Inevitably no-one missed the commotion Clark made as he went flying through the mansion bulldozing his way through walls after 'Kara' kicked him. It had ended up with a very quick summary of what transpired filtering around the mansion in what seemed like minutes.
"Damn. And I thought I had father issues," Tabby remarks to Wanda as the students hang around outside the Professor's office where he is talking to Clark and Mrs Kent as they wait to see what is going to happen.
Wanda's face is a mask of suppressed anger. It seems too many of them have 'father issues' as Tabby phrased it but she was really pissed at the fact Mr Kent had been taken. Mr Kent was...well that's kind of what Wanda wishes her own father was more like.
"We'll get him back right?" Jamie asks looking at the older students.
Jean tries to be reassuring. "Yes Jamie. We'll get him back," she says with utter determination although she can't believe this is another thing they are dealing with at the moment. It seems like life just wants to keep kicking them over and over.
Inside the office the Professor watches Clark pace back and forth, the boy's frustrations and agitation almost palpably physical manifestations. "First things first. Are you alright Clark?"
Clark stops pacing and runs his hand through his hair in his frustrated gesture. "I'm fine Professor. Thank you. My powers all seem to be back to normal so my injuries have healed."
Charles is pleased by that but distinctly unhappy about this situation. It was essentially a hostage situation. Jor-El gets Clark or Jonathan gets it or that is the impression Clark and Martha portrayed about what is happening. To summarise what did happen Charles asks, "So you were suspicious about 'Kara' the whole time?"
Clark nods. "Yes...and I'm sorry I didn't tell you Professor. There just didn't seem like a good moment and 'Kara' was watching me all the time."
"I understand Clark," Charles says not angry because he does understand. It also explains why he was blocked from Kara's mind. If he hadn't been he would have known she was human.
"So what now?" Martha asks, her expression one of terrible worry for her husband.
Clark sighs. "Now I hand myself over," he iterates the only course of action he can see.
"Clark. Now we must not be hasty," Charles cautions. "Given time I am certain we can come up with a solution."
"Like? Jor-El demanded I come alone Professor. He has my father and there is nothing to stop him carrying out his threat."
"Clark handing yourself over is no solution. From this deception it is clear Jor-El is prepared to go to extreme measures to get you back. If you hand yourself over can you guarantee he will release your father?"
"No," Clark says with a frown.
"We need to sit down and plan a response Clark. We need to act together."
"Professor you don't know Jor-El. He can hurt me, suppress my powers...he...whatever he truly is has access to great power. I will never ask you to take the risk."
"You are not asking Clark. I'm offering and I am certain your friends outside the door would be willing to take the risk as well."
But Clark doesn't want them to take the risk. Still on the other hand maybe if they put their heads together they could come up with something. He runs his hand through his hair again and looks to his mother. "There is no guarantee with any choice we make," he cautions her.
Martha nods. "Can I have some time to think on it?" she requests since this is a big decision involving great risk to Jonathan's life.
"Of course. Take whatever time you need," Charles tells her.
Not too much later Martha sits alone thinking. She needed to be alone for a short time to come to her own opinion on what she wanted. She needed to be alone so she could listen to her heart to tell her what was the right decision.
It comes down to Clark leaves by himself and she almost certainly loses her son and can't predict Jonathan's fate or she trusts Charles and the students to come up with a plan that at least has a good chance of success. When she summarises it like that it is more obvious she supposes. She should let Charles and the X-Men attempt a rescue.
There is a knock on the door.
"Come in!" Martha beckons whoever it is.
The door opens and the unmistakable white and brown hair of Rogue pops her head in. "Is this a bad tahme?" she asks.
Martha shakes her head. "No. Of course not." It's never a bad time as far as Martha is concerned for her son's girlfriend. "What is it Rogue?"
Rogue steps inside, looking worried if anything, nervously playing with her white bangs. "Um..have ya seen Clark?"
Martha frowns. "No. Why?"
"Well ah'm sure it is nothing but ah can't find him anywhere," Rogue reports.
"You checked out all his usual hiding places?" Martha asks, her worry growing, as a notion begins to form in her mind.
Rogue nods. She had looked in all the places Clark usually goes when he wants to be alone.
Martha looks to the heavens. "Clark Kent. You have better not done what I've think you've done," she mutters as a threat.
