She is Storm and she does not do this often. Affecting the planet on such a scale as she currently does is unnatural and will have repercussions across the world, but time is of the essence. Thos she loves are in jeopardy. So she risks everything.
The wind pushes their plane past the upper atmosphere and, unless the craft breaks apart, it will take them down again a world away. Not the easiest way to travel, but the fastest at the moment.
Nezhno’s vibranium tattoos absorb some of the trauma. She, however, has no such protection. “Storm,” he whimpers. She ignores him and concentrates. There is too much at stake. She will not let people die because of her weakness.
Graymalkin Industries, Marin, the new headquarters of the X-Men. Cyclops, possessed by the Shadow King, has already taken down Pixie, Emma Frost and Dazzler as well as injured his old friend Angel. Fight it, Warren urges him, while holding his injured arm. Scott is stronger than this! He’s sorry, Cyclops replies. He was about to say the same thing to Warren. He has to do this. To save them all.
He doesn’t think so, Scott, Beast states as he attacks him from behind. Or rather not Scotty. He thinks he’ll go with mind control. They’ve all had enough of shapeshifters. It’s Emma, Scott chokes, she betrayed them! He let this happen. And now he has to save them.
Cyclops fires an optic blast at the wall in front of him. It ricochets several times, finally hitting Beast in the back. Warren flies Scott upward and tells him it’s not them, it’s him. He’s begging him, don’t make him fight Scott. He knows what he’s capable of.
Scott agrees. He hits him in the face with the back of his head. This isn’t a fight, it’s a rescue operation. They both land with Warren taking the brunt of the fall.
Karma enters, asking what’s going on. She gasps in horror a moment later, recognizing the shape rising from Cyclops. Farouk! Karma, he states. How he’s missed her.
Himself for a moment, Scott shouts at her to run. The Shadow King begins to psychically attack Karma, telling her Cyclops is resisting. He doesn’t know him the way she does. When you belong to the Shadow King, it’s forever! Karma screams.
Pixie flies at Scott, souldagger in her hand. She shouts at him to get away from Karma. He kicks her in the stomach. Nonono, Karma mutters and begs Pixie to kill her before he takes her again.
That moment, Storm and Nezhno enter via a skylight. Storm braces herself for the hard part. Shadow King or not, Cyclops is a force to be reckoned with, much like her husband.
Cyclops blasts away at Nezhno who apologizes as he goes for Cyclops’ throat.
And while her husband’s “tough guy” stance can bring men to their knees, Cyclops’ stare can punch through steel. She orders Nezhno to punch him out quickly.
Suddenly, Nezhno’s face contorts in hate as he accuses her of never being there for him. She realizes her chance is gone. He too is influenced by the Shadow King now.
Angrily, he lets go of Cyclops, reminding her she was supposed to be his teacher, his queen. She brought him to Xavier’s and look what happened! Why did she leave? Angel asks accusingly. Mutantkind is dying, Beast adds. They are going extinct and she left them.
Nezhno bulks up, reminding her that the students died. He was attacked, hurt, pulled into hell… all because of her. She abandoned them, Karma, continues. They needed her, Pixie adds.
She has already tormented herself for these decisions… these failures. The Shadow King attacks her directly, goading her that her mental defenses cannot keep him out. He can have Wakanda any time he pleases and the X-Men are his. It is over. She has lost.
And perhaps he is right, she thinks. Perhaps she has lost. Perhaps not. Never! she shouts and uses her winds to blow the others away. She concentrates on taking Xi’an out first. Always go for the psychics first. Nezhno will recover quickly, she hopes. As the vibranium absorbs the impact. He also has the most anger towards her, with the possible exception of Cyclops. The rest, she takes as they come.
She strikes Angel and Beast, but exhaustion and pain are making her sloppy. Logan would not approve.
Cyclops, in the meantime, has left and heads for Emma intent on finishing what he started. Storm notices and creates a tornado to blow them all, including Scott, outside.
Cyclops gets up. He remembers. Fight him, Storm urges him. He remembers how she humiliated him. With no powers, she beat him in front of everyone and she enjoyed it. This is not him, Ororo tries to remind him. Don’t let him do this. Now she has her powers. Now it’s his turn.
He unleashes a lethal optic blast at her, not holding back.. Storm uses lightning to deflect it. Is that all? she asks coolly. She attacks, still dodging his blasts.
She tries to mask the fear in her chest. But that fear is only eclipsed by anger, by defiance. Cyclops kicks her in the stomach.
The Shadow King played his game, and she promised to show him who she was. And now the moment has come. She knows who she is. She just prays she can live with herself after this.
Scott hits her in the head. On the ground, Storm states that Cyclops asked her who she was… X-Man or queen? She will tell the Shadow King. She is Storm. And she doesn’t have to choose. And if everyone she loves is in danger, then she will save everyone. And if she cannot beat him, she will make sure that his victims do not suffer!
She hits Cyclops with a bolt of lightning.
Scott falls. The Shadow King laughs in triumph as his psychic shape rises from Scott’s still body. Did she really think that would hurt him? he asks. He survived the death of his own body… did she think that a host’s death would do anything to him? But she… the stain on her soul will never go away. All the years they battled… her spirit was what attracted him to her. And now she is broken. He envelopes her and enters her. Now she is his.
In reaction, Storm begins to laugh. On the astral plane, he demands why she is laughing. He will find she does not digest well, Storm tells him. Burn in hell! He doesn’t understand.
Shadow King, comes another voice and he finds the Panther god standing above. He has much to answer for. No one touches his children! And the Panther God devours him.
In reality, Storm snaps out of it. The Panther god had agreed to her plan, hiding within her mind. The promise of vengeance for what the Shadow King did to T’Challa was too great not to put aside her pride.
She won, but at what cost? She starts giving Cyclops CPR, recalling that, for all their time together, Scott and she were never friends like she was with Jean or Kurt or Logan. He was always separate, above them. He was the leader. She understood. After all, she was the “goddess.” She knew his responsibilities. And now, because of her, this man is dead.
Get up! she orders. Open your eyes and get up! She keeps on administering CPR, fearing she will never get to tell him how he taught her to be an X-Man. He taught her to be who she is. She’ll never get to tell him how much she admired him, how he inspired her, how she envied him.
Finally, his arm reaches up to stop her. Welcome back, he states weakly. Thank you,she replies.
Wakanda, days later. T’Challa awakes in his bed, his wife next to him, braiding her hair. Did she deal with it? Of course, she replies haughtily. She is the queen of Wakanda and an X-Man. She does not need him to take care of such minor things! He married well, he states and hugs her. He has no idea, she laughs.
Later, the king and queen are dressed. Ororo explains that there has been no sign of the Shadow King’s influence within Wakanda or the X-Men. With any luck, the Panther god ate the monster. T’Challa admits he’s impressed. The Panther god never ate anyone for him. They have a connection; Ororo retorts. He would not understand. And Nezhno? T’Challa asks. He will return with her, she replies, to the X-Men.
Nezhno and the senior X-Men, Cyclops, Emma, Colossus, Beast, Nightcrawler and Wolverine, are waiting. T’Challa tells Cyclops he has three broken ribs and a fractured jaw. How did he fare? Lightning bolt to the heart, comes the reply. They are lucky men, T’Challa states. Now, let’s sit down and talk about how to never make her angry at them again. Cyclops agrees and shakes his hand.
Emma thanks Storm for saving Scott. In reply, Ororo thanks Emma for making him happy.
Later, Ororo flies above Wakanda. She is both queen and X-Man and whatever she wants to be. She is Storm and, for her, there are no such things as limits.