Mutants, Supervillians, hatred and violence with 4 other 16 year olds just as clueless as me. As the years went on the team roster changed and became more diverse. We had stranger and more bizarre adventures which changed us, some of us forever, we won and we lost... We lost people, we lost our homes, some lost their way and other’s lost the ones that meant the most to them. I lost the last chance I had at a normal life for this cause. We lost so much for years I wondered if I had gone mad when I got out of bed in the morning but Charles was always there to help guide us to. During the two thousands things have began to look up. Erik and Xavier had put aside their differences and we’d started working with the United States Government for a better future. I was able to raise a family with the love of my life. We continued to work towards our goals and fight off the threats to our people and to Earth.”
He sighs deeply.
“Last Tuesday, Charles Xavier died in his sleep at the age of 84. Unlike the horrible and heartbreaking ways we’ve died in both blazes of glory and heartbreaking moments, Charles Xavier passed away calmly and peacefully. Not in a struggle with humans or other mutants or in an explosion or in space in the middle of an intergalactic war, but peacefully in his sleep. I don’t and I can’t believe in fate or in destiny but I believe that him being allowed to pass away like he did shows just how far we’ve come and shows that his dream, after years of fighting and losing has finally been achieved. We, working together have overcome our obstacles and today I can say that through all the hatred and abuse we’ve been through I can safely say that a mutant can marry a human without fear of being ridiculed or cast out of society. A mutant can walk through the streets of New York and be accepted as a member of society. A mutant can live a normal life free from oppression and bigotry. I am safe and so are you because of the work of this great man, Charles Francis Xavier a name that will reverberate throughout history. He was a mentor, a hero and a father to me and I couldn’t be more humbled to have walked with him towards this bright future we currently reside in. The X-men will forever honour and love Charles Xavier’s memory. Thank you for your time.”
Scott Summers steps down from the podium and walks off as the crowds of mutants all dressed in black applaud and cheer while the press take pictures. Mutants and humans sit together in the audience to honour the passing of Charles Xavier. His image stands on a large canvas behind the coffin surrounded by bouquets of flowers. Erik Lensher wipes a tear from his eye as he smiles. Lilandra of the Shi’ar sits on the front row dressed in Shi’ar formal wear with her icy regency trying not to break down. A man with slicked back hair in a leather jacket watches from the hill behind the crowds. Rachel Grey squeezes her mother’s hand as she rests her head on Jean’s shoulder.
The Savage Land
Crack! Ck-rack! Dhol, the thick skulled male brings the rock down again on the small reptile scurrying around his legs as it bleeds out while trying to flee. Dhol eventually brings the rock down again and smashes it into the ground. He grabs the flimsy remains and begins to hastily chew on them. Beside him he hears Heq rustling as he returns holding his rock.
“Huhh, Heff?” Dhol asks.
“Uoo...” Heq replies showing his rock and his empty hand. He sees the bloody splatters around Dhol’s mouth.
“Aff... Urha!” He snaps.
“Ouwah Eh.” He says turning away from him.
“Aff Urha Aoo!” Heq snaps louder moving towards Dhol. He tries to reach over Dhol’s shoulders but he pushes him away causing him to fall. Heq looks up at Dhol.
“Whe Whe AK Am!” He snarls.
“Wehehe Ao!” Dhol shouts back.
Heq gets up holding his rock at the ready. Dhol bares his teeth and prepares himself.
The ground beneath them starts to rumble as the jungle quakes, rustling the trees and branches. They hear a loud crashing sound as a Diplodocus stampedes through the clearing Dhol and Heq stand in. They look up to see the huge beast lumbering towards them. They’re suddenly pulled from the creature’s path and are flung out of the way. The Diplodocus lumbers through the jungle as they get to their knees.
Sauron, the Savage Land’s Protector kneels before them as the jungle continues to rumble and quake. The rumbling comes to a slow halt and Dhol looks up to Sauron.
