Categories > Cartoons > X-Men: Evolution > Cult of the X


by slickboy444 2 reviews

Six years after Apocalypse the Xmen struggle against growing mutant hatred. Then one day they come across a mysterious group who sees them not as freaks, but as gods. Multiple pairings.

Category: X-Men: Evolution - Rating: R - Genres: Action/Adventure, Drama, Fantasy - Characters: Avalanche, Berzerker, Blob, Boom Boom, Cannonball, Colossus, Cyclops, Gambit, Iceman, Jean, Magma, Magneto, Multiple, Mystique, Nightcrawler, Professor Xavier, Quicksilver, Rogue, Scarlet Witch, Shadowcat, Storm, Sunspot, Toad, Wolfsbane - Warnings: [!] - Published: 2007-07-14 - Updated: 2007-07-14 - 6129 words - Complete

Cult of the X
Chapter 1: Entrapment


AN: This fic uses ideas and theories about ancient civilization that I've researched, but I have put my own twist on them and they are not to be taken as fact. Theories about Atlantis and the Orion Prophecy are not mine, but I intend to use them to tell a story.

Pairings: Scott/Jean, Rogue/Remy, Logan/Ororo, Kurt/Amanda, Kitty/Piotr, and possibly others.

'These mean character thoughts or psychic communication.'

Disclaimer: I don't own X-men. Marvel does. Please don't sue. But I do own Anita and Ryan Hansen, aka Arion and Ayla, Athena and Artemis.

This is a very ambitious story so it's important that I get plenty of feedback. Send your reviews to me via email or post them on the fanfiction website. I don't care which you do as long as you REVIEW! Thank you all and enjoy the story.


It had been a week since the epic battle against Apocalypse. The world had been on the edge of oblivion, but thanks to a small group of mutants that the world hated and feared they would all live to see a new day. But with Apocalypse vanquished, anti-mutant sentiment swept the globe. On one hand, the mutants had saved the world. On the other, it only took one to nearly destroy everything. The world was split. The stage had been set for conflict. But from the ashes of Apocalypse, a big secret was left to be uncovered.

Underneath the Great Sphinx, the structure that had opened to door to Apocalypse's plot, two figures ventured into forbidden territory. Up top, UN and SHIELD forces had secured the whole Giza area. And what they were doing was beyond illegal.

"This way!" said a middle aged man with long black hair, "I think we're getting close."

"Are you sure, Ryan?" replied a woman with short blonde hair, "This place is a maze."

"According to the map we found in the Yucatan, it should be up ahead. We better hurry before the troops up top decide to desecrate these chambers."

Anita and Ryan Hansen, a husband and wife team of Anthropologists from Princeton University. Both had a doctorate and a PHD. Yet after 20 years of teaching, they left the security of their old lives to uncover the secrets of human history. Their journey brought them around the world and their theories were ridiculed by every scientific mind on the planet. But that would all change very soon.

The halls that once housed Apocalypse's robotic guards were silent and pitch black. Anita and Ryan had only a lantern and flashlight to guide them. The maze-like structure was torn and weathered, looking as though it hadn't been entered for thousands of years. Given the most powerful mutant in the world came from these depths, it added to the ominous feel.

"This doesn't make any sense," said Ryan, taking out a copy of a heavily weathered map, "The hall of records is supposed to be directly under the paws of the Sphinx."

"Maybe we translated it wrong?" suggested Anita.

"Doubtful. I've checked and rechecked our sources. There's more to this place than what we're seeing. I'm sure of it."

"But what if that Apocalypse monster destroyed the hall when he returned?"

"We won't know until we see for ourselves," said Ryan with determination, "We just have to..."

Suddenly, it hit him. Looking at the map, he combed over the ancient text. He had to have missed something.

"What is it, Ryan?" asked Anita, her voice brimming with anticipation.

"Could it really be that simple?" he mused, focusing his light on the ground.

