The Erotic Phoenix Saga: Dark Passions

BY : marvelmaster616
Category: X-men Comics > General
Dragon prints: 3073
Disclaimer: I don’t own X-Men, Avengers, or any Marvel characters. I am making no money off of this. They are the property of Marvel and Disney. Please don’t sue.

The Erotic Phoenix Saga: Dark Passions
Chapter 6: Contrived Control

Limbo – Temporal Pits

“Time and time again, we think time is fixed,” mused a restless, but focused Madelyne Pryor. “I pity those poor souls. They lack perspective…submitting and accepting their fate. I may lack many things, but perspective isn’t one of them.”

The Goblin Queen was on the cusp of triumph. Her purpose was within her grasp in a very literal and very intimate manner. Looking down at herself, she smiled. Her overly thorough ravaging of Scott Summers had produced the desired result. She was pregnant with his child and visibly so. Her abdomen now bulged considerably, the unborn child within her womb nearly ready to emerge.

As she knelt on a special pillow, having set up a demonic delivery ward of sorts, Madelyne affectionately rubbed her swollen belly. She could feel the child inside her kick and move. He seemed just as eager to pursue their destiny.

“Settle down, little one. It’s almost time,” the Goblin Queen said to her unborn child. “I know that’s hard to grasp in the Temporal Pits. But this part of our purpose is almost over. Thankfully, the next parts are far less rigorous.”

The child inside her settled. Madelyne’s smile widened as she placed both hands over her lower abdomen. She took deep breaths, preparing for what was sure to be an arduous delivery. She was still ready. She’d been preparing for this since the second she drew breath.

Like every other action since that moment, Madelyne made elaborate preparations. Key among them was this unique facility located in the heart of Limbo’s infamous Temporal Pits. Even the stronger demons rarely ventured here. According to Belasco, this was where the flow of time was most erratic and unstable. Limbo already had places in which time flowed faster or slower, but these pits were where it was most pronounced.

To the Goblin Queen, who preferred not waiting nine months in her home realm to birth her child, had her goblin minions build the facility with the intention of skipping many steps. That required some mystical manipulations, courtesy of Belasco’s spells. It also required some advanced science from Celestial technology, courtesy of Mr. Sinister.

While her minions had since aged into dust, the facility they created acted as a temporal pocket realm. From the perspective of everyone outside, it had been less than a half-hour since she exited the null chamber in which she and Scott conceived their child. Within the facility, however, nearly nine months had passed. It didn’t necessarily feel like nine months from her mind, but that didn’t matter. Her focus never waned.

‘I’m so close! All this desire and drive…all this effort and rigor…so much toil for something that’s literally growing inside me. The skewed passage of time has strained my mind, as well as my body. But I will endure. I must! Too many forces are still working against me.’

As certain as she was of her looming triumph, the Goblin Queen was not ignorant of the complications that remained. She hadn’t forgotten the battle raging back at Sinister’s Stonehenge Lab. That conflict was sure to continue, even after she birthed her child. The key to ensuring that triumph was to maintain the control she’d gained.

It had been at the heart of Madelyne’s efforts since she began this perverse pursuit. She’d seized control of everything and everyone necessary to get this far. From manipulating desires to disrupting the greater forces of multiple realms, the devious redhead had gone to extreme lengths to assert that control. Whether it was logistics or simply protecting herself from those who might defy her, she had crossed many lines. That included engaging in many perverse actions along the way.

From her perspective, it was all necessary. There was no way she could’ve gotten this far, her destiny within hand and time being completely in her favor. Each passing moment brought her closer. Every bit of equipment in the facility was operating at full capacity, from the ultrasound monitors to the ambient lighting. She couldn’t have been more prepared.

Just as her impatience began to surface, the Goblin Queen felt a contraction.

“Oww!” Madelyne gasped in a mix of discomfort and excitement. “I think that’s our cue. Ready or not, destiny awaits us!”

She immediately arose, alert and anxious for her pregnancy to end. She prepared the equipment that her goblin minions had set up. The Goblin Queen was about to get into position.

Then, a monitor next to the ultrasound equipment turned on and the face of the Dr. Miles “Jackal” Warren appeared. He was already an unappealing sight to begin with. His poor timing didn’t help that in the slightest.

“My queen!” he shouted urgently. “I know you told me not to use the temporal com-link unless it was important, but…”

“Damn it, Jackal!” barked the Goblin Queen. “Spit it out! And it better be important! I’m about to give birth, so I’m less patient than usual!”

“Please, forgive me!” Jackal begged. “But the frontal defenses have been breached! Daken report a team of X-Men and their allies have entered the facility. I know you said that was inevitable. But you also told me to let you know if it happened ahead of schedule.”

Madelyne continued to fume, answering with another angry glare. However, another contraction kept her from threatening Jackal with every torment in Limbo.

As she groaned and leaned on a nearby table, a hand still over her pregnant belly, the Goblin Queen re-focused her anger. The Jackal’s timing was bad, but he had followed her instructions to the letter.

She’d instructed him to monitor the exterior of the facility, knowing the many connections of Scott and Jean Grey-Summers would come to assist them. Those connections proved vast because they had breached the defenses sooner than anticipated. While the Goblin Queen had accounted for that possibility, it still required a less-than-desirable recourse.

“Damn you, Sinister!” she said under her breath as she endured another contraction. “All this Celestial technology and you couldn’t craft better defenses.”

“My queen…” Jackal said anxiously over the com-link.

“Shut up! I’m about to give birth, here!” Madelyne barked. “This doesn’t change that. Although, it does mean I’ll have to inject the Legacy Virus before its fully ready. At least tell me you haven’t messed that up!”

“I…I have not,” Jackal replied anxiously. “It’s still in the centrifuge, just as you asked. I cannot claim to understand its workings. But I know that if you inject it too soon…”

“Augh! Let me worry about that…and about giving birth,” she retorted through another contraction. “This timeframe was always going to be tight. Just be damn certain the virus is ready the moment I return from Limbo!”

“It will be done, my queen. But what about my…”

“That is all, Jackal!” Madelyne said before he could continue.

The Goblin Queen ended the call by punching the monitor, breaking it and several surrounding pieces of equipment. She kept cursing Jackal under her breath, but more contractions diverted her attention. Even if she was in control, she had more pressing priorities.

“Argh! Your timing couldn’t be better or worse,” Madelyne told her child, trying to settle her body. “I may have underestimated the competence of my enemies. They shouldn’t have made it this far, but no matter. I can adjust! I’m still in control! They cannot change that!”

Working with more urgency, the Goblin Queen pushed through the next several contractions to get into position. Through grunts and groans, she got up onto the special table that Sinister had designed for pregnant women. She also summoned several goblin minions through small portals so they could assist. As soon as they saw her in her distressed state, they went to work preparing for the birth of the ultimate mutant.

“Kween!” they all screeched.

“Hurry!” Madelyn ordered as she began breathing deep. “Get the blankets and IVs ready! My child…the ultimate mutant…the cable to our past, present, and future…he’s almost here!”

Sinister’s Lab – Main Entrance

The battle raged on. Outside the vast complex that had emerged near the ancient structures of Stonehenge, the clash between the Goblin Queen’s forces and Earth’s Mightiest Heroes continued to escalate. The collective might of the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, SHIELD, and X-Corp’s various other allies hit the facility in full force. Even with Celestial technology and an endless horde of goblins, flying demons, symbiote monsters, and Hand ninjas, they could only do so much to prevent them from getting to the Goblin Queen.

It unfolded quickly and chaotically, but they had a plan in place. The Avengers, SHIELD, and the Fantastic Four hit the Goblin Queen’s forces directly and forcefully. Behind them, a small team of X-Men and some key allies flew in and landed right outside the main entrance to the facility. That part of the plan unfolded as expected. The next phase promised to be more challenging.

“The defense barriers are down! Push through to the interior!” said the commanding voice of Ororo “Storm” Munroe.

“Right behind ya, Storm!” said a determined Wolverine, his claws drawn and ready for battle. “And for once, we ain’t short of backup!”

Surrounded by swirling winds and flashes of lightning, Storm landed just outside the main barrier to the pyramid-shaped facility. Wolverine, Colossus, Kwannon, Emma Frost, and Spider-Man landed behind her. Dr. Strange and Carol Danvers flew in as well. Almost immediately after they landed, a series of winged demons and hand ninjas attempted to attack from behind. The Sorcerer Supreme, Dr. Strange, was ready for them.

“Shield barriers of the Vishanti…protect our flank!” he proclaimed while waving his glowing hands.

A large greenish barrier formed behind them, stopping the attack before it got too close. Many flying demons still attempted to attack. A subsequent attack by Thor, the Human Torch, and Iron Man knocked them away to give them some breathing room.

“Thanks, Doc! I swear, I could smell their breath,” said Spider-Man, looking back briefly.

“Eyes forward, Spider-Man!” urged Dr. Strange. “We have pressing matters before us!”

“And a tight timeline, according to our friends,” added Kwannon.

“Yeah, that I’m still confused on,” said the web-slinger.

“As am I, comrade,” said Colossus, already in his stoic metal form. “Just believe the stakes are quite high.”

“When are they not?” he groaned.

“It is also likely there are greater obstacles before us,” said Dr. Strange, still fighting to keep the barrier up. “No one goes to such lengths without taking greater precautions.”

“Between demons, symbiotes, and evil ninjas, how much greater can this Goblin Queen get?” Spider-Man pondered aloud.

Moments after uttering those words, Spider-Man and the rest of the team within the barrier got an answer. The main entrance was in sight and the interior of the lab awaited. Then, just a few feet from the entrance, a circular portal opened up and a female figure stepped out.

