A new mutant arises in New York that reveals a secret about Jean Grey and her family that will change her life forever. And it all centers around a familiar looking girl named Madelyn Pryor.
Chapter 7: Twin Deception
Down in the foyer, Rogue was leaving the kitchen after having a little evening snack. Stretching her arms and yawning, she looked forward to spending the evening with her books. A day of training and avoiding Remy had taken a toll on her. Although lately, she found herself playing along with the Cajun mutant's games. But of course, she'd never openly admit that, even if they were starting to grow on her.
As she ascended the stairs, she shook her head clear of those confusing feelings. She had a hard enough time getting over her crush on Scott, but Remy was a lot more persistent. Only time would tell in regards to where this would lead her, but she didn't want to worry about that at the moment.
About halfway up the steps, she was nearly blindsided by Madelyn as she scrambled down the stairs, dressed in a new outfit and wearing some of her best makeup.
"Hey! Watch it, Jean!" said Rogue, nearly losing her balance.
"It's Madelyn," said the redhead, turning around only briefly as she ran towards the garage, "Sorry, but I'm in a hurry. If you see Jean, tell her I went out."
"Whatever," said Rogue, not giving it a second thought as she retreated to her room.
Madelyn didn't pass anybody else as she got into her car and sped off into the evening, eagerly awaiting her little 'pseudo date' as she called it. Paul had called so suddenly and she spent nearly twenty minutes making sure she looked her best. And hopefully, he wouldn't mind if she was a little late. Besides, she had a feeling this was going to be a night to remember.
The drive to the Gut Bomb didn't take long, but it felt like an eternity for Madelyn. She wasn't sure what she was going to talk about with this guy. They had already gotten to know each other fairly well over the past few weeks. So where would they go from here?
'Okay Maddie, keep your cool,' she told herself, 'Just be calm, be casual, and don't come off as demanding. Then again, Paul is a little shy. Would it be too much if I made the first move? Or maybe it's still too soon? Or maybe...damn girl, knock it off! Just take deep breaths and play it cool.'
Arriving in the parking lot of the restaurant, Madelyn got out of her car and scanned the area for Paul. There wasn't much of a crowd inside, but it was still fairly busy. Having heard about this place from Kurt, it was a pretty popular hangout for the Xavier residents. It seemed fitting that this would be where Paul would want to meet up.
Pacing about the sidewalk adjacent to the building, Madelyn checked her watch, getting increasingly anxious.
"Oh no, I hope he didn't leave because I was late," she mused.
Then, as she renewed her pacing, a familiar voice startled her from behind.
"There you are. I was beginning to think you wouldn't come."
Turning around, Madelyn smiled as Paul approached her with his hands in his pockets and a cute smile on his face. It set some of her anxiety at ease, but did little to make her any less nervous.
"Paul! Wow, you just snuck up on me there!"
"Guess I have a knack for surprises," he shrugged.
"Well given that I'm psychic, that's quite a feat," she grinned, "Maybe you should join the X-men too."
"Until I can shoot lasers out of my eyes or move things with my mind, I don't think I can."
"Oh I'm sure if I vouch for you, they'll make an exception," said Madelyn playfully as she approached the cute boy.
"You'd do that for me?" said Paul with a nervous look.
"Of course," she smiled, locking her arms with his, "But enough about school and superhero teams. Where do you want to go? Want to grab a bite here?"
"At a greasy fast food joint? Hell no," said Paul as they started walking, "I know a great place downtown that you'd love."
"Mmm...I'll take your word for it," she said, leaning into him in a show of affection, "Lead the way!"
"Oh I will."
A sneaky smile spread across Paul's face as they neared the back of the Gut Bomb. They neared a crosswalk.
Suddenly, Paul shoved her into the secluded area near the dumpsters, right into the thick smell of greasy burgers and soggy fries. It was an act that shocked Madelyn, nearly losing her balance at the young man's sudden change in demeanor. Now she was backed into a corner, vulnerable in a way she didn't like. Confusion quickly set in.
"What the...Paul?" she stammered, getting defensive.
"Not quite, Ms Pryor," said a strange, feminine voice.
Then, much to Madelyn's horror, the figure of Paul shifted, turning into a tall, imposing woman with blue skin and yellow eyes. Gasping in shock, her training kicked in and she took a strong stance, ready to fight off this mysterious figure if necessary.
"A mutant? Who are you?!" she demanded.
"Someone who needs your help," said the shape shifter, not daunted by her actions.
Before she could process a response, the stranger took out a small, spherical grenade and threw it at the ground in front of her. Erupting with a flash, the area was suddenly consumed by a thick, noxious gas.
"Ack!" she choked, falling to the hard pavement clutching her throat.
"Relax," said the blue woman, "It'll all be over soon."
