Sunday, 8:38 PM.
Manhattan, the Morlock Tunnels
He still thinks of it as the Cathedral. He remembers it polished and gleaming, washed in golds and silvers by the reflected sun. The sight of its smashed beauty stings. The man called Cable looks down into the large cavern through a hole in he floor. He heard a scream. He knows he’s too late, even as he jumps down. Where are you? he shouts out, adding that he looked for her telepathically ten minutes ago and – He breaks off. He knew it was too late, but he had to pretend anyway. Storm, is all he says, as he sees a white-haired corpse with its head smashed in by debris.
Sunday, 9:20 AM.
Westchester, Xavier’s institute for Higher Learning.
Ororo Munroe is in a foul mood and everything in the woods knows it. The wildlife of the woodland surrounding the Institute senses the terrible aspect of her aura of power and run from the hurricane within the woman.
Logan? she calls out, as she follows a trail of small bones. Finding her friend, she reiterates once more that he should return to the mansion. He disagrees and adds that that’s got nothing to do with the bad vibe she’s been carrying all across the forest. What’s on her mind? Watching him chew on a bone, she coolly asks whether the local fauna has become part of his diet. Not unless Colonel Saunder is rustling in Westchester, he retorts, pointing to a fastfood container.
At a loss for words, Ororo stalls and asks him how he is. Wolverine tells her to cut to the chase. She’s a murderer, she simply states. He knows, Wolverine relies as curtly. How does it feel? Appalling, of course, Ororo replies, sorrowfully recalling the awful event. She was forced to cut out a young girl’s heart. Little Sarah, the Morlock girl, who grew up somehow too quickly into a terrorist. She cut out Marrow’s heart.
Because there was a bomb attached to it, Logan reminds her, impatiently. Marrow and her Gene Nation partners tried to commit mass murder. She doesn’t question that she had to do it, Ororo tries to explain, only why it came to that. Callisto said it was Storm’s mistakes that led them to it. She had to do it, Logan insists. It was kill one or let one kill all. She still feels like she let them down, Ororo admits, looking downwards in shame. Perhaps if she had been a stronger leader, the Morlocks would never have grown into Gene Nation.
She recalls the night Mikhail Rasputin flooded the Morlock tunnels, seemingly killing all Morlocks, and wonders why she didn’t look far enough ahead. Why did she not note Mikhail’s last act? He transferred a band of Morlocks out of the tunnels he had flooded and what was Storm doing? That band somehow grew into Gene Nation, suffused with hatred – and why didn’t she expect that?
She is not a bad leader, Storm stubbornly insists. She knows it. But still she behaves like one half awake…
In the Institute’s kitchen, Ororo admits to Cable that she doesn’t know how to say she’s sorry. While he doesn’t know the whole story, Cable points out, he’s not sure she has anything to apologize for. Besides, preoccupation is counter-productive to team leadership. Ororo agrees, but is still doubtful. So much of what she has done have been short-term fixes. She doesn’t seem to be able to take the long view … Long-termism tends to be a bit of a luxury in their line of evil, Cable retorts. Ororo gets to the point. She has heard from the others of a ritual he helped perform in the Morlock tunnels. It seemed a good way to … say goodbye … that she’s sorry.
Cable recalls the Ceremony of Light. The apparatus should still be down there. Storm asks him to teach her. Abruptly, he becomes aware of Storm’s scent. It’s not like a perfume, but a natural sandalwood, musky and uncomplicated. He never noticed it before. With a smile, he agrees and, using a notebook, he shows her the basic operation, describing the Morlocks’ idea of imitating daylight in the tunnel once a year. It reflects light from above into a certain area illuminating the whole place.
Sunday; 3 PM
Westchester, the comms suite
Storm is calling her lover, Forge, leader of X-Factor, who asks her what it is that’s keeping them apart. It’s not the physical distance. She’s always been hard to reach. Even more so since the Sarah incident. Why won’t she let him in? He never knows what she feels. Ororo muses if that has always been their problem. Perhaps it is her curse that she has never known how she truly feels. She tells him she will talk to him again soon and breaks off communications. Alone, she muses that theirs has been at best a unique affair of the heart. Perhaps it is time to wonder why.
