In association with the X-Men Comics group on Facebook, we are proud to present… the outcomes for the first battles!
Somewhere in the depths of unreality, the media mogul who loved to call himself Mojo was beaming. The results were coming in now, and he had to say he was absolutely ecstatic. “Top billing,” he crooned. “Record viewing figures!” He cackled with glee, spinning around on his mechanical legs and waving his arms out before an imaginary audience. “Thank you, thank you, thank you!”
. ~ .
In the depths of Russia, hurricane winds raged and hellfire seared the ground. Two mutants were at war – and they were just the first. For Storm, this was a heart-breaking moment; she’d fought alongside Illyana Rasputin, known her as a child, and cared for her more deeply than she’d ever given voice to. But for whatever reason, Magik had chosen battle; and, with the security of Wakanda at stake, it was a choice Storm was determined to honour.
Not that it was an easy battle, by any means; trained as a sorceress, Magik had unleashed attacks that Storm was vaguely sure she’d only ever seen from the Sorcerer Supreme before. But Storm had taken precise control of the weather, shielding herself with a tempest and cyclonic winds, and no attack had yet penetrated her defence.
The latest attack was ferocious indeed; Magik had summoned nothing less than a towering crimson dragon, and Storm had soared high into the sky to evade its deadly jets of fire. The creature wasn’t quite in tune with reality, she sensed, and so she had a nasty feeling little things like the laws pf physics wouldn’t really matter to it. Supporting her guess, Storm watched as the creature rose into the air, ignoring the turbulence around it as it pursued her.
But it had made a mistake.
Sheets of lightning swept from the cloud-filled skies, electric sparks running across its frame. The dragon roared in pain, evidently hardy enough to survive this onslaught – and then Storm gestured, more shimmering energy pouring from her fingertips, and this shot was dangerously precise. The creature’s eyes were blinded, and – as it let out another deafening cry – still more power poured down its throat. It was killed from the inside out.
Storm knew what would come next, so the flare of energy behind her was no surprise. Magik had teleported in close, attempting to get in a quick cut with her Soulsword, but Storm had anticipated this; instead of getting in a blow, Magik was trapped in the hidden winds Storm had surrounded herself with.
Storm didn’t wait, she didn’t give her opponent a chance, and she showed no mercy. Lightning arced around her once again, precisely calibrated, and Magik – her body still held aloft in the winds – was rendered unconscious.
. ~ .
Arcade was practically jigging up and down in glee, watching in delight as X-Man battled X-Man. This was fun! If his last Murderworld had put him back on the map, the fact he’d gotten X-Men to go at it would make a fair few people raise a glass in his name. Nobody liked X-Men, especially not X-Men. They spent most of their time fighting each other – witness the schism between Wolverine and Cyclops! – and he was utterly confident he’d see a death fairly soon.
“Miss Coriander,” Arcade yelled, “Call the bookies, tell them the bet paid off!”
The super-villain community was awash with bets on these fights, and Arcade had taken a chance; he’d bet on Storm, when most people were saying anyone trained by Doctor Strange would surely win. But Arcade knew Storm of old, and he had predicted that she’d be harder to knock down than all that.
He’d just made enough money to pay for another seven Murderworlds.
. ~ .
In Times Square, Dazzler was being hard pressed – mainly because this was a fight she just didn’t want. Everything was throwing her off guard; she had no idea how Mojo had managed to persuade Jubilee that Wolverine was dead, but the grief-stricken teenager wasn’t listening to reason. It didn’t help that she was cutting loose in a way she’d never seen Jubilee do before.
The crowds were screaming and running, plasma spheres were detonating with ferocious explosions, and it was taking all Dazzler’s power to deflect the attacks. Just the fact Jubilee had her powers was difficult to comprehend, and Dazzler was beginning to suspect that somehow Mojo had pulled Jubilee out of time. Certainly she didn’t look like a vampire…
You’re a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent now, Dazzler told herself, and this is out of control. She saw an opening, and lashed out with a tightly focused beam of light; the sound of chaos around her had super-charged her powers, and every one of Jubilee’s attacks was giving her more sound to transform into light. Dazzler’s blow hit Jubilee in the stomach, and the teenager gasped in pain; then, the older mutant moved forwards, lashing out with her fists.
Incredibly, Jubilee ducked and wove; she was more agile than Dazzler had realised. She was even getting ready for another plasma attack, Dazzler realised, and so she hit first – a wide-angle burst of energy designed to do nothing more than blind, leaving Jubilee reeling and ready for a knock-out blow.
. ~ .
Mojo roared with appreciative joy, and checked the VNet forums. Yes, as he’d expected, they were exploding in heated debate; Dazzler may have been popular online once, but he saw that most people were siding with the furious teenager she’d just taken down.
“Oh, Dazzler, baby,” Mojo crooned, “You’re gonna have so many people wanting your head for that!”
. ~ .