She had the appearance and stature of a teenage girl with blond hair, but her demonic attire and large glowing sword gave her a more menacing presence. Despite her threatening demeanor, Colossus recognized her. He even shoved past Storm and Wolverine to confirm a sight he never thought he’d see again.

“Bozi moi,” he gasped in his native Russian.

“Turn back now!” the girl said in a thick Russian accent, avoiding Colossus’ gaze. “Please. You do not want to face the Hell inside.”

“Illyana…you’re alive. It’s really you!” he said with a mix of joy and horror.

“Yes, big brother. It is me,” she said, avoiding his gaze, “and for your sake – and the sake of our family – I beg you. Turn back now!”

Her words barely registered as Colossus took in the scene before him. His little snowflake, Illyana, was alive. After fearing her dead, she was standing in front of him. However, she bore little resemblance to the sweet, innocent girl he knew from his youth. On top of having aged considerably into a teenager, she also bore features that looked more demon than human. It was a distressing sight, but one Colossus refused to turn away from.

Storm and Wolverine had to hold him back from rushing towards his sister. They saw the look in her eyes too. They were not the look of a young woman in control of the situation. They could even see her hands shaking as she gripped her sword, her desires clearly not in line with her choices.

“Easy there, big guy!” said Wolverine. “We were warned about this. Kate said your sister had a part to play.”

“Although, she did not reveal the disturbing details,” said Storm, attempting to formulate her next move.

“I do not care! I will save her from this madness!” Colossus yelled.

“Need I remind you, that’s not how Kate says it played out,” Emma told him.

“Then, I’ll change the outcome! I must!”

There was no dissuading the powerful Russian. Even Illyana’s pleading eyes didn’t stop him. He was prepared to confront his sister and do what was necessary to save her. He also remembered what Kate had told them about this part of the battle. It did not end well for him or Illyana. He was determined to change that.

Sensing that determination, as well, Dr. Strange turned his attention away from the barrier protecting their flank. He took to the air, surrounding himself with mystical energy swirling around his body. In Illyana, he saw more than just a poor soul who had been corrupted by demonic influences. He also saw an opportunity to defy fate.

“You will not be alone in that effort, Colossus. I will assist you!” said the Sorcerer Supreme. “I cannot guarantee success, but I can offer my mystic assets.”

“Will that be enough, Doc?” asked Captain Marvel. “And what about the big glowing barrier behind us? You sure it’ll hold?”

Before the Sorcerer Supreme could offer words of assurance, a bloodthirsty screech shot up from an area just inside the barrier. Carnage, who had been fighting alongside the symbiote creatures, had somehow gotten through and attacked.

“Heeerreeee’s, Cletus!” he roared, immediately setting his sights on Dr. Strange.

“You just had to jinx it, didn’t you, Danvers?” groaned Emma.

“Yeah! That’s my job!” said Spider-Man.

Carnage jumped into the air in an effort to knock down Dr. Strange. Spider-Man, having dealt with symbiotes before, jumped up to meet him, intercepting him in mid-air. The homicidal figure tried to wrap him up with his tendrils to throw him off. Captain Marvel stepped in and hit him with a photon blast to the back, which knocked them away.

From there, Kwannon sprang into action. She formed two psionic blades and rushed towards Carnage. He tried to knock her away, as well. She sliced through most of his attack with her blades and evaded the rest with her ninja-like reflexes. It helped put some distance between the others and Carnage.

“Go!” the Japanese woman told the others. “We’ll handle this monstrosity!”

“Ergghh! Right…piece of cake!” grunted Spider-Man as he tried to break from Carnage’s grasp.

“Fine by me!” laughed Carnage. “A mouthy dork and a Japanese ninja chick? I’ve watched enough anime porn to how this plays out! Ha!”

“Just for that, I’m aiming for your balls,” said Kwannon with a menacing glare.

The skilled assassin charged harder, slicing through more of Carnage’s tendrils along the way. She managed to get in a hard dick to the face before kneeing him in the groin to loosen his grip on Spider-Man. While that got Carnage to wince momentarily, he never stopped smiling. It might have even turned him on.

Carnage’s arrival added more urgency for the others. The Goblin Queen’s forces weren’t going to let up. The only way to stop them all was to get to her. However, that involved going through Illyana. Knowing Colossus was not going to fail his sister again, Storm adjusted her battle plans. This was the point where Kate’s foresight became less clear.

“I trust them to handle Carnage,” the X-Leader said. “Colossus, I trust you and Dr. Strange to handle your sister.”

Storm cast a look towards Wolverine and nodded, indicating to let him go. The former living weapon didn’t seem thrilled with the plan, but he did as she ordered.

“Thank you, Storm,” Colossus said graciously. “I will save my sister today. Our future changes now!”

“Hope you’re right, Tin Man. I really do,” said Wolverine.

His teammates got out of his way, clearing any lingering obstacle between him and his sister. Illyana remained in a defensive poise, holding her oversized sword up with shaking hands. She continued pleading with her eyes, urging her brother to leave. He showed no inclination to do so. His resolved remained as strong as his metal skin.

As he approached his wayward sister, Dr. Strange assumed a meditative poise. He then waved his hands in circles, directing swirls of mystical energy towards Colossus.

“To battle this dark magic, you’ll need more than mere will, Colossus” said the Sorcerer Supreme as he cast a new spell. “By the will of Agamotto, I summon the Seven Rings of Raggadorr! Lend your strength to this man’s muscle!”

From the swirling energy, several glowing rings formed. Like spinning disks, they surrounded Colossus as he marched towards his sister. Several wrapped around his arms and biceps, causing them to glow brightly with radiant energy. Several more wrapped around his neck, legs, and torso, forming an armor-like shell to supplement his already durable form.

This display caused Illyana’s swords to react. It began glowing bright red, along with her eyes. Her demeanor quickly shifted from a conflicted teenage girl to a menacing agent of Limbo. Her innocence gone, she lashed out at her approaching brother.

“You should’ve listened, brother! Now, the Darkchylde will damn us both!” Illyana yelled, her voice taking on a demonic tone.

“If that is what it will take to save you, snowflake…so be it,” said Colossus.

His resolve hardened, along with his poise. Illyana came in with the first strike, jumping into the air and attacking with her sword. Colossus put his arms up to block it, the added shielding of Dr. Strange’s magic able to absorb the blow.

It still triggered a small shockwave that added to the chaos. Storm, Wolverine, Captain Marvel, and Emma all had to fall back. When Illyana launched another attack, more shockwaves followed, causing bolts of mystical energy to shoot out in multiple directions. From them, small portals started to form and demonic creatures attempted to come through. Dr. Strange, while still trying to focus on Colossus, diverted some of his attention to sealing them.

“By the power of Oshtur, I turn these creatures back!” he shouted as he launched greenish fireballs from his hands to closing the rips.

The chaos escalated as the battle played out. Colossus remained on the defensive, blocking Illyana’s attacks while Dr. Strange took care of the stray portals. He attempted to counter several times in an effort to knock the sword out of her hand, but that proved harder than expected. Despite her stature, Illyana proved to be very strong in her Darkchylde form.

Nearby, Spider-Man and Kwannon fought off Carnage’s next onslaught. Unlike the other symbiote creatures that were part of the Goblin Queen’s forces, he had a much greater control over his symbiote. The more Spider-Man and Kwannon evaded his attacks, the larger he seemed to get. Carnage had already grown to nearly twice his size, his body bulging with muscles while dozens of reddish black tendrils shot out towards them. Even by symbiote standards, Carnage grew more menacing by the moment.

It gave Storm, Wolverine, Captain Marvel, and Emma Frost little room to work with. Storm and Captain Marvel had to blast aside stray tendrils and open portals from Illyana. The entrance to the facility was still in sight, but just getting through seemed daunting.

“If you guys are gonna slip by…now’s the time!” said Spider-Man as he narrowly evaded Carnage’s attack.

“Hurry!” yelled Kwannon. “We can handle this!”

“We can? That’s news to me!” quipped the Wall-Crawler.

“You’ll figure it out, kid!” barked Wolverine, still eying the entrance. “Ro, what’s our next move?”

Storm cast a concerned glance towards Colossus and Spider-Man. Both were struggling in their respective battles, but the situation demanded a bolder approach. They could not stay and support their friends. They didn’t have time to drag out such battles. They had to move forward to confront the Goblin Queen. According to Kate, they were nearing the point of no return for the future she came from.

“We forge ahead!” Storm said boldly. “Carol, help me carve a path!”

“Gladly!” said Captain Marvel, cracking her knuckles in anticipation.

Channeling the surrounding winds, Storm formed a miniature cyclone around her, Captain Marvel, Wolverine, and Emma. That helped protect them from stray blasts and tendrils. She then directed several sizable bolts of lightning towards the main entrance. Following her lead, Captain Marvel supplemented Storm’s effort with a concentrated photon blast.

The resulting force did the trick. They blew the sealed door open, revealing the interior of the pyramid shaped facility. Not surprisingly, it set off more alarms and triggered more defenses. Storm quickly took them out with more lightning strikes and wind gusts. That helped give them a clear path forward.

Colossus made sure it stayed clear, grabbing Illyana’s sword with both hands while Spider-Man surrounded Carnage in a cocoon of webs. That did little subdue them, but it created just enough room for Storm to lead her team inside the structure where the Goblin Queen’s final defenses awaited.

However, neither Carnage nor Illyana seemed too concerned.

“Oooh! Those saps don’t know what they’re in for!” laughed Carnage as he broke free of Spider-Man’s webs. “They’ve just fucked themselves over! And not in the fun way!”

