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 9: Eruption
After giving up the search, Xavier retreated to his office with Jean close by. Some were still out investigating possible leads, but Jean chose to stay behind in case there was any word from her sister.
She was still deeply worried, so anxious and on edge. She snapped at anybody who tried to console her, but was always quick to recant. She hated what this was doing to her. These were her friends and they were trying to help. Her frustration was just getting the better of her.
It didn't help that there was suspicion of Brotherhood involvement in Madelyn's disappearance. Even though they had been inactive for months, it wasn't out of the question that they would come back with a new plan to decimate humanity. Jean just didn't like the feeling of her twin sister being a part of it.
"Yes...I see...okay then...thank you, Evan," said the Professor as he hung up the phone and sighed.
"What's the word, Professor?" asked Jean, not sounding to optimistic.
"Evan says the Morlocks haven't heard anything, although he did say there was a lot of chatter going around mutant circles. Some have even left without reason."
"And you think Madelyn is caught up in this?"
"I don't know, but I'm beginning to suspect that there is something much bigger going on here," said the Professor, pondering the possibilities.
Jean shifted anxiously, running her hand through her long flowing red hair. Things just seemed to go from bad to worse. Madelyn disappearing was hard enough, but if there was something else going on here, it was sure to make things more difficult.
Just then, Logan, Scott, Rogue, and Remy entered Xavier's office. They had been out doing one final sweep of their leads, but Jean's mood was hardly eased despite their arrival.
"Did you find anything, Logan?" asked Xavier.
"Nope, but this whole mess is stinkin' more with every lead I sniff out," said Logan, folding his arms in a stern poise.
"What do you mean?" asked Jean nervously, "Did you find anything new?"
"Yeah, we found Madelyn's car at the Gut Bomb," said Scott, "But she was nowhere near."
"Any trail?" asked the Professor.
"That's what stinks," grunted Logan, "I followed it about half a block and then it turned into a back alley and just disappeared."
"Disappeared?" said Jean, growing even more concerned.
"Was there anybody with her?" Xavier pressed, keeping it serious.
"That's just it, I couldn't tell," said Logan in a very frustrated voice, "I only got a few trace scents, but it was scrambled, like a bunch of different traces at once. And there's only one person in the world who can make a scent like that."
"Mystique," muttered Rogue, her voice wrought with anger as she said that name.
Jean seemed to share her bitter distaste. That woman had almost killed Scott once before and now she was messing with her sister. It was enough to get her blood boiling, but at least they now had a lead.
"Did you check up on her and the Brotherhood?" asked Jean, sounding more determined.
"We went to de ol' boarding house, but it was completely abandoned," said Remy, "Looks like nobody's been there in months."
"That doesn't rule them out!" spat Jean, "If they are involved, we have to find them and get some answers!"
"But how? We haven't seen them since we fought Apocalypse," reasoned Rogue.
"I don't care! They're still out there and they have my sister!" yelled Jean, "And I swear if they do anything to her I'll..."
But before she could finish, Scott stopped her, grabbing both her shoulders and holding her back from losing it.
"Easy Jean," he coaxed softly, "Anger isn't going to help."
"Speak for yourself bub," remarked Logan.
"Even if the Brotherhood is involved, rage isn't going to find them any faster," pressed Scott, "If they have her, we'll save her. I know we will. But you have to keep it together, Jean."
As much as she wanted to fly away, locate the Brotherhood, and lobotomize them, Jean knew Scott was right. Taking deep breaths, she managed to calm herself down. But she was still anxious about the possibility of her sister being involved with Magneto.
"You're right, Scott," said Jean, taking his hands in hers, "I'm sorry I just..."
"Hey, it's okay. Remember, Magneto messed with my brother too. And we'll get him for this."
Casting his girlfriend a compassionate look, Jean's nerves seemed to ease. It was a strong show of their love, but for some it was not what they wanted to see at this point.
"Oh brother," muttered Rogue.
"Aw, ya can't say it ain't sweet in some ways, cherÃ¨," grinned Remy.
"Can it, swamp rat."
Despite this new development, the search had to go on. Xavier was determined to find out what was going on. If Magneto had been behind Madelyn's abduction, there had to be a reason. But he shuttered to think just what he may uncover.
"So what's the plan now, Chuck?" asked Logan, sounding ready for battle.