The couple fell silent as Anita followed her husband. Slowly, he focused on each stone tile they walked across in the ancient structure. It was strange because they were heading back the way they came. But Anita trusted Ryan's instinct.

The chamber had multiple levels. The first one was where they came in. The second one was where Apocalypse had his machines. Each was connected by a series of narrow shafts. All were heavily guarded and because they had to come alone in the dead of night it was easy to get lost in the vast structure. Right now, they were on the second level, but Ryan was intent on discovering more. Brimming with anticipation, he stopped not far from the area just above the paw of the Sphinx.

"There it is!" said Ryan, "Do you see it?"

Shining her flashlight lower, she saw a distinctive tile with a small etching on the corner. Had anybody not been experienced in ancient symbolism, it never would have gone noticed. But thankfully, that was no the case.

"The seal of Xuthasius!" exclaimed Anita, "What's it doing on a floor tile?"

"It's not a floor tile," said Ryan, setting the lantern aside, "It's a key."

Taking out his knife while Anita held the light over the tile, Ryan poked a hole in his thumb, allowing a thick trail of blood to come out. Anita cringed at the sight, but Ryan held firm as he smeared his blood on the symbol.

Suddenly, a cold gust shot through the room as a sudden shaking filled the area.

"Oh God..." gasped Ryan.

The symbol on the rock lit up in a bluish light. Soon, others around it lit up as well. Long dormant mechanisms came to life, making the tiles lower into the ground, forming a winding staircase that lead into an unexplored level beneath the chamber. Looking over at his wife, Ryan was out of breath. They had waited their whole lives for this moment. Years of study and exploration were finally culminating at this very moment. All that was left was for them to take the final step.

"This is it," said Ryan, his voice hoarse with anticipation.

Slowly, the couple walked down the staircase. It was the most arduous trek they ever endured. It seemed to go on forever, descending hundreds of feet below the surface. Step after step, they delved into the unknown, not knowing where it would lead them. And after a lifetime of seeking the truth, they finally approached the chamber door.

"Is this it?" asked Anita.

Taking out the map, Ryan matched the engravings with the door. On each side, there was metallic dial with strange engravings. Near as he could tell, they still worked.

"Yes," he said, "I...I think it can be opened with the right code. The seal is similar to the Mayan calendar. I suspect it might be a date of sorts."

"But what date could it be?" wondered Anita.

"Let's just start testing them."

One by one, they tried every combination they could think of. From birthdays to great days in history like the onset of World War II, the birth of Christ, the assassination of Julius Caesar, or the September 11th attacks. None worked. The door was built of a strange looking stone that resembled a cross between rock and metal. But the two eager scientists waited too long for a door to stop them.

"What about the millennium? Or maybe it's related to an Egyptian dynasty?" pondered Ryan, trying date after date.

Anita shook her head in exasperation. The possibilities seemed infinite. Suddenly, an idea came to her.

"Ryan, what about that prophecy date we heard of back in Mexico? You know, the prophecy surrounding the Mayan Calendar?"

Casting his wife an enthralled glance, he eagerly put in the date. Suddenly, the door came to life. Every symbol lit up with the brilliance of a star, crystals that had been hanging on the wall came to life and illuminated the darkened area. It was so bright that the duo had to shield their eyes. The sights and sounds were clearly mechanical in nature, yet it worked under mechanics they had never seen in any architecture before, ancient or otherwise. And when the chamber was opened, the path before them was clear.

"Anita...we did it!" exclaimed Ryan, "The hall of records! The lost history of Atlantis!"

"It's real! After all these years!" said Anita, embracing her husband.

Then, as they entered the chamber, their amazement turned to euphoria. A bright blue light illuminated a chamber the likes of which they had never seen. And as they laid their eyes upon the central area, an inscription bore them the truth they had been seeking for so long. But the engravings told a story neither of them had ever expected.

"Anita look!" gasped Ryan, "I don't believe it. I seeing what I think I'm seeing?"

