(Not too long ago)
'Welcome back to the MOJOWORLD+ live investor day special!' the gluttenous monstrosity called Mojo announces from his control booth, where he is surrounded by televisions and cameras. 'Hold for applause -' someone announces to Mojo, and as a loud applause is heard, Mojo tells his viewers that in just a bit they will have some major X-news. 'But before we get you your favorite and not-favorite mutants, let's have an exclusive update on the launch of Gameworld!'
A small green-skinned goat-like creature then interrupts Mojo, informing him that they have an emergency. 'Well, it's a good thing we're not really live, right, little mouse?' Mojo remarks, before asking what is so important. 'Somebody scary is here to see you. It's... it's a lawyer' the assistant utters, before quickly hiding behind a stack of televisions nearby.
Mojo leans over – as much as possible for him – and stares down at a small being with what appears to be a clam shell for a head, wearing a suit and carrying a tiny briefcase. 'Nothing is more important to the future of Mojoworld than gambling. I hope you don't bring bad news' Mojo tells the lawyer. The lawyer informs Mojo that it appears the majority of his shareholders have developed what amounts to a fungal infection. 'Fungal infection?' Mojo asks. The lawyer reports that while they were recovering, the board received an offer they could not refuse – their lives for the company's interest in the casino. The lawyer then asks Mojo what his instructions are. A furious Mojo narrows his eyes and glares at the lawyer: 'Damn Cordyceps Jones...Tell the money guys...make it look like we're shorting Earth. I want the highest jackpot to be the home of the X-Men and the Avengers...if I can't have Gameworld, THEN NOBODY CAN!' Mojo shouts, laughing, before adding that they will see how Cordyceps jones deals with the best of what that mudball Earth can throw at him.
The strange space station known as Gameworld. Earth has seen an uptick in the number of alien incursions after Arakko was reborn on Mars – but that was theb opposite of what was supposed to happen. Rather than wait for another extinction level event, the X-Men have gone on the offense. Those X-Men are Jean Grey, Rogue, Lorna Dane a.k.a. Polaris and Laura Kinney a.k.a. Wolverine, who have arrived dressed to kill, wearing their glamorous costumes from the previous Hellfire Gala they attended. A strange alien with several red eyes welcomes them and asks them what they are going to do first. 'The spas? The shopping?' to which Rogue opens a box, revealing a dark object inside. 'Is that Mysterium?' the alien enquires. Rogue assures the alien that they have more where this came from. The alien laughs nervously and tells the women that they have earned Gameworld's most generous line of credit. He welcomes them to Gameworld and wishes them the best of luck. 'We make our own luck' Wolverine snarls at him as the X-Men turn and walk away.
(A short time ago)
Down in Gambit's extralegal gambling den in the X-Men's Treehouse. Rocket Raccoon shuffles some playing cards and remarks that Gameworld's a new casino, and that if the players there are gambling on your fate, then it's bad luck for ya. 'One day, your planet exists, the next day, it's busted out. When somebody decides it's worth more dead than alive. Blam! That's it!' Rocket explains that there are corporations that go through and strip the world for parts – the money and suspicion are laundered through Gameworld, which is practically its own solar system, so it's not like there's strict accounting. Rocket reveals that there are psi-dampeners for security. 'Like that would ever stop Jean, right?' he laughs while flipping some cards over and states that there are psi-alarms, which is more problematic. 'Meat wrapped robots whose only gig is to sniff out the big brains. The joint's really something'. Rocket then adds that he is happy he got to see it once, before whatever the X-Men are about to do to it happens.
'Well, Rocket was right on the money. This place sure is something' Rogue remarks as she and the others walk past an area where extravagant clothing is on sale. 'Capitalism's final form. Gambling on the ruin of worlds' Jean tells her friends, adding that, as expected, the psi-dampeners are laughable, but the psi-alarms less so. 'So we stick to the plan' Polaris asks. Wolverine tells the others to have fun, and announces that she is off to play “the scrapper”. 'Be safe' Jean calls out as the women walk off in four different directions. 'Well, helloooo....' Lorna suddenly utters, coming to a stop in front of a very interesting green, yellow and white dress. She is fixated on the garment and decides that she has a few minutes.
