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S ott saw a path of i e fl" past hi#! as $o%%" skated along the wall& 'anding in the #iddle of the fo"er! $o%%" re(erted to hu#an for# ne)t to Xa(ier& *ank and +iotr were alread" there& ,-hat.s going on! +rofessor/0 asked S ott& ,1t.s 2ean!0 said Xa(ier& ,She.s in trou%le&0 ,*ow do "ou know/0 asked *ank& Xa(ier let out a 3ui k %reath& ,1 sensed a ps" hi distur%an e& 2ean.s #ind & & & & it gi(es off a uni3ue signature on the astral plane& She.s not at ho#e&0 ,-here is she/40 S ott %lurted out& ,1n the it"!0 replied Xa(ier& Xa(ier losed his e"es and pla ed the fingertips of his right hand on his forehead& 5fter a few se onds of on entration! he spoke again& ,She.s #o(ing 3ui kl"!0 e)plained Xa(ier& ,6here.s another presen e! %ut 1 an.t get a lo k on what it is&0 Xa(ier took his hand off his forehead and looked at *ank& ,1t.s ti#e&0 *ank sighed& ,E(er"one! stand on the X!0 *ank o##anded& S ott looked down& *e hadn.t reali7ed %efore now that the fo"er had a #assi(e X painted on the wooden floor& *e stepped inside of it& *ank then pressed a %utton on his wat h& S ott al#ost lost his %alan e as the seg#ent of the floor started to des end& $o%%" looked up with a onfused fa e& ,-ell!0 $o%%" said! ,that.s une)pe ted&0
,1 had hoped to show this to "ou all at a al#er ti#e!0 Xa(ier e)plained! ,%ut the ir u#stan es ha(e hanged& 6his institute isn.t 8ust a san tuar" & & & & it.s a head3uarters&0 6he ele(ator des ended into a #assi(e roo#! with walls o(ered in sleek steel& +iotr looked at the floor! and then at his own skin& ,6he rese#%lan e is un ann"!0 +iotr said! hu kling& ,1s this so#e kind of %unker/0 asked $o%%"& *ank again pla ed his finger on his wat h& ,9ot 3uite!0 *ank replied& *ank pressed the %utton! and all of the lights in the roo# lit up! re(ealing a large! %la k 8et in the enter& S ott! $o%%" and +iotr all went sla k-8awed when the" saw it& ,1t.s a hangar!0 said *ank& S ott took a few steps forward! s#iling& ,Sa" hello to #" spe iall" #odified SR-71 $la k%ird!0 said *ank& ,:r! as 1 affe tionatel" refer to it & & & & the X-2et&0 $o%%" narrowed his e"es! and looked %a k at *ank& ,-here did "ou gu"s %u" so#ething like this/0 ,-e didn.t!0 answered *ank& ,1 %uilt it&0 $o%%".s e"es widened& 6he %a k ra#p of the 8et opened& ,E(er"one inside!0 said Xa(ier& S ott! $o%%" and +iotr ran up the ra#p! followed %" Xa(ier and *ank& 5s e(er"one got into the 8et! the %a k ra#p losed& ,Choose a seat!0 said *ank! as he li#%ed into the pilot.s hair& Xa(ier put up his hand& ,-ait&0 E(er"one turned to hi#&
,:ne last thing!0 Xa(ier said& ,6he unifor#s&0 *ank nodded! and then pushed a %utton on the 8et.s front onsole& 6he side wall of the 8et opened! re(ealing a set of outfits that were atta hed to hooks& S ott looked at the outfit in the #iddle& 1t was pri#aril" #ade of a thi k! %lue #aterial! with two se tioned! "ellow straps rossing o(er the hest fro# %oth shoulders& +iotr walked o(er and gra%%ed his! whi h was shaped in a wa" to fit o(er his #etal fra#e& S ott ran two of his fingers a ross the #aterial of his outfit! and then look %a k at *ank! who was fitting a si#ilarl" st"led 8a ket o(er his torso& *ank s#iled at hi#& S ott looked %a k at the outfit and %egan putting