Categories > Comics > X-Men > Phoenix Destiny0 Reviews
The power of the Phoenix is shaken to it's core and Jean Grey must face all her old demons or the universe itself will burn to ashes in cosmic flame.
Chapter 5: Universal
Okay, quick breakdown of the situation. Jean is still unstable. Scott's out cold. The Phoenix is still nuclear. And Hotshot is back.
I guess I didn't throw him far enough into that rift. Not only is he back, but he's also wielding Phoenix level power. He was bad enough as a renegade mortal/demon hybrid, but now he's much worse.
So in short...we're all in some astonishingly deep shit.
"This is bad guys! This is very bad!" said Slayer, holding his sword defensively as they eyed Hotshot.
"Yeah, we kinda gathered that, bub!" yelled Logan, drawing his claws, "Who is this guy? And why the hell is he packin' Phoenix heat?"
"With all due respect, Logan...you don't wanna know!" said Slayer ominously.
Slayer had faced some powerful foes in the past. And Hotshot had been one of the toughest. But now his power was on another level. If he was wielding the power of the Phoenix, then they were all in deep trouble.
The X-men knew that Phoenix symbol on Hotshot's chest was not just for show. He was hovering in mid air, fully embracing the power of the cosmos. And with a murderous look on his face, he looked bent on using it.
"Oh I'm gonna enjoy this!" he said with a sinister grin, "I gotta hand it to ya, Jack! Throwing me in that void was the best thing that ever happened to me! Who knew I'd land right on the M'krann crystal?"
Suddenly, it dawned on the mutant warrior. It was finally starting to add up.
"The M'krann crystal?" gasped Jack, "The rift...that was YOU!"
"Bingo!" grinned the demonic hybrid, "It took a little muscle, but I cracked that bitch like glass! And when I got a taste of that juicy White Hot Room, I was in heaven! And since I'm already part demon, Phoenix powers came easy! Now I've got cosmic level power to cook all your asses in a feast of suffering!"
"Not if we have anything to say about it!" yelled Rachel, the mark of the Phoenix on her eye flashing bright red.
"I hear you luv!" said Betsy, forming a psionic blade, "I've just met this bloke and already I'm sick of his voice!"
Hotshot's presence may have been imposing, but that wasn't going to stop the X-men from fighting back. And Phoenix or not, this guy was bad news and he had to be stopped.
"X-men!" yelled Logan as everybody formed up behind him, "You know what to do!"
Coming together in full force, the X-men charged the demonic madman. Wolverine, Marvel Girl, Nightcrawler, Colossus, Shadowcat, and Psylocke were powered up and ready to fight. But Hotshot just hovered there, grinning confidently as his eyes glowed dark red.
The only one who didn't join was Slayer because he knew how this was going to end.
"Pathetic," muttered Hotshot as he struck back.
His body erupted in red hot embers as he raised his hand and made a single sweeping motion, unleashing a wave of red hot blasts that knocked every X-men back as if they had been hit by a freight train.
Windows shattered and bones broke for those unlucky enough to hit hard pavement. All the while, Slayer spent his energy shielding himself with a spell. But even with his skill, the energy Hotshot unleashed knocked him back slightly.
"Ugh...I'll feel that in the morning," groaned Kitty as Piotr helped her up.
"That was REALLY stupid you guys!" scorned Slayer, "Is that your best solution?! See a demon with Phoenix powers and charge him?!"
"If you've got a better idea, Slayer, we're all ears!" growled Logan, pushing aside his pain and getting back up.
Hotshot was really enjoying this. Frustration, anger, and pain were like steroids to him. He reveled in chaos. And charged with Phoenix powers, he was unstoppable.
"Oh this is gonna be good!" grinned Hotshot as he hovered over the downed X-men, "God I love it! Your pain is my strength!"
"Strong or not, you're still ugly, asshole!" shot Slayer.
Standing firm like the warrior he was, they symbols on Slayer's hands erupted with light and charged his sword with pure chi. Gritting his teeth in determination, he leapt up into the air and began spinning like a tornado, building up his strength before unleashing a concentrated burst of white light.
