‘Seriously? I don’t have the slightest idea how it happened. I don’t do control. Not normally. I do sledgehammer’ Julian “Hellion” Keller tells Scott “Cyclops” Summers, who informs Julian that, this time, he seems to have done both. ‘I’d like to know how far you meant to. How much of what you did was intentional’ Scott demands. Julian replies that it all happened too quickly to even think about. ‘The machine - the Omega Sentinel - she went crazy. They told you that, right?’ Scott replies that he was told a lot of things, and that he wants to hear Julian tell it. Julian closes his eyes and explains that he asked Hope to show him a miracle. ‘How sick would it be if she - if my power - if the reason why it was different was because she was there?’
Omega Sentinel a.k.a. Karima Shapandar held her hand close to Hope and the little girl - Hellion saw this and realized that Karima was firing some kind of energy beam at them. Seeing Hope and the little girl in danger, Hellion didn’t even think - he just cut loose - the telekinetic force ripped out of his body like a punch from God - and he knew even as he was doing it that it was crazy - that the power would have to go through Hope and the girl to hit Omega Sentinel - and it would tear them apart!
Hellion knew that he had been in a weird place - the painkillers and all the other stuff Doctor Nemesis had been giving him. He thought it could have been that - and not the other thing - but he went out of himself, and rode the force - he was there with it, as it came rushing down on Hope and the girl. It was like Hellion could feel every single vibrating molecule of air that carried the pressure - the pulse - the telekinetic wave.
Hellion knows that solid things - people and objects - are all mostly empty space. Every atom is like a planet, floating in a billion miles of nothing. He just went way on down to the right level - all he had to do then was steer the telekinetic force around between the molecules of their bodies - he did not let his piledriver punch touch Hope and the girl - he took it through the empty spaces. Along the way, he saw the heat and the light from Omega Sentinel’s wrist cannon - that was just the vibrations, too - crazy, agitated particles, playing Chinese Whispers, passing the hurt on down the line. Hellion picked it right up and turned it around.
Hellion decided that, all in all, whoever he has got to thank for it, he thought it went pretty well, as his power slammed into Omega Sentinel, knocking her back, and leaving Hope and the little girl unharmed.
‘What did -?’ Hope asked, while Hellion told her not to ask stupid questions, and to get out. He walked over to Omega Sentinel, rubbing her head as she recovered in a pile of rubble. ‘Subject designate Julian Keller. Please - get away from me before I - Update files and proceed with eradication’ Omega Sentinel declared. ‘Eradication? Wow! That’s scary!’ Hellion shouted back. Before unleashing more telekinesis at Omega Sentinel, he told her that when she was done talking to herself, they could see if she can live up to it.
Hellion knew that normally the telekinetic force just pushes outward from him, but right then, it seemed like he could make it do anything he wanted …
Suddenly, Betsy Braddock a.k.a. Psylocke called out his name as she rushed across the construction site to reach him, followed by Magneto and Piotr “Colossus” Rasputin. ‘Stand down. NOW!’ Psylocke ordered. ‘Are you out of your mind? You saw what she did!’ Hellion replied. ‘What Karima did? Ah saw you almost trash her…then hit her again while she was down’ Rogue snarled as she approached Karima, and Random and Danger rushed towards the others. ‘Explain yourself, boy. What happened here?’ Magneto demanded to know.
‘You idiots! She’s the enemy, not me. Ask Hope. Shapandar attacked first, and I just retaliated. And while we’re talking about this -’ Hellion began to reply, while Omega Sentinel got to her feet and knocked Rogue aside. ‘Five mutants identified. Probablity of success from direct attack: 0.0067%’ she announced, before initiating an indirect attack, but blasting the bottom of some tall building remains - causing the building to topple down towards everyone - with a massive BRAKOOM. Even as the rubble continued to fall, Psylocke surrounded the others in a telekinetic bubble, while Hellion shouted ‘Now will you listen to me?’
Doctor Nemesis walks with Cyclops down a corridor, and remarks that to a very large extent, they brought this on themselves. ‘Given what she was, her crisis - her collapse - was almost inevitable’ he speculates. Cyclops replies that it was the virus, the one that Cypher created. ‘Exactly’ Doctor Nemesis tells him. Cyclops points out that it was a virus created to take out the time-travelling Nimrods, to which Doctor Nemesis replies that the core of Bastion’s Omega Sentinels was a Nimrod CPU. Doctor Nemesis explains that in Shapandar’s case, that CPU core was buried beneath many layers of learned human responses, which the virus attacked and broke down in attempting to reach its assigned target.
