Takes place 2 years after Apocalypse, 1 year after the Phoenix. The mutant problem has grown and a obscure general named William Stryker thinks he has a solution. Has Scott/Jean, Wanda/Kurt, Kitty/...
Chapter 7: Dwindling Hope
Nearly an hour had passed since the initial attack on the Xavier Institute, the Brotherhood boarding house, and Magneto's mountain based complex. From Washington DC, General William Stryker had orchestrated these attacks. He was so meticulous and attentive to every possible detail and all probable outcomes of each action he took. Now, the three main targets of his assault lay in ruin and his forth target was now completely wiped out. Around him, military men and women and Friends of Humanity soldiers alike praised him and grew more and more trusting of this man and all his actions. It was an act that had been anticipated by Stryker, and he seemed to be reveling in it quite nicely at this point.
"General Stryker, I have an update on the Magneto hunt," said one of his subordinates as he saluted his superior and gave him an update.
"Go on soldier," said Stryker calmly.
"Unfortunately, his powers have hindered our ability to track him and now we have no idea where his position is. Our unmanned aerial vehicles haven't made any visual confirmation and the magnetic interference has made radar unusable now."
Despite this news, Stryker didn't seem at all upset or angry with this situation...He remained calm. He always seemed to remain calm no matter what. It was a strange attribute for an aggressive military general...But William Stryker made it work...And he made it work with deadly efficiency.
"Hmm..." thought Stryker as he considered his next option, "What the last point of contact? Did the trackers get the speed, bearing, and direction of his last position?"
The lower ranking soldier then took out a piece of paper and presented it to the general.
"Well, that's the information that I came to share with you sir. According to the division at Magneto's base, his final speed was nearly 500 miles per hour and his direction seemed to be heading east."
"East you say..." said Stryker as he looked at the data and then looked back up at the map on the computer screen in the center of the room.
Stryker knew full well that everything happens for a reason and this is no exception. Magneto may be on the run now and out of sight from his forces, but his trail was far from cold. Then suddenly, a hint of understanding came over him as a sinister grin appeared on his face.
"He's heading towards Westchester..." said General Stryker.
"Sir? Westchester?" said one of the other officers near him.
"He's going for his children..." stated Stryker as he turned towards some of the communications and army personnel sitting at the control panels.
"But sir...How can you be sure?" said one of the officers sitting at the desk near the main screen.
Suddenly, the oversized Russian women that had yet to leave Stryker's side pulled a silver 44 caliber magnum gun from the holster that was along a sling around her torso and aimed it directly at the man's head with lightning fast reflexes. Everyone around the area froze and the man now facing the powerful handheld gun was overcome with a sudden wave of fear. The expression on the woman's face remained stoic and apathetic as her finger now lay eagerly on the trigger. However, while the fear over this sudden act permeated through the commanding officers, Stryker just chuckled in amusement as he looked over at the man who was now looking down the barrel of a gun.
"My dear colonel..." began Stryker in a calm tone as the officer began to sweat with fear, "It is not in your duty to question my intuition. As you can see...It greatly upsets my dear friend Magnum. And she had quite the temper. It would be in your best interests not to tempt her by disrespecting me because I would have no qualms about her pulling that trigger next time something this unpleasant happens. Now, do I make myself clear?"
"Sir...Yes sir, General Stryker," cowered the man as Magnum continued to point the powerful handgun directly at his face.
"Very well...Magnum, let him go...This time," said Stryker as he addressed his associate.
Mangum then proceeded to put away her gun, but the impression that she had left on the officer that questioned Stryker's words was felt throughout the vast room and among all commanding officers. They could not see the look in the strong, Russian woman's eyes because of her darkly shaded sunglasses...But her very image projected enough fear for them all to get the message. Now, as they all returned to their station...Everybody would now think twice before questioning the general and Stryker knew it. As things seemed to return to normal...General Stryker then addressed the whole team within the vast room.