"'s the lost chapter of human history!" said Anita, putting her hands over the engravings, "Oh Ryan...this will change everything!"

*Six Years Later*


That was the chant that echoed down the streets of downtown Manhattan. A crowd of massive proportion had gathered at a scheduled rally put together by Mayer Edward Kelly and attended by Professor Charles Xavier, founder of the infamous X-men. Born with unique powers, they fought to do good for humanity. But in a world of such great intolerance, they were seen as abominations.

Gathered in the shadow of the Empire State Building, a large platform had been constructed for the rally. On the platform was Professor Xavier and his main team of X-men which included Scott Summers, Jean Grey-Summers, Kurt Wagner, Kitty Pryde, Bobby Drake, Piotr Rasputin, Remy Lebeau, Ororo Munroe, Hank McCoy, Rogue, and Logan.

Surrounding the area was a perimeter worthy of a combat zone. Mayor Kelly was taking not chances with these people. He went all out and hired a private security force known only as GRSO that was better armed than some armies to protect him and his constituents. The city cordoned off a good chunk of downtown to make this happen, leaving only menial tasks to real authority figures. It left the X-men in a precarious state. But that's exactly why they had everyone present.

In the crowd, other residents of the institute were present, but they chose to keep themselves hidden for obvious reasons. They used to be the New Mutants, now they called themselves X-factor, a secondary team that handled missions along the same lines. They included Jubilation Lee, Sam Guthrie, Tabitha Smith, Amara Aquilla, Roberto DaCosta, Ray Crisp, Jamie Madrox, Rahne Sinclair, and Laura Howlett.

Tempers flared as some people threw things on stage to protest the X-men. But the team held firm despite the grim circumstances.


"Man, feel that New Yorker love," commented Bobby.

"Can it, Popsicle!" mumbled Logan, "It's hard enough not tearing into Kelly's fanbase. I don't wanna waste my energy tearing into you."

"Easy, Logan," said Ororo, calming him with her gentle touch, "We're here to promote peace, not give them more reasons to fear us."

"I know," he muttered, "But I don't see how you can promote peace when Mr. Political stages an event this big. The guy's already brought in his own private army! Who knows what stunt he'll pull?"

"Which is exactly why we have to be here."

Ororo kept her hand on his shoulder, helping to keep him calm. Usually Logan would have blown up by now. But over the years, he had calmed for various reasons. The most important of which centered around him having a daughter.

"You know, if I didn't know any better I'd say the Wolverine is finally lightening up a bit," said Kitty to her boyfriend, Piotr, "Maybe having a daughter softened him."

"It's not so surprising, Katya," smiled the tall Russian, "Sometimes the best help one can get is companionship."

"Well said, homme. Now if only he'd hook up with Stormy, de Wolverine might actually be tame for once," grinned Remy, "Don't ya agree, cherè?"

Rogue rolled her eyes. Her on again off again relationship with Remy had always been complicated. For years her powers kept isolated because she couldn't touch people without absorbing their life force. It didn't stop Remy from flirting with her incessantly. It was annoying at times, but at times she flirted back.

Things grew even more complicated when she finally gained control of her powers thanks to an incident on Genosha. Before Magneto took it over, Genosha was run by an anti-mutant tyrant named Cameron Hodge. He went out and abducted mutants for slavery and experimentation. When the X-men tried to infiltrate his complex, Rogue was captured and was experimented on. Hodge was trying to make her a mindless drone, but it backfired and triggered a reaction with her mutation that gave her super strength, flight capabilities, and invulnerability. And above all, it gave her the ability to touch.

Beast spent a week explaining it to her. He said her new powers were a result of all he life energy she absorbed over the years melding together. It had many effects, granting her the ability to absorb a set number of powers before it overwhelmed her. It meant a lot to her, being able to touch again. But even with these changes, she and Remy still had an odd way of expressing themselves around each other.

"Don't start with meh, swamp rat," said Rogue, "We got a mob covering two city blocks and ya still wanna play games? Hell, Ah'd almost prefer bein' a guinea pig back in Genosha."