“Sah Ron! Oho Raka?!”
“Sey Ces. Lo Rah.” He replies holding his clawed hand out to them.
“Rewon Oh... Chen Bah.” Heq says pointing upwards. Sauron and Dhol look around to see a majestic massive golden city hovering just above the tree line. Spirals and towers loom above them each with a similar symbol on them. A symbol, of the Phoenix.
Xavier School For Gifted Youngster, Utopia, West Chester, New York
Mutants and humans a like stand around the courtyard all dressed in black as they talk amongst themselves. A table with drinks and snacks are neatly laid out at the side where Rachel Grey sits holding her forehead with her mother on a small bench as Jean holds a glass of water to her.
“Ahh...” Rachel moans under her breath as head ache worsens.
“Here.” Jean says handing her the water. “This should help.”
Rachel takes a sip.
“I was going through the exact same thing when I was your age.” Jean says holding her daughter’s shoulder. “15 with strange powers, I didn’t understand and the worst headaches at the worst times.”
“Why’d I have to get your powers?” She says. “Why couldn’t I have eye lazers like, Dad?”
“What, you wanna wear doofy nerd glasses and see nothing but red, all your life?”
“I guess not...” She says snickering slightly.
Nathan, Jean’s second eldest comes running up to them, his black jacket taken off and his shirt sleeves rolled up and his hair flopping around his ears that Jean had just brushed this morning.
“Hey mom. You alright Rach?”
“She’s got a bit of a head ache at the moment, Nathan. Have you had any of the sandwiches? I don’t want you getting hungry later on, cos you’ll just end up eating junk food.”
“Nah. I’m alright.” He says grabbing a handful of Doritos from the snack bar and shoving them in his mouth. “’n a bith, Mahm!” He says before running off to play baseball with the other kids.
Jean looks over the crowd to see Scott talking with a group of Brotherhood members. Her eyes narrow as she sees Emma Frost amongst them and decides to listen in to their conversation.
“I’m going to continue the mutant outreach centres me and Charles created in the Middle East, of course. I’ve got Emma here working with the Hellfire Club’s investment board on that as we speak.” Magneto says.
“Thanks so much, Erik. Charles was very proud of the outreach programs. I’ve heard about the Japanese Government planning their own Mutant team so we should probably get in contact with them at some point.” He replies.
“Of course.” Magneto says. “I’ll let you continue, we’ll handle the business side of Charles’ passing after the celebration of his life has concluded, shall we?”
He gives Scott a smile and proceeds to walk away from the mini council meeting being followed my Emma who gives her a quick wink before walking away. Scott feels a familiar voice in his mind.
“Just so you know darling,” Emma says telepathically.
“Emma, now isn’t a good time.” He grumbles.
“Your betrothed was listening to that entire conversation.” She continues. “I’m blocking her out of this one of course but just so you know, she might be suspicious.”
“Emma. Please. Not right now.” Scott replies firmly.
“Alriiight....” Emma says leaving a psychic kiss in the form of a slight burning sensation in Scott’s central lobe.
He looks over to Jean who is continuing to tend to their daughter before he decides to head over to Hank, Bobby and Warren who are standing in a small circle, all dressed in black suits. Scott remembers seeing each of them for the first time standing together like this in their original X-men costumes. Hank being the one who’s changed the most with his blue matted fur poking out of the top of his suit and cat-like features, Scott still has trouble getting used to. Bobby seems the least different; despite being in his 40’s now with somewhat of a receding hair line, Bobby has always stayed a naive fun loving teenager. Warren on the other hand seems to be somewhere in the middle in Scott’s eyes. A mature looking guy with a thick head of hair, well kept facial hair and eyes that don’t quit despite his constantly calm and collected demeanour. Scott then wonders how he looks to them.
“You guys alright?” He says as he enters the group.
“Yeah alright.” Bobby says with a smile. “Pretty good turn-out huh?”