‘It cost her blood to get her humanity back. And it was all swept away in an instant’ Cyclops muses somberly. ‘No, over the course of several minutes’ Doctor Nemesis replies, holding up a small electronic device, adding that Omega Sentinel would have had ample time to reflect on the horror of what was happening to her. Cyclops tells Doctor Nemesis to carry on with his tests, and informs him that he will by over later. ‘We both will’ he adds, referring to Hellion.
‘Believe me now?’ Hellion asks as Cyclops returns to the meeting room. Scott assures Julian that as far as the facts go, he never doubted him, and tells him that is not what this is about, before asking him to finish his story. Hellion declares that Omega Sentinel knew exactly what she was facing and what each of them could do - and the best order to take them down. ‘She was a Sentinel. I guess you know what that means better than anyone’ Hellion tells Cyclops.
As Karima lashed out at Magneto and Danger, and cast a circle of energy around herself to keep the others back, sub-sonics dropped Hellion and Psylocke, sort of like being punched in the brain. Karima tried to take out Random next, but he walked through her attack, and actually punched her, knocking Karima down - but Karima got back up and tapped Random in the neck, all a tactical move apparently, as Random went into spasms after losing control of his malleable form. With Random down, Karima ignored him, scanning for her next target - who was still close enough to see. Hope carried the little girl across the construction site, her back turned to Karima, with no shield or armor - easy pickings - up to a point, that is, as Colossus approached Karima with a steel beam - and smacked her over the head.
‘You! Hey! Wait!’ Hope called out to the construction foreman as he and other construction workers began to run for their lives. ‘Wait? Are you kidding?’ the foreman replied, while Hope forced the little girl upon him, ordering him to get her to safety. ‘She’s your responsibility, got that? If she gets hurt, it’s on you. And I’ll be coming back to check’ Hope warned him. The little girl told Hope that she wants to stay with her, as they are the Fence Post Girls. Hope addresses her as Amy and told her that she will be back soon, but there is something she needed to do first. ‘Can I go now?’ the foreman asked. ‘Sure. Just give me your keys’ Hope asked him. ‘Keys? You mean my car keys? Then how am I gonna -?’ the foreman began to reply, before turning and seeing a very large bulldozer. ‘Oh. Those keys’ he muttered.
‘Karima! This is not you! Remember we’re your friends’ Colossus called out as he held the steel beam out. ‘Mutant entity designate Colossus: organic steel composite, approximating to 42CRM0s4 carbonized’ Karima declared. ‘Melting point: 2500 degrees Celsius’ she added as she unleashed deadly flame upon Colossus - who rushed forward and grabbed her, exclaiming ‘Let’s see who melts first!’ Suddenly, Karima called out to Colossus, desperately - before her Sentinel programming took over momentarily, enabling her to announce that she was synthesizing the liquid nitrogen. ‘Don’t know what’s happening to me! Don’t know where I -’ Karima exclaimed, before releasing the liquid nitrogen. ‘Inducing metallic stress by means of alternating temperature extremes’ Omega Sentinel added.
‘Tensile strength of metallic lattice estimated at 47%’ Karima stated before punching Colossus. ‘Torsinal strength: 42%. Integrity of outer dermal armor: 39%’ Karima declared as she knocked Colossus back into a steel beam, causing the beam to snap. Omega Sentinel then applied shear force at 10,000 pascal units - increasing it to 20,000 and then 25,000 - before she suddenly gets scooped up in the “mouth” of the bulldozer. ‘But hey - who’s counting?’ Hope called out, adding ‘I don’t think we were ever introduced. I’m Hope Summers. And you’re scrap iron if you don’t power down. Seriously’ the girl warned as she raised Karima higher and higher.
“You’re scrap iron”? Karima quoted Hope, before announcing ‘Compositional analysis - incorrect’ and unleashing a blast of energy at the bulldozer, causing Hope to leap to safety. Karima stood up on the top of the bulldozer and declared ‘Hope Summers. Powers: Undetermined. Threat level: Unquantifiable. Priority: Alpha one!’ Hope stood up against a small shed with a sign reading “Danger High Explosive” and exclaimed ‘Okay. You see this sign? You fire on me, we’re both at ground zero for something hot and nasty’. Karima replied ‘Acceptable’, but Hellion flew up alongside her and exclaimed ‘Not to me!’ as he punched Karima over, capturing her in a telekinetic force field.
Hellion asked Karima if she could feel that pressure all over her skin, explaining that it is his telekinetic force pushing in towards her from ever side. ‘Holding you, like a big, invisible fist’ he exclaimed, before frowning and declaring ‘Look, ma. No hands!’ Suddenly, Hellion came to a halt, and Karima dropped to the ground. Hellion raced towards Karima, declaring ‘Machines did this to me. Machines like you. Crippled me. Took. My. HAAAAANDS!’ he screamed as he slammed his telekinetic force into Karima over and over again.
