X-Force (1st series) #100

Issue Date: 
March 2000
Story Title: 
Dark Cathedral

John Francis Moore (writer), Jim Cheung & Chris Renaud (pencilers), Mark Morales, John Czop, Scott Koblish, Rich Perrotta (inkers), Marie Javins & Wilson Ramos (colorists), Chris Eliopoulos (letterer), Lysa Kraiger (assistant editor), Jason Liebig (editor), Bob Harras (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

X-Force are confused by the appearance of four versions of Moonstar, before being confronted by the Queen of the Star Swords who is going to transform the world into her own version of perfect. SHIELD attacks her, but she quickly deals with them. X-Force confront the four versions of their teammate, before the Queen and the Moonstars vanish, and the real Moonstar appears, dazed, but otherwise fine - except for the fact that she has lost both her quantum powers and psionic powers. A massive cathedral then appears on Treasure Island, and they realize just how powerful the Queen is. X-Force, and Risque, return to their headquarters, where Moonstar gives them a run-down of what happened to her and Arcadia when the Demon Bear swallowed them, while Arcadia has taken on the persona of the Queen, while her real self is suppressed. Domino is suspicious of Risque, who explains that she is here at Sledge’s request. Ulysses Dragonblood transports X-Force to the cathedral, and Moonstar opens a portal so they can enter it - only to find themselves separated. Jennifer Kale has learned of what is transpiring and makes her way to the cathedral. Moonstar is reunited with Mary Weather, the doll, before being attacked by Fenwick the Dragon as she realizes that the cathedral is a portal to countless alternate realities. She runs from Fenwick, who attacks her, only for Cable to suddenly arrive, he takes down Fenwick, who actually is Ulysses Dragonblood somehow transformed. The rest of X-Force are split into groups and they make their way through carious alternate realities - Proudstar and Risque find themselves in a reality where Cable and Cannonball were killed by Stryfe and the MLF, and Copycat and Deadpool are members of X-Force. Domino and Bedlam are in a world where Belasco has taken over the world, and the X-Men are made up of surviving New Mutants. Cannonball and Meltdown find themselves in a timeline where X-Force are all inmates in the Wiesmann Institute. Finally, Moonstar, Cable and Dragonblood enter a world where X-Force work for the Queen of the Star Swords. Soon, three of the alternate Moonstars appear, as servants for the Queen, they battle Cannonball and Meltdown, and in the process, inadvertently reunite the members of X-Force. Moonstar absorbs the energies of the three alternate selves back into her, and confronts the Queen, trying to reach out to Arcadia. Worlds begin to merge as X-Force are forced to fight off countless alternate versions of themselves. The fourth alternate Moonstar - the cosmic one - is found by Jennifer Kale and the Man-Thing, and she learns what she must do - she jumps into the middle of the battle between Dani and Arcadia, adding her strength to Moonstar. Moonstar uses Cable’s psimitar to finish off the Queen, and Arcadia is reverted to her true form. Moonstar receives instruction from the Man-Thing on how to destroy the cathedral, and with her cosmic power returned, does so. The escape the cathedral - except for Cable, who must return to his true reality. With X-Force safe, Moonstar declares that it is time they continued to change the world, on their terms, while Meltdown asks if they returned to the right world. Meanwhile, Sunspot stalks the girl who now possesses Juliana Sandoval’s soul inside her. The girl is troubled, and when they bump into each other, Sunspot decides to let her be. Siryn’s aunt returns home to find the place a wreck - and Siryn mysteriously speaking. Siryn leaves her aunt and takes flight, the mysterious necklace having something to do with it, her possessor decides that she likes this body and will keep it for a while.

Full Summary: 

San Francisco. The city’s famous Market Street is in rubble - the aftermath of the rampage and death throes of the Demon Bear - a nightmare behemoth feeding on the unusual powers of two young women, Danielle Moonstar and Arcadia DeVille. Now the ursine monster has been vanquished, returned to the dark recesses of the subconscious from which it was spawned. In its place, however, a new mystery has emerged on this battle-torn street - four versions of Danielle Moonstar - the original New Mutants version, the Asgardian version, the Mutant Liberation Front version and the current cosmically powered version.

Naturally, the members of the young mutant hero team known as X-Force are confused by the four versions of their teammate, standing before them. ‘I had a dream like this once - only with Halle Berry!’ Jesse “Bedlam” Aaronson remarks. Sam Guthrie a.k.a. Cannonball alerts everyone to the Moonstars’ eyes, pointing out that they appear to be in some kind of trance like they are under a spell. Tabitha Smith a.k.a. Meltdown remarks that Dani has been through a lot of changes since she has known her, but that she has never given Jamie Madrox competition. Domino asks where Arcadia is, as she was with Dani when the bear exploded.

‘Every time I think it can’t possibly get any weirder, it does’ Bedlam mutters, when suddenly, someone exclaims ‘Wait! There’s someone else behind them!’. Indeed, a figure emerges from the smoke, ‘Bow down, children - for you stand in the august presence of the Queen of the Star Swords!’ a woman clad in extravagant golden armor exclaims as she hovers over the Moonstars. ‘Soon you shall witness the transformation of this imperfect world into a kingdom of wonder and awe - and woe to any who dare interfere with our glorious work!’ she booms, several swords floating around her.

On the streets below, the team of SHIELD agents deployed to deal with the Demon Bear now scramble to the Queen’s presence. ‘The players have changed, people, but we’re still on the clock! We will contain and neutralize this so-called Queen and her entourage!’ the commanding officer announces. But the Queen of the Star Swords isn’t happy with that: ‘You dare attack the Queen? Then you shall be made an example for all to see!’ the Queen declares ‘Those who swear fealty to us will be given great rewards in the new world. Those who resist and rebel will only find oblivion!’. At her telepathic command, the Queen’s star swords rain down upon the SHIELD agents. Their blades pierce their targets not with sharpened metal but rather with transdimensional energy - painfully trapping the soldiers in a limbo between this world and another.

‘What did she do to those grunts? They’re sparking and sizzling like the Fourth of July!’ Meltdown exclaims. ‘Do we have battle armor for situations like this? We should have battle armor. I bet the Avengers have battle armor’ Bedlam mutters, while Domino declares that their first priority should be finding out what happened to Danielle. Sam agrees, and tells Bedlam and Meltdown to see if they can corral the four Moonstars, while Domino is to to get some medics out here for the SHIELD teams. ‘In the meantime, Ah’m gonna talk to the Queen. Ah’m pretty sure that we have a history’.

Sam blasts towards the Queen of the Star Swords: ‘Arcadia, is that you in there?’ he calls out. ‘The Arcadia DeVille you knew no longer exists. We are the Queen of the Star Swords’ comes the reply. ‘Ah really don’t care what you want to call yourself - all that matters t’me is that you reverse whatever it was you did to Dani!’ Sam is struck by a blast of energy, and is told that the Moonstars are not of his world. ‘And they sere our royal self without question!’ the Queen declares. The force field that protects Sam from physical injury cannot stop the psionic arrow fired from the bow of the MLF Moonstar - Sam momentarily blacks out from the neurological shock and falls to the ground.

Meltdown approaches the New Mutants, Asgardian and current Moonstars and remarks Dani - and by Dani, I mean any or all of you - we’ve been friends for a long time. Please don’t make me hurt you. Please. No answer? Okay, I warned you’. Before Meltdown can act, the cosmic-powered Moonstar defuses the volatile plasma sphere by transmuting it into harmless gas. At the same time, the New Mutants Moonstar - Mirage - confronts Jesse with a vision of his deepest fear - the complete loss of his sanity, while finally, the Valkyrie Moonstar brings Domino to her knees with a prescient vision of her own death.

