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

Act of Faith

by slickboy444 0 reviews

Category: X-Men: Evolution - Rating: PG-13 - Genres:  - Published: 2007-10-27 - Updated: 2007-10-28 - 6220 words - Complete

Cult of the X
Chapter 16: Act of Faith


The air was turbulent over the choppy waters of the Atlantic. Dark clouds blanketed the sky, stirring up blistering winds and large lightning bolts. Every cloud was emulating from a single point. A lone island few dared to dread was the cause of it all. And with each passing second, the conditions worsened.

In a lone Altantean plane, Athena and the X-men were flying into the thick of the storm. The closer they got the more turbulence they faced. Even the high tech aircraft had difficulties maneuvering through the sharp winds. Visibility was low and tension was high. Time was working against them, but there was no turning back.

“By stars and garners, these readings can’t be right,” said Beast as he looked over the computer readouts.

“I assure you, Lord Beast, they are accurate,” said Athena, who was struggling to fly the aptly named Thermopile through the clouds, “We must be getting close.”

“I’ve never seen winds this high before,” said Xavier, “Are you sure this aircraft can take it?”

“The Thermopile is the best craft in our fleet. If she can’t handle it, then none can.”

Suddenly, a huge jolt hit the aircraft, causing many to grasp their seats. Electronic readouts were inundated with static and lights throughout the craft flickered ominously.

“That can’t be good,” groaned Bobby.

“Damn, it’s already happening!” said Scott, who monitoring the navigation computer, “The compass just went haywire!”

“Does that mean we’re too late?” said Ororo, her tone wrought with worry.

“I don’t know,” said Xavier grimly, “But it appears this phenomenon is expanding.”

On one of the readouts, a holographic map of the Atlantic was displayed. It revealed massive cloud cover that expanded in all directions. Soon, they would reach the boarders of North America, Europe, and Africa. And chances were they wouldn’t stop there.

“Dat’s one nasty look storm,” commented Remy.

“Oh really, ya think?” grunted Logan.

“Is there any way to slow it down?” asked Jean.

“I’m working on that as we speak,” said Hank, “But we best hurry. If my calculations are correct, the storm should reach the East Coast in less than an hour.”

“Oh boy, talk about working under pressure,” commented Kitty.

“Are you kidding?” scoffed Bobby, “We do our best work under pressure!”

“Bobby…” groaned Rogue.

“No, he’s right,” said Kurt, “Ve have faced zhese odds before. God villing, ve can face zhem again.”

“I hope you’re right, comrade,” said Piotr, his gaze fixated on the brewing storm outside.

Visibility was still low, but as the plane descended the ominous sight outside became clear. Lightning flashed with every second as roaring thunder rocked the aircraft. Upon settling below the cloud cover, the plane was rocked by another round of turbulence.

“Whoa there!” exclaimed Bobby, “Glad I skipped lunch.”

“Are you reading anything, Charles?” asked Beast, struggling as more static scrambled the ship’s sensors.

“All readings have gone flat,” said Xavier, setting them aside, “The magnetic interference is too great.”

But just as the equipment failed, a sight in the distance came into view.

“Look! Up ahead!” exclaimed Athena.

The team gathered up front, gazing out the window at the sight that emerged before them. The small island at the center of such chaos emerged. Only it was more than just an island now. Atop the large rocky mound that dominated the center, a large metal antenna shot up into the air broadcasting beams of bluish/purple energy into the sky. The energy seemed to be fueling the clouds, creating a halo of lightning around the island.

“Oh Goddess,” gasped Ororo.

“Ah’m guessin’ this is where we have to go,” said Rogue, fixated on the imposing sight before them.

“It would appear so,” said Xavier, “Athena, can you get us in close enough to land?”

“It will be done, my lord,” said Athena with undying loyalty, “Although I must warn you, the ride may not be a smooth one.”

“Ja, ve’re used to zhat,” commented Kurt, holding on tight with the others.