"For now, we must track down the Brotherhood," said Xavier in a determined tone.
"You make it sound easy, Professor," said Jean anxiously, "We haven't heard from them in months. How are we going to find them now?"
"If Mystique was involved in Madelyn's abduction, then it's safe to say they're up to something," surmised the Professor, "We're just going to have to follow every lead we can. They must be up to something if they're willing to risk abducting one of my students."
"Yeah, and we'll make sure it doesn't pay off!" grunted Logan.
"I'm game," said Jean, sharing his determination, "So what do we do now?"
"For now, we can only keep our ears open for any possible activity," said Xavier, "I'll man Cerebro while you do sweeps of every last residence of the Brotherhood and Acolytes."
"Remy knows where dose are, but last I checked dey were cleaned out," said Gambit.
"Perhaps," said the Professor, "But this is all we can do for now until we get more information."
"But what about my sister?!" exclaimed Jean, "You can't expect me to just sit by and wait to hear about the horrible things they've done to her?!"
"Jean please," coaxed Xavier, Scott staying close to her, "This is all we can do at the moment. We don't know enough about what's going on to make any moves. I'm sorry about Madelyn, I truly am. But until we get word of Brotherhood activity we can only..."
Suddenly, Xavier was cut off by a familiar 'bamf' noise. It was Kurt Wanger, appearing in a puff of smoke and brimstone. And from the looks of it, something major was happening.
"Professor! I zhink you better turn on zhe news!"
"Kurt?" said Rogue with confusion, "What are you..."
"See for yourself mien sister!" he said, grabbing the remote and turning on the TV located between Xavier's bookcases.
As the team gathered around, they saw images that turned their situation from bad to worse. It looked like a shot right out of a war zone with bombs, bullets, and explosions everywhere. But what made this sight more horrific were the figures at the center of it all.
"Good God," said Xavier, watching with shock as he and his students took in the report.
"We're here live in Genosha where fighting has erupted in the early morning hours on the eastern shore. Reports are sketchy, but air reconnaissance has confirmed that this is a mutant invasion of the island! I repeat, this is a mutant invasion of the island! And leading them is notorious mutant supremacist, Magneto. He and a vast army of followers are pounding at the vast Genoshan defenses, mostly manned by conscripted peasants. Communication is out and there is no word on the state of leader, Cameron Hodge, whose anti-mutant sentiment has sparked a great rift in the international community. Now nations are gathering in an emergency session of the UN. There is talk of a possible retaliation, but from the looks of things, they may not be fast enough as mutants from abroad storm the island nation in a all out war!"
The grim news blared on every station. War had begun, just as Magneto had preached. This was exactly what the X-men had fought so hard to stop, but now it was happening. And it was clear now what they had to do.
"Professor?" began Scott, but he didn't have time to finish.
"Gather the team, Cyclops," said the Professor in a strong tone, "We must move quickly! We have to stop this before it's too late!"
"Looks like we might already be too late, Chuck," grunted Logan.
But as everybody scrambled to get ready for battle, Jean felt a horrible sense of foreboding in the back of her mind. A sick feeling in the pit of her stomach grew, the anxiety surrounding her sister raging hard. And as she watched these horrid images, a single word of worry escaped her breath.
Miles away in the remote waters of the Indian Ocean, the island nation of Genosha was under siege. The sun was just beginning to rise, illuminating the full scale battle that spread from the shores and consumed a nation. The sounds of machine guns, bombs, and fighter jets echoed through the air and from the central capital, Cameron Hodge oversaw everything.
His absolute authority resonated from his elaborate palace. It was in the heart of the island, resting atop a large plateau. Here, the armed forces were on full alert, doing numerous patrols to protect their leader. And from the top balcony, Hodge stood in a colorful military uniform, listening to the sound of fighter jets in the distance.
"Master Hodge, sir!" said one of his officers, storming in from inside, "Our coastline defense is crumbling! Several battalions are urging they pull out and retreat to the surrounding farmland!"
Despite the urgency of his tone, Hodge remained calm, not taking his eyes off the rising sun in the east where the mutants were invading from.
"Tell each battalion to hold their ground," he said calmly, "And for those leaders who recommend pulling out, have them shot on sight."
It was an extreme move, but the officer wisely accepted it and bowed with unyielding obedience to his master.