‘Our royal guard has made our point. If you interfere with us again, the consequences will be far more severe!’ the Queen exclaims. ’Now to me, my loyal servants. We have much to do to begin the grand transformation!’. ‘Stop - you can’t take DanI -’ Sam, who has regained consciousness, calls out - but too late, as the Queen of the Star Swords declares ‘We have the power to make real anything we desire. The wisdom of all our actions shall be made clear enough soon. Farewell’. And with that, she vanishes with the four versions of Moonstar.

Sam, Tabitha, Domino and Bedlam regroup, as Tabitha exclaims that she has seen enough Jekyll and Hyde personality shifts to accept Arcadia’s transformation into the Queen. Tabitha adds that she doesn’t understand what happened to Dani, as the math just isn’t working for her. Sam remarks that the Queen said something about the four Moonstars not being from this world, which makes him wonder where their own Dani might be. ‘Closer than you think’ Bedlam remarks as he motions to where James Proudstar, and his companion Risque have arrived with a slightly weary Danielle Moonstar. James tells his teammates that he is sorry he wasn’t here sooner, but he and Risque found Dani wandering shell-shocked through the crowd after the Demon Bear exploded.

James points out that Danielle is in bad shape, while Risque declares that they should get Moonstar to a hospital. But Dani replies that they have to stop the Queen. Sam asks Dani what the Queen did to her, to which Dani replies that she isn’t sure. ‘All I can tell you is I’ve lost my power - all of it - the quantum energy and my psionic abilities. I’m helpless! She exclaims. Bedlam informs Moonstar that the Queen is gone and did not leave a forwarding address. Danielle replies that she knows what the Queen intends to do, revealing that she is still linked, in a way she doesn’t understand, to Arcadia, even though she thinks the Queen is trying to shut her out.

Sam asks Dani if she is saying that the Queen and Arcadia are two separate personalities existing simultaneously, but before Moonstar can respond, Meltdown exclaims that they can worry about Arcadia’s psychological profile later - ‘LOOK!’ she shouts, pointing across the bay, where a hurricane of light and energy flash envelops Treasure Island, the former navy base intersected by the East Bay Bridge. Within that unnatural storm, a strange monolith begins to take form - subsuming the island and everything on it as it grows like a thing alive - into a structure unlike any that has ever existed - a monument to the dangerous power the Queen of Swords wields - an ever-expanding palace that, left unchecked, will in time engulf the world.

Moonstar and Cannonball look on in horror, the two long-time friends very concerned. ‘My God, she built the Cathedral - she’s more powerful than I imagined!’ Dani declares. Sam remarks that Dani seems to have a better handle on what is going on than any of them, and suggests that before she clue them all in he thinks they better move the debriefing to somewhere less public.

Soon, at the China Basin warehouse that X-Force calls home. Sam, James, Tabitha, Bedlam, Domino and Gloria gather around Danielle, who holds her head, weary still. Sam tells her to take her time as he asks her to explain everything that happened after the Bear swallowed her and Arcadia. ‘That’s what I love about this crazy group. People say things like “after the Bear swallowed you” with a straight face!’ Bedlam exclaims. Meltdown scolds Bedlam, telling him to give Dani a chance to answer. Moonstar tells Tabitha that it is okay, that Jesse’s reaction is understandable. ‘This is all very surreal’ she remarks, explaining that it all began when Arcadia first used her reality-bending powers on her when they first crossed paths in Kentucky. ‘Her touch triggered new and strange powers in me that complemented hers’.

Flashback illustrations, narrated by Moonstar.

‘From that moment, unbeknownst to me, Arcadia began to experience flashes of my past in her dreams - and then unknowingly recreated the Demon Bear - the nightmare beast that nearly killed me years ago’. Moonstar explains that even though it was not the real Demon Bear, the damage it caused was devastatingly real, and that she and Arcadia learned the Bear was feeding on their combined power, and to destroy it they had to reabsorb the energy it had stolen. ‘As we synchronized our powers, the Bear began to dematerialize - but at that moment, Arcadia could no longer control the vast amounts of energy she had reclaimed’. Dani explains that the wild energy began to consume Arcadia, and then herself, and the next thing she remembers she was face down on Market Street. Powerless.


‘Okay. So you both survived. But Arcadia must have lost her mind’ Meltdown exclaims. ‘I mean, “The Queen of the Star Swords?” Where did that come from?’. Moonstar reveals that the Queen was the terror of Meridian, an imaginary kingdom Arcadia created as a child.

Show with illustrative image

Moonstar explains that the Queen threatened to transform Meridian into a land of nightmares using her mystical star sword, and only Arcadia and her friends Mary Weather and Fenwick the Dragon could stop the Queen’s evil plans.


‘And now she’s become her imaginary opponent?’ Cannonball asks. ‘Sometimes it’s more fun to be the bad guy’ Bedlam remarks, while Tabitha adds’ Yeah, especially when the bad guy has all the power’. Risque announces that the way she understands it, Arcadia’s biggest problem was that her power was too great for her to control. ‘Apparently, the Queen possesses the discipline Arcadia lacked’ she adds. Domino turns to Gloria and remarks that it is hard to believe she is here by chance. ‘What’s your interest in all this? Who are you working for?’ she asks. Risque replies that Sledge called her after the Demon Bear trashed him and his junkyard, explaining that Sledge figured Arcadia was heading west so he called her to keep an eye out for Arcadia.

‘We all remember how you betrayed James to that junkyard dealer months ago. So you can understand if we don’t trust you’ Domino declares. Moonstar reaches for a glass of water, pointing out that they are in no position to turn away an offer of help. ’Arcadia’s more powerful than all of us combined. We have to - I have to hold myself together - if I don’t, I feel like I’m going to fade away’ she remarks. And as fatigue washes over her, Danielle can only watch as her hand passes through the water glass - then watch it shatter as the strange contact affects the glass’s molecular stability.

Less than an hour later, a sleek and singular aircraft crosses the San Francisco bay, making no more noise than a whisper. Above the strange cathedral, the craft decelerates until it hovers directly over a patch of island still untouched by the ever-expanding structure. The craft’s passengers are lowered to the ground in a controlled gravity field. ‘We need to get a ride like this for the team’ one of them remarks. Last to disembark the craft is its pilot, Ulysses Dragonblood, an expatriate warrior of the subterranean race called Deviants. Two years ago, he reluctantly assumed the role of Arcadia’s guardian, attempting to protect her from those who would exploit her power. In time, he came to realize that until Arcadia could control that power, the world needed from her as well.

Ulysses touches ground near X-Force, remarking that this is the crisis he had hoped to avoid. ‘As it is now painfully apparent, Arcadia possesses a power so great it threatens all that exists. Left unchecked, it will spread like a cancer, altering our world on an elemental level’ he explains. Meltdown mutters ‘That seems to be the Queen’s not-too-secret agenda, while Bedlam points out that Ulysses knows Arcadia better than any of them, and asks if the Queen has ever surfaced before.

‘No. As far as I knew, the Queen and her kingdom were fantasies abandoned as she grew up’ Ulysses replies. Domino declares that the Queen is in charge now, and she is a bigger pain than Arcadia. ‘Which I didn’t think was possible’ Domino adds, remarking that it takes some serious chops to build a place like this dark cathedral from scratch. ‘Ah just wish she’d remembered to build a door’ Cannonball remarks, touching the cathedral.