The lights flickered as more turbulence rocked the aircraft. The fate of the Orion Prophecy hung in the balance. The world would either survive or perish. Once again, the lives of so many rested upon the weary shoulders of the X-men.

“Here we go,” said Logan, gritting his teeth in preparation for battle, “Hope Laura and the others are hangin’ in there.”


“Hurry up! Keep moving!” yelled Laura as another chunk of building crashed down upon the crowded streets below.

“Over here!” yelled Tabitha, “We’ve got more trapped in the market!”

“Well hurry up and get them out!” shouted Laura over the thunder, “Those towers are going to collapse at any minute!”

It was pure chaos for X-factor as they scrambled to save as many citizens of Xavier Island as possible. Laura led Tabitha, Amara, Jubilee, Ray, Roberto, Sam, Jamie, and Rahne through increasing dangers as wind, rain, and lightning picked up. The Praetorian Guard helped as well, following their sacred duty to follow the wishes of their gods and protect the citizens of their island.

Fear was omnipresent throughout the confused masses. Yet the strength of Atlantean society held firm, placing all their faith in their lords. Some even helped. The many mutants of the island offered their assistance in aiding X-factor. And with more buildings collapsing and heavier rains coming, they needed all the help they could get.

“The market is clear, my lord!” yelled one of the Praetorian captains.

“Good! Then make sure the harbor is clear!” ordered Laura, “If those walls break, we’ve got a serious problem!”

“It shall be done!”

More screams echoed through the city streets as the citizens of Xavier Island scrambled from nature’s fury. In some of the taller buildings above the market, signs of structural weakness continued as stone and mortar cracked under the blistering winds. From the top windows, Sam and Roberto burst through with a middle aged woman and three children in their arms. Braving the harsh winds, they led them to safety through the storm.

“Are you sure there’s nobody else in there?” asked Sam as he and Roberto let them down in the streets.

“N-no my lord,” said the woman, bowing in the presence of the gods who just saved her family, “Oh you saved my family! Praise be to Xuthasius!”

“Don’t thank us yet,” said Roberto, watching as chunks of the building came crashing down, “We’ve got a long way to go!”

Just then, one of the buildings started to crumble and topple over. The deafening sounds of supports snapping under the strain shot through the stormy winds. A collective gasp erupted as the frightened masses below froze in horror. Luckily, Jubilee and Amara were quick to react.

“Jubes! We’ve got trouble!” said Amara, powering up her volcano form.

“Yeah, I can see that!” yelled Jubilee over the screams, “What are you people waiting for?! Get out of here!”

Turning up their powers at full throttle, Jubilee and Amara unleashed bursts of fireworks and lava blasts at the falling debris to divert it. The heavy structure was falling fast and all they could do was keep it away from the people. Their firepower alone wasn’t enough, but some of the locals were there to help.

“Allow us to assist, my lords!” said a blue haired mutant and some followers.

Standing besides them, the mutant residents of Xavier Island unleashed a barrage of firepower that ranged from sound bursts to energy blasts. It helped obliterate the rest of the falling building, saving many lives as a result.

“Wow, now there’s something we won’t get back home,” commented Jubilee.

“No kidding,” said Amara, equally impressed.

But the loyal followers of the Church of X weren’t content with just one act of heroism.

“Is there anything else we can do for you, my lords?” said the blue haired mutant with a bow of loyalty.

“Yeah…save as many people as you can,” said Jubilee.

Not needing another word, they followed the two girls into the fray in search of more citizens in need. The most vulnerable were the old, the young, and the injured. Sam and Roberto kept working to clear the buildings. Jubilee and Amara worked with the mutant population to find those in need. Ray and Tabitha worked to clear rubble impeding entrances to shelters. Jamie and Rahne worked with the guard to move people along. And Laura continued to do her thing, issuing the necessary orders.

“The shelters be crowding!” yelled Rahne, in her wolf form to remove heavy rocks from the entrance.

“Guess we’ll have to make some,” said Ray, using his electric blasts to open another door.

“Stand back, everybody!” said Tabitha, “We gotta clear the way!”