But Hotshot took this blast with ease. Holding up his hand, he blocked it as if it were nothing. And the whole time, a smile never left his face.
"Is that the best you can do, Jack?" he grinned, "Because I could kill you all right now! I just want to make sure you suffer first!"
Slayer held his ground as the rest of the X-men tried to reform. But he knew he could not win this battle with his power alone. They were going to need some serious help.
"This man is insane!" exclaimed Piotr.
"Really? What gave it away?" quipped Kitty, still feeling the sting of that first blow.
"Insane or not, he's going down!" yelled Rachel, her body now covered in red flames, "Nobody messes with the power of the Phoenix on my watch!"
The younger redhead's flare impressed Hotshot. Even with an appearance similar to the Phoenix, she was still weak. And her fate would be no different.
"You got spunk, kid. I like that," grinned Hotshot, "Guess I'm gonna have to make you suffer even more! I just LOVE the cries of a hotheaded bitch!"
"Don't call me a BITCH!" she yelled, unleashing a wave of red hot fires at the hovering figure.
But like before, Hotshot easily diverted them with his hand. And this time, he made sure they knew just what they were dealing with.
"Ha! That the best you got? That the best the seed of the Phoenix can muster? Man you're pathetic! Your mom must be really disappointed in you!"
"SHUT UP!" yelled Rachel, launching herself into the air in a rage.
"Rachel! No!" yelled Kurt, unable to stop her in time.
Charging the renegade demon with rage in her eyes, she prepared to tear him limb from limb. But before she could even make an impact, he reached out and grabbed her by the neck.
"Ack!" she choked, feeling the iron vice of his grip.
"Let the suffering begin!" proclaimed Hotshot, his eyes turning bright red.
Suddenly, Rachel felt a surge of unabated agony course through her body. Every single nerve was set ablaze all at once, filling her with pain the likes of which she had never felt before. And her screams were music to Hotshot's ears.
"Yes! YES!" yelled Hotshot, her pain giving him strength.
"Rachel!" yelled Logan as he attempted to charge the raging demon, "Let her go, bub! Let or go or I'll..."
"You'll do nothing!"
Suddenly, Logan fell to the ground in pain as well.
One by one, everybody felt their bodies set ablaze by red hot pain. They tried to fight through it, but it was too intense. The demonic grin on Hotshot's face grew wider, his shark-like teeth seething with euphoria as he savored their suffering.
"HA! HA! HA! HA! THAT'S IT! FEEL THE SUFFERING! EXPERIENCE THE TORMENT! BECAUSE YOU'LL ALL BE FEELING IT FOR A LONG TIME!"
However, having fought this maniac before, Slayer was muscling through the agony, still trying to stay on his feet. He couldn't concentrate. He couldn't cast a spell to get himself out of this. But he fought on, not willing to succumb to Hotshot's torture.
"FUCK...YOU...HOTSHOT!" yelled Slayer through the pain.
But Hotshot kept on grinning.
"Ha! You think this is the best I got? I'm barely breaking a sweat here!" laughed the demonic madman, "But I've saved full power just for you, Slayer! These pussies may be halfwits, but I know better than to keep your sorry ass alive!"
Hotshot may have been crazy, but he wasn't stupid. Jack had stopped him many times before. And as much as he wanted him to suffer, he was not going to take any chances.
"Go ahead...do it!" said Jack defiantly.
With a grin, Hotshot prepared to destroy his greatest enemy. Tossing Rachel's limp body aside, he approached the ailing warrior.
"Goodbye, Slayer. Say hi to that bitch, Lalya for me! Because I'll be seeing her and every other soul REAL soon!" proclaimed Hotshot, "Any last words, Jackie boy?"
Suddenly, Slayer got a vision. His all seeing eye flashed as a new hope arose from a most unexpected force.
"Yeah..." said Slayer with a grin, "Duck."
Confused by his words, Hotshot quickly turned around. But as soon as he did, he was hit with a high powered energy blast from one of the sentinels that patrolled the institute. And because he hadn't anticipated it, he was sent flying.