"He's gone isn't he," Rogue guesses, her voice already shaking with emotion.
Martha looks at Rogue, moisture welling up in her green eyes. She puts her hands on Rogue's shoulder. "Lets not assume that just yet. Ok?"
"Now where didn't you look for him?" Martha asks.
Rogue thinks hard. "Um...just his old room," she says. Since it was damaged she never thought he would be there.
Martha takes Rogue by her gloved hand and the two walk quickly to Clark's old room. Martha pushes the door open and sitting on the bedside table as clear as day is a sealed envelope. Martha walks over to it and picks it up, her hand visibly shaking with nerves, fearing she knows what this means.
Martha rips the envelope open and pulls out the handwritten letter within. She sits on the bed and signals for Rogue to sit next to her as they read the letter.
Hey Mom. Hey Rogue.
By the time you find this I'll be gone. I know Rogue is pretty steamed about now. In fact her left eye is probably doing that twitchy thing.
Martha stops and looks at Rogue and as Clark said Rogue's left eye is twitching. Wow does Clark have Rogue down. She returns to the letter.
I'm sorry. I never wanted anyone mad at me. I never wanted any of this at all.
I tried. I tried so hard to avoid this but maybe this was inevitable. I have no doubt if we put our heads together we come up with a way to rescue dad but then what?
Jor-El will never stop coming for me and I don't know how to stop him or how to protect any of you. Therefore the only way I can protect you is to go to him and find out once and for all what it is he wants of me and why he is driven to go to such extremes to force me to obey.
I have no doubt Rogue is mentally insulting me right now...probably in French for being an idiot.
Rogue is doing precisely that and also muttering a few French phrases Martha thinks she is better off not knowing what they mean.
Maybe I am an idiot.
Maybe I am doing the only thing I can do.
In any case I don't know when or if I'll return so I'll say a few things now.
Mom. I wish I could express how sorry I am for last summer but no words can make up for what I did or what I put you through. I love you. Lara may have given birth to me but you're the one who gave me life.
Tears well up in Martha's eyes at reading this.
Rogue...Anna. I wish above all things I didn't have to leave you. I love you. God I love you so much. I love you more than anyone else I have in my life. I would do anything to be with you. Anything except put you at risk. Jor-El knows how special you are to me. In the end that means he will use you to get to me and I will not allow that.
As for everyone else tell them I meant what I have said before. They are my family and I am doing this to keep them safe.
So Jor-El was right all along. My emotions do make me easy to control but I have come to the conclusion that I have to do this. I think if you ask Wanda she can explain why. Before she went to New York with us when she was pleading to be allowed to come she made the point that it would never be over for her...that she would never get closure until she confronted her father.
The same is true for me and Jor-El. We need to have it out once and for all father and son.
So that's it I guess. Time to...as Jor-El says so often...time to face my destiny head on.
Whatever happens know that I love all of you and will keep you in my thoughts always.
Martha sniffles as she fights back the tears. Clark. She didn't know whether to hit him or hug him.
Rogue is having the exact same dilemma. She can't...this can't be happening to her. Not so soon after she and Clark declared and expressed their love for each other. Why does life always have to kick her down just when it seems like she might be happy?
First her powers kicking in just when she kissed Cody and now this.
Without Rogue even realising it tears are falling down her face. Martha's soothing arms pull Rogue to her and the two women cry together.
Kawatche Caves, Smallville...
Clark slips out of superspeed at the entrance to the caves. He is certain he set a new speed record for himself because as he ran here he created a sonic boom indicating he broke the speed of sound(768mph).
Clark stiffens his resolve and marches in to find 'Lindsey' standing waiting for him. She is standing next to his father who is down on his knees with a ribbon of golden energy wrapped around his neck emanating from an opening in the cave wall Clark had never seen before. "Let him go!" Clark demands. "Leave my father out of this!"
Jor-El's voice booms around the cave, "Agree to come with me and I will release him."
"Clark. No!" Jonathan chokes out.
Clark steps next to his father and bends down. He places a hand on his father's shoulder. "I'm sorry dad. There's no choice," he says sadly.
"Yes there is son. Jor-El can do anything he wants to me. I've lived a full life and I'll sacrifice it if it means you are free," Jonathan tells his son, willing to selflessly sacrifice himself for his son.
