They came across the black chasm, though they had no idea what lay in wait on the other side. If they had, would they still have come? Would they still have risked so much? They were legendary heroes, one and all, they did not hesitate when it came to risking their lives. But this was different. Here their lives meant nothing. Here it was all eternity on the line. ‘Please… don’t let me have doomed my friends to share my fate. Don’t let me be the man who damned the X-Men’.
There is a BAMF, and Ororo “Storm” Munroe, Bobby “Iceman” Drake, and the newest member of the X-Men, Angelica “Firestar” Jones, find themselves dropped in a strange landscape. ‘What just happened? And ah man, why is it so hot in here?’ Bobby asks. Storm reminds him that the Bamfs pulled them into their machine, which appears to have teleported them somewhere. ‘Somewhere very strange’ she admits. Firestar asks where the other X-Men went, and enquires as to the strange smell. Bobby coughs and asks Storm if she can whip up some wind to clear the smoke out so they can get a look around. ‘And maybe a nice freezing rain while you’re at it? It is insanely hot in here, right? Storm?’ Bobby calls out, but the confused Storm looks at her hands and reports that she cannot - that her powers are gone, as if there is no weather here at all.
‘Um, guys… is that a river of blood?’ Firestar asks. ‘What kind of place has a giant river of blood?’ she wonders, before asking if either of them hear screaming. ‘Goddess help us… I know where we are’ Storm utters. Steam rises from Bobby as he reports that he is melting like crazy, and that he doesn’t think he can stand much more of this. ‘I mean, seriously, is it just me or is this place not as hot as…’ his voice trails off, as the trio of powerful mutants see a sprawling fortress before them, with flames and smoke billowing upwards and a large horde of demons in front of it. ‘Okay, I should not have illegally downloaded all those songs. I see that now’ Bobby jokes. Firestar remarks that this can’t be the Hell, that it has to be some sort of trick by Mysterio or Arcade. ‘Oh, God, I’ve been an X-Man for less than a day and I’m already in Hell’ she gasps. Storm tells Bobby and Firestar to stay close and keep the river at their backs. ‘No matter what happens don’t let them get behind you’.
‘You’re kidding, right? Look at all those things, Ororo. It’s like Black Friday at the world’s weirdest Wal-Mart’ Iceman exclaims. ‘And your powers don’t work, and I’m melting, and Firestar’s about to have a heart attack. We’ve gotta get outta here’ Bobby adds. Storm reminds him that there is nowhere to run, that they have to make their stand together, right here, right now. ‘The Avengers had a nice butler that made us pancakes’ Angelica utters. A large pirate ship floats up behind the X-Men on the river of blood, as Storm tells the others to stand strong and hold nothing back - to fight like they have never fought before. ‘My right eye just melted shy. And I love you guys, just so you know’ Bobby utters, his body indeed melting. ‘Really?’ Firstar asks. ‘Here they come’ Storm points out, as the demon horde growl and start to charge towards the mutants - and rush right on past them. ‘Huh? They’re rushing right past us…?’ Firestar asks, confused, while cannons from the pirate ship blast down into the horde. ‘Where’d that ship come from?’ Bobby asks.