"Ladies and gentlemen...I have an update for all of you on the current pursuit of the mutant madman, Magneto. He is currently off of our radar and our teams have been unable to track him now because of his powers. However...According to the last bit of data that our division at Magneto's complex gathered, Magneto is now heading east at a speed of nearly 500 miles per hour. He's heading for Westchester...This I know. He's going after his children because that's where they resided...At the Brotherhood of Mutants' boarding house. However, when he gets there...He'll be in for a rude awakening. And if he can't find his kids there...He'll go for the Xavier mansion. This, my friends...Is what I call, knowing your enemy and how he thinks. Because of this, we will initiate protocol 615 as directed in the mission plan. Now, on my order, both divisions at the Xavier mansion and the Brotherhood boarding house are to reinitiate their defenses and prepare for Magneto's coming. Now I don't want this to interfere with the rest of the operation already in progress at each site, so tell whatever soldiers who aren't doing anything too vital to man all battle vehicles and all combat marines to garrison themselves within the shadows. Magneto may have survived our first assault on him...But he won't survive the second..."
The ubiquitous darkness around the clouds made it feel as though they were flying in an empty void. Eric Lensherr and Piotr Rasputin had taken cover within the thick clouds that hung over the sky and masked their presence from the military that had struck the mountain complex that the Acolytes were residing in. They were struck with little warning by bombs, shells, and countless rounds of bullets. Through this vicious assault...Only Magneto and Colossus made it out alive. Gambit, Pyro, and Sabretooth were unable to make it out or find cover before the entire structure collapsed over them. It was a bitter loss...But now Magneto's concern was focused solely on finding his children before they suffered the same fate as his comrades. Piotr had chosen to come along...Not for Magneto, whom he hated with a passions...But for the children and the other young mutants that may be in danger now.
"We're almost there!" said Magneto as he began to descend from the clouds.
As the blackness around them gave way upon breaking through the cloud cover...The city lights of downtown Bayville became clearer. The quiet of the night was masked by the unwavering dread that Eric felt in the pit of his stomach. It seemed that the closer he got to the boarding house...The more sure he was that he would not like what he saw. As they flew over Bayville, Colossus began to wonder if the sincerity in this heinous man was truly not an act like he had so often assumed before. Ever since his mingling with Apocalypse, he had been different...But Piotr never trusted his intentions or whole-heartedly believed that he had changed. However, in seeing the look on Magneto's face as they neared the Brotherhood boarding house, he couldn't help but wonder...Is he really being sincere this time? Did his experience with Apocalypse truly change him? There would be no easy answers to those questions as they flew past the city limits and made their way over the suburbs and countryside of Bayville. They descended to an altitude just below the low cloud line so they could have a good clear view at the ground below them.
"There it is!" yelled Magneto as the boarding house finally came into view, but then his worst fears were confirmed as he got a clear view of the area, "Oh my God..."
The lights and sounds that illuminated the area around the Brotherhood home exposed the one thing that Magneto had dreaded...The boarding house was completely destroyed. A look of great anxiety quickly came over the master of magnetism's face as he saw the extent of the devastation that had destroyed the home where his two children lived. The rubble was still burning in some areas and all of the wooden supports of the house were burnt into blackened ashes. The land around the house where the bombs fell left craters that were the size of small swimming pools...Hinting at the deadly firepower that had been used to destroy this one structure. Immediately Magneto feared the worst for his kids...If they had been asleep in their rooms then there was no hope for them. But he refused to think that...He refused to believe it until he saw it for himself.
"No...I won't accept it!" said Eric as he descended lower to get a better look.
Piotr was also yanked along with him for the ride, but could do nothing about it. As they got closer, the prospects grew even dimmer for Wanda and Pietro as the sickening smell of charred earth began to overtake their senses. The look on Magneto's face grew only more concerned as the sick feeling of dread began to grow as he feared the worst for his two children.
"Magneto...I...Don't see how anyone could have survived such an attack," said Piotr as he looked at the area around the boarding house.
Those words stung as Eric kept looking for any signs of life from within the rubble or any activity from the soldiers sifting though it. He didn't want to believe it...But from what he was seeing, all logic seemed to confirm this grim assessment.
"No..." said Magneto, refusing to accept such a truth, "My children are strong and resourceful...I know they can survive this. I don't know how...But I know they're still alive!"
Magneto wasn't willing to accept defeat...Not when it involved his children. He refused to believe that they were dead. Piotr knew that this wouldn't change unless he saw for himself...But he feared the reaction of the temperamental mutant once he did discover the truth. Knowing how bad things were looking for both them and the twins, he began scanning the area long with him in search of anything that would lead to knowledge on Pietro and Wanda's state. Then suddenly...Colossus's eyes met with a grim sight over near the front of the devastated structure.