it on& 5fter e(er"one put on their unifor#s! the" stood in a line in front of Xa(ier& Xa(ier put his pal#s together and nodded& ,9i e digs! right/0 said $o%%"! posing& ,Finall"! so#ething that fits40 e) lai#ed +iotr& ,;nifor# unifor#it" is the first hall#ark of a tea#!0 said *ank! holding up one finger& ,+rofessor/0 ,<es! S ott/0 ,-hat.s with the X/ -h" is there an X on e(er"thing/0 Xa(ier put his hands on his lap& ,6he X & & & & o#es fro# the X-gene& 6he X-gene is what #akes people into #utants & & & & into us& 1t is the %aseline differen e in our geneti ode that #akes #utants a differentiated e(olutionar"
strain fro# hu#ans& 1t is our defining hara teristi & 6herefore! 1 felt it appropriate for our purposes& 5s #utants! we #ust %and together under a o##on flag& 6herefore! we #ust %e o#e & & & & X-Men&0 $o%%" snapped his fingers& ,9ow & & & & that! is a great na#e&0 ,*ank! get us in the air!0 o##anded Xa(ier& *ank got %a k in the pilot.s seat& E(er"one else sat down and strapped in& +ulling a toggle on
the roof of the o kpit! *ank then pushed the ignition! and the 8et powered up& 6he 8et held stead" in the air as the front end of the hangar opened! re(ealing the 5tlanti : ean& ,-i ked!0 said $o%%"& *ank pushed the throttle forward! and the 8et %lasted out of the hangar! into the sk"& ==== Erik sneered as he stared down at the %uilding& *is ar#s folded! he took a few #o#ents to think %a k at the ti#e he had lost as a hild& Flashing i#ages of #e#ories he had long tried and failed to suppress flew through his ps" he! like a slideshow of pain and regret& -in ing! he losed his e"es and willed the i#ages to lea(e& *e then looked up at the $oston sk"line& ,-here are we/0 Erik turned around and looked at 2ean! who was also standing on the sa#e roof as he was& *e then pointed at the %uilding& ,'ook down there! hild!0 Erik o##anded& ,6ell #e what "ou see&0 2ean walked up to Erik and looked at the %uilding& Raising an e"e%row! she turned to Erik and shrugged& ,5 %uilding!0 2ean replied& ,-hat.s so spe ial a%out it/0 ,6hat.s not 8ust an" %uilding!0 Erik said& ,6hat is the head3uarters for Senator Ro%ert >ell"! the #an who has %een a #a8or leader in anti-#utant propoganda for "ears&0 ,>ell"/ 1.(e seen hi# on 6V %efore & & & & he said that #utants were & & & &0 2ean stopped and ru%%ed her left ar# with her other hand& ,*e said that we were a #istake!0 2ean finished& ,:f ourse he did!0 Erik de lared& ,*e.s %een spewing his (ile opinions all o(er the #edia! rall"ing the weak willed and si#ple #inded to his ause! and that ause is the destru tion of our kind& *e speaks of prote ting the .hu#ans.! %ut if his Mutant Registration 5 t were to o#e into effe t! he would ha(e us identified! segregated & & & & and e(entuall"! e)ter#inated&0
2ean looked up at Erik with a frown& ,*ow do "ou know/0 Erik #o(ed his head %a k slightl"& 9arrowing his e"es! he raised his right hand& 2ean.s e"es widened as the #etal ar#our around his ar# flew apart! and the indi(idual pie es starting to rotate around it& 2ean ould see a nu#%er printed on his ar# in #ildl" faded %lue ink& ?@AA5& 2ean gasped! pla ing her hands on her #outh& 6he #etal pie es effortlessl" refor#ed around Erik.s ar# as he lowered it& ,*ow do 1 know/0 Erik said& ,$e ause 1.