BLINK (AoA): Page 4 of 8

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6th April 2014

Apparently, the Timebroker’s claim that she would go home, to the instant she had left, was not correct, for Blink wound up in the reality where Sabretooth had stayed behind to raise David Richards. There, about twenty years had passed, and David Richards was now a young man in full control of his powers. Led by Sabretooth, David and several other mutants tried to end the Sentinel rule of this Earth. When Blink popped up out of nowhere, she and Creed had another happy reunion, whereas Richards suspected her to be a spy and forced his way into her mind to confirm her identity and loyalty. All of Sabretooth’s teachings hadn’t been enough, for David had indeed been corrupted by his power. Not only did he mentally control all of his friends and made them fight like puppets in their final fight against the Sentinels, but also he mentally forced Blink to lash out against humanity, making her use her abilities to teleport innocent, baseline humans into walls or open space. The massacre lasted for days, until Sabretooth tracked them down and killed his adoptive son, freeing Clarice. Naturally, she was traumatized by the incident, having been forced to do things she had not even had nightmares about before. [Exiles (1st series) #59]

Not much later, Blink was summoned back to the Exiles. She was shocked to learn that she wasn’t called in as replacement for a teammate who had safely gone home, but for one who had been killed – by the Mimic! In the meantime, he had been infected with a Brood egg and, while under control of the alien insect inside of him, had fought his teammates. The healing factor he had absorbed from Wolverine kicked in and saved him, though for Sunfire, it was too late. Blink comforted Mimic and told him that it was not his fault for Sunfire’s death, though he wasn’t that sure about it - after all, he had kept his infection secret. He handed leadership of the group back to Blink, as the Tallus too already had shifted back to her wrist. When he asked her about where she had been, Blink remained quiet; the cruel things that had happened to her were still too fresh on her mind.

The next mission of the Exiles involved Weapon X once more, now officially led by Gambit. However, the rest of his team, under Hyperion’s leadership, had simply abandoned their jobs and, instead of fixing the timeline they were in, intended to rule Earth. The Timebroker had enough of Hyperion’s constant stepping out of line and decided that only one team of six people was enough. He ordered the two groups to fight each other to the death, the remaining six people getting to move on. Though Weapon X seemed more powerful, the Exiles relied on teamwork and managed to get the upper hand in the duel. Blink and Mimic were among the survivors, along with Morph, Nocturne and Sasquatch. [Exiles (1st series) #37, 43-45]

It seemed that, during her absence, the set-up of the Exiles had changed. The Timebroker acted somewhat strangely and some missions really seemed odd. One such occasion was when the Exiles visited the main Marvel Universe again (for Blink it was the first time, though), with the Tallus cryptically declaring “Leave your possessions, and earn your wings.” It took the group some time and the help of the Fantastic Four to figure out that this meant that team member Nocturne had to remain behind, only to be replaced with the Beak, a student at Xavier’s mansion. This was the first time a mission of the Exiles was not a real mission but a change of line-up instead. Nocturne being one of the group’s founding members and probably the closest thing Clarice had to a best friend outside of her relationship with Mimic, the goodbye was rather hard for both of girls. [Exiles (1st series) #46-48]

Later, the Exiles were sent to a reality where an evil counterpart of the Mimic was leader of the Brotherhood of Mutants and was considered the most dangerous terrorist. Right at the beginning of the mission, Blink was captured and rendered unconscious by Mystique. Pretending to be her, the shapeshifter made the Exiles help her in freeing the evil Mimic from prison. Fortunately, the real Blink woke up sooner than expected, and got into the prison on her own, where she confronted the evil Mimic by herself. She made the mistake of getting too close, enabling the criminal to copy her teleportation powers and break out. Curious about Clarice’ intentions, he used his telepathic powers to read her mind, thus learning all about the Exiles, including there being a much better, heroic version of him. He found this image so inspiring that he changed his evil ways and started a school for young mutants. [Exiles (1st series) #50-51]

The Exiles' suspicion regarding their mysterious employer increased when, during another mission, Blink was warned by the Celestials to “Beware the Timebreaker. He is not what he seems.” Indeed, not much later, the rules regarding what it meant to be an Exile totally changed. Team members would disappear during the transport to the next location, apparently deemed useless. The Exiles also returned to the Earth, where Sabretooth had raised and killed David Richards, and now Clarice could no longer hide from Mimic what she had suffered there. But, even worse, the Tallus told Blink that the next mission was to kill her lover! Blink wouldn’t have any of that and teleported the device off her arm, only for it to re-appear an instant later. Several tries later, it stayed away, though now it was on Sabretooth’s wrist. However, he too refused this task, prompting the Timebroker to punish the entire team – by sending them back to the Age of Apocalypse. [Exiles (1st series) #53, 59]

Arriving there, both Creed and Clarice were surprised to find their native reality still intact and well over one year having passed during their absence. Again the mission was rather cruel – they were ordered to kill the remaining X-Men, their old teammates. To ensure that they’d complete the mission, the Timebroker put Blink and Sabretooth’s enemy, Holocaust, on the team, though the unpredictable foe had no particular interest in working as someone else’s lackey. Discovering that the Tallus actually contains a shard of the M’Kraan crystal, he offered the Exiles to temporarily work together – by taking the fight to the Timebroker himself. During all this, Blink fell back into an old role. While technically still the leader of the group, she obeyed Sabretooth’s every command, just like in old times. Mimic was rather unhappy about it, but put aside his concerns for now, as uncovering the mysteries regarding the Timebroker took precedence. [Exiles (1st series) #60-61]