BIOGRAPHY - Page 3
The X-Men soon moved to the island of Utopia, with Cyclops leading the team into a more militaristic approach. Due to Dust’s invulnerability when in sand form, she fought alongside the likes of Colossus, Armor and Iceman when dealing with the many threats to the island. She found herself on the front line when battling vampires, Bastion’s Nimrods and Selene’s army of techno-organic zombies. It was the latter attack that caused Dust some personal pain as she lost another friend when Onyxx was killed by her former teammate Wither. [Second Coming, Curse of the Mutants, Necrosha]
When Cyclops and Wolverine went their separate ways due to their differing opinions on leading the X-Men, Sooraya initially went with Wolverine to his new school in Westchester. She soon changed her mind and went back to Utopia to serve under Cyclops, as the Westchester school reminded her of all the friends she had lost there. During an altercation with Exodus, Sooraya teamed up with Rogue, who had gone with Wolverine and explained her decision. She told Rogue that mutants would always have to fight for their lives and that pretending they had any other future was foolish. She had come to accept this reality, which is why she opted for Cyclops’ more aggressive leadership, as it prepared her for the real world, as she saw it. The fact that Rogue had allowed Dust and her team to join in the battle with Exodus proved Sooraya’s point that, when the X-Men’s backs were against the wall, they would always rely on the students to help them, regardless of their age. [X-Men: Regenesis #1, X-Men: Legacy (1st series) #262-263]
Sooraya’s life on Utopia would come to a close when the Phoenix Force returned to Earth. The X-Men and Avengers went to war over how to deal with it, with the X-Men becoming outlaws in the process. All the students on Utopia, including Dust, were “captured” by the Avengers and taken to their own Academy, so that they could not be put in harm’s way during the altercation. Despite being told it was for their own good, Sooraya and the students felt like prisoners and viewed it as the Avengers stopping them from fighting for their existence.
Dust was surprised to find X-23 at the Academy, as she had enrolled there a few weeks before. When they spoke, Sooraya was dismayed to find Laura did not share her viewpoint and wouldn’t commit to choosing a side. After much thought, as well as a fight with Sebastian Shaw, X-23 decided to support the x-students and help them escape the Avengers. Pleased that her friend had picked a side, Sooraya made peace with Laura before teleporting away to join the rest of the X-Men. In the aftermath of the Phoenix event, Utopia was damaged beyond repair and Dust moved to the Westchester school permanently. [Avengers Academy #29-31, Wolverine and the X-Men (1st series) #15]
Sooraya remained at the school for a while but managed to stay out of the X-Men battles, instead focusing on her studies. At some point, she eventually left the school and was absent when the omega-level Nate Grey attacked. A telepathic call was sent out for all mutants to converge on Nate in a bid to stop him, but Dust ignored the call, a decision she would come to regret. During the battle, Nate seemingly killed most of the X-Men, leaving Dust reeling from the loss, as well as feeling guilty for not being there to help in their time of need. Deciding to uphold the X-Men’s ideology, Dust set out on her own to confront hatred and bigotry, a journey that brought her to Worthington Industries. Owned by the presumed-deceased Angel, a mob had gathered outside it to tear down a statue dedicated to the X-Men. Dust firmly stood in her way and used her powers to repel the protestors, who were turning violent.
The arrival of the Champions helped break up the fight, albeit only temporarily. After Sooraya explained her situation, the Champions stood by her side, causing the mob to turn on them too. The protest was broken up unexpectedly when a girl called Kaldera attacked the Champions’ aircraft, causing it to crash. Kaldera was seeking revenge against one of the Champions, Sam Alexander, and she would stop at nothing to kill him. Dust squared up against Kaldera and immediately realized how little her opponent cared for the lives of the innocent people around her. She unleashed a sandstorm, stopping Kaldera in her tracks, long enough for the Champions to talk to the girl. The situation was eventually resolved and afterwards Dust was invited by Viv Vision to tag along with the team. [Uncanny X-Men (5th series) #10, Champions (3rd series) #3-4]
When the dark elf Malekith waged war on the nine realms, Earth became a battleground. Although she wasn’t officially part of the Champions, Dust went along with them as they responded to distress calls from around the world. When she was dealing with some trolls attacking Melbourne, she was shocked to see Cyclops teleport in to help. A younger, time-displaced Cyclops had been a part of the Champions not long before, but the man standing before Sooraya was her adult former leader. Believing him to be dead, she greeted him before immediately apologizing for not answering the X-Men’s call when they fought Nate Grey.
Cyclops had managed to band together the few remaining X-Men once more but, when Sooraya offered to join him, he told her she should stay with the Champions. Ms. Marvel, who was leader of the team, was unsure about Dust but when Cyclops vouched for her she welcomed Sooraya to the team. The combined efforts of Cyclops, Dust and the rest of the Champions helped save many lives, whilst Malekith’s forces were eventually beaten. [Champions (3rd series) #5]
Dust continued to operate with the Champions, fighting off another attack from Kaldera as well as the demonic Blackheart. It was the battle with the latter that affected Dust more, as the demon used his powers to get inside the Champions’ minds and turn them against each other. Unable to control herself, Dust attacked Ms. Marvel and vented her frustration that the other girl hadn’t bothered to try and bond with her, despite them sharing the same faith. Dust and the others eventually came to their senses and attacked Blackheart, putting an end to his manipulations. [Champions (3rd series) #6-10]
In the meantime, the X-Men, whom Sooraya believed had been killed, were actually revealed to be alive, having been transported into a pocket reality. Now that they were back, they set up a new base on the island of Krakoa and all mutants were encouraged to join them. Sooraya travelled to Krakoa and discovered Professor X had devised a way of bringing any dead mutants back to life. All of the friends Sooraya had lost over the years, such as Jay Guthrie, Onyxx and Wolf Cub, were now alive again and living on the island. [House of X #6, New Mutants (4th series) #1]
Dust was pulling double duty, living on Krakoa but also aiding the Champions in their missions. A tragic incident soon led to the government to try to enforce a law that would prohibit underage individuals from operating as heroic teams. Dust and the Champions became outlaws, doing their best to evade capture with little success. Dust had an advantage, though, as the mutant race had effectively had diplomatic immunity, meaning if she got into trouble personally then the mutants of Krakoa would deal with the situation. Thanks to the sophisticated technology Krakoa had at its disposal, Dust and Cyclops were able to discover that one of the fellow Champions, Viv Vision, had sold the team out to the government. [Champions (4th series) #3-4]
The mutant race's numbers were growing larger every day, and the arrival of Arokka, Krakoa's sister island, only added to the expansion. The leaders of the mutant race decided it was time to extend their reach to the stars, and with that they colonised Mars overnight. Whilst they had used many omega-level mutants to make the planet habitable, their rapid terraforming had some unforseen consequences. Sooraya's unique gifts were key in taming the enormous dust storms that were now sweeping Mars. Merging with the dust clouds, she wrestled with them until the came under her control. [Way of X #4]
Dust has grown into a strong and confident woman since joining the X-Men, qualities that the mutant race will need as they expand into the cosmos.