Nate Grey arrived on this Earth from a different time and place, a place where Apocalypse reigned and humanity suffered in his wake. By thrusting a shard of the M’kraan Crystal into the chest of Holocaust, his own world ended and he was mysteriously transported elsewhere. There are moments when he allows himself to wonder if that cold and colorless place, more shadow than light, was only a nightmare. More often, Nate suspects that this is the dream. For the first time ever, he prays that it is. The very sight of the impossible being before him evokes the all-too-familiar sound of shouts and screams shattering the long night. He can smell the sickening stench of burnt and broken bodies on the breeze; the bitter taste of blood in the air.
(Present - Greece)
He stands and sees Holocaust bearing down on him; Holocaust, who, like himself, shouldn’t really be here. Holocaust explains that he tracked him down to this island paradise. Nate’s expression alone is worth abandoning the advantage of surprise. Now that he has his attention, he smashes Nate with his huge fists and sends him hurtling across the beach, to the horror of sun-worshippers enjoying themselves on the sand. Using his telekinesis to prevent the rocks from smashing his young body, Nate slowly gets to his feet, telling the shocked onlookers that he has psionically shunted the brunt of the rock fall, but the butcher won’t hesitate to cut everyone down, like…
“Chattel of course,” adds Holocaust, as he unleashes a burst of bio-nuclear microwave energy from his armor. “You can’t mean to tell me you’ve become attached to them here as well, boy; such small and fragile playthings.” The blast destroys the rocks further, forcing Nate to extend his own power to protect the innocents around him.
A mere moment ago, Threnody was relaxing in the warm currents, drifting peacefully around the cove, when, being a rare breed of mutant with the ability to sense the energies of the dying, she suddenly sensed a great deal of pain, pulsing through every vein in her body. She is empathically connected to death’s dark side, and she screams. Believing Nate down for the count, Holocaust telepathically contacts Onslaught and informs him that his job is done and that he will deliver the boy to him.
To his surprise, Nate shouts over, asking who dares share his telepathic call. He telekinetically blasts the rock from above him and, carrying a woman in his arms, he emerges from underneath them, surrounded by numerous bodies. He asks who would answer for the near-death of this innocent woman. Holocaust replies that it’s the one who sent him, the one who shields him from Nate’s so-called psi-scans. His employer is interested in him and him alone. He’s the one who gets to reel him in. Nate grimaces. He barely had time to erect a TK shield around everyone and can’t tell if they’re all okay.
He looks into the air and sees Holocaust high above him. He lays the woman on the beach and informs Holocaust that these are people; human beings one and all with lives and loves they’ll never know about. They are not pawns in some perverse game. He flies at Holocaust and orders him to keep away from them. Nate’s speed appears to catch Holocaust by surprise.
Threnody staggers onto the beach, recovering from the sudden surge of death energy. She sees the beach and realizes something awful has happened. She starts running and calls Nate’s name, seeing only an outstretched arm hanging lifelessly from a pile of rock.
Despite the drizzle, Paris still shines. To avoid the shimmer and shine of the city of lights, one seeks shelter behind closed doors. Inside the house of Selene, shadows linger, silence echoes and from the oddly Romanesque halls to the sumptuously appointed guest chambers. It stands dark and still. The mutant mistress of immortality has been a long time gone now and, in her absence, she has uninvited visitors.
Madelyne Pryor carries a lamp to light her way through the old house, followed closely by the maid, Ella. She knows this manse better than she knows herself; literally. Her past is a puzzle, shrouded in questions and confusion about her very existence before meeting Nate Grey. In the weeks she has lived here, Madelyne has explored every inch of her horizons, accompanied by Ella. She is pleasantly surprised to find very few boundaries she could not cross. The locked door before her, however, is a mystery, finally demanding to be solved.
She smashes the lock and enters, gasping at the scene of horror that greets her. Ella tells her that they shouldn’t be there and she should never have shared the secret of her employer’s concealed staircase. They must leave now, as she is coming. A noise gets Madelyne’s attention but she dismisses it as the wind, picking through the cracks in the rotten wood. She is wrong.
“Party’s over girls,” comes a voice from inside the room, “Selene has returned.” Selene smiles as she looks right at the two women, surrounded by a host of bodies whose life has been sucked right out of them. She informs Madelyne that she is at the height of her powers, brimming with the collective life-essence of an entire clan of Externals. However, she adds, a dark tempest grows on the horizon, promising turmoil and tumult, unmatched in all her centuries on this plane. Her heir apparent must mark her path through these dark times ahead if they are to survive.
Nate Grey and Holocaust continue their battle unabated, high in the air. Nate attacks, but it has little effect on Holocaust’s armor. His foe tries to explain that their mistake on this world was working against each other. They are wasting their energies. Powers like theirs, combined, can be used to wash away all the troubles and strife that plague these pathetic flatscans of his. Nate vehemently replies, “Never, Holocaust!” adding that he will never allow him, or his demon-sire to purge life on this planet, in more rivers of human blood. Holocaust fizzles with power and tells him he has become quite a confident young man. He informs Nate that he no longer serves the Apocalypse he once knew. A new alliance has been forged. He told him Nate was dying, consumed by the fires within. Nate is smashed down and plummets to the ground amidst an ancient ruin. He uses a TK shield to cushion his fall, but still hits the rock with force. As he drops, Holocaust tells him that the man behind the mask of Onslaught would save Nate from himself.