"Hey, if Remy recalls ya can touch now because o' dem experiments," reminded the Cajun, "And don't forget de flyin' an' super strength parts ya love so much."

"Ah remember," sighed Rogue, "Sure would feel better to touch in a world that didn't hate us."

"Aw, den why don't ya let Remy hold yo' hand when yer lonely?"

"Well call meh crazy, but Ah get moody when people are callin' for our deaths."

"Tell me about it, mien sister," sighed Kurt, "I vould know. If zhey had torches and pitchforks, I'd feel right at home."

"Hey, don't get down on us too, Kurt," said Kitty, "I know you're disappointed about Amanda not being here, but her parents were worried about making her a target."

"Or they just vant to keep her away until she reconsiders our vedding," muttered the blue, fuzzy mutant.

Kurt's expression sank. It had only been a month since he proposed to Amanda. They had been dating since high school, but anti-mutant hysteria made it tough for them. It got so bad that Amanda's parents forced them to part for a while out of fear for her safety. But distance couldn't stop them from loving each other and Kurt wanted to make sure everybody knew that even if the world was against it.

"Hey, relax blue boy," said Bobby, trying to sound upbeat, "Consider this nerve racking experience as good practice for when you two tie the knot."

"Uh...zhanks, Bobby," said Kurt, managing a smile.

The crowd was growing more unruly. These were Mayor Kelly's die hard supporters and they were every bit as impassioned about mutants as he was. Professor Xavier checked his watch, seeing that the rally was about to start. These events never got easier. Ever since Apocalypse, the world had been polarized. They had their supports and detractors. And more often then not, the detractors were far more vocal.

"Are you sure you still want to go through with this, Charles?" asked Hank, closely guarding his long time friend.

"It's too late to pull back now, my friend," said Xavier, "As the old saying goes, the show must go on."

"Your bravery never ceases to astound me," smiled Hank, "I would be quite nervous in your position, what with the Mayor's private security force watching our every move."

"I have to be brave," sighed the wheel chair bound man, "If I'm not, who else will stand for the voice of peace and understanding?"

Activating his recently acquired hover chair, Xavier prepared for his speech. Sitting next to him were his first students, Scott Summers and Jean Grey. They cast their long time mentor an encouraging smile while holding hands. Having been married for nearly four years, events like this were important to them.

"Think this will do anything to stem the tide, Scott?" said Jean to her husband.

"Does it ever?" sighed Scott, "Why does it feel like it always gets worse and never better?"

"Probably because nobody's forgotten about Apocalypse trying to destroy humanity or Magneto taking over Genosha. I'd hate to think how they would feel if they knew about the Phoenix," said Jean distantly, "But we can't let that stop us from fighting."

"I know," said Scott, giving her hand a firm squeeze, "If we're going to have a baby, we have to do what we can to stem the violence. We owe it to the next generation of mutants."

"Now that's the man I married," said Jean with a smile.

The couple had faced many tribulations. Recently, they faced their most daunting challenge when a cosmic entity known as the Phoenix possessed Jean and filled her with a power unlike no other. The result was a total loss of control that nearly killed her, but her heart and strength carried her through. Afterwards, she and Scott wasted no time in getting married and establishing a new life together. Now they had been having serious baby talks, but it was troubling to imagine bringing up a child in a world like this.

Finally, a man with gray hair and a suit came to the podium, tapping on the microphone to calm the raging crowd. Many cheered his presence while the X-men watched on nervously. They knew this man very well and his presence was never an easy one.

"Finally, we can get this over with," said Jubilee with the rest of her team in the crowd.

"Yeah, at this rate I was tempted to cherry bomb this whole crowd," commented Tabitha.

"Quiet! It's starting!" scorned Laura, the clone of Wolverine.

Up at one of the podiums, a sophisticated looking man in a suit stood confident as he cast Xavier a snide leer. The Professor was used to such stares, but when it came for a man of potential power he could do little to stop it.