Making a large cherry bomb in her hands, Tabitha threw a bomb at another entrance that had been blocked by rubble. With help from Ray and Rahne, more people were able to get into underground areas where they could hunker down. But they were clearly not designed to house the whole population of the island. People were getting desperate. Time was running out.

“Laura! I think we’re reaching the limit!” yelled Jamie, trying to shoo people inside with increasing difficulty, “What do we do?”

“I-I don’t know!” stammered Laura, struggling for an answer.

She felt the weight of responsibility bearing down on her. A lot of people were counting on her, not just her team. Even the combined efforts of the Praetorian Guard and the mutant populous weren’t enough to combat nature’s wrath. She wasn’t used to this kind of work. She was a former killing machine. But she had to set that aside.

Suddenly, an idea came to her. The rain was pouring, cascading down her feral expression. Maintaining stern determination, she made a decision.

“Laura!” yelled Jamie, increasingly struggling with the escalating crowd.

“The temple!” she yelled, “It’s reinforced! It should be strong enough!”

“Are you sure?” questioned Jamie.

“We don’t have a choice! Follow me! We have to get out of this storm and let the others do their part!”

“Right behind you, X!” said Ray.

Jamie made more copies of himself while Ray met up with Laura to clear a path down the debris riddled streets. Jamie pushed his capacity to clone himself to the limits as he directed many scared people through the blistering wind and rain towards the last safe shelter on the island.

“Come on, people! Into the temple!” yelled the lead Jamie, “Follow X23!”

Not questioning the will of their lords, the people braved the harsh winds and followed the path to the center of the island where the temple stood. Ray and Laura were soon joined with Tabitha and Jubilee while Amara went off to help Roberto and Sam. Conditions were worsening.

The ground shook again under the force of another intense tremor. Lightning struck the tops of several buildings, sparking fires and filling the dark skies with noxious smoke. It was a horrific sight worthy of apocalyptic stature. And if the X-men didn’t stop it, then a 10,000 year old cataclysm could very well repeat itself.

“The others better hurry,” mused Laura, “I got a bad feeling the worst is yet to come.”


The aircraft shook violently as it descended to the ground near the center mound of the island. Massive magnetic bursts sent shockwaves that would have ripped apart usual crafts, but the high tech Atlantean ship held strong. Athena struggled to keep it steady, but nature would not wane in her fury.

Inside, everybody held on tight. The turbulence intensified as parts of the aircraft shuttered. The lights continued to flicker and every piece of high tech machinery was rendered useless with static. If they could not get close enough, then they couldn’t stop Isaac’s madness.

“I don’t know how much longer she’ll hold up!” grunted Athena, struggling to hold her ship steady.

“We’re almost there!” exclaimed Beast, “We just have to…”

Suddenly they were rocked by another jolt. The lights went completely out momentarily, but flickered back just in time to see the plane being blown towards the rocky cliffs. At this point, Storm had seen enough.

“We can’t make it in this conditions,” said Ororo, abruptly undoing her restraints.

“Ro?!” exclaimed Logan, “What the hell are you…”

“I can give us a window,” she said strongly, “Just let me out and I’ll use my powers to wane the storm.”

“This ain’t your usual thunderstorm, sugah,” said Rogue, looking outside with reservation, “You sure powers can even affect this thing?”

“No, but I have to try!” said Ororo.

Logan cast a worried look. Ororo sensed his concern and smiled with what hope she could muster in the face of such odds.

“I’ll be okay. I promise,” she vowed.

Just then, another jolt hit the plane. It signaled they were out of time.

“Be careful, Storm,” said the Professor with compassion in his eyes.

“I will,” she assured.

Not liking this plan one bit, Athena swallowed her anxiety and activated the controls to the hatch.

“Get ready, my lord,” she said, “Everybody hold on! I’m opening the rear hatch in 3…2…1…”

A sudden gust of heavy wind blasted through the aircraft. It was so intense everybody was forced to hold on for dear life. With bravery worthy of a goddess, Ororo let the winds take her as she flew out into the punishing storm.

