‘I remember this all as if it happened yesterday, but…it actually happened tomorrow!’ the holographic girl called Shard tells herself, currently thrust back into the future which she came from. ‘Get away from me!’ screams the odd mutant named Bantam as he falls from the roof of the Xavier’s Underground Enforcers headquarters. Shard watches as Bantam falls, with Fixx’s psionic fairies darting all around him. For Fixx was the first to notice that Bantam had taken the bait and bolted. After all the trouble Shard and the other had gone through to betray their oaths as Xavier’s Security Enforcers, and break Bantam out of the mutant detention center, it wasn’t going to be this easy for Bantam.
The X.U.E. decided that it might make Bantam a little more cooperative if he got to see them in action. Although Fixx’s psionic fairies appear to drive Bantam over the edge, he had still to meet Greystone - who, increases his mass and catches Bantam in his hand, ‘booga booga!’ he shouts, trying to scare Bantam. Watching him, Shard decides that Greystone, the great Maori warrior, is nothing more than an overgrown kid. Shard admits though that when Greystone gets all big, his war mask can look rather scary. ‘I’m surprised Bantam didn’t give up right then and there’.
But Shard supposes that Bantam’s fear of his boss was greater than anything they can throw at him. The X.U.E. want his boss, for if what the rest of this band of traitors tell Shard is true, and she prays that it is true, then Bantam, and the man he works for, can be the ticket to changing this whole screwed up world - changing things so that it will not get screwed up in the first place. ‘Did I believe it could be done? I’m still not sure’. But Shard wants it to be true more than anything she has ever wanted in her life, which is why she joined the traitors.
Archer appears and puts the finishing touches on Bantam’s rapidly crumbling bravado by blasting at him. Shard cannot figure Archer out, as he has always been such a by-the-book kind of guy, like her brother, Bishop. Shard cannot place Archer in a group of traitors to Xavier’s Security Enforcers. ‘I still don’t get it. Maybe I never will’ she thinks as she watches the scenes unfold. Bantam cowers, she knows he is ready to make a deal. Now it was time for a friendly face. Time for Shard. Bantam spins around, and finds his face against a weapon. ‘It’s only you! What can I do for you? Anything!’ Bantam exclaims as he falls to his knees before Shard, who grins and tells Bantam that she is not going to ask him again.
‘We went to a lot of trouble to break you out of your X.S.E. holding cell. Now, once and for all, I want Fitzroy!’ Shard exclaims. Bantam replies that he wants to help, he really does, but ‘Ask me anything else! Anything!’ he pleads as Shard shoves the weapon against Bantam once more, but Bantam declares that if he gives Fitzroy up, Fitzroy will kill him. ‘Your choice. Stand up against the wall!’ Shard orders. Shard begins to ask Bantam if he wants a blindfold, before deciding against it, telling him that it will be quick. ‘Wait!’ Bantam exclaims. ‘Talk to me!’ Shard declares, her eyes flashing.
Bantam gives Fitzroy up, and actually drew the X.U.E. a map, giving them codes to get into Fitzroy’s latest den of iniquity. Shard thinks to herself that Fitzroy always felt like a man out of place in their time, and even though the two of them trained in the same X.S.E. academy class, but Fitzroy never liked it, they all knew he would never be one of them. Shard thinks that it was as though Fitzroy was there to study them all so that when he launched his criminal career he would truly know those who would pursue him, for the X.S.E. are a policing agency, mutants policing mutants in the name of Xavier’s dream. This dream though led to the Sentinels and mutant slave camps. A dream which led to the Summers Rebellion and to a world struggling to rise from the ashes of a world gone mad. A failed dream - a dream, which with Fitzroy’s help…might live again.
At Fitzroy’s place, men and women take drugs and writhe together. ‘You bore me!’ the green-haired, topless Fitzroy tells a woman who sits at his feet. ‘You all bore me!’ he shouts, when, suddenly, there is an explosion, shattering open the large steel doors. ‘Excitement at last?’ Fitzroy wonders as four individuals clad in black from head-to-toe appear, ‘No one move!’ the larger, bulky one exclaims. The X.U.E. decided to go in disguise, as they didn’t want anyone to connect them with the X.S.E. Not that, if all went as planned, it would matter. Because there would be no X.S.E., or any need for it.
Fitzroy touches the head of the woman at his feet, ‘Come, me dear! You are needed for my part in this little game. Or rather…your life force is needed for me to open up a portal with its energies!’ Fitzroy exclaims while the rest of the people scram. Fitzroy wonders who the intruders are: ‘Rivals seeking to make a name for themselves?’ he wonders, ‘Some vendetta for a past offense?’, but decides that the questions are best left unanswered, and makes his way towards a portal he has just opened.