In the depths of the Savage Land, a much more subtle – and, frankly, more brutal – battle was continuing. Kitty had made a mistake early on, giving Rogue just the slightest chance to make skin contact, and ever since it had turned into a war of attrition. By now, both of them were in a state, their costumes tattered and bloody cuts ribboning their flesh. Both were using strategy and cunning, and both had gotten in some very nasty blows. It hadn’t helped that they’d stumbled onto a local tribe.
Taking one of the tribesmen down with a karate chop, Kitty leapt through the air, phasing through several other attackers. Her target was simple; she landed on her feet next to the worried pterosaur that the tribesmen had been flying earlier in the day. Within a second, she was on it, and using it to propel herself into the air. Behind her, she heard a yell of frustration as Rogue was being held up rather more effectively – Kitty vaguely wondered if the phasing powers the other woman had absorbed were finally wearing off. Less than half a minute later, though, another pterosaur was taking flight in pursuit.
A glance behind told Kitty why Rogue had been held up; whereas Kitty was having to find her balance, Rogue was flying with skill and expertise. The kind of skill she would have absorbed from one of the tribesmen. Kitty swore, and spun her ride round in what was meant to be a curve but turned into a cartwheel.
Kitty had already gotten the hang of this; the thing responded by the shifting of your weight. It was kind of like riding a bicycle, she reflected, and that gave her hope – it meant some of your skills probably depended on muscle memories, and she knew Rogue sometimes struggled to process those. Coming in at the angle she was, Kitty knew she was flying out from the sun, and Rogue would be blinded when she looked up.
It didn’t seem to have worked. Rogue angled her own steed on to a collision course; Kitty sensed her pterosaur tense, evidently realising it was about to get into a fight. She leaned forwards in the leather seat, preparing.
At the last second before the collision, Kitty threw herself out of the saddle; she phased, flying straight forwards, planning to solidify a fist and land a punch. The two winged dinosaurs screeched as they locked in a grapple, and Kitty tumbled into Rogue –
Who had phased as well, so Kitty flew straight through her. Losing concentration, Kitty forgot to phase, just in time to be grabbed by Rogue from behind. Her fellow X-Man tackled her, and only as they struggled did either begin to process that they were falling…
They hit the canopy layer of the rainforest hard, branches tearing at clothes and flesh, and both finally phased – each holding off as long as possible, trying to give the other the maximum opportunity to get injured. Intangible now, they wheeled apart, their molecules catching on the breeze until their fall turned into a gradual descent. Kitty let herself return to normal when she was inches above the ground, and landed on her feet in a large clearing filled with smoke. She could see Rogue had done the same, at the opposite side of the clearing.
The two X-Men faced off, each trying to take in the environment around them. The centre of the clearing was where the steam was coming from, a shallow pool of warm water; the air was heavy with the stench of rotten eggs. Almost as one, the women began to step towards the centre, using the pool as a divider between them.
“I’m sorry about this, Rogue,” Kitty managed at last, once she’d properly caught her breath. “My students are at risk.”
Rogue shrugged. “So are mine, Kitty,” she replied. “You’re from the future, right?”
“A little,” Kitty confirmed.
“So did Utopia blow up on Hope and the others?”
The question prompted a half-smile from Kitty. “No, but don’t think that guarantees you’ll win. You losing might just kick off another timeline.”
“Damn,” Rogue scowled. “But you do know I’m not in the habit of losing, right?”
Kitty shrugged. “The longer you take, the more likely you’ll lose my phasing power,” she pointed out. “Soon as that happens, it’s Game Over.”
She knew what was going to happen, of course. There was only one possible response; Rogue leaped into the pool, which was shallow enough to only splash up above her knees. Kitty did the same, and in the very centre, legs burning in the near-boiling water, the two clashed once again.
This was a fight like none other, with both combatants throwing punches and kicks, both exploiting martial arts skills – in Rogue’s case, skills she’d stolen from Kitty. Each recognised the moves as they were performed, and countered seamlessly; when they couldn’t counter, they phased, allowing blows to swing through empty space. It was a dance, and each performed it exceptionally. The first one to stumble would be the one to lose.
The ground shuddered beneath their feet, and to Kitty’s surprise her opponent phased completely. Sensing that something was going on, Kitty willed the same – just as the pool exploded around them. She’d just been in time, and stumbled out of the jet of steam. Rogue had taken the fight into a geyser, probably using knowledge stolen from one of the tribesmen.
But before she’d phased, Kitty had gotten a lungfull of scalding hot air, and she barely staggered to safety before she lost control of her powers. She slumped to her knees, gasping for breath – and a moment later received a very precise blow to the back of her head, and fell face-first in the long grass, unconscious.
. ~ .
All over the multiverse, viewers cheered. In his office, Mojo roared with delight – this battle had gone exceptionally well, viewing figures were the highest he’d had since the age of the X-babies, and life had simply never been better.