Moonstar steps forward and tells Sam that force will do no good, as the cathedral is an extension of the Queen’s will, but as long as she and Arcadia share even the smallest psychic bond, it will open for her. ‘For a girl on her last legs, you are full of surprises’ Tabitha remarks. ‘Sometimes I wish I weren’t’ Moonstar replies as she touches the cathedral, which opens a portal. ‘Fate is a cruel mistress. We seldom choose the roles that define us’ Ulysses remarks, adding that he was trained to be a warrior of his people, and instead became guardian to a wilful teenage girl.

Moonstar tells Ulysses that he cannot think of the Queen as Arcadia, as the Queen is a different person completely. ‘She wont hesitate to destroy us all’. Moonstar motions to the portal, and everyone makes their way into it. ‘I hope the Queen doesn’t mind us dropping by unannounced’ Bedlam mutters, while Cannonball reminds everyone that their primary objective is to locate the four Moonstars and restore Danielle’s powers. He adds that they want to avoid a direct confrontation with the Queen until it is on their terms. Dragonblood tells his young companions that they must be swift, as they will not have a second opportunity to take the Queen unaware.

Moonstar is the last to step into the portal. ‘I hope I’m up for this. I’m feeling weaker by the moment’ she announces, before suddenly finding herself in pitch darkness. ‘Um…Sam? Tabitha? Ulysses? Where is everybody?’ Dani exclaims.

Meanwhile, in New York City, on the Upper East Side, a young woman walks out of a store with her mother, telling her that was really uncomfortable. ‘Everybody knew me, but I didn’t recognize anyone. I’m sorry, Mom, I just don’t remember working there. I don’t remember a lot of things’ she exclaims. The older woman calls her daughter Marissa and tells her that it is all right, as the doctors said some memory loss was to be expected after the accident. ‘It was more than an accident, Mom. I was clinically dead for over a minute’ Marissa replies, adding that since her miraculous recovery, she is not sure who she is anymore. It’s like I’m living someone else’s life’ she adds.

Across the road, former member of X-Force Bobby “Sunspot” DaCosta looks up from his newspaper and watches the young woman, while thinking ‘What am I doing? I shouldn’t be following her around like some stalker’. Bobby reminds himself that Juliana Sandoval died five years ago, taking a bullet that was meant for him. ‘And now she’s been given a second chance at life in the body of a girl who suffered a fatal aneurysm’. Bobby frowns as he tells himself that Juliana is going to live the rest of Marissa Sebastian’s life, and be surrounded by Marissa’s friends and family. ‘She doesn’t need a phantom from another life complicating her new one’.

Suddenly, ‘OOOF!’ exclaims Marissa / Juliana. ‘Hey -’ Bobby calls out as they accidentally walk into each other. Marissa / Juliana picks up Bobby’s newspaper which he dropped and tells him that she is sorry, explaining that she thought she left her purse back in the restaurant, but then remembered she left it in the car. ‘I’m not usually so scattered. At least I think I’m not usually this ditzy. Not that that excuses my clumsiness’ she mumbles. Bobby tells her that it is no problem, while thinking to himself that she has got Juliana’s eyes.

‘Um…do I know you? Something about you seems awfully familiar’ Juliana / Marissa remarks. Bobby hangs his head, and thinks to himself ‘How could I possibly begin to explain the truth? Where would I even begin?’. With his head hanging still, Bobby turns and walks away, while Juliana / Marissa watches him go.

At that moment, in San Francisco, on the upper deck of the Bay Bridge, soldiers have cordoned off the area. ‘We’ve secured both decks, sir. Traffic in and out of the city’s been routed’ one of them announces. ‘Any world on the condition of the civilians caught on the island when this thing appeared?’ another asks. ‘No, sir. And none of our men have been able to gain entry to the structure’ the first soldier replies. The second officer remarks that word is the SHIELD team encountered a group of mutants earlier. ‘Those freaks are nothing but trouble’ he declares.

Suddenly, a young woman approaches them: ‘You need to free your mind and open your heart, soldier. You’d be surprised how many times those “freaks” have prevented global catastrophe, soldier’ she declares. The soldier raises his hand and tells the young woman that he doesn’t know how she got past the barricades, but that she is in a restricted area and it is not safe for her to be here. .’I know. I had to abandon my car on Third Street. Traffic’s blocked up all the way into Downtown’ replies the young woman - Jennifer Kale - who is one of a handful of practitioners of the mystic disciplines of pre-cataclysm Lemuria. In other words she’s a very powerful sorceress.

The soldier tells her that if she doesn’t turn around right now, she will be arrested, handcuffed and taken to jail. Jennifer tells the soldier that he has no idea what is going on here. ‘I’d explain, but time is of the essence’ she declares, and with a subtle hand gesture, combined with an incantation muttered under her breath renders the soldier and his companions motionless. ‘I can’t afford to be late’ Jennifer declares. ‘I’m meeting an old friend’.

Meanwhile, inside the Dark Cathedral, Moonstar runs through a large area, wondering how she could have lost the entire team the moment they entered the cathedral. ‘Should have known the Queen would be aware of our arrival’ Dani tells herself, before wishing that her link to Arcadia and the Queen was stronger. ‘As it is I have only faint inklings of her intentions - and everything I learn frightens me’. Moonstar looks around at her surroundings and tells herself that she never thought Arcadia capable of creating something as monumental as this from nothing. ‘It makes me wonder if there’s more to the Queen than Arcadia imagined’.

Suddenly, a voice calls out ‘Oh, Dani Moonstar, why do you look so sad?’ Moonstar turns around and sees Mary Weather the rag doll sitting on a podium. ‘I thought you were destroyed with the bear!’ Dani exclaims. ‘Heavens, no, Dani, this old rag doll’s survived much worse. I’m Cady’s oldest and bestest friend. Wherever she goes I go!’ Mary Weather exclaims. Danielle tells the doll that she must help her. ‘We have to stop Arcadia before the damage she’s done is irreversible’. Mary Weather exclaims that she would like to help Moonstar, but the Queen promised to turn her into a real girl, and that is every rag doll’s most wished for dream.

Concerned, Moonstar exclaims that the Queen cannot be trusted. ‘Don’t you remember all the adventures you and Arcadia had in Meridian -’ she begins, but Mary Weather leaps from the podium and begins to run across the room. ‘That was make-believe. This is real. You and your friends can’t stop the Queen!’ Mary Weather declares. ‘Where are my friends, Mary? Where’s the rest of X-Force?’ Danielle calls out. ‘Worlds away, Dani Moonstar. Worlds away!’ Mary Weather exclaims.

Elsewhere, James and Gloria look around at their surroundings, and Gloria points out that this is not the cathedral. ‘Where are we?’ she asks. James tells her that these are the old X-Force bunkers in Camp Verde. ‘Arizona? This is an illusion, right?’ Risque exclaims. James replies that it isn’t, and tells Risque that the Hellfire Club tried that recently, but he saw through it - this is the real thing. ‘We must have been transported here, but why?’ James wonders. Risque puts a hand on James’s shoulder and tells him that at least they are together. ‘You know I never meant for things to end the way they did between us’. James looks around anxiously, and tells Gloria not to get into this now, as they are being watched.

