The Phoenix, Marvel Girl, Havok, Polaris, Shadowcat.
Five mutants condemned to space. Are they alive?

Some of the X-Men are going to find out...


chapter one/prologue: let's go get 'em

Wolverine pulled a beer from the refrigerator and stepped into the courtyard. He took a deep breath, decided he should find a cigar and nearly went back inside until he smelled it.

It was coming from above, dancing across the wind like it owned it. Hell, it did.

Some sort of flower and herb blend -- Wakandan.

She'd stayed with the X-Men tonight. It was hard to know where Storm was most of the time (she was almost as busy as he was these days) -- San Francisco, New York, Wakanda..?

But tonight, Logan smiled, tonight she was home. With the X-Men.

Wolverine leapt into a tree, pulling himself up inch by inch, careful not to shake his beer more than necessary. He didn't worry too much about it -- after all, he was the best there was at... well, everything. Even Logan was tired of that line.

"Saw you on Oprah," Logan launched himself onto the roof of the X-Men's San Francisco home. Ororo Munroe sat on the ledge, legs crossed, staring out into the bay. Her hair had begun to fall from its perfect bun.

"She was a lovely woman," Munroe didn't turn around, her eyes focused on the stars above.

"Cut the crap, 'Ro," Wolverine plopped down beside her while simultaneously opening his can of beer. "You ain't a Queen sittin' here with me."

"I could barely stand her," Storm spat out. She'd wanted to say it all day. "I do not know, Logan. I am beginning to miss being a mutant first, a person second."

"You really think that's true?"

"Not for an instant," Storm turned, the moonlight drenching her face and chilling Logan's spine. "But it felt good to say."

Wolverine grinned.

The two said nothing for a moment, their eyes cast out ahead of them; above them, leaping from star to star.

"Skies are awfully clear," Logan finally spoke.

"I figured Seattle could use a cloudy night," Storm replied. Wolverine knew she wasn't kidding.

"Playin' God?"

"Goddess," she corrected him.

"Y'know," Wolverine turned again, "I think a lot more weathermen'd be right if it weren't for you."

Storm smiled coyly, looking to the ground below for a moment. Logan had returned to the stars.

"What're you doin' here?"

"Looking at the stars, Logan. Thinking. Enjoying the peace and quiet until you arrived."

"We both know you wore that much perfume so I'd come up here and find you, lady."

Storm smiled again, placing her jeweled hand atop her old friend's. She rested it there a moment. "You've been using the lotion I gave you."

"Skin's as soft as a baby's," Wolverine grinned. "It's been too long, 'Ro, since you an' me just... sat."

"Too long indeed, Logan."

"So why're you spendin' the night in San Francisco when yer hubby's in his big Wakandan throne room all by his lonesome?"

"That life, Logan," Storm pulled her hand back, "that entire life... to some, I am a black woman. To others, a mutant. And still to others a political statement in every action I take."

"You knew that goin' in, darlin'."

"You are right," Storm shuffled her bodyweight, her palms flat on the rooftop behind her. "But I simply wish to be an X-Man. To belong to a family. And here I am, in the world where I am truly from... with my friends, my family... but I do not recognize it.

Charles is gone. We've lost Kitty. Jean. Alex, Lorna, Rachel -- we do not know where they are, nor does anyone seem to care. Our Kitten could still be alive, Logan, and here we sit, directing our energies into moving across the country... building a home and starting at ground zero...

I barely recognize Scott. I do not know Emma, not anymore than I truly want to. The conflict is tearing at my soul, Logan. Am I an X-Man? Are there any left?"

"Look at me," Wolverine ran his hand across Munroe's cheek. "Look at me an' listen close. It don't matter where the X-Men live, it don't matter who's on the team or who's callin' the shots. It don't matter how many mutants are left or who's in space or if you're a Queen or a Morlock.

What matters is that you're sittin' here, next to me, like you did all those years ago... wonderin' if you'd ever be able t'make it in this crazy life, in this crazy world, comin' from bein' a Goddess ta wearin' tights and fightin' a guy in a metal helmet.

You're alive, Ororo. You're makin' it. And you've still got me."

Storm smiled uneasily. "You are right."

"Don't bottle everything up, Ororo... it just don't make for good weather."

"And when did you become such an open book, Logan?"

"It all started with Wanda. I'll have t'find that crazy bitch and say thanks someday."

Storm laughed, running her fingertips through her hair as she shook her head. "I don't think that's what it is at all, Logan. I think you really have been watching Oprah."

"Or maybe I'm just drinkin'."

"Wolverine. You can not get drunk. Your healing factor will not allow it."

Wolverine winked as he took another sip from his can. "Charlie had his dreams, 'Ro. I've always had mine."

The two fell silent again, until...

"Let's do it."

"Do what?" Storm turned again.

"Go up there."

Munroe arched her famous eyebrow. "Go up there?"

"You're right," Wolverine pushed himself to his feet, crushing his beer can and tossing it into the shrubs below. Storm immediately summoned the wind, the can slamming hard against Logan a second later.

Wolverine chuckled, grabbing at it and crushing it further. "Kitty might be alive. Alex, Lorna, Rachel. Hell, even Jean might be up there. Let's go get 'em."

Storm turned her attention to the stars once again and then turned back to Wolverine.

"Wake Piotr."

NEXT: JOURNEY TO THE STARS. Thanks for reading -- let me know what you think... it keeps it comin'!