Suddenly, the strange looking pirates onboard the ship teleport via bamf-method down to the ground. ‘Demons and bamfing pirates. All fighting each other. They don’t even notice we’re here. How rude!’ Iceman exclaims, while Firestar asks if they shouldn’t take this opportunity to get the hell out of Hell? But Storm tells the others that this is still their fight - that they wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t. She adds that they must find the rest of the X-Men. ‘Okay, but which of these guys are we even supposed to fight?’ Firestar asks. ‘Death to yer mother, ya bug-faced Hell-scum!’ one of the pirates booms, approaching the demons. ‘Death to the dogs of Azazel!’ a winged demon shouts back. Storm is between the two, and she shoves her elbows into their faces. One of them drops a mace-like weapon, and Storm picks it up. ‘We’re in Hell. We fight them all’ she tells Bobby and Firestar, raising the mace into the air, while Iceman unleashes a beam of ice, and Firestar starts throwing her microwave blasts about.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in the afterlife, a haggard old man lights a cannon on the edge of yet another pirate ship. ‘Be glad you’re already dead, ya stinking harp pluckers! All we’ve come for is your raggedy little souls!’ he shouts out, before calls out to the landing party and instructing them to grab a Bamf and be ready to move. ‘If we don’t come back loaded with booty, Azazel is gonna have our hides! So after the next cannon shot you’ll all go down and…’ his voice trails off when he realizes that something has sped past the cannon and knocked it so that it is now pointing into the ship. ‘Ah hell. And I was having such fun’ the old pirate mutters, before the cannon explodes. At the same time, the X-Man called Northstar a.k.a. Jean-Paul Beaubier flies across the ship, hitting several pirates, he knocks them over. ‘I’ll be honest, guys, I have no idea who you are or even where I am right now. But flying pirates? C’mon, that’s too tempting an offer to pass up’ he tells them, adding that he has dreamed about fighting flying pirates since he was nine.
Northstar is the fastest of the X-Men, and one of the most daring. When the heroes came rushing in, he was no doubt the one who hesitated the least - which makes him the first to realize the true nature of the foe they face. ‘I don’t suppose you’ve got a captain with a hook for a hand, do you? No? Too much to ask?’ Jean-Paul calls out to the pirates as he knocks more of them over. He grabs a sword, and hovering off the ship, fights one of the pirates, telling them that he will make do. ‘They’ve got a captain all right, boy. Captain Jack is the name, but don’t use hooks. Only knives’ a voice calls out, and Northstar starts to despair. ‘They’re all I’ve ever needed. Just ask the ladies of Whitechapel’ Captain Jack remarks, before opening his jacket, energy billows forth, and Northstar is flung backwards.
The landing party grab their Bamfs and are teleported down to the pristine landscape below. ‘Admiral Azazel be needing souls, boys! So let’s fill the hold with all we can grab!’ one of the pirates calls out. They start chasing the people below who wear white robes trimmed with gold. ‘Look at ‘em. Must’a been some boring life these people lived to deserve a forever like this’ one of the pirates remarks, while telling the red-haired woman he is chasing not to worry, as their eternity is about to get a whole lot more exciting. ‘How’s this for excitement, Bub?’ Wolverine a.k.a. Logan asks as he comes between the pirate and the woman. Wolverine is a walking contradiction - a simple man trapped inside an enigma. But right now, his fists smack the pirate over, before he engages more of them in combat, while the red-haired woman watches and smiles. ‘Thank you. You saved my eternal soul. Though I must say… you’re the strangest-looking angel I’ve ever seen’ she tells him.
Wolverine replies that he has been called a lot of things over the years, but that this is his first time being called an angel. He then asks what this place is. ‘You…really don’t know?’ the woman replies, before revealing that they are on the other side of the morning - in the golden fields of Elysium. ‘Where’s that then? Acapulco?’ Wolverine asks as he slashes his way through a pirate. ‘No, my friends, you’re in -’ the woman begins, before a cannonball lands amongst them, sending Wolverine careening through the air. He steadies himself quickly, and looks up at the pirate ship. ‘Damn cannons. I gotta get up to that ship somehow’ he remarks. Suddenly, four Bamfs appear around him, and drop a net over him, then teleport him onto the pirate ship. ‘Must be my lucky day’ Wolverine remarks as he slices the net open with ease, startling some of the red Bamfs.
Northstar has gathered himself, and darts about with the sword, battling pirates, while some pirates set upon Wolverine with their swords. ‘Bamfs. Demon pirates with swords. If I didn’t know better I’d swear this had something to do with -’ Wolverine begins, before Captain Jack appears before him. ‘Nice knives. Mine are bigger’ the ghoul-like captain calls out. ‘Oh yeah, did you meet this guy yet? Sergeant Snikt, meet Captain Stabby Pants’ Northstar jokes. Captain Jack realizes that Wolverine and Northstar aren’t dead yet, and tells them that he can smell the stink of life on them. ‘Well…we’ll see what we can do about that’ he decides. His knives clang against Wolverine’s claws, ‘Nice fresh souls. Azazel will be pleased’ he remarks. ‘Azazel?’ Wolverine asks. ‘That ain’t a name I expected to ever hear again’ Wolverine declares as he slashes towards Captain Jack, who floats backwards. ‘Azazel? That guy is your boss? Seriously?’ Northstar asks, before bursting into a fit of laughter as he hovers upside down in the air.
‘Yes, they all laughed in Hell as well, when he first came raiding. Go see if they’re laughing now’ Captain Jack calls out. He tells the X-Men that if they are lucky, Azazel might transform them like he did to him. ‘I’ll transform ya myself if you hold real still’ Wolverine snarls, before Captain Jack remarks that if they are friends of the blue elf, then he would expect a different sort of fate for them. Wolverine is furious: ‘The blue elf? What do you know about the blue elf?’ he demands. ‘I know he’s dead and gone’ Captain Jack replies, shoving his knife into Wolverine, who falls back onto the pirate ship’s plank. ‘And now my sweet little Mary… so are you’ Captain Jack calls out, as Wolverine backs up further on the plank.
Meantime, along the banks of the River Styx, Iceman looks anguished as he continues to battle in the hot temperature, while Firestar flits about, attacking the demons. Storm finds herself set upon by several demons, as one of them points out that she has no wind down here to fly away on. ‘No lightning bolts to throw around. What good is a weather witch when there isn’t any weather?’ he asks. When she was a girl, the people of the Serengeti worshiped Ororo as a goddess. They were wrong - she was only a young mutant learning to control her powers. It is only now that she has become a goddess. Still holding the mace weapon, Storm finds herself surrounded, so she uses it, smacking one of them in the face so hard that the demon’s eye pops out. She stands up, and calls out ‘Send more demons if you’ve got them! I’ve finished with these!’
Suddenly, Storm gasps ‘No...’ as several red Bamfs appear above her and drop a net on her, then quickly teleport her onto the pirate ship. ‘Well now. Ain’t this here a purty one’ someone calls out. Storm moans as she pounds the mace into the gun-slinging pirate who resembles part demon part cowboy. ‘Heh. Feisty, too. That’s alright. The boss man likes ‘em good and feisty’ the pirate calls out. He grabs Storm by her neck and holds her into the air, ‘Hell, reckon I do too’ he admits before introducing himself as Captain Kid, but tells Storm that she can call him Billy. He tells the other pirates to lift the anchor so they can take these treasures back to Azazel. He calls out to the regulators, telling them to move out.
Down below, Iceman has transformed into a large ice monster, as Firestar alerts him to the fact that the pirates have taken Storm. ‘What?’ Bobby calls out. ‘They’ve got her on that pirate ship! And it’s sailing away! I’m going after them!’ Firestar calls out as she darts by. ‘Angelica, wait!’ Iceman declares. ‘Where you going, firefly?’ a demon asks as several surround her. ‘Yeah, we haven’t show you our fire yet!’ the second declares. Firestar shouts at them and tells them to get off her. ‘Angelica!’ Iceman exclaims, when suddenly, he screams as a demon bites part of his hand. ‘Look at him. The ice cream boy is melting!’ the demon jokes, while another exclaims ‘I wanna eat his face!’ At the same moment, Firestar is closed in upon by the demons.
Back in Elysium, ‘Don’t be alarmed now. Just listen carefully. Whatever happens next…don’t let go. Don’t fall’ a voice calls out. Wolverine hangs onto the edge of the plank. Captain Jack’s knives thrown at the edge of it. ‘Don’t fall, do you hear me, Logan?’ the voice adds. ‘Who said that? Who the hell’s in my head?’ Wolverine snarls. ‘Who I am doesn’t matter for now. I’m just trying to keep you from falling’ the voice explains, adding that in a few moments, Wolverine is going to want to fall. ‘What happens in a few minutes?’ Wolverine asks as he climbs back onto the plank, as Captain Jack stands over him. ‘You figure out where you are’ the voice responds. ‘Then just tell me. Where the hell am I?’ Wolverine asks. ‘Not in Hell…’ the voice tells him. ‘Thank goodness for that, at least’ Wolverine mutters.
But, in Hell, Bobby melts down back to his default size, ‘so this…this is really Hell, huh? I thought it’d be hotter’ he admits. Bobby is the X-Man you want by your side when you need a good laugh - or when Hell needs freezing over, which is what he does, as he unleashes massive amounts of ice, literally freezing Hell - and the demons, too.’Bobby…oh, my God. Look at what you did. This is incredible’ Angelica utters as she walks over to him. ‘I don’t feel so good, Professor. My mouth tastes like yellow snow. May I be excused for a moment?’ Bobby utters, before collapsing in front of a shocked Firestar. She reaches down for him, while alerting him to the fact that the ice is starting to melt. And, the pirate ship continues to float away on the river of blood.
‘Have you figured out where you are yet?’ the voice asks Wolverine. Logan stands his ground against Captain Jack and replies that he is about to walk the plank if they don’t get out of his head and leave him alone. ‘You need to understand what you’re facing here’ the voice explains. ‘You hear voices too. What do yours tell you to do? Mine said to put her heart in the fire’ Captain Jack remarks to Wolverine. ‘Logan, listen to me carefully…’ the voice begins. ‘Listen to who? Who the hell are you?’ Wolverine calls out as his claws clang against Captain Jack’s dagger. ‘Someone who only wants to help. As they helped you many times before’ Charles Xavier declares as he appears in a white robe before Wolverine. ‘Professor X? But…you’re dead’ Wolverine points out. The Professor tells Wolverine to listen to him, informing him that he must find Kurt, that Kurt has gone after his father, but Wolverine must find him before Azazel does. ‘Kurt? Kurt’s dead too. So that means…that means this is…’ Wolverine’s voice trails off as he stands on the edge of the plank. ‘You’re in Heaven, Logan. A place you never thought you’d see. Now whatever you do, don’t -’ the Professor begins, before shouting ‘LOGAN!’ as Wolverine is knocked off the plank by Captain Jack, and he begins to free fall through the air.
In Hell, the demons start to break through the ice. ‘Stay with me, Bobby. I’ll get us out of here’ Firestar assures the unconscious Iceman as she flies across the melting landscape. She is the newest X-Man, the one with the most to prove - but not to someone. The X-Men came across the void when someone needed them. They couldn’t ask for anything more. Storm is unconscious, tied to a mast of the pirate ship in Hell, while Wolverine continues to free fall from Heaven. The pirate ship in Hell slowly emerges from a cave. ‘Now it’s just up to me to see they make it back. With their lives…’ someone thinks to themselves. Perched on some rocks near the cave, a voice calls out ‘That’s one of Azazel’s, all right. Sailing out of Hell. Ripe for the taking’.
In Heaven, Northstar flies downwards at incredible speed to catch up with Wolverine, while Firestar has had to stop flying. Iceman lies at her feet while the demons close in. She holds them back with blasts of microwave energy. ‘And as for me, who cares what happens?’ Either way, I know I’m lost. I’m not the hero in this story. I’m just a dead man without a home. Just a captain in need of a ship’. Kurt “Nightcrawler” Wagner gazes out from the rocks towards the pirate ship floating out of Hell. Several blue Bamfs are with him. ‘All right, boys. Now comes the fun part’ Kurt tells them….