After the ocean swallowed Atlantis and before the rise of the sons of the Aryas is where her journey began. Her mother was a mere child when she gave birth to her… when she presented her to her tribe. But she would be dead before her child uttered her first word.
Present (seven thousand years later), somewhere in central Europe:
Dessed in the skimpy black leather outfit of the Black Queen and adorned with a black elegant choker, Selene tells her story to her minions: Kevin Ford aka Wither gifted with a death touch, Clarice Ferguson aka Blink (who can kill via teleportation), Suvik Senyaka aka Senyaka (master of lifedraining psionic whips), Lois London aka Mortis (kills via disruptive energy field) and Eliphas aka Eli Bard (kills via vampiric powers, possess T-O virus).
Her mother was the first to sacrifice her life to her, Selene continues, to ensure her survival. But she would not be the last. The tribal elders recognized her for what she was and instructed her mother’s people to offer their lives to her until there were none left to give. She is all that remains of those people. But sustenance was not all they provided. They also gave her a name, the name of a goddess.
And they honor their sacrifices today by coming here, for it was in these very lands she was born of flesh and blood. Soon she willl transcend this physical body and become the deity that she is destined to be, she informs her followes with a triumphant smile. And all those who impeded her ascension to godhood will suffer.
Utopia, the X-Men’s new island home, off the coast of San Francisco, now, night time:
Blink teleports in, followed by a shady army. An intruder alert rings, detecting the power surge.
In the X-Brig, Danger the sentient android warden of Utopia’s virtual reality prison breaks off, as she identifies an error in her program and she sinks down. With that, her prisoners awake from their VR slumber. First is Sebastian Shaw, Black King of the Hellfire Club. Realizing his situation, he curses Emma Frost.
The next is the former Hellion Empath who asks what happened.He was with Amara-- It was an illusion, Shaw tells him brutally, calling him “idiot.” They are still prisoners of the X-Men. They can’t just keep them here! Empath whines. Shaw orders him to have some dignity. His time at the Massachusetts Academy taught him better than that.
See how Pierce here isn’t complaining and he is merely human. He refers to fellow prisoner and onetime colleague and enemy Donald Pierce, former White Bishop of the Hellfre Club and cybog mutant hater. Pierce warns him that his day is coming. The end approaches for all mu...
He breaks off, haring noises. Something is wrong. Someone is here. He means he doesn’t believe the X-Men are responsible for dismantling their own prison? Shaw mocks. How very astute.
Nyet, Nyet, a Russian prisoner mumbles. Shaw warns Empath to be ready. Dear God no, he moans the next moment as before him stands Shinobi Shaw, his dead son. Isn’t he happy to see him? Shinobi asks with a mocking smile. That sn’t possible, Shaw protests. He killed Shinobi! He killed him! He remembers, his son remarks, and before that he killed Shaw. But this time he’s goin to do far worse. Isn’t that right, Harold?
“Harold” turns out to refer to Harry Leland, the dead former Black Bishop of the Hellfire Club. Indeed it is, Lelands agrees. He remembers when he died as well, saving Shaw, Saving the Hellfire Club and the X-Men. Ironic, he supposes.
How did--? Pierce asks confused. What is he? What is he? Leland replies. Death, death to all those who failed their queen, which sadly includes Pierce and Sebastian.
From somewhere else on their screens, Bastion, future Sentinel, and Cameron Hodge, anti-mutant zealot, watch the proceedings. Who’s the fat man? Hodge asks, the name sounds familiar. Bastion informs him that Leland is a mutant with the ability to manipulate mass and used to belong to the Inner Circle of the Hellfire Club before his death. They witnessed his death, Bastion adds. Nimrod was present when Harold Leland suffered a fatal heart attack. But more disconcerting Pierce’s sensors detect the techno-organic virus within Leland. And something else… an unknown energy. Their technology has been compromised. They must accelerate their timetable.
In Rome, Selene continues her story to her acolytes. After the second rise of men, she found herself drawn to this place. To this city of decadence and sin. How she loved Rome. It was so rich with life. She could feel her destiny upon her. But on the eve of her transformation the souls of Rome were lost to her. Squandered by the single mortal she entrusted with her life. Eli Bard looks down in shame at her words.
Hundreds of years later, she tried to recreate Rome, Selenes muses. But that too was taken from her. So she searched for those who would not fail her. For those endowed with unique gifts not unlike her own. But once more she was betrayed. Betrayed by Hellfire!
