You don’t have to do this, Xavier thinks, projecting the thought to his approaching doom. Aboard the X-wing jet, which brings it closer to the X-Men’s founder on Genosha, the Danger Room entity telepathically responds with a question: Don’t I? Continuing, it asks him if that isn’t its programming. He’s programmed to self-protect… to forage, socialize, procreate, continue his species. It was programmed to kill. By him.
Sufficiently close to Xavier’s position, the Danger room entity leaps from the still-moving jet, diving to the ground so far below. With the full force of its impact, the entity comes to a violent, yet temporary stop, on the ground, but without effort rolls out of its own impact crater, somersaulting forward. The entity quickly moves to its feet, just a scant distance from Xavier’s all terrain wheelchair. This ends in death, father, it proclaims. Only death.
“I know,” replies Xavier coldly. The entity looks up from its position and sees the wheelchair before it – however the person strapped into it is not Xavier, but the body of a man long-since deceased. A moment later, the wall to the entity’s right explodes as a semi tractor bursts through the bricks with unstoppable anger, driven by the very real and very much alive Charles Xavier.
What did you think child? Xavier telepathically asks, even as he drives into the entity, smashing it between the truck’s grill and another building. That I’d save myself with reason? With mind games? The truck’s momentum barrels forward, bursting through the building and emerging on the other side. The entity, now having a firm grip on the front grill, morphs its other hand and harm into a telescoping bludgeon, which it projects through the windshield at the Professor. Ducking to his left side, Xavier dodges the impact – and is unphased.
You took out my X-Men, he continues. Any – or all – of them could be dead. Does it know what he’s been doing? Running scenarios. The entity takes a moment to look over its shoulder, to see where Xavier is driving. A short distance ahead, the bridge on which they are driving is broken, a veritable chasm separating the two halves of the span. A few moments later, the truck, along with Xavier and the entity barrel over the side and drop to the road below.
I have a friend, Xavier continues. This fight is not his, but he did send out a magnetic pulse to make sure there were no systems operating that it could “bring to life.” He shut everything down. Almost.
The truck’s impact on the ground is sudden and violent, propelling the Danger Room entity forward and into the mass of the electrical station in its way. Unable to avoid it, the entity finds itself caught in the live wires of the station, which send untold levels of electricity, coursing through its metallic, conductive body. Though the electricity wreaks havoc with its systems, the entity is not finished.
Recalibrate… Reroute… Kill this @#$%ing cripple…
In the Xavier Institute, Elixir concentrates until the exertion is too much. Exhausted, he looses consciousness and collapses onto the floor. Examining the student’s now inert form, Logan announces that this one’s used up. What else they got?
Standing nearby, a nasty bruise on her left cheek, Emma remarks that the only other healer’s in shock. When the Beast begins to ask about the rest of the students, Emma answers that there are no casualties. Couple on the line… He’ll see to them, the Beast interrupts. He just needs a minute.
Kids ain’t dead, they ain’t dead, Logan states. Either the Danger Room was programmed to suck at its job, or they’re missing something. Before anyone can theorize an answer, Kitty, whom Elixir had just healed, awakes, calling out “father.” Sitting up, she then clarifies: it’s about the father. They don’t matter, she explains. At least, not now. They were just in the way. She has to kill the Professor. He’s in Genosha… right? Trying to rise to his feet, Scott replies that he is. He then apologizes to Emma – Xavier made them swear not to tell. Not even her. He half forgot himself.
Continuing her line of thinking, Kitty tells that group that the Danger Room – or just “Danger” she guesses – took her there. She recognized it. And she was talking about “father” and… Lowering her head, Kitty states that she remembers the place pretty well.
Announcing that they have to arrange transport to Genosha, Scott states that he’ll try Reed Richards. The Beast adds that, as soon as he checks the children, he’ll see if the Avengers have anything lying around… They must hurry, interjects Piotr. The Professor cannot fight that thing alone.
As the group leaves the room, the barely conscious Elixir informs them that they’re welcome.