“Spoken like a guy with a twisted concept of fun,” said Kwannon as she hacked away at bits of his symbiote flesh.

“Trust me, toots! Compared to what I’m about to do to you…you’re gettin’ off easy!” he laughed.

“I’d rather trust a pissed off cobra,” said Spider-Man as he attempted to assist Kwannon.

Carnage kept laughing maniacally, even as Spider-Man and Kwannon drove him farther back. Illyana, however, did not crack a smile. Even through the demonic gaze of the Darkchylde, she understood what they were in for.

That didn’t stop her from playing her part on behalf of the Goblin Queen. She continued attacking Colossus and the mystical armor that Dr. Strange had granted him. Her strikes became more aggressive, straining even Colossus’ durability.

“As much as I detest that psycho, he’s not wrong,” said Illyana while narrowly missing her brother with a killing blow. “What your friends are about to face…it is too horrible for words. And I have literally been through Hell!”

As daunting as her words might have been, Colossus was not dissuaded. He even cracked a smile, briefly casting a glance towards Dr. Strange. He simply nodded back in a show of understanding. As overwhelmed as they were, they still had a few advantages on their side.

“Do not despair, Snowflake,” Colossus told his sister as he clenched his fists. “Whatever lies ahead, they are ready for it.”

“I doubt that,” she scoffed. “The Goblin Queen cannot be stopped! Our fate is entirely in her hands!”

“No. It is not,” said Colossus strongly. “She will learn soon enough that fate is not hers to control…not this time.”

Secret Military Installation – Project Wideawake

Everything was going wrong. Years of meticulous planning and immense efforts were falling apart. Senator Robert Kelly had staked his career, his reputation, and his future on Project Wideawake. His steadfast belief that mutants were a threat to humanity had driven much of his political career. If that effort failed, then he failed all of humanity. He could not accept that.

For Dr. Bolivar Trask, the stakes were just as high. Project Wideawake wasn’t just an ambitious technological endeavor. It was his life’s work. He’d been convinced of the threat mutants posed before Senator Kelly. He created the Sentinels and worked tirelessly to refine them in hopes of countering that threat. Project Wideawake was the culmination of that work. He had been on the cusp of activating Master Mold, his greatest creation to date.

Then, the X-Men attacked. Somehow, they’d found this installation. That shouldn’t have been possible. Senator Kelly had gone to extensive lengths to ensure nobody, including the world’s most powerful psychic, could uncover this facility. Something must have failed or someone must have talked. Whatever the case, they had to move quickly if they were to salvage Project Wideawake.

“This way, Senator! Our defenses won’t hold those freaks for long!” urged Trask as he led Senator Kelly through the most secure wings of the installation.

“Damn it, Trask! This is the last thing we need!” barked the angry Senator as he stumbled along.

“No need to remind me,” he replied angrily. “We’re not ready yet! If they get to Master Mold, then Project Wideawake is done for!”

“We can’t let that happen.”

“It won’t!” Trask said strongly.

The angry Senator hardly shared Trask’s confidence. He was just about to leave for DC when all the alarms went off. Once word of the X-Men’s arrival got out, everyone ran for the exists. Trask and his people had been just as shocked, assuming that the facility’s robust defenses had kept them hidden. For what the government had paid for those defenses, it seemed safe.

Senator Kelly was already questioning that investment as he followed Trask through several secure wings. The central area that housed Master Mold and the assembly mechanisms for the Sentinels was still operating at full capacity. There were also plenty of finished Sentinels ready for deployment, but had not been activated. If the X-Men managed to destroy them, then the whole Sentinel program might be irreparably damaged.

“We’ve worked too hard. We will secure humanity’s future!” said Trask intently as he opened another secure door.

The Senator knew Trask well enough to figure he had a backup plan. While much of the technicians and engineers ran towards the emergency exits on the north side of the facility, they made their way towards a secure wing in the east. It was where Trask’s main office was located, along with a private computer hub. Senator Kelly also assumed he had other backup plans in place.

“I hope that effort includes an escape plan, Bolivar,” said Senator Kelly as they neared his office. “Because I will not be buried with you in this pit!”

“Relax, Senator. Neither of us is getting buried,” said Trask while scanning his hand on a biometrics lock. “This facility has plenty of Cold War era escape routes. I made sure one of them connected to my office. It’s a little dingy, but it’ll let us out at an ammo depot up the river.”

“That’s good for us, but what about Master Mold? Or Project Wideawake?” the Senator asked.

“Don’t worry. We can salvage them too! We can lose the units, but save the code. It’ll delay the project, but it won’t stop it! I refuse to let those freaks doom us all!”

A series of tremors shook the facility, causing lights to flicker and screens to flash. Senator Kelly grew increasingly nervous, even though Trask remained determined. He didn’t want mutants to triumph either, but he didn’t want this to be his ultimate legacy.

The Senator set aside the personal and political ramifications for the moment. Trask had just unlocked the final door to his office and, presumably, their way out. He quickly followed him in side, just as more tremors shook the structure.

However, the second the door slammed shut behind them, he and Trask were greeted by an unexpected presence. A female figure bearing blue skin, red hair, and a white body suit was sitting casually behind Trask’s desk, looking both menacing and restless.

“Took you long enough to get here,” the woman said flatly.

“What the?! Who the hell are you?” Trask demanded.

“Someone who wishes they were anywhere else right now,” she replied.

Trask immediately reached behind his back and pulled out a gun, which he had on his person since the day he invented the Sentinels. He didn’t even get halfway before the woman sprang into action. With superhuman reflexes, she leapt out from behind the desk and landed right in front of Trask. He had the gun in hand and was turning it towards her, but he wasn’t fast enough. She swiftly knocked it out of his hand with a hard kick.

“Aghh!” Trask said, clutching his hand.

“I wish I could take pleasure in that. I really do,” said the woman.

“Whoever you are…whatever you’re after…you won’t stop us!” yelled Trask, now on his knees in pain.

“If only that were my goal,” she sighed. “Maybe in another life, I – Mystique – would go down as the woman who killed the creator of the Sentinels. I could’ve also been the woman who took down Senator Kelly…a man who makes every mutant child afraid to go to school.”

Trask attempted to get up and fight back. Mystique hit him again, kneeing him in the gut and flipping him onto his back. Senator Kelly, having no where to run besides the secure door behind him, just stumbled back with his hands up.

“Listen, lady. Whatever you think you’re doing, it’s going to end bad for you. I promise!” said Senator Kelly.

“You have no idea how right you are,” Mystique said solemnly. “I want to just kill you both where you stand. That might even be satisfying.”

“What? You’re crazy!” the Senator yelled. “You’d kill a sitting Senator in cold blood? You mutants really are monster!”

“Just for that, I’ll shoot you in the neck for good measure.”

Mystique proceeded to grab Trask by the collar with one hand and retrieve the discarded gun with the other. As Senator Kelly watched on with shock and horror, the blue-skinned mutant dragged him across the office and towards a small computer hub located next to his desk. She wasn’t the least bit gentle when she pulled him up so that he was at eye-level with her. She also pointed the gun towards Senator Kelly, as if to dissuade any unexpected heroics.

Then, in a display that only compounded the terror for the two men, Mystique’s body and face shifted to match that of Bolivar Trask. She now resembled him perfectly, right down to his poorly shaven face. It left Trask shaken as she narrowed her gaze on him.

“As you can see, I had no problems getting inside,” she told him, mirroring his voice perfectly. “What’s going on outside…I have no idea. I’d hoped to do this quietly. But I’m used to my hopes being crushed. I just need a few minutes of your lives…what’s left of them, anyways.”

“Errr! Threaten me all you want! I won’t help you!” barked Trask. “You’ll have to kill us!”

“Speak for yourself, Trask,” Senator Kelly scolded.

“Trust me. It’s a favor, not a threat,” she said, once again speaking in her former voice. “If we all die today, we’ll be the lucky ones.”

Her words were ominous, but her tone was dead serious. It gave the impression that she didn’t want to do whatever she’d planned. That had many disturbing implications, too many to contemplate. Senator Kelly, the gun still pointed at him, simply kept his hands up and backed away until he was up against the wall. Both he and Trask were now powerless.

Trask, still clutching his hand, remained defiant. It had no effect on Mystique. Her expression still flat and cold, she turned him around to face the console.

“Here’s what’s gonna happen,” the shape-shifter said, “you’re going to log into the mainframe. I already unlocked your biometrics scanner. I just need you to access the central programming matrix. I can take it from there.”

“And why the hell would I do that, mutant?” scoffed Trask.

Mystique answered by turning the gun from Senator Kelly to Trask’s upper thigh. Without the slightest hesitation, she fired a shot right into his leg. The sound of the gunshot, and the bloody wound it left, caused the Senator to wince while Trask cried out in pain.

“AGGGHHHHH!” he exclaimed.

That’s why,” Mystique said, ignoring his pain. “Work quickly. Or the next one will hurt even worse.”

She pointed the gun back towards Senator Kelly while keeping Trask pressed against the console. Trask was already grunting and groaning, his leg now bleeding badly. The wound was serious, but not fatal. That made clear she knew what she was doing, even if she didn’t like it.

Bolivar Trask lingered in agony for a few moments. Another round of tremors hit the facility, indicating the X-Men were closing in. Time was running out for all three of them. Trask, despite his defiance and hatred, finally seemed to accept this. Looking towards Senator Kelly, who was already urging him with his eyes to get it over with, the wounded man cursed under his breath.

“Freaks…mutants…monsters…you’ll doom us all,” he said.

“Less talking! More typing!” Mystique said, shoving him hard. “Believe me. I want this to be over as much as you.”