The master of magnetism's gaze shifted towards the grizzly sight that Piotr pointed out. His eyes widened as he looked closer towards the front of the house and saw something that he knew would forever be engraved in his mind...Body bags. Out along the grounds of the house, three white, blood-stained body bags lay side by side with the distinct outline of being occupied with human remains. Of the three, one of them was grossly oversized compared to the others, another was somewhat smaller than regular size, and the last bag seemed to be of average capacity. They were all partially open...Allowing both Magneto and Colossus to get a clear view of the bloody contents within. The horrible feeling within Eric Lensherr grew as he dreaded the possibility that one of those bags contained the dead bodies of his children, Wanda and Pietro. It took so many years for him to realize the folly of his dream and the consequences of his actions. For so long, he had tried to numb his pain...Only to have it come back many years later with a vengeance. It only took two years for him to start thinking clearly once more...But he was still too afraid to try and confront his kids and start anew after all his past sins. Now...He may never get to do what he had so ached for ever since he was freed from Apocalypse. He may never get to tell his children how sorry he was, how much he loved them, or be a part of their lives...All this because he had to be their master and employer...Not their father.
"I have to see..." said Eric as he began to take cover within the clouds again and fly over towards the body bags, "I have to be sure..."
Piotr was about to object...But Magneto had already began to move them over towards the front of the house so that they could get a good, clean look at the body bags and their occupants. The activity on the ground was still going strong as teams of soldiers, engineers, and field surveyors continued to scour the area in and around the Brotherhood grounds. It was unclear exactly what they were doing...But Eric didn't even think about it as his gaze finally fell upon the contents of the body bags.
"My god..." said Colossus as he looked away from the grizzly sight, unable to handle the sight of the mutilated dead bodies.
However, Magneto's gaze wouldn't shift...For he was determined to find out if his children were among the dead in this ghastly scene. It was hard for anyone to look at...But being a man who had survived the holocaust and watched his wife die right before his eyes, Magneto managed to stay focused as he looked upon the death before him. He quickly identified the body in the oversized bag as Freddy Dukes, aka Blob. His sight was by far the most bloody...For the explosion and bombs had done enough damage with the intense force and heat to spill the contents of his insides all over the surrounding area. His large form left a huge mess of burnt flesh in wake of the powerful bombs that had so abruptly killed the young man. But what made things worse for Freddy...Was the fact that he had been awake. Because of his powers he survived the initial blast only to suffer a slower, more painful death. His eyes were still open and his dead face was now frozen with a mixture of shock and pain. It was not at all pleasant for Magneto to think about...For nobody should ever have to suffer so much for no reason.
Unable to look any more at him, his gaze shifted towards the smaller bag in the middle. This time, the face on the body was almost unrecognizable because of the sheer brutality of the death that had been suffered. However, the short, lanky frame and greenish skin color on the unburned parts of the body quickly allowed Eric to identify the boy as young Todd Tolensky, aka Toad. He was the youngest of the Brotherhood...Only 16 years old. He had always been the one that people made fun of...Beat up on...Or tormented because of his appearance. He of all people didn't deserve to die such a horrible death. Unlike Freddy, Todd had been fast asleep in his bed when death came...Now most of his flesh was charred and blackened from so much blood and carnage.
This left only one body bag left...The one that looked regular sized...And easily house either Pietro or Wanda. This was now the moment of truth...This would now confirm or deny his greatest fear. Colossus felt his focus on his powers somewhat waver as he saw the nervous look on Magneto's face as tried to identify who occupied that final body bag. The face was somewhat obscure and half of the torso had been burned off by the flames...But upon closer look of the face, hair, and skin tone...Magneto identified who it was...Lance Alvers, aka Avalanche. His greatest fears had not been confirmed...His children were not among the dead bodies present.
"It's not them..." said Eric breathlessly as he finally tore his gaze from the grim sight of the three dead bodies. "My children are not down there..."
"Then maybe they DID survive," said Piotr in admittance, not seeing any more bodies or search teams looking for human remains.
"They had to have survived...And there is only one place they could've gone...Xavier's."
"But if they hit us and the Brotherhood...Then what's to stop them from striking Xavier's as well?" asked Piotr, not feeling to optimistic about the chances.