"I'll never be free," Clark says and in his son's eyes Jonathan can see the stark sad acceptance of that. Clark stands up straight. "Why do you do this?" he shouts out.
"I do what I must," Jor-El gives as his explanation.
"But why?" Clark asks again needing to understand. "Because even though I have only a few sketchy memories I can remember the day you placed me in my ship. You were sad. You were not this emotionless automaton."
"I was programmed to ensure your survival at any cost," Jor-El or the computer programme the real Jor-El created informs Clark.
"So you put me through horrendous tests?" Clark queries about last summer.
"Which you passed," Jor-El reminds Clark.
"And you take innocent girls and use them," Clark says distastefully as he looks at Lindsey.
"She has outlived her usefulness," Jor-El states and then before Clark's eyes Lindsey seems to dissolve into nothing.
Clark's guts twist in anger. "That wasn't necessary!" he snaps.
"As I said her life had ended," Jor-El states in an emotionless tone.
"You could have given it back," Clark argues.
"Again I ask why? Why are you doing this? Why do you refuse to listen to me?"
"You are driven by emotion Kal-El. Therefore you cannot see what it is that logically needs to be done. You are the Last Son of Krypton. Its legacy lives or dies through you. I tried with everything I possessed to save our world, our people, your mother..."
Clark blinks. There was actual sadness in Jor-El's tone. He has never heard that before from his biological father.
"In the end all I could save was you...my only son. I cannot fail again. I will not. I will do whatever it takes to ensure you survive even if that runs contrary to what you believe is right and wrong. To ensure you survive I also have to ensure this world survives. Humanity has great potential but it is also deeply flawed. Its flaws will lead to its own destruction as our people's flaws led to the destruction of our world."
"What?" Clark asks puzzled by that. Jor-El had never told him how Krypton was destroyed. "Are you saying we destroyed ourselves?"
"Pride is not the sole domain of the human race. Our pride...our arrogance...our belief in our own superiority...in the fact that we were indestructible...it found a voice and that voice led us to our own tragedy. If a similar voice rises within the human race it too will lead to its tragedy which is why you Kal-El must lead them. You can use Krypton's mistakes as an example that must not be followed but to do that you must become a true Kryptonian. Learn its history and understand the full power that lies within you and you will be able to lead humanity away from its own self-destruction. Your wish to do this, to use a human phrase, part-time is unacceptable. There is insufficient time for you to be ready to step forward in the moment and seize your destiny that way."
"In your opinion," Clark argues.
"This is not a debate Kal-El. Step into the light and we shall begin the next stage of your journey."
Clark looks at the opening with the golden light and takes a deep breath.
"Clark!" Jonathan chokes out once more.
Clark looks at his father with sad eyes. "I love you dad. This is the only way I can ensure you, mom and everyone else is safe. Once I'm gone Jor-El won't bother you any more," he essentially justifies why he has to do this.
Clark turns toward the golden light once more.
"Come to me Kal-El!" Jor-El demands.
Clark steps towards the light and as he does so he can feel a pull be exerted on his body trying to yank him in. He comes to a stop a few steps short. "Release my father!" he demands.
"Step into the light and I shall,"Jor-El says in reply.
"You expect me to trust your word after everything you have done?"
"You have no choice Kal-El. Refuse and I kill Jonathan Kent before your eyes. If necessary I will kill every link you have to humanity one by one until you obey. It is not a task I wish to perform but I will if you give me no choice."
"Do whatever you think needs to be done," Clark mutters in anger and disgust. If only there was another way...but there isn't.
Clark takes one more step into the light and the pull increases exponentially. It feels like his body is getting pulled apart.
Jonathan watches as it appears Clark is literally pulled apart as he vanishes into the golden light. 'No,' he thinks desperately. This can't have been the only way. He grabs at the energy still around his neck holding him down.
"I thank you Jonathan Kent," Jor-El's voice booms out. "I thank you for keeping Kal-El safe but his journey with you is at its end. I...regret what I must do next," he says with some sorrow in his tone. "But I cannot allow you to tell anyone what has transpired here today."
Jonathan knew it. He knew Jor-El could not be trusted. "You lied," he accuses Jor-El.
"I do what I must."
"The ends cannot justify the means."
"Even if those ends prevent the extinction of the human race."
"There is always another way. A better way."