Still cursing angrily to himself, Trask did as she requested. He was already logged into the system. With shaky hands and pain-fueled anger, he navigated the complex systems of his life’s work. Once he accessed the matrix, he closed his eyes and lowered his head solemnly.

“There!” he said. “I’m inside Master Mold’s systems. Whatever you plan to do…you won’t just change my creations. You’ll start a war between our kind…a war you can’t possibly win!”

“Spare me your warning,” Mystique said, rolling her eyes. “In another life, I would’ve welcomed that war. But today – this terrible, hellish day – I’m content for this life to end.”

The shape-shifter turned towards Senator Kelly, his hands still up and his back against the wall. He still pleaded for his life with his scared gaze. It did him no good. Mystique, her expression still bitter and cold, just shook her head as she gripped the trigger.

“These may be my last words. So, I’ll say the one thing I wish I’d said sooner,” said Mystique. “I’m sorry.”

Through solemn resignation, she pulled the trigger and Senator Kelly braced himself. However, just as the noise of the gun filled the room, a pair of arms somehow reached through the wall and grabbed his shoulders. At that same moment, the bullet whizzed right through him, leaving him completely unharmed and very confused.

“What?!” he gasped.

“Easy, Mr. Senator!” said a young female voice. “You’re gonna be okay. You have to be.”

The confusion spread towards Mystique and Trask, who watched as three figures entered the room, phasing right through the heavily reinforced walls.

They were led by Kate Pryde, still gripping the shoulders of Senator Kelly firmly as she led him forward. Professor Charles Xavier followed, moving along in his hover chair. Rogue came in close behind, who quickly turned her attention to Mystique.

“Rogue?!” the shape-shifter exclaimed.

“Ah’m here, Momma!” Rogue greeted, not looking at all surprised to see her wayward mother.

“You can’t…you shouldn’t be here!” Mystique yelled, her hand shaking while still pointing the gun at Senator Kelly. “Get away now! I can’t…”

“It’s okay, Momma. It ain’t gonna end like this. Not today!”

Rogue briefly grazed Kate’s face with her bare hand, causing only a momentary wince. She immediately rushed forward to disarm Mystique. More shots rang out, but they passed right through her, thanks to having absorbed Kate’s powers. Mystique offered little resistance when her adopted daughter disarmed her, kicking the gun out of her hand with a move similar to the one she’d used on Trask. She would’ve been proud if she weren’t at the Goblin Queen’s mercy.

She still tried to defend herself, reflexes taking over briefly. It was not nearly enough to stop Rogue from grabbing her face with her bare hand, allowing her to drain her. However, instead of the usual pain and distress caused by that process, Mystique’s expression shifted.

For the first time in a very long while, she felt something the Goblin Queen hadn’t let her feel. It wasn’t pain, pleasure, or some combination of the two. It was simply relief.

“Anna…my daughter…thank you,” Mystique said, shedding a rare tear of joy.

“Shh,” Rogue said, offering a solemn smile. “Take it easy, Momma. We’re here to make things right…in more way than one.”

The shape-shifter passed out in her adopted daughter’s arms. Rogue, still smiling as many mixed emotions consumed her, carefully laid her adopted mother on the floor. She also kicked the gun away from her unconscious form to limit the potential for further violence. She kept a close eye on Trask, who was still wounded and leaning up against the console.

While Senator Kelly remained confused, the very distressed Bolivar Trask remained apprehensive. He didn’t recognize Rogue or the teenage girl with the phasing powers, but he definitely recognized Charles Xavier. As soon as the X-Men began attacking, he knew Xavier couldn’t be far behind.

“The X-Men…you made it all this way,” Trask said, still wincing as he tried to stand. “You just had to finish the job yourself, didn’t you?”

“I promise you, Trask. That is not our goal,” said Charles Xavier, staying close to Kate and the Senator.

“Bullshit!” he yelled. “You knew we were close! You know that once I activated Master Mold, there was no stopping us! Project Wideawake was going to be the answer…the key to humanity’s future.”

“You’re partially right, I’m afraid,” Xavier replied, “but not in the way you think. I know fear and hatred has fueled your perspective…both you and the Senator here. But you don’t understand what future that leads to. It’s a future that benefits neither mutants nor humanity.”

“Spare me your empty rhetoric, Xavier! There’s nothing you can say to stop what’s coming.”

“I expected as such,” the powerful psychic said with a sigh, “which is why I must show you. And while I only ever unwilling minds as a last resort, I’m afraid we’re past that point.”

Professor Xavier turned to Kate Pryde, whose hardened expression stood in stark contrast to her teenage appearance. She nodded in affirmation, casting a solemnly glance towards the still confused Senator Kelly. Both he and Trask had to see what she’d seen. It was the only way to convince them that their choices today would doom them all.

“I’m ready, Professor,” said Kate Pryde, stepping forward so that she stood between both Trask and the Senator. “Enter my mind. Show them the future they’re about to create.”

Professor Xavier put his hand on his temple and channeled the full force of his telepathy. First, he linked to Kate’s mind, who willingly shared every ghastly detail of the future she’d endured. Then, he linked her memories to the minds of Trask and Senator Kelly. He intended to leave no detail unshared. These men had to see what their hate and fear would wrought.

It was an uncomfortable process, forcibly probing the minds of these two hateful men. It was not a process Charles Xavier took lightly. It caused both him and the two men visible discomfort, but that was only minor compared to the horrors that played out before their eyes.

“My God!” Senator Kelly gasped.

“No! Get out of my head, Xavier!” groaned Trask. “I won’t let you trick me!”

“It’s no trick, I assure you,” Xavier told them. “These memories are very real. This is the future that awaits us if you continue down your current path.”

What the two men saw was a nightmare made real. It played out in a series of mental snapshots of future history, each vividly depicting the events to come. They all began with what happened in this room.

Mystique appeared in the room, shooting Senator Kelly dead and knocking Trask unconscious.

From there, the shape-shifter activated Master Mold and deployed the Sentinels, targeting a very specific sight around Stonehenge in Whiltshire, England.

Vivid memories of countless Sentinels descending on Stonehenge played out. Kate Pryde had originally been there. She’d watched as the Sentinels targeted the X-Men, the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, and many other of Earth’s mightiest heroes.

“Destroy! All mutants and mutant allies,” Master Mold proclaimed in a booming voice, “surrender or be destroyed.”

None surrendered. Heavy losses ensued. The Sentinels’ arrival turned the tide of the battle. Heroes fell, including Captain America and Iron Man. Numerous X-men, including Charles Xavier, perished in the battle. The battle was won, but the Sentinels didn’t stop.

In the days that followed, the world stood aghast. Senator Kelly’s death, on top of the deaths of Captain America and Tony Stark, triggered an outcry. Mutants and heroes alike were blamed. The Sentinels were also blamed. Hate and fear escalated. Chaos reigned supreme.

It all collapsed. Trask tried to re-gain control of his creations, but he and countless others failed. Master Mold took over, following its program to the utmost. It captured or killed countless mutants. It did the same to innocent humans who carried the X-gene or any person who happened to have superhuman abilities. Images of them and their families dying at the hands of countless Sentinel hordes played out in graphic detail.

Many fought back. Then, the nightmare took a very sinister twist. Just as mutants and humanity stood on the brink, a rip in the fabric of space opened to reveal a devious woman and an army of monsters. She called herself the Apocalypse Queen and with her forces, she imparted more chaos on both the Sentinels and what remained of humanity.

“Death! Destruction! Chaos! And I am the queen of it all!” the woman proclaimed.

“Error. Error. Unidentified threat. Destroy!” countless Sentinels reacted.

At that point, the memories became obscure. Only destruction followed. Wave after wave of Sentinels and monsters destroyed what was left of the world, leaving nothing but ruins on every corner of the planet. Neither humans nor mutants were left standing. All that remained was chaos.

This horrific sight, along with its terrifying imagery, played out in the minds of the two men. They both stood aghast at what they saw. Trask even forgot about the gunshot wound in his leg. Even after the worst of it passed, the two men trembled at this dire vision of things to come.

“No!” cried Senator Kelly, falling to his knees in despair. “So much suffering…all that destruction…we caused it!”

“I’m sorry you had to see it, Senator,” said Professor Xavier, “but these horrors not entirely on you. Like many others, you were controlled and guided.”

“But we still made it possible! All of it!” the Senator said. “And my death…”

“Was final catalyst,” Kate told them. “After that, there was no turning back. Humans would never trust mutants. Mutants could never trust humans. As a result, only Sentinels and monsters could win.”

Senator Kelly kept gasping in horror, shaking his head in disbelief. Bolivar Trask remained frozen in shock, but less broken by comparison. He kept glancing towards Kate and then towards his console, which included a rendering of Master Mold. In her memories, he saw the part his creation played. It was the complete antithesis of what he’d intended for his creation. Sentinels were supposed to protect humanity. Instead, they doomed it.

His mind racing and his body still reeling, Trask fumed angrily at himself and towards Xavier. In his anguish, he decided to act on this new knowledge.

“No! My creations will not doom humanity!” Trask exclaimed. “I must fix this.”

Despite his wounded leg, he immediately activated the console. He initiated Master Mold’s final configuration, causing a new alarm to sound. However, before he could get too far, Rogue sprang into action and grabbed him by the neck.

“Oh no ya don’t!” Rogue said as she pulled him away.

“Ahhh!” he exclaimed.

As she yanked him away from the console, her hand made brief contact with his bare skin. That allowed her to drain part of his life energy. It also rendered him incapable of fighting back. When she shoved him away from the console and towards Xavier, he fell limply to the floor. He remained conscious, but in a very weakened state.

He still tried to roll over and get up. This time, Senator Kelly took action. In a turn that shocked the X-men as much as Trask, the upset Senator stormed over towards his once trusted associate and kicked him in the head.

“That’s enough, Trask! You’ve fixed enough!” said Senator Kelly.

“Errr! Damn you, Robert!” Trask exclaimed.

The weakened man attempted to get up again. Senator Kelly further dissuaded him by retrieving the gun that Mystique had wielded earlier. It had been originally meant for him. Holding it in his hand gave him a renewed strength, which he then channeled by aiming the gun right at Trask. As soon as the wounded man saw that, he stopped struggling.

“Don’t, Bolivar!” the Senator said angrily. “Or so help me God, I will end you where you stand.”

“Really, Robert?” spat a pained Trask. “You’re siding with them? Mutants over humans?”

Senator Kelly, the gun still in hand, looked back towards Kate and Xavier. They maintained a cautious demeanor. However, they didn’t stop him from what he was doing.

In that moment, they were doing something unexpected, but fitting. They were giving him a choice. They saw the future and their shared role in it. They had already made a significant effort to change that. Now, it was his turn.

“You still don’t get it,” the Senator said, “even after what we just saw.”

“What we saw…was only a possible future,” Trask pointed out. “We can still change it for the better!”

“Or we could make it worse,” he retorted. “You might be willing to take that chance. I’m not. I got behind Project Wideawake to protect humanity’s future. That’s what I’m doing. I just can’t do it without protecting mutants, as well. I see that now.”

That sobering realization brought a sense of relief to Xavier, Kate, and Rogue. Trask continued to fume, scolding Senator Kelly with unbridled hatred. It didn’t matter anymore. Trask’s perspective hadn’t changed, but his role in their future remained in flux. Charles Xavier, seeing the opportunity, wheeled over towards the Senator.

“Thank you, Senator. We intend to safeguard that future, as well. I assure you,” said Xavier.

“Just make sure I don’t regret this,” said Senator Kelly, still pointing the gun at Trask. “There’s going to be plenty of fallout from this.”

“Only if we finish the job,” said Kate. “Saving you was a critical first step, Mr. Senator. The next will require a more creative touch. The fact I’m still here proves the future hasn’t changed enough.”

“So, how do we change it more?” he asked.

Kate turned her attention towards Rogue. She’d stayed close to the conscious Mystique, hovering protectively over her adopted mother. She remained focused too, acknowledging that the job was far from over.

“Rogue, I’m hoping you absorbed enough of Trask to help with that,” said Kate.

“Only as much as Ah had to,” affirmed Rogue. “The guy is smart, but he’s got more hate in him than a wounded hog.”

“That should be enough,” she said confidently. “From here, we can turn off the facility defenses. We should also be able to reprogram Master Mold and the Sentinels before they leave for Stonehenge.”

“Why not just destroy the lot of them?” asked Senator Kelly. “Wouldn’t that be enough?”

“I wish it were, Senator,” Kate sighed, “but the rules of time travel are unforgiving. Too much change will only add to the chaos. For a better future to take hold, we must maintain certain elements of the present. That includes the Sentinels.”

Nodding in affirmation, Rogue cracked her knuckles and went to work on the console that Trask had accessed earlier. Within seconds, the alarms finally stopped and various defenses were deactivated. That meant the rest of the team on the surface could finally get a break. They planned to meet up with them later, but their part was complete. The next part of their plan promised to be just as challenging, but in a very different manner.

“I’m gonna start tweakin’ their programming, like you said,” Rogue told her, “but something tells me that ain’t gonna be enough.”

“You’re already thinking like a time traveler, Rogue,” said Kitty as she stood next to her friend. “Keep preparing the Sentinels for their next mission. I need to make a few personal adjustments to Master Mold…one that includes making a pit stop at Jamaica Bay before they head to Stonehenge.”

“Hope there’s enough time,” said Rogue, already typing faster. “You think the others are still on track?”

“I’m confident they are. I’m also assuming they’ll run into some complications along the way. I just hope they can make it through!”

Sinister’s Lab – Inner Corridors

The battle against the Goblin Queen had entered its most critical stage. The combined might of the X-Men, the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, and SHIELD had hit the main defenses of the secret Celestial facility that had been buried under Stonehenge. They faced significant opposition that included symbiotes, Hand ninjas, goblins, and winged demons from Limbo. Together, Earth’s mightiest heroes, alongside their most prominent mutants, hit hard enough to create an opening.

Storm, Wolverine, Emma Frost, and Captain Marvel were the only ones to make it through that opening. They entered a facility with a very ominous and distinctly alien ambience. Both SHIELD and the Avengers confirmed that it had been constructed with Celestial technology. According to Tony Stark, that technology was on par with magic in terms of its ability.

However, like any technology, it could be shut down or disrupted. That was central to their strategy in thwarting the Goblin Queen.

“This way!” Storm commanded as she led the team through the central hub. “Iron Man reports the lab’s power is just up ahead!”

“Don’t need no fancy tech to figure that,” growled Wolverine. “I can smell the ozone. Whatever’s powering this place, it’s using a lot of juice!”

“Then, pulling the chord should be a top priority,” said Captain Marvel.

“After finding the Goblin Queen, of course,” said Emma Frost strongly.

“Of course,” said Storm.

Emma’s attitude stood in stark contrast to the rest of the team. While Storm approached their efforts tactically, as any competent leader would, Emma kept hers very personal. Taking down the Goblin Queen wasn’t just about preventing her chaos from consuming the world. It was her getting back at her for coming so close to breaking her spirit.

She’d followed along with the rest of the team since the beginning, but had been contemplating her own tactics since before they landed. After making it through the central foyer of the facility, they made their way down a series of sub-levels to what they surmised to be the main research areas. Every wall, ceiling, and barrier was lined with exotic metals and tech. At several points, the metal shifted into defenses and turrets. Captain Marvel and Storm made quick work of them. Wolverine cut through any that tried to appear behind them.

“She ain’t making it easy for us,” said Wolverine after slicing up a stray turret. “Can’t say I’m surprised.”

“You should still be worried,” said Emma.

Wolverine, Storm, and Captain Marvel kept forging ahead, taking out any lingering defenses along the way. While they handled the firepower, Emma conducted a series of telepathic sweeps. The outside of the facility had been heavily shielded against psychic attacks. Inside, it was still a fortress, but the deeper they went, the more she picked up.

‘This psychic shielding is strong…not the strongest I’ve had to pierce, but close. I know that bitch has an active psychic defense system. She’d have to in order to stay hidden for so long. If I can just find the source and shut it down…’

Emma and the rest of the team had just entered the observation deck overlooking the main lab. There was definitely someone down there working on what appeared to be cloning vats. Before anyone could digest that particular horror, Emma picked up on something.

“There! I’ve found it!” she said, her hand still on her temple.

“Found what, Emma? Is it the Goblin Queen?” said Storm as she, Wolverine, and Captain Marvel stopped briefly.

“Like she’d make it that easy,” Emma scoffed. “It’s her psychic defenses. Now that we’re inside, I can lock in on it!”

“Can you shut it down?” Storm asked intently.

“Not from here,” Emma replied. “Whatever it is, it’s not some fancy device or gaudy helmet. It’s different…too different for my tastes. If I can find it and take it out, then that bitch won’t be able to hide!”

The former White Queen was already narrowing her focus on the source. She turned towards a sealed barrier towards the eastern wing of the facility. Wolverine, still following his nose, was looking towards the western wing. That was where the power source likely resided. Sensing there was no dissuading Emma Frost, the X-Leader made a tactical decision.

“Go!” Storm told her. “Carol, go with her. You take down the psychic defenses. We’ll handle the power core.”

“Think that’ll be enough to stop the Goblin Queen completely?” Captain Marvel wondered.

“Not a chance,” Emma said, “but it’ll hinder her ability to control. And trust me. That’ll hurt her!”

Not waiting for subsequent orders, Emma ran towards the sealed barrier to the eastern wing. Captain Marvel went with her. She wasn’t overly fond of dividing their forces, but that didn’t stop her from blasting through the barrier and following the former White Queen’s lead.

The two women disappeared from sight, leaving Storm and Wolverine to charge ahead. Wolverine, now in full hunting mode, snarled in frustration as he sliced through the barrier to the western wing.

“That woman’s got her own agenda. And it might get us killed!” Wolverine said.

“It might also help us,” said Storm. “You heard what Kate Pryde said. This is where her knowledge of the future ends. In her memories, we never made it this far.”

“Which is why we must be bolder!” said Storm strongly. “That means taking a chance on ourselves and others.”

“I trust you to get us far, Ro. But can we really trust Frost to not fuck this up?”

That was not an unreasonable concern. Even as she charged ahead towards the power core, Storm worried about how events would unfold. According to Kate, this was the part of the battle where everything took a turn for the worst. They had just breached the facility. They even found Scott and Jean, albeit in a distressed state. Emma Frost had been part of that effort too. They were poised to make a final push to the Goblin Queen.

That was when she unleashed the Sentinels. That turned the tide of the battle and ensured they never stood a chance. Near as she could tell, the Sentinels hadn’t arrived. That was a good sign that Charles and Kate had succeeded on their end. That was one key change to the future in their favor. It was hardly enough, though. If they were to stand a chance, they had to change more. Emma’s plans might not have been in concert with their own, but her goal was the same.

“She was horrendously wronged by the Goblin Queen. I trust she’s sufficiently motivated,” said Storm.

“That better be enough,” said Wolverine, “because everything I’m smellin’ ain’t sittin’ right. I’m startin’ to pick up on more than just the power levels.”

“Like what?” Storm asked. “Is it something we must fight through?”

“Don’t know yet,” said Wolverine as he sniffed the ground a bit closer, “but whatever it is, it’s close! It’s so close, I swear I can…”

The former living weapon suddenly stopped. In an instant, he went from predatory focus to stunned silence. Whatever he smelled, it was distressing enough to stop him in his tracks. Having fought with Wolverine through many arduous battles, Storm knew more than most it took a lot to affect him this match.

“What is it?” she asked him.

“That smell,” Wolverine said, his voice distant and dazed. “It’s familiar, but…”

His words trailed off. He then ran off in another direction, surprising Storm and further raising her concerns. She suspected the power core was towards the end of this corridor, but Wolverine was no longer going in that direction. She briefly looked towards him and back towards their destination. Going against her better instincts as leader of the X-Men, she chose to pursue her friend and teammate.

“Wait, Logan!” she called out as she went after him. “Tell me what you sense!”

The former living weapon didn’t answer. He just moved faster and with more urgency, making several abrupt turns down winding hallways until he reached a small door. It wasn’t like the other barriers they’d torn through. This one looked no different from an entrance to one of the dormitories back at the Xavier Institute. It wasn’t even locked or fully closed. It stood slightly ajar, which allowed Wolverine to zero in on the scent.

Then, before he stormed in, something hit him. It hit him so hard that he went from being ready to slash through anyone to standing shocked at what his keen sense of smell just told him.

“That’s…impossible!” Wolverine said distantly.

He kicked the door in and entered what appeared to be a dormitory. It didn’t have much, aside from a bed, a sink, and series of overhead lights. What drew attention most was the man sitting on the bed. He wore baggy pants and no shirt, which revealed a large tattoo across his torso. He also bore a complexion that hinted at a very mixed heritage.

He barely reacted at first. His demeanor was apprehensive, but his gaze was vacant and bitter. Wolverine had never seen the man before, but he still recognized him. His scent gave him away.

“You…I know you,” Wolverine said, his claws still drawn as he entered the room. “I don’t remember you, but I know you.”

“You damn well should,” he replied, “but you’re gonna wish you hadn’t.”

The man stood up from bed, clenched his fists, and drew a set of claws. Two came out of his knuckles. One came out of his wrist. The distinct “snikt” sound they made confirmed what Wolverine’s nose already hinted at. It made the former living weapon falter, gasping at the revelation and the implications it conferred.

“Aww shit!” Wolverine said in his stunned state.

“Really? That’s how you greet Daken Akihiro, your long lost son?” the man replied. “Actually, that’s not too far from what I expected.”

“Daken,” Storm repeated, now sharing in the shock, “you’re Logan’s son?”

“I could spend hours trying to convince you, but that would be pointless. We’re cut from the same flesh. Our scent gives us away. Almost as much as our claws, healing factor, and alcohol tolerance.”

It started to sink in. Wolverine was looking at his son. Weapon X had found a way to trick every other sense, but his nose never lied. The scent was just too distinct. Daken was his own flesh and blood. That raised a lot of questions. From the identify of his mother to his age to how he stayed hidden all this time, Wolverine’s mind raced.

Then, there was how he got caught up with the Goblin Queen. That further complicated the situation. For once, Wolverine was at a loss. He had faced many dark shadows of his past, but none like this. His instincts couldn’t guide him. He might have been the best there was at what he did, but he’d never confronted anything like this.

His hands shook, his claws still drawn as he remained conflicted. Daken, however, carried himself with a bittersweet calm. He approached with a mix of anger and dismay, as though every step he took came with regret.

“You actually came. I honestly wish you hadn’t,” he said. “This is not how I imagined our reunion.”

“Daken,” said Storm, stepping out in front of Wolverine, “you must know why we’re here. And if you are Logan’s son, then you may be able to help us.”

“In another life, I would’ve laughed at that. In another life, I would’ve been enraged at someone even suggesting it,” Daken said, his voice becoming more hostile with every step. “For so long, I hated my father with every fiber of my being. Anything other than killing him outright…to retain some semblance of honor…that was just an afterthought.”

“Kill me?” said Wolverine. “Kid, I didn’t even know about you!”

“You could say that about a lot of people you’ve hurt…none of which are your son,” Daken went on, “but that doesn’t matter anymore. Thanks to the Goblin Queen…my hatred, my desires, and my very soul…I might as well be an afterthought! Hrraaahhhh!”

The younger man lashed out towards Wolverine, attacking with a feral howl that perfectly resembled his father. Storm quickly blew him back with a sharp wind gust. He slammed into the wall across the room, hitting with a force that would’ve shattered the spine of most men. For Daken, the son of Wolverine, it barely left any marks.

Having run out of time to process this revelation, Wolverine sprang into action. He charged towards Daken while he was momentarily stunned, tackling him back towards the wall in an effort to subdue him.

“Get back, Storm!” Wolverine shouted. “I’ll handle this. I gotta!”

“Errrr! No, you don’t!” barked Daken.

Before Wolverine could subdue him, Daken shoved his father back hard. He showed unexpected strength, knocking him back so hard that he crashed right into Storm. They each fell to the floor. Storm was momentarily stunned. Wolverine growled angrily towards his wayward son while helping her up.

“Don’t!” said Daken as he angrily approached. “If ever you would do something honorable…do this, father. Leave!”

“Not happening, bub!” said Wolverine without hesitation. “Hate me all you want. I ain’t leaving you!”

“What is honorable about a man leaving his son?” said Storm, still woozy from the fall.

Daken let out more angry growls, urging his father with his feral gaze to just run away and forget about him. That would’ve been much easier. Instead, Wolverine just stood there with Storm leaning on him, looking so stubborn and determined. Daken had hoped his father was the dishonorable monster who left his mother to die just before she birthed him. Instead, he showed real concern for his own flesh and blood.

That was the worst thing he could’ve done.

‘Damn you, Romulus. Damn you, Goblin Queen. Damn this entire fucking world for making me everyone’s pawn.’

His feral growls intensified, his mind and body clashing as the hard truth sank in. Wolverine’s refusal to leave proved that the horrible things that Daken believed about his father weren’t true. That rendered all his hatred misguided and flawed. Even before the Goblin Queen found him, he’d been used by others. He never had a purpose to call his own.

That pathetic realization only enraged him further.

“Errrr! This isn’t how it should’ve been!” Daken yelled. “This was supposed to be my ultimate triumph…the moment I took down my father, the man who left me and my mother to die!”

“Kid, I don’t know who told you that, but it ain’t true!” said Wolverine. “My memory may be shit, but I know a lie when I hear it!”

“It is a lie…meant to manipulate me, my body, and my passions. Every day of my life…used in service to others! Whether it’s the Goblin Queen or my own family, that’s all there ever was to my life! And knowing the truth just pisses me off even more!”

He sounded increasingly unstable. His face started twitching. His hands shook as he narrowed his gaze on Wolverine. He urged him to attack again, but his father continued to show restraint and concern. That made everything worse.

“I needed those lies to be true…if only, in part. You were supposed to be this monster…this beast of a man.”

“I’ve been called that and worse,” Wolverine said.

“But you aren’t! You’re still here…looking at me as though I can be saved!”

“It’s not too late, Daken,” said Storm, offering her support. “We can stop the Goblin Queen. We have a plan!”

He finally stopped himself, pausing just a few steps from where Storm and Wolverine stood. He clenched his fists and fought his own body, struggling to maintain what little control he had. The feral rage within him clashed with the desire instilled by the Goblin Queen. It sent Daken closer to his breaking point.

“That doesn’t matter! None of that matters now!” he cried out with rage and anguish. “I was content to bury myself in this place…to ensure our paths never crossed. That way, we could both die in blissful ignorance.”

“Is that really what you were hoping for?” questioned Wolverine. “Because if you’re my son, you know we ain’t big on ignorance.”

“Don’t remind me!” Daken spat. “My fate is sealed, now. The Goblin Queen is too far along. And I’m of too little use to her. That’s why she left me here. Either I slay you and aid her perverse quest…or you slay me and I die in dishonor.”

He lunged forward towards Wolverine, leading with his claw. He did not employ any skill or cunning. He just blindly attacked. The former living weapon easily dodged it. Storm, having regained her balance, evaded as well. Her eyes started glowing as she kicked up some winds to defend them. However, Wolverine waved her down. He kept Daken focused on him.

“Stand down, Storm. This is between me and him. That’s how it needs to be,” Wolverine told her.

“I understand, Wolverine,” Storm said understandingly.

“So compassionate and kind. I hate you both!” Daken yelled.

His enraged son let out more growls of rage and anguish. It was not unlike the berserker rage that Wolverine often entered in the heat of battle. However, Daken’s attacks were so uncoordinated and sloppy, showing little concern for himself. Wolverine had plenty of chances to counter. Each time he blocked an incoming swipe, he had an opening to end the fight by delivering a lethal blow.

It would’ve been easy. Not long ago, he wouldn’t have hesitated or given it a second thought. This was different. This wasn’t some callous Weapon X thug. This was his son…a son he didn’t know he had, but had somehow been taken by the Goblin Queen. There were any number of ways the former living weapon could’ve stopped him. He chose not to at every turn, exercising a level of restraint he rarely used in a heated battle.

“Do it, Old Man! Do it!” Daken exclaimed as he angrily attacked his father. “Take me down!”

“I’m sorry, sonny boy. That ain’t happening,” said Wolverine, his voice devoid of his usual rage.

Daken tried one last attack. Wolverine just dodged so that Daken charged right past him, running right into the same wall he’d slammed into earlier. He quickly got up to prepare another attack. By then, his father made his choice clear. He withdrew his claws and stepped forward. Storm remained close, as well. Her eyes weren’t glowing anymore. Neither one of them was going to attack.

“It ain’t gonna end like this. I won’t let it,” Wolverine said to him. “We got a chance here to do things different. Let not throw it away!”

Daken, his claws still drawn and his hands still trembling, continued scolding his father with as much hate he could muster. At this point, though, it was hardly enough. Everything that once fueled that hate was gone. The man he once reviled had been a lie. His life, and everything that guided it, had been a lie. He never had any say or control of it at any point.

As that realization sank in, Daken’s rage turned to anguish. Once again, he’d been denied. Knowing that, he had only one course of action.

“That’s not your choice to make, father,” Daken said, “nor is it mine.”

“It does not have to be that way,” said Storm. “Once we defeat the Goblin Queen…”

“You don’t get it!” Daken cried, not letting her finish. “It doesn’t matter anymore. Whether you succeed or her…it’s too late.”

Looking down at his claws, he summoned what remained of his strength. The Goblin Queen’s hold on him was strong. Her perverse desires lingered over him like an unbearable weight. Clenching his fists, he closed his eyes and braced for one last act of defiance.

“That leaves me with one final choice,” Daken said solemnly. “At least, this one is mine to make.”

In one swift motion, defying both his honor and the Goblin Queen’s influence, Daken jammed both sets of claws right into his neck. Blood spurt out immediately. His expression froze and his eyes rolled back, his entire body convulsing as he fell to the floor. Such a ghastly act left both Storm and Wolverine stunned.

“Goddess!” Storm gasped.

“Damn it! No!” Wolverine exclaimed.

They both rushed over to his wounded form, but had to stop a few steps back as more blood gushed out. Storm covered her mouth in horror while Wolverine just stood frozen in place. He’d just found out he had a son and then he just watched him die. Even for his hardened soul, it was a lot.

“Ah hell,” he said. “Why did you do that?”

“He…he said it was his choice to make,” said Storm.

“It’s still a damn stupid choice!”

Getting over his shock quickly, Wolverine approached his son’s bloody body. Storm lingered close, but kept her distance.

“There may still be time!” Wolverine said urgently. “If he can heal like me, then maybe we can…”

Suddenly, the former living weapon stopped mid-sentence. His demeanor shifted and he began sniffing the air around Daken’s limp form. His expression changed and he turned towards Storm. However, he had a very different look in his eye. Instead of horror and dread, it was laden with lust and desire.

“Logan…what’s wrong?” said Storm, confused and feeling a little strange as well.

“Ah shit,” Wolverine groaned. “The kid…he’s giving off pheromones…strong one too.”

“Pheromones?” said Storm. “What kind do you…”

She didn’t get a chance to finish her thought. She could smell it too. It was subtle, but distinct. As Daken bleed out, it became thicker, so much so that it filled the room. Before she or Wolverine could make sense of it, they felt some very noticeable effect.

In Wolverine, it started with heavier breathing, an elevated heart, and a tight feeling in his pants, due to a rapidly-developing boner. It played out similarly for Storm, the main difference being what happened between her legs. She began rubbing her thighs together, a moist heat forming within her loins. She tried hugging herself to stem the feeling, but that only revealed that her nipples had become erect too.

The pheromones had effectively activated their sex drive and amplified it beyond their usual limits. It happened so quickly and intensely that their minds couldn’t keep up with their bodies. In looking at each other, feeling only insatiable lust and burning desire, the implications hit them.

“Oh my…” Storm said, shifting uncomfortably where she stood.

“Yeah, it’s that kind,” said Wolverine, his voice taking on a very lecherous undertone.

As the pheromones hung thick in the air around them, baser instincts took over. Wolverine descended quickly into his more primal state. However, instead of rage, he was consumed by lust and he directed it entirely at Storm. She invited that lust with a simple gaze, one that beckoned that primal creature even more.

“Wolverine…Logan,” she said, her sensual undertone matching his.

Wolverine responded with a light growl and a curt grin. Like man possessed, he pounced on Storm, wrapping her in his powerful arms and crashing his lips against hers. Upon tasting her lips, his gestures intensified. He twirled his tongue with hers while aggressively pawing his way around her womanly body.

Instinct took over for the former weather goddess too. She hungrily kissed back, moaning in ways unbefitting of a weather goddess. She also began pawing away at his upper, listening the skin-tight uniform. Such intense touching furthered their arousal. Wolverine’s boner had created a noticeable bulge in his pants. Storm’s pussy, now flush with arousal, became unbearably moist. She was so aroused that her legs could barely support her.

Wolverine definitely smelled her arousal too with his keen senses. Following more instinct, he grasped her hips and laid her down on the floor. There was a bed nearby, but even that was too far away in their current state. Not caring at all about the hard, dirty floor, they continued kissing and pawing away at one another. Storm even hitched a leg around his waist, grinding her pelvis against this boner. Through this intensifying arousal, they began tearing off each other’s clothes.

“Off! Get it off, Logan!” Storm urged.

Wolverine answered with a lecherous growl as he heeded her words. He recklessly tore off the top part of his uniform, not even bothering to loosen it. As he hovered over her bare-chested and eager, Storm unzipped the top part of her uniform and peeled it off, revealing her black lace bra underneath. The feral man ripped it off before she could even unclasp it, exposing her large mocha-colored breasts.

Upon seeing her fleshy mounts, Wolverine attacked them with his lust. He eagerly grasped each with both hands and buried his face between them, making animalistic noises as he immersed himself in their beauty. Storm, having discarded her top, already forgot about her shredded bra. She was already moaning blissfully at the feeling of his hungry touch.

“Ooh! Logan…such an animal!” she cooed.

That motivated him to fondle her breasts even harder. He quickly discovered that Storm liked having her breasts squeezed a certain way. It got her squealing with delight, her body shuddering with approving joy.

That feeling also motivated Storm to get out of her pants, boots, and panties even faster. She had never undressed with such urgency, wiggling her hips and kicking off her boots to render herself completely naked underneath this primal man. Once free of any clothing, the extent of her arousal became even clearer.

When Wolverine managed to tear himself away from Storm’s breasts long enough, he saw it himself. The sight of a fully naked Ororo Munroe, from her heavenly blue eyes to her shapely curves to her fully engorged pussy, her beauty was truly divine. Even in his primal state, he was so taken.

“Ororo…” Wolverine managed to get out, his every breath radiating lust.

He was so dazed by the spectacle that he barely noticed when Storm went for his pants and undid them, skillfully working around the large bulge. As soon as it popped free, it stood fully erect at her gaze.

“So big and hard,” Storm said as she pushed his pants down his legs. “I must taste it!”

In a complete inversion of their previous state, Storm tackled Wolverine onto the floor, pinning him on his back. She then shifted her body completely so that she was facing his cock while he faced her pussy. Taking full advantage of this perfect 69 position, the former weather goddess eagerly enveloped his manhood between her lips, taking nearly his entire length into her mouth.

That hot feeling around his cock sent Wolverine deeper into his lustful daze. After fully kicking his pants and boots off, he focused all his attention on Storm’s pussy. Her feminine scent was already bombarding his heightened senses. It made him want to taste her as much as she wanted to taste him.

“Mmm…pussy,” Wolverine growled as he tasted her tender folds. “Delicious…divine…pussy!”

Without hesitation or tact, the former living weapon gorged on her womanhood. There was little technique or subtlety. He just plunged his tongue into her moist slit, licking over and around the tender flesh. The taste of her womanly juices were intoxicating. His grunts and growls resembled an animal indulging in his favorite treat. It was quite messy, but Storm didn’t mind in the slightest. She seemed to respond favorably to such a blunt approach to oral sex.

Storm took a similar approach in giving him oral pleasure. She wasn’t tender or careful. She slurped and sucked along his length, her saliva dripping down his hardened shaft with every act. She also squeezed the base with both hands, stroking it at times to make it throb ever time she took in his full length. The usual grace with which she carried herself gave way to woman embracing her most primal desires.

As their thoughts and passions became consumed by lust, Daken’s bloodied body continued twitching erratically. Even with his claws impaled in his head and his face frozen, parts of his body remained active. His healing factor seemed to go into overdrive and that included his pheromone powers. As they mixed with the escalating body heat of Storm and Wolverine, they created a thick musk of pure, undiluted sex.

In this thick ambience, there was no escaping it. These basic desires, and the intoxicating fruits that came with it, dominated every thought and feeling. And it would not cease until it was satisfied.

“Logan…” Storm gasped, still stroking his cock with both hands. “Do me! Ravage me like an animal!”

“Mmm…Ro,” was all he got out, his voice still muffled by her pussy.

Wolverine didn’t waste time with words. He let his actions do the talking and Storm gladly obliged.

Like a determined predator springing into action, he grabbed the naked woman by the hips and lifted her up with ease. Storm instinctively grabbed onto his arms, wrapped her legs around his waist, and held on as he laid her down on the nearby bed. It wasn’t very big or very comfortable, but that didn’t matter. It provided perfect leverage for him to position himself between her legs and align his rigid cock with her pussy.

Then, as they locked eyes, conveying the full extent of their lust, the entranced Wolverine thrust his hips forward and entered the African woman before him.

“Oohhh Goddess!” Storm exclaimed.

Hot sensual sensations followed, coursing through their bodies in a series of surges. The feeling of hard, masculine flesh penetrating moist womanly depths consumed them both. Storm bent her legs back, grasped the thin sheets of the bed, and writhed under the former living weapon’s ravenous sex. Wolverine held her by the thighs, digging his feet in to maximize his leverage as he hammered away.