On Earth, at the X-Men's Treehouse, where Shiro Yoshida a.k.a. Sunfire stands on one of the walkways linking various parts of the Treehouse. Two of the Avengers are with him – Captain Marvel and Iron Man. Sunfire thanks the Avengers for dropping in, and tells them that he didn't really notice an uptick in attacks from space. 'Wow. Seriously, Sunfire?' Iron Man responds, hands on his hips. Captain Marvel folds her arms and asks Sunfire if he knows how it looks to the Avengers. 'The X-Men blast into space in some big hurry and they leave you here to watch the planet. You're on goalie duty' Captain Marvel adds. Sunfire hangs his head, before replying 'If that were true... the goalie is the most important player on the team!'
At that moment, in a particularly evil part of New Jersey, Captain Krakoa (secretly Scott Summers in disguise) and Everett Thomas a.k.a. Synch are on the trial of the mysterious Dr Stasis. They climb down into a tunnel beneath the city, and as they trudge through the murky waters, Synch informs Captain Krakoa that the Avengers are at the Treehouse, and he used Jean's powers to listen in. 'Man, does everybody know which buttons to push on Sunfire?' he asks. Captain Krakoa tells Synch that is certainly true, but that he doesn't know if they would gain anything by lying to the Avengers. Captain Krakoa adds that Earth is a pinata on Gameworld because they took Mars. 'What's the upside of not telling the truth?' he asks. 'When you asked me to synch with Wolverine, I didn't know you'd be dragging my heightened senses into the sewer' Synch mutters. Captain Krakoa apologizes and adds that Logan always complained, too, and that he thought it was worth a shot to try to follow the monsters that attacked them. 'Actually, the monsters went to the right – and someone covered in your blood bumped up against the wall and went to the left' Synch reveals as he shines a torch down the tunnel. 'Then... we each have a path. Be safe' Captain Krakoa remarks as the men separate and go down a different tunnel each.
Back on Gameworld, Wolverine is perched on a column and looks down on the Gameworld security officers who stand below her. They suspect nothing. Wolverine suddenly drops down behind them. Just hard enough to be heard. Trying to get captured is a delicate balance. 'Heya, toots. Nice to meet you' a voice calls out. Wolverine is surprised, and the guards turn to her, a strange substance emerging from their mouths. 'You didn't think you could land on Gameworld and hide yer adamantium, did you?' one of them asks. 'What kind of casino would I run?' the other asks. Except it's not the guards speaking – it's Cordyceps Jones, the strange alien lifeform, who emerges from both of the guards. 'What kind of boss would I be?' Wolverine begins to cough, and covers her mouth as she collapses to the floor, and her body thrashes about. Cordyceps tells her to have more fun – as fungus, and to be a dear and introduce him to her friends.
At that moment beneath New Jersey,:'I guess Mr Stasis is getting rid of the evidence' Synch declares as he walks into a chamber where the tiger-creature called Bornan is throwing the bodies of other hybrid creatures into a large flaming furnace. 'He'll regrow us when he needs us, and... it's Doctor Stasis' Bornan corrects Synch, before he sniffs the air and adds 'Forgive me if I don't duck tail – for every mutant pretending to be the Wolverine!' Synch narrows his eyes and warns Bornan not to test him. Bur Bornan ignores that warning and leaps towards Synch, growling, his claws at the ready. Synch growls in response, and pops claws that he “borrowed” from Wolverine – and uses them to slice Bornan in half. 'You didn't let me finish. Fact is... I've been Wolverine longer than anyone alive' Synch boasts, as the two halves of Bornan fall into the water around him.
On Gameworld, Rogue is on a balcony overlooking the festivities below as Jean quietly speaks to her via radio communicator. She reports that thje engines are black holes, so if they sabotage them, none of them will get out of here alive. Jean adds that Wolverine should be back from security by now. Rogue tells her that she is on her way to rendezvous from her scout to meet Polaris. A moment later, Rogue turns around and exclaims 'Wait... did... did you go shopping?' as she sees Polaris wearing the dress from the shopping gallery earlier. 'I did – and I learned that Gameworld is run on slave labor' Lorna replies, while showing off her glamorous new outfit. She reveals that if the workers here get out of line, Cordyceps will allow wagers on their planets. Lorna then reports that Jean is in place, and that it is time for a distraction. She motions to some cyborgs on a podium nearby and explains that they are slot machines. 'Those are slot machines?' Rogue asks. 'They have easy buttons for me to press' Lorna points out, as she easily takes control of their mechanics, and causes hundreds of coins to be ejected from the slot machines, into the hands of the delighted crowd below.