"You sound like myself when I was a young man before life taught me different. Before the war. Before the rise of Zod."
"You have let bad experiences cloud your judgement," Jonathan accuses Jor-El. He has to say though this a surreal experience learning about what it is that has driven Jor-El to such extremes like this.
"On the contrary," Jor-El argues. "Those experiences taught me what it is I had to do and I programmed that into this simulation. I am not a cruel man Jonathan Kent as you might believe. For Kal-El's sake and all you have done for him I will not end your life but you shall never speak of this day."
The energy rope around Jonathan's neck glow brighter and brighter. If someone was left to see it they would have to look away. Then in a flash the energy is gone and Jonathan lies on the floor of the cave unmoving and unconscious.
At the Institute...
In the Professor's office Ororo is doing her best to console Martha who is visibly extremely upset about potentially losing both her husband and her son. Ororo looks up to Rogue sitting in the next chair trying to look strong but the anguish on the young woman's face was so stark even Rogue could not hide it.
Charles is reading the letter Clark left behind with a heavy heart. Part of him is berating himself for not figuring Clark would do something like this.
"Professor," Rogue's voice queries sounding so weak and afraid it almost doesn't sound like her but despite her wish to put on a tough front Rogue finds she can't. She loves Clark so much. She can't have lost him. She can't have!
Charles looks at Rogue, his face full of sympathy. He can see the unspoken question in her eyes. "We'll get them back," he vows although he isn't sure how yet.
Hope glimmers in Rogue's green eyes.
Charles takes a moment to think. They need to go but not charge in since they have no idea what kind of situation they are heading into. It needs to be a cautious approach and one person not coming despite the fact she will want to is Rogue. She is too emotionally invested. He doesn't doubt her bravery but her ability to think calmly and clearly. He isn't blaming her. If he was in her position and it was someone he loved his ability to think calmly and clearly would be compromised as well.
Charles wishes Logan was here.
As if in answer to his prayer the door to the office opens and in walks Logan, his face glum. The fact Claire is not with him explains Logan's expression. He couldn't find her. Logan looks around the office at all the people and their expressions instantly tell him something is up. "Alright. What did I miss?"
Later that night...or it is well into the early morning by now. In fact it can't be long until the sun rises. Rogue stares out of her window. Everyone else is asleep but she can't. All she can think about is the fact that Clark and Mr Kent are gone and no-one knows anything about whether they are alright or not.
Rogue had wanted to go desperately but the Professor said no. His explanation being he wanted to take only a few on the trip as this was not about confronting Jor-El. It was assessing the situation and then deciding what needed to be done. In otherwise he would call. The Professor had only taken Logan, Beast, Jean and Scott with him.
Rogue wishes she understood why the Professor made that choice but she doesn't. She is half-tempted to steal Logan's bike and go to Smallville anyway but...well she can't leave Mrs Kent can she. They need each other right at this moment.
Rogue sighs before briefly looking at Kitty asleep in the other bed before she returns her gaze to looking out the window. In her hand is the letter. Clark's letter which she has read over and over explaining why he felt he had to leave and saying how he loved her. She had been trying futilely to get it to make sense to her. It didn't really beyond Clark's idiotic need to try and protect everyone. That she understood. God it annoyed her that need of his. When he gets back she is so giving him a piece of her mind.
A few tears trickle down her cheeks. It is taking all her willpower not to fall apart. She had had the one thing she never imagined she would have. She had someone she loved and loved her back. Someone who made her smile, made her laugh, made her feel safe. She loves him so much and she will never forget the night they had together in the woods where they made love. She will never forget the feeling of what it truly means to love someone and be loved in return and now...now it had all been ripped away from her.
In Rogue's other hand is the silver looking octagonal key that once belonged to Clark's spaceship. She had found it in Clark's belongings and wonders why he didn't take it with him. 'Shouldn't ah have given this ta tha Professor,' she suddenly asks herself since he might have needed it. She raises it and stares at it for a long time. For a moment she swears it glows and she suddenly completely forgets anything about her thought about giving it to the Professor.
Rogue's gaze returns to staring out the window when suddenly she spots an orange glow beneath her on the lawn. It looks like a small fire. Rogue knows she should tell someone yet she can't move or speak. She is compelled to simply look. Then suddenly the fire erupts outward and burns in the shape of a symbol. A Kryptonian symbol she somehow knows. It is a triangle with a line coming out of the base which runs into a circle with another straight line coming out on the opposite side.