“Errah! Rah! Rrrraaaa!” he exclaimed.

Wolverine was every bit the animal during sex as he was during battle. With every movement, he rocked Storm’s body and world. She matched his animalistic energy, arching her body and shifting her hips so that each thrust penetrated her depths to the utmost. A hot union of flesh manifested before them, his rigid manhood seamlessly slithering inside her moist pussy. That union further supplemented the thick musk of sex that had surrounded them.

It played out with such fury and passion. It also escalated rapidly as they each pursued a sensual release. The sound of his pelvis smacking with hers, their naked skin colliding at a heated pace, all echoed over a succession of moans and grunts. It was the kind of raw, instinctual sex worthy of animals in heat. Wolverine was a hot-blooded alpha male and Storm was an eager alpha female, their passions reduced to nature at its most powerful.

Such intense, unhindered sex brought them both to the brink of orgasm in short order. Storm already felt it approaching quickly. Like a shallow stream turning into a raging river, it approached like a crashing wave in a monsoon. Given her connection to nature, it was so fitting.

“Ohhh yes! By the Goddesss! I’m coming, Logan! I’m coming!” she exclaimed.

“Hrrr…Storm!” Wolverine gasped.

Hearing him say her name, his lustful eyes still locked on her, she could tell he was close too. She could feel his member throbbing inside her, aching for a release. She still beat him to it. She climaxed first.

“Oohhh Goddess!” Storm cried out as the feeling struck.

It was glorious, hitting her like thunder from within. The former weather goddess grabbed onto his wrists, bent her legs back further, and curled her toes as the orgasmic rush consumed her. Her face contorted with pure joy as she eagerly embraced the pleasure in all its natural glory.

Even in his lustful daze, Wolverine was taken by such beauty. He ended up taking her hands in his, interlocking their fingers, and squeezing it firmly while she climaxed. As her inner muscles tightened around his cock, he crossed that threshold too.

“Hrraahhh!” Wolverine roared.

It was a cry not unlike the one he let out in his berserker rage, but this one had a distinct passion to it. Instead of bloodshed and violence, it brought about ecstasy and passion. Still squeezing Storm’s hands in his, he held on as his release washed over him.

Muscles tensed and his face contorted to the feeling. Thick streams of his seminal fluid shot up into her pussy, mixing with her feminine juices. It converged so perfectly within the heat of the moment, leaving their minds and bodies in a dazed state.

In that state, the thick cloud of pheromones excreted by Daken hung over them. Wolverine could still smell it, along with the many other scents that came with hot sex. Storm clearly smelled it too, her expression still laden with lust and desire. Both the influence of the pheromones and the impact of their sex converged in that moment.

“Logan…” Storm gasped in her daze.

“Ororo…” Logan said, matching the intensity of her tone.

In another manifestation of instinct, Storm shot up and kissed him in a furious venting of passion. Wolverine readily kissed back, wrapping her in her arms again and hungrily feeling up her mocha colored skin. It kept the desire strong, even as the rush from their respective peaks subsided. Between the pheromones and the feelings they’d achieved with one another, the desire remained strong.

That became more apparent when their lips parted and they clung to each other’s naked bodies, breathing heavily as their minds raced in accord with their passions. Even before Storm had fully caught her breath, she leaned in and whispered into Wolverine’s ear.

“My ass,” she said to him.

Wolverine answered only with a lecherous grin. With an eager growl worthy of any alpha male, he grabbed her by the hips and briefly pulled their bodies apart. Their sex separated briefly, his member now dripping with feminine juices while her pussy remained moist with his. In a swift show of strength, he turned around and bent her over the bed so that her perfectly shaped ass faced him. There was no hesitation as the former living weapon, still very much aroused, positioned himself behind her.

Storm grabbed onto the bedsheets again, arching her back and bracing herself for more ravaging. She already felt the tip of his dick rub against her tight hole. Wolverine was still hard, his healing factor allowing his penis to keep up with his desires. Just as before, he was very direct in initiating sex. As soon as he aligned his dick with her ass, he thrust it into her in a hard motion.

A sharp sting followed. Storm let out a sharp gasp at the initial feeling. However, it faded quickly. Still squeezing the bedsheets under her, she adjusted her body and held on as a fresh onslaught of sex followed.

“Oohhh goddess, yes!” Storm cried out. “Give it to me, Logan! Give it to me! I love it!”

Wolverine answered with more lurid growls. Just as before, he approached their sex hard and raw. He thrust into her hard, pumping his member within her tight flesh. This time, he also threw in more intimae touching. He reached around and grasped her swaying breasts, pinching her nipples hard to evoke another gasp. Storm squealed with delight, bucking her hips in accord with every thrust. She even leaning back so she could kiss him again, not caring how messy or unkempt it was. Wolverine didn’t care, either. If anything, he liked it.

As their naked bodies rocked and shook to more sex, the air throughout the room grew hot and thick with sex. It compounded the effects of Daken’s pheromones, which kept emanating from his bloodied body. It was a lurid cycle, the heat of Storm and Wolverine’s sex adding to the tendency of the air. It kept them in their lustful daze, unable to focus on the mission against the Goblin Queen.

“Ro…Storm…need more!” Wolverine growled as he pumped into her faster.

“I want it too! I need it!” Storm exclaimed.

Their minds and bodies were fully locked into this act. Their effort to shut down the power core to the facility was forgotten under the influence of the pheromones. Daken, his claws still buried in his head, had attempted to make one last choice to free himself of the Goblin Queen’s desires.

However, that act might have ultimately ensured her ultimate triumph.

Limbo – Temporal Pits

“Arrggghhh!” exclaimed the pained, but determined Madelyne Pryor. “Damn it, you cretins! Get more ice! This baby…my purpose…he’s coming!”

The Goblin Queen’s pained groans shook the foundation of Limbo and beyond. Dozens of goblin minions scrambled about, gathering blankets, moist cloths, and ice chips to help their queen. One quickly replaced the cloth on her forehead, which was now covered in sweat. Another gave her more ice chips to chew on and two more tried holding her arms. A few even tried holding her hands, but she ended up choking them out. It was a testament to the rigors of childbirth, but none hesitated to aid her.

“Kween! Kween!” they shrieked, scrambling around her as they awaited her fateful deliver.

“Quit running around! Get the damn blankets, already!” Madelyne barked. “I’m going to start pushing and…ahhhhhh!”

Her loud cries got the creatures moving even faster. The Goblin Queen was on the cusp of delivering both her child and her destiny. Lying atop a makeshift bed, surrounded by both her goblin minions and several Sinister Studs wearing facemasks, she was in the last throughs of labor. With her legs propped up and her abdomen swollen, the fruits of her inborn desire was ready to manifest before her.

So far, it proved more arduous than expected. Giving birth in Limbo, even within the skewed timestream of the Temporal Pits, was not at all comfortable. Even with dozens of minions and creatures heeding her every whim, they could only do so much to ease the burden. Ultimately, she had to deliver this child. She had to guide him towards his purpose.

Madelyne knew childbirth would not be easy, but having to rush it certainly added to the strain. The attack on the facility forced her to step up the timetables. That wouldn’t’ change the outcome, but it did require a more strenuous labor.

The contractions were so close and intense. Jackal offered her some drugs to ease the process, but she refused. The Goblin Queen would not cede a shred of control over this pivotal moment. It was a moment she had literally been working towards her entire life. This birth would be entirely natural. That meant a lot more discomfort.

“Errrr! Come on, my child! We’re almost…there! Arrgghhhh!” Madelyne exclaimed.

It was all happening so fast, but not fast enough. Several goblins remained with her at the top of the bed, holding her arms up and wiping the sweat that now covered her face. The rest hovered around the other end the bed, her legs being held apart by a couple of Goblin Studs, acting as stirrups. Several already had blankets and towels waiting. Others held a light around her pelvis where the baby had just started to crown. The rest was on her.

Through the contractions, she pushed and she pushed. Each time, the strain intensified. It became so great that it threatened to shatter her control over this moment. However, she wouldn’t let it. She could feel her child inside her shifting. He was starting to come out. It was a defining moment for both of them, one that promised to impact all of Limbo and beyond.

‘This is it. This is what I was made for…to birth this child…the ultimate mutant. I had no control over that fate. I can only control everything around it. Through effort and struggle…through pleasure and pain…I set everything up on my terms…my desires. Now, at last, I will be fulfilled!’

The final round of contractions hit. The Goblin Queens wails and groans echoed louder. She gritted her teeth as she pushed the restless child into this chaotic world. The creatures around her grew more vigilant, watching as this moment of destiny unfolded.

Finally, she heard it.


It was the most beautiful cry in existence. Her child, the ultimate mutant, had just drawn first breath. He was finally out. Her delivery was complete.

As the newborn wailed, several goblin creatures quickly converged around him, wrapping him in special black blankets. Others came in with small towels to wipe off his head. Then, even as Madelyne’s body reeled from the rigors of childbirth, she reached for her newborn and took him in her arms.

“Yes!” Madelyne exclaimed with both relief and elation. “At last! My purpose…my destiny…my child!”

She continued breathing heavily, her hair disheveled and her face drenched with sweat. The infant in her arms continued wailing in her ear, but she didn’t care. They were the cries of destiny. They were the first tangible manifestation of her fulfilling her purpose. It was a moment of ultimate triumph.

Then, as Madelyne Pryor looked down at her fully newborn, another feeling came over her. However, it was not the feeling she’d hoped.

“I did it. I did…what I was created to do,” she said distantly. “I feel…accomplished. I feel…right. So why do I still feel so…unsatisfied? Why?!”

Up next: Diverging Destiny

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