"I don't care..." said Magneto sternly, "I know that's where they went...I can feel it. And I must go...I must find them!"
Piotr knew that nothing he said was going to stop Magneto now...So he remained silent as Magneto took one last look at the grizzly scene below and sighed.
"All these years...I have foreseen a coming war between humans and mutants," said Magneto distantly as he looked back down at the dead bodies, "But those who have died here were not soldiers...They did not want to fight a war or overthrow humanity...They just wanted to be accepted. And now...They have had their lives taken away from them with such thoughtlessness and brutality..."
"It comes with the package Magneto," said Colossus as he looked back at the distraught and confused man, "War always brings this kind of suffering...It's what you've been fighting for all these years, is it not? This death be it human or mutant...Is this not the kind of future that you have been fighting for in reality?"
The truth in Colossus's words stung like a thousand red-hot needles. Two years ago...This was what he was fighting for...This is what he was working for. Only recently had he been questioning his goals...Now he was seeing the bloody consequences of his desire first hand...And his children had almost been in the crossfire. Was it true? Was he really such a monster that he would actually want such bloodshed for both mutants and humans?
"No..." said Magneto, not wanting to accept Piotr's words, "Not like this...Not like this..."
And with that, Magneto took off towards Xavier's at great speed with Colossus still by his side. He had a newfound determination to find his children and protect them from such carnage. Xavier's wasn't far...But to the master of magnetism, the distance seemed greater than any other as he and his comrade once again disappeared in to the clouds.
Back down on the ground in the shadows of the trees, the marines that had been ordered to take cover and engage Magneto from afar were only able to catch a glimpse of him as he flew away back into the overcast cloud cover above. His powers made him hard to detect and the darkness of the night made it even harder for him to see. Even with night vision tools, the soldiers found it difficult to spot him and get a clear shot. This only frustrated the field captain as he radioed the general back in Washington.
"General Stryker...You were right about Magneto, he did come here," said the captain in to his radio, "But we weren't able to get a clear shot. The clouds and the night obscured our view and our night vision goggles weren't sufficient enough to get a clear shot in time!"
"Be calm captain...That's okay," assured Stryker over the radio in a calmer tone than the captain, "At least we know that my little hunch was right. Now he's simply heading for the Xavier mansion, which means that he won't be able to hide in the clouds forever if he wants to find his children. All that is required of us now is to inform the troupes at Xavier's...And this time, they'll be ready..."
"GET DOWN!" yelled Scott as a sudden burst of gunfire erupted in the area around him and his friends.
Immediately, the four surviving X-men and the three surviving members of the Brotherhood of Mutants hit the ground as red hot bullets passed over their head from helicopters and rifle fire from marines.
"SURRENDER MUTANTS! WE HAVE YOU SURROUNDED!" said the loudspeaker from the helicopter overhead as it shined a bright light upon them.
"Yeah right bastards!" yelled Wanda angrily as she used her powers to make the light above them explode in a shower of sparks.
Her anger over what they did to her brother fueled her rage as her eyes glowed with fury at the solders that were now closing in on them. For the better part of an hour, the X-men had held up in a heavily wooded area off to the east of the mansion and had taken cover there to avoid being seen by the army that had destroyed their home. They were soon joined by the Brotherhood, bringing with them a wounded Pietro on the verge of death. Now, their presence had been unmasked...And they were targets once again of the vast army before them.
"We have to get out of here!" yelled Jean as she quickly put up a telekinetic shield, "We're out of time!"
"No kidding!" grunted Mystique as she shielded her eyes from an exploding mortar that Jean had deflected and forced to explode.
"Kurt, we're out of time!" yelled Scott as he turned to his furry friend, "You have to get Pietro to the jet now!"
"But vhat if it isn't there?" replied Kurt over the din of gunfire and explosions.
"If it isn't there...Then he'll be dead anyway. Just do what you always tell us...Have faith!" said Scott as he took off his glasses and unleashed an optic blast to slow down the advancing soldiers.
Taking his words to heart, Kurt grabbed Pieto's shoulder and took one last look at Wanda. He could tell that she was desperately trying to save her brother...And she truly didn't want to see him die on this horrible night. Kurt gave the Scarlet Witch one last look of confidence, as if to say "Everything is going to be all right." Then, he teleported with a 'bamf' and disappeared from the battlefield.
