Wednesday, March 02, 2005

X-Men #8 - Loss of Honor Part 2 of 2

X-Men #8

Written By Karl V.

Co-Plotted with Dave C.

She has control of her powers. Finally.

You and her can be together as you planned...physically...mentally...spiritually...

Screw the white picket fence, you know want the bayou to be your borders.

With her along your side, you finally manage to join the Assassins and Thieves Guild.

Then you realize, much like Charles Xavier's vision...

It is nothing but a dream. You realize too late that you've been duped by some mutant with mental powers giving you such a real vivid fantasy that you get caught up in it's splendor. You see a large fist streaking towards you...the only thing you can do is relax and pray that your body doesn't break from the brunt force of the blow.

"Good night Gracie." The so aptly named Impact, strong man of the supposed villainous NeoKnights team, swiped his hands as to indicate the cleansing of something foul from his person. His hands shrank back to their normal size and density, as he spoke.

"I helped you prick." The terse tone of Rapture's voice chastised the man to make him remember exactly who put the French Quarter mutant in the vivid dreaming state.

"So, does that mean you going pay up?" He responded with a lurid gaze at the skintight black and red costume that accentuated each of Rapture's curves.

"Shut up, and let's concentrate on getting our butts out of here before these big leaguers decide to hold a grudge." She started to head for the nearest exit when stopped by one of the X-men.

"It's a bit late for that one." The short but feral mutant with a tattered yellow and black costume growled at the pair. The fall of the Weapon X program, the little man with one eye getting out of the way of your unrequited love, the...

"That's quite enough of the little fantasy world darling." Wolverine quickly shook off the effects of the dream state, but did not have an opportunity to try to attack the woman responsible. Instead, he had to dodge a huge fist barreling toward him.

"I'll do you the favor and send you to la la land without the sweet dreams!" Impact roared. Rapture set herself up for another attempt on the X-Man to make him go into the dream state, but she knew the effect might be even briefer than the first. She knew the pompous Impact would be beaten once he let his fists go down in size. She looked across the room to find two women in a struggle for supremacy.

"Look Sugar, I don't want to have to hurt you. But, I'll take the gloves off if I have to." Rogue warned the green-garbed woman.

"I tire of your pathetic threats." Hela retorted.

Rogue took off her gloves and tossed them to the ground. "Oh this ain’t any threat sugar."

As Rogue stepped forward, Rapture jumped by Hela's side. "Dream!"

Unknown to Rapture, Rogue's mind was a myriad of other personalities that were forcibly transplanted into her mind. As Rapture's power accessed the jumbled mess, Rogue's mind could not help the overflow of several fanciful visions. Rogue's face expressed the torment of the pain caused by the attack rather than the blissful euphoria. Rapture watched as Rogue slumped to the ground.

"Did I?" She stammered and prayed the worst had not happened.

"She'll live." Hela turned around to see Impact lying on the floor.

"Well, I need your godly help to defeat him." Rapture pointed to Wolverine who all ready defeated Impact and Dynamo.

"I tire of this squabble. And, I do not like the fact that we were herded here by some mere speck who thinks they control our very moves."

"You're afraid, aren't you? For the first time in your life, you know you can be actually hurt in that human body." Rapture hoped that would push the Goddess' arrogant pride to the limits.

Hela sneered at Rapture. "I am not afraid. This is a ruse, a veritable charade. I only came so I could seek Moonstar's presence amongst the X-Men. I only fought to learn the limitations of this host body, and now that is done I have no need to remain."

Wolverine growled as he ran toward Hela pointed his bone claws directly at her. "Lady, I'll give you a need."

Hela smirked for a moment and twirled her Death Rake much like a baton. "Perhaps you will be more of a challenge than the others."

Wolverine roared and leaped at Hela, as she twisted away from the fury of his swiping claws. She parried with lightning speed. Wolverine howled in pain as the middle rake spoke ran right up his left arm. Hela furthered her opportunity with another strike straight to the chest of the mutant. A wide three stroke deep gash began to bleed into what little remained of Wolverine's upper half of his costume. Rapture quickly ran over by Impact's location to attempt to induce consciousness in her other teammates so they could quickly have the upper hand.

"Wake up." She smacked Impact in the face as hard as she could. Impact stirred as she promptly went over and shook Dynamo and Circuit Breaker as though one would shake a person to wake them up from a deep slumber. As the two finally began to move, she checked the status of the fight between Hela and Wolverine. All though they seemed equally matched in speed and endurance, Wolverine was scoring more hits by sheer experience. Rapture was quickly prompted by a horrid vision of bone claws sticking in her gut to redouble her efforts on getting her teammates back up.


