deep in the forests of Siberia
The X-Men are en route to yet another vampire den. Receiving directions from Madison Jeffries in Utopia, the X-Jet comes in low, just over the treetops before setting down. The X-Men disembark, Storm in the lead, and trudge through the dense foliage. They soon come across a large, ornate door covered in tree roots.
“Peter?” Storm asks; his name is enough to tell him what needs to be done. He punches one hand into the palm of the other, a determined look on his face. He steps forward to the door and with one punishing overhand right shatters it.
The place is crawling with Nosferatu, literally, as well as several women who are strung upside down, bleeding into large cauldrons. The vampires are quick to defend themselves. Those on the ground gather nearby swords.
They stand no chance against the superior combat force of the X-Men. Psylocke tries sensing Jubilee, but has no luck, but does manage to decapitate a vamp who gets too close. While cross-bowing and staking the Nosferatu the X-Men begin to complain about the monotony of it all. They’d like to think they would have some clue as to Jubilee’s whereabouts by now.
With the last one put down with a sickening snap of the neck from Colossus, Storm has time to consider her team’s thoughts. Jubilee’s been gone for weeks and they’ve been through three continents with nothing to show for it except a trail of dead vampires. She wonders if it’s time for them to take a break and clear their heads.
Just then, Jeffries radios in to tell her he’s a made a breakthrough in their hunt. Though they’ve been using Cerebra to track vampires it was impossible to differentiate Jubilee from the rest. Then he came up with the idea to have Cerebra go over the data stream from when Jubilee disappeared and track her movements from there. That being said, he has a probable location in the South China Sea. He sends them the coordinates and they depart immediately.
South China Sea
The X-Men approach this new lair from the beach. Warpath wants to know why Storm parked the X-Jet so far away. She says it’s because she’s getting a different vibe about this lair. She wants to be careful. Storm also says Colossus should stay in stealth mode with the jet and swoop in if they need him. Plus, he isn’t exactly Mr. Stealthy, Domino quips, to which Storm agrees.
They come across an entrance, a steel door built into the ground, which Domino believes is the way in. Vines have been cleared away and the area’s been swept for footprints. She pulls on the door and it opens with a KREEEEEEEK. “Once more into the breach,” Domino quotes before leading the team down the darkened stairway.
They come upon a room filled with missiles, but it looks like it’s been abandoned for decades. However, the lights work so there’s still electricity. Domino finds a duct-taped power cable and says the place seems hastily thrown together. Storm hopes the vampire’s security is equally as inept.
That’s when the lights suddenly go out. The blackness is quickly replaced by some bright halogen lights, shining directly on the X-Men. When they regain their sight they find the Forgiven standing on the deck in front of them. Raizo Kodo defends the primitive accommodations on their need to relocate a lot. He then says they need to have a talk.
All Storm wants to know is where Jubilee is and threatens him if the next thing out of his mouth isn’t her exact location. Raizo doesn’t like being threatened, and so those aren’t the first words out of his mouth.
At Storm’s command Warpath tosses a stake straight at him. However, Raizo’s no ordinary vampire. He snatches it out of the air before it can smash through his chest plate. This riles up Visigoth who’s tired of being attacked just for being a vampire. I told you they wouldn’t listen, he chides Raizo.
Domino doesn’t care for Visigoth’s whining and uses her crossbow to fire an arrow in his direction. An ace with his revolver, Quickshot shoots the arrow before it reaches its target.
Seeing her X-Men thwarted twice already Storm yells at her team to get into formation. Just then Nighteyes comes leaping from on high toward her. She has her staff poised to strike.
Nearby, Visigoth chooses his opponent, Warpath, who’s more than happy to take on the comparably-sized vampire.
That leaves the two sword-wielders to face off. Raizo already has his sword out, poised and ready. Psylocke reaches behind her back and draws out hers. Raizo makes the first move, which Psylocke deftly dodges and counters. She moves in for a chest strike, but Raizo is more than prepared.
