Krakoa, Arbor Magna:
Betrayer! a voice hisses at Charles Xavier. Before he can realize who it is, he breaks out of his cocoon and is welcomed back to life by Emma Frost. She hands him a robe and tells him no rest for the wicked. They need his help - 63 dead, mostly beta and gamma priority. And whereas she is not one for gossip, she cannot help noticing that the children are acting a bit particular.
Several of the resurrected teenagers are talking about an idea they got while coming around. They should hold a party. They agree on calling it Cruciball.
Xavier asks Emma who killed all these people. Ah, Emma sighs.
A little later on Arakko (formerly Mars), David Haller is floating in the air, focusing his telepathy. Xavier is greeted by the Xorn brothers, who flank David. They tell Xavier to keep his brain and hands to himself. They are guarding David while he builds. Builds what? Xavier asks. They don’t know. They don’t think he knows. Can he hear him? Charles asks. Thy assume he can but don’t know if he will listen. From what they can tell, all but a fraction of his psyche is active on the astral plane. The remainder is trying to broadcast. They don’t know to whom. He takes his privacy seriously.
David is trying to reach Nightcrawler telepathically. It’s Onslaught, he sends. He is stronger. David can feel him.
At the same time, Xavier tries to talk to David, telling him he needs to hear a few home truths. This disruptive attitude, it can’t go on. He knows David thinks him cold…
David continues sending that there is a weak spot. Onslaught keeps slithering through minds, leaving a spoor. But there is a core somewhere… an anchor. Is he listening? he sends at the same time, as a frustrated Xavier asks if David is listening.
Kurt is currently busy at the Outcast Gate at the foot of Mount Olympus, trying to keep Lost and Fabian Cortez from killing each other.
David sighs. Is he still pissing about with those two? There are bigger fish to fry…
Lost throws Cortez into the air, shouting he destroyed her life. He throws a knife at her, shouting, he doesn’t care!
Kurt teleports between them to grab the knife and orders them to stop. He brought them together to reconcile, not kill each other.
Cortez drops to the ground. When is he going to get it through in sanctimonious skull: Dying doesn’t matter! They resume their attacks on each other. Of course it &%$& does! Kurt shouts. It has to. Or living doesn’t matter either, he mutters.
Xavier continues his monologue at David, telling him he is unstable. Does he blame David for that? Of course not. But it’s a fact. The damage he has caused. Could cause… Krakoa has to be Xavier’s first priority. “Respect this sacred land,” that’s the law. He can’t stop David from coming back to Earth, but he is asking him not to… it would disappoint him. Exasperated, he groans why he is even bothering. David isn’t listening.
David sends to Kurt that he told him to focus on the Laws. He was wrong. He admits to not being great when it comes to people. Sometimes he treats people like things and then is surprised when they break. He feels compassion and guilt for meddling with Loa and Mercury. Of course, it went to hell. Worst part, that’s his father’s way. Cutting corners and shrugging at the trauma, long as he gets what he wants. They have to be better than that. He asks Kurt to help him be better than that. He doesn’t feel, not the way Kurt does - he is one of the kindly ones. He orders him to stop bloody thinking and start bloody acting.
Enough! Kurt shouts and drags Cortez and Lost away. He teleports them high into the sky and then drops them. He then teleports after them in short jumps, telling them they are ten kilometers above Mars and falling to their deaths. Lost’s gravity powers will slow her descent and that of everyone else she chooses but… but Cortez switched off her powers. An impasse, Kurt states, they are thinking it doesn’t matter. They will get resurrected anyway, but he is a member of the Quiet Council and he is sick to his heart of what is happening to his people. There are millions awaiting the gift of life they think so meaningless and he will see to it that Cortez will go to the back of the queue.
Cortez sputters that he can’t do that. Kurt shouts “respect this sacred land” doesn’t refer to a spot of dirt. They are the sacred land. When you diminish other mutants… harm them without consent you are breaking the law and Nightcrawler. Will. Judge.
Cortez finally admits to Lost that he is twisted up inside. He needs help. A start, Kurt remarks and asks Lost to tell Cortez what his actions have cost her.
Lost stammers that, when her parents died, she was taken in by an organization that did things to her…
No! Onslaught sends taking over them both. No telling tales! he orders. Kurt protests horrified as Cortez boosts Lost’s power too far. When he has boosted her to death, he protests this isn’t him doing it. The horrible consequences soon become clear as Lost’s power has caused Phobos to fall towards Mars.
SWORD alerts everyone on Mars / Arakko - They have ten minutes to get off-planet. After that they are dead! Time enough for the Krakoans present to use the gates. While help is offered to the Arakki they are decidedly unimpressed by the danger.
A crying Charles Xavier touches Legion’s face, as he mutters “my poor boy. I’m so sorry.”
Still in trance, Legion informs Nightcrawler he has caught a glimpse from his father’s mind. He’ll oppose David’s resurrection, if he dies here. Another tick on the ‘get therapy’ chart. But it’s worse than that. The shadow is in Xavier too. Onslaught gets into them during resurrection. He thinks Onslaught is eating the offcuts. The wee bits of lost life… lost experience… between when you get recorded and when you die. He eats those parts and leaves part of himself to fill the gap.
“Cheese toastie,” Kurt, now on the ground with Cortez, mutters recalling, Pixie’s forgotten food craving before her first death and resurrection.
A hysterical Cortez shouts at him to stop muttering and get him to a gate. He can’t leave him here. That’s murder! No, Kurt replies. What’s murder is leaving those people to die. Cortez snaps, it’s a */&%ing moon. He can’t preach it back into orbit. Kurt orders Cortez to boost him as far as he can. Understanding, Cortez calls him insane. He whines it will go wrong and he will kill them. Then they all will say Cortez killed that woman put him into the Pit. It’s not fair! All he wanted was for people to think he was important or *§$% like him. Is that so wrong?
Kurt interrupts his rant. How can he hope for the love of his people when he so plainly despises himself? Fabian breaks off and looks down. Respect this sacred land, he whispers and boosts Nightcrawler.
As Kurt gets overloaded with energy, he mutters that he can now see how they win. He sees how they flourish. The path, the way. But he won’t remember it. He orders Cortez to get to safety and remember what he told him. When he is brought back, it is up to Fabian to remind him. Does he understand? He of all the people will be the messenger! He need say only one thing to him. The rest he will put together. The Spark. That is what he must tell him when he has walked though death. The unseen spark in all things!
Cortez, Xavier and Dust head for the Krakoan gate.
Kurt teleports to Phobos and teleports away with the moon, dying on it.
He did it, Cortez mutters reverently.
Kurt awakes from darkness, with Xavier informing him he died by his own hand. He is horrified to hear he committed a sin but Lost quickly assures him he saved millions of lives. He is confused to see her well. He tries to remember. He wanted to bring her and Cortez together… restorative justice. He was thinking about the three laws and… What happened next? Where is Cortez?
That’s where things get a little complicated, Xavier replies and asks him to follow him to the Healing Gardens, where Cortez lies catatonic. Xavier opines that all that effort switched his brain off. They tried everything they can think of. Healer suggests to euthanize and resurrect him. It would be the simplest option.
Xavier reminds them that Cortez was fired from his post and he seems to be partially responsible for the disaster on Mars. They can’t prioritize the disruptive elements. Not with so many other names on the list. He sighs. It is an overused axiom, but you can’t save them all.
And unseen, Onslaught walks among them…