"Thank you all for coming here," said the man, "I'm overwhelmed and honored by your support during my run for the US Senate. Today, I, Edward Kelly, hoped to speak directly to the people. But for the sake of presenting both sides, Professor Charles Xavier of the Xavier Institute asked to debate me. And as a man of reason, I've accepted."

"Yeah! Show that freak, Senator!"

"Send them back to where they came from!"

"Please hold your comments," he said humbly, "Now rest assured, this will be a civil debate. I've dipped into my limited campaign funds to provide the best security possible and the good people of GRSO and great city of New York have been nice enough to cooperate."

This comment earned some suspicion from the X-men. Looking around, it hardly felt secure. Most of these private security people were dressed in what looked like paramilitary uniforms and were armed with high powered weapons. They were told by authorities that they were non-lethal, but to some that wasn't too comforting.

"I feel safer already," remarked Jamie sarcastically, "What about you guys?"

"About as safe as an ice cube in an oven," muttered Ray.

But there was no going back now. Mayor Kelly was ready and so was the Professor.

"Now what say you, Professor Xavier? Shall we begin?"

The crowd cheered his poise while Xavier stood strong. As the former principal of Bayville High, Robert Kelly got a first hand experience with mutants. Many of the X-men were students during his tenure and he had his share of unpleasant affairs with them. And because of this, his anti-mutant views had taken shape. Now he was making a bid for power to do something about it.

"Now I've made my position clear before," said Kelly, turning towards Xavier, "I've worked amongst mutants since my days as principal of Bayville High and I've seen first hand how difficult they can be to deal with. We had earthquakes damage our grounds, petty fights destroy private property, and a long list of vandalism that the taxpayers had to pick up."

In the crowd, Tabitha couldn't help but grin. A good deal of that vandalism had come from her. Some scorned her, but she didn't care. It wasn't like they were very nice to mutants like her anyways.

"Yes, I remember those days, Mr. Mayor," said the Professor, "To which I argue that each incident was paid for by me and my institute. And you also negate that in the large, broader scope, more vandalism was done by non-mutants over the course of that year."

"I don't deny that, Professor," quipped Kelly, "But the acts of others hardly compared to some of the feats I saw. For instance, were any other humans capable of firing lasers from their eyes and blowing up the stands of our football stadium? Were any of the other humans capable of shorting out computers with sparks they could shoot from their fingertips? I ask the public at large do you want trouble like that around their children?"

"NO!" yelled the crowd.

The X-men hung their heads low, not liking where this was going. Xavier was being hit at every weak point. Edward Kelly had all the ammunition he needed and wasn't afraid to use it. He had the crowd in the palm of his hand.

"Ingrates," muttered Logan.

But the rising politician wasn't done yet.

"And let's not forget the acts of your students outside the classroom," said Kelly, "What about the mutant known as Apocalypse who nearly wiped out humanity with his classic creed, survival of the fittest?"

"I would remind you, Mr. Mayor, that my students helped put a stop to that one madman," quipped Xavier.

"And six years later, we are still investigating how a monster like that arose. You and your staff have been very quiet, despite rumors that mutants were the primary reason he was released. So should it make a difference that you stopped something you may have easily started?"


"And it doesn't stop there!" said the abrasive man, "Let's not forget how your old friend, Erik Lensherr, or Magneto as he's now called, overthrew the sovereign nation of Genosha. Your team was unable to stop that and now it is one of the most threatening states in the world."


"If the Mayor would yield for a moment, I would be happy to..."

But Kelly didn't give Xavier the chance.

"It only takes one time, Professor! One time! You may have stopped Apocalypse, but what of another mutant tyrant bent on wiping out humanity? What about another plot from some disaffected group like the fabled Morlocks to inflict mass harm on humanity? Do we not have a right to hold mutants accountable? Do we not have a right to defend ourselves?"


"Oh shut up already!" groaned Ray, earning him a hit from Sam.