Sensing Psylocke trying to enter his mind he resorts to a more physical attack. Betsy’s kept on the ropes as Raizo continues to outmaneuver her. He manages to grab her hand and break her grip on her sword. He then flips Psylocke over onto her back.
The battle with Warpath and Visigoth is much more physical. It appears as though Warpath is beating him back. A left-handed hook rocks Visigoth, black blood flying from his mouth. “Say goodnight fang boy!” Warpath snides.
However, Visigoth isn’t fighting with just his fists. He whips out a mace attached to a chain and, swinging it upward, cracks Warpath in the jaw. James goes crashing backward into a computer terminal. “Okay. Now I bring the hurt,” he sneers as he wipes the blood from his mouth.
Nearby, Storm blocks Nighteyes barrage of staff strikes. Storm tells her she’ll be sorry she started this fight, but Nighteyes reminds her they started the whole thing. Storm tries kicking her in the face, but misses. She tells Nighteyes she has trust issues with vampires. Trying to explain the Forgiven are different, Nighteyes gets a fist to the mouth for her troubles.
The two gun wielders go at it, too. Both of them ending up shooting the guns out of each other’s hands. Domino’s hand is throbbing from the impact. She compliments Quickshot on his speed, but he’s a cocky one and tells her she got lucky.
A mist surrounds Domino and out of it comes Ghost Blade. He cracks the back of Domino’s neck with the hilt of his sword. She crumples to the ground. Wanting to ensure she won’t get back up he raises the sword behind his head and readies for the killing blow.
Enter Jubilee, finally, who tackles Ghost Blade before he can strike. She quickly gets back to her feet and yells for everyone to stop. It has the intended effect and the fighting ceases. Raizo turns to Jubilee and apologizes for how things turned out.
Cue Storm, who takes Jubilee by the arms and asks how she could have abandoned them without saying anything. She brings up Wolverine’s blood transfusions, but this is exactly why Jubilee left. She didn’t want to be dragged back to Utopia for “her own good.”
This infuriates Storm who says Jubilee could have resorted to killing someone without Wolverine’s blood. “But I haven’t,” Jubilee screams back. Then she grabs the sides of her head out of frustration and apologizes, saying that living off Wolverine’s blood was not something she wanted to do for the rest of her life. She wanted something different.
At this point, Raizo jumps into the conversation. He asks Storm to please trust them, and explains the Forgiven walk a different path and have only been trying to help Jubilee find hers. Jubes says it’s been difficult, but she’s been learning, and she feels she’s at a crossroads, maybe finally realizing who she really is.
Breaking up this tense, heartfelt moment is Colossus who has the Zapata brothers tucked under his arms. He says he picked up the two bozos on the Blackbird’s radar and didn’t want them sneaking up on their blindside. He drops them on the ground, their machine guns slung around his steely shoulder.
“Wrestlers?” Inka asks incredulously. Raizo asks who they are and what they were doing there. Colossus says he already asked them and they said they were collecting a bounty on a vampire named Raizo Kodo. This piques Raizo’s interest, of course.
Colossus picks Gus up by his head and screams in his face to spill his guts. Scared silly, Gus starts yammering about a bounty, an open contract, which means everyone got the word. He says the bounty is so huge that every heavy hitter will be interested.
This is why we keep our base of operations mobile, Raizo comments. But Jubilee argues, asking why they should believe a couple of wrestlers. However, Inka, who’s down near the computer monitors verifies everything.
The security cameras are picking up six different mercenaries. The powerful goon, Bruiser has just made his way to the beach. Lady Bullseye is stalking through the forest. And there’s Fifolet, and his army, having disembarked from their ship and making their way toward the Forgiven’s base. Three others can also be seen making their way too, Deadpool, Black Axe and Scorpion.
“They’re coming here. And they’re coming fast,” Inka warns them.