(Not long ago)
The Arbor Magna, Krakoa, where the Five – Hope Summers, Egg, Proteus, Tempus and Elixir – stand over several pods. 'Remember, it's just her claws, Proteus' Egg tells his teammate. 'Right, Egg. Just her – wait, what?' Proteus asks, when suddenly, Laura Kinney a.k.a. Wolverine bursts through her pod, claws at the ready. 'Whoops. I thought all Wolverines had metal bones. My bad, my bad. So, is... is this a mulligan?' Proteus asks, while Professor Xavier appears and takes Laura, welcoming her home. 'Moving on' Egg frowns at Proteus.
Meanwhile, on Arrako, the first mutant world and capital of Sol, Rogue sits on a grass-covered hillside, large weapon in one hand while the reddish sky glows down on her. She announces that she is in position, and that the target is coming into position now. She raises the weapon and looks through the target. 'Smile, you son of a -' Rogue begins.
The Treehouse, on Earth, where the heroic X-Men are meeting in their communications room. Everett Thomas a.k.a. Synch informs his teammates that their collaboration with Forge worked like a charm, as the scanner rifle can take a complete snapshot across spectrums to give them total information awareness of an entire installation with a single trigger pull. The X-Men look up at large screens, which show a variety of blueprint schematics. Rogue, wearing her classic yellow and green costume now, reports that she scanned Arakko's moon – occupied moon – Phobos. She states that Orchis has created a denser gravity, a breathable atmosphere under a dome and a direct-to-Earth teleportation gate. Shiro Yoshida a.k.a. Sunfire states that Orchis already have considerable defenses. 'And the position is reinforced daily -' he begins, while Rogue points out that it is not ust a military outpost for Orchis, it is also a public relations boondoggle, as human civilian guests are present at random intervals. “Human shields” Lorna Dane a.k.a. Polaris quotes as she draws an “X” in the foam of her coffee.
'Exactly' Scott Summers a.k.a. Cyclops agrees. He wears his Captain Krakoa costume and tells his teammates that Feilong is a proud man, and clever, so they should not underestimate him or any of his post-human allies. Synch motions to something on the screen and asks what it is. 'Is that a mutant?' he enquires. 'Yeah. It's... Nightcrawler's body' Rogue reveals. Sunfire explains that Nightcrawler died on Phobos saving Arakko prior to Feilong's landing, and his remains now appear to be part of the décor. 'Ah don't think he shoulda decorated with mah friend' Rogue remarks, while Wolverine remarks that there is adamantium up there, too. 'Yes, unfortunately Logan's left enough metal skeletons for Orchis to make a hall of Wolverines' Jean Grey points out. Wolverine declares that there is one alive, and Sunfire realizes that she is right. Wolverine puts her mask on and tells the others that it is a smaller amount of metal, enough for a woman or a child – and that it is in a box. 'Whoa. Let's talk about -' Jean suggests, but Wolverine scowls at her: 'Try to stop me' she snarls.
A short time later on Phobos, inside one of the Orchis facilities. Orchis personnel receive a shipment inside large crates, and one of them announces that it is the last shipment for the day. 'See you guys tomorrow' another of them calls out. Nearby, Feilong is taking a tour with several students, who bow before him and take photos with their phones. 'Thank you, Feilong' one of them calls out in their native Chinese. 'Of course, we do anything for our children' Feilong responds, before he tells the children that as of their return home, they are now officially China's youngest non-terrestrial explorers. He instructs them to go back through the quantum tunnel to their parents, and the children walk through the portal within the Orchis facility, and vanish. A short moment later, Feilong turns to one of the newly arrived crates when he hears a SNIKT noise, before he steps through the quantum tunnel himself, and disappears.
The crate where the SNIKT was heard is suddenly cut open by Wolverine's deadly claws, and Laura Kinney emerges from the crate. The plan was hatched in less than an hour, but it was almost a day before Orchis troops carried Wolverine onto Phobos. She tosses aside an oxygen tank which she used to stay alive, and stretches before she starts to explore the facility. The idea was to get in and out before anyone knew she was there. The X-Men took bets on how long that plan would last. Laura was irritated by this and wondered if they would have taken bets if this was Logan's mission. She pauses at a corridor while remembering Cyclops telling her that Logan would have opened the betting. Laura hangs from beams running above the corridor as two Orchis soldiers walk underneath her. None of the X-Men tried to talk her out of sneaking onto Phobos. The black science that conjured her from Weapon X's DNA cloned many sisters of Laura Kinney – so if there was even the tiniest chance that one had been captured, Laura would stop at nothing.