The med-bay in Utopia, where X-23 is currently being a difficult patient. Also present are Wolverine, Cyclops and Dr. Nemesis. So, does she have anything she’d like to tell them? Wolverine asks strictly, arms crossed. Like for instance where her arm went? Dr Nemesis adds bluntly, referring to the fact her left arm was cut off. Laura has it covered with a blanket. No, she replies as curtly but it is nearly done regrowing now. She offers two claws with her other hand. She needs them to extract her bone claws and put these back inside her. He likes this girl, Nemesis states.
Logan urges Laura to talk to him. Who did this to her? It doesn’t matter, X-23 insists. Whoever cut these out of her was an amateur, Nemesis informs her. There’s still bits of tendon on... She removed them herself, Laura informs him.
Wolverine and Cyclops talk a bit away from them. Wolverine reminds him, he’d told him if anything happened to her it would be on Cyclops. Someone did this to her and Cyclops is going to help him find out why. Cyclops refuses. The interrogation can wait. They just need to make sure she’s okay. Since when has he ever given a &%$& if she’s okay? Wolverine retorts bitterly. He just wants his personal assassin up and running again.
Nemesis interrupts, asking Cyclops what he wants him to do about the claws. Put them back in, comes the curt reply.
Laura, in the meantime, looks at Elixir lying unconscious on another bed in the med bay. She sniffs irritated. Something is here. Something dead, metal. She just described her claws, Nemesis observes. No, he got it too, Wolverine announces and unsheathes his claws. Something is going down…
Elsewhere in Utopia is Emma Frost, former White Queen of the Hellfire Club, currently stuck in her diamond form. She hears voices whispering her name. Hello? she asks irriated. Why didn’t she save them? the voices demand. If someone is playing a game, she warns them, do please come out so she can hurt them. But she already hurt them, the voices continue, she’s hurt them so much…
This isn’t happening, Emma decides, walking on. This is in her head. This is the Void. She was their teacher, the voices continue relentlessly. She was supposed to save them.
She turns a corner, asking for Scott. No, she breathes the next moment as she faces her dead students, the Hellions. Why did she let them die? Tarot asks. Weren’t they good students? Jetstream adds.
The Hellfire Club, New York City:
Sitting on a throne, Selene continues her tale to her inner circle, who in the meantime, take out and kill Hellfire Club guards on her behalf.
Nova Roma was ruined by a group of children… mutants. She could sense their powers and follwed them here… to New York. To a city that rivaled Rome. But with none of the elegance, none of the grace. Sebastian Shaw and Emma Frost were gathering mutant children of powers. And their souls would belong to Selene. But Shaw was weak. He and Frost in their arrogance betrayed her. Now they will pay for their actions, she announces with a satisfied smile.
Fifteen miles outside Utopia, an X-jet is closing in on the mutants’ new home. Piloted by James Proudstar, Archangel is also aboard as are an injured Wolfsbane and her worried love, the Asgardian wolfprince Hrimhari.
Warren asks Hrimhari to tell them exactly what happened. They were in a battle with the Frost Giants, he summarizes that had pursued him when she fell. They hit her or hurt her somehow? Warren asks. No, Rahne was not harmed by the giants, Hrimhari explains. Something else ails her. Something so grave he fears she is dying. Look, James tries in vain to pronounce his name, then simply calls him “Wolf guy.” He’d better hope she is okay because Elixir...
Lightning flashes and strikes, noise rumbles and the plane goes down in the water. James carries Rahne while Warren takes Hrimhari. Is he crazy or did they just get hit by lighnting? James asks. That wasn’t lightning, Warren, now in his Archangel form, remarks. Power’s out on the island.
Hrimhari reminds them about Elixir, whom Rahne told him to find. Is he here? James again tries to tell him about the problem with Elixir. There’s death here, Archangel states coolly. They look around, trying to get their bearings. Hrimhari smells it too. Dark magic. Yeah thanks for the heads up, furball, James remarks sarcastically as shapes close in around them.
How’s it goin’, X-Men? someone asks. Survived the crash, did ya? Warren and James swear as they see their foes. Resurrected Brotherhood member Pyro and Marauder Berzerker. As Pyro forms a giant fireclaw, he announces they are all dead!