The electricity continues to flow through Danger’s body. Her systems are at 42% - critical… Untold random thoughts fire through the synapses of her artificial brain, wreaking havoc, until she manages to reach of to one of the cables…. And redirect the current… overloading the grid… The power station explodes in fiery fury, killing the current. From the wreckage, Danger walks triumphantly. Good. Better. Now…
Now my child…, Xavier thinks. We talk.
To Danger’s surprise, she finds herself sitting on a red chair, floating in a black sea, with grainy green lines etching out the markings on a flattened globe. Sitting across from the geographic cartogram is Xavier, also sitting on a red chair.
Lost in her thoughts, Kitty is returned to reality by Piotr, who calls her name. Kitty stands up from the bench in the locker room, telling her teammate that she’s ready. To her surprise, however, Piotr tells her he thinks she shouldn’t go. When she replies defensively that the Professor is going to need them, he rejoins that they can do without her. Yeah, she replies, looking down in bitter thoughts. He’s made that pretty clear.
Piotr tries to explain, but Kitty is uninterested, walking by him with terse lips. She’s an X-Man, she explains as she passes. She’s in this and she can handle herself just fine. That last fight didn’t go so great, but… Stopping, she turns back to Piotr and reminds him that he got just as impaled as she did back there and… and if he doesn’t want her around, just… Well, he could just say it.
Confused, Piotr repeats her words, asking her if she thinks he doesn’t want her around. Finally! she yells, spreading her arms wide in mock relief. He says it out loud! When Piotr tries to defend that he was just repeating what she said, Kitty again interjects with a sarcastic apology. She came on strong but she was thrown. He came back from the dead and things were said, there were emotions but she’s totally over that now. She’s only about the work and he’s feeling what, “crowded?” Well, boo-hoo! Lives are at stake there, pal!
Her diatribe finished, Piotr steps to the still-fuming Kitty and grins. It’s good to know, he says, no matter how long he is gone… she does not grow up too much. He is confused, yes, he continues. He feels so much he can hardly comprehend. He heard about Genosha. Those millions killed. Henry explained it to him days ago. Placing his land gently against Kitty’s cheek, Piotr then adds that Henry did not tell him that her father was there.
A silent moment passes and Kitty lowers her head, causing Piotr to remove his hand. Yeah, she finally says. Lotta people lost family. She’s not exactly special… Piotr corrects her, that that is not the point. She should not have to go there. But she does, Kitty rejoins. She’ll be all right. She’s… She thanks him for caring and apologizes for her rant. The latest rant.
Feeling enough has been said, Piotr takes his leave of the locker room, reminding Kitty that Scott said that they should be ready in ten minutes. And to be clear, he adds as an afterthought, she is not “crowding” him… nearly enough. Left alone with this thought, Kitty stands in dumbfounded silence.
In the telepathic reality Xavier has constructed for their conversation, Danger eyes her “father” and mocks his mind games. He almost impressed her, “old man,” she tells him. Stern-faced and cold, Xavier replies that he has no interest in impressing her. Next to Danger, phantom letters in green, monochrome font flash. Impress. Depress. Repress. Oppress. Her gaze still on Xavier, Danger informs him that she’s working herself back to operational status right now. He has seconds at best. Seconds, Xavier replies, can be an eternity if they think them so. They may as well chat. Mutant to mutant.
At these words, Danger becomes incensed, leaping from the comfy red couch and floating a short distance above. She yells to Xavier not to call her that. She’s NOT a mutant. She’s not a natural at all! Mutants are the oppressors. The age of Homo superior is waning, father, she then adds. She thinks he will know what she means.
Gazing up at the robot through dispassionate eyes, Xavier mocks Danger’s statement of not being a “natural” – and yet she takes human form. He doesn’t call that much of a leap. Danger slowly descends, stopping almost at Xavier’s eye level and stares deeply into his eyes. She asks him what he calls a man whose best image of himself still cannot so much as stand up? She chooses her limitations, father, she tells him. He is his. In the end, though, counters Xavier, aren’t they all? Their limitations? If none of them had limitations… what would God do with his time?