(e seen it happen %efore& -hen 1 was a hild! 1 was powerless to help #" fa#il" & & & & #" people& 1 wat hed the# %e slaughtered in dro(es! knowing 1 ould do nothing& 1 will not stand idle& 9e(er again&0 2ean lowered her hands& ,So & & & & what do we do/0 ,1f we don.t put a stop to >ell".s tirade! #utantkind will not sur(i(e& -e ha(e to end this! and the onl" wa" to do that is to strike first&0 ,-hat do "ou #ean/0 Erik rea hed onto his %elt! and took off a s#all #etalli or% with a red light on it& 2ean looked at it and then %a k up at Erik& ,;sing this!0 Erik said& ,1s that & & & &0 ,5n e)plosi(e de(i e of #" own design& 1t will o#pletel" destro" the %uilding and e(er"one inside& >ell" is hosting a harit" e(ent in there & & & & %ut it.s nothing #ore than a sha# to raise #one" for his anti-#utant affairs& *owe(er! we annot si#pl" detonate it & & & & he.d die a #art"r& 6hat.s wh" 1.(e %rought "ou here&0 2ean started to shake ner(ousl"&
,<ou.re going to use "our telepathi a%ilities to take ontrol of a i(ilian! and ha(e the# plant and detonate the de(i e! and su%se3uentl" take the %la#e& Sin e it will %e one of his pre ious .nor#al. hu#ans doing the deed! no one an %la#e #utantkind for this .rando#. a t of terroris#&0 2ean took a step %a k& ,-hat.s wrong! hild/ 6ake it! and find so#eone40 2ean took another step %a k! and then fli ked her hand& 6he %o#% flew out of Erik.s pal# and landed a few #eters awa"& ,9o40 2ean shouted& ,1 won.t do it40 Erik growled and then #o(ed his wrist! ausing a near%" pipe to fl" at 2ean and wrap itself around her! trapping her& 6he pipe then pinned her to the ground& ,<ou an! and "ou will40 ,9o4 2ust %e ause he is against us! doesn.t #ean we ha(e the right to kill hi#40 ,<ou annot possi%l" %e so nai(e4 *e would ne(er ha(e the sa#e ourtes" for "ou40 ,6hat still doesn.t #ake it right40 Erik #o(ed his hand! and 2ean %e a#e suspended in the air %" the pipe& ,6hat kind of senti#ent is so eas" to ha(e when "ou.(e li(ed su h a sheltered life&0 Erik fli ked his wrist! and 2ean went fl"ing %a kwards! rashing into the wall at the edge of the roof& She sputtered out a few drops of %lood fro# her #outh& ,<ou will do as 1 sa"! girl!0 Erik roared! ,or 1 will #ake "our fa#il" suffer40 ,9o40 2ean win ed! and the pipe surrounding her leapt off and flew towards Erik! rashing into hi#& ,;gh40 Erik took a step %a k! and wat hed as 2ean stood up and pointed a finger at hi#& ,<ou.re 8ust as #u h of a #onster as >ell" is40 Erik growled again! and started to #o(e his ar#s when a large red laser %last hit hi# in the side
of his ri% age& Shouting in pain! Erik fell off the roof& 2ean gasped and looked o(er the edge as he fell& She then turned around to see the X-2et fl"ing a%o(e her! with S ott holding onto a #etal pole atta hed to the open do king ra#p& ,2ean40 2ean s#iled as the X-2et flew o(er& S ott held out his hand& ,Bra% on40 2ean gra%%ed S ott.s hand& *e pulled her onto the do king ra#p as the 8et swung around and started to des end to street le(el& *ank s3uinted his e"es! and saw Erik %lasting his wa" out of the ru%%le on the street reated %" his i#pa t& Effortlessl" kno king awa" two near%" ars! Erik floated upwards and landed on his feet& *ank turned the 8et around and landed it on the street& Erik folded his ar#s and stood still as do7ens of near%" i(ilians ran awa"! s rea#ing& ,Charles&0 S ott! 2ean! *ank! $o%%" and +iotr all ran out onto the street and stood in a line& Following the#! Xa(ier rolled down the ra#p and stopped in front of Erik! a few #eters awa"& ,1 see "ou.