Sunday 6.27 PM
On the mansion grounds, Professor Xavier watches the spectacular sunset. Wolverine addresses him as “Charlie” and asks if he has seen anything of Ororo today. Twice, Xavier replies. The second time she was leaving the comms suite, evidently a little upset. Beautiful sunset. It’s the Morlock thing and all the unresolved stuff in her life right now, Logan reveals. Maybe one of Xavier’s fatherly words…?
Fatherhood has never been one of his stronger suits Xavier replies, thanking him for his concern.
Sunday; 7:20 PM
Manhattan, the Morlock Tunnels.
Dressed in her uniform and lighting the way ahead, Storm walks through the flooded tunnels. She concludes the episodes within her life with violence, but never with real finality. She kicks at doors to close them, but they never lock properly. The doors stand ajar and terrible things whisper from behind them. The ghosts of these tunnels. She almost sees them: little Sarah, whom she killed as the strangely adult Marrow. Brutal Callisto and mad Mikhail Rasputin, a mind full of broken glass behind a handsome mask …
She reaches the place Cable called “the Cathedral.” It’s not as she pictured it. So she attends to the edges of her vision, putting up mirrors and shards of glass, making it complete.
Cable walks the streets. He’s a soldier by profession. He’s not used to distractions. Something’s nagging at him. It’s Storm. He barely knows the woman but something’s got her tied up in knots and he was no help at all. And that nags at him. She’d be in the Cathedral right about now… Curious, he pushes his telepathy into that direction.
The Morlock Tunnels
The night stars of Manhattan, all the streetlight and headlamps and the glitter of the sky amplified through thick oddly drawn glass and reflected through broken mirror and polished chrome scrap illuminate the Cathedral. To Ororo, it feels like something huge and bright and forgiving has stooped over this poor place and breathed the pulse of life into it. Finally, she stammers out an apology and a good-bye. She turn to leave not noticing a flash of new alien light.
She turns around hearing strange sounds. The air tears open. Everything begins to warp and swirl around the hole in the world. Adrenaline rushes from gut to brain, as her mutant talent ignites. A hand comes out of the hole grabbing her.
Above Cable senses something wrong and pronounces her name.
In the tunnels, heavy weather snaps from Ororo’s fingertips, charging the dead underground atmosphere. The swirl of the hole flings it back at her face and all around. The roof gets torn out and she brings the house violently down as debris rains down on her. Storm! Cable exclaims.
Sunday, 9.51 PM
Storm’s dead, Cable announces to the X-Men gathered in the room. He begins to tell his story, adding that he could feel the horror in her mind when he touched it. And then… nothing. He asks Jean to try and scan for her. She isn’t there. He knows it sounds unbelievable, but there’s no psychic echo. She’s … gone…
Jean agrees that here’s no echo, but there could be a thousand reasons for that. Ororo’s closer to her than her own sister and she’s not willing to believe Ororo’s gone. She asks for his permission to scan him and points out that he didn’t see the corpse’s face, did he?
Then there’s still a chance, Cyclops agrees. Cable said the police won’t allow them to view the body till morning, right? The first thing in the morning will be to go there and do a DNA scan. They shouldn’t jump to conclusions until then.
Cable wonders what the chances of Storm being alive are when neither he, nor Xavier nor Jean can sense her. He’s the last person who wants to be right.
Lights, the swirls of a neon-vortex … reality being sucked out through a pin-prick in the skin of the world. Ororo opens her eyes. She’s seen that energy signature before. For a moment, it’s difficult to think, as if her body and mind were adjusting at a different speed and then it comes to her. She sees a horribly dead area around her, bones scattered everywhere and she remembers: when Mikhail Rasputin took his band of Morlocks from the tunnels, seconds before their lungs would have been filled with water. That’s when she last saw that energy effect. Ororo Munroe takes a deep breath, and the air sears her throat.