The next few moments were tense as the remaining mutants waited for Kurt to return with news on the X-jet. It was their last hope now...And if it was not usable, then all would be lost. Everybody held their breath as they clung to the cold, hard earth below them as the rate of fire increased and the soldiers closed in on them.
"Please..." said Wanda weakly to herself as she waited for Kurt to return, "Please be okay...Please help my brother...Please..."
Using her powers along with Jean, they continued to deflect the siege of incoming projectiles from taking any more lives than they already had. Everybody waited anxiously as time quickly came to a standstill...Waiting for the moment of truth from Kurt. For all they knew, he could be trapped or dead from whatever may have happened to the hanger. Then finally...They all heard the familiar 'bamf' as Kurt reappeared beside them without Pietro and gave told them what he saw.
"It's still there! The hanger is still intact!" exclaimed Kurt.
For the first time since this horrible event had transpired...A faint glimmer of hope appeared in the eyes of the young mutants as they lay at the mercy of an army closing fast.
"Then we're getting out of here!" yelled Scott over the noise as he let out another optic blast in an effort so slow the soldiers down, "Jean, can you and Wanda keep everybody shielded?"
"Yeah..." said Jean as she closed her eyes and intensified the shield, "But not forever...They're closing fast!"
"Then we'll just have to work fast," said Scott as he turned back towards his blue, fuzzy friend, "Kurt, I need you to teleport me and Kitty to the jet next! I'll start the jet while Kitty looks after Pietro and gets him to the medical area in the back!"
"Sounds like a plan!" said Kurt, finally starting to feel hopeful even after all that had transpired, "You ready Kitty?"
"You don't have to tell me twice!" responded the young teenage girl as both she and Scott grabbed on to Kurt's shoulder.
But before they left, Scott sent one last message to Jean through their link.
'We're going to survive this Jean...We're going to make it...'
This psychic reassurance helped Jean increase the intensity of her shield as Scott, Kurt, and Kitty disappeared into the hanger below. Thanks to the increase in strength she had after her Phoenix experience, she managed keep it up along with Wanda's help. Upon arriving, they found the hanger to only be faintly lit by emergency batteries and most of the area was dark. However, the jet was still intact and ready to fly. Scott wasted no time opening and starting up the plane while Kitty took the wounded Pietro in her arms and quickly got him to the small medical bay in the back of the jet. It was going to be a bumpy ride, so she would have to strap him in and prepare him for whatever obstacles that fate had in store for them. Upon hearing the hum of the engines and seeing the lights of the machinery come to life, Scott turned back to Kurt.
"We're almost ready!" said Scott as he rapidly flipped switches and started computer systems, "Kurt, hurry up and get the others!"
"I'm on it mien friend!"
And with that, Kurt quickly teleported back to the battlefield above, only to find that the explosions around them were getting bigger by the second. Jean and Wanda were still working hard to keep both themselves and Mystique shielded. Kurt had originally planned to make two quick trips, but given the worsening situation around them, that may no longer be an option.
Unknown to the stranded mutants, the captain of the division had ordered the long range artillery to prepare a powerful barrage of simultaneous hits. He knew, thanks to the knowledge of the general, that not even the best psychics can hold off a series of major explosions. So not wanting to miss the opportunity, he gave the order.
"Artillery! Prepare for a three staged barrage! NOW!"
Back with Kurt, Mystique, Jean, and Wanda, the ground actually began to shake from the violent explosions around them. Kurt actually lost his balance as he prepared to teleport his friends. Jean and Wanda were reaching their limits as they kept the shield over their heads up as they turned back to Kurt.
"Hurry up Kurt!" grunted Jean, "Get Mystique out of here and come back for us! I don't know how much longer we can keep on doing this!"
"No time...I'll have to take all three of you!" said Kurt as he grabbed the shoulders of both girls and wrapped his tail around Mystique's ankle.
"Wait! I thought your limit was only two at a time!" said Mystique, worried about the kind of exertion that her son would put on himself if he tried to go beyond his normal limits.
"I can! I've done three before...It's a difficult act...But I don't have a choice," said Kurt as he mentally prepared himself.
Wanda was about to say something, but both her and Jean were growing too fatigued even to speak. All she could get out was a worried "Kurt..."
"Get ready everybody...Here I go..." said Kurt as he closed his eyes.