‘You can do it, darlin’. Just don’t leave me now…not when there’s so much I gotta tell ya.’

Outside, Ororo’s eyes glowed with determination as she braved the thick storm clouds. It was unlike anything she had ever faced before. Each raindrop stung as it hit her face. She was nearing the energy beam that was erupting from the top of the island. The closer she got, the more force she could feel trying to repel her. But she had to give her friends the time they needed. And for that, she would have to push herself to the limit.

“Time to slow this monstrosity down!” proclaimed the weather goddess, “Winds! Heed my whim!”

Closing her eyes and gritting her teeth in determination, Ororo unleashed the might of her powers into the thick clouds. Lighting flashed all around her, but it did little to dissuade her. It was a strain like no other, trying to influence a storm so vast. But through her strength, the imposing forces of nature waned under her influence.

“We’re leveling off!” proclaimed Athena as the winds outside died down, “I’m going to land near the entrance!”

“Good work, Athena,” said Xavier, “But we must hurry. I don’t know how long Storm can keep this up.”

“I understand, my lord,” said Athena, loyal to the end.

Engaging the reverse thrusters, Athena landed the craft on a small plateau just outside the entrance. It had been a bumpy ride, but now they had a window to work with. All that was left was Isaac and the prophecy he was working so hard to fulfill.

“She’s doing it,” mused Kitty as she looked out the window, “She’s really doing it.”

“I can’t imagine the strain she must be undergoing,” said Piotr, watching the clouds with anxiety.

“Then let’s help her out!” grunted Logan, undoing his restraint, “Come on team! Let’s move!”

“Right!” said Scott, following his sense of urgency, “We have to stop this thing before it does any more damage!”

The side hatch opened and the X-men filed out. The winds were still strong, but manageable for the time being. Once they were in the cave, it would be on them to stop Isaac. Time was running out. This was their only chance. The Orion Prophecy was at hand. There was no turning back.


Inside the central chamber, Isaac was preparing for the final step. Artemis was by his side, keeping a close watch on Magneto as his old body struggled through the strain. They were working frantically to complete the task before them. But the sudden changes outside as a result of Storm did not go unnoticed.

“How much longer?!” demanded Artemis.

“I don’t know,” said Isaac, working with greater urgency, “There must be some kind of interference. The effects of the machine are slowing.”

“Are you telling me this ancient monolith you spent two years studying is malfunctioning?!” exclaimed the proud woman soldier.

Working frantically to get a readout, Isaac’s fears eased.

“No, it’s working just fine,” he assured, “But I get the feeling something or perhaps someone is trying to interfere.”

Artemis let out an angry grunt. She had gone too far and broken too many rules to have destiny snatched from her at the last moment. She followed Isaac because she believed him to be right. There was no turning back now. She had to see it through.

“I’ll go outside and check,” she said, grabbing his energy rifle, “Just make sure the job is done!”

“I know what I’m doing, Artemis,” said Isaac in an annoyed tone.

With a determined look, Artemis set off the take care of any obstruction that dared stand in the way of destiny. If someone was trying to interfere, they would face the wrath of the gods.

Isaac kept preparing the machines for the final step. Once it was complete, the job would be done and the prophecy would be fulfilled. But for the first time, he showed signs of anxiety. And despite his weakened state, Magneto sensed it.

“I take it everything is not going as planned,” said the master of magnetism with a grin.

“Quiet tyrant!” spat Isaac, “This is but a minor setback! Mark my words you WILL face your ultimate fate! I swear on the spirit of Xuthasius! The Orion Prophecy will be complete!”


Scrambling into the vast cave, the X-men were faced with a daunting task. Along the walls, they saw elements of the machinery built into the rock. The lights were on so it was clearly going full throttle. But if these were just parts of the machine then the size of this monstrosity was greater than they had imagined.

“Any ideas on how to stop something this big, Professor?” asked Bobby.

“I got one,” said Wolverine, drawing his claws, “How bout we start rippin’ anythin’ with wires and see what happens?”