Shard asks Greystone to clear her a path and get her close to Fitzroy so she can take him out. ‘Consider it cleared and you closer!’ Greystone replies, as he throws Shard across the chamber. Fitzroy is knocked off-course, ‘Stick around, Fitzroy!’ Shard exclaims, while Fitzroy asks her what she is doing. ‘My portal! It’s going to -’ he begins. ‘Explode?’ Shard finishes his sentence as Fitzroy lands on the ground. Fitzroy remarks that no gun could do that, as it takes something much more. ‘A special mutant power. One which I’ve seen before!’ he exclaims as Shard places her hand on his head. Fitzroy knows that it is Shard, and grins as he asks her how she is doing. ‘If you missed me this much, you could have just called. I would have gotten back to you eventually’ he smirks.
Shard orders the others to take him away, while memories flash through her mind as she begins to fall through the Time Continuum once more, and she remembers it all - everything that happened to her in the future I which she was born. ‘Archer. Fixx. Greystone. And Fitzroy. ‘We were going to change the world while using him. But it never happened…or did it?’. Shard remarks that it all happened, or not, in a different time and place. A place far away from here. ‘Wherever here is’. She adds, while thinking that she has no idea what happened to her after Sabretooth broke free and sliced through her. She does remember trying to protect Polaris, then only pain.
Shard realizes that she is falling fast, remembering things she doesn’t want to remember. ‘Fitzroy! I don’t want to remember any more! I don’t want to relive it! Why won’t it stop!?’ she cries out as countless green hands reach up and pluck her down, overwhelming her…then tossing her back in the Time Continuum.
‘Hello! Shard? I’m talking to you. If you’re going to interrogate me the least you can do is stay away!’ Fitzroy exclaims, bound and chained multiple times, while Shard sits next to him. ‘Yeah…sorry’ she mumbles, before Fitzroy asks ‘What is this place? Where’s big brother Bishop to play badder cop to your bad cop?’. Shard ignores that comment, and announces ‘I…we…need your help, Fitzroy’. Fitzroy just laughs, and admits that it is an unusual approach to an interrogation, but he is not buying it. ‘What do you really want?’ he demands, before realizing that this is not an X.S.E. operation.
Shard reveals that they want to fix it all, to make it so none of the bad old days ever happened. ‘No Sentinels, no camps…no nothing’. Fitzroy tells Shard that her delusional state is intriguing him, in fact, he finds it exciting, and tells her to continue. Shard explains that they want Fitzroy to try using his power to create a temporal portal to send a volunteer back through time, and, that volunteer, if they survived, would be linked to the rest of them, psionically, and should in theory be able to pull the others through. ‘Once there, we could prevent this world from ever happening!’ she exclaims.
‘And why would I want to do this?’ Fitzroy asks. ‘Because it would be right and…because if you do, you will go free and…we can be together’ Shard replies, carrying keys towards Fitzroy, before Fitzroy asks her if she really believes she can make a difference, that she could change everything. Shard replies that she has staked everything that she has ever believed in on it being possible. ‘Count me in. What do I have to do?’ Fitzroy replies. ‘Give me your word that you’re not going to betray us!’ Shard tells him, to which Fitzroy swears that he wants to change things.
Shard unlocks the cuffs around Fitzroy’s hands, and goes wide-eyed as he grabs her, pulling her close, he exclaims ‘Ah! That’s my girl!’ and tells her that things are going to change now. ‘You’ll see’ he tells her, before announcing that afterwards, it will be the two of them together again the way it always should have been. ‘You’ll like that…won’t you?’ he asks, when, suddenly, Greystone enters the room: ‘SHARD!’ he shouts, shifting into a larger form, he asks her what she is doing. ‘He’s not supposed to be free!’ Greystone exclaims.
Shard explains that Greystone has agreed to help them, when, suddenly, Fitzroy pulls on the massive chains that are attached to him as he remarks that they are going to have to learn if they can really trust Greystone sooner or later, and points a gun at Greystone while he wraps the chains around Shard’s neck and pulls her close. ‘Dear, sweet, innocent Shard...I almost regret doing this. But not too much!’ Fitzroy exclaims. Fixx and Archer enter the room while Fitzroy still aims the weapon at Greystone and holds Shard in his grasp. ‘Look at what has become of you since you and I parted company!’ he tells Shard, remarking that she is so easily manipulated, as if she was possessed by another.
‘Look at the company you are keeping!’ he exclaims, motioning to the X.U.E., before declaring that he cannot allow this to continue. ‘I think too much of you to allow you to associate with traitors’ he tells Shard, adding that even though the idea of time traveling through his portal is intriguing, the idea of changing the past is insane. ‘No, you are coming with me, dear Shard, we will attempt to rekindle what we have lost. You will learn to love me, or…I’ll kill you!’. Shard tells Fitzroy that he cannot get out of here, but Fitzroy motions to Greystone and exclaims that he can, but it will just take a little work, and the life force of the big guy.