"Aye sir. Do you wish any further action against these monsters?"
"Yes, call in the reserve divisions and reinforce all beachheads," he ordered, "But make sure my elite guard stays in the capital."
"It will be done," said the loyal subordinate.
Leaving to fulfill his duties, Cameron Hodge was left to muse over this grave challenge he faced. He knew by taking a stand against these freaks of nature, there would be a backlash. But so far, everything was going as he expected. Once a hated tyrant, he would soon be a savior for taking a stand against mutants. And when this was over, he'd have the international community eating right out of his hands.
"That's it you freaks," he said with a sinister grin, "Come and get me. Walk right into my little trap and seal your doom."
On the vast eastern shore, the small army of mutants loyal to Magneto drew closer to the beachhead where bullets and bombs awaited them. They were not in any military uniform. They didn't even have landing vehicles. But thanks to Magneto's powers, they had a small armada of metallic boats with heavy steel plates for protection.
However, the closer they got to shore, the more damage they took. They only had small magnetic rail guns to return fire, but it was nothing compared to Hodges fortifications. And as mines began going off around them, the situation was getting grim.
And leading the charge was a small craft occupied by the Brotherhood. Around them, mutants from all over the world followed them. But some were already taking losses.
"Oh man! I'm never playing another war video game again, yo!" said Todd, who was manning their only cannon.
"Stop your wining and keep firing!" yelled Pietro, "We're almost in position! Wanda, keep the shield up! We can't keep taking this kind of damage!"
"I'm trying!" grunted the Scarlet Witch, who was engulfed in the glow of her hexing powers, "Just stop talking to me and try to keep this thing steady!"
"Easy for you to say!" said Freddy, who was carefully maneuvering them closer to shore.
Above them, clouds of fire roared as Pyro unleashed a massive assault on the fortifications, making Hodge pay for every hit they took. Other mutants with firepower joined, unleashing energy bursts of all kinds. Some, like Mastermind, used psychic powers to deceive the troops on the ground and got them to fire on each other. And overhead, huge magnetic spheres packed with explosives descended from the sky like meteors, destroying heavy entrenchments.
Flying high overhead, Magneto watched with eager intent as the war he so often dreamed of unfolded before him. But he wasn't out to overthrow humanity with this battle. His intentions now were far different and this was very personal.
"Brotherhood, you're in position," said Magneto, speaking into a communicator that was built into his helmet, "Hodge is proving to be more foolish than I thought. He's concentrating his forces on the beach."
"Concentrating?" replied Pietro over the communication link, "How many?"
"More than enough," said Magneto ominously, "Proceed with the next part of the operation. I'll cover you."
Using his magnetic powers to destroy a fleet of Russian made SU-30 and MIG-29 fighter jets, the Brotherhood was ready to make Hodge feel the true sting of their power.
"Okay Avalanche! You're on!" said Pietro, giving him the thumbs up.
At the bow of the ship, Lance Alvers responded with a similar gesture, focusing his attention on the shoreline. Bullets and bombs blew past him, but thanks to the Scarlet Witch, none were close enough to touch him. Taking a deep breath and focusing on the great task before him, his eyes rolled back into his head and the ground around him began to shake violently.
The wake around the ships intensified, causing some to nearly keel over. In the shallow waters below, huge sections of land shifted under Avalanche's power. And as a result, a massive tsunami formed near the shore, sending a wall of water at the vast entrenchments.
"TSUNAMI!" yelled one of the officers, "PULL OUT! PULL..."
But the order came too late. The heavily armed battalions that had reinforced the beach were washed away in a massive series of waves that inundated thousands of soldiers. Even the strongest entrenchments were no match for the fury of the sea. Flooded by salt water, the heavy cannons fell silent and machine gun fire ceased. Hundreds of soldiers were washed away, leaving the beaches clear for a full scale assault.
"Oh man," panted Lance, keeling over after exerting so much power, "D-day eat your heart out!"
Upon seeing this from above, Magneto smiled in approval. Everything was going as planned. He and his loyal followers were poised for victory. And Cameron Hodge's days were numbered.
"Excellent work Brotherhood," he said approvingly into his communicator, "Hodge's arrogance has worked nicely to our advantage. His forces are a mere fraction of their former selves. The beach is clear now, so proceed as planned."