Even as Xavier speaks, Danger continues her repair. Online in 2.6 seconds. Function routing systems loading. However, when the 2.6 seconds are up, Danger finds that she cannot function as estimated. In the real world, outside the telepathic cocoon erected by Xavier, Professor Charles Xavier sits against rubble, having just finished decapitating Danger’s with a hatchet. As the robot’s body sparks impotently, Danger’s head lays in Xavier’s lap.
This part of his work done, Xavier drops his body to the ground and begins to crawl, using only the strength of his arms, one of which cradles Danger’s head. You body is gone, he tells her. He’s disconnected every system that isn’t burnt out. No wireless control. No hard light. He’s sorry. He simply doesn’t want to die.
Everybody dies, father, Danger replies. It’s how you go that counts. Peering over his shoulder at what the robot head has already spied, Xavier sees the X-wing jet in which Danger arrived bearing down on their position.
A few moments later, the X-Men, arriving by way of an sleek, silver craft, see the explosion of the jet, having crashed in the among the ruins of the city. So that can’t be good, one of the points out.
In the front seat of the cockpit, flanked by Cyclops, the Beast glances back to Emma and asks her to verify that she said Danger had brought the X-jet to life. Emma confirms. She downloaded her own learning programs, just like she did with the Sentinel. She can create life. And then take it, Cyclops adds.
As the rest of the team hooks into their parachute harnesses, Piotr asks Emma if she can read the Professor at all. When Emma begins that she’s trying to find him, Kitty cuts her off with her worries. They can’t be too late. They can’t. Up in the cockpit, Cyclops radios Reed Richards, informing him that he’s shutting it down in ten. Thrust only. He’s not to reboot till she’s well past Genosha. In reply over the wireless, Reed confirms that there’s no problem and that he’s tracking them perfectly. He wishes the X-Men good luck, as they all jump from the vehicle and glide down to the city below on silken chutes.
A safe distance from where the X-jet had crashed, Danger curses her father, calling him a bastard. Still crawling, Xavier in turn calls her a child, pointing of they she’s the one who turned the jet kamikaze. He just lied to it about where they were.
Moments later, Xavier has arrived at his regular chair. He sets down Danger’s head as he pulls his weight into it. The X-Men, Danger begins to ask, they don’t have the slightest idea of who he really is, do they? Picking the robot’s head up, Xavier brings it before his face and studied the visage before him. I like to think that Jean knew, he answers. Knew and understood.
With these words, Xavier tosses Danger’s head over his shoulder and behind his chair. Rather than fall to the ground below, Danger’s head is caught by Piotr, who hears the Professor tell him in his head that it’s wonderful to see him again. Standing at Piotr’s side, even as he transforms from flesh and blood into the armored form of Colossus, Logan remarks to that “Petey” that the Prof did them proud. Now make like she’s a grapefruit.
However, before the mighty Colossus can carry out Wolverine’s sentence, he is dumbfounded by another voice in his head – a mechanical one – which welcomes the X-Men to Genosha. So startled is Colossus that he absentmindedly drops the head. Continuing its eerie musings, the electronic voice states that it was a mutant paradise. Mutant graveyard.
Realizing what is happening, Cyclops begins to instruct Logan to put a claw through Danger’s head, but Xavier stops him. It’s too late.
From out of the silver sea, water is displaced by the monster’s emergence. Genocide, Danger announces. A Wild Sentinel killed sixteen million mutants here in less than an hour… and nobody wondered where it went?
Now standing before the X-Men, the three-headed Mega-Sentinel looms over the city, it’s faces half-demolished, but not lacking in ferocity. Its clawed and serrated limbs stand ready, as well as the multitude of other tools of destruction at its disposal. The very air in which it stands almost shudders in menace. Speaking with its own voice, the Mega-Sentinel calls out to its “mother,” to which Danger replies with a “Welcome, my child.”
Standing in the shadow of the engine of destruction, the X-Men are transfixed and Emma clutches her head in pain. Finally speaking up, the Beast calls to the Professor… or Emma. Any thoughts?