"Halt unidentified mutant," said the sentinel as several others gathered around it, "Cease and desist immediately."
Quickly recovering from the unexpected blow, Hotshot rose into the air and angrily stared down the sentinels.
"Oh this just keeps getting better!" growled Hotshot as he was surrounded by the robot humanoids.
With Hotshot's attention diverted, the agony he was inflicting upon the X-men halted. But after so much suffering, they were all slow to get up.
"Ugh...can't move," struggled Rachel.
"Suck it up, X-men!" grunted Slayer, recovering quickly, "Those tin cans won't keep him busy for long!"
Slayer's crass encouragement wasn't much, but he was right about the sentinels. They didn't stand a chance against Hotshot.
This monster had the power of the Phoenix. And unlike Jean, he didn't care about controlling it. He loved the chaos. He relished in the pain he caused. Together, they were a dangerous combination. And if they didn't so something about it, then there was no limit to the suffering he could inflict.
"Oh boy," groaned Kitty, "I'm going to need a few minutes."
"Sorry, but we don't have the luxury of time, X-men," said Slayer in a grim tone.
"Well what do you expect us to do?!" spat Psylocke, "This guy has the power of the Phoenix! How can we stop that?"
"We can't," said Slayer indifferently, "But Jean can!"
"Jeannie?" growled Logan, shaking off the lingering pain, "But how? You said she wasn't balanced yet!"
"She isn't," affirmed Slayer, "But for all our sake, let's hope that changes soon. Because the more suffering Hotshot inflicts, the stronger he gets!"
"As if he could get any stronger," groaned Hank.
Looking over at the sentinels, Hotshot's power was made apparent. Each sentinel tried to focus their firepower on him, but he just hovered there protected by a fiery shell. Nothing could touch him and anything that did had little effect.
He wouldn't stop laughing in amusement as the sentinels tried in vain to stop him. It was downright sad. But Hotshot was never one to give up a good fight.
"Oh this is rich!" he laughed, "I could stand here all day! But I'm in a hurry, ladies. Got a lot of pain to inflict and no patience to put it off! So let's make this quick!"
Charging up his vast power, the flames around Hotshot erupted in a miniature supernova. The brightness forced the rest of the X-men to shield their eyes while the luckless sentinels were fried to bits.
It was an awesome show of power. And when the light faded, a smoking crater formed beneath Hotshot, filled with blackened parts of shattered sentinels.
"Well that was fun," he grinned, "And I'm still just getting warmed up!"
"Do you EVER shut up?!" said Slayer in annoyance.
"What can I say? I just love hearing myself rant!"
"That's boarder-line psychotic, you know that?" muttered Betsy.
"Boarder-line?" questioned Rachel, "I get the feeling this guy jumped overboard a long time ago."
"And you'd be right, Marvel Girl," said Slayer, "He's crazy, but he's also unstable with that power. We just have to keep him occupied until Jean finds her balance."
"Easier said than done," grunted Logan, not knowing how they were going to fight this guy.
Hotshot descended towards his foes, ready to deliver the final blow. He had waited a long time for this chance. His lust for suffering knew no bounds. And with this new power, nothing would hold him back.
"Let the suffering begin!" proclaimed the demonic madman, "Hold out all you want! Nothing will stop me now! Now I'm gonna..."
But before he could deliver another round of attacks, the sky erupted with a thunderous roar. In the once calm skies above, yellow lightening flashed wildly in large balls. They were small at first, but quickly grew. And in the distance, many similar objects formed.
"What the...what's going on?!" yelled Hank over the noise.
"Oh shit..." said Slayer, his all seeing eye glowing bright yellow, "I know you don't want to hear this guys, but I think things just got a lot worse."
"You've got to be freakin' kidding me!" exclaimed Kitty, "How could they possibly get any..."
But Kitty was then cut off by the deafening cries of many Phoenixes coming through the balls of lighting. Soon, the sky filled with figures of exotic creatures, each one bearing the emblems of the Phoenix. And none of them looked happy.