‘Sub - sub - sub-routines initiated. Repair backup auxiliary’ Omega Sentinel stated, while Karima pleaded with Hellion ‘Do it! Just do it!’ as she lay slumped over on the ground. ‘You want this?’ Julian asked her as he stood over her. ‘Can’t - go back to - die! Want - die - human! Die -!’ Karima stuttered. ‘You want it?’ Hellion demanded. ‘It’s yours!’ he exclaimed as he slammed down upon Karima his most powerful telekinetic surge yet, forcing her down into the dirt. Rogue and the others had recovered and rushed over: ‘Oh may Lord, Julian! What did you do?’ Rogue gasped. ‘What did I do? Is that a trick question?’ Hellion spat back. ‘I won!’ he declared, standing over Karima’s broken and motionless body.
“Won”? Cyclops asks Hellion as they approach a laboratory. ‘Well, if anyone was keeping score. Yeah. I beat her’ Julian replies, before Cyclops asks him if this is the first time he has even been down here. Cyclops stops at the tank where Omega Sentinel is being kept in stasis, and announces that she is either brain-dead or else her self-awareness has shut down so far that they cannot find it. ‘How much of that was the virus, and how much the damage you did to her is impossible to quantify’ Cyclops states. Hellion replies that he didn’t notice anyone else pulling their punches, adding that her did save a whole lot of lives. ‘Including your messiah’ he points out.
‘Yes. You did’ Cyclops tells him, before informing Julian that the level of violence Julian used was appalling and unacceptable. ‘And I’m waiting for you to show a little remorse. Some trace of doubt or regret’ Scott adds. Annoyed, Hellion asks Cyclops when he is going to stop doing that. ‘Doing what, Julian?’ Cyclops asks. ‘Oh, you know. Trying to pass off whatever morality you happen to be peddling right now as timeless wisdom. Because people are onto you’ Julian replies. ‘The end justifies the means - but only for you. Murder is all in the game - but only for you. God may sleep, but Cyclops is always there to take up the slack’.
Cyclops asks Julian if he at least accepts that there was another way to handle this. Julian throws his arms into the air and declares that this way worked, and he will be damned if he is going to apologize for it. ‘Then I’m sorry. You don’t leave me any choice’ Cyclops replies, before announcing that Hellion is on probation and that if he cannot control himself he will have to leave Utopia - or else join the other intractable problems in the brig. ‘What gives you the right? What gives you the right to even say that to me?’ Hellion demands. Cyclops walks away, turning as he tells Hellion to think about it - ‘Most of us have stood there, looking down that road you’re thinking of travelling. Most of us didn’t take it’. Hellion turns and walks away as well, replying ‘No offense…but most of you didn’t have the stones’.
‘Hellion, Julian’ Rogue calls out as she stands in the hallway which Hellion enters. ‘Oh, and now I get the lecture from the nice cop. Can we just cut to the credits, Rogue? Please?’ Julian asks. Rogue replies that she is not here as the nice cop, or as his friend. ‘Ah’m here in a different capacity’ Rogue explains. ‘And what might -’ Hellion begins, but he is interrupted as Rogue puts a hand around his throat and slams him against the wall. ‘Ah’m the ultimate sanction, sugah. You know what Ah can do to you. And Ah hope you know, Ah’ll do it’.
Rogue frowns as she tells Hellion that, rather than lose another friend to him - another X-Man - she will shut him down at the source. ‘Pull out your powers by the root and burn ‘em on a big old bonfire’. Rogue walks away as she tells Julian that he used up his hail Mary out there so he better learn some other prayers. ‘Or find some other friends’.
Hellion makes his way out of the building, where he sees Anole, Loa and Rockslide up ahead talking. ‘It’s a dumb question! Why would Han Solo even get into a fight with Indiana Jones in the first place?’ Rockslide asks. ‘Especially since they’re both Harrison Ford’ Loa points out. ‘Well, suppose Indie got into a time machine, say -’ Anole begins, before all three stop and stare as Hellion walks past them, before Anole continues his sentence: ‘ - and went to the Mos Eisly Catina’. ‘It’s in a galaxy far, far away’ Loa tells her friend. ‘Okay, so it’s a time-and-space machine. And then he -’ Anole begins.
Standing on the edge of the platform, Hellion watches the sun set in the distance, and in answer to Rogue’s suggestion, he declares that he is pretty sure he can get by without either.