Rogue continues to stare and the symbol reflects in her green eyes. The key in her hand glows once more and a word rises up in her mind. A word she is compelled to speak in a whisper. "Crusade."
At a SHIELD Prison Facility...
Colonel Fury steps through as the door is opened and comes to a stop in front of the bars of the cell which holds Lionel Luthor dressed in an orange prison uniform who is currently having his long hair shaved off in what would otherwise be the cell he sits in alone. In the intervening period they had managed to remove the armoured suit off of Lionel and it was currently being studied by SHIELD technicians and scientists.
Lionel looks up from the chair he is sitting in and ignores the discomfort of having the entire surface layer of his skin ripped off when they removed the suit from him. He was still alive which for the moment was all that mattered to Lionel. "Colonel Fury," he acknowledges his visitor...his only visitor up to this point.
Fury takes in the man who has caused so much trouble. Whose actions directly and indirectly have revealed mutants to the world and have caused chaos. Riots. Protests. People randomly attacked in the streets accused of being mutants. Murders. If it wasn't for the X-Men there could have been a full scale war broken out by now. "Do you have any idea what you have done?" he asks the man, with repressed anger.
"Yes," Lionel states in a calm serene voice.
"Then I suppose you know what you will be charged with," Fury says. It's a long list. Treason tops it.
Lionel smiles oddly. "I'm dying Colonel Fury."
Death was too good for this guy Fury think to himself. He should live a long long time locked up behind bars. "Just to let you know I'll have Luthorcorp liquidated by the end of the week and all your remaining assets frozen by tomorrow. I'll make sure you will die with nothing," Fury promises Lionel with a small satisfaction at doing that.
Fury frowns. "What is so funny?"
Lionel looks at the Colonel, his eyes dark and cold. "Not nothing Colonel Fury. I'll die with one thing. Vengeance."
Lex pours himself a large drink of whiskey as he pulls his tie off. He momentarily notes it is a new bottle he is opening. He has felt like drinking a lot these last few days thanks to his father. He has spent all day trying to position himself to salvage what he can from the wreckage of Luthorcorp his father has sent it into. Lex isn't 100% sure he can salvage everything he wants to absorb into Lexcorp but he will sure as hell try because one thing is certain and that is Lex is not letting his father take him down too. He will not join his father in sharing the defeat the whole world saw his father suffer on that dam.
As for his father...let him rot in prison. Lex knows his father is dying. Good riddance. Couldn't come soon enough as far as Lex is concerned.
At least Lana isn't here to endure this. She's in Paris nice and safe so she can attend the design school Lex managed to rankle a place in for her. That was secure. Regardless of what happened here Lana would at least get to live her dream. She was the one bright spot in Lex's otherwise dark world.
Lex lifts his drink to his lips. So busy had he been with trying to salvage what he can from Luthorcorp he hasn't had time to think about this whole mutant question or how it pertains exactly to Clark. The truth about that school was now known as was Clark's supposed reasons for being there but somehow it didn't sit quite right with Lex. It is like he is missing something.
Well that is down his list or priorities at the moment but he will get back on to Clark later once Lex has secured his own future.
Lex takes a large drink of the whiskey he poured...
SHIELD Prison Facility...
Fury's eyes narrow. There is a dark look in Luthor's eyes he does not like. "What do you mean vengeance?"
"You would not deny a dying man his vengeance would you Colonel Fury?"
Yep. Fury does not like that look at all. It is so certain about what he is saying. "What have you done?"
Lionel smiles a smile that gives even a hardened veteran like Fury shivers. "Made sure that I will outlive all my enemies. A man should never be outlived by his enemies. Don't you agree Colonel?"
"What have you done?" Fury repeats himself, his voice harder and more deadly sounding.
Lionel looks directly at Fury his eyes cold and dark as one who knows he is damned and accepted it as his liberation. "Before the battle on the dam I did two things. One. I paid a visit to my son's home so I could drop off a gift for him of a bottle of whiskey..."
Back at the mansion Lex drops his glass, which shatters when it hits the floor, and gropes at his throat as it tightens. The drink is burning his insides. He can't breathe. He tries to call out for help but can't get a sound to come out of his vocal chords. His vision darkens. He wobbles on his feet before he topples over smashing through a glass table and lies on the floor not moving.