There is a growl in the darkness, before Feral lunges from the shadows. ‘Look out!’ James shouts, pushing Risque to safety. ‘FERAL!’ James shouts. ‘Glad you remember me, Apache. I’m going to rip you in two!’ she exclaims. James struggles to hold Feral back: ‘Not if I have anything to say about it’ he tells her, before asking her if the other Hellions are with her. ‘Hellions? Don’t know what you’re talking about’ she snarls. ‘Don’t play games with me. After what you did to Siryn, I’ll have to hurt you!’ James declares.

Suddenly, ‘Ooh…them’s fighting words, Jimmy Boy…and what pray tell did that little scrapper do to me that’s got ye so hot under the collar?’ Siryn asks. When she gets no response, she asks James what the matter is. ‘Cat got your tongue? Or are ye just surprised t’see yuir old X-Force teammates?’ Siryn asks as she stands in front of Boomer, Sunspot, Shatterstar, Rictor, Copycat and Deadpool. ‘He looks like he’s gonna cry like that old Indian in the litter comercial - who, come to think of it, turned out to be an Italian actor - now there’s a man who knew how to maintain a secret identity!’. Deadpool rambles.

Siryn examines James and tells him that she liked him better when he was pumped up. ‘Not spending too much time in the gym these days, eh?’ she asks him. James looks at Siryn and tells her that something is terribly wrong here. ‘Since when were Deadpool and Copycat members of X-Force? And your voice - when did you get your voice back?’ he asks. Siryn tells James that he talks to much, before kissing him: ‘This is for old times’, and then slapping him across the face. ‘And this is for deserting us…’ she tells him.

Deadpool calls Siryn “baby” and tells her that every time he thinks about the way the big mope broke her heart, it makes him crazy. He reaches for a sword and continues: ‘And I mean the kind of crazy they’ll interrupt must-see TV to broadcast, and discuss later on all the talk shows’ Deadpool tells Siryn that it would really mean a lot to him if he could pound Proudstar into a bloody pulp. ‘Can I? Huh? Huh? Puh-leeeeze?’ Siryn tells Deadpool that he can do it another time, perhaps, but first they need to find out why Proudstar and his tramp have come slumming. ‘What happened to all of you?’ James asks, confused. ‘It was in all the papers, Jimmy. Stryfe and his MLF goons killed Sam and Cable so we paid them back in kind’ Siryn replies, adding that unfortunately, a few innocents got caught in the crossfire. ‘So now we are officially America’s most wanted. Could be helped. We’re at war. People die’.

Back in the Dark Cathedral, Moonstar tells herself that this is incredible, as every window in the room she is in looks out on a different San Francisco. ‘It’s beginning to make sense to me now. The Cathedral is a terminal connecting an infinite number of alternate realities. From here, the Queen can choose from a million worlds to conquer’ Danielle tells herself, when suddenly, a massive green dragon appears before Moonstar, and breathes fire at her as he tells exclaims ‘Go no further, warrior child!’. ‘A dragon - Fenwick?’ Moonstar calls out.

‘A human tongue’s corruption of my true name’ the Dragon replies, announcing that he is the Queen’s servant, guardian and executioner. ‘You are a danger to the throne, and therefore must die’. Moonstar reminds herself that in Arcadia’s childhood fantasies Fenwick was a reluctant dragon - too meek to roar and too embarrassed to breathe fire. ‘The new version doesn’t seem to have those issues!’ Dani exclaims as she leaps from another burst of fire. Danielle runs off, telling herself that without her powers, she has not chance of preventing this creature from barbecuing her to a crisp, so it is time to run.

Another Earth, where Domino and Bedlam find themselves in a fiery location. ‘Is it just me, or is it hotter than Hell in here?’ Bedlam asks as he and Domino stand on a ledge. ‘Hell is the right word for this place. Doesn’t look like anything grows around here’ Domino adds. Bedlam asks her if she thinks the others are nearby, to which Domino tells him that she would guess the others are somewhere else, that the Queen clearly believes in divide and conquer. Bedlam remarks that he hopes this vacation spot isn’t what the Queen had in mind when she said she was going to remake the world, before asking Domino if she smells sulfur.

‘I do. Where on Earth are we?’ Domino replies, before suddenly, six people appear behind them, and one of them grabs Domino by the collar - ‘You’re in Westchester County, demon. And you’re trespassing!’ he exclaims, but Domino spins around and throws him backwards: ‘Back off, dirtball!’ she shouts. ‘Ughh…she flipped me…how is that possible?’ Sunspot exclaims. Domino looks at Bobby and tells him that he knows better than to sneak up on her. ‘Only my friends call me by my given name, demon’ Sunspot replies, adding that she can tell Belasco that he may have been succeeded in turning Earth into Limbo, but that he will never rule here.

Suddenly, Domino is rendered motionless, as someone tells Sunspot that he is taking too much time. ‘DaCosta. What did you do to Domino?’ Bedlam asks. Bedlam turns around and is greeted by the other five beings - ‘Sunspot did nothing to your partner, assassin. She’s under the psychic restraint of Xian Coy Manh - Karma to you’ Cannonball declares, with Magik, Karma, Wolfsbane and Warlock at his side. ‘Guthrie? Have you gone out of your Kentucky fried mind?’ Bedlam asks. ‘Domino’s one of us - and who are these people?’ Bedlam adds. ‘We’re the X-MEN. What’s left of them’ Cannonball exclaims.

‘I am officially confused’ Bedlam declares, remarking that he doesn’t remember Cannonball entering the Queen’s Cathedral with Dani and the rest of X-Force. Magik tells Bedlam that his lies are pathetic, as Danielle Moonstar chose to remain in Asgard with the Valkryor. But Wolfsbane announces that the “demon” does have Dani’s scent on him. ‘Even if this wanderer’s not a demon, he still can’t be trusted!’ Cannonball exclaims, ordering Warlock to hold this guy until they know why he is really here. ‘Affirmative friend Sam. Resistance is futile!’ Warlock exclaims as he releases tendrils which ensnare Bedlam.

Bedlam declares that he is not playing this game. ‘Don’t know if you’re a robot or some kind of biomechanical life form - but either way you are definitely vulnerable to my ability to wreak havoc with mechanical systems!’ Jesse exclaims as he uses his powers on Warlock - sending both screaming backwards. ‘Internal systems damaged. Currently experiencing pain, hurt, discomfort, agony…’ Warlock exclaims, while Bedlam stares at his hand, slowly transforming into the same techno-organic form as Warlock. ‘Oh God…help me…anyone?’ he calls out.

Back inside the Cathedral, Danielle is backed up against a wall as Fenwick looms over her. ‘You have nowhere left to run, little warrior!’ Fenwick tells her that it will be better she die today as there will be nice place for her in the new world. ‘Go ahead. Kill me now. Anything to save me from that breath of yours!’ Moonstar replies, asking if they make dragon-sized breath mints. ‘Insolence will win you no reprieve!’ Fenwick booms. Dani hangs her head as she tells herself that she didn’t think it would, and that wisecracks are not her style anyway. ‘If I’m going to die, I’ll face death like a true warrior of the Cheyenne. Unafraid’.

‘Do your worst, Dragon!’ Moonstar declares. Fenwick opens his mouth and roars - flame is about to burst out at Danielle, when suddenly, something - or someone - slams down on Fenwick’s head, knocking him over. ‘There should be leash laws for these things’ a voice exclaims. ‘CABLE!’ Dani declares. Cable tells Moonstar that he is sorry it took him so long to get to the rescue, as his dragon slaying is a little rusty, before asking her if she is all right. ‘I’m alive. As things go, that’s good’ Danielle replies, before asking Cable what he is doing here.