Xavier could feel the heat. Some were even throwing things at him, but Jean used her telekinetic shield to stop them. However, she wished she didn't have to.

The Mayor looked supremely confident. A smile never left his face. It drew great suspicion and Xavier was tempted to read his mind to find out why. But his morals wouldn't allow it. All he could do was respond.

"Mr. Mayor, I ask that you listen to reason," said Xavier over the crowd, "I understand the fears surrounding rogue mutants like Apocalypse and Magneto. But the actions of some cannot condemn an entire group. We mutants are just like the rest of humanity. We breathe the same air and desire the same things in life. What you have been proposing will strip mutants everywhere of their rights and further fuel discontent."

"Oh I beg to differ, Professor," said the Mayor with a snide grin, "With all the trouble you and your kind have caused, do you really deserve those rights?"


"Shouldn't mutants be held accountable for their misdeeds like the rest of us?"


"Just answer me this, Professor! Does humanity as a whole not have a right to safeguard our society from such threats? Mutants have nearly killed us all once before. Should we run the risk of letting it happen again or should we take action and protect our species from further destruction? Answer me, Professor! Do you have a response?"

Mayor Edward Kelly's rhetoric was strong and persuasive. Without a doubt, the crowd supported him and this was a crowd that could vote. Professor Charles Xavier had always known his dream for peace was an uphill battle, but he never thought it would get this hard. The X-men were powerless to stem the growing tide. This was a disaster. They just wanted it to end.

Suddenly, Jean sensed something with her telepathy and Logan heard something with his enhanced senses.

"Jean?" said Scott, sensing his wife's distress through their psychic link.

"Something's wrong, Scott!" she said urgently.

On the podium, Professor Xavier had an ominous feeling. He wasn't sure what it was, but he had no choice but to continue. All the while, Mayor Edward Kelly kept smiling.

"Mr. Mayor," he began, "I..."


Up in the sky, a massive robot humanoid descended with an earthshaking blast. Flying by way of thrusters and armed with plenty of high powered weapons, it set its sights on massive crowd. Windows shattered and the crowd began to scatter in a panic. But for the X-men it was an all too familiar sight.

"It's a sentinel!" yelled Wolverine.

"Target identify," said the humanoid, "Objective: destroy."

Using a large cannon built into it's arm, the sentinel fired a powerful blast right at the stage. Hitting the ground, the X-men took cover.

"Charles!" yelled Hank as grabbed the Professor and shielded him.

"Thank you old friend," gasped the Professor as they hit the ground.

"What's going on?" inquired Beast.

"I have no idea," said the Professor, looking up at the sentinel, "But I fear things have just gotten much worse."

The ensuing explosion sent mass chaos as the people struggled to make sense of it all. Then, much to the shock of the X-men, the sentinel descended further. And it didn't set its sights on them. Instead, it aimed straight for Mayor Kelly.

"What the...NO! What are you doing? What is this?!" demanded Kelly.

"It's an ambush from the mutants!" yelled one of his body guards, "They're trying to take you out!"

"Ah hell, just what we need," muttered Rogue, "More shining PR."

"X-men! You know what to do!" said Scott, getting up and firing back at the massive robot.

The sentinel fell back from Scott's blast, but was barely scratched as it kept its sights on Kelly. Jean, Rogue, and Ororo took to the air, using telekinesis and winds to blow the behemoth back while Rogue used her super strength to pound away at its head.

"Dang! This thing is built tough!" grunted Rogue, punching away and barely denting the thick armor.

"Must be a new version," said Gambit, "Better turn up de heat."

"Right! Gambit! Iceman! Together now!"

"Oh boy, here we go!" said Bobby, icing his body up.

In a triple assault, the robot humanoid was hit with a barrage of ice shards, optic blasts, and charged cards. It knocked the sentinel back against a building, shattering glass and sending clouds of dust through the air. The destruction was mounting, but the X-men kept fighting.