Multiple house-breaking jackpots ring out across the floor, and security are ordered to the slot machines. They rush past Jean Grey, and all tge pawns are lured out as the queen slides into position. She finds several aliens standing around a table, using various controls to end a young world rich in resources. Jean only has one thought: 'Never again' before she gets the attention of the aliens, telling them that they have battered her home for amusement, trying to kill them off and break their planet apart to fund this grotesque palace she stands in. 'If you stay at this table and you seek to profit off the demise of my home... then you gamble more than you realize, and none of you are safe' Jean announces. A yellow-skinned alien laughs, and calls out 'A Terran broad gets to watch as I finish off her ugly mud ball. Look, toots, don't feel bad. I'm only betting what I already won, so...ha ha. What do I got to lose?' he asks. 'That hand for starters' Jean responds as she suddenly uses her telekinesis to break the alien's hand, causing him to cry out in pain and drop the dice he was holding.
'I was Marvel Girl. Now I am Jean Grey. I did not even let the Phoenix command me... so what chance do you have?' she asks the aliens. 'You attacked my home and sought to profit off our dead. Remember this day, when you received Krakoa's mercy. Now run for your lives' Jean warns the aliens, before she shouts 'Show yourself, Cordyceps Jones!'
The horrid fungi alien appears, connected to the two guards still, and with Wolverine under his control. 'Here I am, Red... in fact, I'm kind of all around you!' Cordyceps laughs, before admitting that he is impressed, although points out that he has Jean's friend, who has come to see things his way. Wolverine lunges at Jean, who knocks her back with a telekinetic shove. Cordyceps tells Jean not to feel bad though, because she is going to come around, too. 'You think everyone is afraid of me now? Wait till I've got the freaking former Phoenix wrapped around my little finger'. Cordyceps tells Jean to relax and breathe deep, and laughs as fungi spoors float around a horrified Jean Grey.
Back in the tunnels beneath New Jersey, 'Is it done, Bornan?' Doctor Stasis calls out when he hears someone enter his laboratory, where he sits reading some papers. 'Stand up, Stasis' comes the response – it's not Bornan. 'It's “Doctor,” actually' Doctor Stasis replies as he looks over to the entrance of the chamber and sees who his visitor is. 'Nice to have you here, “Captain Krakoa.” Doctor Stasis remarks, before he stands up and picks up his walking cane. 'But no need to charades down here, Cyclops. And you X-Men won't be able to mess with my mind a long as I'm wearing my mask' Doctor Stasis boasts. Cyclops steps forward, having discarded his Captain Krakoa disguise and tells Doctor Stasis that he needn't worry about his betters, as he is here alone. 'You came to face your nemesis...alone?' Doctor Stasis asks, confused. He reminds Cyclops that it didn't go so well for him the last time they were alone together. 'I don't know whether to laugh or to be insulted' Doctor Stasis adds.
Doctor Stasis attempts to punch Cyclops, but the X-Man ducks the blow, and then reaches forth with his own punch, smashing his fist into Doctor Stasis' helmet. 'Definitely feel insulted – but leave room for worse. I haven't begun to go to work on you yet'. Doctor Stasis crawls to reach his cane, which doubles as a sword, and tells Cyclops that he hates him. 'How can mankind not hate cancer?' Doctor Stasis asks as he attempts to strike Cyclops with the sword, but he misses. 'YOU PEOPLE ARE A DISEASE SPREADING FROM A BLOATED TUMOR OF AN ISLAND!' Doctor Stasis shrieks. Cyclops has dropped to the ground, and Doctor Stasis raises his sword overhead, bringing it down on Cyclops, who grabs it between his hands. 'AND BY MY SURGEON'S HAND – YOU WILL BE EXCISED!' Doctor Stasis boasts. 'I've heard it all before' Cyclops frowns, before he unleashes a powerful optic blast at close range.
The blast strikes Doctor Stasis with full-force, shattering his helmet and knocking him backwards across the laboratory. Cyclops is shocked. 'You' he utters, as he sees someone who looks like Mr Sinister staring up at him from beneath the broken helmet. 'I'm sorry...have we met?' Stasis, who sports a black club symbol on his forehead, smirks.