“You invite everyone here or did some people invite themselves?” Hank asks.
“Everyone got a plus one. I didn’t check the guest list or the donation cheque book yet.”
“Ah cos I’m just trying to figure out....” Bobby says pointing across the courtyard. “....Who invited that guy?”
Scott follows the direction of his outstretched finger over to see a man sitting with a tanned cowboy hat on, leather jacket with thick side burns who seems to be hovering at the edges of the crowds sipping at a small ankle boot flask.
“Mutton chops and-”
“Yup. Mister Texas Ranger over there.”
“I... don’t really know.”
“He seem familiar, Hank, Warren?”
“Is he a part of the Brotherhood?” Hank asks.
“He seems kind of like one of Sinister’s guys.” Warren adds.
“I’ll check the Cerebro scan later on.”
“Still not too sure how I feel about the Rasputin’s showing up as Mangeto’s plus ones either.” Hank says to Scott.
“They weren’t Magneto’s plus ones, Hank. I invited them.” He says sipping at his punch.
“You invited them?” Hank almost shouts in surprise.
“It’s a bureaucracy thing, Hank. We wanna stay friendly with the other houses at times like these. We really can’t afford to exclude anyone right now despite how much we dislike their methods. I asked Pete beforehand anyway.”
Piotr stands with Kitty at the side of the crowd, his eyes darting back and forth from his family who stand in the crowd talking and laughing loudly, slapping shoulders and making slightly inappropriate jokes.
“Pete, please, just try and calm down for a bit okay? They’re not going to try anything.” She says looks up from the pram next to them.
“You don’t know my family like I do, Kitty.” He says watching them intently.
“You think they’d try take you on in front of all of us?”
“Oh god...” He says with an unfamiliarly nervous tone in his voice.
“What?” Kitty says looking up from the baby in the pram who is now suckling away at a bottle.
Across from them Nikolai Rasputin, Illyana Rasputin and Mikhail Rasputin seem to be making their way towards them. Each are dressed in dark bourgeois attire with some symbolic patterning on the shoulders and cuffs. Nikolai is a weathered man with hooded eyes and a Van Dyke on his broad flat face. On his forehead are two small but sharp horns. Both Mikhail and Illyanna share these similar facial features without the aged wrinkles. Mikhail has deep black hair that comes down to his shoulders around his cloak where Illyanna has blonde hair. Hung over Illyanna’s shoulders is a large broad sword of pure dark energy.
“Piotr!” Nikolai announces as he nears them.
“Hello, father.” Piotr almost mumbles.
“How come you haven’t said ‘allo yet my son?”
“I apologise father, my child has been upset. I came to help Kitty calm her down.”
“Ah yes. The newest generation of the Rasputin lineage!” He announces before looking down into the pram. Piotr has to stop himself from activating his mutant power, turning to steel and pulling his father away from his child.
“I haven’t seen little Ariel... since the birth, am I correct?” He says turning back to Piotr.
“Yes, um last year.” Piotr can’t help but feel the smirks coming from his older brother and little sister’s faces next to him.
“And how is my darling, daughter in law?” He says looking over at Kitty. “Katzchen Rasputin!”
He says reaching over and hugging her.
“It’s Kitty and I’m still Pryde actually, Nikolai.” She says pulling away from him.
“You haven’t taken my name?” He says giving her a sort of confused look. “I guess Rasputin can be a difficult name to spell for most Americans eh? HA!”
“How have you been my little brother?”Mikhail says.
“I am well, Mikhail and how have you been finding yourself?”
“Well being a general in the well beings of Limbo has it’s difficulties I must admit but I’m sure the ruler could tell you all about that.” He says gesturing to Magik.
“Illyana, how have you been?” Piotr almost mumbles.
She smiles at him for a moment before opening her perched lips. “Fire and Ice, my brother.”