(e %een %us"! Charles!0 said Erik with a s#irk& ,1 knew "ou had so#e & & & & intriguing! ideas! %ut 1 ne(er %elie(ed "ou.d a tuall" go through with this one&0 ,Stop this now! Erik!0 de#anded Xa(ier& ,1 know what "ou.re doing here! and 1 will not allow it&0 ,-hat "ou allow is none of #" on ern& 6he #an "ou.re defending is a #utual ene#"! Charles& *e would ha(e "ou arrested and e)e uted 8ust as he would #e&0 ,-e don.t ha(e to alwa"s resort to (iolen e to sol(e our pro%le#s!0 replied Xa(ier& ,Sa"s the #an who put together his own little #utant atta k s3uad&0 Xa(ier s owled& ,<ou.(e %een fighting for e3ualit" for de ades! Charles! and it hasn.t worked& 9ow! we do it #" wa"&0
Erik raised his hands! and the X-2et skated along the road! #o(ing awa" fro# the tea#& Xa(ier.s hair then flew to the side! rashing into a wall& ,Erik40 shouted Xa(ier& Xa(ier tried to #o(e his hair! %ut he 3ui kl" reali7ed that the #otor s"ste#s were da#aged& ,-hat do "ou all "oursel(es! hildren/0 asked Erik& ,6he X-Men!0 replied $o%%"& ,6hen o#e! X-Men& Fa e "our %etter&0 Erik flung his ar#s upwards! and a near%" %us lifted in the air and flew towards the tea#& $o%%" skated upwards! firing an i e %last whi h held it in the air& *ank leaped on top of it& +iotr harged at Erik! %ut Erik fired a purple energ" %last fro# his hand! kno king hi# %a k& S ott fired a laser %last! whi h Erik defle ted with his other hand& *ank 8u#ped off the %us! his laws outstret hed! %ut Erik aught his hands and tossed hi# into a rashed ta)i& 2ean tugged at S ott.s ar#& ,Stop! S ott4 <ou won.t %e a%le to win this4 *e.s too powerful40 S ott looked at 2ean& *e then shook his head! and 8erked his ar# out of her grasp& *e ran forward and fired another %last at Erik! who a%sor%ed it with his energ" shield& 5s Erik rose into the air! +iotr 8u#ped fro# the ground and gra%%ed onto his foot& +ulling down! +iotr sla##ed Erik into the pa(e#ent& $o%%" soared down and %lasted i e on top of hi#! %ut it %arel" held hi# for a few se onds %efore he %roke out of it and shot $o%%" in the hest with an energ" %ea#! sending hi# areening into a fire h"drant& +iotr pun hed Erik twi e! and Erik responded with %reaking the %us out of $o%%".s i e and kno king +iotr awa" with it& S ott fired another laser %last! whi h was again defle ted& Erik laughed& ,1s this all "ou ha(e/0 Erik fired an energ" %ea# at S ott! whi h he dodged with a %arrel roll& Erik fired another! onne ting with the ground S ott was standing on! ausing hi# to rash into the sidewalk& ,<ou little fools4 Co "ou e(en know who 1 a#/ 1 a# Magneto! #aster of #agnet & & & &0
$efore Erik ould finish! +iotr threw the %us at the %a k of Erik.s head! kno king hi# to the floor& Shouting in anger! Erik stood up and #o(ed his wrist& 6he %o#% flew off the roof and landed in his hands& +un hing +iotr awa"! Erik looked at Xa(ier and s#irked& ,9o40 shouted Xa(ier& Erik threw the %o#% at >ell".s %uilding&
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