While Fenwick lies motionless at Cable’s feet, Cable announces that he intercepted a SHIELD bulletin about the melee in San Francisco, and that he gained entry through one of the spires, telling Danielle that it is lucky he found her when she did, adding that this place is far bigger inside than it appears outside. Moonstar asks if the dragon is dead, to which Cable replies that he only stunned it, adding that he used his psimitar, the Askani Clan weapon that channels psychic energy to its bearers. ‘I’d forgotten how much I liked its simplicity. It suits me more than the big guns ever did’ Cable remarks.

Suddenly, Moonstar remarks that something is happening to the dragon. ‘It’s changing!’. Indeed, the dragon suddenly reverts into…Ulysses! ‘By the first host - what has transpired here…?’ Ulysses asks, weakened.

At that moment, Cannonball and Meltdown find themselves inside the Weismann Institute, following a female doctor who has welcomed Dr Elizondo and informs him that he has his work cut out for him here. ‘Our patients here are exceptionally challenging’ she tells him. ‘The Weismann Institute? The psychiatric hospital where Shatterstar’s human host spent years in a coma?’ Cannonball exclaims. ‘Looks like someone checked him back in’ Meltdown remarks as they watch the two doctors stand outside a room. ‘This patient, Benjamin Russell, is a severely traumatized child who believes himself to be the hero of another dimension’.

Meltdown asks Cannonball if he thinks that really is Shatterstar, to which Sam replies that he doesn’t know, adding that the Queen has gone to great lengths to confuse the team. ‘The doctors seem to be oblivious to us. I say we follow them’ Sam declares, so they do, following them on to the next patient: ‘Young Miss Rourke is a sad story. Her mother died when she was young, and her father left her in the care of an uncle. She has a history of petty crime and substance abuse. She lost her voice after screaming for forty-eight hours straight’. Next up the doctors come to Caliban. ‘We found this one living in the sewers. He was brought here after the Police found him stalking a Long Island girl. A word of caution: although mentally he’s a child, he’s already put two orderlies in the hospital’.

‘Here’s the hospital’s dirty little secret. Mr DaCosta’s not actually ill, but his father wants his ne’er-do-well son out of the way’ the female doctor remarks as they watch Bobby injected with a drug. ‘Mr Summers is my personal favorite. He believes he has come back in time to prevent a future apocalypse’ the doctor declares. ‘I saw that movie’ Dr Elizondo remarks, before they approach their last patient: ‘Our Miss Smith survived an encounter with a brutal serial killer naked Victor Creed - but the experience plunged her into a deep and manic depression’.

Tabitha - the real one - turns to Sam and exclaims that never happened. ‘Sure, Creed rattled me, but he didn’t put me in the nut house’ she exclaims. ‘Of course not, Tabitha. None of these people are the members of X-Force we know’ Sam replies, telling his ex-girlfriend that they have been shunted into some alternate reality where the members of X-Force are mental patients. ‘We need to find out who else is a patient here’ he declares, before taking a clipboard from Dr Elizondo. ‘Young man, this is a restricted area’ the doctor exclaims, while the female doctor motions to Tabitha: ‘Ms Smith, I don’t know how you freed yourself from your room, but I’m going to have security escort you back!’

‘All I want to do is watch the World Series!’ Tabitha exclaims as she throws a plasma time-bomb towards the doctors, knocking them backwards. ‘Heh, I’ve always wanted to say that’ Tabitha grins, while Sam reads the information on the clipboard and announces that Dani is listed as a patient in another wing. ‘Ah’ve got a hunch she might be the key to all this’ Sam adds. ‘And what if she’s like everyone else here? Genuinely in need of mental care?’ Meltdown asks. Sam reminds Tabitha that they entered the Cathedral hoping that if they found the four other Moonstars they might be the key to helping Dani. ‘So now Ah’m thinking those four are the Dani’s of alternate worlds, and that they, like our Dani, are connected to Arcadia. He admits that it is a stretch, but that he doesn’t have any other ideas. They find Dani’s room and open the door, only to find themselves back in the Cathedral. ‘Dani must have the luxury padded cell!’ Sam exclaims.

Nearby, Cable asks Ulysses if he has any idea what the Queen did to him. Dragonblood replies that the Queen’s Star Swords possess transformative energies, and that he was unprepared for their assault. He adds that they are a small threat compared to the larger ones this Cathedral possesses. ‘It has been constructed on an interdimensional rift. The longer it stands, the more pieces of other realities will seep into our own - until there is nothing but chaos’ Dragonblood explains.

Suddenly, a voice exclaims ‘And if y’all don’t shut it down, the bad guys win, evil prevails and general chaos ensues. To that, Ah say - so what!? This happens all the time. Unnatural disasters strikes, and we get called in to clean up the mess. What’s the point? We’re all players in someone else’s game. If we gall off the board, another piece takes our place. Our lives are one never-ending roller coaster ride filled with gear-grinding ascents and vertiginous drops’. Cannonball exclaims, a cigarette in his hand, he is dressed in street clothes, as are his teammates - Siryn, Meltdown, Sunspot, Proudstar and Bedlam. ‘You tell ‘em, Sam!’ Tabitha exclaims. ‘Why bother? They won’t listen. They think the world will end if they aren’t around to right every wrong. And people say my ego’s out of control’ Bobby mutters, lighting a cigarette.

Cannonball looks at Cable and asks him if he has a problem. ‘Just with your attitude, son’ Cable replies. ‘Oh, this is where you tell me that “this is war, boy, and you and your friends better choose sides?” Why do we have to be the ones to spend the rest of our lives fighting battle after battle?’ Cannonball asks. ‘Ain’t that the truth’ Siryn exclaims. ‘Ask yourself this - why should we risk our lives when the status quo never changes. Never’ Cannonball asks. Meltdown turns to Moonstar and reminds her that she dropped out a long time ago. ‘What’s up? Did the judge sentence you to community service? She asks. ‘We don’t have time for this. We have to find the Queen of Swords’ Danielle tells Cable and Dragonblood.

‘Are ye bleeding daft, girl? Ye don’t trifle with the Queen. She’ll destroy ye, she will’ Siryn exclaims. ‘She controls the Secret Societies, the Hellfire Club, the Damocles Foundation, the Skrull Triad’ Proudstar announces, while Bedlam reveals that the Queen massacred Shaw’s Inner Circle when they tried to take him out. ‘Don’t even want to think about what she did to Odysseus Indigo’ Sunspot remarks, still smoking. ‘He deserved it’ Meltdown frowns.

Cable asks the alternate X-Force if they are afraid to fight for their own world, to which Cannonball exclaims ‘You know it, old man. Ah’m smart enough to know now to start something Ah’ve got no hope of ever winning!’. Cannonball reveals that is why they cut a deal with the Queen. ‘We stay out of the fray, and she gives us our choice of worlds’ he reveals. ‘I can’t believe you sold out!’ Moonstar exclaims. ‘You don’t get it, do you? The only other option was a lifetime of struggle, day in, day out, month after month - no thank you!’ Cannonball exclaims.

‘I never imagined the Sam Guthrie of any reality could be so selfish and pathetic’ Danielle exclaims. Cannonball takes another puff of his cigarette as he exclaims ‘One more thing, Dani - take some time off. You look like something the cat dragged in’. Danielle turns and looks at the alternate counterparts of her teammates, before walking off with Cable.