"On it, Father!" affirmed Pietro, "We'll meet in the capital palace!"
"Affirmative. Be careful my son," he said, switching over to another frequency, "Now it's time for the final blow. Mystique...you and Madelyn are on."
From the opposite shore of the island, a lone metal sphere flew down from the clouds. Inside, the shape shifting Mystique stood with their secret weapon, Madelyn Pryor. Only now she was in an official Brotherhood uniform. She bore a black cape similar to Magneto's and a pair of revealing black leather pants with matching halter top with a red on black fiery design. She looked nervous standing in the confined sphere, but she didn't speak up, saving her strength for the task before her.
"I read you, Erik," said Mystique as they flew over the coast, "We'll be in position soon. Just keep the elite guard off and we'll have our mutant nation."
Not far from the raging battle, the X-jet soared over the vast Indian Ocean. They flew high to avoid detection, remaining stealthy so as not to draw fire from either side. Inside, the regulars were suited up and ready for combat. Scott, Jean, Kurt, Kitty, Bobby, Logan, Ororo, Rogue, Remy, Hank, and Colossus knew they had a big fight ahead of them, but with stakes this high it was one they couldn't ignore.
Back at the mansion, Xavier was manning Cerebro, keeping a psychic eye on the situation. He could sense a lot of anxiety from his students, but none were as weary as Jean Grey, who feared for Madelyn's safety if she was caught up in this.
As they neared their destination, the air grew thick with tension. Knowing they were going into an all out war, they mentally prepared themselves to face the worst. On one side they had Cameron Hodge. On the other they had Magneto. It was unclear which side they would fight for, but they would have to decide soon if they were to make a difference.
"Professor, we're about to enter Genoshan airspace," reported Scott, "I'm getting a huge area of magnetic interference so we must be getting close."
"I'm sensing it too, Cyclops. It appears Magneto is blacking out Hodge's communication network. Near as I can tell, his forces are falling fast."
"Isn't that a good thing?" wondered Bobby, "After all, this is a guy who has publicly stated that all mutants should be exterminated."
That earned him a slap upside the head from Logan.
"Wake up, popsicle! It ain't that simple!"
"Indeed. This is not about Hodge. This is about stopping a situation that could end in disaster for mutants everywhere. Even if Hodge is a hated tyrant, being overthrown by an army of mutants will do little for peace prospects."
"So what do we do? Help Hodge and defend a tyrant whose human right's record is worse than Remy's rap sheet?" said Colossus.
"Hey!" scorned the Cajun.
"Good one, mien friend," grinned Kurt.
"Knock it off, you two," said Rogue with a threatening glance.
"You tell em, cherÃ¨!"
"Only Ah can make jokes like."
That got some of the others to snicker. Remy groaned at their comments, but a reassuring grin from Rogue helped make him feel better. However, this playful banter did not amuse some on the jet.
"Enough with the jokes, kiddies!" growled Logan, "We've got a big fight ahead of us!"
"Logan's right guys," said Scott, skillfully flying the X-jet around the battle zone, "This is a tense moment for all of us. We mess this up and mutants are going to need their own country."
"All war is a battle over perception," mused Beast, "We must simply show the world that we do not take any other side then that of peace."
"Easier said than done with full blown battle going on, homme," muttered Gambit.
"That doesn't mean we can't shape the outcome," said Ororo, who was looking over their radar scope, "What are our orders, Professor?"
Back in Cerebro, massive images of the battle came up on the huge holographic imaging device. Some were news reels, others were real time feed. They showed widespread devastation from attacks on both sides. Much of Hodge's army was in ruin and Magneto's army showed no signs of slowing down as they marched towards the capital.
"Get to Hodge's palace, X-men. I have a feeling that the outcome of this conflict is only going to be resolved there."
"What do we do when we get there? Ask the guy to stop the war?" said Kitty, not sounding too optimistic about that plan.
"No, but I get the feeling that Hodge's intentions may not be what they seem. The same goes for Magneto. And for this reason, you must be the decisive factor my X-men."
"But what about Maddie?" said Jean, breaking her silence, "What if she's down there caught up in this mess?"
"I have yet to sense her, but if she is a part of this then we will find her. Right now, our best course of action is to stop this battle. You must hurry, X-men. Time is running out."