“Aren’t we all?!” Nikolai says grabbing Piotr by the shoulders. “I’ll be looking forward to see you at the next funeral my son, let’s just not hope it’s mine eh?!” He makes a neck slicing gesture with his finger before turning back around. Piotr watches intently as they leave.
“’Shudder...’” Kitty says.
“They’re not getting anywhere near her. They’re not getting anywhere near, Ariel, Kitty. I promise.”
“Okay.” She says sitting down to see to their child.
“I promise.” He says staring into her eyes. “I promise.”
Canada, The Tundra
Through the snowy tundra of the wilderness trundles a large black Jeep with a large red Mapleleaf printed on the side of the doors. The car moves through the woodland area, parting the snow under its tracks. They come to a small clearing in the woods where the Jeep stops. The first to get out of the front seat is the mutant Superhero, Major Mapleleaf, following him is the strange mutant, Manikin and the elementally based hero, Earth-Mover. Beside them are a 2 Alpha Flight Troopers, each wearing snow camouflage gear and carrying heavy duty rifles. They begin to spread out into the snow looking around for signs as the trees begin to enclose around them.
“What’re we looking for exactly here. The mission briefing was pretty vague sir.” Eartmover says.
Mapleleaf sucks air in through his teeth before answering. “That’s because we’re pretty vague, lieutenant. All we know from our psychics is that strange movements from the Exies have been sensed around these areas.”
“Strange movements, sir?”
“Meetings, gatherings between Exies from different tribes and communities that wouldn’t usually meet or come in to contact with one another. Not sure how or why but this is the epicentre of it.”
“You think this has anything with those Apocalypse rumours, sir?”
“Those ‘rumours’ will stay exactly that, lieutenant, unless you’d like to receive a stern warning from your superior. I’ll hear no more about them until they are disproven, understand?”
“Sir, yes sir.”
They continue on through the clearing till, Manikin, using his mutant power to transform into a primordial form comes across something. He slowly and cautiously follows his heightened nose till he comes to a set of large tracks in the snow followed by smaller less even tracks.
“Here, Sarge.” Manikin says turning to Mapleleaf. “These tracks both pretty fresh, seem to have been made around the same time. The large ones are definitely made by a Wendigo and the other is most likely made by an Exie or even a few Exies.”
“You’re suggesting they’re moving together?”
“Yes. There is no urgency in their moments, they’re defiantly walking together. And look here too.”
Manikin moves a few meters forward and come to another set of tracks.
“There are tracks of other Exies coming from about 4 or five different directions all meeting in this area. They look to have stood around for a while in the same area before... they... I don’t know... must’ve like vanished or something because there is no suggestion that they’ve made their way in any other direction.”
“Get me an energy reading on the area.”
One of the troopers pulls out a handle held device and begins to scan the area with the machine making beeping noises.
“I’m picking up some mystical energies sir, old ones. Weird...” Earth-Mover says, holding his palm to his forehead.
“Sir.” One of the troopers says, turning to Mapleleaf. “I’m also picking up some very recent teleportation signatures sir.”
“Any indication on the exit point?”
“About a mile away.”
“Alright lets head there. Which direction, Private?”
“Uh, just a sec. Okay, it says that they teleported a mile but it says they stayed in the same place.”
“Stayed in the same place but a mile away?”
“Take a look?”
Major Mapleleaf steps forward to take a look at the Device muttering under his breath, “must be broken.” When THWABOOM!
He’s thrown to the ground as snow is thrown into the air, as a huge body falls down on top of him. In a flash of snow and blood the team are quickly dispatched by a group of seemingly in-human figures and 2 huge hairy ones. Major Mapleleaf attempts to flee kicking up snow as he runs, his clothes covered in blood as he hears the cries of pain from of his team mates. He turns back to see the group of humans with robotic and mechanical enhancements around their savage naked bodies and the two Wendigo’s working with them. Mapleleaf grits his teeth and flies off into the skies leaving them to be eaten alive.
Xavier School For Gifted Youngster, Utopia, West Chester, New York
Scott is saying goodbye to the guests as they leave the court yard, giving their condolences as they go.
“I really want the Braddock Academy and the X-men to start working together, Scott.” Betsy Braddock says shaking Scott’s hand. “You X-men are more like family to me than my actual family.” She says smiling at him.
“Of course Betsy. Maybe a British X-men Foundation could help with that.”
“I’ll see what Brian says. He’s the one with the money and he’s pretty obsessed with his ‘British Avengers’ Idea at the moment. It’s the cool new hip thing to do, don’t you know?”
“Thanks for coming Betsy. Charles would be more than happy for you to have joined us as a fully fledged member.”
“I’ll be sure to consider it. Thanks for having me, Scott.”
She walks over to her limo and Scott is greeted by Lorna Dane and his brother Alex. Alex embraces his older brother.
“Thanks for the invite, Scott. I’m... so sorry. I knew how much Xavier meant to you and, I can’t even begin to imagine what it’s like for you right now.”
“It’s alright, Alex. Listen, you guys should get out of LA some more. It’d be good having you around more man.”
Alex looks awkwardly to Lorna standing next to him.
“Uh, yeah well we’ll have to see with Magneto I guess... it’s just we’ve got quite a lot of work going on at the moment, especially in regards to Xavier’s outreach programs, now that he’s passed.” Lorna says frankly. “But we’ll definitely try to, Scott.”
“I mean, yeah of course.”
“See you later then.”
They each hug Scott before walking towards their cab.
Magneto approaches them next.
“Scott, I’d just like to--”
Magneto is suddenly distracted by a massive shadow that’s suddenly descended over Scott. Scott quickly realises this and follows Magneto’s gaze to see the 3 Sentinels, with weapons at the ready descending from the sky.
“HALT MUTANT! PREPARE FOR EXTERMINATION!” Blurts from their mechanical speakers.
Panic erupts as people begin to flee the scene, the X-men and Brotherhood stand at the ready with Scott and Magneto standing at the front.
“My god...” Magneto mutters under his breath. “They would dare....”
“Hold steady!” Scott yells to the group standing behind him. “Cool it everyone. We don’t want to-”
BOOM! A missile strikes the ground causing everyone to leap out of the way. Scott gets back to his feet quickly to see Magneto rising from the ground towards the Sentinels.
“THEY WOULD DARE!” He yells again at the top of his voice.
“Erik!” Scott yells back.
A car flies through the Sentinels head causing it to stop momentarily before it turns back again much to Magneto’s surprise. It shoots out a sonic pulse sending Magneto crashing back to the ground.
“Erik!” Scott yells.
He turns back from the Sentinels to see total panic having broken out between the mutants and humans. Scott watches as one of the photographers at the funeral suddenly transforms to a strange almost translucence shade of dark grey before it begins to shape shift to look like a less chunky Sentinel figure. The humanoid Sentinel they leaps at Blob, one of the funeral guests, who quickly back hands it to the ground. The Sentinel shudders like an electric pulse has just buzzed through it before it leaps back at Blob. He attempts to punch it down again but this time the Sentinel dodges the blow and then scars Blob across the face with a dagger hand it’s suddenly grown. He turns to see other humans suddenly turning into these Sentinels and attacking the mutants and being able to adapt to their attacks and fight back.
Scott rushes into the fight and begins to take out the Sentinels back and forth, shooting out eye beams sending them flying. He feels an iron grip on his shoulder as one attempts to stab him when he feels the grip suddenly let go.
He turns to see the leather jacket wearing man from before with metallic claws coming from his knuckles having taken down the Sentinel with a quick slice.
“Got yer back, Slim.” He says before leaping over at another one of the Sentinels.
“Slim?” Scott mutters. He rushes through the crowds trying to remember where he last saw Rachel or Nathan when he sees Quicksilver and Scarlett Witch having taken down a group of the Sentinels together. Pietro gives Scott a wink and a salute before rushing away to take down some more.
He sees Jean blasting away Sentinel attacks left and right while keeping Rachel safe under her right arm.
“Scott!” She yells.
“Jean! Where are the kids?”
“Charlie and Elaine safe in the Danger Room! Go find Nathan, he’s somewhere behind the Baseball courts!” She yells over at him as the chaos continues to ensue.
“Got it!” He yells. “I’ll be back in a second.”
The battle continues to rage as the X-men and Brotherhood begin to turn the tide after the initial surprise of the attack. Colossus and Illyana find themselves fighting alongside one another much to Illyana amusement. Nightcrawler attempts his teleporting the heads off of his enemies technique much to his dismay to find that the Sentinel’s heads seem to resist teleportation. He looks back to see Corsair decapitating the Sentinel he attempted to decapitate and sighs before teleporting back into the mansion to grab his swords. Quicksilver continues to upstage Ice Man during the fight causing Bobby to yell out,
“Hey man! Uncool!”
Havok gets Lorna to safety before returning to the battle leaving Lorna to once again curse herself as a non-human.
Storm takes down one of the huge Sentinels attacking the ground with by carefully creating a small lightening storm from within the Sentinel.
Magneto was able to deconstruct one of the Sentinels, hurling enough cutlery from the dining table into the joins.
The leather jacket wearing man notices the last Sentinel standing which Angel, Beast and Havok seem to be having trouble with. He sees Piotr in his silver, Colossus form pulling a part some of the sentinels on the grounds.
“Hey! Big Guy!” He yells to him. Colossus looks over. “Get over here.”
Colossus walks over to him.
He takes the cigar from his mouth and looks him up and down.
“How’s yer throwing arm?”
Nathan is leading a group of the younger boys around the back of the Baseball courts at the side of the school.
“Yeah this way. The secret entrance should be riiiiighht...”
They turn a corner to see one of the Sentinels standing over them.
“Here...” Nathan mutters.
“MUTANT DETECTED.” It blurts. “ELIMINATE THREAT.”
“Run!” Nathan shouts to the other boys before he suddenly feels an explosion all up the right side of his body. He sprawls on the ground crying and screaming waiting for the Sentinel’s final attack when he hears, BWOOM!
He blinks through his tears to see his dad, Scott standing over the smouldering Sentinel.
“Oh my god, Nathan!” He shouts lifting him from the ground.
“You’re going to be okay son. I’ve got you. You’re going to be okay. Just hang in there.”
He quickly takes Scott around to the front of the school to see the pure carnage that has become Charles Xavier’s funeral reception. Smoke, rubble, turned over chairs and tables everywhere as Sentinels lay destroyed across the school’s courtyards. Mutants in their torn up funeral jackets from all over the American Mutant Colonies stand together in a circle of confusion and heartbreak.
Magneto takes to the centre of the congregation. Scott walks in with his badly wounded son in his arms as he hands him over to one of the healer mutants.
He slowly walks into the congregation with shortly followed by Jean Grey and the rest of the X-men slowly following him.
“This has been... enlightening... hasn’t it Scott.” Magneto says trying to subdue a burning temper building within him.
“Yes...” Scott says with parched lips.
Magneto turns to the growing crowds of mutants and Sentinels alike.
“They’ve desecrated the grave of the man who has done nothing but care for human and mutant alike, all his life...” He announces. “This is the most disgusting act anyone has committed, human or mutant. For years I had believe in his dream! I believed too that coexistence was a reality....” He shouts pointing to the scorched portrait of Xavier. “It pains me more than anything to say this and I say it with the greatest amount of displeasure and the least possible amount of smugness but... Charles Xavier... was wrong.... and I’m utterly ashamed to admit this... but....”
He looks up and slowly removes his helmet to reveal the tears streaming down his face.
“Magneto... was right...”
Next: Fallout from the events of the attack on Xavier’s Funeral is felt. New missions start as ascension begins.