Fitzroy begins to absorb Greystone’s life force, while Shard struggles to free herself from the chain around her neck. A portal opens, ‘Come, Shard, step through this portal with me and the world, and maybe time itself, will be ours!’ Fitzroy boasts as he pulls on the chain. ‘NO!’ Shard screams. ‘You have betrayed me for the last time!’. Shard draws on the energies around her, and refocuses them as a concussive blast, knocking Fitzroy away from the portal.
Archer congratulates Shard on nailing Fitzroy, before pointing out that although it may probe a little more difficult, they do not actually need Fitzroy’s willing cooperation. Fixx smiles as she declares that Archer is correct, and tells Shard that with a little time and her psionic fairies, Fitzroy will do whatever they want him to. Greystone, recovered from Fitzroy’s attack, suggests they get the power dampening restraints back in place, and locks Fitzroy up.
‘No! This isn’t right!’ Shard exclaims, declaring that this is not what she signed on for. She tells the others that she is going to take Fitzroy in to the X.S.E., assuring them that she will not betray them, but tells them Fitzroy might have been speaking the truth. ‘Maybe the mission is insane. Maybe we just can’t change the past. I’m done!’ she announces. But the X.U.E. stand together, in front of Shard, and Fixx tells her that it is not that easy. ‘You are one of us now!’ she exclaims, reminding her that they are psionically linked together, before declaring that they are going to go ahead with their mission. ‘We’ll find some way to get back to the past and then…you’ll be hearing from us!’
Suddenly, Shard slips into the Time Continuum again, and relives more of her past - the future - during which life goes on. Shard returned to the X.S.E., never speaking a word of the X.U.E. to anyone. She never ran into them again, but did hear lots of rumors about their individual exploits. She never did find out who the X.U.E.’s mysterious leader was, but a few months after she quit the team, she no longer cared. Then that was that one final mission - the one involving vampiric Exhumes. The vampiric Exhumes sucked the life out of Shard, and even though she was still walking, she died that day.
Shard knows that she would have stayed dead, if Bishop had not had the holographic matrix device uploaded with her brain patters. Then, Bishop took his jump back in time in order to apprehend Fitzroy, and Shard came along for the ride, only to die at the hands of Sabretooth. ‘Guess I know where holographic life forms go after they die’ she mutters, adding that if this is Heaven, it is not all it’s cracked up to be.
Suddenly, a voice exclaims ‘It’s Shard! She’s alive! Anchored in the past, in a human form. We can do it now!. Shard realizes that it is Fixx, as psionic fairies are floating around her. ‘The fairies...going into me…I feel so…so…’. Shard continues to fall.
‘…STRANGE!’ screams Lorna “Polaris” Dane, as she sits up in a bed in one of Forge’s labs at Falls Edge, finishing Shard’s sentence. Kyle “Wild Child” Gibney is sitting nearby, and alerts Forge that Polaris has regained consciousness. ‘They’re coming for me! They want to change it all! But they can’t! Can’t change the past!’ Lorna exclaims erratically. Kyle asks Forge what is wrong with Polaris, to which Forge replies that he doesn’t know, and remarks that Lorna’s brainwaves, blood pressure, respiration and body temperature are all off the charts.
Polaris tries to get up, but Wild Child holds her down as Forge orders. Forge adds that he is going to sedate her, but Lorna gets up, ‘No…’ she begins, ‘…use!’ Shard exclaims as her holographic form is expelled from Polaris’ body. Psionic fairies dart around as Shard exclaims ‘They’re here’. A confused Wild Child asks ‘Shard? How? Where? What are those things?’. The psionic fairies escape through a window, and Shard hangs her head. ‘They’re the future, Kyle. From now on, everything changes. Everything!’.
Later, Shard leaves Falls Edge in the middle of the night with only a duffel bag, and a letter left in her quarters for the others to find. Shard knows that Polaris will be fine, and thinks to herself that somehow, being “killed” by Sabretooth while phasing through Polaris’ body combined with Shard’s holo-matrix and Lorna’s physical structure. ‘The X.U.E. were linked to me this whole time!’ she exclaims. ‘Archer, Fixx and Greystone are out there somewhere’. Shard realizes that she was the anchor, but only while inside of Polaris’ body, which is the part of the plan they never told her about - they needed the bodies of people in this time to travel back to it.
Shard decides that she was right not to go along with their plan, and realizes that now she must find the three of them and make sure they don’t screw everything up. ‘Will they change the future? I don’t know. Now that they are in this timeline…they’re an X-Factor…’.