"The Phoenix Corp!" exclaimed Slayer, "They must have followed Hotshot!"
"Phoenix Corp?! You mean there's more than one?!" exclaimed Logan.
"In a ways, yes. Each one represents an omega level psychic. They come from all corners of the universe and can tap the power of the Phoenix. But because of the rift, they're all in chaos! And each one of them has the destructive potential of Dark Phoenix!"
That was not news the X-men wanted to hear. Dark Phoenix alone killed five billion people. Now they had countless others to deal with. Nobody was safe. Near or far, every living thing was at risk.
"Mien Gott," said Kurt, shaking his head in disbelief, "Vhat do ve do now?"
Slayer may have been the greatest warrior ever born, but even he knew when the odds were stacked against them. And with Hotshot bearing Phoenix powers and the entire Phoenix Corp descending upon them, he knew their chances were slim.
"There's not much we can do now, I'm afraid," he said, gripping his sword, "It's all on Jean's shoulders now. If she doesn't pull through now then we're all done for."
Jean Grey had never felt so lost before in her life. She wasn't sure where she was, but she didn't like it one bit.
It was like a dream, flying through space without any worries. There were countless stars in all directions and everywhere she looked, there was a rainbow colored mist. It wasn't the White Hot Room and it wasn't the institute. But whatever it was, she knew she had to find her way out.
She didn't have much to go on, but she did have one important whim guiding her through the confusion. It was a long dormant feeling deep within her mind that she thought had been lost forever. But it was back now and stronger than ever.
'Scott...' she sent out, following the warm feeling in her mind, 'Scott where are you?'
'I'm here, Jean,' she heard within her mind, 'Our link...I can feel you so clearly.'
'Yes, me too.'
Flying through the emptiness, the two star crossed souls drew closer, guided by a bond that had been suppressed for too long. They could feel the love again. It was every bit as deep as it was the moment they first connected.
And when the two figures finally came into view, the feeling within their minds surged.
"Scott..." gasped Jean, tears forming in her eyes as she saw him.
Bearing her White Phoenix outfit, Jean reached out and embraced her soul mate. And when they met, a fiery halo enveloped them. So much love flowed through them, yet still everything felt so chaotic.
"I...I can't believe it," said Scott, choking on his words, "It's really you. Is...is this another dream?"
"It's real, Scott," she assured him, running her hand down his face, "I'm here. We're together again."
"But where are we?" questioned Scott, "What's going on?"
"I don't know," she said, still crying softly, "I...I think it may be the astral plane."
"The astral plane? But how?"
"Because it's here where the mind can't be hindered," she explained, "Because it's here where we can be together without the burden of reality. I...I wanted to see you again so much, Scott. I'm sorry I couldn't do this sooner, but..."
Jean quickly lost control of her sobs, but Scott held her gently, comforting her in the way only he could.
"No, Jean. You shouldn't be sorry. I'm the one at fault here. I should be the one apologizing," he said, his words thick with sorrow.
"Scott..." she began again.
"I lost you, Jean," he went on, "I pushed you away."
"I pushed away first," she sobbed.
"Does it matter, Jean?" said Scott, his words becoming bitter, "Just look at what happened! We fell apart. Everything we built together came crashing down. I let Emma draw me in."
"I know," she said, looking away, "I did the same with Logan. Only he rejected it."
The past was finally catching up with them. There was no getting around what had happened. After working so hard on their relationship, they were torn apart by their insecurities. They never had the chance to make up for it. But now that they were together, they could finally let it out.
"Jean I..." said Scott, his heart burning with so much pain, "I'm so sorry. I failed you. I failed as a husband, a lover, and a friend."
"No Scott, I..."
"Don't try to take responsibility for this Jean," he said, cutting her off, "It was my doing. Even if Emma and the Hellfire Club were influencing me, I wasn't strong enough to fight it. I let them destroy us. I gave in to their lies."
"So did I," said Jean, closing her eyes to suppress her tears, "I had to...otherwise you never would have moved on from my death."
"Moved on?" questioned Scott.