“No Logan!” said the Professor sternly, “That alone will not undo the damage. We must find a way to reverse the process. Otherwise damage to the Earth’s magnetic field could be irreparable.”

“Understood,” said Scott, taking lead as usual, “Any idea where we start?”

From here, Beast stepped in. Taking a small handheld Atlantean computer, he brought up a holographic readout of the island.

“From what we’ve complied from the Orion Prophecy, the machine has three power sources to induce planetary changes,” explained Beast.

“So we destroy those sources and the machine goes dead, right?” surmised Jean.

“Not quite,” said Beast, “If the translation is accurate, there should be a way to reverse the polarity of the device. At each power core, there are three conduits. They’re big, but they work like regular circuit breakers. If we could get all three of them into place then we may be able to reverse the process.”

“So then what are we waiting for?!” exclaimed Logan, the safety of Ororo still hanging strong in his mind.

“We’ll also have to reconfigure the antennas,” explained Xavier, “And that can only be done from the core.”

It was a task that would require a team effort. A machine this big couldn’t be stopped without the necessary steps. And time was working against them.

“In that case, we’ll have to split up,” said Scott, ever the strategist, “Rogue and Remy will take the first breaker. Kitty and Piotr will take the second. Jean and I will take the third. In the meantime, the Professor can work on the core with Beast while Wolverine and Athena provide cover.”

“Hey! What about us?” said Bobby.

“You and Nighcrawler are going to take the high ground,” said Hank, bringing up another part of the hologram, “Our presence may very well be expected. You two will provide cover and adjust the antennas should that be necessary.”

“And zhe most complicated zhing ve have ever hooked up is a Playstation,” commented Kurt.

“Ah it’s just a larger version, man. How hard can it be?” said Bobby.

“Famous last words,” warned Xavier, “Now let us hurry! I doubt our interference will go unnoticed.”

“My kind of fight!” grinned Logan, ready to tear into the psycho who set this disaster into motion.

Upon reaching a major junction, the team split up. The cave was laid out through many twisting corridors. And the deeper they got, the more machinery they encountered. They were beginning to get an idea of just how big this machine was. No wonder it affected an entire planet. It gave them all the more incentive to stop it.

While Scott, Jean, Rogue, Remy, Kitty, and Piotr scrambled to reverse the circuits, the Professor led the charge towards the core in his hover chair. Bobby and Kurt split off as soon as they reached a junction that allowed them to move towards the top of the mound. The hum of the machine grew louder as they neared their destination. It wouldn’t be long now.

“How much further, Hank?” inquired Xavier as the ground shook under the power of the machine.

“The core is just up ahead,” he said with certainty, “We’re almost there!”

“Funny, I thought it would be more of a challenge than this,” muttered Logan, itching to tear into something.

“Don’t let complacency get the better of you yet, my lord,” warned Athena, “Isaac and Artemis have a way of…”

Suddenly, they were cut off by a deafening explosion that nearly caused the path ahead of them to cave in.

“Fall back!” yelled Hank, pushing Xavier’s hover chair out of the way.

However, Beast was a few seconds too late and the Professor’s chair was pinned under a large rock. The half paralyzed man hit the ground hard, but ignored the pain as he and his comrades eyed the source of the explosion.

“Artemis!” yelled Athena, her tone seething with hatred.

“Commander…this is a most unexpected surprise,” grinned Artemis, aiming her energy rifle square at her former sister at arms, “I did not expect you to still be among the living.”

“Guess you didn’t kill me thoroughly enough!” she scowled, aiming her laser weapon at the rogue soldier.

“A mistake that I assure you I won’t make twice,” she said coldly.

Growing in a feral rage, Wolverine stepped in. His claws were drawn and ready for battle. He never had a good feeling about this Artemis woman. Turns out his instincts served him well yet again.

“Stay back, bub! I’m warnin’ you!” he growled.

“Ah, Lord Wolverine,” said Artemis respectfully, “This is a most treasured moment.”