Laura drops down behind the soldiers, then shoves her claws into a control panel on a nearby wall, which opens the door to a darkened room. The full defensive capabilities of Phobos are still being analyzed, and Krakoa's telepathic EAR – Earth-Arakko-Relay – satellites, are a secret, so telepathic silence is to be maintained unless in an emergency. Wolverine approaches the stasis tank, connected to several cables, and she uses her claws to slice the cables. If she was to fight, she would go it alone. 'Hang on -' Wolverine calls out '- I'll have you free in a sec' Wolverine tells whoever is inside the tank – and then regrets her decision. 'Oh, hell' she utters as Lady Deathstrike growls and leaps from the tank, her own claws at the ready, she asks 'Where's Stasis?' as she lashes out at Wolverine. 'I'll kill you all!' Deathstrike shrieks. They back away from each other and Wolverine tells Deathstrike to hang on. 'You're a prisoner of -' Wolverine begins, '- the X-Men?' Deathstrike asks. 'He traded me to Krakoa'.
Wolverine retracts her claws and explains to Deathstike that she found her here, and that she doesn't want to fight her, but if she had to, then it would go as well as the last time the two of themscrapped. 'If you didn't want a fight... you said the wrong thing!' Lady Deathstrike snarls as she lashes out, striking blood as her claws rake across Wolverine's arm. 'Tsk' Wolverine mutters as she pops her own claws. 'I tried the easy way' Wolverine frowns as she lunges towards Deathstrike, then suddenly, she pops the claws between her toes, and shoves them into Deathstrike's stomach, causing her to scream in pain. Deathstrike keels over, clutching her wounds, while Wolverine tells her to listen, and explains that she thought she was someone else. Deathstrike gasps, and Wolverine tells her to heal up – but Deathstrike reveals that she can't, and collapses to the ground, hitting her head with a THUD.
Deathstrike props herself up, and utters 'It's... the damn metal... the adamantium'. Wolverine goes over to her, and realizes that the adamamtium is poisoning Deathstrike. 'I've seen it before. It'll be the end of us all' she adds. 'Me first' Deathstrike replies. 'What little there is left of me to be able to be poisoned to death'. She reveals that Dr Stasis said he could help her, then changed his mind, said she was more machine than human, so Orchis passed her between their mad scientists. 'Where on Earth am I?' Deathstrike then asks. 'Wrong planet' Wolverine replies, before extending a hand. She tells Deathstrike that it is a long story, and suggests they get out of here.
Wolverine helps Deathstrike to walk and they exit the room where she was being held captive. Wolverine tells Deathstrike that the teleporter is just up the way. Wearily, Deathstrike asks Wolverine why she is helping her. 'Why're you asking? Would you prefer to be on your ass?' Wolverine responds. Suddenly, she picks up a scent. '$#%&' she mutters. 'Feilong came back'. Indeed, Feilong is watching on a monitor and sees Wolverine and Deathstrike making their escape, entering a part of the complex where orchid flowers are being grown. 'I left my glasses, and I turn the lights back on to find the cockroaches scurrying about'.
Back at the X-Men's Treehouse: 'Wolverine's been found out!' Jean Grey announces. Rogue and Sunfire look unhappy as they hand some cash over to a smirking Polaris, while Synch asks Jean what the plan is. 'Hang on' Jean tells him.
'Such a shame. The orchids were coming along nicely' Feilong remarks as he presses a button on the monitor station in front of him.
'Jean, if you can hear me – he's venting us into space. Ask Rogue how she is – at catching a fastball special!' Wolverine projects her thoughts to Jean as she holds onto Deathstrike, and the two of them are blasted into space, along with the orchids.