The three women then held their breath as they all were teleported off of this bloody battlefield...Just as the artillery barrage hit. In a fraction of a second...Kurt, Mystique, Jean, and Wanda soon found themselves in the hanger standing before the powerful SR-77 Blackbird.
"I...Did it," said Kurt as he let out a tired sigh of relief.
Mystique hid a brief smile upon seeing her son succeed...For it was a feeling that she had been denied for too long now. Both Jean and Wanda nearly collapsed upon appearing near the entrance to the jet. They had overused their power and were forced to block an immense amount of firepower for too long. However, Kurt managed to catch Wanda as she nearly collapsed and Mystique managed to help Jean stay on her feet as they guided them into the plane that sounded ready for takeoff. Mystique quickly guided Jean to the cockpit where Scott was waiting and took a seat in the cockpit as the final preparations were made. Upon seeing Jean in her present state, Scott quickly became worried for his girlfriend's well-being.
"Jean! What happened?! Is she okay?! Did everybody else make it?" asked Scott in quick succession as he briefly turned away from the controls and looked at Jean's nearly unconscious form.
"She's fine Cyclops," answered Mystique as she strapped both herself and Jean in, "Kurt got us out...She just over exerted herself."
"Why am I not surprised..." muttered Scott as he let out a sigh of relief.
His nervousness was still present as he fired up the main thrusters...However, that feeling was quickly eclipsed when he suddenly felt a warm presence in the back of his mind.
'I'm okay my love...Just tired,' said Jean's voice in his head, 'Now...Let's get away from here...'
'You've done your part Redd...Now rest...And let me do mine,' replied Scott as a new feeling of confidence flooded his mind.
Back in the medical area of the jet, Wanda quickly overcame her fatigue and scrambled to her twin's side. Kurt tried to stop her...But the Scarlet Witch would not be dissuaded.
"Pietro..." said Wanda softly as she collapsed near the small bed that had been strapped into by Kitty, "It's going to be okay...We're going to get out of here! Just hang on!"
"This is going to be a rough ride," warned Kitty, "Hang on to him!"
Wanda soon found herself squeezing her brother's hand...As if to keep him from leaving her despite his pained state. Kurt stood near her and worked with Kitty to hold Pietro still so his wounds wouldn't tear. Then finally...They felt the jet begin to move and from the cockpit, they heard Scott's voice yell over the noise.
"This is it everybody! Hold on!"
Everyone closed their eyes as the opening that was camouflaged into the side of the cliff began to open. Thanks to its independent power source, it had not been damaged in the attack. As the jet picked up speed and the vibrations grew deeper...The jet finally broke through and soared in to the night sky. Everybody let out a collective sigh of relief as they now ascended towards the clouds and away from their destroyed home.
This act, however, didn't go unnoticed by the ground troupes below as they saw the sudden ascension of the craft from the cliff. This had surprised the field captain to say the least, who had hoped that the artillery barrage had done the trick earlier. However, now it seemed that the survivors were getting away. In response, the captain frantically radioed General Stryker.
"General! We've just seen an aircraft take off from within the cliff near the Xavier mansion! It looks like the survivors got away...Both X-men and Brotherhood!"
Much to the captain's surprise, the voice that responded was still calm despite this development.
"Remain calm captain...You must learn to expect the unexpected from the enemy in times of war," responded Stryker, "It appears that there was more shielding over that hanger than we had anticipated...But no matter. Send all able aircraft after them...Shoot them out of the sky."
"Sir, yes sir!" said the captain as he switched channels to radio the aircraft, "Attention all F-15E and F-16 air combat craft! The enemy has made an escape in a powerful aircraft and is heading northwest at an increasing speed! You are to intercept this craft at all costs! Do NOT let them get away!"
The four planes available for air to air combat quickly scrambled while they left the ground operations to the F/A-18s. Following the blue light of the thrusters in the back of the X-jet, the four aircraft prepared to engage...However, they quickly encountered a problem as they prepared their missiles.
"Captain...We have a problem! The aircraft isn't showing up on radar! It must have some kind of stealth technology! We can't engage it!"
This only infuriated the captain further as he barked his next order back in to the radio.
"Well then fire the heat-seekers!"
"But sir, we only have a total of two. That may not be enough!" responded the lead pilot.