“Well see how much ya like it when I rip apart that fancy toy of your and shove it up yer ass!” shot the feral mutant.

“As much as it pains me to say this I cannot allow you to interfere,” said Artemis, maintaining a stern poise, “This prophecy is etched in the stone of destiny. I do not wish to harm you, but I will do what I must to slow you down…even at the cost of my own life.”

“You’re making a big mistake, Artemis!” said Xavier, still trapped under a pile of rocks as Hank struggled to get him out.

“No, my lord,” said Artemis, shaking her head with utmost certainty, “I am only adhering to that which you and Xuthasius have taught me.”

Making the depths of her dedication clear, Artemis unleashed another blast from her gun. This time, it was a compressed ultrasonic burst. It caused further instability in the cave, knocking Logan and Athena off their feet. Blood was seeping out of Logan’s ears as he struggled to pick himself up. This woman truly was dedicated. But if they had to go through her to stop this prophecy, then so be it.

“It appears our path isn’t so clear, Charles,” said Hank, using his gorilla strength to dig the Professor’s hover chair out of the rubble.

“It never is, old friend,” said Xavier, stuck under a pile of rocks, “But we can’t let this stop us. Too many lives are depending on us.”


Up in one of the main conduits, Scott and Jean arrived to find themselves face to face with an enormous column of components. It was the size of a four story building, laced with high tech machinery the likes of which they never dealt with before. Reversing the polarity would be no easy task, but it had to be done.

“Good God,” said Jean, her eyes running down the massive components, “Where do we even begin?”

“We’ve worked on the danger room and you’ve worked on Cerebro,” said Scott, running his hands over the components, “We just have to improvise. Now what looks like a circuit conduit?”

“That’s just it. Nothing!” said Jean, “I don’t even see a switch or control panel.”

Just then, Jean got message from the others.

‘Hey Jean, where the hell is the instruction manual for this thing?’ sent Kitty.

‘We’re trying to figure that out too, Kitty,’ replied Jean, ‘What about you, Rogue? Any luck?’

‘Ah’d have better luck doin’ brain surgery blindfolded!’ groaned the southern mutant.

Over with Rogue and Remy, Rogue was looking for a switch or control panel. But there was none in sight.

“Argh! This is impossible!” shouted Rogue, feeling at a loss.

“Impossible is what Remy does best, cherè,” said the Cajun, “We just gotta think like Atlanteans.”

“Nice idea, happen to know any by chance?” said Rogue sarcastically.

“Patience, mon amour,” said Remy, trying to concentrate, “It’s gotta be around here somewhere. Just gotta fine dat one…”

Suddenly, a small glowing light caught his eye. It was a glowing purple crystalline extension, one that stood out among the other flashing components due to its color. It didn’t seem like much, but there had to be something more.

‘Hey Jean. There wouldn’t happen to be a purple crystal on yo’ gizmo, would there?’ sent Remy.

‘Purple crystal?’ replied Jean, doing a quick check, ‘Yeah, I see it. Kitty, do you and Piotr see it too?’

‘See what?’ sent Kitty.

Suddenly Piotr found it too.

‘Wait, I see it! What does it mean?’

‘Don’t know yet,’ said Remy, ‘Let’s find out.’

Pressing down on the crystal, an unseen mechanism came to life. And in a burst of mist, a large panel on the size of the cylinder opened to reveal a glowing interior covered in wires. At the center of it all was a glowing white crystal, most likely the power source that ran this monstrosity. And underneath was a small dial with a symbol for positive polarity on to and a symbol for negative polarity on the bottom.

“Well I’ll be danged,” said Rogue in amazement, “Guess ya were right for a change.”

“Don’t tell Remy ya doubted him,” grinned the Cajun.

“Whatever sugah,” said Rogue, rolling her eyes, “Ah’ll take it from here.”

With her super strength, Rogue reached into the machine and turned the dial. Immediately, they got a reaction. A powerful jolt shot up through Rogue’s arm, but it wasn’t enough to stop her from activating the mechanism. The white crystal in the center of the column turned ultra violet, causing sparks to fly and the ground to shake.