"Yes," she choked, "I pushed you to be with Emma. I made you love her against your will."
"No buts, Scott. I made you both feel things that were lies. It was no different then what she did to you, only I did it out of desperation. It's just that...our lives are so messed up. I've died on you one time too many. You've died on me. We've pushed each other away. I...I don't know what more we could have done."
"It's wrong, Scott! It's all so wrong!" she cried, collapsing into a fit of tears.
It was a long overdue venting of their feelings. And when they remembered all the conflict that had driven them apart, it was just too much. Jean couldn't stop crying, burying her face in Scott's shoulder as he held her securely in his strong arms.
Tears flowed freely between them. All the pain that had tormented them for so long was surfacing and they let it all out, not wanting to risk losing each other again. And when the sobbing stopped, Jean succumbed to the difficult truth.
"I...I can't do this anymore, Scott," she cried.
"Can't...do this?" he said, still holding her tightly.
"This whole deal...me being the Phoenix. I don't want it anymore! All it ever does is tear us apart! And no matter how much it hurts, I can't separate from it! It's always a part of me."
"That's because you're always Phoenix. But you're always Jean too," said Scott, remaining strong.
"But it keeps destroying everything I love!" she cried in anguish, "Every time I lose control, I lose more! And last time I lost what mattered most to me! I lost your love!"
She was on the verge of breaking down again. But Scott wouldn't let her. He wasn't there for her last time and he refused to let that happen again. She needed him. She needed his love.
"Jean..." said Scott, gently stroking the side of her face, "You never lost my love...never. Even when I was with Emma, I still loved you. Even when you were dead, I still loved you."
"And I still loved you too," she sobbed, "I can never stop loving you. So then why did it all fall apart?"
This was something Scott had been avoiding for a long time. He kept it buried inside him even when Emma questioned him about it. But now he was through holding back. With their link strong once again, he knew the truth. And he wasn't avoiding it a second longer.
"Because...because we were afraid, Jean," he told her tenderly, "We were afraid of what we were becoming. We were afraid of losing what we had. But we don't have to be afraid anymore. I see that now. I love you. And you love me. That's all we need. That's all we've ever needed."
His words made her heart swell with love. Even the heights of cosmic power couldn't compare to this overwhelming feeling. It was deep on a level that even the Phoenix couldn't understand. Yet it was so simple.
Together, they had overcome life, death, and rebirth. And through all that turmoil, their path was finally clear. And it had been there all along.
"Yes...I love you too, Scott. I love you so much!"
Coming together in a deep kiss, the fires around them intensified. The power of their passion fueled a growing level of activity within the Phoenix. And in both their physical and metaphysical forms, the connection was growing.
Savoring the love they had almost lost, Scott and Jean clung to the passion that held them together. And from the depths of their bond, the guide to their peace was finally at hand.
'Scott...' she sent him through their link, 'I...I want peace. It's so close. I just...I can't...'
'I'm here for you, Jean,' he assured with all his love, 'I'm here with you until the end. We'll find our peace. I know we will.'
'But how? After so many lies?'
'We can do it! I know we can! And we'll do it together the way we should have from the beginning!'
Back outside, the battle wasn't getting any easier. With the Phoenix Corps now bearing down on them, the world was at the mercy of the limitless power of the cosmos. Slayer and the X-men tried in vain to hold them off, but they were mere insects to these beings. And there was nothing they could do to fight back.
Hotshot remained their chief concern, but with all Phoenix Corp filling the skies, he had to contend with some competition. And Hotshot was never one to share the glory with anybody. So naturally, he fought back.
"BACK! GET BACK YOU MINDLESS SCUM!" yelled Hotshot as he blasted any Phoenix Corp that came into sight.
"No! Stop! So confused! So hungry! New sensations! Too much!"
The flares of the immense power showered down upon the ground below. It was like Armageddon. The sky was on fire and the world around them trembled under the strain. And all they could do was get out of the way.
"Everybody down!" yelled Logan, grabbing Kurt and Rachel and pushing them behind some trees for protection.