SHIELD Prison Facility...
"...and two I paid a little visit to my dear old friend Charles' home."
At the Institute...
Down in the lower levels in the main computer room the screen lights up. The female sounding computer voice speaks. "Initiate Mansion Lockdown sequence."
SHIELD Prison Facility...
"You see my appearance at the dam was a spur of the moment decision. I had in fact planned something else entirely for Charles and his students. I implanted a little virus into his computer system," Lionel continues to explain to Fury.
At the Institute...
Titanium metal plates slide into existence covering the damaged mansion and sealing it tight. The female sounding computer voice speaks again. "Mansion Destruct Sequence Activated."
SHIELD Prison Facility...
"It was very well hidden. I really wish Charles was here so I could congratulate him but it was not hidden well enough to hide from the sensors in my suit," Lionel continues his story.
"What are you on about?" Fury wants Luthor to clarify.
"The back-up hard drives hidden in those lower levels under the mansion. A very impressive system Charles created. That was where I discovered how to get my revenge upon those mutants freaks who ruined everything!" Lionel says bitterly through gritted teeth. "That was where I implanted the virus. Well I say virus. It is more like a rogue algorithm. It would sit and wait until the system was reactivated and at the appropriate time it will run. The appropriate time being..." Lionel looks up at wall on the Fury's side of the bars where a clock sits on the wall. "Well as a matter of fact I'm guessing by now they are all back home. Tucked up in bed. Sleeping soundly," Lionel says with a false sweet sugary tone of voice.
Fury turns on the spot and heads for the door. He bangs on it to be let out.
Lionel laughs darkly knowing the Colonel has figured it out.
At the Institute...
A big number '60' appears on the computer screen. The countdown begins.
SHIELD Prison Facility...
Fury rapidly walks down the prison hallway and activates his comms. "Connect me to Xavier's now!" he commands.
"We're trying sir," the voice on the other end tells Fury. "But we can't seem to get a connection."
"Try harder!" Fury orders.
In his chair Lionel smiles a dark smile as his hands now feel over his shaved head. He may be going to Hell soon but he has made sure that he will have a lot of company.
After all does Colonel Fury think Lionel would have mentioned anything if it could be stopped. He takes a moment to thank the man who shaved his hair off. No reason not to be polite just because the end has come.
"We're sorry sir. We can't get through," Fury is told. Fury is barely holding in his rage and despair because he can guess what Luthor has done. It can't end like this!
At the Institute...
The countdown reaches its end...
The mansion is racked by explosions travelling from one wing of the building to the other before it is consumed by one final massive explosion, levelling the entire mansion leaving nothing standing and amongst the rubble, the smoke, the fire, there is no sign of survivors. No sign of anything living at all.
Kawatche Caves, Smallville...
A naked figure lies in the foetal position surrounded by a beam of light in a sea of darkness. He tries to recall where he is and how he came to be here but gets nothing. His mind feels so fuzzy and he is having trouble forming coherent thoughts. Every time he tries to snatch at a memory it fades away out of existence.
Who is he? Where is he? Why can't he remember?
Those are the questions plaguing his mind. Well in fact he can still remember one thing. He sees a girl with brown hair with a white stripe and green eyes. He can see her face as clear as day and he feels...he feels something he can't remember a word for. He knows her...somehow. Not her name nor how he knows her. Just the fact that he does and that he feels something profound for her.
"KAL-EL. MY SON!" a voice booms out of the darkness and the figure raises his head to try and see where it came from. "NOW YOU WILL BE REBORN!"
To be continued...
Author's Note: I tried to create my own version of the ending of Season 3 'Covenant' because it is just an awesome cliffhanger ending where Lionel is sitting having his hair shaved off while, even in prison, he gets his revenge on Lex and Chloe while Clark is taken by Jor-El. I recommend you go watch it. I have decided to end this story here and continue it in a new story due to just how long this has gotten. Thanks to everyone who wrote reviews and look to see the follow up shortly. I don't know if you call this a spoiler but here's the summary of my follow-up story;
3 months after he vanished Clark returns and the X-Men soon find themselves facing off against old and new foes alike in the search for the 3 Kryptonian Stones of Power...and oh yeah on the side they have to try and stop the rise of Apocalypse.