“Wow there! That’s hot!” said Rogue, feeling the burn in her hand, ‘Careful y’all! Look like these things got fail-safes!’

‘Thanks for the heads up, Rogue,’ replied Jean, ‘We’ll take it from here.’

Using her telekinesis, Jean turned the dial and got the same reaction within the column. Piotr, protected by his metal form, followed suit and with the last system reversed, the whole machine began to react.

Suddenly, many of the lights along the exposed components on the wall changed color. The corridors were bathed with the warning signs of ominous red warning lights. And soon after, an alarm sounded as well.

“That can’t be good,” said Kitty.

“Agreed,” said Piotr, taking his girlfriend’s hand, “Come, Katya! We must meet up with the others!”

With their cover blown Scott, Jean, Kitty, Piotr, Rogue, and Remy scrambled back towards the center core. The first part of their plan was complete, but it was up to the Professor and Hank to finish the job.

“I’ve got a bad feeling about this, Scott,” said Jean, the ominous feeling she knew too well looming over her weary mind.

“Me too,” said Scott, running with his wife down the ominous halls of the ancient doomsday machine, “But I wouldn’t worry about the Professor. You and I both know there isn’t much he can’t handle.”


“Come on! Come on!” grunted Hank, struggling to get Xavier’s chair out of the rubble.

“You can do it, Hank!” encouraged Xavier, trying to encourage his friend as he sat helpless in his entrapment.

“I’m trying, Charles!” panted the ape man, “It would appear that the forces of mass and weight are winning this battle!”

Tension ran high as Xavier’s attention shifted back towards the fight between Artemis, Athena, and Wolverine. Artemis wasn’t letting up, blasting wave after wave of energy bursts. He may have been blinded by faith, but he was still a smart soldier. He was keeping his adversaries at a distance, making it impossible to subdue him.

“Stay back!” she grunted, firing off another round of ultrasonic bursts.

“Damn!” grunted Wolverine, covering his bleeding ears, “We gotta get that weapon away from him!”

“Leave it to me, my lord!” said Athena, ignoring the pain in her head and gripping her gun.

Taking cover behind a pile of rubble, the proud soldier waited for Artemis to take another shot. As powerful as the burst were, they came in intervals. They weren’t very long, but it was enough for one shot and she would have to make it count.

“Wait for it…” she said, signaling Wolverine to hold back.

“This one’s for you, Athena!” spat Artemis with bitter hatred, preparing for another blast.


Diving out from her protective mound, she fired off a single shot from her hand held laser pistol. Immediately, Artemis felt the impact as her oversized energy rifle erupted in a fury of sparks and burst into flames.

“Ahhhhh!” she yelled, feeling the burns through his uniform.

Forced to abandon her weapon, Artemis cast it aside. Ever determined to defend her faith, she pulled out two katanas she had stashed in his back. Made from advanced Atlantean metallurgy, the blades glowed in an aura of purple light. She gripped each blade with intent, eyeing those that stood in the way of destiny.

“You’re time is up, Athena!” proclaimed Artemis.

“Lady! You’ve got other worries!” growled Logan, setting aside his ringing ears and charging the lone soldier.

However, Artemis was prepared.

“Forgive me my lord,” she said.

Touching a button on her chest plate, her body was suddenly surrounded in a bubble of energy. The second Logan was hit a paralyzing surge coursed through his adamantium bones and put him in a world of hurt.


“Logan!” exclaimed Xavier, still stuck under the rubble in his hover chair.

“You heathen!” cried Athena, “You will pay for that!”

Gripping her gun, Athena charged her former subordinate full speed. Gripping her energy gun, she fired multiple shots aimed directly at the waiting warrior. But none hit, Artemis showing off her skill with his swords by deflecting every shot.

“You’ll have to do better than that!” proclaimed Artemis.

Athena drew closer, still firing frantically. Artemis braved every shot, waiting for the right moment. When she was close enough, the high tech breast plate that allowed her to overpower Wolverine came to life once more. This time, the energy focused on his swords. Holding them together in an X-shape, Artemis gritted her teeth with intent and unleashed a burst of purple sparks that arced right into Athena.