"Bloody hell! They're all going nuclear!" yelled Betsy, using her ninja-style reflects to avoid a few stray bolts.
"And taking it out on us, no doubt!" said Hank, jumping up into a tree to avoid an incoming blast.
Everybody was trying to get away, but they were powerless to stop this. One Phoenix was bad enough, but this was beyond their league. Even Slayer, an embodiment of an immortal entity, couldn't do anything to fight back. And if he couldn't do anything, then all seemed lost.
"Any ideas, Slayer?" panted Rachel, trying to catch her breath, "You're the one who said you knew more about this than any of us!"
"I do," he grunted, casting a spell to create an energy shield around himself, "And as far as I know, we're all screwed!"
"That's REAL comforting!" spat Kitty, phasing through a tree just before it was torched.
"Well look on the bright side," he said sarcastically, "At least they're keeping Hotshot occupied."
Slayer wasn't much for condolences, but that was the least of their worries. The whole world was about to be set ablaze and there was nothing they could do to stop it. This was not a battle they could fight. And no matter which side won, they all still lost.
Hope was dwindling. Despair was setting in. What more could they do?
"Well...guess this is it, mien friends," said Kurt, staying low to the ground to avoid the fiery blasts.
"Knock it off, elf!" scorned Logan, "I ain't goin' down yet!"
"Face the facts, Logan!" said Kitty in a fit of despair, "It's over!"
"Don't say that, Kitty!" yelled Rachel, "My mom will come through! She has to! She's a Grey! Grey's never give in!"
"I hope you're right, Rachel!" said Colossus, shielding his girlfriend with his metal body, "But if she doesn't act soon, there may not be a world for her to be reborn in!"
While the X-men were struggling with despair, Slayer was losing strength fast. He couldn't keep exerting so much energy. All these spells were taking a toll on his life force. He didn't know how much longer he could hold out.
"Come on, Jean! Come on!" he grunted, using his sword to deflect another incoming blast, "I know you can do it! You just have to...AHHHHHHHHHHHH!"
Suddenly, he was hit with an intense vision. I was so strong that he keeled over on the spot.
"Ah shit!" grunted Logan, "I can't believe I'm doin' this!"
Jumping out into the melee, Logan dragged the downed warrior to the side. He still didn't like him, but he had done enough to show that he wasn't the enemy.
But even in his limp form, his all seeing eye was glowing brightly. Something was happening with the power of the Phoenix. He could see it all coming together. And when he opened his eyes, he knew what he had to do.
"Slayer? Are you okay?" asked Hank, checking his neck for a pulse.
"That's it!" he said suddenly, rising to his feet and leaning on a tree for support, "She's finally realizing the truth!"
"Huh? What are you talking about?" exclaimed Rachel, "Is it about my mom?"
Grabbing his sword, Slayer cast a quick transport spell. He knew he had to act fast before the Phoenix Corp destroyed everything. But that wasn't what was on his mind. After all, he still had a promise to keep.
"I have to go!" he said, the purple mist consuming him, "I have to keep my promise!"
"Hey wait!" exclaimed Rachel.
"Easy luv," said Betsy, holding her back, "I think he knows what he's doing."
"Great, so why doesn't that make me feel any better about this?" said Kitty.
"Ve must have faith in our new friend, Kitty," assured Kurt, "Vhatever he's doing, let us up zhat it can put an end to this once and for all."
Having nothing else to go on, all the X-men could do was wait and hope. They may not have known Slayer very well, but it was all on his shoulders now. If he could come through, then they were all as good as dead.
Appearing down in the infirmary where Scott and Jean's bodies remained unmoving, Slayer stood between the two with an anxious poise.
Picking up Scott and setting his body on the gurney besides Jean, he prepared to make his move. All his skill was going to be put to the test with this one. He knew it. But as a warrior, he was bound by his honor to see it through.
"This is it," he said, holding his sword firmly as it glowed in a brilliant white light, "No more lies! No more chaos! Once and for all, it's time for Jean Grey to face the truth!"
THE FINAL BATTLE IS AT HAND! DON'T FORGET TO REVIEW!