Meanwhile, in Looking Glass, California - the real Earth - where Victoria Donnely makes her living writing mystery novels that feature a weary private detective named Caitlin O’Shaugnessy. In chapter seven of her latest novel - Midnight Dreary - Caitlin finds her apartment ransacked by a murderous land developer’s heavies. In the novel, Caitlin was, in her hard-boiled way, more annoyed than upset about the intrusion. ‘What in God’s name happened here?’ Victoria gasps as she enters her living room, and is stunned and horrified to discover it completely destroyed. Victoria’s distress quickly turns to concern for the safety of her house guest, her niece, Theresa Rourke Cassidy.

When Victoria stumbles over an empty vodka flask, her concern changes. ‘Oh no, darling. Don’t tell me ye’ve started again’ she calls out, when suddenly, Theresa a.k.a. Siryn, former member of X-Force, strides past her aunt. ‘I’m leaving!’ she announces with a strange voice. ‘Theresa, hold on - ye can’t walk out like this - and yuir voice - yuir voice - I thought the doctors said yuir throat wouldn’t be fully healed for a least a year!’ Victoria exclaims, following her niece to the front door, where Siryn takes to the sky: ‘This body’s young. It heals’ she exclaims without looking back. ‘Theresa - wait - oh sweet mother, ye’re flying!’ Victoria gasps. ‘Yes. This body is unlike any I have ever possessed. I think I shall keep it for a while’ the strange voice announces, while the mysterious necklace around Siryn’s neck begins to glow.

Back inside the Cathedral, Meltdown tells Cannonball that she is glad to be out of that nut house. ‘Those people weren’t really crazy, right?’ she asks. ‘They were probably being gas lighted by the Shadow King or the Gamesmaster, don’t you think?’ Tabitha asks Sam. Cannonball replies that he doesn’t know. ‘When this is all over, maybe we’ll try to go back and find out. Right now, though, we have to locate our teammates’. Tabitha asks how they can do that, pointing out that there are supposed to be billions and billions of alternate realities. ‘We could die of old age before we explore a fraction of them’ she adds. ‘Sure, but look around us. There are maybe half a dozen doorways opening into the worlds. We’ll try them first’ Sam suggests.

‘Doesn’t look like they’re going to let us do that’ Tabitha remarks. ‘They?’ Sam asks, before turning around. ‘Oh’ he mutters as the MLF, Asgardian and New Mutants Moonstars stand before him. ‘At least we don’t have to search for them anymore’ Sam adds. ‘Any suggestions?’ Tabitha asks. ‘Try to forget they’re skewed versions of our friend and fight like -’ Sam begins, when suddenly, a voice calls out ‘Samuel Guthrie, how could you abandon your own flesh and blood?’. Cannonball spins around: ‘Ma? Josh?’ he asks as Josh, his brother, tells him that the family is on the street because he left them to play super hero in the big city.

‘You take care of those mutant friends of yours better than your own. You’re breaking your mother’s heart’ Lucinda tells her son. ‘Ah - ah - ah - didn’t - ah thought -’ Sam stutters, while the New Mutants Moonstar hovers behind him casting the illusion of his family. ‘Snap out of it, Sam. That’s just this Stepford version of Mirage giving your deepest fear substance’ she tells him, assuring him that he has always taken good care of his family, that he has never let him down, and Tabitha throws a plasma time bomb at the New Mutants Moonstar - only for the Mutant Liberation Front Moonstar to fire a psionic arrow at Meltdown, jerking her through one portal - where she is reunited with Proudstar and Risque. ’Tabitha?’ James calls out. ’I’d say we’ve found our way home, lover’ Risque tells James.

Cannonball blasts towards the MLF Moonstar, telling her that it hurts him to be this rough with her, as his picks her, telling her that she reminds him of a very good friend of his. Suddenly, Sam realizes that he has no room to brake before he hit’s a wall. ’Guess I’m gonna have to go through the nearest portal and see where it leads!’ he tells himself as he suddenly finds himself in the variation of Limbo. The MLF Moonstar falls to the ground, unconscious, while the alternate Magik shouts ‘Behind you, Sam!’. Domino tells Cannonball that it is about time he got here, as she and Bedlam have run into some old friends of his. ‘Sam? I thought we’d lost him to that one-eyed stranger’s future’ the alternate Sunspot remarks.

Suddenly, the Asgardian Moonstar appears, riding her winged steed, Brightwind. ‘How can that be Dani? Hela’s curse prevents her from returning to our world’ someone remarks. Sam informs them that this Dani is under another powerful woman’s spell. Karma uses her powers to knock the Asgardian Moonstar out so Sam can take back to his world. ‘Nice work, Shan’ Sam tells the alternate Karma, who explains that once they realized Domino and Bedlam weren’t Belasco’s hunter demons, it was obvious they were not of this world. ‘If you’d have been with them, we would have known right away’. She adds that their Sam Guthrie left to fight a future war with a time traveler named Dayspring a few weeks before Belasco turned everything upside down.

Sam replies that it is startling how different things turned out for the New Mutants here. Warlock approaches Bedlam, offering deep-felt apologies for infecting his new friend with the Transmode Virus. Domino asks if he can reverse the process, to which Warlock reiterates his profound apology. ‘Are you saying I’m turning into some kind of machine?’ Bedlam asks as the virus spreads over his body. ‘I’m afraid your companion will have to live with his new techno-organic body’ Sunspot announces. ‘Perhaps in your world, a cure will be found to reverse the process’ Magik suggests.

The alternate Illyana tells Sam that she hopes he understands that they cannot offer him more help, as they have their hands full here against the demon hordes. ‘Give our regards to our counterparts’ she tells him. Sam looks at Illyana and thinks to himself ‘I can’t tell her the Illyana Rasputin of my world died of the Legacy Virus’ so replies ‘Will do, Illyana. And it was good…really good to see you again’, while the alternate Wolfsbane asks Sam to take care of Dani. ‘In any world, she’s the best friend I ever had’.

At the same time, Cable and Dragonblood stand over the real Danielle Moonstar, remarking that her condition is growing worse by the hour. ‘Dani - try to hang on - we need you’ Cable tells her. ‘I’m doing my best, but I’m getting weaker by the minute’ Danielle replies, adding that she feels like she is walking in a dream where everything is slowed to half-time, and every step is a struggle. She supposes that five Moonstars cannot exist in the same space and time without something - someone - paying the price. ‘Think nature’s trying to eliminate the redundancy’.

Suddenly, ‘Don’t give up yet, Dani’ James exclaims as he and the others, with the New Mutants, Asgardian and MLF Moonstars, arrive. ‘Here are your three identical sisters’ Bedlam remarks, while Domino calls out ‘Cable, is that you?’. Meltdown remarks that she supposes Cable survived the big throwdown with Apocalypse, before telling him to next time skip the “you won’t ever see me again” melodrama. ‘We found three of your…um…sisters…any suggestion on what we do with them?’ Sam asks. ‘Bring them here’ a very weak Moonstar replies.

The three alternate Moonstars are laid in front of Dani, all touching hands, she points out that the Queen used her power to bind them to her, and by taking her power back, she is free. As Danielle touches each of her identical counterparts, her stolen power returns - and her counterparts disappear, returned to the reality from which they originated. ‘Uhh…I do feel stronger…but I’m still not ready to take on the Queen’ Danielle declares.

Suddenly, the Queen of the Star Swords, in all her glory, appears before Moonstar: ‘You will never be strong enough to challenge us, Danielle Moonstar - not in this or any other lifetime. We command power, drawn from a thousand worlds across the Multiverse - while you are bounded by the limitations of this single reality’. The Queen tells DanI to accept the fact that in the grand design she is, at best, insignificant. ’If that’s true, why have you gone out of your way to stop me? Could it be that you’re not as all-powerful as you claim?’ Danielle asks.