"I don't care! Fire them! Do it before they are out of range!"
With no time left for argument, the two planes that had heat-seeking missiles fired their weapons into the night and watched as the two armaments neared their targets.
Back up in the X-jet, an alarm went off as the missiles quickly began to follow the heat signature of the engines. A sudden sense of dread quickly came over the seven mutants aboard as they all waited nervously.
"What's going on?!" yelled Mystique over the alarm.
"Damn! We've got incoming missiles! Heat-seekers from the looks of it!" said Scott as he looked at the radar screen.
"Can you avoid them?" asked the shape shifter, not knowing whether the young man had a way out of this.
"Don't have too..." answered Scott as he pushed a button on the control panel, launching two separate flares from the jet, causing the missiles to explode prematurely.
Then, not taking any more chances, Scott kicked in the afterburner and bought the plane to a higher altitude...Above the limits of the engines on the other aircraft, and faster than either plane could ever hope to muster.
"Hold on...I'm taking it into cruising speeds," said Scott, "We should be safe then."
As the plane finally reached an altitude of 50,000 feet, all of the occupants let out a powerful sigh of relief. But this sense of safety was soon overshadowed when a heart wrenching cry echoed from the medical quarters of the plane. They belonged to Wanda...Who was still holding on to her brother when she sensed something horrible from his pale, cold skin.
"PIETRO! Oh my god...he's not breathing!" cried Wanda as she frantically searched for a pulse.
"Oh no...I can't find a pulse either..." said Kitty, her voice filled with dread as she looked at the bloody body of Pietro Maximoff.
Wanda felt a horrible feeling of pain form in the pit of her stomach as she listened desperately for any signs of life in her twin brother's body. But alas...She could sense nothing...She couldn't hear any breathing or sense any heartbeat. A fury of tears quickly formed in the Scarlet Witch's eyes as she began shaking her head in disbelief as she slowly felt a part of herself die right before her eyes.
"No...No this can't be happening...No...Pietro..."
Wanda quickly fell back as her legs gave way and she fell to the floor of the jet. Her sobs began to grow more anguished as she looked at the now lifeless body of her twin brother. It was a horror unlike anything she had ever seen before...It was like a nightmare come to life. Then, Kurt quickly sprang into action as Pietro appeared to be falling into death's clutches.
"Scott...Steady the jet!" shouted Kurt over the engines, "Pietro isn't breathing! I have to perform CPR!"
"Right!" answered Scott as he lowered the speed of the plane, which helped to reduce the vibration of the craft.
Wanda watched as Kurt then proceeded to desperately press upon Pietro's chest in an effort to get his heart going again. He then lifted his chin and tried to get him to breathe. However, as Wanda watched Kurt desperately try to save her brother, a deep feeling a dread soon washed over her as the hopes for her brother's were quickly fading as he lay motionless on the padded bed. There was no pulse...And he still wasn't breathing. All seemed lost for Pietro Maximoff. Wanda couldn't fight her tears as her strength and hope seemed to leave her. She began to hug her knees as the exhaustion from the battle, the stress of losing her friends, and the prospects of watching her brother die right before her very eyes all but overwhelmed her. Wanda could only watch as Kurt continued to try and bring her brother back to life...And prayed that she wouldn't lose her twin.
"Please Pietro...Don't leave me. I'm sorry for all the fights we've had...I'm sorry for all the trouble we've been through...But please...Don't leave me...Don't die. Please Pietro...I don't want to lose my twin. I don't want to lose...My brother..."
AN: To be continued for now my friends! So what do you think? I know I left it at a big cliffhanger, but I did that for a reason! Should Pietro live, or should he die? It could go either way! Please everybody, tell me what you think should happen! Is another death too much for you to handle? Or do you think that the story will be more dramatic and interesting if he did die? Come everybody! I'm open to either path! So what do you think? Did you like this chapter? I know I still make Mystique and Magneto seem a bit OOC, but remember, I'm using the premise of the aftermath of being controlled by Apocalypse to affect their psyche...So keep that in mind if you all feel the need to flame me. Please tell me what you all think of this story so far! Send your reviews to me via email or post them on the fanfiction website! Thank you all for taking the time to read this and I wish you all the best!
REVIEW! YOUR FEEDBACK COULD VERY WELL DETERMINE PIETRO'S FATE!