The world spun in a dizzying blur. Her surroundings were fading fast, every last one of her muscles going limp. She tried to fight it, but the gas was too strong. She was heading into the darkness, but before she slipped away completely, she got out one final message through her mind.
Back at the mansion, Jean was half asleep as she rested comfortably on her boyfriend's shoulder, watching a movie from the institute's vast collection. But just as she was beginning to nod off, she felt something in her mind.
"Huh?" she said, shooting up from her dazed state, drawing Scott's attention as well.
Suddenly, her breathing grew ragged. Her heart started racing, breaking out into a cold sweat as a feeling of dread consumed her. Grasping her temples, she searched her mind for the source of this feeling. But she found nothing.
"Jean?" said Scott, sensing her distress through their link, "Is everything okay?"
Turning back to her boyfriend, Jean a deep breath as the feeling faded. She didn't know what it was, but it was gone now. However, the dread remained, still looming over her like a shadow.
"I'm fine, Scott," she assured, "I just...I thought I sensed something."
"Sensed?" said Scott, showing concern, "What was it?"
Clutching her temples again, Jean probed her mind. Yet still, she came up with nothing. It didn't sit well with her, but she brushed it aside for the moment.
"I...I don't know," she said, "But it's gone now. Don't worry about it."
Slipping his arm back around her, Scott wasn't convinced. But he trusted Jean's word, holding her close for comfort.
"Are you sure?" he asked.
"Yeah...I'm sure," she replied, sinking back into his warmth as they snuggled on the couch.
Turning her thoughts away from the feeling, Jean closed her eyes and tried to relax. Scott's gentle warmth helped, but she still couldn't shake this feeling. Whatever it was, it had taken a hold of her. But she just kept telling herself that it was nothing serious.
'It's okay,' she thought to herself, 'Everything's fine. Nothing's wrong. Nothing...'
Madelyn's world was still spinning. Time lost all meaning as she swam through the darkness, unable to discern whether she was conscious or not. It felt like a dream, if not a nightmare. But as she probed though the abyss, she heard a couple of unfamiliar voices.
"She looks just like her, Mystique," said a deep, imposing tone, "The resemblance is uncanny."
"What about her powers?" said another dark, yet feminine tone, "Does she still have what we need?"
"Near as I can tell, she's got the same potential as Jean Grey. There are some differences, but it's there. And with it, we should be able to proceed."
As those ominous voices echoed through her mind, Madelyn finally regained her focus. Opening her eyes, she was greeted with a blurry sight. It wasn't clear, but she managed to make out two figures. One was a tall man with a cape and helmet and the other was the blue skinned woman from before. They were both looking over her with a mixture of awe and excitement, something that definitely didn't sit well.
She didn't know where she was, but it didn't feel friendly. And as her vision cleared, she got her first glimpse of the two mysterious voices.
"Ah, she awakens," said Erik, smiling ominously at the young redhead.
Feeling renewed strength, Madelyn tried to move her arms and legs. But as she grew more aware, she discovered that she was bound by metal restraints. Immediately, she fought to break them, but soon realized these were built tough.
Looking around, it felt as though she was in some sort of laboratory. There were many metallic surfaces and objects, an ambience that made Madelyn's skin crawl. The chair she was in felt like an electric chair used for executions, making her all the more determined to break free.
"You! What is this?! What's going on?!" she demanded.
"Take it easy, Madelyn. Don't struggle. You'll only wear yourself out," said the woman, "And don't bother using your powers. That collar on your neck blocks them completely."
Moving her head slightly, she discovered that the blue skinned woman wasn't lying. There was something around her neck and whatever it was, it was holding back her telekinesis. Yet still, she struggled. But the imposing man before her hardly seemed threatened.
"You're every bit as determined as your sibling, Ms Pryor. Same powers, same looks, same drive...truly remarkable. But please, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Erik Lensherr. But most people know me as Magneto."
The metal objects in the room shook slightly as he said that name. But Madelyn remained unafraid as she gave up struggling and heard them out.
"And I'm sure you've already met Mystique," he said with a gesture towards his female associate.
"In a ways, yes," she said bitterly, "I know who you are. The Professor told me all about you. Frankly, I expected you to be taller."
"She's got wit," grinned Mystique, "That sets her apart."
"Indeed," said Magneto, "And it confirms what we uncovered. She really is the twin sister of Jean Grey."
"You...you know?" she said, growing anxious.
"We do now," said Magneto as he stared at her with amazement, "I must say this is quite a surprise. I've kept tabs on every one of Xavier's students, Jean Grey included. But I never heard anything about her having a twin sister."
"Well up until a few weeks ago, neither did she," quipped Madelyn, "So now that you know, how about letting me out of here?!"
Madelyn started struggling again, growing increasingly angry with her captives. Mystique and Magnet exchanged glances, looking more annoyed than threatened. But they didn't let it show as the master of magnetism eyed the young redhead with an ominous gaze.
"I'm sorry, but we can't do that just yet," he said, "This situation is a bit more complicated than you suspect."
"Sorry, but not interested!" spat Madelyn.
"Well you should be girl," said Mystique in an angry tone, "This matter concerns you!"
"Me?! Why me?! What the hell do you want from me?!"
Mystique was about to yell back, but Magneto stopped her before she could. Remaining calm, the master of magnetism removed his helmet and set it aside so she could see his unobstructed face.
It was strange for Madelyn. As sinister as her surroundings felt, he bore no malice in his expression. It was almost as if he was trying to be sincere.
"I apologize for the abduction, Ms Pryor. But I couldn't risk Xavier and his X-men getting involved. This matter is none of his concern. This is our fight and you are a necessary part of it."
"I don't want anything to do with your fights!" yelled Madelyn, "I know what you stand for and I don't want any part of it!"
"Ah, but that's where your wrong," said Magneto ominously, "You see, a lot has changed since I last spoke with Xavier. I am not the same man he and his X-men have told you about."
"And I should believe that, why?" said Madelyn skeptically.
"Because it's the truth," said Mystique, a strange look of remorse falling over her face, "I'm not going to deny the horrid details your friends have probably told you, but that's not the case anymore."
Madelyn fell silent, not knowing if she should believe them. Jean told her about their fights with Magneto and Mystique and from what she gathered they were not nice people to say the least. They lied, cheated, and destroyed anything that stood in their way. They were enemies of the X-men. They stood for war and hatred.
But as she looked into the eyes of these two ominous figures, there was something strange about this instance.
"Our situation is grave, Madelyn. Mutant kind is becoming an endangered species. As our numbers grow, so too does humanity's hatred. You may be new to the experience, but we have had a lifetime to endure the horrors of bigotry."
Then, Magneto raised his hands and opened a panel on the wall, revealing a flat screen TV. And with the invisible guiding force of his magnetic powers, it came on to reveal a stream of horrific videos.
"Oh God," gasped Madelyn, trying to look away.
They looked like shots from a third world country. Each clip centered around young and middle aged mutants, many of which couldn't hide their mutation, enduring treatment reminiscent of the Holocaust. They were all sickly thin, crying out in hungry pains. They wore rags for clothes, bore massive lesions from beatings by soldiers, and lived in gated prison camps where they were forced to toil endlessly until death.
It was not an easy sight to look at, but Madelyn couldn't tear her eyes away from it. They were very graphic, more than the evening news could ever show. There were clips of guards shooting mutant children, calling prisoners terrible names, and huge crowds clamoring over their small daily rations. She almost lost her dinner watching this, but Magneto wasn't done.
"I'm sorry to have to show you this, but believe it or not I've seen worse," said Magneto in a cold, hard tone, "This is what mutants are going through on the island nation of Genosha. And despite this horrifying record of abuse, no nation or group is going to step in and give these tortured souls justice."
Tears formed in Madelyn's eyes as she closed them hard, trying to filter out these horrific images.
"Please! Turn it off!" she begged.
Using his powers to stop the feed, Magneto stared callously at the young woman. Giving her a minute to recover, he stood strong despite the horror. Unlike her, he was hardened against it. And if she was to stomach what they were going to do, she would need to know these terrible truths.
"Xavier may preach peace, but peace does not always equate to justice. I once thought that the only way to attain peace was through war, but after enduring the wrath of Apocalypse I've come to see things differently."
"Then why do you still have me tied up like this?!" spat Madelyn, her eyes full of rage.
"You doubt my sincerity?" questioned Magneto, "Fine, then how about this?"
Raising his hands again, the metal shackles binding the redhead were suddenly unlocked. And the next thing Madelyn knew, she was completely free. It brought a look of great shock to her face. This was definitely not something the Magneto that Jean had told her about would do. And as she stood up, she looked at the master of magnetism more seriously.
"Uh...okay," she said, rubbing her wrists, "I'm officially surprised."
"I thought so," said Magneto with a smile, "And if this is more preferable, then allow me to fill you in on why we need you, Madelyn."
Bringing up another view screen, Madelyn was bombarded with a different site. This time, it wasn't nearly as horrific. Instead, she saw images of a big team of mutants gathering together in preparation for a big battle of sorts. She recognized some of them as the Brotherhood and the Acolytes, but there were many more this time, some of which looked like the refugees from the other clips.
"Make no mistake, Madelyn," said Magneto in a strong tone, "We are still very different from Charles Xavier and his X-men. Between us, there is one key difference that will always set us apart."
"And what might that be?" said Madelyn suspiciously.
"The will to do whatever it takes."
Then, another image came up. This time, it was one of the Genoshan defenses surrounding the island nation from attack.
"Genosha is the epitome of everything I stand against. The government is run by a malevolent, fascist ruler. There is no freedom, no liberty, and no human rights. His people suffer, even those who aren't mutants. Yet Cameron Hodge and his regime are left alone because he masks his true self from the rest of the world. And nothing short of conflict will bring him to justice."
"I still don't see what this has to do with me," said Madelyn, sounding less resentful and more curious.
"I was just getting to that, my dear," said Magneto with an ominous tone, "You see, I have gathered many mutants from abroad in this fight. Some of which are former Genoshan citizens who wish to be free of Hodge's tyranny. But I am not so naÃ¯ve that I think we can just waltz into a country and take it over. No, we need an edge that will allow us not only to defeat Hodge, but free Genosha once and for all."
"An edge? What kind of edge are you talking about?"
Using his powers once more, Magneto opened a small compartment in the floor, revealing a head-shaped mount that rose up from the floor. Atop that mount was a familiar looking device that got Madelyn's eyes to widen with amazement.
"Is...is that Cerebro?"
"Indeed," grinned the master of magnetism, "Xavier may not have told you this, but I helped him build it many years ago when we still shared a dream. Now, I need it and the skill of a psychic such as yourself to give us a winning edge in the coming battle."
Madelyn took a step back as she pieced together what he was saying. It was starting to make sense now. She saw what he was implying.
"You've gotta be kidding me," she said, shaking her head in defiance.
"I assure you, it's no joke," said Magneto sternly, "We need the power of a psychic to win this battle. I've surmised that if we can get you to the center palace of Hodge's capital, you will be able to unleash a psychic burst that will make every last human on his island nation surrender. And from there, we mutants can step in and establish our own nation...one free from humanity's bigotry."
"With you as leader, no doubt!" shot Madelyn with disgust.
"But of course," he said calmly, "Who better to lead a new nation than one of the most powerful and well educated mutants in the world?"
Madelyn had heard enough. For a moment, she actually believed that he was different, but she knew now that he was still the same madman. He may have changed his tune, but his tactics were all the same. And as an X-man, she wouldn't aid him in any way.
"So how about it?" he asked, sounding almost casual, "Will you help us build a nation for our brethren?"
The redheaded psychic looked back at him with disgust.
"You're crazy!" she exclaimed, "You say you've changed, but you're still crazy!"
"Oh come girl," groaned Mystique, "What's so crazy about deposing a hated dictator and building a nation where mutants can live in peace?"
"You're just fighting hatred with more hatred! A war against this guy will only make humanity hate us even more! It'll only confirm what they think about us! Don't you see that?"
"And public image is more important than the souls who currently suffer under Hodge?" quipped Magneto, "Look at all the suffering that goes on because the rest of the world is too embattled to do what is necessary! Any further delay would lead to more anguish!"
"And so will an all out war! I may be new to this game, but I know enough to understand that overthrowing one nation and setting up your own is not going to help humanity accept us! It's just going to make them fear us!"
"They'll always fear us, girl," said Mystique strongly, "Humanity always fears those that are more powerful than them."
"They'll always fear us as long as we give them reasons to! And if you're going to do this and enflame the rest of the world, then I don't want any part of it!"
Magneto and Mystique exchanged disappointed glances. Neither seemed too threatened by the young woman's words. She was still powerless and trapped. And despite her defiance, she was still going to help them.
"I'm sorry you feel that way, Madelyn," said Magneto with great disappointment, "I was hoping that we could persuade you to help us freely, but if that's the way you feel then I'm afraid we're going to have to take more drastic measures."
"Hey! What the..."
But before Madelyn could fight back, she was tied up and bound by metal cables that shot up from the floor. Grunting in defiance, she struggled to break free. But it was no use as Magneto uses his powers to bind her to the chair again and keep her docile.
"One way or another, you ARE going to help us, Madelyn," said Magneto strongly, "Like I've said before, the key difference between me and Xavier is that I am willing to do what it takes for the benefit of mutant kind. And if that means taking extreme measures, then so be it."
Then, from a sliding door at the far end of the room, an ominous figure in a cloak approached the bound redhead. As he drew near, she got a look at his deformed face, cringing as she struggled to break free.
"No! I won't help! I WON'T!" she yelled in defiance.
"Yes you will, girl," said Magneto, putting his helmet back on, "Your kind beckons you and it is not your choice to refuse. Mastermind...you may proceed."
Placing his hands on the young woman's head, the mutant known as Mastermind began probing her mind. Madelyn tried to resist it, but his power was too strong and her skills too weak. It felt as though someone was reaching into her brain and picking it apart with bare hands. And as the world faded into obscurity, she let out one last cry for help.
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