The Queen tells her not to think that because for a short time while she held a fraction of her power that she is their equal. ’Challenge us, and you will die a thousand times in a thousand worlds!’. Dragonblood calls out to Arcadia, asking her to stop this madness. The Queen turns to him: ’Ah, Ulysses, we see that you have reverted back to your true self. A pity, we find the dragon’s demeanor less grating’.

‘You like being the Queen, don’t you, Arcadia? The Queen is always strong, always in control. She’s not the helpless little girl who was mistreated and abused in the Damocles Foundation laboratories’ Dani exclaims, telling Arcadia that she doesn’t need the armor to be strong. The Queen declares that Moonstar erroneously assumes that she is in a role a little girl has dredged up from her childhood fantasies. ‘In each reality, we have always been aware of our other-dimensional counterparts. I became the evil Queen of her dreams merely because she was unable to process her interdimensional perception. When her power overwhelmed her, we took that opportunity to reach out across worlds and take control. Now, since you and your companions have made it clear you will not quietly surrender - we shall engage you with an army of your otherworldly counterparts’ the Queen declares.

At that moment, Cannonball, Proudstar, Meltdown, Domino, Risque and Bedlam are surrounded by a myriad of alternate counterparts - Cable, Sunspot, Shatterstar, Siryn, Warpath, Feral, Meltdown, Caliban, Domino. Meltdown asks Cannonball how they are going to play this, to which Sam replies ‘The only way we can - hard and fast. Like there’s no tomorrow!’ he exclaims, before telling his teammates to try and get to the Queen - before he is taken down. ‘Sam’s down, Cable -’ Proudstar begins, but Cable tells him that they cannot worry about Sam now. ‘Need you to block while I make my move -’ he tells James. ‘GO!’ James shouts, as he grabs an alternate Siryn, enabling Cable to get to the Queen.

‘We will end this, your majesty. This I swear. You’ve no right to any reality but your own’ Cable tells her. ‘Spare us your sanctimonious prattle, Nathan Dayspring. You’ve no right to take that tone with anyone!’ the Queen replies, reminding him that he traveled back in time to change the future in which he was raised. ‘Don’t you know that your very presence in this here and now has already altered that future? You lead many different lives in many different realities, Cable - I can show you them all. Curious?’ the Queen declares.

Suddenly, Cable is struck by a Star Sword - he did not even see it appear in the Queen’s hand, nor feel it cut through flesh and techno-organic sinew. He only feels the wild burst of energy that signals the rapid and painful transformation - ‘In another world, you are a bitter, aging mercenary relying more and more on your arsenal to stay alive’ the Queen declares as Cable changes into his future self. ‘In another, you are a test tube messiah. The product of sinister genetic engineering’ the Queen exclaims as Cable transforms into the Age of Apocalypse’s X-Man.

‘And in another, you are the adopted son of a tyrant, heir to an apocalyptic legacy!’ the Queen reveals as Cable transforms into X-Man. ‘And imagine this, somewhere, you were an unremarkably normal infant. Never infected with a life-threatening virus, not spirited to a far distant future’ the Queen exclaims as Cable shifts into baby Nathan.

While the battle continues, the missing Moonstar - the cosmically powered one - studies the fray with a growing unease. She has slowly realized that she is in the Queen’s thrall, but is unable to break the Queen’s hold. For now, she is unable to do anything but observe. ‘In this world, the techno-organic virus has consumed you and destroyed your mind…’ the Queen tells Cable as she shows him another version of himself.

Suddenly, energy crackles behind the cosmic Moonstar, announcing the arrival of a woman she recognizes as a friend - Jennifer Kale - and the creature with her is known as the Man-Thing, a creature born of flesh, fire and swamp, who has become the guardian of the nexus. ‘You’re lost. We can help you get home, if that’s what you desire’ Jennifer tells the alternate Moonstar. It is not fear that grips this alternate Moonstar, but shock - for in this way does Man-Thing impart to her a greater understanding of the forces at play.

The Queen tells Moonstar that she has lost. ‘Your X-Force have succumbed to the greater numbers of our army’. She adds that it will amuse her to let the rest continue fighting to determine who will serve as her personal guard. Moonstar - the real one - picks up Cable’s psimitar, reminding herself that Cable said it channels psionic energy. She lunges at the Queen, and knocks her mask off with the psimitar. ‘Have to focus all of mine’ Danielle tells herself. The Queen looks at Danielle as they struggle in hand-to-hand combat: ‘We will make you regret that in a thousand ways!’ she exclaims.

‘You are doomed to failure!’ the Queen shouts, as energy swirls around them. ‘No - the psimitar’s amplified my connection with the part of you that’s still Arcadia - and I know now how much you’ve overextended your power!’ she declares. Cable has reverted back to his current state and calls out to Moonstar, telling her that the psimitar cannot contain that kind of energy.

The future forged staff acts as a lightning rod, drawing power from the Queen - and as Danielle and the Queen each battle to control that wild energy, their struggle creates a storm of charged and shifting reality within the Cathedral from which neither X-Force nor their twisted doppelgangers can escape. ‘You cannot last much longer. Ours is the superior will!’ the Queen declares as she and Danielle struggle with the psimitar - until suddenly, the cosmically powered Moonstar leaps towards them: ‘Dani, I will put an end to this now…’ she exclaims.

‘What are you doing, servant?’ the Queen demands. ‘Adding my strength to this world’s Dani Moonstar. I know now that your actions threaten the stability of all realities. If I never see my world again, so be it!’ the cosmic Moonstar declares as she begins to fade into the ether as her essence re-energizes our world’s faltering Dani. The Queen’s grip on the psimitar lessens and Danielle presses her newfound advantage. ‘We are not defeated!’ the Queen booms - empty words though as the psimitar slides through her fingers. ‘YES, YOU ARE!’ Moonstar exclaims, knocking the Queen backwards.

The battle of wills concludes as the incredibly charged psimitar In that moment, the Queen can no longer maintain her hold on the mind and body of Arcadia DeVille. She must retreat to her origin world before she is irreparably harmed. Cannonball has regained consciousness and announces that the strange versions of their selves are disappearing. ‘Good riddance’ Domino mutters, while the Queen’s armor fades, leaving a dazed Arcadia backed up against a wall. ‘Are you well, child?’ Dragonblood asks her. ‘Im sorry, Ulysses. For everything’ Arcadia replies. Bedlam brushes the transmode virus remains from him. ‘Is finally peeling off like layers of sunburned skin’ he remarks. ‘Gross!’ Tabitha exclaims.

Jennifer tells Danielle that her work is not yet done, to which Cannonball exclaims ‘That’s the Man-Thing, right? What’s he doing with you, Jennifer?’. Jennifer replies that Man-Thing is the guardian of the nexus of realities, and that he has traveled here to make sure that this Cathedral is destroyed. ‘I’ll happily tear this place down’ Sam replies. But Jennifer declares that task is for Dani to do alone. Cable sees Man-Thing watching him, and quietly tells him that he doesn’t intend to stay.