'Rogue – fly now!' Jean cries out telepathically. Rogue vanishes in a blur, and a trip to the Healing Gardens is in order for the x-Men who were deafened by Rogue's supersonic boom. The X-Men have no direct gate from the Treehouse to Arakko, so Rogue flies into a gate to Krakoa, in order to slingshot to the next planet over.
'Guide me in, Jeannie' Rogue projects her thoughts as she is propelled through the gateways. Jean reports that Wolverine and Deathstrike are dropping too fast though space. Rogue asks if they are alive, and Jean tells her that they are – for the moment. Rogue flies up from Arakko, 'Then that's all ah need. Back when we played softball at the school...I was a golden glove' Rogue smiles.
Later, back at the Treehouse. 'How's the patient?' Cyclops asks as he enters the medbay, where Wolverine stands over Deathstrike, who has been hooked up to blood. 'She'll live. Thanks to some high-octane Wolverine blood' Laura replies. Cyclops puts a hand on Wolverine's shoulder and tells her that she did great. 'Reminded me of what you said back at the Gala' he adds. Wolverine remembers the Gala, where she was caught off-guard, prawns skewered on her claws as she told mutantkind that she knew Synch was throwing his vote to her, and promised them that she was not worth taking ahead of him, but that she didn't want to use her claws to do anything other than help people, so if that's what they wanted, then she was in.
'Good news!' Synch calls out as he enters, carrying boxes of takeout food. 'I walked to House of Nanking. Dinner's on!' he remarks, before adding that trying to ignore Rogue and Destiny is getting to be a bummer. Cyclops takes one of the takeout boxes and tells Synch that it is easy to look like you're ignoring someone or something from behind a visor. 'I highly recommend it' he adds.
'Thanks, Wolverine' Deathstrike calls out. Wolverine looks over and sees that Deathstrike has gotten up from the table and is not hooked up to the blood supply. 'You're up?' Laura asks. 'Want to stay for Chinese?' Deathstrike waves and replies 'Nah... gotta fly' as she leaps out of the Treehouse. 'You're welcome' Wolverine smiles.
Standing near Krakoan portal, Rogue looks at Irene Adler a.k.a. Destiny and tells her that there are always going to be things to fix, but that she is acting like this world needs to be burned to the ground. 'Sometimes fire -' Destiny begins, but Rogue interrupts her, telling her that she is wasting her gifts. 'What a shame it is for you to return and spot all the icebergs... and then delight as we plow into them' Rogue snaps as she turns and walks away. Destiny pauses, before calling out after Rogue, telling her that she will come to see things her way, and that she doesn't relish it. 'It will change you' she adds, before stepping through the portal, she tells Rogue 'You already know the way to Gameworld. As your husband's “small blind”'.
Rogue soon steps into another area of the Treehouse, where her husband Remy LeBeau a.k.a. Gambit is playing cards with Forge, Black Cat and the Thing. 'Aw, crud. I think we're about to get our butts kicked again' the Thing mutters. Rogue ignores that comment and asks Remy if she can borrow him, assuring him that it won't take long. Gambit then excuses himself from the game.
Rogue and Gambit sit in a communications room, with Gambit reclining in a chair, feet up on a desk, he asks Rogue if she is sure about this. 'She said “small blind”' Rogue quotes Destiny. 'Well, don't tell him that's my name for him, or he'll rip off my face and -' Gambit begins, when suddenly, 'Hey, Rocky!' Rogue exclaims as Rocket Raccoon appears on one of the monitors. 'Anna Marie! You know, you're the only one I let call me that' Rocket remarks, before asking Rogue why she only hits him up when she needs something. 'Who says I need something, Sugah?' Rogue grins at Rocket. 'Wait – he's “Sugah”?' Gambit asks, so shocked that he sits up in his chair and drops some of his playing cards. 'C'mon, what kinda rube do ya think I am?' Rocket asks. 'Well, I did want to talk to you about Gameworld' Rogue admits.
Rogue can only see Rocket's face on her screen, and Rocket responds by saying 'Gameworld, huh? I'm guessing it's about the “high-stakes games” that I, uh, don't know nothing about. I dunno why you think I'd know about this place – I mean, that place. I mean – okay? What do you want to know?' as he stands on a chair at a table where he plays a game with several other aliens within Gameworld.