She came to an almost empty house. Ororo Munroe was asked by Cable to personally ask Cecelia Reyes to be part of his army of Twelve. Of course, that was not the complete reason for the visit. In her mind, Ororo knew that this was more of a test than an actual visit. The test was which commitment was stronger: the one to the X-Men's or the one to Cable. She quietly closed the door behind her as she walked her way to the Cerebro's chamber. She naturally tiptoed through the house and remained quieter than a pin dropping on the floor as she proceeded her way down to the main entrance to Cerebro. As soon as she reached the door, it opened to reveal a distressed Professor Xavier.

"Ororo, how can I help you?" The Professor seemed a little irritated at the interruption.

"Charles, I came to ask Cecelia to be part of Cable's Twelve." Her voice was clear and respectful. "But, I see that she has all ready left."

"She has gone away on a mission." The Professor wheeled past Ororo. "Please, follow me."

Ororo did not argue but instinctively followed the Professor's orders as though she never truly left. "What is it Charles?"

"There is someone else wishing to pay us a visit. But, I am getting some...interference." He simply stated.

"What could possibly interfere with your powers?" Ororo seemed perplexed.

Charles continued. "Perhaps interference is not the best word. It's more like someone has purposely dampened my abilities so I could not read their thoughts."

"Who would do such a thing?" Ororo prepared for any type of attack.

"That is exactly what we are going to find out." Charles stopped his hover chair short of the connecting hallway to the house and the tunnel leading to the lower levels of the X-Men's base. He quickly switched over to the wheelchair that was close to the main door at the end of the hallway. Ororo walked beside Charles as they made their way to the front door of the house. As soon as they reached the door, a loud rapping sound echoed through the house. Charles promptly opened the door, and upon recognition of the man's face he gave a stern look.

"Addison?" Charles gave a look of surprise and dismay at the man at the doorway.

The tall dirty blonde haired fellow wore a strapping three-piece suit and grimaced at his name.

"Charles, what the hell is going on? I was just fired for something you did over a year ago!"

For a moment, his statement perplexed the professor. Then, the Professor remembered something.

"Please Addison, let me explain."

"I hope it's a good explanation Charles. You came to my school and asked me to be part of your new dream. For a moment, I thought I might take you up on the offer. When I rescinded, you offered me a means to be two places at once. You stated that you had alien technology, which could replicate my powers and my body in a solid holographic form. That way I could remain at my school while you used that program for emergencies."

"Charles, is this Cerebro's creation?" Ororo stood prepared to use her elemental powers on the man.

Charles shook his head. "No, Ororo. He is the true Addison Falk. Cerebro augmented the holographic duplicate with further powers to more closely resemble the X-Men."

"How can we be so sure?"

"For one, he does not have the power of the Phoenix force...or any such similar levitation skills." The Professor hinted at Ororo. With the wisps of many winds, Addison was promptly lifted up in the air.

"Charles, what the hell are you doing? You know very well I can't fly!" Addison attempted to bark over the winds which stole his voice. Charles gave a slight nod, as Ororo stopped the winds. Addison promptly landed on his face.

"Damn it." He quickly got up as he began to use his powers on Ororo as well. Enough. A voice rang in Addison's head. As I stated, I will explain but you must be patient and allow me to do so. Otherwise, I will be forced to make you understand.

Addison instantly stopped the use of his dampening power. "Fine."

"I will deliver your message to Cecelia, Storm. Your duties to Cable and the Twelve will supercede those with the X-Men for now."

"Thank you Charles, but I do not need you making the choice for me. I will always be an X-Man at heart no matter where I go."

Charles simply smiled. "Good luck."

As Storm departed, Charles gave Addison a extremely dark look. "Now, on to the matters at hand."

Addison felt his anger replaced by a sudden sinking feeling that he was the pupil in the principle's office.


Bobby began to regain his full vision after a minute. He found himself hugging Cecelia close to his side, as the Doctor promptly shoved him away.

"What the heck happened?" She queried while attempting to shake loose the after effects of the euphoric mind spell cast on her by Rapture.

"That gal zapped us with her power...and...we're in trouble..." Bobby stated as he saw the three teammates of Hela's began walking toward them.

Cecelia instinctively created her shield around her body. "Here we go again."

"I don't get it. They're a bunch of rookies, how could we have slipped so badly."

"I don't care!" Cecelia yelled at the top of her lungs. "Just do something!"

Bobby was perplexed at the audacity of it all. The X-Men had been through several emotional loops before and fought villains off without a hitch. Well, maybe a few hitches but he couldn't remember any situation where the X-Men were losing to a rookie team of villains. Bobby heard a grunt from Cecelia as she grabbed her head.