Jennifer remarks that the Cathedral is an anomalous rift in the Space/Time Continuum that must be closed. ‘To do that will require every iota of the power you now possess’ she explains. Moonstar replies that she never asked for this kind of power in the first place, and that she can feel it boiling inside of her, trying to get out. ‘Y’know, I could actually do everything the Queen intended, and that frightens me’ Danielle adds, before asking Jennifer what she needs to do. ‘The Man-Thing will instruct you’ Jennifer replies, giving Moonstar a word of caution: ‘Now’s not a good time to be frightened. Maybe you’ve heard the saying “Whosoever knows fear, burns at the Man-Thing’s touch”!’. ‘Thanks a lot, Jen. That really helps’ Danielle replies, as the Man-Thing touches her. His touch turns out to be unexpectedly calming. He speaks to her not in words, but in telepathic images - something purer than language.

Man-Thing shows Moonstar the way to safely discharge the great energy within her and seal the rift that the Queen opened. Moonstar takes a moment to concentrate, and then creates an arrow supercharged with all the primal world-changing, reality bending energy that she had taken from the Queen - Dani fires this arrow in spectacular display, and it rocks the Cathedral to its very foundation, beginning to undo all that the Queen wrought. ‘Wow’ Cannonball utters. Glowing, Danielle suggests to her friends that they get out of here before the whole place disappears from existence.

‘What happens if we don’t make it out the door in time?’ Cannonball asks as he blasts above his friends. ‘We get trapped between words for an eternity’ Dragonblood, carrying Arcadia, replies. ‘Let’s move it people!’ Sam orders, so Proudstar, Risque, Domino, Meltdown and Bedlam race towards safety. Danielle follows them, before turning around to Cable. ‘There’s no time left, Cable. Hurry’ she urges him. ‘I’m not going with you’ Cable replies. ‘What?’ Dani asks him. Cable replies that he doesn’t belong with her and the others. Revealing that he is an alternate counterpart, he tells Danielle that in his world he forged X-Force into perfect soldiers - ‘I rode them hard and held the reins tight’. He reveals that in final battle with Apocalypse they died because he made the wrong call, and no one dared challenge him.

‘You and X-Force will succeed on your own terms, remember that. G’jouney to you all’ he tells her, before there is a massive explosion. ‘Glad you made it, Dani. I was starting to worry!’ Cannonball exclaims as Dani catches up to her friends. ‘Where’s Cable -?’ Sam asks, but Dani replies that she will explain later. ‘Right now all I’d like to do is enjoy the fireworks’ she declares. Dragonblood and Arcadia hang back as the seven friends gather near the bridge. ‘Then it’s done, right? Everything’s back to normal. The Cathedral’s history, the rift is sealed. And you no longer have your cosmic power’ Cannonball declares.

‘I’m back to the old standbys, psionic arrows and emotionally charged illusions’ Moonstar replies. ‘Must be hard to give up the power to change the world’ Sam asks his friend. ‘I never gave that up’ Moonstar exclaims. Danielle stands defiantly and X-Force gather around her as she declares that they can still change the world - maybe not in one cosmic fell swoop - but a little at a time - and on their terms. ‘Sounds about right to me’ Cannonball agrees. Meltdown declares that she doesn’t want to spoil this dramatic moment, but that she has a question: ‘If the Cathedral was the intersection of all possible realities…how do we know we returned to the right one…?’ No one answers, instead Proudstar, Risque, Domino, Bedlam, Cannonball, Meltdown and Moonstar gaze out into the starry night.

And so it goes….

Characters Involved: 

Bedlam II, Cannonball, Domino, Meltdown, Moonstar, Proudstar (all X-Force)

Siryn & Sunspot (former members of X-Force)


Jennifer Kale

Juliana Sandoval / Marissa Sebastian

Arcadia DeVille / Queen of the Star Swords

Ulysses Dragonblood

Miss Lloyd & Mr Wu (both Triune Understand)

Victoria Donnely (Siryn’s aunt)

Mrs Sebastian (Marissa’s mother)


SHIELD Operatives


As Creations of the Queen of the Star Swords:

New Mutants Moonstar, Asgard Moonstar, Mutant Liberation Front Moonstar, Cosmic Moonstar

Mary Weather

Fenwick the Dragon



Boomer, Copycat, Deadpool, Feral, Rictor, Shatterstar, Siryn, Sunspot (all X-Force)

Cannonball, Karma, Magik, Sunspot, Warlock, Wolfsbane (all X-Men)

Caliban, Cable, Meltdown, Benjamin Russell, Siryn, Sunspot (all patients of the Weismann Institute)

Dr Elizondo and another doctor

Bedlam, Cannonball, Meltdown, Proudstar, Siryn, Sunspot (all X-Force)

Illusions of Lucinda and Johsua Guthrie

Cable / X-Man / Stryfe / Baby Nathan Summers

Various other versions of Caliban, Cannonball, Domino, Feral, Meltdown, Shatterstar, Siryn, Sunspot, Warpath

In Flashback Images



In Flashback Illustration

Arcadia DeVille as a child

Mary Weather

Fenwick the Dragon

Queen of the Star Swords

Story Notes: 

The Demon Bear was destroyed in X-Force (1st series) #99.

Arcadia used her powers on Moonstar in X-Force (1st series) #84, resulting in Moonstar gaining her cosmic powers.

The original battle against the Demon Bear took place in the classic New Mutants (1st series) #18-20.

Juliana Sandoval died in Marvel Graphic Novel #4. Her soul was placed into the body of the dying Marissa in X-Force (1st series) #98.

The storyline of Juliana Sandoval is not mentioned after this issue. Presumably she is living her life as Marissa.

Sunspot next appears as the leader of X-Corporation Los Angeles in X-Treme X-Men #35. The Hellfire Club established in X-Force (1st series) #98 apparently broke up due to a falling out between its members - Selene, Hellstorm and Blackheart.

Jennifer Kale next appears in the Witches mini series.

The real Feral last appeared in X-Force (1st series) #88-90, which is when she slashed Siryn’s throat.

Siryn next appears in Wolverine (2nd series) #154-155. She had somehow been freed of the mysterious necklace - off panel - and lost her voice once more, until Deadpool arranged for her powers to be permanently restored with a healing serum derived from Wolverine’s healing factor. Siryn then joins the X-Corporation team based in Paris [New X-Men (1st series) #128-130], before joining X-Factor Investigations, where she remains as a main character in that title. [X-Factor (3rd series) #1]

When Cannonball enters the alternate Limbo, the alternate Sunspot remarks ‘Sam? I thought we’d lost him to that one-eyed stranger’s future’. It’s unclear what he means by that, as an alternate Cannonball was clearly identified earlier on when the Limbo X-Men appeared. However, it is possible that was an error and that the earlier Cannonball as supposed to be Cypher (this making a team of New Mutants (except for Sunspot) who were never members of X-Force - Cypher, Magik, Karma, Wolfsbane and Warlock.

Magik succumbed to the Legacy Virus in Uncanny X-Men #303.

Sadly, it is revealed in New X-Men Annual 2001 that Risque, as a member of X-Corporation Hong Kong, was killed off panel. She is however resurrected as a member of Selene’s army during “Necrosha”, though it remains unknown whether she was one of the lucky ones who managed to stay resurrected.

Final appearances of Arcadia and Ulysses Dragonblood.

This issue marks the final issue for artist Jim Cheung.

This issue marks the final issue for long-time X-Force writer John Francis Moore (his first issue was X-Force (1st series) #63). It is unknown whether his contract on the title was finished, or whether he was let go due to the upcoming “Revolution” that took place in several X-titles, involving a massive change in direction for this book. Whatever his original plans for Siryn’s possession, Sunspot and the Hellfire Club, Juliana Sandoval’s resurrection, and the Triune Understanding trying to get Meltdown remain unknown.

Issue Information: 
Written By: