Chapter Two - "We All Have Our Separate Battles..."
Rogue banked into a sharp turn, just missing a jutting flagpole
... and just being missed by a sizzling bolt of energy from
the pursuing Sentinel. This fight was not going well.
Many of the X-Men had come to New York for something of a
diplomatic mission to the Hellfire Club. Though personally,
Rogue didn't trust them any further than she could throw ...
well, she didn't trust them. Still, they were mutants, and
the way things were going these days, even enemy mutants had
to stick together. Maybe.
The beautiful fall day had soon turned sour. Nimrod had suddenly
appeared over their van, and this time he had three Sentinels
with him. They were smaller than the Sentinels the X-Men were
used to - only about twelve feet tall. Things had gotten very
scrambled very quickly, and the X-Men had been split up. Rogue
had tried to swing back to help her comrades several times,
but the robot following her had blocked every attempt.
That sucker was fast, too. She was barely staying
ahead of it, with the help of her seventh-sense power. She
just knew - usually almost too late - where the robot
was, what it was going to do next. She dropped six feet suddenly,
and sure enough, another zap crackled through the air she'd
been occupying. But it was closer than the last one.
She swung over a construction site, only inches from the
top of the beams, and plucked a steel pipe from a heap as
she went by. Maybe she could throw it back at the robot, buy
a few seconds to press the attack... worth a shot.
Suddenly she realized that she couldn't sense where the Sentinel
was. Nah... it couldn'ta adapted to my seventh sense...
could it? Ah sure hope not! Either way, now was the time
to try her plan. She twirled in the air, bringing the pipe
around like a javelin, seeking her target. Ah can throw
a quarter through four-inch steel plate, so you'd best have
WHAM! Blinding light, a feeling like Storm's lightning
at full force, a piledriver blow to her chest... Rogue was
rocketing through the air. She heard more than felt the impact
when she slammed through a brick wall thirty stories up. She
couldn't move, couldn't think. Nothing worked. She could barely
see. The sound of the robot's jets rumbled closer. She knew
dimly that if she didn't do something fast, it was over. But
everything was still spinning...
A shockwave rolled across her, like an artillery shell had
landed a few feet away. She heard shrapnel chittering to the
floor. The jets were gone. Suddenly she felt someone rolling
her over, carefully feeling for injuries. An unfamiliar voice
said, "Are you okay? Oh, jeez, please be okay. Come on."
Recovering somewhat, she looked up. She was lying next to
an overturned desk, tiny pieces of Sentinel scattered all
around. It was an office building, and a few people were cowering
at the far end of the room. She was half-supported at the
shoulders by a stranger. He was dressed in jeans, a sweatshirt,
a jean jacket. He had a ski mask on, but she could see his
eyes were green. His sneakers squeaked as he changed posture
Looking at her face, he saw her eyes were open. "All
right! You okay? You took quite a hit back there." She
was still woozy, but getting better. She took stock. Bad headache,
ears ringing, an ache in her knee that she didn't like, her
costume was torn up... her costume was torn.
And his bare hand was cupping her bare shoulder.
"DON'T TOUCH ME!" she shrieked, jumping
out of his grip, backing up against the wall. She was very
awake now. She waited for the stranger to keel over, for the
flood of alien memories, strange powers... and she waited
... and it didn't come.
He had put his hands up in a 'don't hurt me' pose. Yes, they
definitely had no gloves on. "Hey, it's cool, I'm sorry,
I didn't mean anything, honest, I was just..." He trailed
off. She stared.
He stammered, "Uh, look, if you're okay, I'm going to
see if your friends need any help. Okay?" She still stared.
"Okay. Uh, see you later." He quickly flew out through
the hole in the wall. She heard a muffled sonic boom.
For a long time she just sat there against the wall, her
thoughts running in endless circles.
He touched me. And nothing happened. He touched me. And
Storm and Cyclops dodged around the corner of the storefront
into an alley. The Sentinel behind them was closing fast -
faster than they'd expected. It had also adapted quickly to
Cyclops' optic blasts. Its surface had turned a crimson shade
unpleasantly like ruby quartz. A few test bursts a block ago
had done nothing.
"It's not talking," Storm barked quickly between
breaths. She loped with easy grace along the irregular surface
of the alley, barely breathing hard.
She's right, Scott thought - Sentinels normally kept
up a running commentary about how they thought the battle
was going, and a continuous estimate of how long until their
targets would be "eliminated". This one hadn't said
anything since the chase began three blocks ago - like Nimrod
himself, Scott realized.
"Break right at the turn," he panted back. They
had just rounded the corner at the end of the alley when a
blast of energy scorched the air behind them. And their path
was blocked by a wall. They could scale it, but not in time.
Cyclops prepared to blast through it, but then he heard the
unmistakable sound of children playing on the other side.
He couldn't risk it.
Cyclops spun around, desperate to find some other escape.
His eyes lighted upon a concrete cylinder - a traffic stop.
His instinctive judgment for angles kicked into play. If he
could jog left ... he could blast it free, and bounce it at
high speed into the Sentinel...
But even as he started to move, the Sentinel emerged from
the alley. He saw Storm charging it - he knew she was trying
to draw its fire, trading her life to give Scott a chance.
He also saw it wasn't going to be enough. Time slowed.
A streak bolted from the sky behind the Sentinel, barely
subsonic, directly at robot. Scott had almost no time to register
what happened next - a curtain of white light appeared behind
the robot, the streak collided and ricocheted, smashing into
a building and through the wall. The sound was deafening,
like a clap of thunder.
The robot spun quickly and advanced on the hole in the wall.
A figure rolled over from under a pile of bricks and beams
and shook its head, obviously stunned. Scott suddenly realized
it wasn't Rogue, as he'd assumed. It was a man, dressed in
civilian clothes (now rather tattered) and a ski mask. The
man looked up as the robot approached. He shook his head once
more and leaped (no, flew) forward.
Again Cyclops had trouble following the action. It looked
like the man's fingers lengthened and widened, simultaneously
becoming silvery. His hand was suddenly an eight-foot parody
of Wolverine's claws, with giant mirrored razors at every
fingertip. One slash, and the Sentinel was split in five pieces.
Cyclops might have been taken aback, but he hadn't been the
leader of the X-Men for many years because he took chances
or missed opportunities. He didn't know if the Sentinel could
repair that much damage, but a full-force optic blast on the
exposed innards of the Sentinel pulverized the robot before
it had the opportunity.
"Owww," the man said, rubbing his shoulder as he
landed next to the pair of X-Men. His hand now looked perfectly
normal. "That sneak attack worked just a minute ago on
the other one." He sounded annoyed at the unfairness
of it all.
"They adapt quickly, and they share information. You
can't stop them the same way twice." Storm explained.
"Thank you for the help, by the way." There was
no sign in her voice that she'd just been microseconds from
dying. Scott was impressed in spite of himself. He was also
impressed with this stranger - he'd apparently taken out two
"Hey, uh, no problem." He paused nervously, looking
at them. "Uh, we should probably go see if your friends
need help. Want a lift?"
Shadowcat was getting tired of running. A quick attempt at
phasing through a Sentinel had failed, and she'd barely ducked
beneath the surface of the street in time. The cement had
looked more like cobblestone when she'd surfaced seconds later.
Then, despite a vagrant impulse to leave him, she'd phased
a battered Colossus through a couple of walls and the chase
had been on.
"You okay there, big guy?" she said, smoothly leaping
over a cardboard box in the lot they were racing across. He'd
taken some monstrous blows from the Sentinel. She wondered
how the others were doing - especially Phoenix. The last she'd
seen, Nimrod was going after Rachel himself.
" I... will be all right. Do you have an idea for what
to do with our silent friend?" They, too, had noticed
the taciturn nature of this new crop of Sentinels.
"Actually, yes." Colossus leaped over a dumpster.
She had no choice but to phase through it. It slowed her down
a little, but as she came out the other side, she heard a
blast of energy smack into the screaming metal. Phasing ought
to protect her, though she wasn't going to count on it if
she could help it.
"Would you be so kind as to share it with me?"
He was irritated more than he should be by her coolness. It
wasn't his fault that he'd fallen in love with another
woman after being abducted to the far side of the cosmos,
was it? And, well, even if it was, this was no time to be
surly about it. So why did he still feel guilty?
"Nah. When we make the turn, just keep running. You
make a good target." She took a few extra breaths - she'd
need them for what she had planned. They emerged onto a side
They took the turn at full speed, and suddenly Shadowcat
phased again, diving right down into the street. Colossus
had no choice but to keep running. The center of his back
itched ... that was where the Sentinel would zap him.
The Sentinel made the turn sharply, almost gracefully. Jets
were unnecessary for this type of pursuit; at least not yet.
It conserved energy to run. [PRIMARY TARGET ACQUIRED -
DESIGNATE COLOSSUS. CHARGING PARTICLE BEAM NINE. SECONDARY
TARGET NOT TRACKED - BRINGING TERTIARY SENSORS ONLINE. CAUTION
INDICATED - AMBUSH LIKELY.]
But even as the "thought" passed through the killing
machine's "mind", it lost its footing. Its sensors
were confused - it was falling through apparently solid pavement.
It realized what was happening an instant too late. The pavement
became solid again.
Colossus stopped dead when he heard the metallic scream from
behind. He whirled around, and paused for a moment, amazed.
Most of the Sentinel was embedded in the street. The head,
shoulder, and one arm was flailing about. Everything glowed
red-hot where the robot and the street tried to coexist. She
phased the street under it, he suddenly understood, a
The sight didn't stop him long. He charged forward and delivered
a brutal kick into the exposed part of the robot's chest,
which practically exploded from the punishment. He shot his
head around, searching desperately for a sign of Kitty anywhere.
A few feet away, Shadowcat slid up from below the street.
As always, it was a little eerie seeing her phase through
solid matter, like a ghost. Her breath escaped in a burst,
and she drew great gasps of fresh air. She slowly sat down
and put her head between her legs.
Colossus rushed over. "Kitty, are you all right? I didn't
know you could phase that much..."
"I've been practicing. But I really don't want
to have to do that again." She began to sit up straight.
Unnoticed behind them, the Sentinel's head had landed facing
the pair. Its eyes began to glow, as it readied for a killing
Rogue slammed down with both feet on top of the head, shattering
it into fragments. "Y'all gotta keep better watch than
that!" she called. "These're tricky critters!"
"Rogue, are you okay?" Kitty called, coming to
her feet. "You look kinda beat up." She saw the
torn costume and held back from touching her teammate. She
could see that Rogue was... nervous. Disturbed.
"Yeah, Ah'm okay. Ah, er, got some help." She didn't
volunteer any more.
"Oh. Okay." She pondered the situation, then dismissed
it, for the moment. "Your costume is a mess, and we'd
better see if the others need help. Here, let me." She
began to unwrap part of her own costume, so Rogue could safely
carry them all. They silently hoped that there would still
be a battle to join.
Continued in Chapter
Down-Home Charm / Fan-Fiction /
Fan Artwork / History Books /
Photo Album / Songbank /
Miscellania / Links /
Legalese: Rogue, the X-Men, and the distinctive likenesses thereof
are Trademarks of Marvel Characters, Inc. and are used without permission. This is an
unofficial fansite, and is not sponsored, licensed or approved by