"The damn dream gave me a headache. It's not helping to keep my concentration."

Bobby fondly remembered the image of her eating ice cream too fast. "Well, at least it's not as bad as that vanilla headache you had." Divine inspiration hit Bobby with an idea.

"What is it?" Cecelia looked at the X-Man as he turned into a transparent humanoid ice form.

He smiled at the Doctor. "I'm gonna give them one heck of a brain freeze." With the a brilliant display he whipped up his infamous slide, Bobby swerved in between the trio much like a driver swerving between the cones to pass a test.

As they could only watch and attempt to think upon what the Iceman was doing each grabbed their head in an apparent pain and slumped over onto each other like falling dominoes.

The Doctor clapped in sarcastic appreciation as Bobby bowed at the applause.

She snorted at his ego, all though actually secretly admired his true skill with his mutant powers.

"Get over yourself Drake."

A weary thief startled the pair from behind.

"That was one cool reception you gave them Bobby.

Made their blood slow as molasses, no?"

Iceman smirked in all knowing confirmation, while Cecelia wished for the briefest instant that she had been dreaming again.

Meanwhile, Hela was beginning to tire of the repetitious healing of her host's body due to the attacks by Wolverine. "I grow weary of this. I have had enough!"

With one major swipe, Hela missed Wolverine. But, he didn't dodge completely as the Death Rake broke one of his protruding bone claws off. As he heard the bone crack, his feral rage disappeared into something else. An overwhelming sense of uselessness flooded his thoughts for the briefest of moments, enough to provide Hela an opportunity to exit without further harm. Wolverine stood and looked blankly at the piece of bone lying on the floor and could not help but contemplate the thought of his attempt to fight giant robots if he could not even stand up a regular mutant like himself.

"Logan." A ragged voice called out for assistance.

His thoughts were instantly swept away to a more important matter of tending to his fallen teammate. "Easy Jean, I'll be right there."

"What happened? Is everyone okay?" She asked as she was assisted to her feet.

Logan was unsure of everyone's status. "We'll find out real quick." Logan turned and caught a quick glimpse of a recovering Gambit. "Cajun checks out."

"I see Iceman and the Doctor next to him." Jean noticed the pair rather close to each other, but both waited a moment before they waved at Jean to signal they were okay. Wolverine walked over to Rogue, who had labored breathing.

"She doesn't look too good." He shouted over to Jean.

With out even a word, Cecelia raced over to her location. She immediately wrapped a piece of loose cloth around her fingers and checked her pulse. "I don't know what's going on...She's babbling like she has multiple personalities."

"It's because she does. But, not the manner that your thinking Doc." Wolverine stated.

"Well, what manner is it?"

"Her absorbing powers are just that. They absorb everything including personalities."

As Gambit managed to make his way over to Rogue's side, she began to awaken. "I swear she should have never tried to absorb that Prime Sentinel. Now, look at the mess she got herself into."

"Enough!" Jean stepped in between the Logan and Gambit before matters got worse. "We have to figure out what to do with these mutants and the Prime Sentinel."

I'm afraid that you must do nothing. A voice interrupted all of the X-Men's thoughts on the situation.

My X-Men, it seems that we have made a grievous error. And, Bobby's tape has proof that the woman did not kill the soldier. Rather, it was an elaborate ruse by some unknown source. Return home, my X-Men. There has been enough honor lost for today.

"I heard what you said Remy." The garbled words of the recovering Rogue confirmed the Professor's words. "And, I ain't taking it no more. You have to remember you actually betrayed us, but I have yet to do the same. And, you still accusing me of something I might do. But, I guess you’re right. Look at me. I tried to absorb a Prime Sentinel knowing full well what it might do. I can’t be trusted anymore. Not by you, not by anyone."


"I’m just like you Remy. A bad seed waiting to sprout and betray anyone at a moments notice because I absorbed part of a Prime Sentinel personality. When is my mutant massacre going to be? When will someone tap that jumbled mess inside and use that Sentinel mentality against the X-Men? I’ll never know, but I’m not waiting for the leaves to fall off the branch."

"You don’t mean any of this." Gambit denied what was coming from Rogue’s bitter words, and stepped toward her in an attempt to console her. As Rogue pushed herself up and away from the approaching Gambit, she gave Wolverine an apologetic yet thankful look.

He only gave her a slight nod. "It's okay kid. Clear up that head of yours and come back when you can."

The X-Men watched helplessly as Rogue departed from their sight. Wolverine turned to Gambit, but Jean interceded once more.

"Enough, now is not the time. It is time we went home."

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