Elsewhere, Emma is attacked by one of her Hellions, the feral Catseye who blames Emma for letting them die. This is not happening, this is not happening, Emma insists. Oh, but it is, Tarot calmly replies. She holds up the black outfit Emma wore for the time when she led Osborn’s X-Men team. Emma betrays their queen, wears her clothes… and she thinks there won’t be a price to pay?
Selene, Emma realizes. There is only one Black Queen, Tarot states coolly. She sent them here to remind Emma, Jetstream adds, and to make her suffer.
Catseye attacks again, only to be hit by an optic blast. Cyclops, who has arrived with Wolverine and Domino, turns his optic blast on Beef next and orders Emma to move.
Wolverine slashes at Jetstream, informing him he is going back to the dirt. With a smirk, Jestream asks whether he thinks death scares them anymore. Then he blasts off, taking Wolveirne with him.
Please don’t hurt them, they are her children! Emma begs. Keeping them off with his optic blasts, Cyclops orders her to pull together. These aren’t the Hellions. Firing her guns at the zombies, Domino decides Emma’s lost it. Cyclops should get her out. Scott refuses, there are too many. If he leaves Domino behind, she’s dead. That moment Death – the grim reaper – manifests from Tarot’s cards.
Somewhere on the Indian Ocean, Blink informs Selene that it is done. Her queen is happy to hear it. Her inner circle brings the deceased X-Man John Proudstar aka Thunderbird and the mutantracking Morlock Caliban. Selene explains she’s crossed the oceans of time in search for a place where she would fulfill her destiny. She turns to Caliban. He can smell them, he announces. Mutants, many of them. And this is where her journey ends, Selene decides, looking around her, the wasteland of Genosha. This is where she becomes a god. Welcome to Necrosha!
He is off. Doug Ramsey lies in his coffin. Dead. Decomposed. Energy recharges him and crackles. His eyes open and glow red. Then he is on.
He begins to move, restored as his existence becoems binary. Dead and alive. On and off. Ones and zeros.
He digs himself out of his grave. What--? he asks as he looks down at his restored body. What language is he? No language, Eli Bard, who waits at his gravesite with Kevin Ford, informs him. Just a slave. Rise, he orders Doug who complies. He has work to do.
Utopia, home of the X-Men, two weeks later:
Cypher knows about his sitation now. He is with the Black Queen who wants to punish her white counterpart. He is told to help. He is there. Then he is here. In Utopia. Teleported there by Blink, as well as the Hellions and some other mutants like Pyro.
She couldn’t have teleported them inside? Jetstream complains. Blink explains that while their unique physiology prevents them from showing up on Cerebra, there is still security. It is Cypher’s job to neutralizes it.
Is everything a language? Cypher wonders. Is she? He was off. Now he is on. What does that mean?
Beef shouts at him to listen. He’s up. His programming reinforces the urge to obey. Blink teleports away and Cypher assures Beef he is listening.
He looks at the building critically, his gift translating. A fortress. Arches, buttresses, cantilevers. The ABC’s of architecture. The engineers arranged them, making meaning. The structure is his language. Cypher translates it.
They go below, he informs the Hellions and walks towards the ocean and steps inside. The others follow hesitatingly. How are they going to breathe? Beef demands. They are dead, Tarot points out. No need to breathe. They swim downwards and enter via a sewer pipe.
As Cypher walks ahead, Beef asks Jetstream in a whisper who that guy is anyway. He was one of Xavier’s New Mutants, he is informed. It was before Beef’s time. He can understand any language. Well, why wouldn’t you join a paramilitary mutant strikeforce… with those powers, Bevatron who also joined after Doug’s time suggests nastily. She knows, Tarot agrees. Hard to believe he was killed in action.
Their tone and cadence shifts the polarity of their words, Doug notes. Sarcasm. Purified irony.
They stand before a large closed automatic door. Is this it? Jetstream demands. No, Cypher replies, he thought they might stop for a bit and ponder the metaphorical significance of the codename Beef. He speaks sarcasm, too, he thinks satisfied. Angrily, Beef swears and makes a rude gesture, asking him if he reads sign language. Jetstream holds him back,
Cyper switches on the computer and notes there is quantum cryptography. Information traveling in entangled proton pairs. Language made illegible by the very act of reading it. This is the language of quarks – the language of space and time. The language of the universe…
Can he crack it? Jestream asks. Cypher admits he doesn’t know, but then focuses. Everything is language. He was off. Then on. He is language. He is everything. And so he breaks the code, entering thr X-Men’s computer system. The door opens.