"Wow!" said Kitty, using her phasing powers to protect the Professor, "This is bad, Professor! What do we do?"

"Whatever we can," said the Professor, "Hurry! We must stop that thing before anybody else gets hurt!"

"Way ahead of ya, Chuck," said Logan, "Hey Colossus! How's about fixing up a fastball special?"

"My favorite dish," grinned Colossus, now in full metal form.

Taking the nimble man in his arms, the Russian strongman took aim at the hovering monstrosity. There were too many people. They had to stop this before somebody got hurt. And with a strong heave, the Wolverine was sent flying at the sentinel claws drawn and ready for action.

"Hrrrrrahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!" roared Logan as he tore into the metal shell, causing a burst of sparks to erupt from within.

"Logan!" yelled Ororo from the sky.

"It's okay, Storm," assured Jean, "He knows what he's doing! Let's just keep this thing pinned!"

Still worried for her friend, Storm and Jean kept up the assault while Mayor Kelly was rushed out and police cleared the area. But the sentinel was not going down without a fight. In the crowd, it was pandemonium. X-factor was trying to get up and help the others. But there was just too much chaos.

"Oh man, what's going on here?" exclaimed Roberto, trying to stay close to the others.

"What does it look like?" grunted Laura, "It's an attack!"

"Just our luck," muttered Jamie, "So what do we do?"

"You really gotta ask?" said Jubilee, putting on her trademark sunglasses and firing a round of bursts at the sentinel.

"Oh boy, Ah was afraid of that," said Sam.

As soon as they made their powers known, the crowd reacted. And despite them fighting the sentinel, the fury was running at full steam.

"Mutants! Get them! Protect our Mayor!"

"Sorry to do this amigos," said Roberto, "But you aren't leaving us with many choices!"

"Let's just get this over with," said Amara.

Roberto powered up with his sun powers while Amara activated her lava powers. And with intense heat, Amara drove back the crowd while Roberto flew around and dug a trench for them to hide behind. It wasn't much, but it bought them some space. Yet still, there were those who attacked.

"Die monsters!" yelled the angry mob, one of them bearing down on Laura.

"Errrrrrrr! Bring it on!" bellowed the raging girl.

"Easy girlfriend! We don't need a body count!" said Tabitha, holding her back, "Save your anger for the giant robot!"

With a disgruntled sigh, Laura "X23" Howlett withdrew her claws and used non-lethal maneuvers to beat back unruly crowd members. Her animal side wanted to eviscerate them for threatening her friends and family, but the situation was too hot for such bloodshed.

"And to think, this was supposed to HELP our image!" muttered Rahne, using her animal form to weave through the crowd.

"Less complaining, more fighting!" said Ray, blasting the Sentinel with Jubilee.

The fight was intense and the sentinel was still going strong. Logan was ripping into it while Jean, Storm, and Rogue tried to distract it. But nothing would stop it. This beast wasn't going down without a taking a few of them with it.

As this was going on, a lone figure watched from atop the Empire State Building. She was dressed in a body suite that resembled a commando and a Roman Legion. The materials were a highly polished mix of gold and silver and conformed to every muscle in her body. Built into this suit was an array of high tech devices including a utility belt and a holographic watch. On her chest were ancient symbols. Watching the battle via binoculars, the figure hit a button on her watch and activated a small communicator.

"Athena, this is Artemis. It's just as we suspected. Those heathens set the X-men up!"

Over the line, a stern feminine voice replied.

"Just as we anticipated," she muttered, "You know what to do."

"On it!"

Turning off her communicator, the figure took a large, high tech weapon that resembled a rocket launcher. Only for this weapon, it fired something much more lethal than a rocket.

"This will teach you to mess with our lords!" grunted Artemis, locking onto the sentinel.

With the pull of a trigger, a blinding blue light shot out from the device. And while the X-men were still caught up in the fight, the raging sentinel was hit dead on and with a deafening bang, the high tech war machine burst into flames.