“Ahhhhhhhhhhh!” she cried, falling to the ground in a world of pain.

Every nerve was on fire. The paralyzing blast was nearly as intense as the one she used to shoot her with last time and that nearly killed her. But Athena refused to go down. Her body lying in a smoldering heap on the floor, she tried to raise her gun at Artemis. But she casually kicked it away, leaving her defenseless.

“You know it’s funny, sister,” said Artemis with a scoff, “You and I always clashed. Each time you were the one who came out on top because you outranked me. But no rank will do you any good now, Athena. This is the real face of battle. This is the conflict you and the rest of the Guard were too afraid to confront.”

“Burn…in…HELL!” grunted Athena in defiance as she continued to struggle.

“Sorry it has to end this way, commander,” she said, holding his sword at her head, “But you never did have the guts to get the job done.”

But before she could deliver the final blow, Logan shot up from his downed state and pounced upon the heavily armed soldier.

“You want guts? Let’s see what yours are like!” growled the feral mutant.

His claws drawn, Logan attacked Artemis with a fury of swipes. Artemis instinctually countered with her swords, skillfully blocking each attack. Fighting the god of warrior spirit was a new rush. Her undying loyalty never waned, yet that only made her fight harder.

“A battle with Lord Wolverine…what an honor,” she said breathlessly.

“Errrrrahhhhhhh!” growled Logan, stepping up his attacks.

Slashing and stabbing with his claws, Logan attempted to hit Artemis’s energy plate. But she proved to be fast with those swords, diverting every stab and blocking every slash. She was driving back by Wolverine’s fury, but began to counter as Logan’s claws and her swords became locked in a bitter grabble.

“Yes, my lord! Don’t hold back! Give me the fight of my life!” exclaimed Artemis.

With unparalleled skill, Artemis began a counterattack. Pulling off an impressive spin move, she pushed Wolverine back. Throwing every ounce of skill behind her attack, Artemis slashed away. She skillfully maintained momentum, not giving Logan an opportunity to gain the upper hand. Even with his skill, Logan couldn’t turn the tide. All he could do was defend.

“Good lord,” said Xavier, watching the battle as it unfolded before him.

Logan held his ground, using his claws to defend each attack. Grunting with each clash, he was soon caught in another grabble with Artemis trying to overpower him. Her katana’s crackled with energy as it contacted the adamantium metal, the look of determination never waning.

“Why do you resist, my lord?” asked the proud soldier as she and Logan eyed each other with intent, “Can’t you see I’m trying to clear the way for you and the X-men to establish a new world of peace? Is that not what you want?”

“Not with your methods, bub!” grunted Wolverine, starting to overpower his adversary.

“I’m sorry you feel that way,” said Artemis remorsefully, “But it is not my place to argue with the Orion Prophecy.”

The energy plate over her chest came to life once again, erupting in a field of purple energy. Again, Logan was hit with an overwhelming shockwave of force. His body burned under the strain, the purple sparks shocking his every nerve into agony.

“RAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!” he howled as he fell to the ground in a smoldering heap.

When the sparks faded, Artemis looked at his lord with remorse. Respectfully bowing her head, she turned his attention back to Athena, who was still struggling from paralysis.

“Face it, my lords. You are too late,” she proclaimed, “The order of humanity is already doomed. The stage is set for a new world. And I will not allow you to deny that which is written in stone.”

Standing over the downed bodies of Wolverine and Athena, Artemis stood triumphant. Nothing was going to stop the Orion Prophecy now. She wouldn’t allow it. This moment was over 10,000 years in the making. There was no stopping the path of destiny.

“This must end,” said Artemis, holding one of her swords to Athena’s head, “I regret it had to happen this way. But this is how it must be. So it is written in the Orion Prophecy.”


Up next: The final hour is upon the Orion Prophecy and the fate of the world hinges on stopping Isaac.
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