While all this is going on, Threnody comes across a woman lying amongst a pile of shattered rocks. She asks her to take it easy as the woman groans. She looks like she has a couple of broken ribs and maybe even a broken arm. Threnody tells her she needs a hospital, but the woman is more concerned with her husband. He lies nearby, crushed under a larger rock. Threnody moves across to him and notices that he reeks of death. It assaults her senses on an almost physical level the closer she gets. He sounds like he’s in unimaginable pain and, as she reaches out, her eyes light up.
Madelyne is dressed in a new black costume. Black thigh-length boots with violet collars and black tights with a violet waistband are matched by the top and gloves. A gold chain belt completes the look. She explains to Ella that she was shocked upon seeing the dead guests at first, but she could hardly call them prisoners, as they were behind a door, unlocked from within. They were simply guests of Selene’s that outstayed their welcome, just as she said. They were drowned in wine and soft satin, each and every face enrapt. They were victims of their own desire, from all appearances. Ella reluctantly agrees, but adds that as with so much else in the shadow of Mistress Selene however, appearances can so often be….
Selene interjects. “Captivating.” She hopes she didn’t interrupt anything, but she was eager to see if she’d made the right selection. She checks out Madelyne’s new outfit and thinks it’s not exactly this year’s Seventh Avenue style statement, but it’s all the rage in her circles, and it suits Madelyne. Fits like a glove, all over, she replies, which makes her more than a little curious about this ‘old chum’ she’s so anxious for her to connect with. She asks how she’ll find this ‘Rob Roy’ of hers once she reaches London. Selene replies that it doesn’t matter; he will most certainly find her.
Holocaust has gained the upper hand in battle. He taunts Nate, informing him that he’s weaker, whether he knows it or not. He’s hardly the mutant Holocaust faced back home. Nate asks him to guess again. Threnody had just gotten through to him, finally convincing him of the wisdom of his old friend, Forge’s, warnings. He needs to control his psi-power before it kills him. Knowing that, he held back, at first. Nate then launches another attack, dragging many of the marble columns apart with his telekinesis and hurling them at holocaust with devastating force.
The skeletal face of Holocaust looks back at him and tells him that his attack, though impressive, was ultimately ineffective. With no cosmic crystal to protect him this time, no blood-red splinter to counter his own blazing flame, he is as good as theirs. He retaliates with his own display of power, reminding Nate just how quick he can be, and how ruthless.
As Nate descends uncontrollably down the cliff face towards the beach, Threnody is recovering from her latest experience. The sunbathers are trying to find friends and relatives amongst the rubble. The woman Threnody tried to help earlier asks her if her husband will live. Threnody holds her head. Nothing like that has ever happened before. She’s felt the suffering of others in her mind, but never physically touched the pain of one at first hand. She’s never shared the agony before and she’s beginning to hunger for more.
Holocaust, meanwhile, follows Nate, giving him no time to recover as he gives Nate another blistering burst of energy, which Nate just manages to deflect using a TK shield. Nate is all that stands between Holocaust and the innocent humans, and shouts to Holocaust that there’ll be no more victims. Their salvation will be his. Threnody watches the battle, with tears welling up in her eyes. The kid makes enemies faster than she does, she thinks. It’s strange that she’s practically monitored the world for Sinister, yet she doesn’t recognize the flying furnace he’s facing. How could she not know who he is? She doesn’t understand what’s going on here, but she’s certain that Nate can’t maintain a telekinetic buffer of that size and strength forever. She is equally sure that he’ll ignore the danger to himself; the risk of burning out again, as long as there’s a single survivor here.
Threnody turns to the woman and tells her that her husband can’t be moved, and she should help get the others to safety. She turns to the husband, half lying under the rock. Half his body is as good as gone, crushed under the weight of the boulder. He’s suffocating before her very eyes, still so desperate to hold on. It hardly takes more than a push to send him over the edge. Threnody holds his hands and screams as his life ebbs away. She is thrown backwards and, as she recovers, she admits that she enjoyed the rush she got when he passed on.
Holocaust looks over and sees what she did. “Interesting. A proactive empath of some sort, I gather.” He temporarily ignores Nate and leaps towards Threnody, who is somewhat the worse for wear. Nate needs answers and asks him who this Onslaught is he now serves. Who on this world needs him so? Holocaust grabs Threnody by the hair. He replies that the answer to that might be given if he comes with him, voluntarily. If he doesn’t, then some persuasion is necessary.
Threnody orders Nate not to give in, not for her. She’s been halfway through deaths door most of her life. She’s not scared of dying, but she won’t carry him on her conscience. She tells Nate that he doesn’t really know what she’s really capable of. Even she doesn’t know anymore. She begs him not to give in, but Nate apologizes and drops to his knees. That isn’t even a choice. He tells Holocaust he is all his.