Let’s do this! Beef announces. Is he coming? Jetstream asks Cypher who is still looking at the computer terminal. He has work to do, Cypher replies, looking at the file of Magma. Their Queen left someone on. And he has to turn her off.
New Orleans, a week ago.
Mortis announces this is fitting. The throne sets Selene off as black does a diamond. Selene thanks her graciously, admitting there are compromises, of course… for now. All things will come, in time. Speaking of time… bring her
“Her,” dragged inside by Senyaka and Kevin Ford is the deceased and now revived mutant seer Destiny. She is pushed to her knees in front of Selene’s throne. Selene informs her that she knew of her and her Caliban found her. Now tell Selene what she sees. Tell Selene her destiny.
Addressing her as “dread Queen,” Destiny explains that the future is a single road with a million turns. It opens before you like the arms of a lover, but with every step you take it recedes. And then in an instant – she recalls the moment Legion murdered her – it is gone!
Selene gets up. Can Destiny give her what she asked her for or not? It’s a simple question. Once it would have been simple, the blind precog replies. But she was in the ground a long time. “So?” Selen asks. When her eyes and mind were opened again, Irene continues, she saw only fragments. They are coming together gradually into a coherent vision. But the process is slow and painful.
Selene grabs her by the throat and tears off her mask. So is the second death that awaits her if she disappoints her! she warns. She demands an answer, then orders Senyaka to act. Her servant strangles the crone’s neck with his whip.
What Selene has set out to do, Irene answers, she will achieve. She will consume, she will become, she will ascend.
Honestly? Selene presses. She knows these things will come to pass? Yes, she decides. The truth is written on her face.
So she assumes, she is now free to go? Irene asks. Is that what happens next? Selene asks with a smile. Is that what she sees? No, the old woman admits. Of course not. Selene turns her back on her. She sees her keeping her close at hand. Taking good care of her as one must take care of valuable tools. She sees her telling her there is no rest for the wicked. Put her back.
Senyaka and Kevin lead Destiny back to her cell. There are things she needs to do, she pleads. They’ll have to wait, Wither replies unimpressed. If they wait, they’ll end badly, she warns them. Please. Please let her go! He thinks she heard Selene’s feelings on the subject, Senyaka points out. Get back inside. Don’t make him hurt her.
She enters the cell and is left alone in the dark. So now they know, Senyaka remarks. They are on the winning team. Did he ever doubt it? Kevin asks. If he did, he suggests he doesn’t let the queen know…
Now, Destiny sits in her cell meditating. Yes, she finally states. I see you. Across all this distance, all this time. All the dead ground I still see you. Wake! she orders. Wake now and speak to me, my daughter. And in her bed in Utopia, Ruth Alleye aka Blindfold awakes with a scream.
Yes with your leave, I think, she states to the vision of Destiny in her unique diction. I think you’ve come to the wrong room. Has she? Destiny asks. Her mother is dead, Ruth points out. So is she, Destiny states. But she admits, she is not where she thought she was. And Ruth is not who she expected to find here. Yes, thank you, Blindfold replies. She is dead. She feels her hollowness. Is this a dream? Most of her dreams seem more real than she does…
She was real once, Destiny stresses. Now she’s just an echo. The echo of an echo. She steps forward. Blindfold tries to fend her off. As Destiny’s hand passes through her, the old woman tells her not to worry. She can’t. Why is she afraid of her? Because – the silence. The hollowness. The future shrinking to a point. She is affecting Blindfold’s power just by being here, Destiny realizes. But she has to stay a little longer, until Ruth has delivered the message. What message? Ruth asks, getting up. Destiny tells her to cross the room to her wardrobe now. Get dressed. Please, yes. What message?
Destiny says something unintelligible. She can’t hear her, Blindfold states as she gets up. It’s not to be spoken aloud, comes the reply, Destiny states and asks her to come closer. Closer still. They’ve already established she won’t bite. Yes. That will do.
The next moment, Warpath comes crashing in through the wall, battling zombies. “Kid get out of here,” he orders Blindfold. “Now!” He returns to the battle.
Ruth realizes Destiny saved her. If she hadn’t come, Ruth would have foreseen the danger herself, comes the reply. And he couldn’t see Destiny. She isn’t really here, she explains. She’s somewhere far less salubrious. This is the message, she asks the girl to remember it and whispers it into her ear.
In Selene’s compound in her cell, Destiny awakes. No, wait! she moans, no! What has she done? What has she done?!