"No..." said Mayor Kelly, watching as his armored convoy drove away.

The explosion sent Jean, Rogue, and Storm flying toward the ground. It also threw Logan into the crowd, landing in the trenches that X-factor had created to protect them.

"Jean!" yelled Scott, running forth to catch his wife.

"We got em!" said Remy, going for Rogue.

Scott caught Jean and Remy caught Rogue while Colossus took care of Strom. Shards of the robot humanoid fell to the ground, catching some of the crowd in the process. Screams of horror echoed through the streets, sending waves of confusion and shock through the crowd. Such carnage wouldn't look good for the X-men, but they didn't concern themselves with such things for the time being.

"Father!" yelled Laura, jumping into the pit to Logan's side.

"Ugh...I'm okay, kid," grunted Logan, his uniform now a mess with shrapnel.

His adopted daughter threw her arms around him, an act neither Logan nor Laura displayed much on the battlefield. But they were family and the bond the developed over the years showed as such.

"Wolverine!" exclaimed Jubilee as she and the others caught up, "What's going on? Who blew up the sentinel?"

Looking up at the Empire State Building where the blast had come, Logan had his suspicions. But they had plenty of other worries at the moment.

"I don't know, but forget about it," he said, Laura helping him up, "We have to get back to the others!"

Taking charge, X-factor followed Logan through the charred streets back towards the Professor, where the X-men were picking up the pieces and helping their mentor back into his chair.

"Are you okay, Professor?" said Scott as he and Hank helped him in.

"Yes, I'm fine," said the Professor, short of breath, "But we have to get out of here! There's no telling what..."

But before he could finish, the stage was swarmed with the darkly dressed GRSO security force Mayor Kelly paid good money to protect him. They each wielded a fully loaded AK-47-like device. They were not the police or the military. They didn't operate under their bureaucratic law. And they didn't look too happy.


"You've gotta be kidding me!" groaned Bobby.

"You tried to murder Mayor Kelly!" shot the lead solider, aiming his gun right at Xavier's head, "You freaks have crossed a line!"

"Please, hear us out," said the Professor, trying to be reasonable, "We had nothing to do with that assault!"

"Save it, mutant!" said one of the guards, "Hands where I can see them!"

The X-men exchanged worried glances, not knowing what they should do. Even the Professor was worried, but it was clear they wouldn't listen to reason. They made their judgment and they would not listen. It was yet another sad turn for human/mutant peace.

"Are you deaf?! I said hands up! I'll give you to the count of three or I'll..."

But before the soldier could finish, he was cut off by a blinding flash of miniature lightning that arced through every soldier, skillfully missing the X-men.

"AHHHHHHHHHHHH!" yelled the hapless men in uniform.

"What in the..." gasped Rogue as confusion set in.

"Get away from them!" yelled a voice.

Suddenly, a swarm of masked commandos armed with high tech guns surrounded the area, beating back any marine that dared to resist. They all bore black body suits with Greco-Roman armor and symbolism. And they meant business.

"Oh boy, who are these guys?" muttered Kitty.

Then, much to the astonishment of the X-men, the female leader removed her mask and bowed respectfully as if she were in the presence of a king.

"My lords, thank heavens you're alright!" she said.

The X-men exchanged glances, not knowing how to respond. Every guard stood close, protecting them instead of assaulting them. It was certainly not what they were used to, but near as they could tell these people took their roles very seriously.

"Whoa, dis ain't what Remy expected," said Gambit.

"You're in good company, comrade," said an equally astonished Colossus.

Rising with their weapons in hand, the female leader took charge as her loyal subjects prepared for the task at hand.

"Who are you? What's going on?" asked Xavier, suspicious yet curious.

"Call me Athena," said the woman, "Please forgive our forthcoming, but time is short! We are here to get you out of this mess! Hurry! We know the way and we'll protect you with our lives! We swear upon it as loyal subjects of the Church of X."


Up next: a battle ensues and questions arise
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