"We understand, Professor. We're heading in!" affirmed Scott, kicking in the afterburners as they descended towards the island nation.
In the distance, smoke from the island was rising up in a massive plume, filling the sky with the noxious scent of war. Flashes from bombs and gunfire illuminated the early morning sky, hinting at the great conflict raging below. The choppy waters were littered with debris, casting an ominous shadow as the team neared their destination.
And from the high flying X-jet, Jean watched below worrying about the safety of her twin whom had so suddenly come into her life.
"Maddie..." she said in a distant tone as she looked at the devastation.
"Don't worry, Jean. I'm sure she's okay," said Scott with a comforting gaze.
"I'm not so sure, Scott," she mused, "I have a bad feeling about this."
"Take it easy, Red," said Logan, sensing she was getting anxious, "We'll save her. Maddie's tough. She'll hang in there."
"Ja, she is your twin after all," reminded Kurt.
That helped ease Jean's anxieties to some extent, but part of her couldn't shake this feeling of dread.
"I hope you're right guys. I really do."
The central capital of Hodge's island nation was a buzz of military activity as every last battalion gathered to reinforce their leader. Refugees were fleeing the area in masses, but some stayed behind armed with AK-47s and the deep desire to defend their home from invasion. And in the vast presidential palace, Cameron Hodge watched with little ire, bearing no fear of doom or defeat.
"Sir! Our costal defenses are decimated!" exclaimed one of the officers, "Our forces are less than half!"
"Calm yourself, Colonel. All is going according to plan," said Hodge calmly, "Just continue fortifying the city."
"But what about..."
"Don't you dare question me!" shot the raging tyrant, "I've already told you I know what I'm doing! Rest assured, it will all be over soon enough."
The officer wisely fell silent, saluting his leader and returning to his duties. Hodge kept watch over his capital city from atop his palace, stuck in a daze as he listened to the fervent activity below. He knew they were coming. The mutants were taking over. But he didn't seem frightened in the slightest.
Suddenly, there was a rumble in the distance. And from the sky, a shining metallic orb descended from the clouds. Down below the massive battalions watched with dread, shielding their eyes from the glare. And from the orb, a lone figure emerged.
"HODGE!" bellowed Magneto with utter despise, "I'VE COME FOR YOU!"
Then in a show of his immense power, he sent the metal sphere down at the hapless the battalions, blowing several city blocks to bits with an explosives packed projectile. This show of power horrified the conscripted army, but did little to stem their determination.
"It's him! It's Magneto! Kill him! Kill him!"
Gunfire erupted from the ground, sending countless rounds up at the lone mutant as he hovered high over the city. Yet nothing touched him as a powerful magnetic shield protected him from harm. And in a further show of his power, he ripped several tanks from the street and sent them crashing into the surrounding structures, sending smoldering heaps of debris to the ground below.
"Is that the best you can do?" scoffed Magneto, deflecting more heavy rounds with ease.
Yet from the palace, Hodge remained confident as he watched his enemy overconfidently flaunt his power through a pair of binoculars. His men were scrambling and his army was in disarray. Yet he was still poised for victory, smiling at how remarkably well everything was going.
"That's it you pathetic excuse for evolution," he said, his voice thick with malice, "Step right into my little trap. Keep on fighting your pointless war. Your supreme confidence will lead to the ultimate doom of you and the entire mutant menace."
While Hodge and his men were focusing on Magneto, another metal orb came in stealthily through the clouds, landing just outside the west wall of the presidential palace. Opening with silent fluidity, Mystique and Madelyn stepped out, ready to make their move.
"Are you ready, Madelyn?" asked Mystique as they stood in the shadow of Hodge's fortress.
"As I'll ever be," she said with determination, holding the mini-Cerebro helmet.
"Then it's all on us now. Hodge should be busy, so the path to the communication room is open. Once we're there, we can hit the whole island with a psychic assault."
"And we'll finally have our new nation," said Madelyn, loyal to the end.
Mystique grinned at the young woman's words. She was definitely the twin of Jean Grey, but it was best she not know that until the war was over. This moment had been coming a long time and in Madelyn's warped mind, this was her stand against a world that had rejected her.
"Let's go!" said the redheaded psychic, her words cold with hatred for the enemy, "Time to show humanity what mutants are really made of!"
THE NEARS IT'S END! DON'T FORGET TO REVIEW!